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InfoNOW news 19 November


Digital Skills Week
Carers Rights Day
Is a deal a deal?
Shopping tips for Christmas
DWP launches £170 Covid Winter Grant
Black Funding Network launch


The Economic cost of the pandemic in the North of England
Street Zero Rough Sleeping report


Alcohol awareness week
Safeguarding awareness week
Minimising the risk of falls and their impact on older people


New community language videos about Covid 19

New on InformationNOW this week!

This week’s events & activities at a glance
Makaton, Easy Christmas bakes and mor with WEA
Afternoon tea with Seven Stories
Online book club with Jesmond Library
Grafting course for apple trees
Make something special for residents in care homes
North East community-led housing festival

Updated articles & organisations
Articles and organisations updated
Food banks and emergency food
Free meals and cheap food
Street Zero
Byker Community Centre

Digital Skills Week  23 to 27 November 2020

We are aware that using InformationNOW requires both access to the internet and devices, as well as the ability to navigate the website and save information that you re-visit frequently.  We have tried to make this as simple as possible for all users who can get access.  We are aware that many people want to enhance their skills and these free sessions next week may help.

Digital Skills Week will take place between from 23rd to 27th November and Microsoft are delivering a number of daily talks and training to help you and perhaps your organisation achieve more at this critical time.​

Throughout the week, Microsoft will host virtual keynotes and sessions which may be useful to employees, employers and individuals  Training is split into organisation leaders,  education professionals, students and job seekers.  They intend to:

  • Sharpen your skillset
  • Empower people to build their careers through digital skills
  • Enable organisations of all sizes to drive sustainable growth

Carers Rights Day, Thursday 26 November 2020

Carers Rights Day will be held on Thursday 26 November and the theme this year is ‘Know Your Rights’

Carers need to know their rights and be able to access support wherever they are in their caring journey; whether they are in the workplace, in a healthcare setting, when interacting with professionals or at home.  This Carers Rights Day, we want to empower carers with information and support, so they can feel confident asking for what they need.
In a recent survey of nearly 6,000 carers, Carers UK found:

  • Four in five unpaid carers are providing more care for relatives
  • 78% reported that the needs of the person they care for have increased during the pandemic
  • Two thirds (67%) worried about how they will cope through further lockdowns or local restrictions.

If you are caring for someone and want to know more about your rights, contact Newcastle Carers and read our Looking after someone information which gives you a handy list of organisations to contact for help and support.

Would you or your organisation like further training to understand the impact of being a carer on the person and whole family?  Find training here.


Is a deal a deal?

Next Friday, 27 November, is Black Friday. On average it is predicted that we will each spend over £200 that day.  Before you do, why not check that the price is  a good one.

Retailers often give a sneak peek at the deals that may be on offer so sign up to any newsletters, follow their Facebook and Twitter pages and even check out the dedicated Black Friday pages they have on their websites to keep yourself informed in advance.
Comparison sites like PriceSpy show you the cheapest website you can buy a product from. Alternatively, try DealFinder, an extension created by VoucherCodes that you can download on Chrome. DealFinder will automatically find and apply voucher codes when you shop online, even combining them where allowed to get you the greatest discount.


Shopping tips for Christmas spending

Shopping online
Make sure you’re being as safe as possible when shopping on the web: look for HTTPs at the start of the URL or a padlock sign in the browser – these sites will be more secure. Use a credit card when you’re spending over £100 so you can claim your money back if anything goes wrong with your purchase – just make sure you pay it off at the end of the month.

Waiting for the Shops to open again – stay safe when you go contactless
We make about 7 million contactless transactions, but around £100 million is lost to fraud. According to TotallyMoney, 1 in 12 people admit they wouldn’t spot a rogue £20 entry on their statement!  With the new limit on your card, you will still have to tap in your pin every five transactions.

So, if you’ve forgotten your pin, now is the time to dig it out; the Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) means your payments will otherwise be blocked until you pay using your pin.

More information about cyberscams and how to stay safe online

DWP launches £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme and additional funding for food distribution charities

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched a new £170m Covid Winter Grant Scheme, which will be run by councils in England.

The funding is ring-fenced, with at least 80% earmarked to support with food and bills, and will cover the period to the end of March 2021. Councils will receive the funding at the beginning of December 2020.

It will allow councils to directly help the hardest-hit families and individuals, as well as provide food for children who need it over the holidays. Local councils will distribute the funds, rather than schools, who will continue providing meals for disadvantaged children during term-time.

The Government has also pledged additional funding of £16m for food distribution charities, with conversations with FareShare and others ongoing as to how this is allocated.

Healthy Start scheme payments are also set to increase from £3.10 to £4.25 a week from  April 2021.

For more information click here.

Black Funding Network launch

Black Funding Network (BFN) launched its first fundraising event on Tuesday 10th November 2020, which raised over £30,000 for three  changemaking organisations.

BFN aims to help galvanise giving in order to contribute to self-sufficiency for Britain’s Black communities. The initiative aims to help Black-led non-profit organisations access a generous community of donors.  Email 

the Economic cost of the pandemic in the North of England

The North of England’s economy has been hit harder than the rest of the country during the COVID-19 pandemic with inequalities between the North and the rest of the country exacerbated, according to a report launched recently.

The Northern Health Science Alliance, NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (North East and North Cumbria, Greater Manchester, North West Coast, Yorkshire and Humber), and the NIHR School of Public Health Research report is available in pdf.

The report conservatively estimates the economic cost of the increased mortality in the North during the pandemic at £6.86bn and the reductions in mental health in the region due to the pandemic at around £5bn a year.  Figures show austerity simultaneously put the region in a more vulnerable position by reducing health and wellbeing and cost the UK around £2bn a year in lost productivity, with over £16bn lost since 2011.

The report led by scientists from Newcastle University, the University of Manchester, University of York and University of Liverpool found that for the Northern Powerhouse:

  • An extra 57.7 more people per 100,000 died in this area than the rest of England between March and July and this could cost the UK economy an additional £6.86bn in reduced productivity
  • Mental and financial wellbeing was hardest hit, as was loneliness
  • Reductions in the core spending power of councils in these regions by £1 per-head cost £3.17 per-head in lost productivity, equivalent to around a £2bn loss in GDP per-year, or £16bn between 2011 and 2018
  • Pre-pandemic child health, a key predictor of life-long health and economic productivity, was poor and deteriorating in the Northern Powerhouse. Since the pandemic, adverse trends in poverty, education, employment and mental health for children and young people have been exacerbated
  • Economic outcomes, particularly unemployment rates, were hardest hit in this area.

Street Zero report on sleeping rough in Newcastle

Street Zero reports 87% fewer people sleeping rough in Newcastle.  Newcastle is near to becoming the first UK City to end rough sleeping for good with 185 people having moved into accommodation from living on the streets and 120 people moving on from hostels into independent living in the community.

Councillor Joyce McCarty said “At the onset of the pandemic, we responded to the ‘everyone in’ call and made sure everyone had an offer of accommodation. I’m incredibly proud of how the homeless services in the city have remained operational throughout the pandemic. The hard part is making sure people continue to be supported and nobody else is allowed to slip through and find themselves in that unfortunate position.  Street Zero through Bob Eldridge has brought a range of public, voluntary sector, faith, and business partners together to make great strides to reduce rough sleeping.”  Partners include: Newcastle City Council, Changing Lives, Crisis, NHS partners , Northumbria Police, Shelter and many more.

Alcohol Awareness Week, 16 to 22 November

Alcohol Awareness Week is a chance for the UK to get thinking about drinking. This year Alcohol Change UK’s theme is alcohol and mental  health.

The COVID-19 pandemic is making everything that little bit more difficult right now and when stress and worry creep into our lives, drinking habits can get out of control.  But what many of us don’t realise is that drinking too much and too often can make our mental health problems worse – such as anxiety and depression – and prevent them from being properly addressed.

The more you drink the more likely it is that alcohol will harm your health. Alcohol is England’s second biggest cause of premature deaths behind tobacco. 34 per cent of men and 28 per cent of women exceeded current consumption guidelines on at least one day in the last week. To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.

If you need help, support or advice for you or someone else, then you can contact local support from Newcastle Alcohol and Recovery and PROPS North East.

Read Ten things we’ve learned about looking after your mental health during lockdown by CNTW NHS Foundation Trust.

What can you do?

If you know someone who drinks excessively, you can support them by referring them to one of the agencies in Newcastle listed above or point them to these fact sheets:

  • alcohol and your mood
  • alcohol and mental health
  • alcohol related brain damage
  • alcohol and fitness
  • alcohol and calories
  • alcohol and cancer

InformationNOW also has articles on healthy eating and drinking and addictions.

Safeguarding adults awareness week

Safeguarding adults week is where we raise awareness of adult abuse and neglect. One of the themes is understanding legislation,. InformationNOW has articles on Making decisions and your mental capacity.   Contact for help or training.

Not sure if it’s abuse?  Read our information about adult abuse.

If someone is in immediate danger in Newcastle report to 0191 278 8377 or  ring 999

Minimising the risk of falls and their impact on older people

This project aims to collect research on the activities of daily life and issues that people over 60s face if they have a history of falls or people with mobility issues who may lack confidence with walking. This project aims to design and engineer a device to aid this group, so they can be more confident and balanced on their feet and can continue to live more independent lives.  This project is being carried out by a student of the University of Strathclyde studying for a Masters Degree.  If you would like to contribute to this work please follow the link to the online survey which closes on 30 November.

New community language videos about Covid 19

Please pass on the links to information in a number of languages.  The first one is from someone who did contract Covid 19.


There are also videos in different languages created with a range of frontline medical professionals from the RVI and Freeman hospitals about how to stay safe during the pandemic:

Bengali Sylheti
Kurdish Sorani
Punjabi Indian
Punjabi Pakistani

There are also a range of different language infographics on related Covid topics.

New and updated events include

Please keep us up to date with events and activities and collections of items for Christmas.

Make something special for residents in care homes

Equal Arts and Seven Stories are working together to make Christmas trees for residents in the care homes they support.  Based on the collection of The Good Little Christmas Tree by Ursula Moray Williams, they are asking you to create your own collage tree for a forest of larger garlands for residents. Residents receiving your trees and festive greetings will take part in online creative sessions adding their own trees and decorations to the garlands ready for them to be displayed this Christmas.

North East Community-led housing festival, 30 November to 4 December 2020

The North East Community-Led Development Network was established in 2011 by a coalition of community organisations, public sector bodies, housing associations and academic institutions, all with a direct interest in community-led housing. It is currently the only regional community-led housing network in the UK. Their annual event has moved online and covers:

  • Monday 30 November  Why Community-led Housing (CLH)
  • Tuesday 1 December  Designing for Tomorrow
  • Wednesday 2 December Funding Community-led Housing
  • Thursday 3 December    Registered provider or not RP? and an Evening Virtual Pub Quiz
  • Friday 4 December  Adviser Panel: all your Community-led Housing questions answered


Last updated: January 21, 2021

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