Information Now

8 February 2019 InfoNOW News


  • Your Equipment Newcastle
  • Accessibility and audio described performances and tours
  • Loan Smart website launched
  • Newcastle voices project
  • Patient and visitor parking concessions for Newcastle hospitals
  • Local heroes, nominations open
  • Help us help you Pharmacy advice campaign

AnchorResearch & Reports

  • Food poverty in Newcastle
  • Pension credit

AnchorOpportunities for Action

  • Hadrian’s Wall – become a volunteer
  • Help the Council develop a walking and cycling network plan
  • 24 hour response and support at home
  • Bogus calls from HMRC – report them


  • Food banks in Newcastle
  • NHS App begins public roll out

New on InformationNOW this week!

This week’s events & activities at a glance

  • Elders Council events
  • Community boccia

Updated articles & organisations

  • Food Banks in Newcastle
  • Making your computer or mobile device easier to use
  • Computer classes and Information Technology (IT) support
  • Peace of Mind for asylum seekers and refugees
  • The Venerable Bede church
  • Newcastle West End Food Bank
  • The Peoples Kitchen
  • SMILE through Sport


Your Equipment Newcastle

We are delighted to find that, after only a short time, people are using Your Equipment Newcastle to help them find a range of items including: grabbers, walking aids, hand rails to help move about safely and special cutlery to help with preparing and eating meals.  We plan to tailor it more to meet your needs and your feedback will help us do that.  Contact us:

Accessibility and audio described performances and tours

Vocal Eyes finds theatres and museums with audio-described performances, tours, or buildings and places with audio-described introductions.  For instance, you can find out how accessible Live Theatre Newcastle is.

Loan Smart website launched

A new website has been launched to help consumers avoid illegal money lenders and check that their lender is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The website uses the FCA’s data to help consumers confirm who is fully authorised and who is not. If the lender is not regulated, the site will advise the visitor:

  •  What they can do next and how to report a suspected loan shark
  •  What to do if they’re in trouble
  •  Who to talk to if they need support
  •  Where to get additional advice relating to debt

Loan Smart aims to present the data in a user-friendly way. The website also acts as a signpost to other useful websites, such as Citizen’s AdviceCitizen’s Advice Newcastle and Money Advice Service and Stop Loan Sharks, offering practical help and advice for consumers.

Newcastle Voices Project – Survey on participation

Newcastle City Council has commissioned Groundswell to deliver the Newcastle Voices Project which aims to include people who have experienced or been at risk of homelessness in developing strategy, policy and shaping services.

The first stage is to map out how residents who access services are involved in strategy, policy, commissioning and service design and delivery.  The survey will  take 15-20 minutes to complete.   The deadline for completion of the survey is noon on Monday 18th February.

The findings will be used by a team of peer researchers, gathering views and experiences of people with experience of being at risk of, threatened with or of being homeless. We would appreciate your assistance with this important work.  If you would like to know more about the project or have questions on the survey, please contact Jenny McAteer

Patient and visitor parking concessions for Newcastle hospitals

Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust offers a range of parking concessions to support patients and visitors attending regularly or staying in hospital for longer than a week. Only 1 concessionary permit may be applied for per patient but up to 3 vehicle registrations may be provided to be used at different times of the day.

To apply for a concession, ask your Ward or Department to email the Transport and Travel Team the relevant details.  The Trust cannot back date concessions.
Patient and visitor parking pdf

Local Heroes, nominations are open

Over thirty of NewcastleGateshead’s most inspiring people from the past 60 years have been honoured with a bronze plaque at the Quayside. These local heroes have been nominated by the general public. You can make your nomination online before 1 March 2019 on the NewcastleGateshead website. The person you nominate could come from: business, community, entertainment, medicine, politics, science, sport and the arts. The person doesn’t have to originate from the region, but needs to have played a major role in NewcastleGateshead.

Help us help you Pharmacy advice campaign

Make the most of your pharmacy or chemist.  They can help you with medication information and advise you on dosage, they can help with treatments for minor symptoms, such as colds and coughs and the flu jab.  Only use A:& E if there is a life threatening emergency.  You can also contact NHS 111 by phone or online if you need advice and can’t get to your pharmacy.


Food Poverty in Newcastle

The Newcastle CVS study on food poverty shows that too many children and adults go to bed hungry in Newcastle. This report incorporates responses from local voluntary and community groups in Newcastle.The key findings include:

  • there has been a noticeable increase in food poverty in the last six years
  • food poverty doesn’t just include the homeless or people falling on ‘hard times’. People who are employed are also using food banks.
  • concerns that people slip through the net
  • organisations don’t want to publicise their activities because they can’t cope with the demand
  • an increase in handing out food informally to someone in need

Read the full report: Food Poverty in Newcastle:The Voluntary and Community Sector view and response 

Pension Credit

Age UK warns of the ‘devastating impact’ of  the Government’s announcement that from 15 May 2019 ‘mixed-age couples’ – where one partner is of working age and the other is above State Pension age – will no longer be entitled to put in a new claim for Pension Credit.

Age UK is warning that this could leave some of the poorest pensioners paying a hefty price for having a younger partner, with mixed-age couples potentially losing out on around £7,000 per year. The charity is warning that the government’s policy change effectively means that many pensioners might find themselves in the absurd position of being financially better off if they split up and live apart from their partner. This is because the pensioner partner will, in many cases, actually be eligible for more money from their Pension Credit than they and their partner will get together from Universal Credit. Commenting on the announcement, Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said “a couple claiming in the future could receive £140 less per week than an older mixed couple claiming before the change comes in.”
InformationNOW has an article on pension credit.


Hadrian’s Wall – become a volunteer

For a world famous archaeological site which has defined our landscape for 1,900 years, there’s still information to discover about Hadrian’s Wall. They want volunteers to help look after the wall. This includes all sorts of traditional archaeological field work investigations, surveys, and excavation. This protection project concerns itself with  forts and milecastles – small fortifications built at intervals of one Roman mile along the frontier – and Roman sites along the Wall corridor, such as the town of Corbridge or the fort of Vindolanda, near Bardon Mill. Volunteers will be able to pursue any aspect of the project that interests them, from surveying the sites of Roman buildings, to looking through archives, to getting out a shovel and excavating more of the Wall, with all training provided.

There’s a networking event on 16 February 2019 at Carlisle Racecourse.

Have a look at our volunteering article for ideas on other volunteering options.

Help Newcastle City Council develop a walking and cycling network plan

Newcastle City Council is developing a local walking and cycling network plan to help guide and inform future decisions about investment in new routes and improvements to existing ones.  They’d like to know more about the places that residents and visitors go to in the city, on foot or on bikes, and what could be done to improve the journey.

They have created a simple online survey where you can read background information, see other people’s ideas, agree with them and add your own. Deadline: 8th March 2019.  You could also attend one of the roadshows:

  • Monday 11th February 4pm till 8pm – Walker Activity Dome, Wharrier St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 3BR
  • Tuesday 12th February 10am till 3pm – St Martins Centre,  Roman Ave, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 2RJ
  • Tuesday 19th February 1pm till 4pm – Walker Activity Dome, Wharrier St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 3BR
  • Thursday 21st February 10am till 2pm – East End Library, Hadrian Square, Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 1AL

24 hour response and support at home

Ostara offer a range of equipment, from simple alarm buttons to fall detectors, pill dispensers and door-opening sensors. They’ll assess your needs and develop a tailored package of support, with prices starting at £5.95 per week and no minimum contract term. Until 1 April, Ostara is offering a free no-obligation, six-week trial with no set-up or installation charges to our readers (courtesy of the Elders Council). To take advantage of the free six-week trial, contact them by calling 0191 277 7470 or emailing and quote ED trial.


Bogus calls from HMRC – report them

Time Exchange has identified bogus calls from HMRC.

‘HMRC is aware of an automated phone call scam which will tells you that HMRC is filing a lawsuit against you and to press 1 to speak to a caseworker to make a payment. We can confirm this is a scam and you should end the call immediately.’

This scam has been widely reported and often targets elderly and vulnerable people.Other scam calls may offer a tax refund and request that you provide your bank or credit card information. Do not speak to them, but do report them.
Fraudsters use text messages, email and social media to attempt to commit fraud.

Please read our article on fraud and scams which includes how to report them.

Food Banks in Newcastle

In light of the recent report by Newcastle CVS we have updated our page on Food Banks in Newcastle to include more information on food available for free to those who need it most in Newcastle.

These services are always in need of donations of food and volunteers to help. You can find out how to support them on InformationNOW too.

If you are aware of any other organisations or groups who are responding to this need in Newcastle please email us at

NHS App begins public roll out 

After successful private testing, with more than 3,000 patients across 30 GP practices in England, the NHS App is available to you.. The NHS App gives a simple and secure way for patients aged 13 and over to access a range of healthcare services, such as: appointments, advice about symptoms and  to order your repeat prescriptions. It went into the Apple App and Google Play Store in December 2018 and it should be working well by July 2019.

Events and Activities

Elders Council events, Wednesdays, 10.30 am
Milecastle pub, Westgate Road

Get involved and stay connected:

  • 20 February, The British Red Cross, First Aid
  • 20 March, Sandy Irvine talks
  • 17 April You Tell Us – give us some of the best things that have happened to you recently. Tell them your biggest moan

Community boccia

St Georges Church, 1-9 Inskip Terrace, Gateshead, NE8 4JA, every Tuesday 1.30 to 2.30 pm

SMILE Through Sport runs sport and physical activity sessions for people with disabilities, mental health conditions and dementia. Boccia is very similar to bowls, where the aim is to get your colour ball as close to the white ball as possible. Their session incorporates boccia games and fun activities to improve your skills.  Cost: £3

Organisations Updated

Peace of Mind for asylum seekers and refugees
The Venerable Bede church

Newcastle West End Foodbank
The Peoples Kitchen
SMILE through Sport

Articles Updated

Food Banks in Newcastle
Making your computer or mobile device easier to use
Computer classes and Information Technology (IT) support





Last updated: February 25, 2019

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