Pensioners and those on benefits who suffered below-freezing temperatures earlier this month are to receive £8.50 from the Department for Work and Pensions.

The one-off payment will be made automatically to those living in the postcode areas DH8 (Consett), DL8 (Bedale), DL11-17 (West Richmond, Barnard Castle, Bishop Auckland, Shildon, Crook, Spennymoor, Ferryhill), NE19 (Otterburn), NE44 (Riding Mill), NE47-49 (Tyne Valley, Kielder, Haltwhistle). The payment covers the week January 6 to 12.

PAWS FOR THOUGHT: People who were given a dog for Christmas and need guidance can telephone the Canine Advice Life Line, run by the charity People and Dogs Society (PADS) in confidence, for a solution to dog-related problems, worries and queries, on (01642) 644799.

ROAD WORKS: There are warnings of lane closures for the next three weeks while British Telecom installs a fibre optic cable under the A1085 between Grangetown and Kirkleatham Lane.

JUST DESSERTS: A party is planned in May to celebrate the first decade of the Justice Support Project which set out in 1993 to reduce juvenile re-offending in Middlesbrough by five per cent, but achieved a 36 per cent reduction in two years. It continues to reduce re-offending in the Cleveland Police area by at least ten per cent every year but also works in North Yorkshire and County Durham and has supported thousands of young people while training hundreds of volunteer recruits.

MILLENNIUM AWARDS: Nearly 100 Millennium Award winners will be meeting to celebrate their achievements through the Millennium Awards Scheme at the International Centre for Life, in Newcastle, on Saturday. Funded by the Millennium Commission, Millennium Awards are Lottery grants of about £2,000 that give individuals the chance to improve their skills and, as a result, strengthen their communities.

CUSTOMER SERVICE: Train operator GNER is to award staff who have delivered outstanding customer service on its train services between London and the North-East. Voted for by the travelling public, the GNER Customer Services Awards will be presented by Sir Bobby Robson, manager of Newcastle United FC, in Newcastle, tomorrow.