HELP is at hand for Wearside pensioners to guide them through the digital TV switchover.
Former Tomorrow’s World presenter Maggie Philbin was in Sunderland to reassure older and disabled people that help with the changes is available.
Maggie joined campaign mascot Digit Al at The Bridges shopping centre to speak to eligible members of the public about the switch-over, which is due to take place in September next year.
She said: “Although the switchover is a long way off, some people may already be worried about what they need to do.
“The good news is they don’t have to be. I’m here today to reassure people that help is at hand from the Switchover Help Scheme, who will supply eligible people with everything they need to make the switch to digital in plenty of time for the switchover.”
In the run-up to the switch-over, practical help to convert TVs to digital will be offered to people aged 75 or over, registered blind or partially-sighted people, those who have lived in a care home for six months or more, and those receiving certain disability benefits.
The service, which costs £40 or is free to eligible people on income-related benefits, installs easy-to-use equipment to convert one set, with a 12-month aftercare service and free helpline.
Maggie and the Switchover roadshow are travelling the North East, to let people know about the switchover, which will see analogue TV switched off in the Tyne Tees region on September 26.
She added: “I’ve been all over the UK and it’s a great way to see Britain. Most people have a digital set, so it makes our work harder, as we have to find the small percentage of people who haven’t made the switch.
“With many of the people who haven’t changed, there is a sort of feeling we don’t want any more than five channels, but if they don’t switch older sets, they are going to have a blank screen.”
For more information, visit www.helpscheme.co.uk.
General information is available at www.digitaluk.co.uk or by calling 08456 505050.