SPECIAL funding is up for grabs to help keep homes toasty all year round.

The Tees Valley Warm Homes Fund is sharing out more than £6 million to install brand new central heating systems – free of charge.

The initiative – led by Stockton Borough Council – is part of a national fund established by National Grid and administered by Affordable Warmth Solutions.

And  this week one happy beneficiary described how his new central heating system had transformed his home, and urged others in need to contact the project.

Allan Walker (pictured), who has lived in his North Ormesby home since the 1950s, waved goodbye to costly and inefficient storage heaters and an ageing immersion heater.

In their place are a brand new gas-powered combi boiler central heating and hot water system fitted by the Warm Homes Fund.

The 93-year-old said: “It’s really made a big difference – I can now walk around the whole house and do things in all the rooms which I couldn’t do before.

“I’ve got new radiators in every room and the new boiler is much more efficient than the old immersion heater.

“I’d urge anyone who thinks they might qualify to make the call and see how their home could be transformed.”

To qualify, residents must meet the following criteria:

  • The property must not currently have central heating installed
  • The property must be in Stockton, Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough or Redcar & Cleveland
  • The applicant must either own the property or have the permission of the owner

Someone living in the property must either be in receipt of qualifying benefits, have a low household income and high energy bills or have a low household income and be vulnerable to the effects of the cold.

Councillor Ashley Waters, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive member for Regeneration, said: “It’s easy to take for granted, but an efficient and economical central heating system is crucial for health and well-being.

“Too many people still slip through the net, and that’s where this brilliant scheme has the power to transform lives.

“I’d urge anyone need to check if they’re eligible as soon as possible – you’ve nothing to lose, and it could save you a fortune.”

The scheme operates on a first-come, first-served basis, and applications will close once all the funds have been allocated.

To find out if you qualify and to arrange a survey call 01642 526100 (lines open Mon-Thurs 8.30am-5pm, Fri 8.30am-4.30pm) or visit www.middlesbrough.gov.uk/WHF

Earth Day Action w/ The Friends of Arty Path

An exciting day for CommUNITY Actions & One Planet Pioneers! Our teams have been busy spending the day supporting a new group ‘The Friends of Arty Path’ who would like to restore the historical site into its former glory, and what better day to do it than on Earth Day? Earth Day is celebrated around the world to demonstrate support for environmental protection. The friends of Arty Path with the support from MEC projects will be helping to clear the area, planting native flowers & reinstating the path to help it look glorious once again! Local interest has already been fantastic, with over 12 people volunteering on the day and even getting support from the Local Authority, and we would always welcome more! If you are interested in getting involved at similar events, please contact us directly or contact Sue from the Friends of Arty Path at friendsofthearty@outlook.com or visit their group on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1757858234396404!

Over 2 TONNES of green wasted shifted, 10 wheelbarrow loads of firewood on their way to the Scouts, and an entire cage van filled with general waste: Definitely a very busy day and, once again, a huge thank you to all of the volunteers who helped take part!

Climate Action Middlesbrough

Climate Action Middlesbrough (CAM) is a new programme which aims to facilitate reductions in Middlesbrough’s carbon footprint and encourage a change towards more sustainable lifestyles. In essence, we hope to increase community action across the areas of sustainable food, sustainable transportation, domestic energy, waste and the natural environment, as well as inspiring sustained changes in individual, community and organisational behaviours in relation to climate change.

Middlesbrough Environment City is working with a number of partners on the project including: ACTES, LINX Youth Project, Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, The Other Perspective, Thirteen Group and Middlesbrough Council. Over the course of the programme, CAM will engage the wider community through intergeneration activities. Young people are at the forefront of tackling climate change.

Climate Action Middlesbrough is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund through the Climate Action Fund.

Aims and Objectives

We have a number of aims and objectives in this project:

  • To facilitate reductions in Middlesbrough’s carbon footprint.
  • To create a well-informed social movement supportive of tackling the climate crisis, through the combination of education, awareness-raising, increased involvement and connectedness and delivery of practical projects.
  • To create a community – led movement for social change towards a sustainable environment.
  • To enable communities to have a voice on addressing the changing climate.

Middlesbrough’s Green Strategy

Middlesbrough Council is setting out an ambitious 10-year vision to develop a green agenda designed to rise to the challenge of climate change, as well as support and improve biodiversity in and around Middlesbrough. The green strategy will include measures such as the aforementioned biodiversity, as well as increasing recycling rates, addressing health inequalities, providing and sustaining more green transport options, food security and energy reduction, all based around the ten One Planet Living principles to ensure Middlesbrough embodies them.

In doing this, it sets a programme to meet Government targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and make the town more climate resilient to ensure we are prepared and can adapt to changes in the climate, as well as to minimise the environmental impact of Council services in the future.

Broadly, the Strategy has three key aims to meets its obligations:

  1. To make Middlesbrough Council net carbon neutral by 2029
  2. To ensure Middlesbrough as a town is net carbon neutral by 2039.
  3. To make Middlesbrough a lead authority on Environmental issues

March Recipe – Mini Quiches


  • 190g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 100g cold butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
  • 10g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 medium free-range egg
  • 1 tsp ice-cold water


  • 2 medium free-range eggs
  • 2-3 slices ham, finely diced
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • 80g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • Freshly ground black pepper



  1. First make the pastry. For the best results, keep your hands and kitchen as cool as you can while doing this. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the Parmesan, then mix in the egg and the water until the dough forms a ball. You may need a tiny bit more water depending on the size of the egg. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and chill it in the fridge for half an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas 4
  3. Grease the tin with a little butter and a sprinkling of flour. Press the pastry discs gently into the tin.
  4. Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and roll out the pastry. Using a pastry cutter cut out discs of pastry of a size to fit your mince pie tin. Think jam tarts – the sides must be high enough to contain the filling.
  5. To make the filling, mix all the ingredients, except 25g of the cheese, together and stir gently to avoid getting too much air into the mixture. Spoon the filling into the pastry cases and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Cook in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the egg mixture has lost its wobble!
  6. Serve hot or cold with new potatoes and a green salad.


February Recipe – Lamb Tagine with Apricots and Couscous

This recipe was created for Fairtrade Fortnight 2021, utilising Fairtrade ingredients.


  • 2 tbsp Fairtrade sunflower oil
  • 1 onion,  peeled and chopped
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 tbsp Fairtrade ground cumin,
  • 1 tsp Fairtrade ground turmeric,
  • 1 tsp Fairtrade ground coriander
  • 300ml lamb stock or vegetable stock
  • 75g Fairtrade dried apricots, chopped
  • 240g tin Fairtrade chickpeas, drained

Lemon and Mint Couscous

  • 250g Fairtrade couscous
  • 2 Fairtrade lemons , juice and zest of
  • 450 ml vegetable stock
  • 4 tbsp fresh mint (Chopped)


  1. Add the oil to a large pan with a lid and fry the onion and mince over a medium heat until browned.
  2. Add the cumin, turmeric and coriander and fry for 2 – 3 minutes.
  3. Add the lamb stock, bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and cook for 30 – 40 minutes.
  4. Put the couscous in a heat proof bowl, add the lemon zest and juice together with the stock. Cover the bowl with a tight fitting lid or upturned plate and leave it for 5 minutes.
  5. Uncover the bowl and fluff the couscous up with a fork and stir through the mint.
  6. Add the drained chickpeas and apricots to the tagine and simmer for 5 minutes. then serve with the couscous



Green Shoots Project

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced a £40 million fund to help create jobs and support the environment. The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is available for a range of activities such as protecting species, finding nature-based solutions to tackling climate change, supporting conservation rangers and connecting people with the outdoors.

Middlesbrough Environment City has been successful in securing funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to deliver practical conservation opportunities helping bring people together from different communities and social backgrounds. Working with ACTES, The Other Perspective and Hemlington Linx, the Green Shoots Project is aimed at people from BAME backgrounds, refugees, asylum seekers and young people to help develop awareness of the town’s green spaces, connectivity with nature and understanding of the issues affecting our climate, wildlife and the habitats they depend on. The project aims to bring together people who are interested in building their own practical skills and knowledge based around conservation and wildlife habitats. It will empower participants with knowledge and opportunities to explore their own interests in nature while improving and enhancing the natural habitat around Middlesbrough in particular becks and streams passing through the town.

Green Shoots will offer volunteer placements, 10 incentivised traineeship opportunities and 20 Forest School sessions aimed at families and adolescents over the next year running until March 2022. The project will help individuals gain valuable practical skills and knowledge while building confidence, self esteem and belief in their abilities. The work will aim to make a positive impact to participants physical and mental wellbeing through a variety of inclusive practical based activities designed and delivered to improve our green spaces.

Interested in Green Shoots and want to hear more? Become a volunteer and help make a difference. Get in touch today!

Contact Casper Scallen:
Phone: 01642 579820
E-Mail: casper.scallen@menvcity.org.uk