Information Now

15 January 2021


How accessible is InformationNOW?
Coronavirus update
Action Needed Immediately (ANI)
Pensioner homeowners not claiming benefits
Book clubs online

Research & Reports

Frailty pathway
Health Research by Voice


In Your Pocket
Planning ahead


Stroke prevention
Apps to help you improve your finances

New on InformationNOW this week!

• This week’s events & activities at a glance
• Who holds the torch?
• Updated articles & organisations
• Dementia Tip-share
• City Library
• Will Aid
• Action Foundation


How accessible is InformationNOW?

InformationNOW was tested on 14th January 2021 using the SiteImprove website. We achieved:

  • an accessibility rating of 94.4 out of 100
  • digital certainty index score of 85.4 out of 100
  • quality assurance score of 85.7 out of 100 (up on 2020)

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

We carry out monthly accessibility checks using SiteImprove software, if issues are identified we either fix them straight away, or if the issue requires resource or financial investment we put plans in place to resolve them

We also have the ReciteMe software to improve access for readers – this means that you can tailor the website to meet your needs.. with a screen reader, audio files, text resize and background changes.

Coronavirus update


The current case rate per 100,000 for Tyneside, Wearside, Northumberland and County Durham is  lower compared to a rate in excess of 600 per 100,000 for England as a whole. However, Council leaders say “The position we find ourselves in may be better than in other parts of the country, but we still have a long way to go and if we are to avoid some of the scenes we’ve seen in London and elsewhere with hospitals reaching capacity with Covid-19 patients, we must continue do everything we can to limit the spread of the virus. There is always a delay between the point of infection and people requiring hospital treatment if they become seriously ill, so we cannot afford to let our guard down for a moment if we are to save lives and protect our NHS services”.

RecyclingThe city’s three household waste and recycling centres at Brunswick, Byker and Walbottle are open on a winter timetable, with measures in place to manage access, and ensure safety and social distancing.

This includes an “odds and evens number plate” system to determine which days you can visit, and a requirement to show identification and proof of address, with only Newcastle residents allowed in.

The Together Project
Why not take part in this project.  Children and young people and families can connect with older people in care homes through this project. Get your hands messy and send a message so they don’t feel so forgotten.  Signup as a parent/guardian or as a care home.

Action Needed Immediately

Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) is a codeword scheme developed by the Home Office to provide a discreet way for victims of domestic abuse to signal that they need emergency help from the safety of their local pharmacy.

In the Northumbria force area, domestic abuse victims will be able to use the codeword ANI in Boots pharmacies to let staff know that they require an emergency police response, or help contacting a helpline or specialist support service. Other independent pharmacies are not yet participating in the project but we will let you know if this changes.

Six in ten pensioner homeowners are failing to claim their full entitlement of state benefits

Just Group has produced a report on homeowners who are pensioners

  • 42% of eligible pensioner homeowners are failing to claim any benefits at all
  • an average of £830 a year is being lost by homeowners failing to claim
  • 20% are under-claiming and missing out on £702 extra income each year

Lack of awareness, stigma and the complexity of navigating the benefits system cited as reasons for people failing to claim.

The most common benefits that are not claimed are:

There are 5.39 million retired household homeowners in England according to the ONS, making up 22.9 per cent of all 23.53 million household homeowners in England.

In the North East there was a pensioner in Durham who was failing to claim any benefit despite being eligible for Council Tax Reduction and Guaranteed Pension Credit amounting to £4,854 a year.

Help is available from Citizens Advice NewcastleMoney Advice Service and directly from Newcastle City Council. Forms are available online and you can email.

Book clubs online

Library book clubs are continuing or re-starting online. Get in touch with the library team and they will help you find a group or get back in touch.  There is no click and collect service so you will be reading books you may have, or using one of two apps.

City Library currently use two platforms for electronic content: RBDigital has mostly audiobooks plus magazines, comics and some classics as e-books; BorrowBox has mostly e-books plus some audiobooks. So if your group prefers reading e-books BorrowBox would probably be the best.  Here is a guide on their website which explains how to use it.

There is a section on the BorrowBox e-book homepage called Always available. For these titles they have a special deal which means they get hundreds of copies for 3 months. These might be best for your reading group, as you are guaranteed everyone will be able to get a copy on time (as long as you read it in that 3-months window).

Book clubs that are continuing include City/Central Library; Restarting include: Fenham Library

More on libraries, reading and audio books


Frailty pathway, 10th February, 1 – 4pm

Working in partnership with Northumbria University and NGCCG, funding has been secured from National Institute for Health Research to develop a standardised method of evaluating frailty pathways of care. At present, older people accessing GP services are assessed for frailty. The care of those who are assessed as frail is determined by their local frailty pathway of care which is called a model of care. There are a number of pathways of care for frailty across the country. Contact Hannah for more information.

Get involved in health research

Help Voice with health research

  •  Help clinical science students prepare their dissertation proposals, part of which is a lay summary. These clinical scientists work in hospitals in many areas including cardiology, vascular medicine, gastrointestinal medicine, urology, radiology (e.g., x-ray, CT, MRI, ultrasound and nuclear medicine), radiotherapy and radiation safety.  You can help them get the information readable from a patient /public perspective.  This will help them communicate well with the wider public in the future too.
  • Develop a voice app to reach more people and get them involved with their research.  Just follow the link and make your comments online. Email contact Elizabeth Howell.  Monday 22nd February, 9am-12:30 using Zoom


In Your Pocket

In Your Pocket is a voice operated smartphone and media player, specifically designed for visually impaired people. In collaboration with RNIB and & O2 this app uses only a few voice commands to  make calls, listen to books or get the newspaper read to you.

Planning ahead

Our local Age UK is offering a Will and Power of Attorney Service.  It’s a good idea to get your affairs in order.  Why not get in touch?.

More information on Power of Attorney and Wills.



In September we introduced you to Multiverse Lab, a project designed to involve the public in prioritising health research for our region.  With the pandemic, those who can access it online are beginning to get involved.  Now, several months on, it seems that to date, the biggest concern that people are idenfifying is dementia.  So, whilst there isn’t a cure for dementia, we thought we’d highlight some of the things that you can do to prevent dementia (and many other medical conditions such as stroke)..

1. Exercise of any description – our nervous system likes physical activity and particularly aerobic activity that gets you a little bit breathless.  Studies, including by the Alzheimer’s Society,  have clearly linked exercise to keeping our brain healthy.

2.  Sleep – enhances memory and prevents dementia.  Many of us find sleep is difficult at the moment because we are anxious.  Things that improve your chances of getting off to sleep include: 30 minutes outdoors getting natural daylight; avoiding caffeine, alcohol and meals at night; good sleep routine. This means going to bed and getting up at the same time so that your circadian rhythm is activated on an internal clock.  Need help? Try Sleepstation online.

3. Daylight – stimulates the pineal gland through the optic nerve at the back of the eye.  This in turn promotes melatonin which is a natural sleep hormone.  If you wear glasses and can go out safely, then it is worth removing your glasses for a while as they can block the natural light getting through.

Stroke prevention

Stroke prevention day is 14 January and this year you are being asked to make one small change to prevent your risk of stroke.  There are lots of simple things you can do to reduce your risk of stroke. This may be swapping an alcoholic drink for a soft one, getting up and moving regularly during the day, changing your diet to include less salt or eating more fruit and vegetables, stopping smoking, or even joining an online exercise or activity group.

Stroke is common in the UK, there around 1.2 million people who have had one and around 100,000 people have a stroke each year.   One of the key risk factors for a stroke is high blood pressure or hypertension and it is worth thinking about your lifestyle and diet to keep this at bay for as long as possible.

Sometimes it helps to make a commitment to make a change and the Stroke Association has an online form for you to make a pledge to make a change during January.

Apps to help you improve your finances

Only 11% of us are using apps to help with our finances, but 35% are using apps to plan our holidays and far more to check our exercise and calories.  So why not consider using an app to help you with your finances?  Open banking allows third party financial services to access your financial data.  Therefore, only allow apps that are regulated by the FCA.  All these apps are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

If you have several workplace pensions, then  Pensionbee may be the one for you.  You enter your pension or employer details and it will find all those plans so that you can see your total and plan effectively.  There is a management fee.

Snoop enables you to connect your bank accounts and credit cards and  shows you all your info in one place. Snoop uses secure tech to connect your accounts and never sees your bank login details.  Sometimes called open banking, their app works with Barclays, Lloyds through to Monzo and MBNA.  But more than this, it identifies where and how you buy things and snoops to make you savings.

Plum might be your route to investing. It combines open banking, saving on your regular spends with investing ethically or tech stocks. It can also form part of an ISA. Basic Plum is free but you will pay a management fee to invest.

Emma helps you avoid overdrafts, get rid of forgotten and under used subscriptions and poor utilities.   On average, we spend £39 per month on standing orders, recurring card payments and direct debits we don’t use. The app can also keep an eye on your pension or help with investments.

Chip works out what you can afford to save from your main bank account and auto saves every four days..

Moneybox helps you save and invest by rounding up to the nearest pound when you spend, then saves or invests the spare change in an ISA.

Untied helps you work out what your tax bill will be based on your bank account and income sources..  The app is recognised by the HMRC.

What’s new on InformationNOW this week

New and updated organisations
Dementia tip-share
City Library
Will Aid
Action Foundation

This week’s events & activities at a glance
Eight live streams from the Globe – folk, punk, blues guitar and more
Active Newcastle Pop Up Choir dates
1:1 local bike rides with WING
Create your own paper heart and roses

Who holds the torch?

Skimstone arts will broadcast three 30 minute radio shows for Holocaust Memorial Day on 25, 26 and 27 January at 12.30 pm. There will be original songs, stories, audio tracks and spoken word pieces.  The link will be on their website closer to the event.

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27 January each year and is a time to remember the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. More information about Holocaust Memorial Day

Last updated: February 18, 2021

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