OLDER and disabled people will soon be offered help to switch over to digital television with the launch of the Switchover Help Scheme in Wales.

The scheme, run by the BBC through an agreement with the Government, has been set up to help eligible older and disabled people to make the change to digital on one of their TV sets.

People are eligible if they are aged 75 or over, if they get (or could get) attendance or constant attendance allowance, mobility supplement or disability living allowance, if they have lived in a care home for six months or more, or if they are registered blind or partially sighted.

For a one-off payment of £40, eligible people in Wales will be offered:

Easy-to-use Freeview equipment to convert one television set

Installation of that equipment

An aerial check and upgrade if necessary, for people who own their own aerials

A demonstration of how it works and someone to call for help while they are getting used to it.

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

Cheryl Lockyer, Help Scheme spokeswoman in Wales, said: “Digital switchover is coming, and we are here to do everything we can to make sure no-one eligible will be left behind.

“We will be writing to everyone eligible explaining exactly what help is available and what needs to be done. The most important thing is not to worry – we will be in touch.”

Those served by the North and South Wales transmitter groups will switch over later in 2009 and 2010.

To make it easier, eligible people can choose to apply by calling the Help Scheme free on 0800 40 85 903 or 0800 40 85 904, or they can nominate someone else to make their application for them.