Fund-raisers strike gold after difficult campaign

A FREE handbook for the over 50s is back on the shelves after its most difficult fund-raising campaign to date.

The Golden Guide is available across Northumberland, providing a wealth of information about local services, leisure and transport, and tips about money, health and care — all with helpful contact numbers.

The handbook has been in great demand since it was first produced five years ago, but this year organisers had a difficult task securing funds for the project.

However, Northumberland County Council and Northumberland Care Trust stepped up their support, Age UK Northumberland was able to help again and a new sponsor, Milecastle Housing, came on board to enable it to be produced.

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery also offered his support.

Editor Heather Alabaster said: “It’s always a mammoth task to get the guide funded, but it’s been very tough for everyone this time.

“We truly thought we would not reach our goal, but with magnificent support from Northumberland County Council and Care Trust, Age UK Northumberland and new partners Milecastle Housing, along with other generous sponsors, we are delighted to be delivering 5,000 copies once again.”

The guide is available from various premises across the county, including the PALS service, Community Action Northumberland, Citizens Advice Bureaux, Northumberland Care Trust, Northumberland County Council and libraries. Care managers also have copies.

Northumberland Care Trust Executive Director Daljit Lally said: “We’re very pleased to support the Golden Guide again this year.

“It’s important that people can easily get to know about big changes such as the new personal budget arrangements, as well as disability benefits which often go unclaimed because people think you have to have a low income to be entitled to them.”

AGE UK Information and Advice Officer Deb Still added: “People love local information like this — it keeps them in touch and helps find the advice they may need.

“The Golden Guide is so well known, it fits right in with our own telephone advice service and we’re delighted with the new edition.”

Milecastle Housing supported the project following a tenants’ vote.

Managing Director Bill Tebay said: “It was our residents who voted to help the Golden Guide from their Tenant Option Budget this year. They know the guide and value it and wanted to help —that was good enough for us.”

For a free copy of the guide contact Age UK on 0845 0950150.

Alternatively, it will soon be available online at www.northumberland.gov.uk