Information Now

14 December InfoNOW News


InformationNOW office opening hours
How to help others this Christmas
Dementia UK video report
Adopt North East
Newcastle tops list of best cities to work in
Try the equipment Chat BOT

Research & Reports

Universal Credit Report
Universal credit and benefits payment schedule for Christmas
Are we preparing for retirement?

Opportunities for Action

Twiddlemuffs knitting donations
Reading Friends


Launch of Streetwise #PROJECT M
The Life Curve app

New on InformationNOW this week!

This week’s events & activities at a glance

NIWE eating distress service courses

Updated articles & organisations

St Matthews Church, Dinnington
Jesmond Parish Church
Skills for People – Help and Connect


InformationNOW office hours over the festive period

You can log in at any time to access your personal account on InformationNOW or to update your organisation’s information.

Kate, Carol and Lauren will be out of the office from Monday 24 December and will return on Monday 7th January 2019.

How to help others this Christmas

  • Buy a book for a child in need this Christmas at Seven Stories.  To take part simply choose and buy a book in the bookshop. The bookshop team will put aside your book ready to be gifted this December.  Deadline 23 December 2018.
  • Donate to a charity through Amazon Smile.  Login into your regular Amazon account.  Select your charity and shop as usual.
  • Drop off an item for the Crisis Skylight collection before 19 December.  Items include: Food, toiletries, presents and there are nine collection locations.  Foodworks in Heaton is the nearest collection point in Newcastle.
  • Pass on the telephone number for The Silver Line to someone who may be lonely or isolated this Christmas. The Silver Line make calls every day of the year including Christmas day: 0800 4 70 80 90.
  •  Pass on our Info NOW News Keep Well this Winter article.  You can print the article from the website.

Dementia UK publishes video impact report

Dementia UK has released an animated video to report on its work int the last year. The video report is available online on the charity’s website and You Tube and reveals that Dementia UK has helped more than 50,000 families in the last year.

By the end of March its Admiral network of dementia specialist nurses totalled 224 and the charity’s Admiral Nurse dementia helpline supported 14,155 families over the last year, which is 26% more than in 2016/17.The report also reveals that carers are using the helpline to find out more about dementia.

For information and support organisations in Newcastle, read our article on dementia.

Council adoption services join Adopt North East

Newcastle City Council’s Adoption Service is now part of Adopt North East, a new regional adoption agency. Adopt North East is a collaboration between Newcastle, Gateshead, Northumberland and North and South Tyneside councils and will take over all adoption services.  These include: recruiting adoptive families, post adoption support and working with adopted children. The service will be hosted by North Tyneside Council, with the new offices based at Balliol Pembroke Wing, Longbenton. You can find out more information by visiting the website. Telephone: 0191 643 5000  or email them.

Quick guide to support available after a diagnosis of dementia

NICE and SCIE have developed a new quick guide with the aim of informing people and their family and carers about the support that is available after a diagnosis of dementia.

Try the Council’s Equipment Chat BOT

The ChatBOT can ‘talk’ to people on the care and support  web page and answer questions about equipment that can help you to live independently. If you are finding things difficult, such as getting around your home, reaching switches, holding a knife and fork, getting out of the bath, you may find the ChatBOT helpful. It can signpost you to information and local services where you can access support such as needs assessments and purchase equipment directly online.

The ChatBOT can be used 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In its first few weeks we have noticed that it is being used at night or early in the morning and at weekends, when our phone lines are closed for these types of queries. It can be used on any internet enabled device.

Currently the BOT can signpost you to helpful information, such as, meals on wheels and gardening; mental health; dementia and other services. We will continue to teach the BOT how to respond to more questions as more people use it.

Please feel free to give it a try and if you would like to pass on any comments, email InformationNOW.

Information NOW has a handy article on Home adaptations, equipment and aids.

Research and Reports

Universal Credit Report – “It’s hitting people that can least afford it the hardest”

The impact of the roll out of Universal Credit in two North East England localities: A qualitative study. This report details findings from a study commissioned by Gateshead Council into the local impact of Universal Credit.  Universal Credit (UC) was introduced by the coalition government in April 2013 to ‘simplify
the benefits system’, ‘make work pay’ and ‘encourage benefit claimants in to work’. It
combines six benefits into one monthly payment, paid in arrears to a nominated household member.

The study concludes that Universal Credit is not working for vulnerable claimants and significantly adds to the workload of staff supporting claimants. Download the  full report here.

AnchorPlease note payments for Universal Credit and other benefits over Christmas

If a Universal Credit payment is due on Monday 24 December, Tuesday 25 December or Wednesday 26 December, it will be paid on Monday 24 December. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will do this automatically. Residents should check the account money is paid into as early as possible on Monday 24 December and phone the DWP as soon as they can on that day, if they have not received their payment. If another benefit or pension payment is due on Friday 21 December, Monday 24 December, Tuesday 25 December or Wednesday 26 December, it will automatically be paid on Friday 21 December.

If there are payment issues and a resident has a Universal Credit online account, they should use their journal to contact the DWP or phone 0800 328 5644. If they do not have a Universal Credit online account, they should phone 0800 328 9344. For all other benefits, they should phone 0800 169 0310.

You can find the Jobcentre Plus opening times and days for the full festive period on their website.

Are we preparing for retirement?

With state pension age changes taking effect on 6 December, the Centre for Ageing Better report says a significant number of people are worried about leaving work and highlights a lack of planning and preparation for retirement across society.  They urge employers to talk to staff about their retirement plans, including the emotional, social and psychological impact as well as financial planning.

Information NOW has a section on planning ahead.

Opportunities for Action

Twiddlemuffs Knitting Donations

A ‘Knit and Natter’ knitting group is being set up in the City Library to knit Twiddlemuffs to help people with dementia. They are asking for donations of unwanted wool, buttons, ribbons and beads. Twiddlemuffs can have a calming effect on a person with dementia as they are able to fiddle with the decorated items to help focus their minds. Donations can be handed to any Newcastle Library and you can get involved as well.

Reading Friends 

Newcastle Libraries are developing 1-2-1 sessions with older people, people with memory problems or dementia.  ‘Reading Friends’  is designed to help tackle loneliness and social isolation and the team are keen to expand the service across community centres, care homes, sheltered accommodation or in a person’s own home.  They will provide trained volunteers and resources to aid the sessions.  Resources include: novels, memory boxes, local history photographs, short stories and poetry. The activities depend on the group and the interests highlighted by each individual. If you are interested in getting involved either as a volunteer or a participant, or you have a family member who may benefit from this service, please email Dan or call 0191 211 5309.

They currently have open groups at City Library, focused on poetry and Gosforth Library, focused on short stories/shared reading.  They plan to start a group at Fenham Library in early 2019.


Launch of Streetwise #PROJECT M – tackling period poverty in Newcastle

Streetwise launched their #PROJECT M campaign to attempt to tackle period poverty in Newcastle.  Part of this is the introduction of the M-Card.  Young women aged 13-25 can access free sanitary products with their M-Card.

The Life Curve App

This app enables you to find out how you are ageing and suggests ideas and activities which can help you to age well.  Try it and let the Elders Council know how you get on.  The app is available to download  or find it on your mobile or tablet device from App Store or Google Play or

New on Information NOW – Events and Activities

NIWE courses

NIWE Eating Distress Service are offering a range of support services for those caring for someone with an eating disorder.  They are offering two free courses:

  • An 8-week Mindfulness course, starting on 4 February 2019
  • A monthly support group on the first Monday of each month, starting on 7 January 2019

Contact NIWE on: 0191 221 0233 or email them.

Christmas activities

There are lots of activities for the festive season in Newcastle and the North East.  Have a look at our Christmas category on InformationNOW and choose a carol concert, a public lecture or pantomime. Don’t forget about the New Year’s eve fireworks at the Civic Centre.

If you want to go further afield, you could visit Alnwick Garden or the Christmas market this Saturday at Bowes Museum.

Last updated: January 17, 2019

Send us a comment about this page

Recent Newsletters

12 March 2020

16 March 2020

What to do in an emergency, social prescribing and health equity in Newcastle.

Read more