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Welcome to the 35th email newsletter of the Low Fell Lib Dem Focus Team! In this edition we report on:

  • Save the Hardman Centre
  • Northumbria University's 'Making Low Fell Better' event a success
  • Time running out to give your views on Tyne Tolls plan
  • Low Fell's Summer Fayre
  • Can you help the Focus Team? 

Please forward this e-Focus to others who may find it useful, or share it on social media.

With best wishes,
Ron, Susan, and Daniel

P.S. If you are on Facebook, and would like to follow us, our page is here

Save the Hardman Centre
Many residents will be aware that the Hardman Centre on Dryden Road, which provides elderly day care and a pre-school, is under threat of closure.

Unfortunately, neither the Adult Social Services Department at the Council nor the Gateshead Early Years Partnership were warned of the potential for closure by the Trustees and this means that key stakeholders have not had the opportunity to help.

However, after being informed of the proposed closure by the Centre's staff, Low Fell's Councillors - Ron, Susan and Daniel - have met with senior Council officers to discuss what help the Council can offer to save this important community resource.

Daniel Duggan said "The Centre is a lifeline for many people and it would be a tragedy to lose it. The staff work really hard and have created an excellent Centre. We will soon be meeting again with Council officers, along with the Chair of the Hardman Centre's Board of Trustees, to explore what can be done to save the Centre".

There is currently a petition to save the Centre which you can sign by clicking here
Hardman Centre
Making Low Fell Better
Last Thursday, Ron took time off from the election to attend the Northumbria University business students’ presentations for how to improve Low Fell’s shopping mix.   The students, from different parts of the UK and around the world, agreed that the area has great potential but needs to enhance the range and type of outlets on offer. Having researched Low Fell’s demographics, especially the growth in the number of young families on the Fell, and interviewed local businesses, their ideas included:  
  • Sweet Sixties - American Style parlour, selling Milkshakes, Smoothies and Ice Cream
  • Independent Cinema - Offering old and new, specialist films for families and older people
  • Durham Road Deli - A healthy, locally sourced, environmentally friendly Delicatessen
  • IT Training Social Enterprise -Low cost IT Training and Support
  • Bark and Bite - A Dog café
  • Bumblebee Café  - Cafe with soft play area
  • Bookstore with café                           
  • Seasonal Market  - In Lowrey’s Lane car park
  • Sugar Rush - Dessert haven for all ages with on-site pattisier
  • Shoe store  - All types of shoes but good selection of good quality school shoes
  • Low Fellowship - A Community theatre.
  • V-Café - a Vegan Cafe
 A number of Low Fell residents and business owners attended the event.  The students’ tutor, Low Fell resident Liz Cunningham, received excellent feedback from them.  One resident wrote:
‘We had a wonderful morning and we left full of admiration for your students and buzzing with ideas. Thanks again for inviting us – it was great to talk to such enthusiastic, creative and promising young people”.
Another agreed that: “Many refreshing ideas from switched-on young people who had taken a serious interest in the assignment. The students seemed to benefit from being presented with a "real world " case study to which they had to provide a response and then deliver this to local residents with a genuine interest in their proposals.”
And a third hoped “some of the ideas come to fruition to help Low Fell become more of a destination.  Perhaps they will visit Low Fell again now they are aware it is there and what it has to offer?”
But here is Liz’s quote of the day: “I have just met a young man who has come all the way from China and we had a conversation about Lowrey’s Lane car park!”. 
If you would like to know any more about the students’ ideas and their market research, especially if you are a local entrepreneur, then please contact
Tolls on the Tyne Bridge?
Time is running out to give your views on plans for either a charging Clean Air Zone or tolls on three bridges across the Tyne. You can complete the consultation by visiting here

Liberal Democrats across Tyneside are rejecting Labour’s plan for tolls on the Tyne’s bridges.

Whilst we agree that it is vital to reduce air pollution, Labour’s plans will not achieve this and will harm Gateshead residents. Labour’s toll charge proposals would:

1. Discriminate against Gateshead residents, who cross the Tyne more often than people from Newcastle.

2. Tax polluting and non-polluting vehicles alike, providing no incentive for people to switch to electric vehicles.

3. Cost the average driver £17.00 a week - this is over £880 a year.

4. Move pollution from the centre of Gateshead to the West where people will use non-toll roads such as Scotswood Bridge. They would be driving right through Whickham North ward, causing further traffic congestion for everyone in the area.

Daniel Duggan said "Lib Dems are putting forward an alternative plan to reduce congestion on Tyneside. This involves allowing cars with passengers to share bus lanes, working with employers to stagger opening times, improving public transport and introducing Park and Ride schemes using derelict land in central Gateshead".
Low Fell Summer Fayre
Low Fell's annual Summer Fayre, held in Kells Lane Park, is due to take place on Saturday 29th June this year. Many stalls have already been booked, but if you would like a stall please contact Susan Craig, Chair of Low Fell Forum, on 0191 4880787.
Low Fell Summer Fayre
Can you help the Focus Team do more for Low Fell?
The Low Fell Focus Team works hard all year round and provide a regular newsletter, 'Focus on Low Fell', to all households in Low Fell. We rely on local residents to help deliver this. Would you be able to spare an hour or so every few months to deliver some newsletters near to where you live? If so, please get in touch by replying to this email.
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