Information Now

InfoNOW news 8 October 2021


Changes at Dementia Advice Centre

Admiral Nurse, Joe Costello, will leave the Dementia Advice Centre (DAC) after 4.5 years on 15th October 2021 to take on a new and exciting role.  This means that in the short term, new referrals will be suspended.  Those in the system will still receive support.

InformationNOW and the prevention network had the pleasure of hosting Joe on our Navigating the Maze: dementia series and you can find a useful snippet from his contribution on our You Tube channel. We wish Joe well.

Diagnosis and the impact on the individual, family and carer/s

Joe said

“I would like to thank Dementia Matters for hosting the Admiral Nurse role in partnership with Dementia UK during the past four and half years. I have had an amazing opportunity to share my clinical skills, to innovate, collaborate and work in partnership to support the delivery of a pathway of peri and post diagnostic support in dementia in our Dementia Advice Centre.” He added

” I wish to thank personally the many carers and families and the people they support living with all types of dementia for sharing with me their challenges and complexities which they faced daily in coping and managing with dementia in their lives…I have developed personally and professionally during my time in post and have some great memories to take away.”

Search will continue to provide support and advice for welfare rights, benefits and entitlements in liaison with the DAC

InformationNOW has an article on dementia and Dementia Friendly Newcastle

‘Natasha’s law’ on food labelling now in effect

New requirements to label foods that are prepacked for direct sale with the name of the food, the ingredients list and the allergens came into effect on October 1st.

Known as “Natasha’s Law” after a teenager who died following an allergic reaction to a Pret a Manger sandwich, the legislation places new requirements on many Newcastle businesses. It also reminds the public that they should check allergens and practise caution if they can’t find the food labels they need to keep safe.

The Food Standards Agency has further detail according to business type, with online training resources available on the Food Standards Agency Introduction to allergen labelling changes (PPDS) guidance.

Recruitment Event for minoritised, marginalised and disabled people, 11th to 16th October

NHS organisations and local authorities in the North East are hosting a recruitment event to help Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic and disabled people start new careers.

Virtual careers sessions will be held from 11 to 16 October introducing attendees to opportunities with Newcastle, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS trusts; Northumbria Healthcare; North East Ambulance Service; Health Education England; Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear Mental Health Trust; Newcastle City Council and Northumberland County Council. BSL interpreters will be available in addition to subtitles on the sessions.

All employers attending are committed to ensuring they have inclusive workplaces which are representative of the communities they serve, and have come together to make sure opportunities within their organisations are promoted to a variety of people.

You can book a range of workshops throughout the week that will provide participants with an insight into working for the different organisations involved, help people identify which roles may suit their skills and offer support with interviews and applications.  Introduction takes place at 2pm Monday 11th October.

Citizen’s Advice Newcastle walk in advice is available for urgent matters

Citizens Advice Newcastle (CAN) give free, confidential and independent advice to people who live, work or study in Newcastle. You can speak to an advisor by phone, webchat, email or complete a form on their website to self-refer.

For urgent matters you can drop in to an Advice walk in session Monday to Friday 10 am to 12 noon. They offer advice on a range of issues including:

  • Benefits
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Family disputes
  • Health care
  • Housing and homelessness
  • Immigration, citizenship and human rights.
  • Consumer issues
  • Debt and Money Advice
  • Energy
  • Mesothelioma (cancer) welfare benefits advice service
  • Scams
  • Universal Credit service: help with new claims and managing first payments.

Visit Citizens Advice Newcastle (CAN) on InformationNOW for all their contact information and location.


Mental Health Awareness

For this year’s World Mental Health Day, the Better Health – Every Mind Matters campaign is focusing on What works for me, demonstrating how different actions can help us with our mental wellbeing, with a variety of simple tips offered by the NHS endorsed Mind Plan quiz that shows there are little things we can all do to look after our mental health.  Asking questions about mood, what makes us anxious and how often you feel stressed, you receive a personalised plan to help you.

Useful local information

Newcastle United Foundation has launched a free mental health text support service. Text ‘BAGC’ to 85258 at any day at any time and text line users will be put in contact with a trained volunteer or clinical supervisor. Texts are completely free, anonymous and do not appear on phone bills.

Quell is a free, anonymous mental health and wellbeing online service with online counselling and a text chat service.

Kooth is a free, safe and anonymous online community and support service commissioned by Newcastle & Gateshead CCG. It offers emotional and mental wellbeing advice and support to Children and Young People age range 11 to 25 and allows access to support from qualified counsellors and practitioners. There is also the opportunity to gain support from peers, join forums and learn coping skills to manage mental health in a safe and supportive way.

Tyneside and Northumberland Mind in conjunction with Newcastle/ Gateshead CCG have launched their ACT Support Service offering an integrated easy to access mental health and wellbeing pathway providing information, listening services and more intensive support.

ACT provides proactive support to people who don’t meet the threshold for services or as a step down from services and includes:

  • a daytime and out of hours support line 7 days a week 8am to 10pm.
  • a listening service that provides knowledgeable, helpful and up to date information with sign posting advice and one to one support.
  • a high Intensity support service for those not in crisis, but do have higher mental health needs

The telephone number is: 0330 1743174

ReCoCo has a number of resources, from a music or mindfulness podcast to yoga and creative writing courses and workshops.


Connected Voice has published Peer Research on Mental Health in Our Communities.  Based on 117 completed surveys and 13 more in depth interviews with ethnically minoritised people over a period of six weeks, amongst the findings was:

  • The majority of interview participants said they did not know where to access a mental health service
  • Around 50% of survey participants were familiar with Samaritans and Mind and around 25% were familiar with Crisis.
  • Fewer than 20% had heard of Talking Helps, Tyneside Women’s Health, and North East Counselling Services. This suggests that the respondents were more familiar with information based or Crisis services and less familiar with longer term mental health support services or more traditional counselling services.
  • 30% of survey participants had not heard of a single one of these services. This was consistent in the interviews where the majority of participants stated that they did not know where to go to access services, while 5 out of 13 stated they would seek help at the GP

Osteoporosis and falls

People often take the strength of their bones for granted because they are hidden parts of our body.  Then they have a fall and they are in A&E having an X-ray. However, bone density is important and there are now scans available to look at bone density. If you are coming out of the menopause then it may be sensible to have a scan.  But that isn’t the whole picture, there is so much we can all do to increase our bone health.

Osteoporosis literally means porous bones and is a condition that develops slowly as bones become less dense and more likely to break.  It affects over 3.5 million over 50 years in the UK. White and Asian women are the most affected.  Only 1 in 5 people take action to prevent osteoporosis and since the lockdown only 35% of the population has exercised regularly.  The key is to take matters into your own hands and use the resources on the Royal Osteoporosis Society website which include:

You can also consider

  • muscle strengthening exercise
  • high impact training such as jogging or skipping
  • core strength and balance routines – pilates, tai chi or yoga
  • taking a calcium or Vitamin D supplement
  • taking probiotics with Lactobaccillus reuteri 6475

There are warning signs that you have some issues with your  bones which include: losing 4 cm in height, curvature of the spine, low impact fracture/s that also take a while to heal, taking medications, such as steroids.  In all these cases, contact your GP surgery.

If you are diagnosed there are a number of treatments including medication: bisphosphonates or selective oestrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), HRT (Hormone replacement therapy) and testosterone

Alongside the ROS information you may like to look at the  section on osteoporosis and real life experiences of living with this condition.

Why are GP practices working differently?

GP Practices are keen to keep you safe whilst helping you with your health questions and worries.  In many cases, you may move into a triage system where you receive a call back from a GP who will prioritise your needs against the other patients who need help.Triage means assessing your needs.

Receptionists are asking more personal questions and they are helping with the triage process and will keep your information confidential.  Their information will help the GP decide whether you need to see the GP on video call, by telephone or face to face.

Many practices have a range of professionals (e.g. advanced nurse practitioners) who can diagnose and treat health conditions. This
ensures that you can see the right person for your needs more quickly.

If you do need a face to face appointment then they will expect you to wear a mask and sanitise when you go in.

Remember that lots of questions or worries can be answered at the pharmacy or chemist.  They are also giving the flu vaccine and it’s easy to book an appointment to go in privately.  Flu season hits from late November/December and the vaccine will work three weeks after you have had it.

You can also get help from:

InformationNOW has articles on: Using your GP Surgery WellYour Doctor or GPUrgent Treatment Centres

There may be times when you need out of hours help or to speak to someone quickly.  Try NHS 111, an urgent treatment centre or if the matter is life threatening, call 999.


CQC Report: How the right community support can improve outcomes

The CQC Home for Good report, published this month, celebrates examples of successful community support provided to people with complex needs.The report includes 8 stories of people who have previously been placed in hospital settings – often called Assessment and Treatment Units – and how all are now thriving in community services across England.
These stories describe how people’s lives have changed when they are given the opportunity to live in their own home, with a supportive staff team where they can exercise choice, independence and control alongside real participation in the community.
Although there is no single model of care and support that explains why some community support works better than others, the stories have common threads.

What’s on InformationNOW

Updated organisations
Northumbria Police
St Cuthbert’s church, Heaton
Dementia Advice Centre

Changes to opening days and times for the following libraries:
Blakelaw library
Cruddas Park library
East End Library and Community Hub
Fenham Library
Newburn Library
Outer West library
Walker activity dome and library

Updated articles
Support Groups
Keep up to date with coronavirus information
How to use your GP Surgery Well
Driving as you get older

Events and Activities
Live Concerts at home – are back on a regular basis as part of Newcastle University’student programme on You Tube

Up the Creek Activity day with Stop Loan Sharks, Tuesday 12 October

Black History Month
Teakisi Woman Talk 16 October
Warm Words are not enough 21 October

Doorbells: Dreaming for the future 25th to 31st October

Elders Council and Skimstone Arts come together to offer a free humorous and moving performance inspired by the latest research about national housing issues. Featuring live music and original songs it explores the critical decisions we make about how and where we live as we grow older.  Followed by a Q&A about access to housing information and what to consider when we choose housing as we get older.  There are a number of performances in different venues across the City starting with St Anthony of Padua Community Centre on Monday 25th October at 1.30 pm. and finishing with a show at Dance City as part of the Inspire Festival (where ticket charges apply).  Booking essential.

InformationNOW has articles on housing for older people and home adaptations and equipment


Free training on domestic abuse and gender equality for girls and young women

The Gender Equality Peer Educators at West End Women and Girls Centre are offering their award winning training on domestic abuse and gender equality for girls and young women aged 11 to 25 years old. They use interactive group work exercises and informal discussions to engage and educate girls and young women on:

  • domestic abuse, including the types of abuse, signs of an abusive relationship, healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviours, and seeking support
  • gender equality, including structural inequality and self-esteem
  • social media, including the impact on young women’s mental health, self-esteem, and social media campaigning
Training is completely free. For more, please email Kiran

InformationNOW has articles on domestic abuse, adult abuse

Last updated: October 8, 2021

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