Information Now

11 December 2020


Need online information over Christmas
#BeatCovidNE campaign launch
Optician services – take the survey


Coping at Christmas
Bereavement during the pandemic
Cyber scams


Digital connect
Community Clothing Scheme
Seven stories doorstep stories



Need online information over Christmas

Looking for equipment and aids to help you around the house ?  Answer some questions, get a tailored report with items for you to consider.  You can also buy online. Visit Your Equipment Newcastle.

InformationNOW has published a support for people on a low income article. This pulls together links to information and organisations that can help you whatever your situation.

InformationNOW has updated free and cheap meals and food banks information.

Articles and organisations updated
Advance decisions
Heart Attacks
Newcastle frailty prevention team

#BeatCovidNE campaign launch

The #BeatCovidNE digital hub is now live – this is a regional campaign and the website contains all of the most up-to-date advice for the North East, and tells you where to find all the support you might need. There are useful links, Tier info and Covid Diaries, where the people of our campaign are sharing their real-life experiences of living and working during the pandemic. See things from the perspectives of an NHS worker, police officer, bus driver, teacher and grandmother and learn how we can beat this together if we all keep going.

What’s your experience of Optician services? 

Since March 2020 Healthwatch Newcastle and Gateshead have been gathering people’s experiences of local health and social care services. At the moment they want to hear from people who have contacted an optician in the past few months.  Take the ‘Because we all care’ survey.  You can still complete the form about other services – from GP to pharmacy to dentistry or hospital care.

Coping at Christmas

We’ve been talking to Louise, the Marie Curie Covid 19 Coordinator and she shared some thoughts with us for this Christmas.

This is a difficult time of year for many people and not least for people who are grieving at the loss of someone during Covid 19.  Many people who have been bereaved during this year will have mixed feelings about Christmas celebrations or may be dreading them. This might be the first year that the person they loved will not be with them, or it may be yet another Christmas when celebrations are bittersweet because of their loss.

There are all the usual pressures associated with the festivities and arrangements this year will need to take into account Covid restrictions as well. If you are grieving you may feel you have to ‘put on a brave face’ and not upset people around you. What is important to know is that you have choices. Whether you want a different Christmas or you want to do as near as you can to what you always do, that is up to you. Take time out when you need to; Christmas is not an endurance test. If you want to acknowledge the person you have lost then do so. Looking at a picture or raise a glass to them; saying a few words silently or aloud can be helpful and not just for you, as others may welcome the thought. If you need to have some tears that’s fine.

Take a moment every now and then, take a slow breath and check what it is you need as a way of looking after yourself. Make sure you don’t skip meals or try to keep on going when really you just need a quiet time alone or a nap. Go and get some fresh air if you need it and go easy on alcohol: it can be a mood depressant, disturbing sleep and also give you the extra burden of a hangover if you overdo it.

Lastly, know that you are not alone. Despite the relentless Christmas adverts showing all those happy families with their perfect meals, Christmas for many people this year will be different. Look after yourself and know that there is extra support if you need it come the New Year.


Bereavement during the pandemic

As noted above, Christmas and the winter are difficult times for many people and that is why last week was grief awareness week.  Somehow Winter and the cold can exacerbate loneliness and isolation.  However, Marie Curie has recognised that people are feeling traumatised at the loss of someone they loved and not necessarily because Covid 19 caused the death, but because of the overall circumstances of not saying goodbye, the comfort of a hug and the funeral arrangements that were restricted.  Louise Bowen has been appointed to the post of Bereavement Coordinator and she is happy to have a formal or informal chat with you. She is also pulling together volunteers to support you.  The great thing about this service is that you will get some continuity in the support you receive from a more personalised service than perhaps you’d get with an online chat.

Contact information
Listen to the Radio Tyneside and InformationNOW radio interview. with Louise.

Cyber scams

We all know there has been a rise in cyber scams this year.  Friends Against Scams is a National Trading Standards Scams Team initiative, which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering people to take a stand against scams.

  • Scams cost the UK economy £5 to £10 billion a year
  • 53% of people over 65 have been targeted by scams
  • Only 5% of scams are reported
  • Statistics indicate that the average scam victim has lost over £3000

Throughout December 2020, the Friends Against Scams Team are running a Scamnesty (a scam mail amnesty) campaign aiming to encourage everyone in the UK to send in any unwanted scam and nuisance mail that they receive completely free of charge.

Send mail (no need for a stamp) to: NTSST, FREEPOST, MAIL MARSHALS

  • Week 1 7th to 13th Dec:               Lotteries & Prize draw scams
  • Week 2 14th to 20st Dec:             Clairvoyants & psychics
  • Week 3 21st to  27th Dec:            Advanced Fee
  • Week 4 28th Dec to 1st Jan:        Unsolicited Mail such as catalogues & health supplements

To report a scam or suspicious activity please contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit

You can take online training and support your community to do so. Become a friend and help stop fraud and scams.  Read our cyber scams article.

Please note: Latest phishing scam asking for payment for a redirect/delivery of a parcel by DPD. Do not click or engage with this.

Digital connect

If you are aged between 50 to 70 years, you can take part in this survey which has been designed by  Citizens Online, an independent charity that works to ensure that people aren’t excluded from the online world we now live in. They have been commissioned by the Centre for Ageing Better to find out more about the experiences of people aged 50 to 70 years during the pandemic.  The quiz will take 10 minutes and there’s a prize draw.

Community clothing this Christmas

The Community School Clothing scheme  is offering more than clothes – toys and presents, trees and decorations for families in need.   Please donate if you can, they are really busy this year and are supporting hundreds of families.

Use their keep in touch and check what’s available.

Seven Stories Doorstep stories

Support Seven Stories as they take magical Christmas stories out to children  in the East of Newcastle by making a donation.

Remember their bookshop is open Thursday to Sunday from 11am to 4pm and there is a click and collect service.

There is also a takeaway tea and books service.

Christmas is around the corner – what’s on

This year, many more of the events and activities are online.  However, there are a few options that are ticketed too. These include several theatre shows, Christmas mass and carols and of course the Quayside is open too.  Looking for a local place of worship?  Use our article to find an organisation in your area.  Follow the link to find out what they offer this Christmas time.

St James and St Basil’s, has services closer to Christmas

St Nicholas Cathedral has a carousel of carol services.

Jesmond Parish Church carols by candlelight online this Sunday

Remember that you can always tune into a radio station; Radio Tyneside has Late Night Christmas and the Blessing of Christmas with Hugh Bonneville.

Here’s a link to our Christmas category and to our online or virtual activities.  Do check with organisers tto see if they are doing anything between Christmas and New Year though.

You may like to sign up to Dance City’s Christmas disco this weekend.

Why not look at Equal Arts Advent calendar gif wall.

Read the Forestry Commission’s (partnered with Mind) recommendations for a connected Christmas including forest bathing.

Last updated: January 21, 2021

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