We live in a world that can be very busy and very demanding of us. Often, many people live in a state of stress and we rarely take time out for ourselves to relax.
Stress can have huge effects in our lives, from stopping us being able to sleep properly, causing aches pains and muscle tension and the longer term health effects can include mental health problems, heart and blood pressure problems and more,
As part of our journey with The ALT Group, we thought it was time to look at the balance in our lives. Are we making time to relax? Are we looking after ourselves enough to be able to give so much energy out to everyone else? We decided we weren't and wanted to make space for us as a group to enjoy some relaxation time together.
In order to share this little bubble of peace and relaxation we have created, we have decided to open the session to everyone; so now every Thursday, 4pm to 4:30pm we have Quiet Time, in the Lounge at Blackhill Club.
The session includes a relaxation, mindfulness or healing meditation or breathing exercises. Quiet Time is a relaxed and informal affair, and is suitable for people with any level of experience in meditation or mindfulness practice and for all ages over 8. Younger children are welcome, but all children must understand respectful silence is requested and participation preferred, and sorry no gadgets or games are allowed.
There is no charge for Quiet Time, although you can always support what we do by making a donation to The ALT Group. If you'd like to come along you can join us between 3:45-4pm, the room is closed for the half hour session. You can Contact Us with any questions you have in advance.
Community Garden Spring Update
The ALT Group was proud to start our Blackhill Club Community Garden project in February with great support from the public. Over the past three months we have had more than 20 local residents volunteer or help with the garden project in so many ways and it is has made a fantastic start!
Despite the grey, damp weather, our first Action Day had 6 volunteers armed with spades and shovels and we started with our first task of finding the car park edge and creating borders for flowers around Blackhill Club's huge grounds.
The team also managed to build some compost and storage bins from reclaimed materials which we will use to make our own organic compost.
During March we welcomed NCC students who volunteered with our group and helped out with our meal service and garden project. During the week they were with us we welcomed some families along to join us planting trees. We managed to plant 5 trees on the grounds, some are fruit trees, some are suitable for birds, bees and butterflies. The first tree planted was named “Amelie” after Amelie Weeks, 8, the volunteer who planted it and “Jes” Tree was planted by NCC volunteers.
March also saw us appear in County News and local volunteers Terri Lee-Shield, Ryan Forster & Linda Morgan had a photo session with local photographer Lee Dobson.
The ALT Group received some fantastic news from Tesco Bags of Help and Groundworks, The ALT Group was selected to receive £12,000 in funding towards our first Community Farm site at Blackhill Club Community Garden. We will be able to transform the local land in to a beautiful, social and productive area for the local community to enjoy. Amazing times ahead!
We had several Action Days in April and welcomed people of all ages from the area who chipped in and made some great changes to the garden. We managed to build herb beds for the front lawns of the club using recycled and donated materials, we have added a seating area under the willow trees ad planted bushes around the area to create a wonderful spring and summer spectacle.
We also managed to try a Permaculutre Design adaption to create “Hugel Bed” or Hill Beds which we are creating on the edges of the garden land. We are using the method of building hills using tree waste from the property and creating layers of mulch, topsoil and compost. This design will recreate natural processes building new soil, while also catching water and creating additional growing space. The beds will be filled with edible and medicinal herbs which can be used to make drinks, add to food or make tinctures or lotions.
We noticed a great article this month about the benefits of reconnecting with soil and it's possible anti-depressant properties. We think it is great more and more research is being done into both the benefit of gardening and the magic of our soil. You can read more here...
May has been another busy month for The ALT Group and we have some great updates to give you.
During our Spring Action Days in May we managed to fill all our herb beds and flower borders. We would like to thank B&Q in Consett for their kind donation of plants for our garden, we go a great selection which will fill the edges with colour for years to come.
We would also like to thank Maureen Bell for her donation of potted shrubs and plants for the garden entrance. This was a wonderful gesture from Maureen who no longer has space to care for these well loved plants and she happily donated them to the community. We are very grateful and they look beautiful, they make a huge difference to the entrance area.
Congratulations are also due to team members Terri Lee-Shield and Ryan Forster who received their Permaculutre Design Certificate and are now qualified Permaculture Designers. The pair took the course with Wilf Richards from Abundant Earth a local Permaculture school in Durham. Well done to both of you and we look forward to implementing your designs!
Press Release - 4/4/16
The ALT Group, a newly formed local community group is fundraising with a twist this weekend, hosting a Pop-Up Shop sale at local venue Blackhill Comrades Club from Thursday through to Sunday.
The sale will include a mix of art prints by local artists, pre-loved furniture, clothes and home products as well as locally made crafts with tea, coffee and refreshments on sale through the whole event. Families and children will be catered for with a play zone and face painting available for the kids or gel nails for the adults.
During the Pop-Up Shop event, The ALT Group team will be providing information sessions about the organisation and their future plans for community activities, including their Community Garden project plans that was started in February.
Blackhill Comrades Club works with The ALT Group to host their weekly Community Meal and has allowed the organisation access for the weekend. The large Concert Room will be transformed into a market style shop for the three days.
Blackhill Club secretary Ann Lee-Shield, 59, said “The ALT Group have made a great effort to bring community spirit back to the area and we are happy to support them in their fundraising efforts”
The ALT Group is a Community Interest Company and all profits are used for the benefit of the community, it was formed in September this year and is run by volunteers residents in and around Consett.
In order to provide a weekly, free of charge Community Meal, and start their Community Garden project, this new organisation has decided to try something new in order to support their services.
Company Director Terri Lee-Shield said “we want to celebrate local talents, selling art and crafts and also encourage people to reuse and recycle goods rather than throw them away, the Pop-Up Shop idea, we hope, will help us to do both”
The ALT Group Pop-Up shop will run at Blackhill Comrades Club, Blackhill, Consett, Durham. DH8 8TT on Thursday 5:30-7pm, Friday 10am-6pm & Saturday 10am-3pm.
We are delighted to announce that Tesco has teamed up with Groundwork to launch its Bags of Help initiative in hundreds of regions across England and Wales. The scheme will see three community groups and projects in each of these regions awarded grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag charge.
The ALT Group applied for this funding to make our first Community Farm dream and reality and we are overwhelmed with excitement to be able to announce...
We have been shortlisted for the first ever public vote!
Bags of Help offers community groups and projects in each of Tesco’s 390 regions across the UK a share of revenue generated from the five pence charge levied on single-use carrier bags. The public will now vote in store from 27 February until 6 March on who should receive the £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 awards.
For more information please visit www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp
You will find details of how to vote in store, and voting begins 27th February until 4th March.
If you would like to be involved in this project please Contact Us
From a Very Happy ALT Group Team :D
Press Release - 27/11/15
The ALT Group, a newly formed local community group has teamed up with local venue Blackhill Comrades Club to offer free entertainment, to the community in Consett on Thursday night.
Animal Show host and Magician Steve Lucock, 50 from Blyth has previously featured on Britain's Got Talent and Channel 5 Series, 41 Dogs In A 3 Bed Semi, received a warm welcome to the venue and entertained over 100 guests and volunteers with his comedy and education show alongside live animals.
In between the laughter, children and adults were introduced to many creatures including a Meercat, Skunk and Zante the Fox who are all rescued by Steve's animal rescue charity, Saviours Haven Sanctuary.
During the evening a three course meal was served by willing local volunteers who managed to cater for many more guests than were expected. Food for the meal was received through generous donations from local businesses including, Yagers Butchers, Maddison's Cafe, Sweetharts Bistro, Lintzford Farm & Lanchester Dairies, as well as donations from individuals and diners from The ALT Group's weekly Community Meal.
Local mum, Erica Oteng, 27, said “we wouldn't normally be able to afford to go out for dinner and a show, especially with the travel involved, but this was great, we had an amazing night and it was just on our doorstep”
The ALT Group is a Community Interest Company and all profits are used for the benefit of the community, it was formed in September this year and has started in order to bring free of charge meals, events and other community based activities, open to everyone, in Consett.
In order to provide a weekly, free of charge Community Meal, this new organisation has teamed up with a well loved local social venue, Blackhill Comrades Club in order to deliver the project.
Founding member and company Director Terri Lee-Shield said “there are many families and individuals in our area who work hard and don't have spare cash available to have family nights out, these events allow for everyone in the community to have a chance to socialise, make friends and get out of the house.”
The ALT Group plan to host more events in the area and their Community Meals are served every Thursday from 5:30-7pm.
Photography by Lyndsey-Dee Usher
It was a very proud moment at The ALT Group when we saw our first ever write up in the local paper! And what a wonderful pictures of our Volunteers :)
Please take a look...
It has been an amazing week at The ALT Group. We had our very first Community Meal at Blackhill Club on Thursday 1st October.
I hope you'll agree our menu was a great start, and it seemed to go down well with our diners. It was a long day, starting with collections at 9am and food preparation and cooking starting from 10.30.
A huge Thank you! to Matthew, Heather & Shirley for their help. The quality and standard of the food was something to be proud of!
All the meals were prepared and ready to serve for 6pm when the doors opened and it was an exciting moment. We welcomed several community members, mainly from Blackhill, and managed to pretty much have our first service without any hitches.
Ann, Ryan, Jane N, Jane F and Chloe did a really good job of helping our diners and providing friendly service with a smile.
It was a wonderful atmosphere getting to know everyone and lovely hearing all the chatter and laughing during the meal. I think some new friends were made.
It was a steady start to the meal serving around 50 courses, but we want to feed even more people next time!
Your Community Meal is open to everyone in Consett and families are also welcome. Although we want to be able to help people who may be having finical difficulties we would like to stress how welcome everyone is. Wether you're working, or not, if you live alone or have a huge family, the idea is to reconnect our Community and enjoy each others company.... Everyone deserves a night off the cooking and a change of scenery once in a while and we really appreciate all the support we get from you all.
Hope to see you at the next meal! Thursday 6-8pm Blackhill Club.
Hi, I'm Terri Lee-Shield, Director of The ALT Group.