More than £36m has been paid out by Northumberland County Council to help local businesses through the coronavirus pandemic.
The money is aimed at supporting small companies, and ones in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, and so far more than 3,200 of them have benefited.
Another tranche of payments is due in the next few says, the council said.
It has also urged businesses which meet the eligibility criteria, and have not contacted them yet, to register their details online.
Councillor Peter Jackson, leader of the council, said: “As a council we are doing everything that we can to support businesses - providing advice and guidance, and finding out what the key issues are for the business community in the county, so that these can be addressed.”
Bird sanctuary 'facing struggle to survive'
A birds of prey sanctuary is facing an uncertain future because it does not qualify for government grants amid the coronavirus crisis.
Falconry Days, in Hexham, Northumberland, has cancelled all this summer's falconry displays amid the lockdown, and Mark French and his wife Mandy have had to let one part-time member of staff go.
They are also concerned about finding the money to feed more than 90 birds if the shutdown continues for the months ahead.
"We don't have a rateable value on any part of the premises so can't qualify for any of the grants," said Mr French.
"We've got enough food to feed the birds for three months. After that we'll need to reorder, but basically we've got no income at all.
"We do need support. It's not our fault our business has closed. We need to survive."
Protective equipment stolen from ambulance
BBC Radio Tees
Person protective equipment (PPE) was stolen from an ambulance on a call out in Middlesbrough on Monday, police have said.
theft occurred as the ambulance crew attended emergency calls in
Middlesbrough’s Newport area.
items reported stolen were provided to the ambulance crew to keep them safe as
they provide life-saving treatment to patients, a Cleveland Police spokeswoman said.
Ch Supt Thom McLoughlin said: “The theft of equipment from frontline ambulance staff is despicable. Our emergency service colleagues continue to assist those in most need and it is disgraceful they were targeted in this way."
The North East Ambulance Service said it was one of four thefts of such equipment across the region in the past week.
Firefighters plea to put bins out at last minute
Householders urged to help stop arsonists targeting bins
Protective equipment for paramedics has been stolen from ambulances four times in the past week, the North East Ambulance Service has said.
A spokeswoman said the items were stolen while crews were treating patients in Newcastle and Middlesbrough.
The equipment is used by healthcare workers to protect themselves
from infection from coronavirus and it also keeps them from infecting other
of risk at North East Ambulance Service, Alan Gallagher, said: “To
hear about such selfish acts of theft is incredibly disappointing and we will
not tolerate it. The impacts of such acts could severely impede our combined
efforts to keep people safe. Those responsible should consider the wider impact
that their actions could have on the community and their own emergency care,
should they ever need it.
a result, all vehicles will now carry minimal stocks.
of our vehicles are fitted with CCTV and anyone attempting to board one whilst
the crew are treating patients is likely to be caught on camera and the footage
provided as evidence to the police.”
Routine patient transport service suspended during virus crisis
Routine ambulance transport has been cancelled to help ease demand during the coronavirus crisis.
The North East Ambulance Service said the decision would allow it to support hospitals to discharge more patients well enough to return home and free-up the maximum possible inpatient and critical care capacity in the region.
A limited transport service will continue for patients needing dialysis; chemotherapy, radiotherapy and other cancer treatment; and when required for non-urgent assessment as directed by a clinician.
Barry Dews, Strategic Head of Operations at NEAS, said: “This is not a decision taken lightly and we know some patients will be worried about whether they should still attend their hospital appointment.
“We regularly carry out around 2,800 patient journeys a day and we have already seen this drop to 1,500 patient journeys a day as hospitals start cancelling appointments and some patients are either self-isolating or following government advice to socially distance themselves.
“We are working very closely with hospitals and our NHS commissioners to ensure that all patients are notified of this change and given advice on what they should do next.”
Patients who have any concerns their transport should ring NEAS patient transport on 0300 111 0247.
For those patients showing symptoms of COVID-19, vehicles will only transport one patient at a time.
Crews in direct contact will also be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), although the designated driver will not be required to wear PPE whilst driving.
Firefighters plea to help catch arsonists
Fire chiefs are reassuring the public their calls will be treated with the strictest confidence.
Council staff deployment to support bin collection
North Tyneside Council said it has redeployed staff to ensure frontline and essential services can keep running during the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the first are those from environmental services, who have volunteered to be retrained as refuse collectors, to protect against potential shortages caused by collection crew self-isolating at home.
Newcastle, Durham, Northumberland and Sunderland councils have all said refuse services are continuing to run as normal.
Gateshead Council said it was also collecting as normal, and reminded residents to wash their hands before putting anything in bins for outside collection.
All councils asked people to keep checking the websites for updates.
Emergency services issue parking plea
Northumberland Fire and Rescue service has asked people to be considerate when it comes to parking.
It says that with more people working from home there are more cars parked up in streets and housing estates.
Residents are urged to ensure they have left enough room for emergency services vehicles to get through.
In support of the Government's efforts to defeat Covid-19, it is with an extremely heavy heart that we have made the decision to close our leisure sites and reservoirs to the public with immediate effect."
Alnwick Garden to close
Alnwick Garden has taken the decision to close from 16:00 following the latest guidance from the Government around social
It says the focus is "to ensure the participants of our community programmes continue to
receive support while The Garden is closed. We are looking at ways to remain in
regular contact and adjusting our approach where necessary. We are also
exploring ways of taking The Garden to the community such as our Live Blossom
Watch facility on the website".
We hope during this time that you all stay safe and healthy and remember that as a community we are here to offer help to those who need it most. Look after yourselves, your neighbours and loved ones and we look forward to welcoming you back once this is all behind us.”
Northumbrian Water is warning of "devastating blockages" if customers flush toilet roll alternatives down the loo.
As toilet rolls continue to disappear quickly from supermarket shelves due to the coronavirus crisis, the company is warning people not to flush alternatives such as wipes, kitchen roll and newspapers.
Wrongly flushed items, such as wet wipes, are one of the biggest causes of blockages as they usually clog up inside householders' plumbing and sewer pipes.
Consequences can range from causing people's homes to be flooded with toilet waste, to the environment being polluted.
We understand some people affected by the limited toilet roll availability may have no choice but to use alternative products, but we really need our customers help by making one small change - and that's to put wipes and any alternatives in the bin."
Northumbrian Water's Bin the Wipe campaign is encouraging customers not to use their toilets as a bin, after finding around 64% of the 15,600 blockages cleared in 2019 were caused by wet wipes.
A project to develop a national bird sculpture trail on a coastal path in Northumberland is "making progress".
Amble Board Walk, aligned with the new England Coast Path, would feature up to 22 sculptures at key locations along the coastline from Hauxley Nature Reserve, around Amble and along the river to Warkworth.
Last year, it was announced the project, delivered by Amble Development Trust, on behalf of Amble Coastal Community Team, would receive £400,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund.
Northumberland County Council has now agreed to include the £240,000 project in its capital programme for this year, and also a separate revenue budget of £156,000.
This means that the sculptures, which are currently being commissioned through a design competition process, will be put in place during the summer.
Councillors were told the trail which will "will celebrate the natural assets of the local area" will support more than 60 businesses and create 30 full-time-equivalent employment opportunities by "extending the tourism season".
The regeneration of Amble and the surrounding area has been nothing short of astounding in recent years and this can only add to that.”
A council has appealed for information after a "severely neglected" dog was was found in Blyth.
The lurcher was said to be close to death when she found and in an emaciated condition.
The female dog, believed to be aged about three years old, was discovered by Northumberland County Council in a field in Cowpen following a call from the public.
She is now being cared for in a foster home through Berwick Animal Rescue Kennels and has been named Tiggy.
Northumberland County Council said she is now on a special diet and "receiving some tender loving care".
A council animal welfare officer added: "This dog was in a really horrific state. Someone, somewhere knows who she belongs to, or has seen her about.
"She was completely skin and bone and less than half the weight she should have been.
"She had no fur either and has never been microchipped and seems to have just been dumped out on the streets.
They added: "This is a shocking and inexcusable case of neglect and we are very keen to get to the bottom of how she came to be in such an emaciated condition and bring the person(s) responsible to account."