St Mary's lighthouse at sunset

Sunday across the NE

Dry and fine on Sunday, with good sunny spells rather than unbroken sunshine

Live updates

Launch of £1bn scheme for free school meals

Almost two million school children will receive a free hot school meal from today under a new £1bn government scheme.

The major new initiative, first announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg last year, will see every five to seven-year-old at England's 16,500 primary schools eligible for free dinners.

Ministers have insisted that the move will save families up to £400 per year as well having health and education benefits for youngsters.

Nick Clegg referred to trialling of the scheme, which took place in Durham: "All the evidence, including the pilots in Durham and Newham, shows that free school meals will not only help ease the pressure on household budgets and encourage positive eating, but will also help improve concentration and raise educational performance so that, regardless of their background, every child can have the best possible start in life."

Police and NHS to reduce mental health detentions

A new scheme to reduce the number of people being detained under the Mental Health Act is being launched by Northumbria Police and the NHS.

The introduction of the scheme follows a national study which showed that three quarters of people detained under the Act were not mentally ill. A team of police officers will now work with health professionals in Sunderland to improve assessment and diagnosis.

Northumbria Police and the NHS have introduced a Street Triage Team to deal with offenders who may have a mental health problem. Five police officers and four nurses will work together to ensure those who come into contact with the criminal justice system receive an enhanced service.

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Artists weave their way through Trevelyan history

Pauline Lawson's Through the gate - Spring, on show in the Clocktower Cafe
Pauline Lawson's Through the gate - Spring, on show in the Clocktower Cafe

An exhibition conveying the story of one of the North East's most well known aristocratic families has been unveiled at the Northumberland estate they once called home.

The Spirit of Wallington features 50 different pieces of work, including textiles, which capture the lives of the last Trevelyans to live at the ancestral seat.

The pieces are the result of a year-long collaboration between the Twyne Textile Group and the National Trust, which owns Wallington.

13 textile artists have been involved in the project, drawing on a long tradition of fine needlework amongst the women of Wallington.

La Belle Epoque Ends dress by Cowans with lockerhook hearth rug inspired by a WW1 handkerchief by Wendy Dunstone
La Belle Epoque Ends dress by Cowans with lockerhook hearth rug inspired by a WW1 handkerchief by Wendy Dunstone

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36 accountants' relay run from the Tees to the Tweed

Rowlands Runners in front of the Angel of the North
Rowlands Runners get ready for the relay

36 staff from Rowlands Accountants are covering the length and breadth of the North East region as they undertake a gruelling relay challenge across the weekend to raise money for three local charities.

The “Round Rowlands Run” will see a relay team, lead by John Grimshaw from Benton, Newcastle, tackle over 220 kilometres in the course of the three days during which they will run to the firm’s six North East offices.

The distance is equivalent to running six marathons.

The staff are raising money for three charities:

Pardew and Colback take the Ice Bucket Challenge

Sunderland AFC owner Ellis Short upped the stakes in the North East rivalry by nominating three prominent personnel at Newcastle United to take part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Short posted a video of his own challenge on Sunderland's youtube channel as centre-back pairing West Brown and John O'Shea doused him in water beside the Stadium of Light pitch.

He nominated Newcastle owner, Mike Ashley, Manager Alan Pardew and player Jack Colback.

To see Ellis Short's Ice Bucket Challenge: Click Here

And now, Alan Pardew and Jack Colback has stepped up to the challenge, posting their own video on Newcastle United's youtube channel (see below).

To see more Newcastle celebrities who have undertaken the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Click Here

Travellers set up camp outside Northumberland council

Travellers camp outside Northumberland council

A group of travellers have set up camp on land outside Northumberland County Council's headquarters in Morpeth.

Staff at County Hall arrived at work on Thursday, 28th August to find three caravans parked metres from their offices.

The council said they are working with police to resolve the issue. The Gypsy Council, which represents travellers, say that local authorities do not do enough to provide sites for travellers.

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