Elder City Council of Newcastle Newsletter March-April 2014
People often ask, “What does the Elders’ Council do?” Well, here are just some
examples of what is happening at the moment.
We wrote about this in our last Newsletter and told you that we’d had many
applications for the small funding we’re offering. This is just an update of what’s
happened so far. This work developed from our “Bridging the Gaps” programme.
The diagram hopefully explains it.
Elders Council of Newcastle
Older People working for Older People
March to April 2014 – Issue 58
The Elders Council in Action
Inside this issue: Page
Health Information …………….10-12
Things to see ………………………16
Things to do ………………15, 17, 18
Digital Deli …….………………..19-21
Follow the tea cup
the Newsletter to
find various social
activities. Why not
join in the fun?
Bridging the Gaps
This was the
where we worked
at keeping people
lonely or isolated.
There were some
Two areas were
chosen to take
work forward. In
worked with the
available to older
people in the
In Throckley a
this they are
going to have
a "Come and
Join Us" event
in April, when
will be able to
there and have
This is where
The Elders Council in Action
The awards aren’t given for a single event like a bus trip (however nice that may be)
but for something that can be sustained and carried on. This has resulted in some
innovative thinking and we’ve been pleased with the numbers of groups applying,
though it has meant extra work for the awards group sifting through the applications!
We’ve agreed 16 applications and have turned down 5. The Board of Trustees also
keeps a keen eye on how the funds are awarded as they are accountable for all
funds held by the Elders Council.
One of the criteria attached to the award is that the successful applicants are invited
to join us at a “T Party” in April, when there’ll be an opportunity to see what things
have been really successful and to network. We’ll let you know how the T Party
goes; there may be several ideas from it that you’ll be able to use or take to groups
that you are in.
Mile Castle Drop-In
It was a pleasure to welcome so many people to our first social event at the Mile
Castle Public House in January. The manager was very helpful and it was great to
have a welcome hot drink. There was plenty to chat about, a quiz that got brains
ticking and people discussing and it was good to see that there was no one sitting
alone. One member was seen to make a latecomer feel welcome too and that’s just
what we’d hoped to see (and hear) when we’ve talked so much about loneliness.
Quite a few stayed for lunch afterwards; the quantity was good and members
enjoyed a very inexpensive meal.
The meeting in February featured Mervin Dixon with his bountiful knowledge of bus
travel. He was enthusiastic about using bus-passes in a variety of ways and gave
his audience plenty of ideas. Thank you, Mervin – you were marvellous!
Next month’s social is on Wednesday 19 March and the speaker is Megan from
Thornton Chocolates. There may be things to purchase but we will need to ensure
that we don’t break any rules the pub
On Wednesday 16 April, the focus will
be on Hanging Baskets and there will
be someone from Ground Works to
talk (and demonstrate hopefully) the
best way to achieve success.
If you’ve a friend or neighbour who
isn’t a member, bring them along; we
want to encourage
people to meet others
and be sociable
together. See you
there next time!
The Elders Council in Action
Parks and Recreation Areas
Since the Older Person Friendly City
Working Group published its report
about the older person friendliness of
parks in Newcastle, members have
been concerned to promote more
activities for older people in
parks, including the
from the Active
each year there has
been a special event on
Fun and Fitness for the Over-
50s. For the last two years the event
has been arranged as part of the
Jesmond Community Festival and has
been in Exhibition Park close to the
first installation of outdoor exercise
equipment, with health trainers present
to demonstrate use of the equipment
amongst other activities. This
year we are arranging a
Fun and Fitness
afternoon in Jesmond
Dene, and the focus
will be on walking –
Nordic Walking, a
nature walk, or a
heritage walk. We
have booked space
in the Visitor Centre
(where there is a café
and, most important,
LOOS!) so there will also
be activities under cover as
well as outdoors. Please note the
Thursday, 22 May, 2-4pm in the Visitor Centre.
There will be further details in due course, so watch this space!
Elders Council putting you in the
‘Get Your Affairs in Order’ 24 February
This event was held at Brunswick Methodist
Church and was attended by approximately
100 older people. There were presentations to
help people think ahead and a wide range of
information stalls as well as opportunities for
participants to put their questions to an expert.
Our Patron, John Grundy, did a magnificent job
opening the event – so thanks again to John for
Elders Council at work
Transport and Highways Working Group
Two subjects still dominate our Transport Working Group agenda at the moment.
Work is still progressing on the first two
stages of development at the Central
The changes to the interior of the
station are progressing well and East
Coast Rail are hoping that this part will
be completed about the end of March.
This will include new public toilets, a
relocated ticket office and a completely
refurbished main concourse with small
commercial outlets for coffee, food etc.
We would also like to see a sort of
“Tourist Bureau” type of information
stand and have made this point
strongly to East Coast Rail. Because
of cost, this might have to be a
collective type of facility involving
NE1 Ltd, Newcastle/Gateshead
Initiative, Nexus, the City Council, and
East Coast themselves, which makes it
difficult to achieve. However, we will
continue pressing for it.
The closure of the portico by East
Coast rail means that a huge amount
of reorganisation of the roads around
Neville Street is necessary and this is
under way but will take a little longer
before it is completed. A change such
as this, inevitably, has to be something
of a compromise for all users,
pedestrians, bus operators, taxis,
cyclists and motorists alike. However,
the shape of it is already emerging and
we are advised that this will produce
an area where pedestrians can move
around more freely and safely, where
the aspect of the City is opened up and
the whole area will be a better
“Gateway to our City”.
Unfortunately, at the moment, we have
to put up with the disruption and
inconvenience of the road works
(which seem to change daily) but we
hope that it will all be worthwhile in the
There is a third stage of the whole
project, which is the refurbishment of
the Metro Central Station by Nexus.
This will follow on after the first two
stages and will be a complete upgrade
of the station, somewhat similar to
what was done at Haymarket station.
Further information is available on the
Nexus web pages at
The newspaper coverage about the
Nexus proposed “Quality Contracts
Scheme” and the bus operator
proposed “Voluntary Partnership
Agreement” still continues and will do
so for a few weeks yet.
The two proposals are expected to be
discussed at the next meeting of the
Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport
Authority on Thursday 27th March,
when a decision will be taken.
At the present time, we believe that a
Quality Contract Scheme (similar to the
London Transport System) would give
much more for the public transport
user, and various groups are
campaigning in favour of
Elders Council at work
Quality Contracts. However, the Bus
Operators favour the Voluntary
Partnership and are strongly promoting
If you have any views on either proposal,
please contact your local councillors and
let them know well in advance of the
Finally, Nexus have asked us to remind
those of you with your Gold Card now
included on your Concessionary Bus
Pass to touch in and out whenever you
use the Metro if the barriers are open.
This is to get us into a routine of doing
this every time and should be helpful
later when all the barriers are in
Health and Social Care Working Group
Integrating Health, Social Care and Housing continues to be a priority for this
Working Group. As previously mentioned in this Newsletter, at forthcoming meetings
we shall be discussing with the providers of services the changes that may be planned.
It’s really important that if services are streamlined it should not just be to save money
but to offer a better service. We are frequently told that the ageing of the population
means that more of us will be living longer with one or more impairments to health, and
at the same time wanting to live independently in our own homes rather than in
institutional care. So it is important to consider what we need to ‘Age in Place’ (i.e., to
have a comfortable life in our communities with appropriate support) – not because it
may mean less dependence on state support, but because we may have a better quality
of life. Members of the Working Group believe that it is important to have these
discussions now while services are under pressure to work out plans for integrating their
services. The government has announced that there will be Better Care funds available
to support plans to integrate services, so it’s important that the users of services should
be involved in defining just what would make care better for them. Readers are invited
to join the Working Group’s discussions on this issue – please contact the Elders
Council office for further details. In the meantime, attention is drawn to other news
‘My Medicines, My Health’ is the latest NHS Campaign to encourage patients to stay
in control of their health by knowing about and being in charge of their own
medicines. (See pg. 10).
Progress report on Elders Council Programme to ‘bridge the gaps’ between older
people and communities. (See pg. 1-2).
CCGs and consultation about Walk-In and Urgent Care Centres
The Working Group is concerned about the role and remit of these centres – see
letter to the Editor. (See pg. 27).
Elders Council at work
Older Person Friendly City Working Group
Planning for the Future Development and Allocations Plan
After recent discussions about the Newcastle/Gateshead Core Strategy and Urban
Core Plan, in January and February attention has moved on to this latest
consultation about a Development and Allocations Plan for Newcastle. A Scoping
Report has set out the policies for the developments needed to implement the Core
Strategy so there is now a focus on important issues such as land use for housing,
business, and leisure, with particular attention to the role of the City Centre, decent
neighbourhoods, district centres, parks and open spaces, as well as development of
the infrastructure that will sustain growth, including transport, highways and
accessibility. Elders Council Working Groups have been involved in all these issues
for some time, and have carried out assessments – including District Centres, as
reported in the last issue of the Newsletter. So there are quite a few things we shall
want to discuss with the planners, emphasising in particular the importance of
involving local people – including older people – in planning neighbourhoods and
Adoption of planters in Exhibition Park
As reported in the November issue of this Newsletter, two Elders Council members
used their Deeds Not Words Campaign grants of £10 to adopt planters on the
terrace by the café in Exhibition Park. No sooner were the bulbs planted and there
was an appeal in the Newsletter for further adopters than the contractors moved in
and started to demolish the café, the terrace, and the planters. But all is not lost ….
our two planters have been moved to a place of safety, the spring bulbs are
sprouting, and when the work is finished we shall be looking again to encourage
local groups to get involved in parks.
Communication Working Group
Everyone’s tomorrow – today! is the Elders Council radio programme that goes out
on the first Friday of every month between 2 and 4 pm on the community radio station
NE1fm (102.5fm). It’s made by local older people for local older people. We’re
always keen to hear what our listeners think of the programme or to suggest ideas for
future ones. If you haven’t heard it, why not give it a listen? It’s broadcast on
102.5fm wavelength and you can also listen via the Internet on NE1fm Webplayer
The radio group is looking for new members. You don’t have to have any
previous experience of broadcasting – just an interest in older people’s issues
and an enthusiasm to tell others about it. If you want to know more please
ring Steve on 0191 273 4727 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org .
We’d love to hear from you.
Elders Council at work
On yer bike
Newcastle City Council has a fund to develop cycling and cycle routes within the
city. As part of this programme, Public Health are conducting research to find out
about the opportunities and barriers to cycling in the city. A group of Elders Council
members took part in the research. These are some of the points we made:
There should be better provision for all groups of cyclists (i.e., for differing
levels of experience, confidence etc.).
Safety and safe driving: drivers need to be aware of cyclists and be
accountable as in many European countries.
There should be better information for cyclists about cycle routes and where
they go to.
Cycle routes should be improved
and coordinated and included in
new housing estates.
Central Station needs bike racks,
and way-marked safe-cycle routes
through the city.
Cycle training should be available
for specific groups and there
should be more supported cycle
Information about cycle routes,
training, and cycling groups should
be easily available in key locations
in the city (e.g., at the Central
Station and in libraries.
The idea of Cycle Champions was
Elders Council at work
Alcohol and older people
Thanks to all members of the Elders Council who
were involved in the development of the ‘Alcohol and
Older People’ leaflet. The leaflet, funded by
Newcastle City Council, aims to support organisations
who work with older people when giving advice on
how to reduce drinking.
Alcohol misuse by older people is now a growing
public health concern. Recent research suggests that
up to 60% of older people admitted to hospital for
confusion, falls at home, chest infections and heart
failure may have unrecognised alcohol problems.
The content of the leaflet is now available on the
Information NOW website to view.
Semitones is a group of musicians of all ages,
playing a variety of music, on a variety of
instruments, with the aim of bringing live music and
enjoyment to our audiences in care homes and
sheltered accommodation in the Newcastle Area
Would You Like Us To Come And Play For You?
Please contact us:
The ‘grey army’ of grandparents providing free childcare is growing by the day. Is it
time for working Nanas and Grandads to get formal workplace recognition?
The TUC has argued that grandparents should have the right to take unpaid leave to
look after their grandchildren in the same way parents currently do. And with seven
million of them now providing regular childcare, that could mean a major upheaval.
A TUC survey found that working grandparents were more likely to look after their
grandchildren than retirees (63% and 55% respectively). However, one-tenth had
not taken time off work for childcare purposes because their employer had refused
or they felt unable to ask for it.
The TUC’s general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “The childcare provided by
grandparents allows mums and dads to work, saves them money on nursery and
childminder fees, and creates a special bond across different generations in a
family.” More people than ever before are working into their late 60s in the UK, she
added. “Many businesses have yet to keep up with this trend and thousands of
grandparents who want to look after their grandkids are prevented from doing so.”
The TUC called on the government to introduce leave for grandparents as part of
the children and families bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament.
The bill also includes recently confirmed details on shared parental leave, which will
take effect from April 2015. Under the plans, the first two weeks of leave after the
birth of a child will be reserved for the mother. But the remaining weeks can be
shared between the mother and father, and will not have to be taken in one
continuous block. Either parent will also have the right to return to the same job if
they take a total of 26 weeks’ leave or less.
What do you think? Please write to us with your views.
My medicines, my health
People over 60 years old with long-term medical
conditions are being encouraged to:
keep their medicine (prescribed and non-
prescribed) safe in one place and in one bag
tell family members and anyone who cares for
them where the bag is kept in the house, so it
can be easily found in an emergency;
make sure that they know how to take their
medicine in the right way;
take their medicine bag with them for medical
appointments such as visits to hospital.
Doctors and other health professionals can tell a lot
by seeing the medicines a person is actually taking,
including any they might buy from a supermarket,
pharmacy or herbal shop and take regularly. It helps
doctors to understand how to treat them and make sure that they are getting the
most out of their medicine
The 'green bag' (people can use any sort/colour of bag or container) campaign will
be on regional TV adverts, radio, social media, and in shopping centres.
Find out more at www.mymedicinesmyhealth.org.uk and on Twitter
Carers Centre move
After consultation (talk) with carers and careful planning, the
Carers Centre are moving from their premises at Saville Place
to a larger building on Shields Road in Byker, just in time for
the Carers Centre’s 10th Anniversary. Their new location will
give them more space to offer more services and to continue to
grow in the future. They say that this new and exciting
opportunity enables them to provide fit-for-purpose and cost-
effective services for carers. There are good transport links to
the new location with bus-stops and the Byker Metro right
outside the door and plenty of accessible parking.
St Oswald’s Hospice
1 in 3 people are touched by hospice care and your local hospice, St Oswald's
Hospice in Gosforth, has been providing care for North East families for over
Their services include:
Adult Inpatient Unit
Children and Young Adult short break service
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Their Lymphoedema Service, which is recognised as a centre of excellence and is
the largest specialist Lymphoedema service provider in the North East, cares for
patients with Lymphoedema (a collection of lymph fluid in the body tissues),
whatever the cause. They also hold Lymphoedema outreach clinics in Morpeth,
Shiremoor and Blaydon to enable patients to access care closer to home.
One project that they run is a six-week programme of Positive Steps sessions. The
programme is for patients with a life-limiting diagnosis, and their carers, and aims to
introduce them to the range of services available to them at the Hospice, to facilitate
peer support and to provide advice. Another project is a one-year ‘Celebrate Life’
project thanks to a Big Lottery Fund grant of £10,000. The project helps Day
Hospice patients with life-limiting conditions explore their thoughts, feelings,
experiences and emotions through a range of activities, including creative writing,
music therapy, horticulture, reminiscence, digital media and mindfulness.
Patients can be referred to St Oswald’s services by their hospital consultant, GP,
community nursing team or members of the wider multi-disciplinary team.
For more information about any of their services, or to find out about
fundraising or volunteering at the Hospice, ring 0191 285 0063 or visit
St Oswald’s is a registered charity with annual running costs of over
£10m. They make no charge to the patient for any of their services,
ensuring that hospice care is available to everyone.
Breast cancer in the over-70s
One in three women diagnosed with breast cancer in the North East each year is
aged 70 or over. This age-group also accounts for more than half of all breast
cancer deaths in the region.
A woman’s risk of breast cancer increases with age and about 660 women aged 70
and over are diagnosed with breast cancer in the North East each year. But survival
rates are lower in this age-group than in younger women. Lack of awareness of
symptoms other than a lump, such as changes in the shape or size of the breast, is
believed to be one of the reasons for this.
The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the higher the chance of survival: more than
90% of all women diagnosed with the earliest stage survive for at least five years.
This figure is around 15% for women diagnosed at a late stage. So the advice is
clear: if you notice any change in your breast, get along to the doctor; don’t delay.
Public Health England are running a campaign Be Clear on Cancer and you may
have seen the adverts on TV and in the papers recently. The campaign is
supported by such celebs as Barbara Windsor, Cilla Black and Miriam Margoyles.
For more information on breast cancer in women over 70, please visit
Would you like to get out and about? and help
your services get better?
Healthwatch are looking for people to become
Healthwatch Champions. As a Healthwatch
Champion, you would:
come to events with them and help them pass on their message;
help them gather people’s experiences of using health and social care
help them with time-limited projects and research.
You will be trained and supported.
Can you help? If you think you can, please contact the Champions’ Support Worker
for an application pack: Freephone (from landlines) 0808 178 9282; mobile (call or
text) 0755 105 2751; email email@example.com .
*Healthwatch Newcastle is all about helping people get the best out of their local
health and social care services – it’s about local voices improving local services.
See www.healthwatchnewcastle.org.uk .
Fuel Poverty – the facts
The National Energy Action have sent us some advice on how to prepare for winter.
They say that we are currently in the midst of a cold-homes crisis. Energy prices are
rising, incomes are dwindling, and some of our poorest households continue to live in
the most energy-inefficient housing. Many people will – right now – be contemplating
which household necessity they will do without this winter.
There are currently 2.4 million households in England suffering in fuel poverty. Fuel
poverty means that people are unable to afford to heat their homes to the level required
for comfort and wellbeing. It is caused by three factors: inadequate heating and
insulation, low incomes, and the increasingly high cost of energy. Improving energy
efficiency of a property can effectively ‘fuel-poverty-proof’ a home and can cut bills by
an average of 38%.
Fuel Poverty is most prevalent amongst vulnerable households including: those on low
incomes, people with children under the age of 16, people with disabilities or suffering
from a long-term illness, and older people. Millions of UK households are currently
facing difficult choices about where to spend their limited income: whether to spend it on
heating their home and possibly go into fuel debt or whether to reduce other household
spending such as money spent on food and other necessities.
How to help someone who is struggling to heat their home affordably:
Check availability of financial support to improve heating and home
Improving the energy efficiency of a property can make a big difference to fuel
bills. The Energy Saving Advice Service can provide information on how to make
a household more energy-efficient as well as advise on the availability of grants
and schemes to help meet the costs of improving home heating and insulation.
The energy saving advice service’s telephone number is 0300 1231234.
Check that the household is claiming their full benefit entitlement
A number of agencies provide advice and support in assessing whether a
household is claiming its full benefit entitlement. As well as increasing an
individual’s income, being on the correct benefits may also mean that they
become eligible for grants to assist with heating and insulating the home. You can
call the citizens advice helpline 08454 040506 to discuss your entitlement.
Ensure that the household is getting the best deal from their energy supplier
and look into switching suppliers
If you have been with the same supplier for a long time, you may find it beneficial
to check that you are on the cheapest tariff available or you may benefit from
switching supplier. The difference between the worst-case energy bills and the
Fuel Poverty – the facts
best deal in the market could be up to £300 per year. Citizens Advice provides
information on getting the best deal. See the advice guide on
www.adviceguide.org.uk or call the new national telephone advice service
08444 111 445.
For further advice on how to help householders you can download the ‘Warm Homes
for Older people’ guide from the NEA website http://www.nea.org.uk/policy-and-
research/publications/publications-2013/aaa-whfop-may13 and, to seek advice and
support on heating your home affordably, you can contact the Home Heat Helpline on
0800 33 66 99.
Paying too much for your energy?
Are you, or someone you know, worried about your fuel bills? Do you want to check if
you can get a better deal with another fuel supplier? If so, it’s easier than ever to choose
the best energy deal, especially as free access to a computer and help to find this
information on the internet is available from Newcastle City Council’s Customer Service
Centres and Libraries. You need to have your annual energy statement with you as it
shows your energy tariff and consumption. If you don't have your statement, contact
your energy supplier and they will provide a copy of it.
You can do one of the following:
1. Call in and use a computer by yourself at a library or Customer Service
Centre: Call in at a library or Customer Service Centre and ask to be shown a
computer to find your 'Energy Best Deal'. Please be aware that the libraries and
Customer Service Centres can be busy and you may have to wait for a computer
to become available. Links to the relevant contact details and opening hours are
on the following page of the City Council’s website: www.newcastle.gov.uk/ebd .
2. Book a session to use a computer with a member of staff at a library: Call
the City Library on phone 0191 277 4100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
and book a one-to-one internet taster session with a member of staff at a library of
your choice, stating that it is for an 'Energy Best Deal' session.
3. Book a computer to use by yourself at a library: Call the City Library on phone
0191 277 4100 or email email@example.com and book a computer to
use by yourself at a library of your choice.
Further information is available on the Newcastle City Council website at:
www.newcastle.gov.uk/ebd . This includes a website link to the price comparison sites
that are accredited by the Ofgem Confidence Code.
Try something old, learn something new …
Silver Active works with the over-50s in Newcastle providing activities,
learning and skills development to enhance participants’ health and well
Silver Active have a few activities on offer for March and April, all of which are free but
booking is essential. Contact Jo Linton 0777 616 2118 or e-mail
o Pottery session as part of their ‘Art through the Ages’
project will be held on the afternoon of Tuesday
o Cycling – Get back on ya
bike! Designed for people
who have not been on their
bikes for a while or those
who want to learn cycling
proficiency. Regain a bit of
confidence and receive the support you need. Two
progressive afternoon sessions starting from the cycle
Hub in the Ouseburn on Fridays 21st
and 28th. To give
the best support, the groups will be small – between 6
and 8 people; the first group will operate from 11.30 to
1.30 and the second group from 2 to 4. This activity has
been helped by funding from the Elders Council
“Staying Connected” scheme.
o Art through the Ages – A workshop, on the afternoon of Tuesday 8th
, led by an
archaeologist who will take you on a journey from Neolithic art to the present day.
Mainly a lecture with some hands-on art. Venue will be Holy Jesus Hospital,
o Roman Make do and Mend – A workshop, on the afternoon of Wednesday 23rd
led by an archaeologist; the workshop will look at how the Romans recycled, re-
used and re-invented items when nothing else was available to them. Venue will
be Holy Jesus Hospital, City Road.
Things to see …
Museum recreates matchday highs and lows
A North East Museum is going all black and white
with an exhibition charting the history of
Newcastle United Football Club and its loyal fan
The free Discovery Museum exhibition, which is to
be staged in partnership with Newcastle United
Foundation, opens to the public next month and
tracks the club from its humble origins in 1881
through today’s Premier League team. Fans will
get a taste of what it feels like to be a Newcastle
United star, with players’ tunnel and team
changing-room recreating the sights and sounds
of match day.
Hazel Edwards, Discovery Museum manager, said, “Newcastle United Football Club is
a huge part of the North East’s cultural, social and economic landscape and Toon
Times celebrates the very special relationship the club has with its fans. The exhibition
has something for all ages and will allow visitors to experience the excitement of match
day through a range of interactive elements.”
The exhibition will run from 8 February until 5 October.
Great North Museum Hancock Library
The Great North Museum Hancock Library contains a unique and fascinating collection.
The Library is free to use and anyone is welcome to make use of its collections, though
in order to borrow books you need to be a member of either the Natural History Society
of Northumbria (NHSN) or the library of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle Upon
Tyne (SANT), or be a student or staff member of Newcastle University.
During University term time the Library is open Monday-Friday from 10:00 to 4:00pm
and in University vacations it is open on the same days from 1:00 to 4:00pm
If you want further information about the Great North Museum: Hancock Library, please
visit the website at:
If you would like to arrange a guided tour of the library for a small group, please send an
email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone Ian Bower on 0191 222 3555.
He will be happy to make the arrangements.
Things to do …
Afternoon tea dance …
…and a dance lesson included! Just go
along to the Robert Stewart Memorial
church hall, Wingrove Road Fenham,
NE4 9BU on Tuesday 18 March and
Tuesday 29 April from 1.30 to 3.30; give
it a try or just listen to some music and
enjoy a cup of tea with friends.
Admission, including tea and biscuits:
For more information, contact Clare at
Search on 0191 273 7443.
and another one …
… will be held from 1.30 -3.30pm on Thursday 20 March at St Aidan’s Community
Centre. The entry cost is £2; please ring Allison on 0191 217 0092 to confirm your
The Newcastle Video Club is seeking new members. They’re looking for people
who are interested in video or still photography, script-writing, acting, speaking
commentaries, etc. They meet at West Denton Association, Hillhead Road, West
Denton, NE5 1DN on Tuesdays from 7 to 10pm. For further details, phone/text
0758 248 6082 or go to www.newcastleaca.co.uk
Exercise with Ease for the over-50s
Have fun and make new friends with Dorrie Stilgoe in this weekly class:
Cost: only £1.00 per session.
Venue: St John’s Church, Ferguson’s Lane, Benwell Village
(Buses 30, 31 and 38).
For more information, contact Search on 0191 273 7443.
Things to do …
Jesmond Community Festival is returning soon!
For anyone living in and around
Jesmond, one of the highlights
of the Spring is the annual
Jesmond Community Festival.
This year's Festival Parade will
be on Saturday 10 May, and
the whole of the festival
programme carries through
until Bank Holiday Monday,
26 May, with a fantastic
selection of free or low-cost
concerts, drama, poetry
readings, crafts and other
activities suitable for all ages.
More information on the full
programme can be found on
you can pick up a programme
from Jesmond Library and
numerous other locations.
The Elders Council is
involved in organising two of
the events: "Put a Spring in
Your Step", an afternoon of
fun and frivolity held annually
at the Central Newcastle
High School Junior
Department (this year on
Thursday 15 May); and "Fun
and Fitness for Over-Fifties",
which will this year be based
in Jesmond Dene on
Thursday 22 May (see details
on page 3).
*** Digital Deli ***
Information NOW is even more user friendly!
It’s fantastic to see how www.informationnow.org.uk has developed since it was
relaunched in 2013. We can see that many of you are now using mobile devices to visit
the website with an astounding 495% more visitors to Information NOW using mobile
phones, iPad and tablets to view the website and 55% more visitors using desktop
We are continuing to improve the website and have now installed software to make the
website even more accessible. And did you know that we have now installed the Recite
Me toolbar on the website? This means that you can change how Information NOW
looks and behaves to make it work better for you. You can now:
listen to the website as it's read aloud;
read and print the website in 52 different languages;
change the colour and contrast of the website;
increase the text size;
have words explained to you using the interactive dictionary;
change the font style;
and do much more!
Why not have a look at the new accessibility options today and see how it can work for
you? Visit www.informationnow.org.uk and click on the 'Show accessibility options'
button in the right-hand corner to reveal the new toolbar.
P.S. You don't have to download any software on your computer to use this as we're
using cloud-based technology. Choose the options you would like to try and just
*** Digital Deli ***
Using Skype or Facetime as a way to help overcome isolation
Skype and Facetime are ways of using your computer to be able to talk with people face
to face on the screen. All you need is a computer with a camera, which either comes
with the computer or can be bought separately. Once you’ve got the equipment, you
can get in touch with friends and family and actually see them as you converse – so
much better than just telephoning.
Unfortunately, the city’s libraries don’t yet have the facility to allow you to
skype/facetime people, but perhaps if enough of us ask, they might get the facility
installed. And if you’re not yet competent on the computer, don’t worry: our Newsletter
frequently has details of sessions that will help you. (See pg. 21)
One of our members wrote: “I introduced Skype to all the senior family members at the
maturing stage in their lives when they were all 65 plus years. None had any
competence with computers or tablets. However, such was the ease of contact that
Skype promised, that they were all quick to embrace and implement the idea. Skype is
also used by family members living in Newcastle as well as by my mother to keep in
term-time contact with her grandson. The video and voice-calling facilities now bring
them together on an almost daily basis for a morning or evening chat. Not only do they
see each other, but also the growing members of the extended family! They can even
see inside each other’s homes without having to move out of their comfortable seats!
So the point is that it is not always necessary to travel miles to be together. Although
my mother and I both live in Newcastle, I start and end the day with a Skype call to her
to help reduce any feeling of loneliness, especially in the short winter days.”
Our member finishes by
writing: “I suggest
therefore that we look into
ways that Skype or similar
service can be used to
connect all older members
of the community living
alone and not able to
move frequently outside
their homes.” What do
you think? Can we
embrace our “Staying
Connected” theme and get
our members skyping
*** Digital Deli ***
IT Classes Project
Students at Northumbria Students' Union have given up their valuable time to help older
people gain IT skills - and as a result over 150+ older people in Newcastle are much
more confident in using computers. Unfortunately due to student exams, sessions will
come to a close on Wednesday 2 April. So if you have never used a computer, or
simply want to use one a bit more with friendly help - the students are there to be that
The list of topics you might be interested in learning about is endless, so why not give
it a go and brush up on your skills?
Sessions run from 1 to 3pm every
Wednesday until 2nd
April at Northumbria
University Campus and are free of
charge. You don’t need to attend all
sessions: it’s entirely up to you whether you
attend one, some or all classes. You can
bring your own equipment (e.g., your iPad)
to the session if you’d find that easier.
If you are interested in attending, or want
further information, please either email
Anne Richardson on
telephone 0191 208 2701.
Being at the cutting edge
We have two world class Universities in the city and this means that we
have opportunities to get involved in a very wide range of weird and
wonderful research. Take your pick!
A researcher at the University of Newcastle is looking for volunteers aged over 45 to
help in the following research project.
To explore how spatial memory is represented in the brain.
To explore the underlying brain areas involved in spatial memory processes.
To explore how spatial memory changes as we age.
Duration: 1½-2hrs per visit. One or two visits.
Volunteer Criteria: Male or female aged over 45; must be right-handed, fluent in English
and have no history of psychiatric illness.
You will receive £20 for completing the study.
Times and days are flexible. The session will take place in the Wolfson Research
Centre on the Campus for Ageing & Vitality.
Contact: Yvonne Lai. at email@example.com or telephone 0191 208 1379.
The Clinical Ageing Research Unit (CARU) is looking for volunteers to participate in a
research study evaluating the benefits of two 6-week walking interventions.
Are you aged between 60 and 90 years?
Have you fallen in the last 6 months?
Would you be interested in participating in a walking study aimed at reducing your
further risk of falls and improving your walking and general health?
If you think that you, or someone you know, may be interested in participating or
would like further information, please contact:
Dr Lisa Alcock on 0191 248 1282 or email Lisa.Alcock@newcastle.ac.uk or
Dadirayi Mhiripiri on 0191 248 1283 or email Dadirayi.Mhiripiri@newcastle.ac.uk
he cutting edge
Being at the cutting edge
Development of a physical activity programme to improve
fitness and wellbeing before surgery
A chance to get fit and help
research along the way!
Older people are at greater risk of post-
operative complications and death after
major surgery than their younger
counterparts. Research has shown that
better fitness levels before surgery are
related to a quicker, improved recovery
after surgery. Unfortunately, many older
patients have been inactive for some time
and have poor fitness levels when they
are faced with surgery. Increasing activity
levels to improve fitness, even in the
short term, offers a realistic method of
allowing more patients to withstand the
stresses of major surgery, to improve
recovery and reduce the risk of
Researchers have performed some
initial research to improve fitness in older
people before surgery. Indeed they had
some major successes in the patients
who agreed to take part. The programme
was highlighted on national and local
television and on radio programmes.
However, there were many older patients
who did not agree to participate in the
programme. Many of the reasons given
were related to availability of suitable
facilities and travel issues. With VOICE
North’s help, researchers aim to develop
an acceptable and efficient programme
that will allow all those that need to
improve fitness before surgery to do so
So, if you’re over 65, relatively inactive
but able to undertake minimal-exertion
physical activity and have a named
Newcastle GP, why not volunteer? If you
qualify, you’ll get free exercise sessions
out of it!
The study is taking place from March
2014 and you’ll be asked to participate in
the study over a period of six weeks from
the date of the initial assessment.
Reasonable travel expenses (public
transport rate) will be covered.
To register your interest, ring Voice North on 0191 208 1144 or email
VOICENorth@ncl.ac.uk with your name, date of birth, e-mail address,
telephone number and post code. You will be sent further information
about this study and invited along to an information session to find out more.
Please feel free to pass this on to friends and relatives that you think would like to take
Spring Time Ahead
Cold frost, snow and heavy rain
Yes it’s time of Easter once again
It’s end of March then April fool
And no exception to the rule
Spring flowers somehow bulbs evolve
With lots more sun will surely resolve
As to whether seasons are three or four
Though winter is still knocking at the door
Wildlife mostly in hibernation mode
No sign of spawn or frog or toad
Fox still out on his strategic search
As crow, magpie, pigeon sit upon their perch
Robin surveys his wide territory
Though this could be another story
Wildlife is out but as to where
No sign of rabbits or boxing hare
Fruit buds are showing awaiting sun
As an early summer crops can be won
Pools are full but no one at home
Perhaps a sign from garden gnome
Life goes on beneath the land
As nature is always in command
In this mysterious world of seasons
There may be many different reasons
As to why or not seeds will grow
It’s left to nature we all know
Life has many secrets on planet earth
We all know from time of birth
Know Your City No. 2
Where is this Sculpture?
If yours is the first correct answer to be drawn out
of a hat on 23 April you will receive a £10 Eldon
Letters and emails only, please: no telephone
answers. Contact details on back page of this
The answer to the photo quiz in issue 57 was the
Vampire Rabbit, above a doorway on an office
block Behind St Nicholas’s Cathedral. The
winners of our £10 vouchers were Isabel Jopling
and Valerie Ingoe.
Donations and Gift Aid
Could you please help by making a Gift Aid donation to help cover the costs of the
production of the Newsletter?
PLEASE HELP THE ELDERS COUNCIL TO CONTINUE ITS WORK
I wish to donate £7.50 [ ] £15 [ ] £30 [ ] Other [£ ] to the Elders Council of Newcastle
and enclose a cheque for that amount. Please send to Elders Council office (address
details on page 28).
Please tick if you require a receipt (√).....
Anne Richardson – A Tribute
Of her many talents we’re all aware
Her striking blue eyes and pretty blonde hair
You’ll always get a friendly greeting
As she minute-takes at every meeting
With speed she’ll serve you a drink
This always helps to make you think.
I’ve known this lass for quite a while
She’ll always meet you with a smile
If you have anything to add
She’ll be ready with pen and pad
Her jobs are done in a quiet manner
As well as being an expert planner
Her work she does without a fuss
SO THANK YOU ANNE FROM ALL OF US!
By an Elders Council member
Donations and Gift Aid
If you would like us to claim Gift Aid relief (so that we can claim back money from
the Treasury), please complete the relevant boxes below:
Charity: The Elders Council of Newcastle Ltd.
I confirm I have paid or will pay an amount of Income Tax at least equal to the
Amount of tax that the charity will reclaim on my gifts.
I confirm that this donation and all previous and future gifts of money to the Elders
Council should be treated as Gift Aid donations.
Please notify us if you wish to cancel this declaration.
In the last few months there has been much publicity and discussion around the
increased use of accident and emergency departments in hospitals, very often for
conditions which can be easily treated in the GP's surgery.
Some areas of the city have Walk-in Centres, which are intended as an easy-access
alternative to A&E or the GP surgery. In some areas of the city (e.g., Gosforth) there is
no easily accessible Walk-in Centre, so patients would naturally access A&E at the RVI.
I think that a better idea would be to close down the Walk-in Centres and use the
funding to improve access and services at local GP surgeries.
What do Elders Council members think of this idea? Please let us know.
Thank you for sending me your impressive newsletter. I'm knocked out by the quality
and level of information. The inclusion of the piece on Dignity Action
Day is appreciated.
(National Pensioners Convention)
Thanks to the Elders Council for letting me know about the get-
together at The Mile Castle in January. I had an interesting time. I
met some lovely people and some old friends. Also Mary, our Chair,
devised an interesting quiz which got our little grey cells activated and got the whole
room chin wagging! The provision of hot drinks was thoughtful and a few people took
advantage of the varied menu. All in all a very successful event! Thanks to all those
Editors’ note: These get-togethers at the Mile Castle, which is on the corner of
Westgate Road and Grainger Street take place on the third Wednesday of every
month; so that’s 10.30 on Wednesday 19 February, 19 March, 16 April, 21 May,
18 June and 17 July. All Elders Council members are welcome to come along – and
bring a friend.
If you would like to submit an article to be considered for the May/June 2014 edition of
the Newsletter, will you please ensure that you forward it before Thursday 17 April.
Newsletter in other formats
We can make our Newsletter available in alternative formats (e.g. in larger print or
audio tape). To request information please contact the office.
Electronic Version of the Newsletter
It costs about £1.20 per member to send out this newsletter, so would you be willing to
have the newsletter sent to you electronically? If you would, it would save a lot of
money every year. So please sign up for this service now by emailing
firstname.lastname@example.org, please put “E-mail newsletter” in the subject box.
Advantages to signing up for this service include receiving the Newsletter at least
14 days sooner than you would normally receive it via the post; getting earlier notice of
events happening throughout the city; and seeing the various images in colour.
What are you waiting for?
Elders Council of Newcastle
Room 2.38, 2nd
Floor, Biomedical Research Building
Campus for Ageing and Research
Nuns Moor Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel. 0191 208 2701 Fax. 0191 208 2705
Registered Charity No. 1122424