Information Now

28 August 2020


Healthy teeth
Social Prescribing webinar
Thank NHS volunteers
Excess debts and household bills


Benefits of being physically active; Virtual Great North Run and Forestry England Activities Survey
High blood pressure and sugar


Response to rise in Covid cases in Newcastle
Join Team Vaccine
A Perfect Storm


Festival of Thrift
Street Paws
St Cuthbert Church, Throckley
Carelink 24

Healthy teeth
Food banks, help with shopping and prescriptions
Free meals and cheap food



Healthy teeth

Dental Practices are facing significant barriers to expanding capacity, in particular because they need to leave surgeries fallow for 60 minutes after an aerosol generating procedure. Unless regulations evolve, access will continue to be difficult for many patients.  There are things you can do to look after your teeth and this includes cutting down sweet and sugary drinks and food and dry brushing your teeth and gums.  We have updated our healthy teeth article with information and three short films to watch.

British Dental Association guidelines during coronavirus

Please remember that if you are experiencing symptoms such as: red or white patches on your tongue, mouth ulcers that aren’t healing, persistent hoarseness or pain in the throat, contact your GP, pharmacist or dentist.   You can find out more at the North Head and Neck Charity.

Social Prescribing – new insights and recommendations from the VCSE sector.

Earlier this year NHS England and Improvement commissioned National Voices to report on the roll out of social prescribin, and some of you will have attended workshops or contributed feedback. The report on the work is being launched at a webinar on 9 September, 10-11.30am. The webinar will also include the launch of a new report  Social Prescribing: How do we sustain social prescribing in the wake of Covid-19?’  Register here.
Read more about social prescribing and how it works.

NHS Volunteers

Big Thank You to Volunteers. Do you know an NHS Volunteer who has stepped up since the pandemic, and helped staff or patients with an innovative idea? Has an innovative volunteer project made a big impact? If so – nominations are open in the Big Thank You. Closing date is 15 September.

Excess debts: who has fallen behind on their household bills due to coronavirus

This report from Citizens Advice estimates that 6 million UK adults have fallen behind on at least one household bill during the pandemic. For more information, or to read the report, please click her



The benefits of being physically active

A number of fitness challenge activities have gone online this year.  From PE with Joe to Tai Chi by local organisers on their Facebook or You Tube channels, we can all find opportunities to share in exercise. Local organisations include Active NewcastleSearch NewcastleJesmond Pool and Gym.

But, being physically active isn’t only about set exercise or sport, such as playing tennis, a session at the gym or a swim, it is about changing our behaviour and lifestyle. According to the a project at the University of Bath, we need greater awareness of our need to keep moving during the day, from washing the car, to walking up the stairs, cleaning or weeding the garden.  “Emerging evidence suggests that the health benefits of physical activity can be achieved in a variety of ways, and multiple aspects of physical activity are important for health promotion and disease prevention.”

Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality and linked to numerous long term conditions, including: heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, dementia, depression and some cancers.

Read Chief Medical Officer minimum activity guidelines.

Read our article on benefits of being physically active.

Virtual Great North Run

Join the official Virtual Great North Run on Sunday 13 September. The virtual half marathon is free of charge to enter, regardless of whether you had a place in this year’s Great North Run. In return, they need you to fundraise for a charity who would otherwise miss out this year. Entries close on Friday 4 September.

They will mimic a race format so that all runners start their Virtual Great North Run at the same time and complete the same 13.1 mile distance. Using a specific app on your phone, runners will be tracked throughout the virtual race and will be able to view results after the race has finished. You can run any outdoor route that you like, but you must follow all local regulations with regard to rights of way, traffic and hazards. You cannot run indoors on a treadmill as the app uses a GPS signal.

Forestry England Activities Survey

Have you been to a Forest since the easing of lockdown?  Forestry England has launched a survey to explore the types of activities people undertake, their motivation for being physically active and the benefits they gain from outdoor activity in a woodland environment.  If you have been walking, mountain biking or something else, take part in the survey and you could win some vouchers worth £200.


High blood pressure and sugar – how they correspond with long term conditions

Research has shown that excess sugar impairs our cognitive and memory skills as well as our self- control and  may also cause inflammation of the brain. It can also lead to small vessel disease reducing blood flow to the brain and increasing the risk of vascular dementia.  Low sugar is linked to loss of energy and poor attention span.   We all need to learn how to manage sugar in our diet.

Fructose sugar specifically, elevates uric acid, which drives up blood pressure by inhibiting the nitric oxide in blood vessels. Nitrous Oxide helps blood vessels maintain their elasticity and suppression leads to increases in blood pressure.  Fructose is found naturally in fruit and vegetables, but also in fizzy drinks and table sugar.

For some people, having a little sugar may stimulate a craving for more and more sugar – affecting the reward centre of the brain.  Over the years we have been eating sugary foods as a source of  energy and fuel and so breaking this cycle will be difficult.

Studies have been taking place that link high blood pressure to diabetes and dementia and potentially to a range of neuro-degenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s.

If you have high blood pressure, it is important to talk to your doctor before attempting any lifestyle changes or trying new medication, so they can provide you with personalised recommendations and monitor your progress. On the other hand, you may not know you have high blood pressure.  It is worth asking for a health check every few years.

Read more on:
High blood pressure can cause the brain to age and shrink according to Alzheimer’s Society.
how to reduce your risk of dementia
Parkinson’s research
InformationNOW articles on:
Parkinson’s disease
Blood pressure
Healthy eating and drinking.



Response to rise in COVID cases  in Newcastle

In recent weeks, several premises in the city have closed following small outbreaks of COVID-19, and there has been a rise in cases particularly among young adults. Many of these cases have been linked to the hospitality sector and as a result, the guidance to businesses and their customers has been reiterated to remind people of their responsibilities in reducing the spread of the coronavirus.
Lorna Smith, Public Health Consultant, has recorded a video message setting out the requirements, including what needs to be done to protect yourself and others and the steps businesses need to follow to prevent further outbreaks.

Join Team Vaccine

Residents are being encouraged to sign up for the new national vaccine NHS registry and be part of the fightback against the virus.  Anyone who signs up to the vaccine may be contacted by approved researchers who are working on a vaccine. There are a number currently being developed and safety tested, their success relies on large-scale trials and information.

Researchers are looking for people from all backgrounds, ages and parts of the UK – including those with existing health conditions. A diverse mix of participants means any possible vaccine has a greater chance of working for everyone.

A Perfect Storm

Women’s Aid released a new report this week, A Perfect Storm – The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on domestic abuse survivors and the services supporting them.  The report shows how domestic abuse has worsened during the Covid-19 pandemic and examines the impact on survivors; how abusers are using the pandemic as a tool of abuse; and how the services supporting survivors are affected.

Updated organisations

Festival of Thrift
Street Paws
St Cuthbert Church

Updated articles

Healthy teeth
Food banks – some temporary support has been withdrawn recently
Free meals and cheap food

Last updated: September 1, 2020

Send us a comment about this page

Recent newsletters

15 January 2021

15 January 2021

Apps to help you with your finances; dementia prevention and stroke – make a lifestyle commitment now.

Read more