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Victoria Logan-Coulsey

North Tyneside to move into Tier 3 – 2 December 2020

After an incredibly challenging period of national lockdown, our region now finds itself in the ‘very high’ Tier 3. These restrictions are designed to protect the most vulnerable among us, drive down infection rates, and allow us to move into a less strict set of measures. Download the poster here.

View the full list of Tier 3 restrictions here.

That is not to say these last four weeks have counted for nothing. Before lockdown, compliance with the measures in place for our region saw infections level off and once again residents across the length and breadth of Northumberland, Tyneside, Wearside and County Durham have united with great effect. Infection rates have dropped rapidly in recent days as the impact of lockdown takes effect. However, infection rates do remain high and ahead of many other parts of the country. That means as we head into the depths of winter, a time in which the NHS is typically under the greatest strain, we must continue to do what we can to protect each other and make sure our hospitals can cope with the demands upon them.

That means we must avoid mixing with other households indoors; outdoor gatherings must be limited to six socially-distanced individuals; hospitality settings must remain closed except for takeaway and delivery services; and indoor leisure and entertainment venues must remain closed.

We must continue to work together and by doing so we will put ourselves in a position to move to a tier which offers more of the freedoms we so dearly miss. Let’s keep going so we can once again meet up and socialise with our families and friends,  help more of our local businesses reopen their doors to customers or so that we can cheer on our beloved sports teams.

As a region we will continue to fight for the support required for those residents and businesses that have already suffered so much, and we will work with government to deploy targeted rapid community testing to try and lift some of the barriers placed upon us by COVID-19.

This will only be possible if we all take responsibility and do our bit for one another.


Impact on the Charity sector in North Tyneside

Being in Tier 3 has a big impact on our sector, the following exemptions apply for gatherings limits in all tiers as part of a single household, or a support bubble.

  • for work or providing voluntary or charitable services, including in other people’s homes
  • for childcare, education or training – meaning education and training provided as part of a formal curriculum
  • for supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care (before and after-school childcare), groups and activities for under 18s, and children’s playgroups
  • for formal support groups, and parent and child groups – up to 15 people aged 5 and older
  • to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
  • to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable or to provide respite for a carer

Read the full guidance here.


Making a Christmas bubble with friends and family

The Government has announced a temporary easing of restrictions over the Christmas period. Between 23 and 27 December you can form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households. Read the full details on making a Christmas bubble here.

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National Lottery Grants for Heritage and Recovery & Resilience Loans

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has resumed accepting small and medium project funding applications and launched an interest free loans pilot.

The project funding – for grants between £3,000 to £100,000 – will provide financial assistance for organisations working with heritage to build their resilience.

The new interest free loans – available for sums between from £50,000 to £250,000 – are aimed at organisations looking to restart and develop their income generating potential.

National Lottery Grants for Heritage

The reopening of project funding is the first phase of a two-stage resumption of the National Lottery Grants for Heritage. It represents a return to their core business, but it is not a return to business as usual.

The primary focus is on resilience and supporting heritage not-for-profit and public sector organisations and local authorities through the continuing COVID-19 crisis.

They are also accepting applications from organisations or partnerships with projects that are led by and/or which engage diverse groups.

The budget for the first phase is £10million. The first decision meeting will take place in mid-January.

The decision makers will prioritise applications from those who have not received funding through the Heritage Emergency Fund or government recovery funds for heritage and culture.

Explore the application guidance to find out if this funding is suitable for you.

This is a rolling programme so there are no deadlines. You can apply whenever you are ready, and we will assess your application within eight weeks. Your proposals will then be discussed at the next decision meeting.

Heritage Recovery and Resilience Loans

In the National Lottery’s Strategic Funding Framework 2019-2024 they set out ambitions to develop repayable finance interventions. Repayable finance not only maximises impact through recycling some of the National Lottery’s income, but social investment and loans such as this helps the heritage sector to diversify income, strengthen business models and become more resilient.

The loans pilot has a budget of £1.2m, which is being offered on a 0% interest basis, with no arrangement fee, and a 12-month payment holiday. Recipients will then have up to five years to repay the loan.

Applicants must be:

  • not-for-profit organisations
  • current or previous recipients of National Lottery Heritage Fund or National Heritage Memorial Fund grants over £10,000
  • organisations with enterprising business models that don’t rely on just grants and donations

Find out more in the loans application guidance.

Deadline: 14 February 2021

Read more here.

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Kerry: Good Neighbours Beneficiary & Volunteer

Kerry is one of our amazing Good Neighbours walking buddies, who has been working hard to help her fellow North Tynesiders during the pandemic. However, she did not start out as a volunteer, but instead she herself was on the receiving end of support from another of the Good Neighbours’ team. Her experiences of receiving this support inspired Kerry to sign up to help others once she was able to.

In 2017 Kerry caught the flu which developed into a chest infection. She went from having cold symptoms to seizing in a short space of time and ended up on life support for five days. Kerry now takes a daily steroid for her asthma.

Kerry had been volunteering for Beach Access North East, but had to stop during the pandemic. She anticipated how things would go with the spread of Covid-19 and starting shielding two weeks before the national lockdown. Kerry felt guilty about this as it meant her parents had to shield as well and she’d already suffered with poor mental health in the past.

Kerry and her parents wanted to eat as healthy as possible with quality ingredients. They started to panic when they tried signing up for a supermarket food slot and none were available, and there was no fresh food in the house. It meant so much to Kerry that a Good Neighbours volunteer, Kim, brought her shopping that week. It helped Kerry realise that society still cared about her and that she wasn’t a burden or worthless, but valued. She’d never been so excited to see a bag of shopping.

“A complete stranger risked her own safety and took time out of her day to help.”

Kerry’s family were able to access some supermarket slots after this point and began to receive a regular food parcel via Good Neighbours. Kerry found that was easier to ask a stranger for help as she knew a volunteer definitely meant it. Kerry thought the process of receiving a food parcel really straight forward.

Kerry came out of shielding in July after keeping an eye on the infection rates. She’d been out of the house once after 10 weeks, but found after weeks of shielding she was terrified of the world and everything in it. Kerry had previously worked in the care profession, which wouldn’t be possible again until a vaccine became available.

Kerry wanted to feel useful and raised some money for the Samaritans by climbing the St Mary’s lighthouse several times in one go. After that, she saw that VODA was looking for walking buddies and thought she’d be perfect as she’d gone through shielding herself and was low risk to others.

Kerry now has two walking buddies. Anne is not used to walking far and tends to use a wheelchair. She has poor eyesight and does not feel confident on her feet. They walk together to the end of the street and back, but are building it up each week. Anne needs to hold to Kerry’s arm, but they both wear facemasks and feel quite safe walking out in the open air.

Kerry also visits Trish once a week, who used to be an agony aunt and has some fantastic stories. Kerry appreciates all the wisdom that Trish shares and has grown extremely fond of her. Kerry sits in the garden by the backdoor and Trish sits inside at a distance, which again feels perfectly safe.

Trish is undergoing chemo and does not have long to live. She would like to capture her life experiences, but is getting very tired and asked Kerry if she knew of anyone who would do it. Kerry keenly volunteered and takes a voice recorder to their meetings in order to write up what Trish shares. She hopes to put together some bundles for Trish’s family as a result. Kerry experiences bad anxiety, but has found that Trish has rubbed off on her. Every opportunity Trish has been presented with she’s said yes, which has inspired Kerry and has had a real positive impact on her life.

Kerry’s highlight from volunteering has been meeting Trish.

“I’m so grateful that things in the universe have aligned that we’ve been brought together.”

Kerry would advise anyone to take a leaf out of Trish’s book and say ‘yes’.

“You will get far more out of it that you would ever realise.”

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VODA AGM and Annual Report 2019 to 2020

As is the story of most events in 2020, we had to take VODA’s AGM online. Although we were unable to get together for our usual gathering of friends and colleagues from across the sector for a catch up and buffet, we could still take the time to celebrate the successes of VODA and the North Tyneside VCS.

Trustees & Annual Report

As part of the AGM business, VODA was delighted to welcome two new trustees to the board – Phil Hornby and
Andy Burtenshaw, while we said a fond farewell to Rob Gibbons, who has been a fantastic advocate for VODA. There was the presentation of VODA’s Annual Report 2019 to 2020 and supporting animation.


Panel Discussion on the impacts of COVID-19

We also could not avoid the hot topic of the year, which although technically occurs in our next financial year, we felt it was important to recognise the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the people, groups and organisations in North Tyneside.

We were delighted that BBC Journalise Luke Walton agreed to host a panel discussion featuring LD:NorthEast, Walking With in North Tyneside, The Community Foundation Tyne and Wear and Kerry White, a Good Neighbours beneficiary turned volunteer who kindly shared her personal experience of the pandemic.

You can watch the panel discussion here:


Voices from behind the door

We were honoured to premiere a new spoken word piece by local writer and director Alexandra Woolley about the impacts of COVID-19 on the community. @twitter.com/woolleyjumper1


AGM Feedback

Andy Butenshaw, newly elected VODA Trustee: “Thanks, it has been an incredible session and particularly moved by the end piece as already the first lockdown feels a long way behind us.  Enjoyed the panel discussed and especially hearing from Kerry, whose experiences are very different from my own.  Great pride in becoming a Trustee for VODA and determined to support and encourage the organisation to face and meet the challenges ahead.”

Charlotte Mulvaney, Linskill Centre: “It’s been a really great engaging meeting – lots to take away, big thanks from Linskill.”

Wayne Dobson, Cedarwood Trust: “Wow…. lost for words…. thank you, this year has been such a blur the piece really hits home the journey of 2020.. fantastic AGM.”

Laura Lowther, St Oswald’s Hospice: “Really powerful piece – deserves as wide an audience as possible. FANTASTIC stuff from VODA, it’s projects and partners.”

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The Brian Roycroft Fund

The Brian Roycroft Fund supports care leavers aged 18 to 25 living in Tyne & Wear and Northumberland to achieve their aspirations. Grants of up to £1k will help young people to move into settled, safe accommodation; enter further or higher education; find satisfying employment or achieve good health and a positive sense of wellbeing. The grant request should be to meet exceptional or difficult costs that are not the statutory responsibility of the Local Authority.

No deadline: Rolling applications with panel meetings held twice a year

Read more and apply here

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The Wellesley Trust Fund

The Fund supports organisations working with young people in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear and County Durham, including Darlington, and applications are welcomed as follows  

In this round, they welcome applications towards an organisations core services or to support one-year projects, though where a project is of a continuing nature, the panel may wish to select exceptional projects for multi-year support.  

Priority will be given to organisations with an annual income of up to £500,000.  

In all cases, applicants must be able to demonstrate how their projects will make a difference to the lives of young people while meeting wider Community Foundation aspirations of supporting people to overcome disadvantage, creating stronger communities and making our area a good place to live.  

Projects previously supported by the Wellesley Trust Fund include general youth provision, uniformed groups activity, specialist skills and employability support, and work with specific groups of young people (e.g. disabled young people, or those with mental health problems).  Both revenue and capital projects can be considered. Please note, if applying for a capital project please contact Pete Barrett at the Community Foundation before applying.  

As well as this document, applicants should read the general Community Foundation criteria at http://www.communityfoundation.org.uk/apply/ before applying.  

Deadline: 5pm, Friday 18 December 2020

Read more and apply here

For further information please contact Pete Barrett at: pb@communityfoundation.org.uk or call 0191 222 0945.  

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Northumbria Police Operation Payback

A £350,000 pot of money recovered from criminals in the North East is going to be put back where it belongs – into the grass roots of local communities as part of our new funding initiative – Operation Payback.

If you’re a local project or a community group striving to make your community a better place local lives, this could be the cash boost you need and we want to hear from you.

Whether you’re a group that supports vulnerable people or a project that provides diversionary activities to help tackle anti-social behaviour – if your aim is to improve lives or prevent crime, you could fit the bill. You could play a valuable role in helping me repair the harm caused to communities by crime.

The funding, which includes money from items seized from criminals will be used to bring to life new ideas, initiatives and encourage collaboration with others.

In the years to come the fund will be topped up with some of the money seized from criminal activity under the Proceeds of Crime Act (PoCA), with some recovered funds also going to Northumbria Police to help them target more criminals.

Operation Payback is designed to empower local groups to find solutions to the issues that matter locally.

Applications are welcome from community, charity, social enterprise or voluntary groups from within the Northumbria Police force area and must aim to combat the impact of crime, reduce crime and provide diversionary activities. Projects must cost between £5,000 and £25,000 and must have the ability to spend before March 2022.

How can I apply?

Before you can submit an application, you must telephone the OPCC on 07783363988 to have a discussion with the Commissioning and Policy Team about whether your project might be suitable for this fund. They will then send you the application form to submit the bid.  Please note staff are currently working from home; there will be a member of staff available to answer this phone during normal office hours only, which are 8.00am – 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

For more information, full criteria and terms and conditions click here: – Operation Payback Fund – Application Guidance.

You can also email enquiries@northumbria-pcc.gov.uk quoting ‘Operation Payback’ for further details.

Please note: you will need meet at least one of the guidance criteria (rather than all 3) in your application:
  • Directly combat the impact of crime in local communities
  • Reduce crime
  • Reduce anti-social behaviour and provide diversionary activities
Deadline: 8 January 2021
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Bernicia Foundation

The Bernicia Foundation has so far awarded nearly £210, 000 this year among 22 organisations as well as releasing £200,000 in April for local authorities to help charities and organisations tackle hardship caused by the Coronavirus crisis.

North Tyneside Disability Forum is one of the organisations to benefit, receiving around £10,000 to support the delivery of ACTION, a training project for young people to help them achieve employability qualifications.

Sue Adams, Chief Officer at North Tyneside Disability Forum, said: “The support from Bernicia Foundation means we can make sure those young people who have missed out on learning opportunities because of health, care or disability, get the same opportunities to enhance their employability as is afforded their more fortunate peers. At NTDF we believe disability does not mean inability and Bernicia’s support helps us to help all young people fulfil their potential.”

Applications are welcomed for two grants:

  • Inspiration Grants valued at up to £1,000 will target inspirational young people aged 24 and under.
  • Inclusion Grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 will be made to voluntary or community groups, registered charities, social enterprises and co-operatives with an annual income under £750,000 per year.

Andrea Malcolm, Director of the Bernicia Foundation said: “Now more than ever, organisations and individuals need support, especially financial, to keep going during these challenging times. It’s all about paying it forward and, as a responsible business solely focused on the North East region, we want to support communities by providing access to vital funds.

“It’s heart-warming to see the difference the funds already awarded have made to peoples’ lives across the region and I’m looking forward to hearing from more individuals and organisations who can benefit from the grants.”

The Bernicia Foundation encourages applications from organisations committed to delivering real community benefits, such as tackling loneliness and accessing employment opportunities, as well as providing support for young talent to flourish.

Deadline: Monday 4 January 2021

Read more and apply here

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Moving on Tyne & Wear case study: David’s story

David is a participant on the Moving on Tyne and Wear (MOTW) programme, who is supported with interaction, confidence and searching for a volunteering opportunity.  He left school quite early as he struggled with social anxiety and those same issues still play a huge part in his everyday life.

After meeting David for the first time it was clear that his worries and anxiety prevented him from joining in, so this fell on his parents. When the Covid-19 lockdown came around in March of this year, and MOTW began working remotely, most of the usual face-to-face appointments went to phone appointment.  But this was not suitable for David and his needs, so his Job Coach, Kayle, suggested they used online chat instead.  This allowed David to chat freely, think about his answers and not feel under pressure; all of which reduced his anxiety and began to boost his confidence.

“I had a very bleak outlook on life and had trust issues with people in general. I still do most days. But the fact that there are people trying to help motivates me to help myself more.”

At the first appointment the conversation flowed, and David and Kayle chatted about many things, but in particular about his love of animals and his best friend Kodi.  Kodi is a very fun and loyal Labrador and he has helped David immensely since he came into his life over 5 years ago.  When David first brought Kodi home he had no choice but to leave the house, on his own, to take him for a walk.  He now walks him up to three times a day and often says ‘Hello’ to the regular fellow dog walkers he sees – this is a huge achievement for someone who would actively try and avoid interacting with other people!

Just over a month into lockdown it was clear David’s confidence was beginning to grow as he asked if he could start a mental health awareness distant learning course.  The course helped him to understand his mental health and he has now gained his certificate, something he never would have thought would be possible. This was yet another positive step for him, and his confidence continued to grow.  During Mental Health Awareness Week, Kayle asked David if he would like to answer some questions about how Kodi has had a positive influence on his life so MOTW could share his journey with others.  His response was honest, funny and personable and he has since expressed an interest in volunteering with animals as he wants to lead a life he loves.

Putting himself forward for volunteering opportunities makes everyone at MOTW incredibly proud, it is such a huge achievement for David as he didn’t think he would ever be open to doing something that required him to be around others! We just need to wait for lockdown restrictions to ease and then hopefully he will be able to help out at Ouseburn Farm. In the meantime, David has signed up to an online Level 3 Animal Care course and is about to finish a Life Skills course with Learn Direct.  He is also considering volunteering with the RSPCA to provide valuable online social media support.  We’re honoured to have played a part in David’s journey, and his progress is most importantly about how his confidence has improved so much; he is able to put himself forward for courses and volunteering, continuing to move forward, look to the future and feel better about himself.

“This programme came out of nowhere for me and it made me realise that there are different paths that can be taken and still a possibility of things getting better as long as I’m here trying. So even though this pandemic has been bad, there’s been a silver lining at least for me.”

This project is joint funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund

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New role to build strong relationships within Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities

Safiah Fardin has joined the VODA team as the new Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Health, Wellbeing and Information Worker.

Safaih’s role is to:

  • Build strong relationships within Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in North Tyneside
  • Work with Public Health in order to deliver effective health messages to communities. This includes working with colleague Alice (Community Health Champion) to recruit health champions within Ethnic Minority Communities.
  • Create space for people to share feedback about any barriers they face when it comes to accessing health information or services.

Safiah is keen to work with as many groups and organisations as possible to make sure that different ethnic minority communities in North Tyneside get the health information they need and are able to access services.

If you are part of an organisation that works with Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority communities in North Tyneside or you belong to an ethnic minority community and you think we could benefit from a conversation or you would like to get involved please email safiah.fardin@voda.org.uk.

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