• Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

Age UK Gateshead opens its doors with the first Flagship Sky Up Digital Hub in the region

Age UK 2024 (63)

● Age UK Gateshead has fully transformed the 7264 sq ft former Barclays Bank site on
Gateshead High Street into its new headquarters
● The site will be home to 50 Age UK staff and host activities for over 500 older people
each week
● To cope with demand on the site, the charity will be recruiting an additional 30
members of staff
● Activities available include, bereavement meet-ups, friendship groups, exercise
classes and hobby clubs alongside the region’s flagship Sky Up Digital Hub
● The new Digital Hub within the site will provide the community with access to digital
devices, digital skills workshops and free Sky WiFi connection.
● Age UK and Sky volunteers will run regular digital skills workshops to support over
65s who are digitally excluded.
● Sky’s Digital Hubs roll-out sees up to £100,000 invested in each location, as part of
its Sky Up fund to tackle digital exclusion.
Age UK Gateshead’s new headquarters were officially launched alongside media and
entertainment company Sky.
The building, which features social and activity spaces alongside Sky’s flagship Digital Hub,
was opened by local MP and Chair of Age UK Gateshead, Liz Twist MP and Ian
Wolstenholme, CEO of Age UK Gateshead.
The headquarters will see up to 500 people each week using the space for bereavement
meet-ups, friendship groups, exercise classes and hobby clubs, alongside vital digital training
through the Sky Digital Hub.
Through Age UK Gateshead’s partnership with Sky, the building will provide access to over
30 digital devices, a free Sky wifi connection and regular classes run by volunteers at the Sky
Digital Hub to help participants confidently use online services.
One in five adults in Gateshead are over the age of 65 and will experience an average of 20
years of ill health. (Public Health)
The Charity has invested £140k on refurbishing the building so far, and hopes that its
pioneering community focus will improve the quality of life of residents in the surrounding
areas while giving them the vital tools to get online and stay connected.
According to Age UK, 69% of people over the age of 75 and 30% of people aged between 65
to 74 are not able to complete eight of the most fundamental tasks required to use the
internet safely and successfully. With 53% of over 65s being targeted by scams across the
UK, support and training around digital literacy is crucial to help people avoid being victims of
Donna Taylor, Charity Director at Age UK Gateshead, said: “Age UK Gateshead is back
on Gateshead high street and we cannot wait to welcome faces old and new to come and
take part in our jam-packed schedule of activities. There’s so much to benefit from being on
the high street. There’ll be a much higher rate of footfall passing our centre and on top of this
our participants can benefit from the excellent transport links on offer, making it even easier

to come and access our services. So make sure to tell your friends and your family to come
along, chat to our team and see how they can get involved – we’re always on the lookout for
volunteers too!”
Fiona Ball, Group Director, Bigger Picture & Sustainability said: “Sky is focused on
helping people in Gateshead unlock new opportunities with tools, skills and programmes that
we provide through our new Digital Hub. Tackling digital inequality is at the heart of our work
with AgeUK, we are committed to empowering people to get online, learn new skills and fulfil
their potential.”
Liz Twist MP, Chair of Age UK Gateshead said: "As we open the doors of the new Sky Up
Age UK Gateshead Hub on the High Street, we celebrate the role it can play in supporting
the local community. We are committed to ensuring that everyone, regardless of age or
ability, feels welcome and empowered to go online with confidence. We want all local
residents to be able to use the hub with its resources and support services, it will create the
opportunities they deserve.”
To find out more about Age UK Gateshead, you can visit their website or pop into their new
location on Gateshead high street. If you’d be interested in volunteering, please contact: