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InfoNOW News 1 April 2022

InfoNOW News 1 April 2022



We have put together a podcast for April.  We talk to Dr Bob Barber about dementia research. it covers the key events in the calendar such as: Stress Awareness month, Parkinson’s Awareness month, Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week and World Health Day, the theme for that is Our Planet Our Health.  We also feature Easter activities and Easter Worship and Ramadan. Click on Listen

Tower of Strength – Carers Arts Project

The Coronavirus pandemic highlighted the impact that caring for someone with additional health or care needs had on family carers, especially those in complex caring situations.

Carers worked with Louise Underwood, a textile artist, to develop a piece of art that reflected the impact of caring for someone during the pandemic and together they have created the Tower of Strength, a  visual piece of work based on the ‘Castle Keep’.  The stones that make up the tower are decorated to illustrate how Covid and, in particular, the lockdowns have affected carers and a rainbow, the symbol of hope frames the piece with words and phrases from the online groups.

The work is being displayed in the City Library every day until Wednesday 6th April.  From there, it will tour different venues across the city to raise awareness of carers and the support and services available.

Watch  the interview with Louise Underwood, and the short film developed by Newcastle Carers
Read about Looking after Someone on InformationNOW and get in touch with organisations that can help you in your caring role.

Great result for The Freeman Hospital

The Freeman Hospital in Newcastle has been ranked one of the best in the world by respected US magazine Newsweek.

Newsweek’s final ‘World’s Best Hospitals 2022’ list is based on recommendations from over 80,0000 medical experts, patient surveys and medical key performance indicators on hospitals, such as quality of treatment and hygiene measures.

A separate list was also drawn up for the best hospitals in the individual countries which saw the Freeman placed ninth out of 121 UK hospitals with Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary placed 10th. Other placings in the North East were for Hexham General Hospital, Northumberland (21), Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead, (50), Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, Cramlington, (57), North Tyneside General Hospital (77) and University Hospital of North Durham (113).

TV Licensing Special dispensation for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Events will take place to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee throughout 2022, culminating in a four day UK bank holiday weekend from Thursday 2nd June to Sunday 5th June 2022. The dispensation will allow those arranging events in town halls, community centres and streets across Britain, where TV is not usually watched, to screen the live programmes throughout the weekend without needing to purchase a licence.

The BBC knows that many communities will come together to mark this historic occasion during the bank holiday weekend, the BBC is offering local communities a special one-off TV Licence dispensation.

Celebratory events will take place throughout the weekend  on the BBC and the Platinum Party at the Palace, a special live event that will bring together some of the world’s biggest entertainers on Saturday 4th June, will be broadcast live on the BBC.

By law, if live television or BBC iPlayer is viewed on any premises, those premises must be covered by a valid TV Licence. However, in exceptional circumstances, the BBC can grant a dispensation for the temporary viewing of television, so long as the viewing is for the sole purpose of screening an event which is judged by the BBC to be of national importance. The BBC considers that the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is such an event.

Aside from one-off dispensations, a TV licence is needed to watch or record live TV, on any device including a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. You need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel or device, and to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer.

Read more about TV Licensing on InformationNOW.

Help to Claim for Universal Credit

The Citizens Advice Newcastle Help to Claim (Universal Credit)  project ends on 31 March.  The new Help to Claim service is being run by National Citizens Advice and offers digital support in line with DWP’s contract. Telephone: 0800 144 8 444

Starting your Universal Credit claim  

Opportunities for action

Just the Ticket crowdfunder campaign

Newcastle’s City of Sanctuary is running a Crowdfunder campaign to support asylum seekers housed in temporary hotel accommodation across Newcastle. Due to the  pandemic, hotels and hostels have been used to temporarily house asylum seekers waiting for a decision on their immigration cases. There’s a huge backlog of cases and some asylum seekers have been living in hotels for over six months.

Some hotels are on the outskirts of Newcastle, one of them being a 90-minute walk from the City Centre. This makes it incredibly difficult to access key support services such as healthcare appointments, legal support and English language classes.

You can donate at and the National Emergencies Trust Local Action Fund will match your donation. This means that every gift will have double the impact.

Read more on InformationNOW about asylum seekers and refugees

Improving coordinated care for LGBTQIA+ people in the North East

A three year PhD project with Newcastle University, funded by the National Institute for Health Research, aims to identify opportunities to improve coordinated care for LGBTQIA+ people in the North East who’ve experienced severe or multiple exclusion/disadvantage. The Albert Kennedy Trust, Micro Rainbow, and GP-based social prescribing teams from Newcastle and Northumberland have joined the steering group, and they welcome other organisations across the North East who work with socially excluded LGBTQIA+ groups.  Visit the project website


Property licence schemes consultation

Property licence schemes are intended to raise standards in the private sector; improving standards and stabilising communities. Newcastle City Council wants to understand the impact the three types of property licence schemes are having on the lives and businesses of the people who live and work in the city.

If you are a  private landlord, a managing agent, private tenants, residents and anyone who has an interest in property licensing you can have your say on Let’s Talk Newcastle. 

Please give your views about this by 31 May 2022..

If you have any queries about the schemes or the survey, or you need this information in a different format such as large print, please contact:

Notice of Proposal to amend Street Parking Charges

Newcastle City Council is giving notice of its proposals and you can find out more on the new Let’s Talk website .
Objections or representations to the proposals must be made before 12th April 2022 byquoting reference GH/P50/1113 to Newcastle Parking Services, P.O. Box 2BL, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE99 2BL  or by email to:
Any objection or representation MUST be made in writing and where an objection is made; it must state the grounds of the objection.

Find more about parking related articles on InformationNOW

Improving access to St Oswald’s hospice

St Oswald’s Hospice is open to everyone who has a life limiting condition including babies, children, young people, adults, and their families who need support regardless of their background or culture.

However, St Oswald’s Hospice knows the referrals  they receive do not reflect their local wider communities and they want to change this.  The Hospice wants to understand why people are not being referred to them for care, as well as what barriers there may be that are preventing people from benefitting from care. Closes on 22nd April 2022.

This survey is anonymous and is for all members of the public. 

This link sends you to a webpage which includes Posters (with QR codes) which can be printed off in different languages. They would be grateful if healthcare practitioners would signpost people on to this survey. For any queries, please email

Read more on InformationNOW about bereavement and grief and palliative care

Spotlight on

Stress Awareness month

Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992 to raise awareness of the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic.  The last two years have been the most challenging we have faced and in 2020  services were overwhelmed with people who were struggling and seeking support.   This year our theme is Community. A community is much more than just a group of people.  It’s about having a sense of belonging and connection to others and feel supported and accepted by them.

Relationships are one of the most important aspects of our lives. People who are more socially connected to family, friends or their community are happier, physically healthier and live longer, with fewer mental health problems than people who are less well connected. People in neighbourhoods with higher levels of social connection experience lower rates of mental health problems than those in neighbourhoods with lower involvement, regardless of how deprived or affluent a neighbourhood is.

Read more about stress on Every Mind Matters

Take the Stress Management Society quiz – how stressed are you?

Read more on InformationNOW about anxiety and stress

World Health Day, 7 April

The theme for World Health Day this year is Our Planet Our Health.  Human caused climate change has created a threat to life on this planet and has altered our health and wellbeing, as well as our conception of our place in the world.

Over 90% of people breathe unhealthy air resulting from burning of fossil fuels.  Extreme weather events, land degradation and water scarcity are displacing people and affecting their health. Pollution and plastics are found at the bottom of our deepest oceans, the highest mountains, and have made their way into our food chain. Systems that produce highly processed, unhealthy foods and beverages are driving obesity upwards, thus increasing the risk of cancer and heart disease whilst generating a third of global greenhouse gas emissions.

As well as raising our awareness that we need to take climate action, World Health Day offers you the opportunity to watch  an artistic video on this theme.


Energy price analysis

New analysis from the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) highlights the stark impact of a scheduled real-terms cut to benefits next month, as rising energy costs threaten to devastate the living standards of families on the lowest incomes. The analysis shows the impact of rising energy costs on household budgets. It finds that once housing costs are paid, even with the support package announced last month:

  • £1 in every £5 from low-income family budgets could go on energy costs this year
  • Single adults on a low income could spent 49% of their budget on energy
  • The average low income family faces £850 on their annual energy bill

Read more on InformationNOW about cost of living increase – managing on a low income

Resources and Training

Community Champions can help spread the word about Covid vaccines

The British Society of Immunology is offering Newcastle’s Community Champions an opportunity to learn more about Covid vaccines to enable you to support your friends, family and wider networks to consider having the vaccine.

The intended training outcomes are that participants feel more confident about having effective conversations about vaccinations, as well as feeling better informed and more knowledgeable about COVID-19 vaccines, thus increasing the number of people they talk to about vaccines.

Training will be delivered in a block of 5, 1 x hour each. Dates will be confirmed but will probably run over April and/ or May. Please register your interest with  by 8th April, if you would like to be considered for a place.

Three stand-alone webinars are proposed to focus on engaging specific audiences about Covid and vaccines. Each virtual seminar will last an hour and include a Q&A section. Webinars proposed are:

  • engaging the BAME Community
  • engaging the Disabled Community
  • engaging Children and Young People

If you would like to attend one or more of the webinars, please register your interest alongside the webinar(s) you are interested in to

Training for refugee hosts

Are you opening your home to refugees? Are you worried that you won’t be able to understand each other? Shelley from English Unlocked is offering low cost training to help you speak in a way that’s easier for people who speak English as a second language to understand.

This training costs £1 donation to the West End Refugee Service, (it usually costs £60 per person),  but in view of the Ukrainian crisis Shelley has waived her fee.

“I went from totally unconfident about dealing with non English speakers to confident that I could make myself understood.” Steve Haley

Read more about eligibility criteria and how to register your interest here. When enough people have registered their interest Shelley will contact you to tell you the time and date of the course, and how you can get your ticket.

Read more on InformationNOW about Support for Asylum Seekers and Refugees and Support for Ukraine

Healthworks Free Spring Family Fun resource

Healthworks has launched a free Spring Fun Family Resource this week. It’s jam packed full of activity ideas for all of the family.  Everything from making bunny bunting to making an Easter wreath. Download it here

English Classes for Women

West End Women and Girls Centre is offering a free, 8 week English class for women only and provided by Gateshead College. Register by 28th April 2022. Course starts May 2022, Thursdays 9.30am to 11.30am

You will need to take with you your identification, passport, visa and proof of any government benefits.

Events & Activities

Events that are coming up:
Music events
Dementia events
Arts and Crafts events

Adult Tackling Loneliness workshops
Weekly by the British Red Cross

Search Memory Cafe
7 April and recurring

The Good Life – connect with Nature
25th April, Marie Curie and Scotswood Garden
Riverside Roots
10 am (recurs throughout the year)

Search Memory Tea
20 April recurring

NGI has Easter and April events you can view online.

New and updated organisations

English For All  give free lessons for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants who want to learn English.  They run online classes and a face to face class. Email or message them on Facebook to get the zoom links.

Crisis Skylight’s Engagement Gateway has opened, this is a service that will provide information and guidance to those who are rough sleeping and those who are threatened with homelessness in the next 6 months.  They offer support either by their face to face duty service or email enquiries on:

Shelter offers a helpline to someone in crisis.  To access the North East Office, they are taking referrals only from professionals.

Updated information

Anxiety and stress

Two in three people experience stress, anxiety or depression at some point in their life. It can be mild and last only a few weeks or it can be a lot more severe.  The recent changes to our behaviour, caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, has led to people feeling more stressed and anxious about going out, meeting people and connecting.  In some cases, the loneliness and isolation has become acute and hard to cope with if you don’t have access to the internet to video call someone and see a friendly face.


Dementia is a term used to describe various disorders involving a loss of brain function, such as thinking, memory, reasoning and language.
The information includes:

  • symptoms
  • local support and activities
  • carer support

Last updated: April 1, 2022

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