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Benefits for People with Diabetes

Simply having diabetes does not necessarily entitle people to benefits but the complications of diabetes may make some things in daily life more difficult and this may mean an entitlement to benefits.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP has replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults and applies to people between the ages of 16 and 64.  It is to help with long-term ill health or disability.  If you have diabetes and have difficulty looking after yourself or managing your medicines, you may be eligible for PIP.  There is a daily living component and a mobility component and whether you are given PIP and which components is decided after you have made an application and been assessed.  In applying you will need to explain the impact of your diabetes on your daily living.

Attendance Allowance

This is an allowance granted to people over 65 who have a physical or mental disability and need help to care for themselves, such as people with diabetes who have disabling complications.  Once you have applied for this allowance, you may also have to attend a medical assessment.  If you receive an Attendance Allowance, you may also be able to get extra Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or a reduction in Council Tax.

Carer’s Allowance

If you require a significant amount of care, the person caring for you may be eligible for this allowance.  The carer has to be over 16 and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for you.  In addition, if the carer is working, from April 2017 they must not earn more than £116 a week and you must be receiving PIP, DLA (middle or highest carer rate) or Attendance Allowance.  Note: People may not be able to receive Carer’s Allowance if they receive other benefits but equally, they may be entitled to an increase in other benefits they are receiving.  However, this can also reduce other benefits so it is worth seeking advice, such as from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

For further information go to GOV.UK


Are you a Good Listener?

Listening Link is a volunteer telephone support service for carers, run by Newcastle Carers.  Newcastle Carers are looking for volunteers who would be able to provide support and encouragement to a carer by phoning them once a week and offering a listening ear.

Speaking to a volunteer offers carers a chance to share their worries or concerns, providing support and encouragement so that they feel less alone.  Being a carer can feel very isolating.  A friendly voice on the other end of the phone can make a huge difference.

If you are interested in volunteering for this important role, please contact Alison Neill for more information on 0191 275 5060 or at  The Newcastle Carers website can be accessed here.


Would you like to help medical students get a good bedside manner?

Part of the course for medics at Newcastle University is to practise their clinical skills on real people.  They examine your reflexes, muscular strength etc.

The people who volunteer for this say that it’s really worthwhile, and the students really appreciate it.

If you’re interested, please ring John Higgins on 0191 208 6965, or email him at


Lip  Reading Course

Deaflink are working with the Workers Educational Association to run a lip-reading course for people with an acquired hearing loss.  The course lasts for 11 weeks (Wednesday afternoons 1.30 – 3.30 pm), starting on Wednesday 13th September.

There are currently no places left on this course, but for further information on possible future courses please ring 0191 212 6100.


Independent Age – Free Friendship Service for Older People

Loneliness is a growing problem for older people.  Over one million older people say that they are always or often feel lonely.

Good company and conversation is enjoyable and important for our wellbeing.  A regular telephone call or visit from one of Independent Age’s volunteers can make all the difference.  It provides the chance to have a regular chat with someone friendly and trustworthy.

Their volunteers are people who enjoy listening, talking and getting to know people.  They are trained by Independent Age and have the checks you would expect.   The first step is for the older person or representative to call Independent Age. They will discuss  your needs and preferences, and then together will work out what would work best for you.

For more information about their services on Tyneside, please call Harriet or Kay on 0191 731 4000, email,  or visit their website here.


Give As You Live

A FREE way to raise money for charity when you shop online.

Did you know that Newcastle Disability Forum is registered with Give As You Live?  If you shop online at selected stores (over 4200 leading stores), a proportion of the cost of your purchase can be donated to your selected charity, at no extra cost to yourself.

For further information, and to register, please click here to access the Give As You Live website.


My Guide – Friends and Family Training in Newcastle

Help people with sight loss get out and about.

The next My Guide – Friends and Family training sessions will take place in the Guide Dogs office in Newcastle on Friday 17th November 2017.

 These sessions are designed for individuals with sight loss to bring their friends and family to an informal setting where they can learn how to safely and confidently guide the person.  The session is fun and relaxed, lasting approximately 2 hours in length.  Places are limited; for further details, or to book a place, please call Mike Dooley on 0345 143 0220.


Newcastle Carers Survey 2016

Results of the above survey of adults caring for adults, run by Newcastle City Council, have been published.  The results are summarised below; please go to the foot of this article to access the full findings.

What people thought about care

45% of carers were extremely or very satisfied with either their own care and support services, or those provided to the person they care for. 32% were quite satisfied. The majority of people who had had discussions about services they or the person they care for received said that they were always or usually involved in these discussions.

The quality of information and advice

The majority of carers who had tried to find information said that it was easy to find, and nearly all said that it was quite helpful. However, we are aware that some people found getting hold of information difficult, and we will look at possible ways to make this easier.

Carers’ quality of life

We found that most carers had few or no worries about their personal safety or ability to take care of themselves. The issues that many carers said were important to them were being able to spend their time the way they wanted, having enough control over their daily lives, and having enough social contact with others.

Changes since 2012 and 2014

This survey first ran four years ago, in October 2012, and again in October 2014. There have been relatively few changes in people’s responses since then. Changes which have occurred are:

· There has been a decrease in carers replying that they are very or extremely satisfied overall with care and support services since 2012, from 53% to 45% in 2014 and 2016.

· Fewer carers say that they can spend their time as they want, doing things they value or enjoy, or that they do not have enough social contact with others.

· In 2012, 70% of carers in the survey had not heard of a Carers Emergency card. In 2016, this percentage was 76%.

Next Steps

The main issues that emerged from the survey related to whether carers felt they had enough control over their lives, and enough social contact with other people. We also found that many people had not heard of the Carers Emergency Card.

The full findings of the survey can be found on the Newcastle City Council website, and can be accessed here

Free Computer Training for Newcastle Residents

Newcastle City Library is delighted to announce that due to popular demand they have scheduled even more courses to help Newcastle residents to get online, dates have now been released for courses running up to December 2017.

 Please see below a brief description of the courses and instructions as to how residents can book a place.

 Booking instructions for all courses (except Get Online Champions training)

For more information and/or to book a place on any of these courses go to the Newcastle City Libraries Eventbrite page or call 0191 277 4100. Bookings require an email address, if the customer doesn’t have one just advise them to use and their E-ticket will be posted to them.

Learn My Way, Basic Computer Training

This is a brilliant course supporting people to develop basic computer skills which will help them to understand how to access and use the internet. Learners will develop their confidence in using a computer, learn how to send an email, search the internet for information and attach their CV to emails. we can also accommodate learners who have some knowledge and want to upskill themselves.

All of these courses are free and run at the City Library, over 2 sessions (two and a half hour per session, always on a Thursday morning 10.30 – 1.00pm) expenses of £4.00 will be paid on production of a valid day travel ticket.

One to one support is given to each attendee this extra service has proven invaluable to customers who are nervous or have a barrier to learning.
Time, 10.30 – 1.00pm – Venue Newcastle City Library

Techy Tea Party

These informal sessions are for customers who have a tablet, iPad or smartphone that they want to get more out of. Or for those who are interested in getting one but would like to have a practice first. Topics covered include basic settings, how to secure their device, general navigation and downloading apps. The sessions take place on the second and last Thursday of every month at the City Library, 2.00 – 3.30pm. Customers can book themselves a place on a date and time that suits them. [Please note: If your customers have an iPad they will need to bring their  Apple ID; if they have a tablet they will need their email address and password].

Basic Computing and Money Online (starting 27/09/17)

This is a new course aimed at those who want to gain basic computer skills as wells as learn about online tools and services that could help them save money. Email addresses will be set up for those who don’t have one. Participants will also be shown how to set their rent account up online (YHN tenants only) and also their NCC My Account (all), which will give them access to their online Council Tax and Housing Benefit Accounts. The course will run as a single session on a Wednesday each week, participants need only attend once for two and a half hours, places must be booked. On receipt of a valid day travel ticket £4.00 expenses will be paid. One to one support is given to each attendee this extra service has proven invaluable to customers who are nervous or have a barrier to learning.


Telephone Package for Low Income Users

We have found out via the InfoSound cd that BT offer a basic telephone package for low income users.  BT Basic is marketed as a simple low-cost phone service that is easy to understand and helps you to keep in touch if you are on specific low-income Government benefits.
For more information you can phone 0800 800 864 between 8 am and 6 pm weekdays or by visiting the BT website here

Do you like going to the cinema?

If you like going to the cinema, and receive a disability benefit, or are registered blind, you may be entitled to use a CEA Card.  For an administration charge of £6 per year, you would pay for your ticket, but your card would allow your carer to go with you free of charge (ie 2 for the price of 1).  The card might also be valid for visits to the theatre or concert hall.
For further information please phone 0344 967 0101 weekdays between 9 am and 4.30 pm or visit the CEA Card website, which can be accessed by clicking here

Do you have Type 2 Diabetes?  Read on…

Diabetes Wellness News have highlighted a report which suggests that older people with type 2 diabetes are being ‘over-prescribed’ medication to help control the condition.  The research team from Leicester Diabetes Centre, based at the University of Leicester, discovered that potential over-treatment with sulfonylurea and insulin therapies was ‘common’ in people aged 70 or over.
A summary of the report, and the full report, is available here

DNEX 2017 Exhibition – The Annual Exhibition of Disability North

Disability North is holding the North’s largest Independent Living Exhibition at Newcastle Racecourse on Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th September 2017.  DNEX is a free event and provides the opportunity for an informative day out.
For more information about DNEX 2017, please click here to access information from the Disability North website.

Reading Well – helpful books at your local library for people with long term conditions

Newcastle Libraries is supporting a new scheme, launched in July 2017 by Reading Well, to support people living with long term conditions.  The list of 28 books includes health information, memoirs and self management titles covering conditions such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease, as well as fatigue, pain, wellbeing and sleep problems.  A full list of titles can be found here
The books are available to borrow for free from the City, Cruddas Park, Denton Burn, East End, Fenham, Gosforth, Kenton, Outer West and West End libraries.

How to Make your Home Safer for Loved Ones with Alzheimers/Dementia

We have been contacted by a lady in America who has brought to our attention a website which is full of tips to make your home safer for loved ones with Alzheimers or Dementia.
If you would like to access the website, it can be found here.

Women and Diabetes

 This is the theme for this year’s World Diabetes Day on 14 November 2017.
The event will this year promote the importance of affordable and equitable access for all women at risk of developing, or living with diabetes to essential diabetes medicines and technologies, self-management education and information.

The event will also focus on meeting the best outcomes for people with diabetes, while also looking to prevent future cases of type 2 diabetes. (Click here for an animated film on how to make healthy lifestyle changes when at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.)

The slogan for this year’s World Diabetes Day is “Our right to a healthy future”

The above information is taken from the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation website; more information can be found on their website.

Travel and Insurance Companies Specialising in Disabled People and their Carers

It can sometimes be difficult to find holiday insurance to cover a disability or long-term chronic illness.  Here are some organisations which might be of use.
Travel Companies:
Revitalise – respite holidays for disabled people and carers – email:; – 0303 303 0145
Insurance Companies:
British Heart Foundation – head office – 01372 477 300
Medical Conditions
Free Spirit Insurance – – 08452 302 000
Tysers Insurance – –  01268 6284 361
Make Sure Insurance – – 0870 1566 679
Stay Sure Insurance –
Maggies have an excellent information sheets on travel insurance for those with or who have had cancer.
Over 50

Why not have a go at a Sport?

Do you have a disability or a mental health condition?  Would you like to try out one of the sports listed below in the North East and be given some training in it?  Why not start by having a look at this You Tube clip ?
The sports on offer are: Cycling, Archery, Ten Pin Bowling, Judo, Table Tennis, Football, Swimming, Powerlifting, Athletics and Boccia.
The training is provided by Special Olympics Gateshead Tyne & Wear, a local registered charity, and takes place in various venues around the North East.
For more information, please contact Keith Hogan on 0191 433 2455 or email

Diabetes Wellness Day North

The 2017 Diabetes Wellness Day North will take place at Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience, County Durham on Saturday 4th November (which is also World Diabetes Day) from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm.  There is a registration fee of £5 per person to cover costs.
The Diabetes Wellness Days bring together a wealth of information under one roof for people living with all forms of diabetes.  Family members, friends and carers and those with an interest in diabetes are also encouraged to take part.
Further information can be found here (although the website indicates that ticket sales have ended, there may be the possibility of a cancellation).

Tyne and Wear Metro ‘I Need a Seat’ badges

In tandem with Nexus launching its Baby on Board badges to help pregnant women get a seat when they need it, they are also introducing an ‘I Need a Seat’ badge for people less able to stand, including those with a disability, elderly people, injured people, or people with hidden disabilities and conditions.
The badges, which also come as keyrings, are available from all Nexus Travel Shops.

Newcastle Shopmobility

Did you know that wheelchair and scooter provision is available in the heart of the city for only £25 per year (including free parking space)?
Newcastle Shopmobility provides mobility equipment for use within Newcastle City Centre.  The service is based at Eldon Garden Shopping Centre.  You do not have to be registered disabled to use the equipment – it is available to all who would benefit from mobility assistance.  The annual charge of £25 gives unlimited access to the service and to the dedicated parking available on Level 4 of Eldon Garden multi storey car park.
Opening hours are Monday to Saturday 9.30 am to 5 pm (not open bank holidays).
More details can be found by clicking this link: Newcastle Shopmobility or by phone at 0191 261 6176.

Do you have a Motability vehicle?  Do you know what is covered by the Motability insurance?

If you have a Motability vehicle, you may not be aware of what is covered, and more importantly what is not covered, by the Motability insurance.
More information can be found by clicking on the link to the relevant page on the Motability website .
It has been brought to our attention that mobility scooters, wheelchairs and other equipment are not always covered by standard motor and/or household insurance; it may pay you to check whether you have adequate cover.

 SHHH! Self Help Support Group for Hard of Hearing and Deafblind people

Deaflink is advertising a monthly self help support group for hard of hearing and deafblind members at St Andrew’s Church ground floor cafe (opposite NEXT and Eldon Square), Newgate Street, Newcastle NE1 5SS from 1.30-3.30pm on the first Tuesday of every month.

The group invites external speakers to present on topics linked to hearing loss and support services.

For more information, please contact Deaflink:

Minicom/Phone: 0191 281 2314

Text: 0789 732 9359



 Wheelchair Accessible Taxis

We have recently added on our website a list of local taxi firms which have wheelchair accessible vehicles within their fleet.  This can be found by clicking on ‘Useful Links’, then ‘Research’ on our homepage.


Warm Home Discount Scheme

You may be entitled to £140 off your electricity bill this winter.

You qualify for the discount if on 10 July 2016 all of the following applied:

  • your electricity supplier was part of the scheme
  • your name (or your partner’s) was on the bill
  • you were getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit as well)

Further details can be found on the website


The Golden Guide 2017

This is a new free handbook for over 50s full of details on all aspects of life.  (NDF provided information for the original version of the handbook.)  The handbook is available in libraries, GP surgeries and various other outlets, and can also be accessed online at Golden Guide 2016, or by post (phone 0191 386 5918).


Credit Unions

We found an easy to read article on credit unions in the September-October 2016 edition of the Elders Council of Newcastle newsletter.  Whether you are a potential saver, or whether you would benefit from a loan from a credit union, this could be the way into finding out more.  Just click on the Elders Council newsletter September-October 2016 and turn to page 17.

Protect Yourself from Scams

The following Rica blog post provides practical advice on how to recognise scams, how to protect yourself, and where to report scams if you’ve been affected. Just click on the following for more information: Protect yourself from scams

Ostara (formerly Community Care Alarm Service) 24-hour response and support

There’s a very informative article on the above on page 20 of the Elders Council of Newcastle newsletter, May-June 2016 edition. The newsletter can be found at: Elders Council newsletter May-June 2016

 Using your Bus Pass for a day out

Did you know that you can use your bus pass to enjoy a day out?  For more information, please see the article on page 4 of the Elders Council of Newcastle newsletter, May-June 2016 edition. The newsletter can be found at: Elders Council newsletter May-June 2016

Become a Mystery Shopper through Rica

Have you ever thought about being a mystery shopper with special reference to disability goods?  One of our members has recently been involved with this.  If you think you may be interested in carrying out this valuable service, please see the report at Rica Mystery Shopper