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Community at our Heart

6th March 2019

We like to make sure that we do everything possible to improve the lives of anyone who has contact with Ellingham Hall.

And while that’s a very clear foundation within our core values for visitors, guests, wedding couples and corporate clients, it also extends to the wider community in which we are situated.

Being well known within the county of Northumberland, we believe it is important that as part of our corporate governance we are instrumental in protecting and improving the beautiful, historic rural community we are proud to be part of.

There are several key issues in which we have taken a key role in helping our neighbourhood.

Water Improvement

When Ellingham Hall’s owners bought the Hall, the village’s sewerage system was an outdated septic tank that overflowed and flushed sewage down the stream within the Hall’s grounds. This not only affected villagers, but it also had an adverse effect on wildlife.

A meeting was arranged by our owner Aidan Ruff with local residents, water and river authorities, council representatives and environmental health departments to drive forward an urgent update of the system.

After two hours, a plan was made, and it took only 12 months to find the funding. As a result, the new system not only produces clean water that meets current standards, but wildlife has now returned to the stream and grounds.

Our Environment

As well as looking after the water for our village, the work we carried out has enabled us to offer fresh water direct from the local spring which was part of the old Ellingham Estate and now run by Northumbrian Water to be bottled for visitors to enjoy. Being a sustainable source, it also means we do not have to rely on buying in bottled water, which means a reduction in plastics and vehicles coming into the village as well as their emissions.

Guests are also treated to tasting our own homegrown herbs and fruit when they come to Ellingham Hall. We recently introduced a herb garden as part of plans to grow our own produce, which is currently being upgraded. As well as garlic, rosemary, mint and thyme, we also grow our own rhubarb and have many fruit trees, including apple, plum and pear. All of this produce is used by our Head Chef for his culinary creations and helps reduce our need to transport ingredients, which are also fresher so better tasting!

Ellingham Hall also provides its central heating and hot water through a biomass system. Although this was a considerable investment, we believe this is better for our local and the wider environment because it is a low-carbon option and reduces our emissions. We also use fuel from local suppliers saving on carbon output.

We also have a conservation project that includes continual investment in the grounds to preserve nature and wildlife. In particular, our tree planting programme will be further extended into our next phase of development at our sister venue Lemmington Hall.

We have a recycling point for cardboard, glass and plastics and we’ve banned plastic straw use.

Low energy lighting is also used throughout the entire site and has been since CFL and then LED bulbs became available.

High Speed Broadband

As a rural business, we enjoy many benefits, but one area that is an issue for any business or resident within the UK’s countryside is connectivity. Whilst we were able to access the Internet, it was painfully slow via six aged lines.

As the village’s cables run through our grounds, our owners Aidan and Helen negotiated with BT/Openreach to install a high-speed cabinet within the estate to allow Open Reach and Alncom to install two high speed broadband lines. We also provided the power and helped with the legal work to speed up the process, which has allowed villagers to enjoy fast broadband.

The second phase of this work was the installation of a roof antenna to allow local farms and anyone in nearby villages of up to 5 miles away to access high speed broadband.

As a ‘thank you’ for the ease in which the upgrade was carried out, Open Reach has offered to put in high speed lines to our new sister venue, Lemmington Hall.

See recent press article about the work via link below

Better Connectivity

Rural Northumberland is a beautiful, unspoiled county, but road connections are now very outdated and in need of modernisation. Having better connectivity will not only make it easier to travel, but opens the county to further inward investment, which will create more jobs.

Our owner, Aidan, has worked closely with local MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan and a campaign to dual the A1 north of Morpeth to Ellingham. Consultations are now taking place after the money for the project was allocated by the Department of Transport. There is a continuing campaign to dual the A1 right to the Scottish Border, and this will help broaden the appeal of venues such as Ellingham to a wider customer base, which will protect and create jobs as well as improve potential future investment.

The work we have carried out so far shows that our business focus is far wider than providing a venue for guests, but we are part of our community. As well as providing employment in a rural area, we are also keen to protect the interests of our community and the environment both now and in the future.