Healthwatch Northumberland Conference

Join us at our Conference 2019

If you use NHS or social care services and live or work in Northumberland, we’d love you to come along to our bigger and better Conference 2019. The Conference will take place at The Phoenix Theatre in Blyth on Wednesday 16 October, between 10.00am and 3.30pm.

Join in the community conversation at this free event with information and listening workshops about mental health, dementia, substance abuse, social prescribing, patient involvement, GP services and more.

We aim to make the day informative, interactive and entertaining. This is a chance for you to share your experiences of care with those who provide it and find out what’s available locally.

There will be an ‘information buffet’, free raffle and lunch and refreshments provided.

To register for a place please call us on 03332 408468 or visit Eventbrite

Older People

A Practical Guide to Healthy Ageing

NHS England, in partnership with Age UK, Public Health England, and the Chief Fire Officer’s Association and older people themselves, has published a Practical Guide to Healthy Ageing.

The guide helps people to stay physically and mentally well by providing hints and tips on how to keep fit and independent. It recognises, as we all should, that there is always something we can do to improve our health and wellbeing. For older people who may be starting to find things more difficult to do, it is particularly important to take active steps to slow down or reverse some of the health challenges we are all likely to face.

To help people understand their potential risk of living with frailty, the guide includes a simple, walking speed test. Taking more than five seconds to cover a distance of four metres is highly indicative of frailty, with the proviso that there is no obvious alternative reason for walking slowly such as a previous stroke or knee/hip arthritis. This is not meant to be a diagnosis, but it can provide a good indication that someone should consider making changes to their daily lives so that they can better manage their frailty or reduce the chance of it becoming more serious.

Download the Guide

Quarterly Report October – December 2018

As independent champion for people who use health and social care services, we listen to your experiences of using these services.  This report shares the themes from the feedback we received between 1 October to 31 December 2018.

We receive feedback and enquiries by:

  • Talking to people at local community events
  • Telephone calls, emails and social media
  • Surveys
  • Focus groups on specific issues

Healthwatch Northumberland is open to all feedback about health and social care services but respondents to our Annual Survey identified five priorities for specific focus these are mental health services, dementia care services, home care, GP services and access to services.

Between October and December 2018 we had 98 individual pieces of unsolicited feedback and we spoke with approximately 530 people face to face. We attended flu clinics at GP practices in Tynedale, North Northumberland and Castle Morpeth, talking to a wide range of older residents and those with long term conditions and learning disabilities. We were at Morpeth, Berwick, Prudhoe, and Widdrington libraries during Library Week. We also attended “Winter Warmer” and SEND events, the Carers’ Rights
Day at Berwick and spoke at the Belford Parish Council and the Belford Practice Patient Participation Group.

Read the October to December 2018 report in full.


Watering can and daffodils

Stepping into Spring Roadshows

Stepping into Spring is a series of roadshows from Ageing Well in Northumberland. These are free events for older people in Northumberland and are a chance to talk to local organisations offering advice and information on staying well and keeping active. Call in for a cup of tea or coffee and have a chat about local events and activities, volunteering opportunities and keeping fit and healthy.


The Roadshows are happening at the following locations:

  • Ponteland, Merton Hall: Thursday 21 March, 9.00am – 12.00pm
  • Prudhoe, Waterworld: Monday 25 March, 10.00am – 1.00pm
  • Haltwhistle, Methodist Hall: Tuesday 2 April, 10.00am – 2.00pm
  • Hexham, Wentworth Leisure Centre: Friday 12 April, 10.00am – 2.00pm
  • Morpeth, Town Hall: Wednesday 1 May, 10.00am – 2.00pm
  • Blyth, Leisure Centre: tbc
  • Ashington, Leisure Centre: tbc


For more details about individual events please visit our events page




Carers Northumberland logo

Carers Support Groups

Carers Northumberland holds monthly groups for carers across the county. Carers are welcome at any of the groups, at any time and the sessions aim to offer support and information. For more details call Carers Northumberland on: 01670 320025 or email:

Ponteland: Merton Hall, first Thursday of the month, 10.30am

Ashington: Age UK Northumberland, third Tuesday of the month, 10.30am

Amble: Dry Water Arts Centre, first Tuesday of the month, 10.30am

Felton: Village Hall, first Thursday of the month, 1.30pm

Morpeth: Northumberland County Blind Association, second Wednesday of the month, 10.30am

Bedlington: Salvation Army building, third Wednesday of the month, 1.00pm

Blyth: Buffalo Community Centre, third Thursday of the month, 10.00am

Alnwick: St Paul’s Court, fourth Monday of the month, 1.30pm

Berwick: Community Trust, fourth Wednesday of the month, 11.00am

Hexham: Adapt (NE), fourth Wednesday of the month, 1.30pm

Cramlington: Concordia Leisure Centre, fourth Thursday of the month, 1.00pm

Wild daisies

Northumberland Cancer Support Group 2019

Northumberland Cancer Support Group is a volunteer run self-help organisation which helps anyone affected by cancer. the group meets on the first and fourth Tuesday of each month in Hexham. The programme of events for this year can be found below, or visit the website for more details.

First Tuesday of the month (7.00pm, Education Centre, Hexham Hospital)

5 March: Professor John McCabe “Japan Behind the Fan”

2 April: Tom MuCullough “Medication Made Easy”

4 June: David Belcher “Cancer … What’s it all about?”

2 July: Fenwick Mark Ridley “Wild Swimming”

6 August: Pauline Walks “Past, Present and Future of The Theatre Royal”

3 September: Nicola Cunningham “Nutrition and Cancer”

1 October: Sam Jones “Relaxation and the Nervous System”

5 November: Helene Dolder “Laughter is the Best Medicine”

3 December: Christmas Makes


Fourth Tuesday of the month (1.00pm, Trinity Methodist Church Hall, Hexham)

22 January: Fenwick Mark Ridley “Wild Swimming”

27 February: Liz Weir “How Complementary Therapies Helped Me”

26 March: “Lorraine Henderson “Ageing Well”

23 April: “Tracy Pringle “Laughter and Chakra for Wellbeing”

24 September: Janette Frank “PALS”

26 November: Sparkle Afternoon


Images of groups chatting and being active

Berwick Social Fridays

Friendship – Laughter – Happy Memories – Social Fridays!

Get that Friday feeling every Friday at this free, friendly social group from Age UK Northumberland at The Swan Centre, Berwick.

Berwick Social Fridays follow on from the success of the sessions at The Round House and Azure Garden Centre.

Sessions take place on Friday mornings between 10.00am and 12.00pm and you can get as involved as much as you like or simply have a cup of tea and a chat.

Activities include:

  • Board games
  • Arts and crafts
  • Music
  • Trips out
  • Lunches and events
  • Visits from local groups
  • Information and advice

For further information about start dates call: 01670 784 800 or visit:


Golden Guide 2019 front cover

The Golden Guide 2019 Out Now

This popular FREE guide for Over 50s in Northumberland is well known for information on activities, clubs and social groups across Northumberland.  Readers also discover how to find expert advice on their health, their home, their care and their money.

New things to do include Social Fridays, Core Music sessions, Railway Walks, Sailing and Archery. There’s more money and consumer advice, plus the Side by Side befriending scheme, the Friendship Line and all kinds of health and social care information.

You can get a copy from us here at Healthwatch Northumberland, Libraries; Northumbria Healthcare Care teams, Age UK Northumberland, Alzheimers Society, Women’s Institute branches, Carers Northumberland, Royal Voluntary Service, British Red Cross, Citizens Advice Bureau, Golden Age Forum, GP surgeries – ask the Care Navigators and Practice Nurses; also selected Boots Pharmacies.

Postal copies available by calling our office: 03332 408468 or from Age UK Northumberland on: 01670 784800.


The full edition is also online at

For all enquiries please contact Heather Alabaster on: 0191-386 5918, or email:

Pharmacist and customer

Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment

A pharmaceutical needs assessment (PNA) describes the health needs of the population, current pharmaceutical services provision and any gaps in that provision. It also identifies potential new services to meet health needs and help achieve the objectives of the strategic plan, while taking account of financial constraints. The PNA will be used to:
  • inform commissioning plans about pharmaceutical services that could be provided by community pharmacists and other providers to meet local need;
  • support commissioning of high quality pharmaceutical services;
  • ensure that pharmaceutical and medicines optimisation services are commissioned to reflect the health needs and ambitions outlined within the joint strategic needs assessment;
  • facilitate opportunity for pharmacists to make a significant contribution to the health of the population of Northumberland; and
  • ensure that decisions about applications for market entry for pharmaceutical services are based on robust and relevant information.
This is not a stand-alone document. It is aligned with the joint strategic needs assessment (JSNA) and Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group’s Five Year Plan. It will be used as a tool to inform future service developments aimed at meeting the objectives of the strategic plan e.g., delivering care in the most appropriate setting, reducing reliance on hospital care, supporting those with long term conditions, promoting wellbeing and preventing ill-health, and improving access to primary care.


Ponteland Winter Warmer

Join local support groups and organisations for a cuppa and a chat at the first Ageing Well in Northumberland Winter Warmer. Find out more about staying active, safe and well, plus advice on the health and social support available for older people at this free event.

Carers Rights Day

This year’s Carers Rights Day Information Event from Carers Northumberland is taking place in Ponteland. If you look after someone, then this event will provide everything you need to stay informed and healthy. There will be information stalls around the areas of carers rights, welfare rights, housing, digital skills, energy advice, advocacy, fire and community safety, aids & adaptations and healthcare – our team will be there too with lots of information about health and social care services.

The health MOT area will have lots of information for you around moving and handling, healthy eating, stopping smoking, mental health and GP services, and you can even get your blood pressure checked.

You don’t need to book for this event for carers, just turn up. Call 01670 320025 for more details.


Community Information Morning Hexham

The next Information Morning is on Thursday 14 November, from 10.30am to 12.30pm. Call in to this free event for a cuppa and slice of cake and discover more about what’s on offer locally. Advice and information about health and wellbeing, local services, social activities and more. There’s so much out there – come along and see what there is for you.

Connaught Opera at Alnwick Garden

Connaught Opera is once again putting on free performances for over 55s across the country and will be returning to Alnwick this month. The show is Victorian Vignettes to celebrate the reign of Queen Victoria. Tea and coffee will be provided. If you would like to book a place please call 01665 511356.



Carers Northumberland logo

Carers Week Event

An event for carers across Northumberland from Carers Northumberland. The day will include:


Doing Digital: bring your own device and get support to demystify the basics of technology.

Chair yoga: low impact fitness and wellbeing techniques you can do in your own home.

Balloon modelling: try a fun new skill that will impress the children/grandchildren!

Health and wellbeing advice

Attendance Allowance advice

Relaxation Sessions

Therapies: two therapists will be on hand offering massages


Lunch and refreshments are included. Places are limited so please book ahead. Transport may be available from the north and west of the county. Call 01670 320025 for bookings and details.

Ageing Well Fair Longhoughton

Head to this over 50s free event for a cuppa and a chat (plus free cake!). You can find out more about the many organisations and groups in Northumberland that help support your health and wellbeing. Maybe you’re on the lookout for local activities and services? If you have some time on your hands you can find out about volunteering opportunities near you. So much information all in one place.

For more details visit:

Summer flowers

Ageing Well Summer Roadshow

This summer roadshow is a great way to find out more about staying active, staying involved and staying well. You can also find out about local activities and volunteering opportunities near you.

For more information contact Karen Cox on: 01670 858688 or email:

Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland logo

Sexual Violence & Older Women Project Launch


Research carried out by Dr Hannah Bows, Centre for Research into Violence & Abuse at Durham University, identified that:

  • Few older people contact specialist sexual services after experiencing rape or sexual assault.
  • Older women face specific barriers and challenges which make it difficult to access support, this includes a lack of awareness of services and confusion around who can help them.
  • Older women face myths and stereotypes about them and their experiences of sexual violence which impact on their recovery.

Rape Crisis Tyneside & Northumberland has been successful in securing funding to help tackle the barriers older women face and reach out to more survivors.

This event will celebrate the launch of the project, find out more about this subject and be a chance to meet the new Community Engagement Worker for Older Women, Margie Cooper.

The event will feature a presentation and discussion:

Sexual Violence & Older People

Led by: Dr Hannah Bows

Hannah is an Assistant Professor in Criminal Law, Director of Equality and Diversity within Durham Law School and is Deputy Director of the Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA).

Book your place here


Blyth Beach Huts

Recovery Walk

Northumberland Recovery Partnership is holding a recovery walk on Friday 17 May, from Blyth to Seaton Sluice.

9.00am is the welcome and filling out of health questionnaires at The Recovery Centre, 7 Sextant House, Blyth NE24 2BA. The walk will begin at 9.30 – walking to Seaton Sluice and back again – with a short break half way. A healthy lunch will then be provided back at The Recovery Centre, followed by meditation and the chance to have some basic health checks with a health trainer.

For more details please email:

People chatting at a community event

Community Information Morning – Hexham

The next Community Information Morning from Adapt (NE) will take place on Tuesday 14 May, between 10.30am and 12.30pm in the Resource Room (next to Cafe at Burn Lane). Come along and talk to local organisations with advice and support about health, wellbeing and more. For more information call: 01434 600599. Confirmed to attend this month are Age UK Northumberland, Alzheimers Society, Northumberland Community Development Company and Talking Matters, along with members of the HWN team.