Information Now

12 March 2019


Healthwatch Newcastle survey
Council steps up fight against scammers
Warning – fake vodka
BBC Inside Out – rogue landlords
State of caring survey
Free gas central heating application
NHS prescriptions
Pension auto enrolment

Research & Reports

Preventing loneliness with volunteering
Opportunities for Action
Suicide prevention e-learning
National survey of people with a learning disability
How accessible is train travel for disabled people
Adult social care users survey 2019
Donations of sanitary products and nappies


Let’s Talk Newcastle
Help to Save accounts
Your Equipment Newcastle

New on InformationNOW this week!

Segedunum Roman fort and museum
Sofa to saddle – 10 weeks to 10 k
Save the date – The Late Shows

New and updated organisations

Newcastle East End food bank
The Venerable Bede church
Connect 25 food bank
Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service
Shiatsu Society



In response to discussions with the community and voluntary sector we have published three new articles of information:

Please let us know if there is anything to add or change.

Healthwatch Newcastle  – have your say

Healthwatch Newcastle wants the public to help them choose their health and social care priorities for 2019 to 2020:

1.    Children and young people’s mental health (Newcastle and Gateshead)
2.    Diabetes
3.    GPs
4.    Home care
5.    Mental health
6.    Special educational needs (SEND)

Take the survey or call Freephone 0808 178 9282 for a paper copy.

Council steps up fight against scammers

Newcastle City Council is stepping up its fight against scammers after it was revealed that dozens of residents have been conned out of thousands of pounds.  Thirty-four people in Newcastle lost more than £50,000 last year, according to a new report. One resident lost £100,000 in a suspected investment scam.  The Council has pledged to do more to tackle the problem by targeting scammers, warning the public about scams and working more closely with other bodies locally and nationally. Victims of scams suffer financial loss, physical risk, loss of their homes, depression and even attempted or actual suicide.  The Council works closely with the Elders Council, Northumbria Police and the banks to protect residents from scams and doorstep crimes. They are also looking at extending no cold calling zones, so people do not get that knock in the first place. About a third of victims get conned a second time.  Fraud and scams include:

  • bogus letters
  • online dating
  • identity phishing
  • bogus holiday clubs, lotteries and competitions
  • work from home opportunities
  • bogus investments
InformationNOW has an article on Fraud and scams which includes how to report fraud to Action Fraud.

Warning – fake brand of vodka

Newcastle’s Trading Standards has issued an alert to warn the public against fake vodka that could cause blindness.Radanoff, a fake brand of vodka, was recently seized by Hull City Council who warned that it could contain industrial alcohol which can cause blindness or death.

Businesses are being encouraged to take extra precautions to ensure that they do not purchase the illegal alcohol and are being advised to check the details of invoices carefully to ensure the HMRC alcohol wholesaler scheme is adhered to.

Nick Kemp, cabinet member for environment at Newcastle City Council said: “We have carried out inspection visits to multiple licensed premises following reports of Radanoff vodka being sold in the area. While we did not identify this vodka being sold, we want to make the public aware of the risks of purchasing and drinking this fake brand and encourage anyone who spots the brand on sale to report it.”

If you feel ill after drinking these products, seek urgent medical advice

BBC Inside Out – rogue landlords

If you didn’t catch it on Monday 25 February, watch the Council’s approach to tackling rogue landlords. Award-winning producer Andrew Hartley, spent several weeks with members of the Public Protection and Neighbourhood Team, filming inspections of private rented properties in the east and west end. The report highlights the problems and highlights how effective the team is in getting landlords to respond to complaints.

State of caring survey – Carers UK

Carers UK need your help to paint a picture of what it’s like to be a carer in 2019. Take the State of Caring survey – the UK’s most comprehensive research into the lives and experiences of carers.   Results will be published in the summer.
Your evidence will be used to highlight:

  • spending on care and support services
  • financial support for carers
  • improving carers’ health and wellbeing

Not sure if you are a carer?  Read the Looking after someone article and find out about carer assessments.

Free gas central heating system – applications must be received by 31/03/19.

Newcastle City Council was awarded funding from National Grid’s Warm Homes Fund and there is still time to take advantage of this opportunity.  The council can offer free gas central heating systems (subject to survey) to homeowners and private tenants whose property does not have, and never has had, a gas central heating system.The property must be located in Newcastle upon Tyne and suitable for a gas connection. Eligibility will depend on gross household income being less than £26,000/year.
For more information, or to find out if you qualify, please contact Kate Coulthard, Energy Services on 0191 278 3442 or email

NHS Prescriptions price increase from April 2019

This year, the prescription charge has increased by 20 pence from £8.80 to £9 for each medicine or appliance dispensed. To ensure that those with the greatest need, and who are not already exempt from the charge, are protected we have frozen the cost of the prescription prepayment certificates (PPC) for another year. The 3-month PPC remains at £29.10 and the cost of the annual PPC will stay at £104.
Information NOW has an article on Help with health costs.

Pension auto enrolment contributions will increase on 6 April 2019

Most UK workers aged 22 or over are due a hidden pay rise because of auto enrolment.

Auto-enrolment is a scheme that says companies must opt in their employees (aged 22 or over and earning at least £10,000 a year from one job) to pay towards a private pension – a savings plan to provide money for you in later life, on top of the state pension.

In other words, even if you do nothing some of your salary will be put towards saving for a pension rather than be part of your take-home pay. If  you’re saving into one of these auto-enrolled pensions (ie, unless you opt out), your employer must also contribute to this fund – on top of your salary.

Read Martin’s Money Saving Expert Blog and Information NOW on pensions and retirement.


Preventing loneliness with volunteering

New research by YouGov, on behalf of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), makes the case for volunteering as an early action approach to tackling loneliness. In a survey of over 10,000 volunteers across the UK, 68% said volunteering helped them feel less isolated, and an even higher rate of 18-24 year olds reported this (77%). Others reported that volunteering had improved their mental health or given them a purpose. NCVO trace these effects to connecting with other people.

The report also noted, however, that volunteering isn’t accessible for everyone: 40% of people from lower socio-economic backgrounds said they had never volunteered, compared to 25% of people from other socio-economic backgrounds. The NCVO identified time constraints as a major factor here, and has committed to tackling this and other barriers.
Read the InformationNOW article on volunteering.


Suicide prevention e-learning

Public Health Engiand and NHS Health Education England have developed an online learning programme to help people feel more confident to talk about suicide. This 60 to 90 minute online course has been developed for the wider public health workforce including: voluntary sector, blue light services, prison staff and listeners as well as health and social care staff. Read more here. 

National survey of people with a learning disability

Mencap is running a national survey of people with a learning disability – the first in 15 years. It’s a chance for people with a learning disability to tell the charity about their everyday lives and experiences of health, relationships, employment and inclusion. Have your say and take the survey.

How accessible is train travel for disabled people?

The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RiDC), are running a survey asking for your experiences – good or bad – of travelling by rail. The survey is open to all disabled people, wherever you live, whatever train company you use and whether or not you use trains to get around. That’s because they want to find out what prevents some people from travelling by train as well as what works for you. The survey can take up to 20 minutes to complete. But there are prizes: one £100 and two £50 high street shopping vouchers, in a random prize draw. The survey closes on 29 March 2019 at 5 pm. There are also print, large print and phone options available to take part.  Start the train travel survey here.

Adult social care users survey 2018/19

The annual Newcastle City Council Adult Social Care Survey began on Monday 11 February 2019. It asks adult social care users about their quality of life, and their experience of the care that they receive. Anyone who receives a questionnaire for it and needs support to complete it can contact the Social Care Direct Team by email, or phone 0191 278 8377.

The previous year’s survey found that 68% of service users are very or extremely satisfied overall with the services they receive, and 92% said that care and support services helped them to have a better quality of life. Full findings from the 2017/18 Social Care Survey can be found on the Council’s website.


Red Box Project

Young women in schools across the UK are forced to miss school due to their period and not being able to access sanitary products. Newcastle City Council is supporting the Red Box Project who collect and distribute sanitary products to those in need. There are red boxes at the three-lift end in the Civic Centre, in the City Library and in community hubs. Donations of sanitary products, including tampons and pads, can be left in the donation bins.


The West End Food Bank is currently short of all sizes of nappy and baby wipes. Donations of any size and brand, are greatly appreciated. You can leave donation for the West End Foodbank at many local supermarkets in the designated baskets at the end of the tills. This includes Waitrose in Eldon Square.

Let’s Talk Newcastle

Take the opportunity to consult on the following:

  • Traffic – Dinnington, Goldspink Lane and Newburn bridge
  • Drug and alcohol recovery – integrated pathway for young people and adults
  • Homelessness responseHelp to Save accounts

Help to Save account offers 50% bonus for people on low incomes.  Help to Save gives you a bonus payment from the government of up to 50% (half) on savings paid into account. This is more than ten times the average interest rate of a typical savings account.

Savers can pay in £1 to £50 each calendar month. Those paying £50 per month will save £2,400 over four years and receive a government bonus of £1,200.

Find out more about savings on InformationNOW.


Your Equipment Newcastle

Your Equipment Newcastle went live in January 2019.  It is designed to make daily living easier for those who may have problems carrying out day to day tasks. Already people are telling us that it is useful, quick and easy.  Equipment available ranges from hand rails and adjustable seats to easy grip cutlery and big buttoned telephones.
Read home adaptations, equipment and aids for more information.


Segedunum Roman Fort and Museum

From 1 April 2019 – 31 March 2020 residents with an NE28 postcode can enjoy unlimited FREE admission to Segedunum Roman Fort & Museum (usually £5.95). Terms and conditions apply, see Segedunum Roman Fort & Museum for details.

Sofa to Saddle – 10 weeks to 10k

Fancy getting off the sofa and jumping onto the saddle? Active Newcastle is running a ten week fully instructed cycling programme to help you get off the sofa and onto a bike. A qualified instructor will support and guide you every step of the way and you will receive free bike and helmet hire for the duration of the course. The course starts on 13 March and will run every Wednesday between 10.30-12.30pm at The Cycle Hub on The Quayside. You can book your place online or contact Liz Jackson for more information.

Save the date – 17 and 18 May, The Late Shows

For fans of The Late Shows, the annual event offers an opportunity to explore or experience something new, no matter how many years they’ve attended.  Each spring sees additional venues sign up to take part in the programme of late-evening openings across Newcastle and Gateshead.

The organisers would like volunteers to join the fun.

New and updated organisations

Newcastle East End food bank

The Venerable Bede church

Connect 25 food bank

Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service

Shiatsu SocietyUK

Last updated: June 6, 2019

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