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Youngsters Have Durham’s Tourist Treasures In Their Sights

12th Jul 2023
Youngsters Have Durham’s Tourist Treasures In Their Sights
A charity, committed to bringing joy into the lives of children, teenagers and young adults with learning difficulties, has extra reason to be happy.


The Cheesy Waffles Project, based in Belmont Community Centre, has been handed a £1,000 gift by the freemen towards costs of their latest adventure – a programme of visits offering their 100 members a special insight into the history of the their home county.

Starting during this summer, and stretching into next spring, the project’s staff and volunteers will lead trips to no fewer than ten of the region’s leading tourist attractions.

As well as Durham Cathedral, Beamish Museum, Locomotion at Shildon and Killhope Lead Mining Museum the members - whose ages range from seven to 30 - will also drop in at Spennymoor’s Mining Museum, Durham University’s Oriental Museum, Bowes Museum and Durham’s Town Hall and Heritage Centre and Museum.

They will also venture outside the county’s boundaries to take in Hartlepool’s Heugh Battery Museum and the North East Land, Sea and Air Museum on the outskirts of Sunderland.

The club embraces eleven different sections which meet regularly on weekdays and selected Saturdays, providing tailor-made activities for differing age groups.

Project manager Erika Denholm said: “These trips serve to raise the self-esteem, self-independency and confidence these young people need to get involved in community work, charity fundraising, supporting local community projects and making gifts. And, most importantly, they have fun while doing it.

“We would not be able to offer these opportunities without the generosity of the freemen and other organisations. Every person, no matter their disability or background, deserves the same opportunity in life to promote learning, visit new places and learn new skills.”

The lion’s share of the £1,650 needed to fund the trips will be spent meeting the fuel and driver costs of a 17-seater mini bus.

The club was founded in 2004 and one of the high points in its recent history was a royal visit, in the spring of 2021, by the then Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Eric Bulmer, chairman of the freemen’s charitable trust, said: “We are delighted to be able to help this well-established charity to take its happy band of youngsters on visits to cultural sites which will give them a greater understanding of the heritage of their local and regional community.”