FENLANDER: Experts in Wisbech with golden age team as digital switchover looms

AS the day for the switchover to digital TV approaches, specialist advisors will be visiting Wisbech next week to help older people make the change.

Experts from the Digital Switchover Help Scheme will be on hand with Fenland District Council’s Golden Age team at the Fenland@ your service shop in Wisbech on Tuesday (March 1), 9am-3pm.

In Fenland the switchover will be happening in two stages – on March 30 and April 13. After that all the analogue channels will be switched off.

The Help Scheme provides advice on all aspects of the conversion to digital. It offers particular help to people who are aged 75 or over, are eligible for Disability Living Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance or mobility supplement, have lived in a care home for six months or more, or are registered blind or partially sighted.

Councillor Mac Cotterell, FDC’s deputy Leader and portfolio holder responsible for Golden Age, said: “Television plays a big part in older people’s lives and some may be confused about the change. Anyone who has any concerns should come along on Monday and get some expert advice.”

The Fenland Ferret will also be at the shop on Monday to help people claim all the benefits to which they are entitled.

Last year the charity Age UK reported that a staggering �5.4billion a year in benefits remains unclaimed by people in later life. Nearly two million pensioners were missing out on Council Tax benefit that, if claimed, could boost their income by an average of �728 a year.

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The Ferret provides the sort of face-to-face communication that Age UK says is vital in helping older people get the help they are due. Over the past seven years the Golden Age team and its Ferret have identified about �780,000 in benefit entitlements.

Cllr Cotterell said: “We are very proud of what Golden Age continues to do in this field. Some older people are among the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

“When times are hard, as they are now, it is particularly important that we give them all the help they deserve.”

• To contact the Switchover Help Scheme, call free on 0800 40 85 900 or e-mail info@helpscheme.co.uk

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