Information Now

15 April 2021


Pension news
Who should get the child benefit


Parkinson’s disease
Gardening and health


Youth Voice survey
North East Carers Survey


Dental and Emergency Clinic
Land of Oak and Iron
Child Benefit
National Insurance
Accessible and Public Toilets
Blue Badge
Benefit Cap
Parks and Gardens


Equal arts poetry
Magdalena Women’s Group



We want to keep you up to date on changes related to easing the lockdown restrictions. Here’s a list of organisations that have re-opened and we will continue to update the website.

The Quayside Market will be open between 9am and 4pm each Sunday. Motorists are advised that road closures will be in place in the area between 8am and 5pm.


Libraries in Newcastle have a phased reopening for book browsing up to 30 minutes, book returns, public PCs, printing (exact change), select and collect and online resources. You will need to wear a face covering, sanitise and contribute to NHS Test and Trace. Details below
•    City Library and Community Hub
•    Gosforth Library and Community Hub
•    West End Library and Community Hub
•    East End Library and Community Hub
•    Outer West Library and Community Hub, 16 April
•    Kenton Library and Community Hub, 16 April
The week beginning Monday 19 April the following sites will open:
•    Newburn Library and Community Hub,  19 April
•    High Heaton Library and Community Hub, 20 April
•    Fenham Library and Community Hub, 20 April
•    Denton Burn Library and Community Hub, 22 April
•    Cruddas Park Library and Community Hub, 23 April
Libraries will be closed on Bank Holiday Monday, 3 May and some will be used for local elections on 6 May.

Businesses across Newcastle have applied and been accredited through the Council’s Covid Compliant Assurance Scheme. Find out which organisations have taken steps to reassure you that they are doing the right thing and are ready to welcome you back safely.

You can sign HRH Duke of Edinburgh’s Book of Condolence online

Pension news

In the latest budget in March, it was revealed that there could be as many as 200,000 women who have not received the correct pension because they haven’t received the increases they were eligible for as a married woman.  While a review is taking place to trace the women who have been underpaid for years, advocates recommend anyone who thinks they have a claim should get in touch with the Department of Work and Pensions themselves.

Over 1.3 million adults of pension age live in poverty – that is more than one in 10 of our older population struggling with debt, according to the poverty charity Turn2us.  This uplift, in some cases significant, could make all the difference.

Can I rely on the state pension?

The state pension is a vital component of retirement planning for many of us, but it may not be enough for a comfortable retirement on its own. A study last year found that even with the recent 2.5% increase, the typical income remains £1,000 a year below the minimum income standard, while large numbers of us overestimate just much we will receive through the state pension.

Anti-poverty charity, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, gives the minimum income standard for a single pensioner as £10,712 a year.

Updated State Pension information.

Who should get the child benefit?

The current rules stipulate that anyone who receives child benefit for a child under 12 is treated as if they had also paid National Insurance contributions for that week. Importantly this credit only goes to the person who claims that benefit though.

This is crucial because there are some families where one partner is not in paid work or on a very low wage and who would get a boost from that National Insurance credit. However, if the child benefit is being received by the higher earning partner, then this credit is effectively going to waste.

What will it cost me?

In order to receive the full state pension, you will need to build up 35 years of National Insurance contributions. Missing a year of contributions means you will lose one 1/35 of the state pension, which works out at £5 per week. That might not sound a huge amount, but it can quickly add up. That’s £260 per year, or £5,200 over a 20-year retirement.


Parkinson’s disease

Last Sunday was World Parkinson’s day.  Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition. This means that it causes problems in the brain and gets worse over time. People with Parkinson’s don’t have enough of the chemical dopamine because some of the nerve cells that make it have died. Symptoms include: freezing, slowness of movement, tremors and more. Around 145,000 people live with Parkinson’s in the UK. and it seems to be the fastest growing neurological condition in the world.

Walk for Parkinson’s 2021

The Walk for Parkinson’s series launches on 20 April 2021.  Last year many people with Parkinson’s found that their symptoms got worse.  Can you help by walking a shorter or longer distance , whether a  challenging walk or a gentle stroll, funding support, research and information for those people. Every pound you raise will be matched by the Frank and Evelyn Brake Connect Fund, doubling the impact.  Register your interest.

Find out more about Parkinson’s disease and charities that can help you.

Gardening and health

April is national garden month. Giving life to plants may not be your thing yet, but it’s never too late to discover the joys of planting a seed and watching it grow. Even better, you could plant some herbs or vegetables and experience the added joy of tasting the fruits of your work.  April can be a great time to plant tomatoes, beets, corn, basil, and more.  If you can’t plant anything, then go and visit a garden and enjoy the scent of spring.

Recent studies have shown that spending just two hours a week outdoors in the garden or patio with your tubs and planters, is linked to better mental and physical wellbeing. Sometimes referred to as ‘green therapy’, spending time outdoors in the fresh air, caring for your garden and learning new skills are all positive steps you can take to keep occupied. Not only that, you’ll find all of the digging, raking and weeding is an excellent way to get some important exercise.

Getting out into the garden is an excellent way to keep children entertained.  Whether it is in a garden, a patio, balcony or windowsill, watching something grow from seedling to full bloom is satisfying and can cultivate a real sense of pride and purpose. Why not get the whole family involved in gardening by starting a sun flower growing competition or seeing how many birds, insects and other types of wildlife you can spot?  Read gardening and health.

Don’t have your own green space or area to plant?

  • East End Women are now running their allotment and you can just drop in on Wednesdays from 12 to 2 pm.
  • Growing Green Communities in the West End is supported by the Newcastle Fund and aims to expand the impact of Greening Wingrove’s successful vertical vegetable growing scheme. It will focus mainly on parts of the Arthur’s Hill terraces, but may be able to range more widely.  Follow them and get involved.


Youth Voice – What’s it like looking for work for young people aged 16-24 living in Newcastle?

The Skills Hub and youth employability partners in the city want to understand more about young people’s experiences of looking for work. They have put together a short survey to find out more. If you are a young person or if you work directly with young people and could ask them these questions to feed into this piece of work, please do so  or email Skills Hub for more information.

North East Carers Survey

The regional Association of Directors of Adult Social Services Carers survey is now live.

If you are an adult and provide any amount of unpaid care to someone, they would really appreciate it if you could spend some time to answer the questions below. It should take about 20 minutes to complete and they’d like to hear back from you. You don’t have to answer all the questions, but it would be helpful if you do. The survey aims to capture the experiences of unpaid carers over the past year and identify their future support needs.  The survey closes on 14 May.

Carers living in Newcastle who are unable to access the online survey, may request a paper version by contacting Fiona Richardson, Carers Lead Officer on 07970 626326.

New and updated organisations


Updated articles

Events & Activities

Equal Arts poetry from April 14, the group will meet online every Wednesday 10am until 11.30am
Led by poet Daisy Barrett Nash on behalf of Equal Arts, the group (for those aged 65+) will explore poetic skills, use poetry to share memories and experiences and boost wellbeing. Email Kerry.
First Magdalena Group for the North East  22nd April at 5.30pm 
Magdalena is an international network of grassroots womxn-led groups who use creative approaches, including Forum Theatre, to identify ways to create solidarity and action. Find out more and book.

Last updated: April 16, 2021

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