Issue 77                          28 August  2020         

Join the Elders Council and make a difference! 

Now, more than ever, it is important that older people stand up and act to make our city a good place in which to grow old and the Elders Council invite you to join us in this important endeavour.  You can choose to be an active volunteer or perhaps you would consider becoming a trustee?

Whichever direction you choose, it is challenging, often fun and we are all learning together.

As we are a member-led organisation, our Volunteers and Trustees are ‘hands-on’ and participate actively in the work of the organisation.  There is scope to shape your contribution to suit your skills and interests.  We are seeking people who will bring fresh ideas and energy to lead our organisation through the next phase of development.   

All Volunteers and Trustees must be 50+, life or be active in the City, and become members of the Elders Council. 

We are seeking people who are passionate about improving the quality of life of older people in the city and addressing inequalities, and welcome interest from all areas of diversity in order to fully represent our older citizens. Previous experience of being a trustee of a voluntary organisation is not essential as training and support will be given.  

Ideally, we are looking for people with some experience in community development, finance and fundraising, project management and communications and/or with knowledge of key topics of the current priorities for the Elders Council e.g. housing; transport; active ageing; health & social care:  

If you would like more information please contact 

☎ phone: 0191 208 2701
or email: 

What's the Elders Council doing?

Research Collaboration

We are working with Newcastle University on a research study into oral nutrition. Poor nutrition can be a major problem for older people, particularly if they are frail, so this new study is looking at recent research on ways to encourage better use of supplements within a clinical environment.

As part of our involvement, we are pulling together a discussion group to support the researchers. The only commitment from you is to join a small group discussion about 5 times over the next 12-18 months. In the current circumstances, this will initially be online.

If you would like to support the Elders Council, find out more about the project and sign up, please get in touch and the EC project co-ordinator will make contact with you. The closing date is 10 September.

☎ phone: 0191 208 2701
or email

Project Ice
Do you need just a bit of help with your IT?  No, well that's great but perhaps you know some other older person who would find some help useful. The students of Northumbria University are offering free support to get your IT sorted out. It's not 'lessons' it's you (or a friend)  wanting to learn a bit more about Zoom or Skype; perhaps you need to know about using apps more efficiently. Whatever it is these young people will do their best to help you. Please contact the elders Council for more information about where and when this will be available.
 ☎ phone: 0191 208 2701
or email:

Pension Credit
We spend quite a lot of time trying to discover things we think will be useful, interesting sometimes entertaining and we have mentioned Pension Credit more than once. You may not be the person who can claim this benefit because fortunately, you are financially OK (according to the Government). But you can pass the information on and help others claim it.  DID YOU KNOW 31,891 people in this region could be claiming this benefit - that is potentially worth hundreds of pounds each week - as well as the free TV licence. 
If you use the Age UK telephone line  (0800 169 0133) they will fill the form in for you but you need to have information to hand (your NI number; bank account details; pension information; details of housing costs; partner's information -if you have a partner).

You can fill the form in yourself using the online website:

Free Audio Cassette Tapes
 We have two members who record  'The Echo', our magazine onto a CD for a number of members who are now unable to read print. One of the recipients told us she has a number of audio books, recorded on cassette tape; these are 'middle-of-the-road easy-listening popular stuff'. If you know of anyone who might appreciate these please contact us.

☎ phone: 0191 208 2701
or email:

Facebook & Twitter

As well as Facebook we are now on Twitter, so don’t forget to follow us if you use either of these. 

Interests and Activities

Beamish Museum Wheelchair Accessibility
The accessible bus is back in service on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, until 5 September, as they work towards getting their transport up and running again. The wheelchair accessible vehicle will run on an on-call basis for visitors with mobility needs, and their companions, for one household at a time, in line with COVID-19 safety measures.
For more information about accessibility at Beamish, click here


 ☎ phone: 0191 370 400
or email:

Old Photos and Maps
If this is something that interests you there is a wealth of photos and maps on the Francis Frith website. He was a Victorian photographer and this is his archive. Among encouraging you to buy things (you don't have to) there is a free photo e-card. You need to register to do this. It's a trip down memory lane! Here's the web address:


Heritage Open Days
The heritage open days are still going ahead although they will be a bit different this year. It's a chance to find places you didn't know and those you see often but know nothing about them. Heritage Open Days 2020 11 - 20 September most of the events have moved online.
You can find the details at the website:

Mirthy is an online platform for professional public speakers, often retirees themselves, to provide online talks to older adults in the comfort of their homes.

Through their remote talks and interactive Q&A sessions, they want to connect older adults and allow them to exercise their interests and passions, wherever they’re based. They state these talks "will provide a much-needed social antidote in this period of self-isolation, but will entertain and inform older adults as they partake in a community-driven online cause." If you are part of a group that uses speakers this website will be of interest too.


Volunteering and Research Opportunities
Social Prescribing - new insights and recommendations
Earlier this year NHS England and Improvement commissioned National Voices to report on the roll-out of social prescribing, and some of you may have attended workshops or contributed feedback. The report on the work is being launched at a webinar on 9 September, 10-11.30am.
The webinar will also include the launch of a new report by The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) Social Prescribing:
How do we sustain social prescribing in the wake of Covid-19?’ 
If you are interested in participating please: Register here.

There are always opportunities to be involved at Voice at many levels from taking part in a poll to being a research participant.  A current opportunity is on "Opioid Prescribing" or some people are needed for research into "how the brain controls walking". There are many more opportunities so why not become a member? Just click on the website:

☎ phone: 0191 298 1288
or email:


GP Practices and Digital Services
Are you aware that your GP Practice may offer a digital service (online only) for you to check your symptoms and be advised how best to treat them?
This service is completely separate from the NHS 111 service, where you actually speak to a member of NHS staff.
The best way to find out what service your practice uses, and how it benefits you the patient,
is to visit their website or to join their Patient Participation Group (PPG).

Our recommendation: if you receive something in the post that encourages you to sign up with an unknown provider, please think carefully; make contact with your practice to see if this has been sent on their behalf.

Did you know that Healthwatch Newcastle/Gateshead also has a PPG group that is meeting online only at this time? The next meeting is scheduled for November, we will publish the date and contact details nearer the time.


Up-date on TV Licence 75+
As we said in our last Bulletin TV Licensing Authority (TVLA) has now started sending letters to anyone aged over 75 asking them to either pay for their TV licence or apply for a free one. The letter TV Licensing sends will include your licence number, your title, and your last name and they will ask you to pay using only the following options:

• By post using the address TV Licensing, PO Box 578, Darlington DL98 1AN
• Online at or
• Over the phone on 0300 790 6151

Scams with TV Licence

If you are contacted and asked to pay for your TV licence in any other way than above, it is a scam.
TV Licensing will not come to your doorstep to collect the licence fee if you are over 75, so anyone who claims to do so is also a scammer. If you are unsure about anything, you can call TV Licensing on 0300 303 9695 to speak with someone who can help.

 Do not be gullible: there are no free TV licences for a year; do not respond to any offers. Use the phone number above to check if you are unsure about any emails that appear to be from the TVLA. 

Anyone offering cheap sanitiser, masks, or purporting to have test equipment is likely to be scamming. In some cases, the sanitiser has been known to cause damage to the skin.
Do not pay for test equipment. The NHS or your GP will offer it free.


 Warm Homes Discount Scheme
This could save money on your electricity (or possibly gas ) bill if you are eligible for the scheme. Money is not paid directly to you - it's a one-off discount from your bill. The discount will not affect your Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment. For further information go to the website:

Tell us Once
Tell Us Once is a service that lets you report a death to most government organisations in one go. It's difficult enough when someone dies and perhaps more so under present circumstances. This service should help a little with the bureaucracy. The website has much helpful information.


Disability North

Disability North have created two new PowerPoint Presentations.
The first is about Personal Independence Payment and, the second is about Disability Living Allowance.
Both videos provide basic information about the benefits,
along with tips and advice on how to make the claim and complete the application.    

A link to the videos can be found here:

☎ phone: 0191 284 0408
or email:

The NHS Test and Trace centre on the former Newcastle General Hospital site will offer residents tests for coronavirus by appointments. This is the third site, there is a drive -thro' centre at Great Park and a walk-in centre in Byker

City Libraries
 You will be pleased to hear Newcastle’s City Library has extended its opening hours to include Saturdays from August 22.  Other Newcastle Libraries in the city will begin to reopen in the coming weeks, with all libraries set to be open by early October. The first locations to welcome back residents will be High Heaton, Denton Burn, Kenton, and Newburn. They will begin opening between the 27 August and 3 September with social distancing and hygiene measures for the safety of staff and visitors.
Face coverings are expected unless you have an exemption

☎ phone: 0191 277 4100
Ageing Without Children (AWOC) 
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published their latest “Living longer” article that looks at what not having children means for the lives of those born in the 1960s and for the current older population, including care implications in later life. The care implications are because most children provide informal care for their parents and financially this saves huge amounts of money for the state. Without children includes families who live at great distances from each other as well as those who have lost touch. You can read more at:


Haref Bulletin
The  Haref project strives for health equality for local Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. This work has been crucial in helping to respond to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic that is particularly affecting BAME communities. The latest Haref bulletin includes useful updates for practitioners in health and social care, individuals and community organisations.
Find out more


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Elders Council of Newcastle · Biomedical Research Building, Campus for Ageing · Nunsmoor Road · Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE4 5PL · United Kingdom

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