in the community, with the community, for the community

What has caught your eye when you read through this week’s Newton News? This is what appealed especially to us:

NORMAN CORNISH Norman Cornish MBE was a much-loved local artist, perhaps one of the most famous British artists of his time. 2019 marks the centenary of his birth and the article ‘Community Commemorates Cornish Centenary’ describes Norman Cornish – A Slice of Life, one of a number of exhibitions and events that have been organised throughout the Centenary year (you can see the full list online at We recommend a visit: Cornish’s paintings do not just evoke fond memories of the past – they brim with an uplifting joy for life.

AUTISM AWARENESS Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition which affects communication, cognitive processing, the senses, and social understanding. Once understood only as an ‘impairment’, we are becoming aware that it is actually often accompanied by a wide range of special skills. World Autism Awareness Week runs from Monday 1 to Sunday 7 April, so it is good to read that Durham County Council has developed a ‘Think Autism in County Durham’ action plan, and will be, on 3-5 April, organising an exhibition in County Hall to offer advice and guidance to individuals, parents and professionals. And we congratulate the North East Autism Society’s Acorn House, which has achieved an Outstanding Ofsted report; we salute those teachers and care workers who have the commitment and expertise to unlock the potential of children on the spectrum.

A BRIGHT FUTURE IN A NEW HOME We were inspired to read the story of Rola El Mgharbel, who came to Newton Aycliffe in 2017 as a war refugee, and 18 months later has qualified as a dental nurse. Given the background and barriers she has had to overcome, practice owner Chris Bennett’s description of her as ‘remarkable’ seems an understatement.

But it was her description of her arrival in Newton Aycliffe which spoke to us most: “We were a little afraid when we first arrived. But from the very first day people were welcoming and friendly. We felt it was home here and we were safe.”