Don’t be left with a blank screen come TV switchover day

HELP is at hand for viewers to switch to digital TV.

Older and disabled people in Northumberland are being urged to look out for Switchover Help Scheme information packs which are landing on their doorsteps.

The Switchover Help Scheme is writing directly to people that are eligible for help.

The pack, which is also available in a range of alternative formats, explains all the options available to eligible people and contains important information on how they can get help to convert one TV to digital in time for the switchover which begins September 12.

Most people will be asked to pay £40 towards the standard option of help which includes:

l Easy-to-use equipment to convert one set

l An approved installer to supply and install the necessary equipment

l A 12-month aftercare service including a free helpline.

The service is free for people who are eligible and who also receive pension credit, income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance or income-related employment and support allowance.

Other options and equipment are also available at an extra cost and are outlined in the information pack.

People are eligible for the Help Scheme if they are:

l Aged 75 or over, or

l Have lived in a care home for six months or more, or

l Get (or could get) Disability Living Allowance (DLA), or

l Attendance or Constant Attendance Allowance, or

l Mobility supplement, or

l Are registered blind or partially sighted.

On September 12, the Tyne Tees region will begin to switch to digital.

Everyone will need to convert their TV to digital by that time if they are to continue watching their favourite programmes.

Emma Speed, Help Scheme manager for the Tyne Tees TV region, said: “The message we want to give eligible people is that there is no need to worry because help is available.

“If you or someone you know is entitled to help from the Help Scheme, then all you have to do is watch out for an information pack which will be sent any day now and either give us a call free on 0800 4087654 or return your completed form by post to get the help you are entitled to.”

The BBC-run Switchover Help Scheme has been designed around the needs of older and disabled people.

Equipment has been chosen to be easy to use and contact centre, delivery staff and installers have all been trained to understand and respect older and disabled people.

All installers are vetted, carry identification and will never call without having made an appointment.

People can find out more information about the Switchover Help Scheme from their packs or by visiting helpscheme.co.uk

To check their switchover date and options for getting digital TV, they can use the Digital UK postcode checker at digitaluk.co.uk

Analogue signals will be switched off in two stages.

In north Northumberland, BBC Two analogue will be switched off on September 12, and all other analogue channels will go off on September 26.