Latest News


  1. The Link between Alcoholism and Dementia
  2. Financial Planning for Seniors with Special Needs
  3. Safety Checklist for Wheelchair Users
  4. Street Zero Launches in Newcastle
  5. History of Tyneside Cinema
  6. Newcastle Civic Centre Access
  7. Are you a carer?
  8. Studying in the UK as a Student with Disabilities
  9. Tea for Twenty-Two
  10. Tinnitus Support Group
  11. The Golden Guide 2018
  12. InDependent Diabetes Trust – June 2018 Newsletter
  13. The Pool of Sound in Byker
  14. Information on Cerebral Palsy
  15. Patient Information Forum (PIF)
  16. Dementia Awareness Week – Poem
  17. Travelling Abroad with a Disability
  18. Routine Screening Provided by Public Health England
  19. Problems Reading the Scrolling Display in Your Surgery?
  20. London North Eastern Railway – Journey Care
  21. Utility Priority Services for Disabled and Vulnerable People
  22. Do you have a Health Condition which Affects your Driving
  23. Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
  24. Talking About Dying
  25. Personal Independence Payments (PIP) Support
  26. Donate Online Now
  27. Ben’s Story
  28. Give As You Live – Janice’s Story
  29. Severe Mental Impairment Discount on Council Tax
  30. Independent Age – Free Friendship Service for Older People
  31. My Guide – Friends and Family Training in Newcastle
  32. Telephone Package for Low Income Users
  33. Do you like going to the Cinema
  34. Reading Well – helpful books at your local library for people with long term conditions
  35. Travel and Insurance Companies Specialising in Disabled People and their Carers
  36. Newcastle Shopmobility
  37. Do you have a Motability vehicle? Do you know what is covered by the Motability insurance?
  38. SHHH! Self Help Support Group for Hard of Hearing and Deafblind people
  39. Warm Home Discount Scheme
  40. Credit Unions
  41. Protect Yourself from Scams


The Link between Alcoholism and Dementia

The following article, which has been forwarded to NDF, looks at links between alcoholism and dementia.  It can be accessed at the following link: Link between alcoholism and dementia



Financial Planning for Seniors with Special Needs

We have been sent a link to a website which addresses concerns regarding financial planning for seniors with special needs.  This is an American site, with information tailored to American citizens, but it may provide food for thought for our readers in the UK.  If you know of an equivalent site for UK users, we would be happy to hear from you; our email address is

Please click on the following link to access the website: Financial Planning for Seniors with Special Needs



Safety Checklist for Wheelchair Users

We have been sent a link to a guide on safety considerations and helpful hints for wheelchair users in and out of the home.  The guide offers plenty of valuable information including:

  • Understanding areas of most concern or particular difficulties frequently experienced by wheelchair users in their own homes;
  • A comprehensive checklist, which includes standards and recommendations covering all areas of the home and aimed at improving  the overall comfort and safety for those in a wheelchair;
  • Tips and advice on basic wheelchair checks and the importance of regular maintenance;
  • Advice on manoeuvring, both inside the house as well as in outside areas and access points, to prevent injuries and accidents;
  • Other helpful resources, downloads and further information to help maintain a safe and wheelchair-friendly home environment.

The guide can be found at Home Safety Checklist for Wheelchair Users ; do let us know if you find this useful.



Street Zero Launches in Newcastle

Street Zero is an innovative partnership which aims to end rough sleeping on the city’s streets.  For further information please visit the Street Zero website.



History of the Tyneside Cinema                                                                                     

Earlier this month, we enjoyed a light lunch followed by a film and talk on the History of the Tyneside Cinema at the latest meeting of Tea for Twenty-Two, funded by the National Lottery.  A repeat performance can be arranged if anybody is interested; please contact us on 0191 284 0480 or email



Newcastle Civic Centre Access

One of our members recently experienced access problems when attending a wedding at Newcastle Civic Centre.  When  the council was approached, a representative from the Civic Centre sent the following email which contains useful information:

‘Further to our phone conversations, please find attached and below the information you requested for your website.

‘There are currently three points of access for visitors to the Civic Centre.  All three entrances are accessible and I have provided further details in the attached document.  I have also attached a map showing all access points.  [Editor’s note: we are enquiring whether these documents are available on the internet so that we can add links to the documents.]

‘As you know there is building work taking place around the Civic Centre and the block where the Register Office used to be located is completely closed off to visitors.  To ensure the health and safety of visitors and staff while the work is taking place the constructors have erected a hoarding around this block and for the length of Ceremonial Way.  The hoarding has been painted green but in order to make it more attractive the contractors will be covering it with some scenic illustrations.  Once they are in place our building management team will ensure that directional signage is erected at the relevant points.

‘In addition, all of our brides and grooms are provided with details of parking and access arrangements prior to their ceremony and hopefully they will share this information with their guests in advance of their big day.’

The representative then explains why the confusion occurred in this specific instance, and finishes with the following information:

‘I can confirm that the Civic Centre has two wheelchairs available for public use.  However there is an expectation that anyone requesting the use of a wheelchair will have a companion who can escort them.  Wheelchairs are located at the Grand Entrance and at Main Reception – anyone wishing to use a wheelchair should ask the relevant reception staff.’



Are you a Carer? – Information NOW Special edition

The latest copy of Information NOW is dedicated to information for carers.  The publication can be found here: Information NOW: Carers special and contains the following sections:

  • Do you think you are a carer?
  • Help and support available – Newcastle Carers announce details of their new services
  • Looking after your wellbeing
  • Carers support
  • Housing and adaptations
  • Managing someone else’s affairs
  • #We Care Too
  • Opportunities to get involved

We hope you find some useful information here.



Studying in the UK as a Student with Disabilities

If you are a student with a disability, you may find information in the following link useful: Studying in the UK as a student with disabilities

The writer affirms that in the UK there is no reason for disabled students not to pursue higher education.  Each university in the UK has an office for disabled students.  There is information on your rights as a disabled student, on adjustments which you can expect the university to make, and on scholarships and loans.



Tea for Twenty-Two

Thanks to a grant from Awards for All, Newcastle Disability Forum are holding tea/coffee and chat sessions, with occasional bookable trips out for afternoon tea or lunch.  Watch this space for more details or telephone the Forum on 0191 284 0480 (option 4) or email



Tinnitus Support Group

Deaflink host a Tinnitus support group once a month (the next to last Thursday each month, 1 pm to 2.30 pm).  The group offers a friendly welcome, and meets at Deaflink, 11 Tankerville Place, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 3AT. For further information, please contact Louise Borrell on 0191 281 2314 or at



The Golden Guide 2018

This is a 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 2018, or by post (phone 0191 386 5918).



InDependent Diabetes Trust – June 2018 Newsletter

The InDependent Diabetes Trust are an organisation for people living with diabetes run by people with diabetes.  They raise awareness of important issues for people with diabetes and provide information in non-medical language.  Included on the trust’s website is an informative newsletter; please see below to give you a flavour of the articles in the latest newsletter.  The publication can be accessed by clicking on the following link: IDDT Newsletter June 2018 .

  • page 3 FreeStyle Libre update.
  • page 4 Type 3c Diabetes being misdiagnosed.
  • page 6 Holiday tips.
  • page 7 Five categories of diabetes.
  • page 8 More about blood pressure.
  • page 14 Diabetes UK surveys
  • page 17 From our own correspondents – interesting letters from readers.
  • page 13 Heart attacks and sexual activity – doctors need to talk.



The Pool of Sound in Byker

Do you currently support someone with a learning disability who enjoys music, singing, performing, playing instruments?

The Pool of Sound is a specialist music project based in Byker Community Centre which provides music activities for a wide spectrum of people with learning disabilities. 

They currently have some space free across our various one to one studio/group/Drop in Band music sessions.

Contact the Pool of Sound on 0191 265 9341 for a FREE taster session.



Information on Cerebral Palsy

If you would like to know anything about cerebral palsy – from types of cerebral palsy, its symptoms, its treatments, support with education and work, access to support groups etc. – you may find the following website useful.  The information is provided by a law practice, so also contains information on cerebral palsy legal issues.  Click here to access the site.



Patient Information Forum (PIF)

We have received an email from the Patient Information Forum announcing the publication of a report which has explored how healthcare services can develop a Perfect Patient Information Journey.  The PIF is the UK membership organisation and network for people working in, and involved with, healthcare information and support.  For more information please visit their website by clicking here.



Dementia Awareness Week – Poem

The following poem has been forwarded to us – it sums up a lot of the things we can do and how we can be with people who live with Dementia:

When I wander

don’t tell me to come and sit down.

Wander with me.

It may be because I am hungry, thirsty, need the toilet.

Or maybe I just need to stretch my legs.


When I call for my mother

(even though I’m ninety!)

Don’t tell me she has died.

Reassure me, cuddle me, ask me about her.

It may be that I am looking for the security

that my mother once gave me.


When I shout out

please don’t ask me to be quiet…or walk by.

I am trying to tell you something,

but have difficulty in telling you what.

Be patient. Try to find out.

I may be in pain.


When I become agitated or appear angry,

please don’t reach for the drugs first.

I am trying to tell you something.

It may be too hot, too bright, too noisy.

Or maybe it’s because I miss my loved ones.

Try to find out first.


When I don’t eat my dinner or drink my tea

it may be because I’ve forgotten how to.

Show me what to do, remind me.

It may be that I just need to hold my knife and fork

I may know what to do then.


When I push you away

while you’re trying to help me wash or get dressed,

maybe it’s because I have forgotten what you have said.

Keep telling me what you are doing

over and over and over.

Maybe others will think

you’re the one that needs the help!

With all my thoughts and maybes,

perhaps it will be you

who reaches my thoughts,

understands my fears,

and will make me feel safe.


Maybe it will be you

who I need to thank.

If only I knew how.


By Norman McNamara



Travelling Abroad with a Disability

If you are considering travelling abroad, the following website offers a multitude of useful tips, under the following headings:

  • Introduction to Travelling with a Medical Condition
  • Travelling Abroad with a Disability
  • Tips for Travelling with a Medical Condition
  • Guide to Travelling with Certain Medical Conditions
  • Useful Links & Further Information

There is a link on the website to travel insurance, which you might want to investigate.

We would like to know if you find this, or indeed other, travel websites useful.

You can access the website by clicking here: The Essential Guide to Travelling with a Medical Condition



Routine Screening provided by Public Health England

You may have heard that people over a certain age are not called for routine screening because it is not considered to be cost effective.  If you feel that you still need screening, you are at liberty to request this, contacting your provider.



Problems reading the Scrolling Display in your Surgery?

Do you have problems reading the scrolling display in your doctor’s surgery?  Remember that you can ask the receptionist to alert you when your GP is ready to see you.



London North Eastern Railway – Journey Care

Do you travel by train and require assistance for any part of your journey? London North East Railways can help with their free Journey Care. You can book either, at the ticket office, online or over the phone, and the staff are very friendly.

Phone: 03457 225 225, (lines are open Monday to Saturday from 8am – 8pm and Sunday 10am – 8pm), or use the Text Relay Service on 18001 03457 225 225.

You can find their website addresses here; Useful Links under L.



Utility Priority Services for Disabled and Vulnerable People

Most utility suppliers have a priority service, to give extra support to those who need it the most during an outage or supply shortage. It is best to contact your supplier directly and they should relay that information to the operator, however, here are the links to the operators priority services;

Electricity – Northern Powergrid

Gas – Northern Gas Networks

Water – Northumbrian Water


Do you have a Health Condition which Affects your Driving?

It has come to our attention via Diabetes Wellness News that regulations relating to fitness to drive have recently changed to make them fairer and more realistic for people with diabetes.  This is good news.

However, a word of warning.  There are many other medical conditions which are listed on the DVLA website where people with these conditions must notify the DVLA.  Failure to notify the DVLA of a medical condition which affects your driving could result in a fine of up to £1000.

The website can be accessed by clicking on the following link: DVLA Health Conditions and Driving


Talking About Dying

Age UK has launched a useful booklet to support people to have what may seem to be difficult conversations about death.  However, planning ahead, preparing your will and understanding the physical changes brought about by dying may help.

A booklet can be accessed from the AGE UK website at the following link: Lets Talk about Death and Dying



Personal Independence Payments (PIP) Support

Here are contact details if you require general advice about PIP, i.e. eligibility, how to claim, etc.  Warm Zone offer home appointments, but due to high demand, they are unfortunately unable to offer this service at present.

Thank you to Tess Linton for sourcing this information.


Independent Living Benefit Advice Line – 0800 169 0310


Warm Zone – 0800 019 9969 (advice, form filling, home appointments)

Newcastle Advocacy Centre – 0191 232 7445 (advice, advocacy)

Citizens Advice – 0191 229 3750 (general advice, most branches no longer do form filling)

Contact – 0191 213 6300 (for families with a disabled child, give advice and help on filling in PIP forms for the child)

Newcastle Law Centre – 0191 230 4777 (will assist with forms and appeals, have strict qualifying criteria for eligibility)

Maggies Cancer Care – 0191 233 6600 (will help cancer patients with forms)

Search – 0191 273 7443 (advice, info, form filling, help with appeals but do not attend, for older people in the West End only)

North Tyneside

Warm Zone – 0800 019 9969 (advice, form filling, home appointments)

Tyne Advice Line – 0344 245 1238 (general benefits advice)

Contact – 0191 213 6300 (for families with a disabled child, give advice and help on filling in PIP forms for the child)

Age UK – 0191 280 8484 (over 50s)

South Tyneside

Warm Zone – 0800 019 9969 (advice, form filling, home appointments)


Warm Zone – 0800 019 9969 (advice, form filling, home appointments)

Age UK – 01670 784 846 (over 50s)

Blyth Valley Disability Forum – 01670 364 657 (appointment only)

Citizens Advice – 0344 245 1288

Contact – 0191 213 6300 (for families with a disabled child, give advice and help on filling in PIP forms for the child)



Donate Online Now

You can now support Newcastle Disability Forum through online donations using the “Donate Now” button at the bottom of each page on our website through Give As You Live.



Give As You Live – Janice’s Story


Give as you live………. and me

If you shop on line you can support your chosen charity at no cost to yourself.  It is true!  I didn’t believe it either but I thought I would try it anyway.  I knew the Newcastle Disability Forum was registered with Give as You Live, after all as part of my day job I had processed the registration, so I was ready to give it a try.

One quiet Saturday, I sat down with a cup of tea to order my groceries from Sainsburys.  I logged on to the Give as You Live website, selected Newcastle Disability Forum as my charity and then searched for Sainsbury’s.  I was taken to Sainsburys website and then I simply ordered in the usual way.

My first order through Give as You Live earned the Forum £1.50 and all my subsequent orders earn £0.50 which is a potential income of £25 a year for the Forum, not a lot of money but for a small charity every little matters.  Give it a try.

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



Severe Mental Impairment Discount on Council Tax

According to the website , tens of thousands of people who are entitled to a ‘severe mental impairment’ council tax discount could be missing out on up to £400 a year. Click on the link above for information on how to check if you’re due the discount – and how to claim it.

By law, someone who has been medically certified as having a permanent condition that affects their intelligence and social functioning (eg, Alzheimer’s or severe learning difficulties, but many other conditions may apply) is ‘disregarded for council tax purposes’ in England, Scotland and Wales.

Further information and advice can be obtained through the Alzheimer’s Society on 0191 298 3989 or from Newcastle City Council on 0191 278 7878 (ask for “Council Tax”).




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.



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


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.


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:

Insurance Companies:

Medical Conditions

Maggies have an excellent information sheets on travel insurance for those with or who have had cancer.
Over 50


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




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



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


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