This month we are showcasing some of the groups, shops and businesses that have been reopening as restrictions are being eased.

The Consett Corona Photo Project started in March 2020 and has continued to document the effects of Covid-19 upon the people, volunteer groups and businesses of Consett area. All images have been photographed within the Government guidelines.
We have had several exhibitions around the area, Willow Burn Hospice, Snods Church Hall and St Patricks Church Hall. We hope to have other one’s in the coming months so please keep checking our Facebook page for information –

1 – Davison’s of Leadgate, like most non-essential shops was forced to close during the third lockdown. The shop was only permitted to reopen on Monday 12th April 2021. Christine Davison’s has introduced measures to ensure that all customers are safe to visit. It is hoped that will people remember to shop local and support local businesses. – (Image: George Ledger)

2 – The Derwent Manor Hotel has been affected throughout the pandemic and has had to reopen in stages as each step of the roadmap is implemented. The pool and gym could open in April but subject to reduced numbers, advance booking and many more rules. Their ‘self-contained accommodation’ and outdoor hospitality also restarted in April again with numerous rules imposed to maintain the safety of the guests. However not until the 17th May could they again allow guests to stay in the Hotel and drink indoors – subject to group size and social distancing measures. – (Image: George Ledger)

3 – After being furloughed in March 2020 after several years working in childcare, Stephanie decided to turn her crafting hobby into a business. Crooked Oak Crafts has become successful selling on Facebook and at craft fairs. For fun, Stephanie and her friend Victoria run Consett Rocks (See Page 7). Like many people, Stephanie was forced by the pandemic to reassess her working life. – (Image: Chris Bruce)

4 – Vicky like many others found her work affected by the Corona virus lockdowns. So late last year she took the opportunity to start her new business: ‘Greenkeepers Eco store’ in Consett. A month after the idea was formed her store became a reality. Sourcing mainly local products, people are now able to take along various containers and have them refilled. Items such as Coffee, herbs & spices, soaps, pasta and many other household & kitchen items. Good news for Consett, and great that packaging can be reused. – (Image: Steve Webb)

5 – Before Covid-19 Lyndsay was a highly qualified and experienced childcare practitioner. However at the start of the pandemic she was made redundant. She spent some time making NHS scrubs and became a nanny. It was here she was encouraged to put her experience to good use and started ‘Mini Explorers’, an Outdoor Classroom experience for young children at Knitsley Farm Shop. – (Image: Steve Webb)

6 – Throughout the lockdown charities have been prevented from holding major events. The groups that support these charities have also been affected. One such group – The Biking Vikings (NE), a group of motorcycle riding, stilt walking, pipe and drum playing Vikings who raise funds for Brain Tumour Research. Each year they perform at county shows and other venues to raise much needed money for Brain Tumour Research charity. None of the planned events were able to go ahead but they still entertained a number of local care homes and managed to raise money by making and selling Viking themed cards, crafts, models and even jewellery. (Image: George Ledger)

7 – Martial Arts training classes like Kensho Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) Club in Consett were allowed to restart on the 12th of April. The club is for both adults and children with all profits generated going back into the club to help them constantly improve. The founder, Michael Eccles is passionate about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu having started his own journey over 10 years ago after a struggle with his own mental health. In order to give back and to help those struggling in life, the club was set up as a not-for-profit organisation that will be developing links to mental health charities and organisations in the local area. The hope is that the club can offer support to those with mental health difficulties through training and help by being part of something meaningful. (Image: George Ledger)

8 – Leanne started wild swimming around a year ago. Through lockdown she realised she had nothing for herself and nothing to miss. She was really down. The swimming gave her a reason to go out and she found out she loved it and made lots of new friends who also have a love of the outdoors. She has swum in the sea, several lakes and rivers and has hiked in the Lake District. It has helped her make physical and mental changes to her lifestyle. Leanne says, ‘It’s changed my outlook on life as there’s nothing cold water cannot help with’. (Image: Debbie Todd)

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