Information Now

31 March 2020


InformationNOW and Easter
Investment in biodiversity
National Express
British Sign Language services
Debt: the Breathing Space Scheme


Autism awareness

Opportunities for Action

Healthwatch Newcastle – help them with their priorities
Managing your diabetes during Ramadam
Have your say about our City’s high streets


Children and young adults
Smart Works sale
End of life webinar

New on InformationNOW this week!
Events & activities

VOICE screening of Les Dames

Updated articles & organisations
Grandparent issues
State Pension
Day trips and visits


InformationNOW and Easter

InformationNOW has been reviewing what is available over the Easter break and below we’ve put together a short section which covers what’s open, fitness options, family activities and Easter worship.
Lockdown is easing and we can do more outside in groups of 6 or as two households. As it is the Easter holidays, this is a great time to get outside with the family for some of the day.  The good news is that both the National Trust and English Heritage have opened up a few of their gardens and locations for timed entry slots.  This includes: Belsay Hall, Gibside and Wallington. Why not have a look and see if you can book.  Alternatives, include visits to woods, parks and forests and you can visit outdoors at Beamish from 12th April on a timed entry.  Alnwick Gardens and Alnwick Castle can be pre-booked too.

Jesmond Community Orchard is working with the The Natural History Society of Northumbria and they want visitors to help complete the count and identification of ladybirds.  Why not take part in the Ladybird survey.?

Fitness activities

If you have had a pretty inactive Winter, then you may want to take our fitness at a gentle pace.  Why not download the  Couch to 5k app to get fit at a gentle pace over 9 weeks

Feeling fit and active already?  Why not try the April accumulator challenge with the Great run from 1st April.  Run on your own and record your results online.

Prefer walking, but you have been to all your local parks and gardens this Winter?  You could consider the St Cuthbert’s trail starting at Elsdon or manage your own walk using an App such as Walkit or Walk 4 Life

Newburn Activity Centre is also opening up for outdoor fitness activities from 29 March and more is available from 12 April.

Family activities

Visit NGI for more on what’s open within the restrictions.

Healthworks has created an Easter Resource Pack with fun activities, crafts and a quiz 

There are also lots of virtual options such as:

Have a look at our Quick links to virtual activity article.
Easter worship

Some places of worship are open for a limited number of visitors over Easter. There’s also some online options with live streaming and you can watch the recording later.

InformationNOW has an article on: Places of worship which you can use to find what’s open locally or available online over Easter.

Investment in biodiversity to create a buzz in the city

Bees will be buzzing as a new pilot project aims to reduce grass cutting in some areas and increase biodiversity in Newcastle.

Newcastle City Council’s new Bee Friendly Verges initiative will see sites, selected following advice from the charity Butterfly Conservation, managed differently, with mowers used up to 75 percent less.

To support the project the Council has invested in a new ride on mower that is capable of collecting its cuttings, so that they can be taken away, giving wildflowers and insects more opportunity to thrive.

National Express

National Express has re launched its routes and plans to help us travel across the UK for our summer staycations.  They aim to have a sustainable fleet with low C02 emissions.  As well as trips to major cities and destinations, they are offering trips to events such as The Killers and Royal Ascot.

InformationNOW has an article on day trips and visits

British Sign Language services

Last week was BSL week and as part of that awareness raising, we want to publicise that Language Empire will be the commissioned service for you if you live in the  Newcastle Gateshead area.  Please use this link on You Tube to help you book appointments and request an interpreter from 1st April 2021.

Useful links to chair exercises for older people in BSL and 10 minute work out for older people using BSL. Both with Joe Wickes.

InformationNOW has articles on: deaf and hard of hearing and BSL and subtitles

The Breathing Space Scheme

The Debt Respite Scheme, also known as the Breathing Space scheme, starts on 04 May 2021.  There are two types of Breathing Space; a standard Breathing Space and a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space. The aim of the scheme is to encourage residents to seek debt advice and have the time and space to enter into a suitable and sustainable debt solution.  A standard Breathing Space gives 60 days protection from most collection and enforcement action from creditors, whereas a Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space lasts as long as the treatment, plus another 30 days.  Most debts are included in a Breathing Space but there are some exceptions.

Only a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorised or Council debt advisor can enter a resident into a Breathing Space and you must maintain your ongoing household bills and engage with your debts advisor if you wish to remain in the Breathing Space.  If you are struggling with your debts and would like more information on Breathing Space and your options to deal with your debts please contact one of your local debt advice agencies, details of which can be found on our dedicated Dealing with Debt page.



Epilepsy awareness day was last Friday. However, it is important to raise awareness about this condition regularly as it is often a hidden condition.  Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological conditions in the world. It can affect anyone of any age, gender, race or ethnicity. It is characterised by seizures which are caused by excessive electrical activity in the brain, the effects and impact of which vary depending on which part of the brain is affected.

There are over 600,000 people in the UK with a known diagnosis of epilepsy,  that’s about 1 in 103 people. In every week over 600 people are given an epilepsy diagnosis; that’s 87 every day. There are also 21 epilepsy-related deaths reported every week in the UK.  There are a 100,000 emergency admissions due to epilepsy each year.

If you are worried about whether someone you know has Epilepsy or you need help and support contact the local organisations on our article.  Remember you can share by email or print any page of the InformationNOW website.

Read the research from Epilepsy Research UK

National autism awareness week, 29 March to 4 April

During National Autism awareness week, it is important to draw attention to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) new data that shows just 22% of autistic adults are in any kind of employment.
The ONS published several different pieces of data together in the “Outcomes for disabled people in the UK: 2020”. The results that were published covered lots of different topics, including education, employment, housing and loneliness. Not all of these had findings that focused specifically on autism but for the first time, some of these surveys asked respondents if they are autistic.

A wealth of talent

To celebrate the wealth of talent amongst autistic people, Chris Bradburn, who has an autism diagnosis himself, has interviewed artistic and other creative individuals to produce 7 short films. The videos will be posted by Newcastle City Council, one per day during National Autism awareness Week.

Spectrum Enterprises CIC has helped to arrange these videos to mark this week. Pam Lawrence and her associates provide free practical help to autistic people who want to turn their hobby into a micro business. Contact her on 07760420251 or through the Facebook page

InformationNOW has articles on autism and supported living.


Healthwatch Newcastle – help them with their priorities

What areas of health and social care do you think Healthwatch Newcastle should focus on in the next 12 months? They’re exploring these priority ideas:

  • annual health checks
  • access to GP services
  • mental health needs
  • facing difficult new circumstances as a result of the pandemic

Take a look at their website for more information about each topic. You can also contribute by phone except for Good Friday and Easter Monday.  Call Freephone 0808 178 9282.  Closes: Friday 16 April 2021

Managing your diabetes during Ramadam

The Qur’an requires Muslims to fast during the month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset. However, there are exceptions to this. One of them is that people who are ill or have medical conditions do not have to fast. This includes people with diabetes. Diabetes UK has a series of fact sheets and You Tube videos in different languages.
You may also be interested in the link for the Diabetes UK webinar that took place on ‘Diabetes during Ramadan’ this week.

InformationNOW has an article on diabetes.

Have your say about our City’s high streets

Newcastle City Council and NewcastleGateshead Initiative are working in partnership as part of a Covid-19 recovery project, and they’d like to hear from local businesses and residents to help shape the future of Newcastle high streets. During national and local lockdowns, many cities across the UK have experienced a dramatic shift towards a localised economy, with many residents rediscovering and being dependent on their local high street.  Councillor Ged Bell said :
‘These are your streets and this is your city, therefore your voice is most important. The more residents and local high street businesses we have involved, the better we can understand the demands and needs from local communities and create tangible and beneficial strands of work to support and strengthen our high street offering.’  Take part in a survey by 16th April.

Children and young adults

Best Summer Ever is aimed predominantly at children on free school meals, but all children are encouraged to get active and take part – find out what’s available for children this Easter by following the Facebook page.

Smart Works Newcastle

Smart Works has another sustainable clothing sale.  Each week they will upload a range of pieces of varying style, size and price range for you to bid on.100% of proceeds supports women back to work and to feel confident.  You can donate as well, but keep an eye out for when they are in MEA House.

Read our article on looking for work.

Events & Activities

Webinar: Better End of Life Care for All in England, 15 April 10.30 am

The Covid-19 pandemic has meant a challenging year for end of life care, as well as in healthcare as a whole. Tens of thousands of excess deaths have put strain on end of life and palliative care providers. Hospices and charities have faced difficulties around funding, donations and continuity of care. Place of death from non-Covid causes has moved from hospice and hospital, to care homes and private homes.  On top of any left-over impact from the pandemic, end of life services will need to contend with an ageing population, increasing  mortality and changing population health needs

The organisers, IPPR has speakers including:

  • Baroness Finlay of Llandaff  doctor, professor or palliative medicine and independent Crossbench member of the House of Lords.
  • Professor Katherine E Sleeman  Laing Galazka Chair in Palliative Care King’s College London; NIHR Clinician Scientists; Honorary consultant in Palliative Medicine
  • Chris Thomas (Chair)  Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Public Policy Research


InformationNOW has a section on end of life

Les Dames

Voice has recently announced a global partnership with a community in New Jersey. To celebrate, they are co-hosting a screening of the film “Les Dames” on Saturday 10th April. Les Dames” is a film that reveals the passions, intimacy, and desires of five women who, at the dawn of their 60s or older, dream of their future. This will be a world premiere and will also mark the start of a joint research piece on love, life, companionship for women in later life.

Register on the VOICE website: Global Partnership Celebration and “Les Dames” Film Screening – VOICE (

Last updated: March 31, 2021

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