Information Now

19 March 2021


• InformationNOW
• Transforming the City Centre
• Young Carers action day
• Opportunities with Newcastle City Learning
• Tax returns and homeworking tax relief
• Coronavirus updates

Research & Reports

• Housing and older people
• Staying afloat in the pandemic

Opportunities for Action

• Online help for families needing to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme


• Lloyds bank funding opportunity
• Welfare update – benefits

New on InformationNOW this week!

This week’s events & activities at a glance
• Newcastle Health and Homelessness Inequality Research Findings
• International Newcastle events, Festival Week 22-26 March 2021
• Updated organisations and articles
• Night Stop
• Moving on Tyne and Wear
• Joseph Cowen Healthcare Centre
• Newcastle City Learning
• Fitness activities



Now that we are about to emerge out of lockdown, we may need to focus on our health and reconditioning. We have a new article on Walking and health which signposts you to what you can do on your own or with others. Walking can be incorporated into everyday routines, such as going to work and domestic tasks.   It is a year-round, habit-forming activity and by far the most easily accessible means of reaping health benefits with no special equipment required.

Transforming the city centre

A new proposal will bring significant investment to the city centre and ensure Newcastle remains a place where businesses can thrive, people want to move to and live and tourists visit. It will capitalise on the city’s vibrancy and welcoming nature and create a safer, more appealing and healthier green city with outdoor spaces and activities that people and their families can enjoy together.

This will mean some big changes to the city’s environment including moving forward with plans to remove vehicle traffic from Blackett Street in the heart of our city centre.

Plans include.

  • Grey Street a street that will become the hub for cultural events and performance and ultimately become the primary pedestrian route between the city centre and Quayside.
  • Northumberland Street transforming the street with trees and greenery to a relaxed place that can be enjoyed all year round.
  • Ridley Place a pedestrian destination for local independent retailers and for  markets and pop up retail food and beverage.
  • Saville Row a place for arts, innovation and design. Somewhere independent retailers can showcase local products and art.

You can watch a video available on YouTube 

Economic recovery plan
Alongside this vision there is an Economic recovery plan  which with a broad range of stakeholders, will look to reinvent and accelerate their ambitions for an inclusive, green, and prosperous economy.  Please take part in this survey 

Young Carers Action Day

Young Carers Action Day is an annual event, organised by Carers Trust to raise awareness of young carers and the contribution they make to their families and local communities. This year the theme is ‘Protect Young Carers Futures’

Young carers (aged 5-18) and young adult carers (aged 18 -25) generally look after someone in their family who, due to illness, disability, mental health problems or substance misuse could not manage without their support.  Their caring roles have enabled these young people to develop incredible skills such as resilience, time-management and empathy, important skills, not just for young people moving into higher education, but also for those looking to enter the workplace.

As part of the Carers into Work project across the North of Tyne Combined Authority, Newcastle Carers has a Carer into Work Advisor, Ave Joesar who can support young adult carers into employment. For more information about the project and to access support, email Ave.

Newcastle Carers is commissioned by Newcastle City Council and the Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group to provide support to unpaid carers of all ages caring for someone living in Newcastle.

InformationNOW has articles on: Looking after someone


Opportunities with Newcastle City Learning

Newcastle City Learning offers new short experiences and programmes which will engage people in learning again. Joining one of their classes is a great way to meet new friends and learn a new skill along the way and over the last year, they have been delivering online learning and support using Google classroom.

There are free Level 2 and Level 3 courses for employed residents of the North of Tyne Combined Authority area, which means people could save hundreds of pounds on subjects like bookkeeping and counselling.  There are also free essential digital skills courses to help people develop their confidence and skills in using digital technology. Read the new brochure 

Enrol online or call on 0191 2773520 from 8.30am to 4.30pm or email 

InformationNOW has articles on: lifelong learning

Tax returns and home tax relief

Tax return
If you are late filing your tax return, don’t ignore it.  It won’t go away and penalties will pile up. It is best to complete it online as there is a penalty, when you are late, for a paper submission.  When it comes to appealing penalties HMRC has indicated that they will consider the following as examples of “reasonable excuse”:  Difficulties caused by Covid 19:

•    an unexpected stay in hospital preventing you from dealing with your tax affairs
•    the death of a partner or close relative
•    a serious or life threatening illness or a disability that led to the delay
•    software failure when using the online filing system/service
•    fire, flood or theft preventing you from completing your tax return

However, be careful, as HMRC expects you to file the tax return as soon as you are able to, so don’t delay getting your return in once the immediate crisis has passed and, if making an appeal, include details of the time of the event that has delayed the submission of your return.

Some people can end up being asked by HMRC to complete a tax return in error. The most common reasons for needing to complete a tax return are self-employment or property income over £1,000 pa; overseas income, and savings or investment income over £10,000 pa – but that is not an exhaustive list.

You could try HMRC’s online checking tool at to see if you need to complete a tax return.

Working from home tax relief

Your organisation or employer may have come to an agreement with you relating to support against expenses for home working for anything up to a year. If not, it is easy to claim tax relief from the HMRC and if you do it now, it can start from the date of the official lockdown, 23rd March.

Read the information from Martin Lewis and MoneySavingExpert and claim before the end of this financial year, 31st March 2021. You do not receive a cheque, but your tax code will change to make the allowance.

Coronavirus updates

The National Health Research Institute (NIHR) has released videos to be shared across our communities.  The videos feature staff working in health and social care explaining vaccine safety standards and the importance of vaccine research in the fight against COVID 19 in a range of languages including Bengali, Hindi, Polish, Romanian and Punjabi.

CityLife Line still offering essential support across Newcastle 
Citylife Line continues to provide help to Newcastle residents throughout the pandemic.  This includes access to food, medicines and other support.  Complete this online form or visit this page. You can also call 0800 170 7001 and someone can complete the form on your behalf.  The team works Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday from 9am to 3pm. Those requiring immediate support, will be contacted by telephone on the same day (except Sundays). For all other requests, you will be contacted within 36 hours.

InformationNOW has articles on: foodbanks, free meals, support if you are on a low income


Housing and older people

The Centre for Ageing Better published a report as part of its Good Home Inquiry which has revealed the impact of homes in poor condition on people in their 50s and 60s. There are an estimated 4.1 million homes in England that do not meet basic standards of decency and around half of those homes are lived in by someone aged 55 or over.

InformationNOW has articles on: housing for older people and buying or renting ordinary housing

Staying afloat in a crisis: families on low incomes in the pandemic

New research, undertaken by Joseph Rowntree Foundation and The Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, has followed 14 low-income families over five years, trying to understand how they have coped before the pandemic and also during its first six months. Two separate reports look at before and during the pandemic. Here are the recommendations below:

  • ensure as many people as possible are in good, secure jobs, with stable and reasonable pay, that fit in with family needs. This would help make families less vulnerable to income shocks and help build financial resilience.
  • to strengthen the social security system so that it provides the anchor that people need in tough times. This requires adequate benefit levels.
  • increase the amount of low-cost housing available for families on low-incomes and increase support for people with high housing costs, including low-income homeowners in times of difficulty. We also need to address the sense of insecurity felt by many people living in the private rented sector.
  • address the digital divide with a renewed focus on digital inclusion, including access to devices, broadband and improved skills.
  • families should be able to access relevant and timely information, advice and support, for example, with benefit claims, money and debt advice, access to food banks and health services,

InformationNOW has articles (with organisations that can help) on: support for people on low incomes; looking for work; buying or renting ordinary housing; getting online; welfare and  benefits; help with housing

Online help for families needing to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

An online event at 11am and 6pm on 24 March, 2021 targets support to residents needing to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. The event is free and people booking will receive a personal call back from a Home Office accredited adviser employed by Your Homes Newcastle. Translators can be provided if necessary. Book a place
Information on the EU Settlement Scheme


Funding opportunity

The Lloyds Bank Foundation 2021 funding programme is now open, with £9.5m to distribute to small and local charities in England and Wales. Registered charities helping complex social issues involving any of the following can apply: addiction and dependency, asylum seekers and refugees, care leavers, domestic abuse, homelessness and vulnerably housed, learning disabilities, mental health, offending, prison or community service or young parents. This year the Foundation will be open all year rather than distributing grants via multiple funding rounds, applications will be considered at any time.

Welfare benefits

With changes in welfare benefits coming into effect, the Newcastle Welfare team are working hard to keep everyone informed. If you need help, please read their pages, starting with  Coronavirus and benefits; what the changes mean to you.  See our article with links to key organisations that can help.


#HealthNow Newcastle Health and Homelessness Inequality Research Findings

Crisis Newcastle with Groundswell and Cardboard Citizens are holding a piece of forum theatre to share the findings of #HealthNow Health and Homelessness Inequality research carried out in Newcastle between October and November 2020..  The forum theatre will be run on line to demonstrate their findings and to generate some discussion. Book this event on 30 March 2021,1pm to 3pm.

International Newcastle events, Festival Week, 22-26 March 2021

The Festival What’s On programme includes free language and culture-related activities and resources available from 22 February, with live events and workshops running in March.

Activities and events are aimed at Schools (educators, learners and speakers from Early Years to University) and Communities (community schools, language and cultural communities and the general public) including Refugee and Asylum Seekers families.

Last updated: March 19, 2021

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