Information Now

16 November Info NOW news


New equipment ChatBOT
Versus Arthritis
What does the Budget mean for health and social care
Carers Rights Day
Ask your pharmacist

Research & Reports

Government launches loneliness strategy
Charity Commission news

Opportunities for Action

Volunteering makes a difference
Petwise Clinic
Crisis Skylight Christmas Collections
Independent Age guide to a stress free Christmas
Action hosting open evening


Being an effective chair
The Growth and Resilience Fund, Community Foundation
Cascading leadership

New on InformationNOW this week!

  • This week’s events & activities at a glance
  • Samaritans at the Metro Centre
  • Bobby Baker’s Great & Tiny War
  • New articles and  organisations
  • Peacocks Medical Group
  • Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Association (PSPA)
  • Stop Hate UK
  • Hate Crime


New equipment ChatBOT

Newcastle City Council’s Digital First Team have developed a new virtual advisor (or Chat BOT). Following consultation and testing with members of the public, front line voluntary staff and the Elders Council, the BOT (short for robot) has gone through many iterations and it is now live for you to use!

The ChatBOT can ‘talk’ to people on the adult social care web page to answer queries 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. It is often being used late 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 on requests for equipment, help to stay at home 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 enquiries as more people use it. The equipment ChatBOT will continue to develop to respond to your needs.

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

We hope that you will find it a useful tool.

AccessAble – detailed disability and access information to help you get out and about

DisabledGo has rebranded and relaunched as AccessAble. They have rebuilt their website and launched a mobile app.  You can now filter the information by 32 pieces of information/symbols to ensure that the venue or shop meets your needs.  This includes symbols that may be helpful for people with autism, visual impairments and learning disabilities. The symbols can also be used to filter by facilities like Changing Places, accessible toilets, Safe Places, hoists and accessible fitting rooms.

As part of the launch AccessAble have published an important survey that highlights the vital need for better accessibility information. The survey revealed that 99% of disabled people want to know about accessibility before visiting a new place and 98% search for accessibility information in advance.  You can read their report.

Information NOW works in partnership with AccessAble to signpost to their accessibility information on local venues in Newcastle. Read more on InformationNOW about disability and accessibility.

Versus Arthritis

Versus Arthritis is the name for the new organisation formed by the merger of Arthritis Research UK and Arthritis Care. Read about arthritis on InformationNOW.

What does the Budget mean for health and social care

You may remember that in October, a coalition of medical College Chiefs signed a joint letter urging the Government to invest more in adult social care and public health services.  Councillor Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Community Wellbeing Board, supported the letter’s message and warned that adult social care was ‘at breaking point and in desperate need of genuinely new funding to secure its future.’

The King’s Fund, alongside the Health Foundation and Nuffield Trust, have analysed the budget and state that all increases are contingent on delivery of an approved plan for the NHS, though the commitment includes monies for mental health services.Unfortunately, the public health budget is expected to fall, but further monies are indicated for social care. The government had already announced £240 million of additional funding for councils to spend on care and support, with the aim of freeing up NHS beds this winter. The Chancellor announced that a further £240 million in winter-pressures money will be available to councils in 2019/20.   Look out for the green paper which will set out options for a sustainable social care sector.Newcastle City Council recently published proposals for its next 3 year budget, facing up to £60 million of cuts and savings that will need to be removed from the budget in that time. You can have your say on the budget by following this link or try and see how you would balance budgets by trying out our People’s Budget Simulator.

Carers Rights Day, 30 November 2018

Carers Rights Day is an annual event run by Carers UK.   Every day 6,000 people become carers, but often it’s not something we’ve planned for. The theme this year is Caring for Your Future. .If you are looking for information and support in Newcastle, contact Newcastle Carers – they offer a comprehensive service for adults and young carers. Look out for their Carer Wellbeing Day on 28 November, 10.30 to 2.45. You need to book and it costs £3.

Information NOW has a series of articles to help carers.  These include: care and support, carers allowance and looking after someone

Doorbells – Dreaming for the future, Film Premiere, Monday 19 November 2018, 5.30pm
B&D Studios, 3rd Floor, Commercial Union House, Pilgrim Street,  NE1 6QE.

Doorbells dramatises the changes that we may live through: children moving away, loss of a partner, leaving work, managing the home on your own and feeling socially isolated. This is a thought-provoking opportunity to think about how and where you’d like to live, supported by Elders Council and Care & Repair England.  Refreshments will be provided.  To book a place, please contact or call 0191 208 2701.

Ask your Pharmacist

Ask Your Pharmacist (AYP) is running this November and the theme for this year is ‘Let’s talk about medicine safety’. If you have any queries about your medicines or have been prescribed a new drug and need to know more about it or possible side-affects, your local pharmacist can help and advise about safe use. New research shows that many people underestimate the risks of taking medicines inappropriately.  And with winter fast approaching, your pharmacist can help with all the usual ailments this season brings. Read the InformationNOW article on pharmacists.


Government launches loneliness strategy

The government has launched a strategy to tackle loneliness, describing it as one of the greatest public health challenges of our time. Up to a fifth of all UK adults report feel lonely most or all of the time. The strategy has three overarching goals: improving the evidence base and to better understand the causes of loneliness; embed loneliness as a consideration in all government policy; build a national conversation to raise awareness of the impact and tackle the stigma of loneliness  It promises to increase the number of social prescribing programmes. A £1.8 million funding pot will be used to transform under used places into new community cafes, arts spaces or gardens. Find out more.

InformationNOW has an events and activities section and a number of useful articles about loneliness, finding friends and finding a partner.

Charity Commission news

The Charity Commission has unveiled a new five-year strategy for the sector, demanding higher standards of behaviour. In her speech launching the strategy, Baroness Stowell said that charities must do more to set a good example and hold themselves to the highest standard of charitable behaviour.  Read more here

The Charity Commission has updated its guidance on the actions you should take if you have a complaint about a charity, including when to report your concern to the Commission. Read more here.


Volunteering makes a difference

This week, we celebrate the role of Trustees.  They play a vital role, volunteering their time and working together to make important decisions about the charity’s work.  Trustees’ Week , 12 – 17 November, is an annual event to showcase the great work that trustees do and highlight opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved and make a difference.

Rates of volunteering fall sharply in the over-75s, yet evidence shows that older volunteers may benefit a lot from it.  An NCVO Senior data and research analyst, has published a report summarising the findings of a volunteers project aimed at supporting over 75s living in Abbeyfield care homes to be active and create a sense of wellbeing.

InformationNOW has an article on the benefits of volunteering and two Abbeyfield homes listed.

Free Pet Wise Clinic

20 November, 10 am to 4 pm,  Blakelaw car park NE5 3TS

PDSA are running a free Pet Wise clinic as part of a campaign to keep our pets healthy and happy. Includes: nail clipping and ear cleaning.
InformationNOW has an article on pets and animals.

Crisis Skylight Christmas Collections 2018

Crisis Skylight Newcastle are once again seeking donations to help the homeless over Christmas.  Categories of donation include: food, toiletries, clothes and Christmas gifts, as well as things to help them run a smooth event – strong bin liners, tea towels and foil.  There are 9 designated drop off points up to Wednesday 19 December.

Stress Free Christmas

Independent Age has published a new guide, Your guide to a stress-free Christmas.
A new Christmas section has also been added on the website under Personal life, containing the Christmas budget calculator and the guide.

Action Hosting open evening

20 November, 5.30 to 6.30 pm, Castlegate, Melbourne Street, NE1 2JQ

Action Hosting is a project developed within Action Foundation, a local award-winning charity, which aims to overcome exclusion that migrants, refugees and asylum seekers may be experiencing in the Tyne and Wear area, by providing free English classes and supported accommodation. Action Hosting matches hosts with a destitute asylum seeker or guest, in a spare room. All hosts are fully trained  and the thorough matching process means that placements are a positive experience for both hosts and guests. Their hosting coordinator provides on-going support to hosts.  To date this scheme has organised over 2,500 nights of accommodation to asylum seekers in the Tyne and Wear Area. Despite this success there is a constant need for more volunteer hosts who have a spare bedroom and may be willing to host a destitute person seeking asylum for a period of around four weeks (or longer).

Find out more by attending the event, email or ring on 0191 231 3113


Being an Effective Chair

Wednesday 5 December, Newcastle, 9.30 to 1.30 pm,
Brunswick Methodist Church

This workshop is the first in the new Beacon programme, aimed exclusively at Chairs and Vice Chairs of smaller charities in England with an annual income of under £1 million.

Being an Effective Chair aims to provide you with practical guidance and tools to help you be more effective in your chairing role. It has been developed with the complexities of chairing a smaller organisation in mind, such as operating with limited resources, and individuals often having both significant operational and governance roles.  It is only open to those that have joined the Beacon Programme – if you have not yet signed up, you can join on their website.   Book online. Workshops cost £20.

The Growth and Resilience Fund

Closing date 10 December 2018

The Community Foundation Fund will provide grants and non-monetary support to organisations with a turnover under £1m who want to change, survive, adapt and grow so they can better address needs in communities. The fund will prioritise organisations working in the areas of poverty; mental health and wellbeing; diversity and inclusion; and educational disadvantage.

Cascading Leadership

Apply by 30 November 2018

Cascading Leadership provides an invaluable free opportunity for leaders working in health and care organisations of any size in the voluntary and community sector in the UK, to develop their leadership skills and receive practical support.

The Cascading Leadership programme was developed in 2015 by the King’s Fund, to enable them to explore a new way of building leadership skills and strengthening collaboration across the voluntary and community sector. It enables VCS leaders to share their extensive and varied expertise with peers, to talk about some of the challenges they face and to plan new ways of working. This opportunity is free, owing to funding from the Big Lottery programme.  The programme begins in January and requires commitment to workshops.


Samaritans at the Metro Centre

10 – 21 December

The Samaritans Tyneside, who support people in distress, despair and with suicidal thoughts, will be in The Village (between the blue and green sectors).  They will have information about their service and staff will be available for a chat. they will also be supporting staff across 320 shops.

There will be quite a few events across Newcastle in the run up to Christmas. Please contact InformationNOW if you’d like us to include your event on our website.

Keep an eye out for what’s on, by searching our Christmas category on InformationNOW.

Don’t forget that you can get tailored,  1-1 support to develop your IT skills through the Elders Council.  The next two sessions are Wednesday 28 November and 12 December. To book a session contact Pauline.  Take your phone, laptop or tablet with you.

Bobby Baker presents her own family history and the domestic experiences of women during the First World War, to create a remarkable immersive multi-media art installation, in an ordinary terraced house in Newcastle. Visitors to the house put on headphones and are welcomed by Baker, just as if she were there in person. As she guides them from room to room they encounter different experiences that juxtapose the everyday with the extraordinary – a spectral heroine and a table set for dinner; the story of a family and a gallery of treasures; a baked armoury and 4,701 reinvented dinners – and a series of surprising interventions. Click to book tickets.

New organisations:

  • Peacocks Medical Group
  • Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Association (PSPA)
  • Stop Hate UK

Updated articles

Hate Crime UK



Last updated: March 14, 2019

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