Information Now

4 June 2020 Corona 10


InformationNOW updates
Personal alarm systems and telecare
Volunteering Week
Scams, fraud and hate crime
Local NHS resource guide

Research & Reports

Welfare system – how it is withstanding the coronavirus onslaught
Vulnerable people facing a drop in their income

Opportunities for Action

Carers Week
Surveys – your experience counts
Connected Voice funders fair


Newcastle Fund round 11 is now open
Coronavirus information from Public Health England and Care Quality Commission

New on InformationNOW this week

Bike ride
Live Theatre
Online choir



There is so much online and virtual activity now  that it seems to have become a way of life. The good news is that people who were not keen to access digital resources have taken the plunge owing to the lock down.  We have begun to compile an online/virtual category  in our events and activity section. Just search on the category online/virtual and you will find out what local organisation are doing. Examples include: mindfulness, meditation, Active Newcastle low impact and full body workouts, opera and digital crafting, the Threads that Bind Us and Zooming Feminism this Saturday.

We haven’t included national/international in this section – some of these are still under our Quick links to virtual activity article.

New and updated information
Mindful therapies
Edge North East
LD Sports Massage
Bradley Gardens
Anxious Minds (they have a community radio station)

Personal alarm systems and telecare

You may be worrying about friends and family at present. Perhaps you haven’t seen as much of them or their condition has worsened during lockdown. There are a number of personal alarms systems that can give you peace of mind and keep you safe if you are alone and have a fall or feel unwell. They can also be referred to as personal alarm systems, home care monitoring, careline systems, community alarms or pendant alarms. Ostara is a community alarm system that is used across Your Homes Newcastle and through the City Council.

Referrals and installations for new customers

Ostara has put in place a series of measures to ensure that they carry out assessments and installations in line with social distancing rules.

  • consultations and assessments are carried out over the phone with the customer or their next of kin or carer.
  • before any installation, they call the customer or their next of kin to plan the visit, taking into account any special requests, the specific layout of the customer’s home and ways to minimise the time spent within the property.
  • customers are asked to move to another room while they install alarm items.
  • alarm equipment is cleaned after installation as a precautionary measure.
  • freepost envelopes are provided for the return of signed contacts

You can use telecare technology and gadgets to remind you to do things, such as take your medication.  Visit Your Equipment Newcastle for a review of your needs, a personal report and access to products.

Volunteering Week beginning 1 June

During the coronavirus, many people have risen to the challenge of becoming an NHS or CityLife line volunteer or continuing their support for a local charity or organisation. This is a great time to say thank you to all those who have helped and continue to help others. This may include: delivering food parcels and prescriptions, digging a garden or a befriending call.   On Monday 1st June, there was a national thank you clap for volunteers to recognise the enormous contribution that has been made by volunteers. Find out more from Karen at the Volunteer Centre when she talked to Richard Finch last Friday on Radio Tyneside.

Of course, some people have transferred their volunteering to online support. They may be completing online surveys instead of going in to participate in research, running chat rooms or training online and so the range of support is vast whilst keeping within social distancing rules.

Here is another opportunity to say thank you. I am sure there will be many submissions this year, but nominating is just as important recognition as winning. The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities.  Submissions close on 25 September 2020.

Local opportunity – Family Lives are looking for helpline volunteers. Contact Nicky

The Government has issued new advice on staying safe if you’re a volunteer or if you’re socially isolating or shielding and need help from a volunteer. The advice includes what to do if you’re worried about someone’s health and how to get the support you need while social distancing.

Scams, fraud and hate crime

Hate crimeInternet Hate Group Pridefall are attempting to gather support amongst the online community to carry out a sustained and escalating online attack on people who identify themselves as being gay or part of the gay community, LGBT Plus.

The attacks will involve identifying people who display as having an LGBTQ sexuality online, making contact with them using fake Instagram, g-mail and Twitter accounts, initially asking questions regarding their sexuality but becoming more and more abusive as contact continues. Please be alert and careful.

The attacks began on the 01/06/20 and continue throughout Pride Month – June.

Unfortunately, there are more online and door step issues to report

  • Wingrove, charity door to door scam. Don’t give donations on the doorstep
  • android banking trojan bankbot –infects through downloading a symptom tracking app called Covid Symptom Study or Covid 19.apk.  Please use  Google Play or Apple Store to get legitimate apps

Watch out for calls pretending to be from the NHS about track and trace.  Do not pass on your bank or social media acccounts and password details to set you up on track and trace.  If NHS Test and Trace calls you it will be from their single number 0300 0135 000 and the only website is:

Local NHS resource guide

Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group has launched an online resource guide.  It covers general advice relating to coronavirus (including translations), specific advice and links for health conditions, how to use your GP (including telecare, deaf access and phone consultations), mental health services (including apps for young people), helplines (including safeguarding) and social care services.


Micro greens are nutritious, delicious, and easy to grow. We have updated our article on gardening and health to talk about growing microgreens, including: pea shoots, rocket and fenugreek.  They can be eaten between 14 and 21 days.  Depending on what you buy, they can be expensive initially, but they are usually an investment all year round. They contain nutrients including zinc, vitamin and minerals and give you a chance to bring nature inside a flat, house or small space.

Greening Wingrove and Vertical Veg have Facebook pages with information.


Welfare system – how is it withstanding the coronavirus onslaught?

The Resolution Foundation has looked into how well the welfare system is holding up before and during the coronavirus pandemic.  Their report shows

  • in the last eight weeks over 90 per cent of payments due were paid in full and on time, and the vast majority of advance payments are paid within 72 hours. In their survey, 74 per cent of new Universal Credit claimants reported they were satisfied with the way DWP handled their claim.
  • coming into the crisis, the UK’s social security system provided low levels of income protection against unemployment. The emergency boost to Universal Credit, tax credits and housing support on 20 March boosted the incomes of families in the poorest quarter by 5 per cent on average and strengthened the safety net
  • The amount of income protection provided under the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) is far greater than that provided under social security benefits.

From August, employers currently using the JRS scheme will have more flexibility to bring their furloughed employees back to work part-time whilst still receiving support from the scheme. This will run for three months from August through to the end of October.

Vulnerable people are facing a drop in their income

New research from Citizens Advice shows that four in ten (41%) of those in the shielded group have lost at least 20% of their income since the coronavirus outbreak began. More than a quarter (27%) have lost 60% of their income or more.

Analysis of around 2,000 of all employment cases Citizens Advice has seen since 14 April, showed over 70% of those who are shielding or are at higher risk from coronavirus – such as those who are pregnant or have diabetes – were not furloughed. This compares to 56% of workers overall who have not been furloughed despite being eligible.

However, there is some doubt whether those who should be shielding are, because they need the income and Citizens Advice has  ” seen a surge in concerns about health and safety over the past two weeks as people with serious medical conditions, and those they live with, are asked to return to work”.

In a randomised sample of 10% of the 3,800 cases Citizens Advice saw between 11 to 15 May, they found:

  • over half (56%) of people not currently working expressed concerns that their place of work was not safe.
  • just over 1 in 5 clients (21%) who are currently off work have been told they may be made redundant or face a change in their employment conditions when they return.


Surveys – your experience counts

Healthwatch Newcastle and Healthwatch Gateshead have designed a survey asking people what their recent experiences are of social care or health services in Newcastle or Gateshead and how COVID-19 has affected them. You can write as much as you choose and remain anonymous if you wish.
They are also arranging telephone calls for those who don’t have internet access. Just call  0191 338 5720 or 0191 477 0033.

Healthwatch England

Has your care been disrupted by COVID-19 and its impact on health and social care services? Whether it’s good or bad, they want to hear from you.

It only takes five minutes and your feedback can help NHS and social care services understand the steps they can take to improve care.

Carers Week, 8 – 14 June 2020

Next week is Carers week and this year the theme is #makingcaringvisible.  This theme is ideal for highlighting that there are so many unpaid carers who don’t necessarily think of themselves as carers.  InfoNOW news will be mailed early next week to cover all there is to know about carers and their caring roles.

Key organisations that can help you if you are a carer are:

Our key article is Looking after Someone

Connected Voice Newcastle and Gateshead Funding Fair, 17 June 2020

Connected Voice are working with funders to create a virtual Funder Support and Advice Area, with a range of organisations to provide an Expert Seminar Area and a phone-in funding advice opportunity on Wednesday 17 Junein place of the funders fair that had been planned. They are inviting services to take part in their Dragon’s Den Showcase Area by submitting a short video or written description of what your organisation is doing, wants to do, and what resources you need to do it. It doesn’t need to be a video masterpiece. Just point your phone camera at what you’re doing already, and send it in. Alternatively, if you have something already on your social media, send them the link, give them permission to re-post it, and a couple of sentences to use as a headline. Email Connected Voice   with ‘Showcase’ in the subject line.

Newcastle Fund Round 11 is now open

Round 11 of the Newcastle Fund is now open for applications for activities that will commence in April 2021.

Fund is available for voluntary and community sector organisations, registered charities and social enterprises for applications up to a maximum of £50,000 per year for up to three years.

Coronavirus  information from Public Health England and Care Quality Commission

NHS Test and Trace guidance

To coincide with the launch of NHS Test and Trace, PHE has published the following guidance for:

Health inequalities

PHE has worked in collaboration with the Local Government Association (LGA), Association of Directors of Public Health, NHS England and NHS Improvement to collate a suite of resources to support place-based approaches to planning and responding to COVID-19.


Real time tracking of the virus

Care Homes

Public Health England (PHE) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are conducting a major study on COVID-19. All care homes for residents aged 65 and over in England are likely to be contacted.

Advice and information on looking after your mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak from NHS England and the Mental Health Foundation

Learning disability

Resources from Learning Disability England
Easy read information on COVID-19 from Mencap


Bike Week – 6 to 14 June; upload your pics of you exploring and pedalling and you may win a prize

Book a live stream of a Live Theatre show for £5 on 9 June Showtime from the frontline

Online choir with Nordoff Robbins on 9 June and Tuesdays thereafter.

Last updated: June 5, 2020

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