A government ban on the most polluting fuel for household heating is bringing a much needed funding boost for a Northumberland charity.

Blyth Star Enterprises has received a surge of enquiries from people looking to buy sustainably-sourced dry logs from its Woodfuel Centre and, through their purchases, raise money for the charity.

As part of the UK’s carbon reduction policy aimed at reaching net zero by 2050, the use of coal and wet wood in homes will no longer be allowed from February 2021. Households will have to switch to dry wood or alternative, environmentally-friendly sources.

The Woodfuel Centre in Bedlington has, as a result of the announcement, been contacted by many homeowners wanting to place orders or needing advice, concerned that they may have to get rid of their wood burning stoves because of the ban. This is not the case and staff are now hoping that more people will source their dry wood from the outreach facility given they are the only charity in Northumberland to offer ‘Ready to Burn’ certified logs.

All monies raised by the Centre will go back into Blyth Star and enable the charity to offer continued support and training for over 350 service users with mental health issues and learning disabilities, helping them to acquire life skills, vocational qualifications and work towards independent living.

Neil Hedley, Manager of Blyth Star’s Woodfuel Centre, explained, “The Government announcement has obviously made people a little concerned especially if they have wood burning stoves in their homes. However, the dry logs that we produce are certified by the ‘Ready to Burn’ and ‘Woodsure’ accreditation schemes, so customers are assured of much higher energy efficiency, cost savings due to a longer burn rate and reduced carbon emissions as they contain less than 20% moisture.

“Our timber is sourced from the Borders region and meets the strict sustainability criteria required throughout the supply chain. We deliver and supply over 400 tonnes of dry logs each year to customers from Berwick upon Tweed down to North Tyneside, and as one of only three organisations in Northumberland currently offering ‘Ready to Burn’ dry wood fuel, we’re hoping that this could now help us to raise additional, much needed funds through increased customer orders. People can make a valued contribution to a local charity just by buying dry logs from the Woodfuel Centre.”

Blyth Star Enterprises is a not-for-profit charity dedicated to helping people who live with mental health conditions and learning disabilities. The Woodfuel Centre is one of two small enterprises operated by the charity to provide sheltered working environments for users to gain structured learning. Its woodwork department produces various wood craft products from garden sheds, furniture and log stores to planters and one-off bespoke items based on customer requirements.

Gordon Moore MBE, Chief Executive of Blyth Star Enterprises, added, “As with most charities, fundraising is essential to help support the services we provide, but this is a simple and straightforward way for people and companies to help us should they need wood produce. The Centre already supplies products to the likes of Blagdon Farm Shop and Pearsons of Duns so we’re hopeful that others will contact us, buy from us and support our cause.”