22 December 2023 InfoNOW News

22 December 2023 InfoNOW News

Christmas holiday and winter support

We wish everybody a happy festive season from the InformationNOW team. InfoNOW News will return in January 2024.

Newcastle City Council have information and tips about staying safe this Christmas, when out and about and at home: on their Have Fun and Stay Safe this Christmas page 

You can also visit Newcastle’s Christmas.com for a round up of Christmas themed activities going on in Newcastle.

As the cost of energy, food and fuel rises, it can be harder for many people to manage money and pay bills on time, particularly in December and January.

InformationNOW has useful articles to help with the cost of living, food, and more during winter such as::

Newcastle Wellbeing Hubs are warm and welcoming places to spend time in Newcastle for free during the winter. You can find your nearest Wellbeing Hub using Newcastle City Council’s directory.

If you require direct support you can visit the Cost of living Support page on Newcastle.gov.uk

Read more on InformationNOW about Christmas 

Working Together: Help shape Newcastle’s Adult Social Care plan

Adult Social Care at Newcastle City Council want to get better at working with people who live in Newcastle who use our services.
Together, you will plan how to work to create better services. They would love to hear about your experiences and ideas for working with the Council and partners.

This plan for working together will help when they are:

  • changing how services we offer are delivered
  • designing new services or plans for how we work
  • looking at offering new contracts to companies and organisations who provide services on our behalf or hiring new staff members

Anyone with an interest in Adult Social Care in Newcastle is welcome to join. This includes:

  • people who live in Newcastle who use our services, their friends, family and carers
  • anyone working for care providers commissioned by the council
  • council staff
  • people working for or using voluntary and community organisations
  • people working for providers commissioned by the council

You are welcome to join at one of their in-person sessions:

You can Sign up to attend a session here

Read more on InformationNOW about Getting Involved in Your Local Community


DWP Christmas and New Year information

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have announced changes to payment dates for benefits and for jobcentre plus contact opening times over the Christmas holiday period.

Universal Credit    

Payment due: Monday 25 December         New payment date: Friday 22 December
Payment due: Tuesday 26 December        New payment date: Friday 22 December
Payment due; Wednesday 27 December  New payment date: Wednesday 27 December
Payment due: Monday 1 January              New payment date: Friday 29 December
Payment due: Tuesday 2 January             New payment date: Tuesday 2 January

Other benefits including child benefit and tax credits

Payment due: Monday 25 December         New payment date: Friday 22 December
Payment due: Tuesday 26 December        New payment date: Friday 22 December
Payment due: Wednesday 27 December  New payment date: Friday 22 or Wednesday 27 December
Payment due: Thursday 28 December      New payment date: Wednesday 27 December
Payment due: Monday 1 January               New payment date: Friday 29 December
Payment due: Tuesday 2 January              New payment date: Friday 29 December or Tuesday 2 January

You can find more information on GOV.UK here

There are changes to Jobcentre Plus opening times over Christmas and New Year.
They will be closed on 25, 26 27 December 2023 and on 1 January 2024
They are open 22, 28, 29 December 2023 and 2 January 2024 but close at 4pm
Read more on InformationNOW about Christmas Opening Times and Benefits

2024 Metro improvement works

Nexus have announced a busy programme of work to improve the Metro in the first three months of next year and it will require a series of line closures. Where lines are closed, frequent replacement bus services will be provided and customers are advised to plan ahead if travelling in the affected areas. Works include the completion of the new Gosforth Metro depot, the installation of new tracks, track junctions, overhead lines and lineside estate works.

There will be three weekends where the Metro’s central area through Newcastle will be affected, and there will be a nine-day major line closure between South Gosforth and Newcastle International Airport. The information for each of the closures will be shared on Nexus’ website and the Pop App.

The planned closures are:

  • 5-8 January: Completion of final tracks outside new Gosforth Metro Depot. No line closures are planned but some impact on early and late services.
  • 13-14 January: Buses replace trains South Gosforth-Haymarket for track renewal, lineside estate works and signalling work at Gosforth depot.
  • 20-21 January: Buses replace trains Airport-South Gosforth for track renewal.
  • 27 January: Buses replace trains Pelaw-South Shields for track renewal.
  • 10-11 February: Buses replace trains South Gosforth-Wallsend for lineside estate and signalling maintenance works.
  • 17-25 February: Buses replace trains Airport-Regent Centre. A nine-day major line closure for overhead line renewal.
  • 16-17 March: Buses replace trains Heworth-South Gosforth for track junction renewal in Metro tunnels under Newcastle city centre.
  • 29 March-1 April (Easter weekend): Buses replace trains Heworth-South Gosforth. Four-day major line closure to complete the track junction renewal in Metro tunnels under Newcastle.

Read more on InformationNOW about Public Transport

Universal Credit migration: get briefed!

Tax Credit only claimants in Newcastle will be receiving their invites to claim Universal Credit from 8 January 2024. There’s lots of implications and issues involved, however there are services that can help. Make sure you have the key information to tell people by attending a short 45 minute briefing with the Welfare rights team at Newcastle City Council.

Sessions available on these dates:

  • Thursday 4 January 2 to 2:45pm
  • Tuesday 9 January 2 to 2:45pm
  • Wednesday 17 January 2 to 2:45pm

Please complete this online form to let them know what date you want to attend. Please only choose one date

You can find more information on financial inclusion training on Newcastle.gov.uk here

Read more on InformationNOW about Universal Credit

Flu and COVID-19 vaccinations

It’s important to get your seasonal flu and COVID-19 vaccinations if you’re at higher risk of getting seriously ill from these illnesses.

Who should have the flu and COVID-19 vaccines

You may be able get the NHS flu and COVID-19 vaccines if you:

  • are aged 65 or over (including those who will be 65 by 31 March 2024)
  • have certain health conditions or a learning disability
  • are pregnant
  • live with someone who has a weakened immune system
  • are a carer
  • are a frontline health or social care worker
  • live in a care home

Most children can get the children’s flu vaccine. This includes children who were aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2023, school-aged children (Reception to Year 11) and children with certain health conditions.

How to get the flu vaccine

If you’re eligible for an NHS flu vaccine, you can:

Some people may be able to get vaccinated through their maternity service, care home or their employer if they are a frontline health or social care worker.

You do not have to wait for an invitation before booking an appointment.

Find out more about the flu vaccine and how to get it

How to get the COVID-19 vaccine

If you’re eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, you can:

Find out more about the COVID-19 vaccine and how to get it

Pneumococcal vaccine

If you’re 65 or over, you’re also eligible for the pneumococcal vaccine, which will help protect you from pneumonia. Ask your GP surgery.

Read more on InformationNOW about Flu

Pharmacy: Common conditions service

Pharmacies across the North East and North Cumbria can offer advice and treatment for many common conditions. There’s no need for a GP appointment – just head to your local pharmacy. Pharmacists are qualified experts in healthcare and can help with a wide range of common illnesses.

What is covered under the common conditions service?

  • Aches and pains – back pain, headache, migraine, muscle ache, period pain, teething, toothache
  • Allergies – bites and stings, hay fever, skin reaction
  • Colds and flu – cough, congestion, sore throat, fever / temperature (including fever following immunisation) • Ear care – earache, ear infection, ear wax
  • Eye care – bacterial conjunctivitis, styes • Gastrointestinal care – diarrhoea, constipation, indigestion, haemorrhoids (piles), reflux, threadworms, sickness
  • Head lice
  • Mouth care – cold sores, oral thrush, ulcers
  • Skin care – athlete’s foot, chicken pox, contact dermatitis / atopic eczema, fungal skin infections, nappy rash, pruritis (itching), scabies, warts, verrucaes
  • Vaginal thrush

How it works

  1.  Pop along to your local pharmacy and talk to a health care professional about your illness and they will offer advice.
  2.  If you need treatment, the pharmacist will check your eligibility and whether the illness is covered by the service.
  3.  A suitable medicine may be offered to you.* *Charges will apply if you normally pay for your prescriptions. If you hold a medical exemption certificate, for example people under 16 or over 60, then you will not pay for the medicine.

You can find further information at: Think Pharmacy First

Read more on InformationNOW about Pharmacies/Chemists

Tyne Bridge Restoration in 2024

In early 2024, restorative works will begin to focus on the main deck of the bridge. In order to carry the work out safely and to protect the workforce and the public, lane closures will be required from 2024, which will see the Tyne Bridge reduced to one lane in each direction during a significant part of the refurbishment programme.

Heavy congestion is expected on the Quayside route, Swing Bridge and routes to and from Redheugh Bridge and all approaches to the Tyne Bridge from both Newcastle and Gateshead sides.

For those travelling across the region it is recommended that the trunk roads and other river crossing options outside the central area are utilised, such as the A1, A19, Tyne Tunnel and Scotswood Bridge.

Newcastle City council and Gateshead council are advising people to plan ahead and make the switch to public transport or active travel where possible.

You can stay updated on when the restoration works start and the overall project at www.tynebridge.org,

Read more on InformationNOW about Travel and Transport

New Contacts for Domestic Abuse Support

New Contacts for Domestic Abuse Support

The Newcastle Integrated Domestic Abuse Service (NIDAS) has a new telephone number and email.

NIDAS is our commissioned service that works with people experiencing domestic abuse. NIDAS provides a safe environment and support.

The public can contact NIDAS by telephoning 0191 0191 226 3688.
Front-line professionals working to safeguard and support individuals (only) can ring 0191 226 3689.
The new email for NIDAS is [email protected].

Read more on InformationNOW about Domestic Abuse

Boost North East and North Cumbria

Boost is a new platform that provides a hub for innovation, idea-sharing, networking, and supporting improvement efforts across the North East and North Cumbria. Boost is hosted by the NENC ICB, and the community is open to anyone with an interest in driving forward change in health and care.

It offers an opportunity for people to come together, share good ideas, promote solutions, and more. You can sign up to connect with others and to view upcoming events and opportunities

You can visit the Boost Website here to find out more or sign up

Read more on InformationNOW about Getting Involved in Your Community

ReCoCo January 2024 courses

Recovery Collective College (ReCoCo) Newcastle have released their January to March 2024 prospectus with updated information on a range of courses running such as:

  • Self-Harm Awareness Workshop & Support
  • Music Therapy
  • She Sings Well: Singing Group
  • Mindful Therapies’ Mindfulness with Attitude: Bitesize

You can view their prospectus of courses here 

Read more on InformationNOW about Mental Health

Connected Voice Haref role

Development Officer (Haref Network) Salary £27,810 (FTE) 30 hours a week (pro rata)

Connected Voice Haref are looking for a new member of their team to deliver their work to support services and health improvement to ethnically marginalised communities in Newcastle and Gateshead.

The Development Officer role will lead on Haref’s community engagement work by developing and maintaining relationships with a diverse range of ethnically marginalised communities, groups and organisations. We are looking for someone with:

  • A good understanding of the health and wellbeing challenges affecting ethnically marginalised communities.
  • Experience of connecting and supporting different organisations to develop health improvement initiatives.
  • Experience of working in different communities and community development work, particularly with people from marginalised groups.

Connected Voice is committed to providing equal opportunities for all. We wish to increase the diversity of our staff and welcome applicants from all sections of the community, particularly from people with disabilities and those from ethnically diverse backgrounds.
Closing date for receipt of application forms is 12.00 noon on Monday 29 January
Interviews will be held on Tuesday 13 February.

For more information including the application form, job description and personal specification see here https://connectedvoice.org.uk/jobs/development-officer-haref-network

Read more on InformationNOW about Looking for a Job or Work


Inkubator is an annual ten-week development programme made up of four training sessions and four shadowing sessions on placement in New Writing North’s programme. It is for writers and freelancers who want to develop their skills in facilitation and participatory arts practice with children, young people and adults

Inkubator is designed to give writers from all backgrounds a route into creative facilitation and careers in the arts.

Training session dates (held in central Newcastle):

Tuesday 6 February, 10am – 1pm

Tuesday 13 February, 10am – 1pm

Tuesday 20 February, 10am – 1pm

Tuesday 27 February, 10am – 1pm

It is free to take part in Inkubator. Successful applicants will receive a bursary of £500 to support their participation in the programme.

To apply, please fill in this form by midday Monday 8 January 2024. All applicants will be contacted about the outcome of their application by Friday 19 January 2024.

If you have any access requirements at application stage, or would prefer to submit via video or audio file, please email [email protected]

Queries about applications can be made to [email protected]. Please note that the NWN office will be closed over the Christmas and New Year period and re-open on 2 January 2024

You can read more about the Inkubator project on New Writing Norths website

Read more on InformationNOW about Hobbies and Art Galleries

Better Business Skills Courses

Better Business Skills is back with a new series of fully funded Skills Development Sessions from January 2024 thanks to support from North of Tyne Combined Authority.

Over 200 Newcastle Northumberland & NorthTyneside residents have already boosted their business skills and received one to one Mentoring support with an Industry Expert to help them embed the skills in their business.

If you have a small business, community interest company or even a business idea join a course to develop your skills. To be eligible for the programme, you must be aged 19+ and live in the North of Tyne area

You can find out about upcoming events and register interest on the Get Better Business Skills website here

Read more on InformationNOW about Starting Your Own Business

Sign Up day at Pottery Bank

Tuesday 23 January 2024, 10am to 2pm

Pottery Bank community centre are holding a sign up day on 23 January 2024 where you can learn more about and sign up to their free courses. They have a wide range of courses including

  • Adult cooking
  • Gardening
  • arts and crafts
  • exercise

Find out more about the Pottery Bank open day on InformationNOW

Read more on InformationNOW about Community Centres

Tyne and wear fire service consultation

The  Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) have opened their consultation on the Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP) and this is your chance to give your feedback on the plans.

The document sets out 24 different proposals on how they plan to keep you safer over the next three years.
Each proposal has been informed by data and intelligence but they want you to have your chance to read and let them know what you think!

You can fill out an anonymous survey open until 6th February 2024..Please share your thoughts and views on the CRMP.

The Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP) is avaialble to view online here
The Community risk management plan survey is available here

Read more on InformationNOW about Fire Safety

OT Discharge Risk Management Project

RCOT (Royal College of Occupational Therapists) Discharge Risk Management Project

The Elders Council is working with Researchers from Northumbria University who are developing a training programme to inform occupational therapists (OT) and students how to safely discharge patients from hospitals during crisis events, and how to promote positive risk-taking.

Part of the project investigates OT discharge risk management from the patient and caregiver perspective and in order to do this, older people who have experienced either their own discharge or someone they care(d) for, since 2020 would be ideally suited to take part.

This work will be of benefit all who may at some time in their lives require this support.
If you are interested being interviewed for this project and would like to find out more please contact Craig Newman at [email protected]

Read more on InformationNOW about Having Your Say about Health and Care Services

VOICE Involvement Opportunities

VOICE offer the opportunity to get involved with research studies locally, nationally and internationally. You can find whats currently available that is relevant and of interest to you.

You can find out more at: Voice: Opportunities

Read more on InformationNOW about Getting Involved with research

Better Leisure Centres Offer Discounts for Families

Foster families across Newcastle can access reduced rates on bowling, swimming, trampoline sessions and soft play at four of the city’s leisure centres.

The discounts have been made available from December 2023 at East End Pool, Newcastle Trampoline Park, Eldon Soft Play and Bowling, and Gosforth Leisure Centre. Care experienced young people aged 16 to 21 can also get free access to all gym, swimming, and fitness classes within Newcastle’s four Better leisure centres.

Contact [email protected] for details about the fostering discount scheme.
You can also contact each centre for more information through the Better Leisure website

Read more on InformationNOW about Leisure centres and Swimming pools

RE:GEON kick the sugar habit

January 11 2024 10am to 1pm

Re:Geon Training are providing fully funded workshops in January supporting healthy eating and budget cooking skills at Riverside Community Project

Kicking the sugar habit is an information session on the effects of sugar on the body and alternative options to manage sugar in your diet.
Cooking on a budget is an interactive workshop helping people to prepare cost effective meals for a family on a budget, that also runs in January.

To express your interest in these workshops please contact Sarah by phone 0191 466 1024  or Email: [email protected] 

There are also a range of other workshops fully funded for individuals in the North of Tyne area, which you can find on their website here
You can register your interest for any of their funded workshop courses using the RE:geon Training Opportunities form here . You will then be contacted with further information.

Read more on InformationNOW about Healthy Eating and Drinking

Donation collection service

Planning a Christmas clear out? Save yourself some time and donate your furniture, clothes and other items to a good cause by using cheap or free furniture and items collection services from local charities.

Below are some local charities operating this type of service in the Newcastle area. Please visit their website or contact for further details.

Organisation (click for more information on their website)      Phone number
Orange Box North East  0191 2242113
CT Furniture  08009174397
British Heart Foundation (BHF)  08082500130
Newcastle Wood Recycling  0191 2654845
Saint Oswald’s Hospice  0191 2468123

Read more on InformationNOW about Volunteering

Christmas Recycling

The Christmas holidays are a time where a lot of recyclable waste is created. Foil from Mince pies, chocolate and turkey, cardboard and paper from wrapped gifts, plastic from toys.

To help make sure you’re recycling well this Christmas you can visit Newcastle.gov.uk for recycling guidance:

Read more on InformationNOW about Reusing and Recycling

Newcastle Plan for Children and Young People

The Newcastle Plan for Children and Young People sets out how partners from across the public and voluntary and community sectors will work together. It follows extensive engagement work with the city’s babies, children and young people and is designed to address the key issues that matter to them most.

The plan will be in place from 2024 until 2027 and will deliver actions such as implementing the Department of Education’s Family Hubs and Start for Life Programme, improve communication and support for parents who are concerned about their child’s mental health, and strengthen the Healthy Activities with Food provision with a focus on girls, teenagers and children and young people with SEND.
To read the full plan visit: Newcastle Plan for Children and Young People

Read more on InformationNOW about Children and young peoples health

The Experience of Ageing Amongst Chinese and South Asian women in Newcastle

The Elders Council of Newcastle teamed up with researchers Dr Bethan Harries and Molly Taylor from Newcastle University and local community organisations to explore women’s experiences of ageing.

They worked with artist Sharon Bailey to facilitate creative focus groups with Chinese and South Asian women.

The research project was supported by Newcastle University Social Justice Fund.

Read the report here

Read more on InformationNOW about Women’s groups and activities

UK: Two nations report

The UK is in danger of sliding back into the “Two Nations” of the Victorian era marked by a widening gulf between mainstream society and a depressed and poverty-stricken underclass; according to a report by the Centre for social justice.

This report reveals a widening gap between those who can get by and those stuck at the bottom, a gap that was further stretched by the impact of successive lockdowns.

You can read the full report here

Read more on InformationNOW about Cost of Living Support

Reasonable adjustments toolkit

All health and care services have a legal duty to ensure that they adapt and support people with disabilities to be able to access services. The North East and Cumbria Learning Disability Network has created a new toolkit designed to assist health and care staff in making reasonable adjustments and necessary changes for individuals. They have also produced videos explaining how Reasonable Adjustments can be beneficial:

You can access a PDF of the toolkit by using this link

You can view the videos using the Youtube links below:

You can access the full resources archive here: Reasonably Adjusted Clinic for Patients with a Learning Disability – Toolkit 

Read more on InformationNOW about Learning Disability Local Support Services

Best Winter Holiday Ever

Newcastle’s Best Holiday Ever is a programme funded by the Department for Education designed for families in Newcastle to help children, young people and their parents have fulfilling, active, fun-filled and healthy school holidays.

Best Ever – Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme | Newcastle Support Directory

Read more on InformationNOW about Children’s Health

NHS App update

The NHS App has been redesigned to make it easier to access NHS services. The update rolled out on December 12 2023, make sure you update your app or download now.
Your personal settings will stay the same. Need help? Tap the help icon in the NHS App or visit http://nhs.uk/nhs-app for support.

Read more on InformationNOW about Your Doctor or GP


Community events at The Baltic


Art and Wellbeing Drop-In at The Baltic

Art + Wellbeing is a monthly drop in group and safe space for anyone affected by cancer, including family and friends. Free drinks and snacks are provided, no booking required. You can try a range of art materials and activities and spend a bit of time relaxing, meeting new people and chatting.

More information and contact details are available on InformationNOW

Read more on InformationNOW about Art GalleriesCancer, and Support Groups

Swap and Share: All Things Baby at The Baltic

The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art are hosting an event where you can donate and take baby items such as clothes and toys. As well as being helpful for people, it is also good for the environment as it is reusing and recycling unwanted items.

More information and contact details are available on InformationNOW

Read more on InformationNOW about Art Galleries

Free Winter Cycle Rides

WinG Outdoor Activities are holding multiple free cycling sessions through December and January in Cramlington. Bicycles will be provided and you can arrange to be picked up from the nearest metro station, Four Lane Ends.

More information and contact details are available on InformationNOW

Read more on InformationNOW about Fitness Activities

Pickleball Club

Tyneside Badminton club are running a weekly pickleball club. It costs £5 to attend a session and no booking is required.

More information and contact details are available on InformationNOW 

Read more on InformationNOW about Fitness Activities 

Canny Crafters

Tuesday 9 January 2024 11am to 12pm

A session where you can enjoy some canny arts and crafts and have a chat based at High Heaton library.

Read more on InformationNOW about Canny Crafters (High Heaton Library)

Newcastle Trampoline Park and Gym

Updated organisation

Newcastle Trampoline Park and Gym offer a gym and fitness classes. During the winter they also have a free warm space for anybody who needs it. This warm space is open from 10am to 3pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Read more on InformationNOW about Leisure Centres in Newcastle and Keeping Warm and Well in Winter

The Chinese Centre North of England

Updated organisation

The Chinese Centre North of England – also known as CICT Open learning centre are a local learning and support centre for the Chinese community as well as other diverse communities. They offer learning and online support and are also a Newcastle Wellbeing Hub

Read more on InformationNOW about Chinese Centre North of England 

Farah Chemists

New organisation

Farah Chemists is a community Pharmacy in Benwell that provides a range of NHS and healthy living services.

Read more on InformationNOW about Farah Chemists

The Haven

New organisation

The Haven is a Children and Families Community Hub. It is part of The Haven Mountfield School, but has a separate entrance so people can take part in community activities and events.

Read more on InformationNOW about The Haven

Tourism for all

New organisation

Tourism for all is a website that can help you plan accessible travel and accommodation. Helping you to arrange a holiday or short break to suit your needs.

Read more on InformationNOW about Tourism for all

Where to get legal advice

Updated article

Find out more about places where you can receive legal advice in Newcastle.

Read more on InformationNOW about where to get legal advice

ESOL : English lessons for people who speak English as a second or other language

Updated article

There are lots of places in Newcastle where you can take ESOL (English as a second or other language) classes, learn English or practice your conversation skills.

Read more on InformationNOW about ESOL in Newcastle

Last updated: December 22, 2023