Housing and environmental issues will be tackled in a County Durham town as part of a three-month community action initiative.

Durham County Council’s Community Action Team (CAT) will be providing help to residents in Shildon over the next 11 weeks.

From Monday 18 January to Thursday 1 April, the team will be holding a series of online engagement sessions, resident surveys, walkabouts and action to resolve problems such as poor housing conditions and litter.

In the first two weeks, residents’ concerns will be outlined through an online survey and virtual engagement sessions on TeamsLive.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, these virtual engagement sessions will replace usual face-to-face drop-in events and will give residents the opportunity to discuss areas where they feel community action is most needed.

The sessions will take place on Tuesday 26 January, from 10 am to 11am, and Wednesday 27 January, from 5pm to 6pm, and can be accessed through the council’s website at www.durham.gov.uk/cat

Results from resident engagement will help form a strategy of action that will be carried out by the CAT team and the council’s partners over the course of seven weeks.

In these seven weeks the team will be working with property owners and the community to make improvements to the area.

There will be weekly walkabouts and project work such as tidying communal areas and yards and resolving litter and fly-tipping issues.

Work will be focused on specific areas with a high proportion of private lets with environmental issues.

The walkabouts will be carried out with one other person to ensure social distancing can be maintained as well as the safety of staff and residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

The team will also hold two mid-action virtual resident surgeries during the project that residents are welcome to attend.

These will be held via TeamsLive on Tuesday 23 February, from 10am to 11am, and Wednesday 24 February from 5pm to 6pm.

Work will be reviewed in the final two weeks of the project and feedback will be given to all relevant parties.

Cllr Brian Stephens, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “This project brings together residents, our CAT team, and a range of organisations to identify local priorities to tackle problems in the specific area, from litter and environment to housing and noise problems.

“The programme is resident-focused and the engagement at the start of the programme is used to shape what action is carried out. This is to ensure residents can live healthier, happier lifestyles as well as experience long-term benefits from the scheme’s work.”

For the link to access the Teams resident engagement meetings and surgeries, or to find out more about the scheme, visit www.durham.gov.uk/cat