Northumberland Libraries’ Digital Help Line

Northumberland Libraries’ staff can provide basic help with IT queries, free of charge. Help might include, but is not limited to, getting online (connecting to existing WiFi at home), using the internet, setting up a free email account, accessing free digital books to read or listen to, supporting access to all digital NHS services, setting up Zoom, Skype and other video chats, online shopping, and troubleshooting other basic problems. All help is free of charge, private, and given by library staff. Call 0345 600 6400 (Monday to Thursday 08.30 to 17.00 and Friday 08.30 to 16.30) to arrange a call-back appointment. You will be called back by a staff member on either a Tuesday or a Thursday between 10.00 and 19.00. While some IT problems may be too tricky to fix over the phone, you are invited to get in touch if you are struggling, and staff will try to help. If you know someone in the parish who might find this kind of help useful, please let them know about this service.

Citizens Advice Northumberland

Citizens Advice Northumberland has asked us to spread the word about the services it offers. It gives free, confidential, impartial and independent advice and information on a wide range of subjects, including debt, energy, benefits and consumer advice, and can support families after a cancer diagnosis through its Macmillan Benefits Advice team. For more information, visit Citizens Advice Northumberland or call 0808 278 7944 (Monday to Friday, 9.00 am to 4.30 pm).

Have Your Say on NHS and Social Care Services

Healthwatch Northumberland is an independent organisation that exists to make sure that people’s views on health and social care are heard. It is now holding monthly drop-in sessions to give residents the opportunity to talk about their experiences of NHS and social care services. The nearest drop-in sessions are held in Berwick-upon-Tweed on the second Wednesday of the month, from 10.00 am to 12.00 noon, or you can join the monthly online drop-in sessions on the second Friday of the month from 1.00 pm to 2.00 pm. For more information, go to the Healthwatch Northumberland website, call 03332 408 468, or send an email. The equivalent service in Scotland is Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

Free Energy Efficiency Improvements

Northumberland County Council is offering free energy efficiency improvements, such as wall insulation, solar panels and air source heat pumps, to help homeowners cut energy bills and improve the warmth of their homes. To be eligible, you must own your own home and have a household income of less than £30,000, or someone living in your home receiving benefits, and your home must hold an EPC rating of D, E, F or G. The improvements scheme – the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme – is funded by the government and delivered by E.ON in partnership with Northumberland County Council. To apply, visit E.ON’s Green Homes Grant page or call 0333 202 4820 Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. You do not need to be an E.ON customer to benefit from this scheme.

Free Trees

Northumberland County Council is giving all residents the opportunity to obtain a free tree to plant on their property. Two tree species are available for small, medium and large sized gardens, as well as shrubs suitable for planters for those with limited garden space, balconies or rented properties. The trees are small cell-grown plants, sourced from the UK, and will be provided with a biodegradable tree shelter guard, a cane, and planting and care instructions. To order a tree and book a date to collect it, go to https://nland.uk/freetrees. For enquiries, contact Northumberland County Council’s Climate Change team.

Local Elections Jobs

Northumberland County Council’s Elections Office is recruiting for the elections that take place on 6 May. Available roles, which are paid, include polling station staff and safety marshalls across Northumberland, including in the north of the county. There are also roles for postal vote opening staff and verification and count staff at Blyth.

Job descriptions for most of these roles are on the Northumberland County Council Elections page – click on 2021 Police and Crime Commissioner, County and Parish elections and go to General information to find them. To request further information about the safety marshall role, please email the Elections Office. To apply for a post, or posts, complete the online application form which is underneath the job descriptions.

The Elections Office advises that Public Health for England guidance on Covid-19 will be adhered to at this election and you may be required to use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) which will be provided where it is deemed necessary.

Waste Not, Want Not

Northumberland County Council’s garden waste kerbside collection service for 2021 will resume in March. For a single annual payment of £43, the service offers the opportunity to receive 20 garden waste collections over the main growing season, running from early March through to late November. For details, visit Northumberland’s garden waste page. The green waste that is collected is composted and the compost is available to buy. If you want to make your own compost, Northumberland County Council offers a range of bins with getcomposting.com. As well as standard compost bins for garden waste, the range includes wormeries and Hot Bins which you can use to make compost out of waste food.

Census 2021

The Office for National Statistics is hiring field staff across England and Wales for the 2021 Census. It is looking for individuals who have a good knowledge of their communities, with time to spare in March and April this year, for temporary Census Officer roles. We have not been able to establish whether jobs are available in this particular part of the county, but we have been told that it can be difficult to find suitable candidates to cover the more rural areas, so there may be opportunities that are within reach of those who live in Carham parish. To apply or to register your interest in this or another Census 2021 job, visit the census recruitment website.