Information Now

25 September 2020


  • Can you help the British Wool trade?
  • Electrical safety – keep your home safe
  • Carers UK survey
  • Get your flu vaccine

Research & Reports

Patients Association Pandemic Experience

Opportunities for Action

Metro Futures – online events
NHS volunteers to support the pharmacy hub


Extra Care housing – independent living in a caring environment


Can you help the British wool trade?

As with many aspects of the lockdown, whilst some are struggling with changes to their lifestyle, there are others who have been busily crafting. Embroidery, crochet and knitting have been a big hit and are thought to be therapeutic. And if you make a mistake you can unpick it.  Knitting has become one of the big explosions and online sales have had a wonderful boost.  At the same time, British Farmers have not been able to shift their stock, there have been fewer auctions and and they have to shear their sheep whatever else is going on. So, what can we do to help?

Buy British wool to make our items and stop Farmers putting the wool into manure. Not sure where a wool originates from ? Have a look at the Make it British website which has compiled a list of 25 producers of British spun yarn.  There is a distinction between British wool and British-spun yarn. British spun yarn may be spun in Britain, but might be from fibres that aren’t from the UK. However, the vast majority, especially from the smaller companies, use local fibres from British sheep or Alpaca. If in doubt, always ask the yarn supplier to give more details about the provenance of their yarn.

Why buy and wear wool? Wool is breathable yet highly absorbent, so if you get caught in a rain shower in a woollen jumper it will keep you dry. As long as it’s not a boiling hot day, it will also keep you cooler for the same reasons. Wool is long-lasting and softens with wear, so keep the moths away and a wool jumper could last decades. Thanks to its naturally anti-bacterial properties, wool also requires far less washing than other fibres.

Wool is fully compostable and could be incorporated into new green schemes, such as home insulation, carpets and textiles.  Find out more about the National Farmers Union campaigns, launched on Back British Farming day, 9 September 2020.

Electrical safety – do you know how to keep your home safe?

It’s really important to keep your home safe and with Winter approaching, it is worth thinking about what you need to check. Read our articles on Electrical Safety, Having problems with home maintenance and Getting repairs and decorating done.

Electrical Safety First are running a campaign to check that our homes are safe this Winter. With the rise in online purchases and in second-hand goods and marketplaces ( such as: Amazon Marketplace, eBay and Wish), it is important to look at how to shop safely online.

To keep safe at home it is important not to overload sockets or plugboards especially while we are gardening or doing DIY around the house.  This website, has a socket calculator to help you avoid overload.

  • never overload an extension lead by plugging in appliances that together will exceed the maximum current rating stated for the extension lead. This could cause the plug in the wall socket to overheat and possibly cause a fire.

Simple tips for kitchen safety

  • don’t leave electrical appliances like dishwashers or washing machines running unattended
  • don’t wrap flexible cables around any equipment when it is still warm
  • check that flexible leads and appliances such as kettles and toasters are in good condition
  • don’t try to clean or repair an appliance when it is still plugged in
  • never try to get toast that is stuck out of a toaster while it is plugged in, and especially not with a metal knife as there are often live parts inside
  • make sure you thoroughly clean your oven and grill – a build up of fat and grease is a major cause of fires
  • items with a high electrical current rating, such as kettles, irons and heaters need to be checked regularly.

Common products which can often be found to not meet the required safety standards include:

  • chargers
  • travel adaptors
  • hair straighteners
  • fans
  • kitchen appliances
  • power tools

To protect yourself and reduce the risk of purchasing sub-standard and counterfeit products make sure you buy from reputable retailers.

Need an electrician? use Electrical Competent Person or Electrical Safety First.

Register Your Appliances

Electrical products that are sold in the UK are manufactured to strict safety standards, but occasionally something does go wrong. It is vital that you register all of your appliances so that, if there is a problem, the manufacturer knows how to get in contact with you and put it right.  Keep an eye out for product recalls, especially for those listed above.

Carers UK Survey closes on Sunday 27 September

Carers UK has launched their second survey to capture how the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to have an impact on carers’ lives. Please note that this survey is only for unpaid carers (or former carers) who are looking after a disabled, older or a seriously ill relative or friend.

Carers UK carried out a similar survey back in April to uncover the impact that the early months of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had on carers. The results of that survey were effectively used to campaign for more support for carers and better recognition of their needs in the Government’s responses to coronavirus (COVID-19) across the UK.

Your responses to this survey will enable them to provide comprehensive evidence of what carers are experiencing as part of ongoing work to influence Government decision making, highlight carers’ experiences in the media, and ensure that advice and information resources are appropriate for carers’ needs. In the survey they’ll be asking you to tell us what life is like now, what has changed, what’s happened during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and what support you need. Due to the urgent nature of this research as we approach winter, this survey will only be open until Sunday 27th September.

Need help now? contact Newcastle Carers

Get your flu vaccine

Flu is a common, infectious virus and is most common in the Winter. There is no cure for flu and every winter thousands of people over the age of 65 years old and with long-term health conditions have the flu vaccination to protect themselves.  This year the Government has extended the range of people they would like to receive the flu jabn not only to protect individuals, but to safeguard the NHS. Unfortunately, some flu symptoms are similar to the coronavirus as well.  The Nursing and Midwifery Council have stats – please do get your flu vaccine if you are eligible and if you are worried about flu this year, book one at a pharmacy.

The Government and Public Health England are recommending the vaccine for:

  • older people
  • the very young
  • pregnant women
  • those with underlying disease, such as chronic respiratory or cardiac disease
  • those who are immunosuppressed

This year you are also recommended to have the flu vaccine if you are:

  • the main carer of an older or disabled person
  • a household contact of someone on the Shielded Patients List for COVID-19
  • a child aged 2 to 11 years old on 31 August 2020


Patients Association Pandemic Experience

The Patients Association conducted an online survey from 6th May 2020 to the 17th August 2020 and has published a report with recommendations.

It won’t be a surprise to find that many were adversely affected in accessing services.  Here are the report recommendations in brief:

  • recognise from the outset that the impact of the crisis will fall hardest on those who already face discrimination and inequality, including Black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups, disabled people, carers, women and gender minority populations and those living in areas of high deprivation, and that these inequalities will affect some people in combination
  • maintain the principles and values of patient choice, shared decision making and voice, so that services are shaped by patients, disabled people and others who most need them
  • ensure there are fully resourced services available to help people maintain people’s mental wellbeing, to treat mental ill health, and to ensure that no one is left isolated
  • ensure carers get the support they need, including emotional support, to continue to care for their loved ones
  • provide clear, concise and timely communication, updated regularly, about the impact of the crisis on support and services, what is available in the interim, and when and how services may begin to restart
  • ensure access needs are respected and met, including providing materials in different formats and languages, including signing, descriptions, captioning and transcription for all official visual content, and that people are able to access support offline if they do not have access to the internet
  • maintain compassionate end of life and bereavement support services, with clear communication between staff, patients and others, and the opportunity to be with friends and family members unless totally impossible.


Metro Futures:  Online Events

Metro  has created a new vibrant colour scheme for their trains.  Working with OpenLab at Newcastle University, they want to show and consult on aspects of their interior design features.

Book for the following workshops online:

Monday 28th September, 18:00-19:00 – Online Tour plus Nexus Q&A

Tuesday 29th September, 18:00-19:00 – Busy Trains Workshop
The new trains need to be usable at busy times when many passengers are on board. This workshop will evaluate the new trains with an emphasis on their usability at busy times

Wednesday 30th September, 11:00-12:00 – Shared Spaces Workshop
The new trains need spaces that could be used for people, bags and luggage, wheelchairs, pushchairs, and bicycles. This workshop will evaluate the new trains with an emphasis on how well they work as shared spaces.

Thursday 1st October, 18:00-19:00 – Safety and Accessibility Workshop
The new trains need to have features that make them safe and accessible for everyone – those with impairments and non-disabled people. This workshop will evaluate the new trains with an emphasis on safety and accessibility.

Friday 2nd October, 11:00-12:00 – Personal Wellbeing Workshop
The new trains need features to ensure passengers’ personal wellbeing such as physical comfort and feeling safe when travelling alone or late at night. This workshop will evaluate the new trains with an emphasis on personal wellbeing.

Tuesday 6th October, 18:00-19:00 – Online Tour plus Nexus Q&A
This is your opportunity to have a virtual tour of the new trains showcasing their new features, including a live question and answer session with Huw Lewis, Nexus Customer Services Director.

NHS volunteers

Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is recruiting a ‘pool’ of volunteer drivers to support the pharmacy hub in delivering essential medication, and/or medical equipment to patients who are either self-isolating or are house-bound due to medical condition.  If you are interested follow this link


Extra Care housing – Independent living in a caring environment

Extra care is a housing option for people aged 55 and over who value their independence, but need help with some day to day tasks.

Extra care offers modern homes at an affordable rent, a choice of one and two bedroom apartments, accessible bathrooms and kitchens, a controlled door entry system, lift access and private communal garden area. Communal facilities provide a space to socialise and take part in a range of on-site social activities.    There are a number of schemes across the city in a choice of locations, including schemes which provide specialist care for people with dementia.

With extra care, a dedicated on-site care team provides planned care and support during the day. Extra care won’t meet your needs if you have a planned overnight care package because there are fewer staff are on duty overnight.  Depending on your circumstances, you may get help to meet the cost of your rent or your care.

To apply, register with Tyne and Wear Homes online to answer a few questions about your circumstances. You will also need to contact Community Health and Social Care Direct to arrange an assessment.  There is a textphone service.


Last updated: September 28, 2020

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