Shropshire Fire Service urges people to lend a helping hand

In six week’s time (6th April, 2011) switchover to digital television reaches north Shropshire and south Cheshire and the ‘Helping Hand’ campaign urges everyone to make sure older and disabled people in their area know about the help they can get from the Help Scheme to switch to digital TV.

Helping Hand is all about the local community checking friends, relatives and neighbours have taken the appropriate steps to make sure their TVs are ‘switchover-ready’, as on the 6th April BBC 2 will be switched off, with all analogue channels going 14 days later (20th April).

Help Scheme has been working with community groups on the ground to make sure as many eligible people in the area as possible know what they need to do to get help converting one of their TVs.

One such group is Shropshire Fire Service which has been working closely on the campaign - spokesperson Delyth Humphreys said; “With switchover coming soon, we aim to deliver the Helping Hand message at every possible opportunity as it is very important that over 75s and disabled people are not left with a blank screen in six weeks time (6 April 2011). We have found people are very receptive to information about the Switchover Help Scheme when we do fire prevention visits at people’s homes and local schools, and we always have plenty of Helping Hand leaflets with us to give out.”

Ed Jezard, Regional Manager for the Switchover Help Scheme added; “Digital switchover is happening in north Shropshire and south Cheshire this April and you may have friends or neighbours who may be confused about the process. The Switchover Help Scheme offers practical support to help older and disabled people convert one of their TV sets to digital. We can all lend a helping hand by making sure that older, disabled and partially-sighted members of our community know about help they can get from the Help Scheme.”

The Help Scheme, run by the BBC under an agreement with government, offers practical help to older and disabled people and is writing to everyone eligible in plenty of time before switchover. Those eligible for help have already been contacted by the Help Scheme, but must reply by post or phone to get the help they are entitled to.

Eligible people need to respond to get the help. Completed information pack forms can be returned by post to the Help Scheme, or, to make it even easier to apply, eligible people can also choose to call the Help Scheme free on 0800 40 85 900.

Analogue signals will be switched off in two stages. The dates for switchover in the Midlands are:

North Shropshire and south Cheshire Wrekin 6 April 2011 20 April 2011
Herefordshire, south Shropshire and parts of Gloucestershire Ridge Hill 6 April 2011 20 April 2011
The Stratford on Avon area Lark Stoke 6 April 2011 20 April 2011
The Bromsgrove area Bromsgrove 6 April 2011 20 April 2011
24th February, 2011