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Elder City Council of Newcastle Newsletter March-April 2014

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Elder City Council of Newcastle Newsletter March-April 2014

  1. 1. 1 People often ask, “What does the Elders’ Council do?” Well, here are just some examples of what is happening at the moment. Staying Connected 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 symbol throughout the Newsletter to find various social activities. Why not join in the fun? Bridging the Gaps Jesmond Throckley Staying Connected This was the original programme where we worked at keeping people from becoming lonely or isolated. There were some funds attached for this. Two areas were chosen to take work forward. In Jesmond the Elders Council worked with the Community Library and produced a series of activities available to older people in the library at Jesmond. In Throckley a small action group was formed. From this they are going to have a "Come and Join Us" event in April, when older people will be able to see what's there and have a "Taste". This is where we gave small awards to help groups develop new activities; refresh, renew or innovate!
  2. 2. 2 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 may have! 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!
  3. 3. 3 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 installation of exercise equipment for adults alongside play equipment for children. With assistance from the Active Ageing budget, 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 date: 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 picture ‘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 his support!
  4. 4. 4 Elders Council at work Transport and Highways Working Group Two subjects still dominate our Transport Working Group agenda at the moment. Central Station Work is still progressing on the first two stages of development at the Central Station. 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 end. 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 Quality Contracts 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
  5. 5. 5 Elders Council at work Quality Contracts. However, the Bus Operators favour the Voluntary Partnership and are strongly promoting it. If you have any views on either proposal, please contact your local councillors and let them know well in advance of the meeting. 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 operation. 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 items. NHS Campaign ‘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). Staying Connected 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).
  6. 6. 6 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 public facilities. 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 . We’d love to hear from you.
  7. 7. 7 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 groups.  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 discussed.
  8. 8. 8 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: Website: Email:
  9. 9. 9 Report Grandparental leave? 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.
  10. 10. 10 . Health Information. 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 or container;  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 and on Twitter @NHSmymedicines . 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.
  11. 11. 11 Health Information. 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 25 years. Their services include:  Adult Inpatient Unit  Day Hospice  Children and Young Adult short break service  Complementary Therapy  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy  Carers support  Lymphoedema Service 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.
  12. 12. 12 Health Information. 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 Help Healthwatch 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 services;  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 . *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 .
  13. 13. 13 Information. 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 insulation. 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
  14. 14. 14 Information. 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 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 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: . 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 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 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: . This includes a website link to the price comparison sites that are accredited by the Ofgem Confidence Code.
  15. 15. 15 Try something old, learn something new … Silver Active Silver Active works with the over-50s in Newcastle providing activities, learning and skills development to enhance participants’ health and well being. 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 . March: o Pottery session as part of their ‘Art through the Ages’ project will be held on the afternoon of Tuesday 25th. 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. April: 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, City Road. 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.
  16. 16. 16 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 base. 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, or telephone Ian Bower on 0191 222 3555. He will be happy to make the arrangements.
  17. 17. 17 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: £1.50. 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 attendance. Video club 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 Exercise with Ease for the over-50s Have fun and make new friends with Dorrie Stilgoe in this weekly class: Wednesdays 1.30-2.30pm. 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.
  18. 18. 18 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 or 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).
  19. 19. 19 *** Digital Deli *** Information NOW is even more user friendly! It’s fantastic to see how 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 computers! 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 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 explore!
  20. 20. 20 *** Digital Deli *** Using Skype or Facetime as a way to help overcome isolation and loneliness 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 each other?
  21. 21. 21 *** 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 help. 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 or telephone 0191 208 2701.
  22. 22. 22 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. Aim:  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 or telephone 0191 208 1379. Falls 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 or Dadirayi Mhiripiri on 0191 248 1283 or email
  23. 23. 23 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 complications. 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 easily. 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 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 part.
  24. 24. 24 Poetry 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 John Reid
  25. 25. 25 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 Square voucher. Letters and emails only, please: no telephone answers. Contact details on back page of this newsletter 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). Name: Address: Postcode: Please tick if you require a receipt (√).....
  26. 26. 26 Poetry 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. Thank you.
  27. 27. 27 Correspondence Dear Editor, 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. Yours truly, Anita Davies. Dear Editor, 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. Yours truly, Pat McCarthy (National Pensioners Convention) Dear Editor 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 involved. Jo Shaw 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.
  28. 28. 28 Newsletter Information Newsletter Articles 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, 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? Contact Details Elders Council of Newcastle Room 2.38, 2nd Floor, Biomedical Research Building Campus for Ageing and Research Nuns Moor Road Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 5PL Tel. 0191 208 2701 Fax. 0191 208 2705 Email: Website: Registered Charity No. 1122424