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County Councillor Report (Feb 2024)

wendy.pattison@northumberland.gov.uk – Tel. 07779 983072

And also on Facebook: Cllr Wendy Pattison

Portrait photo of Councillor Wendy Pattison
Cllr Wendy Pattison

[All text and the above portrait image provided by Cllr Wendy Pattison and used with permission. Received: 28 January 2024.]

HEDGELEY PARISH

Preparing for digital switchover

Residents are being urged to prepare for the digital switchover in Northumberland

Photo of old telephone models
Are your phones vulnerable? [Image by Alexa from Pixabay]

Northumberland County Council are reaching out to residents to ensure they are prepared for the national digital switchover. Concerns have been reported that when residents are renewing their contracts with their telecoms provider, the provider is not asking whether they are vulnerable and explaining how this system works if there is no electricity or a mobile signal.

Led by the UK telecommunications industry, the transition will see a shift from the old analogue landline system to upgraded digital services. 

By December 2025, services relying on the outdated analogue landline systems, including amplified phones for those with hearing loss, personal telecare products, fall and motion detectors, and portable healthcare devices like ECG or oxygen monitors, will undergo this digital upgrade.  

For those with telecare services, the digital switchover has significant implications and anyone using these services are being urged to assess how the switchover will impact them and take necessary steps to ensure a smooth transition, minimising any potential disruptions to their care. 

Many residents are already adapting to the change, and, for some the process is as straightforward as plugging their home phone into the broadband router rather than the traditional wall socket.  

In the event of a power outage digital landlines will not function and while mobile phones can still be used, individuals without an alternative means of contacting emergency services should contact their telecoms provider and request a solution to enable emergency calls. 

Councillor Richard Wearmouth, Deputy Leader at Northumberland County Council and Cabinet Member for Corporate Services said: “The safety of our residents is our top priority and whilst this is being led by our UK telecoms providers the Council has a duty of care to our residents to ensure they have all the information they need to upgrade to digital services.  

“This is an ongoing process, and this new network will provide a more reliable and dependable service, but we need to make sure no one is left behind and that our services remain fully operational.  

“I would urge anyone using, or if anyone knows of someone using, telecare services to ensure they have the right systems in place.” 

Telecommunications providers, including major companies such as Virgin Media O2 and BT, are expected to proactively engage with customers ahead of the switchover to ensure their services remain unaffected.  

The Council is also urging people to be aware of scams, such as third parties claiming to be acting on behalf of their suppliers. Please only use known routes to contact your providers. For example, telephone numbers and contact details on your bills. 

The Council remains committed to keeping residents informed and supported throughout the digital switchover process.  

For further information and assistance, residents are encouraged to contact their telecoms provider for guidance on how to navigate the transition seamlessly. 

Help with daily living tasks

Our adult social care occupational therapists support adult residents of Northumberland who are experiencing a reduced ability to engage in everyday tasks due to a change in functional ability. 

This includes people who have physical disability, mental health difficulties, learning disability and/or social and emotional difficulties, either from birth or because of accident, illness or ageing.   

The aim of the occupational therapy service is to assess each person referred to identify their individual needs and to then provide intervention to meet those identified needs.   

The range of interventions is as diverse as the people who are referred to the service, some of the most common areas of intervention are –  

  • Supplying of equipment.
  • Carrying out minor works adaptations.
  • Carrying out major adaptations.
  • Assessment of the manual handling needs for those people who need carer support. 

The occupational therapy service is available from 8:30am to 5pm Monday to Thursday, and from 8:30 to 4:30 on Fridays.  If you have an occupational therapist involved with you and need to contact them, please call them via Onecall on 01670 536400. 
 
The adult social care occupational therapy service accepts referrals from anyone, including individuals themselves, or with their consent, their family members, GPs, district nurses, or any other professional involved with them. A referral can be made to the occupational therapy service by contacting Onecall on 01670 536400. 

The range of equipment available to make life easier for people who have difficulty with daily tasks is increasing all the time.  

A growing range of items are available from high street shops; others can be found in specialist shops or catalogues, or on the internet.   

Health and care professionals can give you advice about equipment which might help you. They can also arrange the loan of any equipment which is necessary for your care and support plan, or which will reduce the need for you to rely on support from other people. 

For larger and more expensive equipment, it is usually best to ask for advice from an occupational therapist (OT), who will know all the problems that can arise, and understand how your health condition may develop.   

If you think you need more help, you can request an assessment of your needs. You can find out more about what an assessment will involve.

For advice and assistance you can contact Northumberland Communities Together 01670 620015 open 9am to 6pm – 7 days a week or email them at NCT@northumberland.gov.uk

Out of hours assistance  – call Onecall 01670 536400

Adaptations to your home

If you have a disability or illness which makes daily life more difficult, you may benefit from having your home adapted to help you carry on with your life independently. 

Examples of adaptations include:

  • Installing a stair-lift so that you can continue to use upstairs rooms.
  • Constructing a shower area which you can get into without a step.
  • Making a wheelchair ramp at the main entrance to your home.
  • Fixing grab rails, hand rails or stair rails to help you to move around safely.

Small adaptations

Many different health and social care professionals can arrange small adaptations such as fixing a grab rail or adapting steps at your property. There is no charge for this service, but we will fund small adaptations only when a professional recommends them to promote independence and avoid, reduce or delay a need for care and support, and we normally apply a cost limit of £1,000. 

We aim to complete work within three weeks of a professional recommendation.  Small adaptations are usually completed by our Home Improvement Service Adaptation and Repair Technicians.

Equipment to help you at home

If you, or someone you know, struggles with everyday tasks, there could be equipment that can help. 

Equipment can protect people from accidents, assist them with the everyday tasks of life and/or make it easier to provide care for them.  It can also help people to move back home from hospital. 

The range of equipment available to make life easier for people who have difficulty with daily tasks is increasing all the time.   A growing range of items are available from high street shops; others can be found in specialist shops, catalogues, or on the internet.  

Health and care professionals can give you advice about equipment, which might help you.   You can also get impartial advice about what equipment you might find useful from: Disability North East,  

The Dene Centre,  
Castle Farm Road,  
Gosforth,  
Newcastle NE3 1PH  

Phone (0191) 284 0480 for an appointment 
Text Direct 18001 0191 284 0480  

Email reception@disabilitynorth.org.uk  
Web address  www.disabilitynorth.com  

Northumberland Community Safety  

Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) 

You should never have to endure behaviour which causes alarm, harassment or distress. We know ASB can have a big impact on your quality of life and we are committed in delivering the firm message that this behaviour will be tackled and not tolerated. ASB covers a lot of different types of behaviour and can affect people in many ways. ASB means behaviour causing or likely to cause nuisance, annoyance, harassment, alarm, or distress to any member of the public or which may have a detrimental effect on someone’s quality of life.    

Your community safety officer is Judith Davis 

Judith has been a community safety officer for 15 years following a 10 year career as a police officer. She has an extensive knowledge of the Alnwick and Amble areas and the community safety issues that affect them. She works closely with police and other agencies and has strong links with schools as part of her education and engagement role. Alongside colleagues from Public Protection she helps  coordinate the local multi agency meetings where community safety  issues are discussed and tackled using a problem solving approach. Judith deals with anti social behaviour and nuisance from all residents, irrespective of whether or not they are council tenants.

Education work

Judith regularly delivers inputs in schools, delivering education around the safe and legal use of social media and other topics that affect young people. COVID-19 saw the use of social media increase as young people were unable to socialise face to face and this has had an impact on young people in a variety of ways.

If you have concerns around your child’s use of social media, you can contact Judith for advice and resources that can help you.

If you would like to know more or would like a visit to your school or organisation, please get in touch via judith.davis@northumberland.gov.uk

Latest News

Judith is working with police to tackle issues of anti social behaviour in and around the Alnwick area. The bus station has been an area of particular concern and as a result CCTV is now in place and being monitored by police. Any incidents should be reported to police or NCC giving the nature of the incident along with a date and time, which will allow scrutiny of the CCTV footage to take place.
In Amble, she is working with police and Housing agencies to tackle incidents of youth disorder around the town. Home visits and school sessions have been done as part of an approach to tackle issues as they arise

How to Activate an Anti-Social Behaviour Case Review

In Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, ASB Case Review activations across all of the 6 Local Authorities are coordinated by the Northumbria Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner  who will:  

  • Acknowledge receipt of your ASB Case Review request.  
  • Contact you to discuss your case and obtain further information.  
  • Liaise with the relevant Community Safety Partnerships.  
  • Share information with agencies who are responsible for managing anti-social behaviour.  

Rural crime

Work with rural communities to promote confidence and reduce the fear of crime   

How we do this

Northumberland has a significant rural landscape, and the Safer Northumberland Community Safety Partnership recognises that communities and those, living, visiting and working in these areas should feel be safe from crime and the fear of crime. Accordingly, the partnership recognises as a priority the need to address rural crime and support those communities.

The Northumberland Partnership Against Rural Crime (NPARC) is an initiative that involves and engages a wide range of stakeholders to achieve this, and which works with the Safer Northumberland Partnership to deliver initiatives and protect rural communities. Both partnerships will look to develop and grow this capability. NPCC Rural and Wildlife Crime Strategy   

Contact us with your concerns

Email: safern.partnership@northumberland.gov.uk

Phone: 0345 600 6400

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