The Northern Heartlands team work from an office in Barnard Castle but travel throughout our area and beyond (see the map below). We are dedicated, and focused on listening and talking to communities in the area to ensure that they are at the heart of all we do.


Emily Diamand


Head of Learning and Influence


Tariq Imam


Community Facilitator

Anna Collins


Community Facilitator


Ewan Allinson




Northern Heartlands is one of sixteen Great Place Schemes in England funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England. We are using a ‘cultural landscape’ approach, recognising that landscape and places are shaped by what has happened in the past, what is happening now and what may happen in the future. Our landscapes tell an ever-changing story.

Our Great Place is in County Durham and includes the catchment of two rivers – the Tees and the Wear – extending from their sources in the North Pennines to the lowland arc through which they flow. The area includes the market towns of Barnard Castle, Bishop Auckland, Shildon, Crook, Tow Law and Willington and the communities of part of the former Durham coalfield, together with the isolated hill farms and villages of the rural upper Dales.

Management and Governance:

Our accountable body is Visit County Durham
We have an Advisory Board made up of key partners all of whom supported the original application to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England.

Advisory Board Members:

Chair: Graham Young
Sue Berresford (local resident), Jacqui Cameron (Opera North), Gary Charlton (Natural England), Jim Cokill (Durham Wildlife Trust), Debbie Connell (Durham County Council), Annie Dolphin (Active Durham), Liz Fisher (The Auckland Project), Revd Alec Harding (Area Dean, St Mary’s, Barnard Castle), Tony Harrington (The Forge), George Harris (The Bowes Museum), Trish Pemberton (Wear Rivers Trust), Maggie Roe (Newcastle University), Helen Ross (Durham County Council), Jane Shaw (Create North and People into Enterprise Ltd), Margaret Vaughan (County Durham Community Foundation), Chris Woodley-Stewart (North Pennines AONB), Graham Young (Chair of the Advisory Board)