Information Now

27 March InfoNOW news Corona 2


Changes to information on InformationNOW
Citylife line launched in Newcastle
Northumbria Police
Important Council updates re Covid 19
NHS updates re Covid 19
HAREF information for BAME communities re Covid 19
Government updates on Covid 19 inc WhatsApp, MOT

Online Research

Carers leave consultation

Opportunities for Action

  • Keeping fit and active at home
  • Transport
  • Things to do at home


Funding directories: open to all voluntary and community groups
Libraries, e reading and audio

Changes to InformationNOW website

Housing Advice Centre
Food banks and free emergency food
Free meals and cheap food
Fraud and Scams
The National Careline
Recyke y’ Bike
Support for asylum seekers and refugees – updated arrangements and please see this special Facebook page.

Citylife Line launched in Newcastle

Citylife Line is a new service that has been launched in partnership with the voluntary sector to support people in need. In particular, it will support those most vulnerable residents who have been contacted by the NHS as being among the 1.4 million individuals most vulnerable to the virus.  Citylife line will prioritise those people, unless they are already being supported with a social care need, to make sure they are shielded from COVID-19.

If you need help contact them.  When you contact the lifeline you will be matched with an organisation and volunteers.  There is an online form to request support or call 0191 277 8000.

You can also offer support online.  Over 600 people have volunteered so far.  People who pledge their support will have their contact details taken and reviewed. If an organisation in the voluntary sector requires their support, their details will be passed to that organisation who will contact them directly if they are required.  Please be patient and wait to be contacted as this may involve rotas.

Northumbria Police

Northumbria Police encourage you to sign up to their community messaging system so they can keep you informed about what is happening where you live. The system is called NP Alerts and you can sign up by email or text.

If you do need to speak to an officer about a non-urgent enquiry then we would encourage you to call on 0191 437 5525 or email

Important updates on Council Services

Council Tax
The council will continue collect council tax, but if you are struggling to pay then please get in touch using their online enquiry forms or email 

If your income has changed owing to Coronavirus you may be entitled to council tax reduction
Instalments can be paid over 12 months and  they can amend instalment plans for people struggling to pay.

For those who are self-isolating and cannot go to the Post Office or use an automated payment line they will accept payments over the phone:call 0191 278 7878.


Check which day your bin is collected our online My Neighbourhood system.

Home care visits continue following Public Health England guidelines.


There is a new City Council coronavirus and benefits page.  The aim of this webpage is to provide you with up to date information on coronavirus and benefits including Government and Council information. It will be updated regularly.

Also updated, Benefit and Debt and money advice services in Newcastle including the document Where to get benefit and debt advice in Newcastle

Libraries are closed.  City Library will also continue to offer appointments only for those accessing the Biometric Visa Checking Service. This will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Your Homes Newcastle 

YHN housing and customer service staff are delivering services as usual and they can be contacted directly by phone or email.  Only emergency repairs are being carried out at this time. They can be reported by calling the enquiry centre or visiting their website.

NHS updates

NHS England volunteer

Doctors, nurses and other professionals will be able to refer people in to NHS Volunteer Responders and be confident that they have been matched with a reliable, named volunteer.  Roles include:  Community Response volunteer, Patient Transport volunteer, NHS Transport volunteer, Check-in and Chat volunteer.   Volunteer here.   Please note that organising the rota, roles and checks for volunteers will take time. Be patient and await a call/email. Check it is from a safe sender.

If you live in North Tyneside check your local offer

Read our article about volunteering and what it involves in general.

Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has published its latest coronavirus information and advice, which includes advice for visitors, maternity services, hospital appointments and planned surgery.

HAREF information for black and minority ethnic communities

Connected Voice Haref has collated a range of information on translations, immigration, refugees and health during Ramadan.

Doctors of the World translations 

Government translated guidance on stay at home and social distancing Languages: Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Gujarati, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Urdu,

NHS entitlements: migrant health guide

Refugee and Asylum service updates have been added our our support for asylum seekers and refugees information

City of Sanctuary has published the new procedures and guidance for asylum seekers  and refugees relating to social distancing and coronavirus.

Gov.UK Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents

City Library will also continue to offer appointments only for those accessing the Biometric Visa Checking Service. This will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Ramadan calendars with safe fasting messages and key health information will be available online soon. Ramadan falls 23 April  to 23 May.  See our cultural and religious festivals article.

Government updates on Covid 19

People requiring an MOT within the next three months from 30 March will receive an extension so that they don’t go out to the garages with their cars.  However, you must keep your car roadworthy during this time and the police can still stop you if they need to.

There are lots of rumours circulating. Why not sign up for the Government’s Information Service on WhatsApp?. Simply add 08860 064422 into your phone contacts and then message the word “hi” in a WhatsApp message to get started.  You receive a text with a menu of topics and you can select what you want to know about eg number of cases, travel, symptoms.

Latest guidance poster

Public Health England easy read coronavirus materials


Carers leave consultation

The Government has launched a consultation to seek views on how to design Carer’s Leave – a new right for unpaid carers to take one week of unpaid leave each year as part of the next Employment Bill.

The consultation seeks views about who should be eligible to take the leave, what the leave can be used for, how the leave can be taken, whether employers should be able to ask for evidence and the costs and benefits to employers and employees.

They welcome responses from individuals, employers and organisations with an interest in unpaid carers and employment.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks and close on 8 June 2020.

Read Looking after someone to understand who is a carer.

Keeping fit and active at home

Guidance on staying at home

Signs to remind people of the need for social distancing are being put in place today at the entrances to the Town Moor.  It follows concerns that many people were heading for the area and as a result were not observing the requirement to remain 2 metres apart from others.

The Government guidance on exercise is that this should be undertaken in your local area, either alone or with members of your household, and you should not travel to popular destinations.

Urban Green, managing our parks and gardens, would like to remind people that all playgrounds (including unfenced play equipment), games areas, cafes, shops and public facilities within Newcastle’s parks are currently closed to the public. This includes Pets’ Corner, in Jesmond Dene

These measures are in place to protect the health and wellbeing of park users, and those most vulnerable to the risk of infection.

Keeping fit, staying active

Many of us will be trying to keep active and fit at home. Here’s our article including chair based exercise. We link you to pictures and diagrams to help visualise the workout.

Here are some links we have found:

The Bamburgh Clinic at CNTW NHS Foundation Trust has released this video on You Tube on how to keep fit in your room at home.

The Elders council has found this I can calendar.  You can download it for free. Each month it takes you through one or two movements to improve your strength and balance.  Mark your achievements on a motivational calendar.

Try the  ‘Make Movement Your Mission‘ short videos taking you through a range of key exercises for people in later life three times a day.


Things change from day to day so you need to check what is happening before you use public transport. This Nexus link takes you to all the information about train and bus services, bus passes and the Gold card and using contactless payments.

Things to do at home

There are lots of ideas online to keep you occupied at home. Why not turn to  You Tube and other platforms to share ideas and skills.  Look at our hobbies article (Family and local historypenfriends) and lifelong learning pages.

Here is luminate your home on You Tube making paper birds at home.

Why not consider learning something new. You can browse YouTube videos but consider Future Learn, they have been providing online classes and courses for some time. You can take free courses or pay an upgrade. You will in a profile and can then become part of a new online learning community.  If you want a certificate then you will need to upgrade from free.  Ideas for courses

Literature – Robert Burns and Jane Austen, Shakespeare and the Book of Kells
Computing – coding and robotics
Psychology and mental health – emotional resilience and, young mental health and anxiety

Talking mats is a useful website for those with a learning disability/neurological condition

Remember to look out for the padlock or https next to the URL to ensure that you are on a safe site.


Funding directories


Libraries E reading and audio books

Whilst libraries are closed and the home delivery service is suspended, you can still access e reading and audio books.

Last updated: October 6, 2020

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