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Victoria Logan-Coulsey

Reflections on the final GP-led vaccine clinics

The beginning of July saw the end of the North Tyneside GP-led Covid vaccination sites. The three sites at The Parks, The Langdale Centre and the Oxford Centre were established to quickly provide the Covid vaccine to the most vulnerable residents in North Tyneside. These have now been replaced by 16 pharmacy-led sites across the borough.

These clinics were supported by VODA volunteers, who provided vital marshalling services to ensure the clinics ran smoothly and provided a positive experience for patients.
Keith Hardy, Core Services Manager said: “The clinics started in December 2020 and since then over 200 volunteers have given around 12,000 hours of their time, it’s an incredible achievement really and I am so proud of all our volunteers who have come from all walks of life, some who are retired, some volunteering while furloughed or fitting it into their work patterns. Many of the volunteers are now supporting the new clinics, their commitment and generosity is unbelievable, and we are so grateful.”

Kevin Dickinson, who alongside fellow volunteer MD (pictured left) has become a bit of a local vaccination centre celeb with his large selection of silly hats, shared his reflection on this end of an era.

“Well we’ve just finished the last clinic at the Oxford Centre. An emotional last day for everyone involved. It’s been a great team effort there and yourselves are included in that. Your (VODA’s) organisation and support has been fantastic and you have always been there when volunteers have needed you.

“Maria, Gill and the other admin staff have kept us going with coffee and biscuits and cakes at times. Jack has done a great job overseeing the whole show and being available whenever there was a query. Barbra and her team of vaccinators have been really efficient and helped us out when it’s been busy.

“There really has been a great team spirit with everyone pulling together with one goal to get as many people vaccinated as quickly and as safely as possible. I am proud to have been part of the team.

“We think we were the most friendliest and efficient vaccination centre in the world!”

Our Community Health Champion Alice sums up how we feel about the contribution of the volunteers:

“To each and every one of the team members involved in the North Tyneside vaccination centre, I feel pretty emotional writing this message so can’t imagine how you will all feel knowing that the last clinic is done. I have the utmost respect, admiration and gratitude for all of you and all the volunteers involved. We know it’s been far from easy and that you have worked your absolute socks off to make sure as many people have been vaccinated in a safe and welcoming environment. You are ALL part of history and I hope you are bursting with pride at what you have achieved. Thank you so, SO much!”

Alice, North Tyneside Community Health Champion.

Feedback from our volunteers

Our volunteers shared feedback on their experiences of working at the three sites. Here is just a small selection of what they had to say.

“I have been volunteering at the vaccination clinics since they were first set up in December and it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to be involved. Well done to all the site managers who have all been so welcoming and supportive throughout these past few months”. Justine

“Absolute privilege to work with such an amazing team…loved every minute…many thanks for your help and support throughout.” Judith

“Thank you so much for welcoming and supporting me as a volunteer at the vaccination clinics. I have really enjoyed the work and have been so impressed at how organised all the clinics have been. It’s been a great experience, thank you!” Rebecca

“Huge congratulations on a job superbly done, not only have you had your normal job, but you have been called, to design, manage, and lead an emergency programme to vaccinate residents in North Tyneside. Thank you for your endless energy and commitment, it has been a job well done.” Chris

How to keep a volunteer happy

The teams at the GP sites learned very quickly that the best way to keep volunteers happy was through their stomachs!

“I will be back for the cake!”

“…always felt looked after with coffee cakes and biscuits etc.”

“…your patience, support, good humour and, of course, the endless supplies of chocolatey goodies to fuel our shifts.”

“You provided us with the best break time treats ever!! Great motivation!!”



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North Tyneside volunteering update 22/07/21

A number of North Tyneside organisations are currently recruiting for volunteers and trustees. You can search for all available volunteering opportunities on our online database, or take a look at our round-up below.




Opportunities available with VODA

Vaccination support: Volunteer steward roles are available supporting COVID-19 vaccination centres in North Tyneside. Tasks will include greeting people, car parking support (at some sites), requesting people use hand sanitiser / wear face coverings on arrival and coordinating flow of people.Vaccination support: Volunteer steward roles are available supporting COVID-19 vaccination centres in North Tyneside. Tasks will include greeting people, car parking support (at some sites), requesting people use hand sanitiser / wear face coverings on arrival and coordinating flow of people.

Vaccination Outreach Volunteers: This new role with our Community Health Champions (aka Pigeons) is aimed at getting more members of the public to have their first vaccination by attending the walk-in clinic which will be in close proximity.



Good Neighbours

Good Neighbours DIY Volunteer to help local residents with tasks in and around the house (in line with the current government guidelines). These tasks range from changing a light bulb to putting up a bird box, all in all simple jobs and repairs.

Good Neighbours buddy scheme, to help support local residents who need support to get back out into the community. We’re recruiting for Community Buddies.

We also need Shopping and Prescription Collection volunteers to help support residents who may be isolating.

Community Health Champions to help share verified health messages across North Tyneside.

Opportunities with other North Tyneside VCS groups and organisations

The 18th Wallsend Scouts are looking for new leaders and volunteers for their Scout Group. They hope to return to Wednesday sessions (15:15 – 17:00) at Redesdale Primary School, but cannot do this without help from more adult volunteers and leaders. They have three age group sections, from age 6-14 years. Leaders would have to be DBS Cleared, and be willing to undergo training. Please contact the Group Scout leader if you are interested: rebecca.moyes@18thwallsendscouts.org.uk or 07432098154

Useful Vision is recruiting Activity Volunteers to support the delivery of their summer activities.

Family Gateway needs drivers to support with food deliveries to the families they support. They would also like to add more volunteers to the whole team. They’d love to hear from enthusiastic people who would be happy to assist with general volunteering tasks such as supporting activities, gardening and maintenance, cleaning and sanitisation, packing and delivering free meals and care packages.

Friend Action North East is looking for a Digital Volunteer to support all aspects of IT from data input, updating Friends Action North East’s website, posting on FANE’s social media platforms to campaigning for digital inclusion for people with learning disabilities and/or autism. This role can be tailored to people’s time, commitment, and expertise. Volunteers will work from home in this role.

Tyneside Outdoors is seeking a Business support volunteer.
Healthwatch North Tyneside is recruiting a Health and Social Care Research Volunteer to help improve local health and social care services.
British Heart Foundation South Tyneside 

XL Health offers health, safety & care related training, medical and welfare services for events and organisations, as well as a range of Covid19 testing and support services. They are recruiting for a number of volunteer roles.

Age UK North Tyneside is recruiting for:

Pearey House Centre For Visually Impaired needs a volunteer assistant, Tuesdays 8.30am to 12.30pm, to help with activities and lunches for blind and visually impaired adults.

Meadow Well Connected is looking for and ICT volunteer and a Reception volunteer#

St Oswald’s is recruiting for a number of volunteer roles:

The North Tyneside Parks Team is looking for Green Spaces Improvement volunteers for monthly volunteering sessions at Northumberland Park starting 2 June.

Citizen’s Advice North Tyneside has a number of Telephone Adviceline Volunteer vacancies.

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide is recruiting a Peer Support Facilitator

YMCA North Tyneside is recruiting Volunteer Mentors to support young girls aged 9 to 14. Read more and apply here.

FACT Cancer Support needs telephone befriending volunteers for 2 or more hours per week. Working from home or one of their community locations. Contact Shirley.sheen@fact-cancersupport.co.uk or call 01914420833.

Beach Access North East is recruiting a mechanic or engineering volunteer who can help them to design, create, develop or modify equipment so the beach is more accessible for wheelchair users. They also need volunteers to support the loan of access equipment by appointment. Based at Whitley Bay or Blyth and a Marketing & PR volunteer.

LD:NorthEast has a vacancy for an Activities Volunteer.

North Tyneside Citizens Advice is recruiting a number of Telephone Adviceline Volunteers

The Thomas Pocklington Trust is looking for appoint Sight Loss Council Members for Tyne & Wear. They are looking for people who can draw from personal experience as a person who is blind or partially sighted, contributing skills and knowledge to benefit the key aims of the Sight Loss Council.

Cruse Bereavement Care is recruiting a Fundraising and Marketing Volunteer

Trustee Vacancies in North Tyneside

Keep up to date with volunteer news by following the North Tyneside Volunteer Centre on Facebook.

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North East and Cumbria Integrated Care Systems Update

The recently published ‘Integrated Care Systems: Design Framework’ sets out the role of Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) partners in helping to tackle health inequalities and improve outcomes in population health. The North Tyneside ICS body will further the work of what we currently know as the North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The framework states that “The VCSE sector is a vital cornerstone of a progressive health and care system. ICSs should ensure their governance and decision-making arrangements support close working with the sector as a strategic partner in shaping, improving and delivering services and developing and delivering plans to tackle the wider determinants of health.”

Key ambitions included in the framework include:

  • working with VCSE partners on the integration of planning and provision
  • growing and supporting a ‘one workforce ’approach with shared principles and ambitions across the local authority, the VCSE sector and other partners
  • strengthening public, patient and carers ’voice at place and system levels, working with a range of partners such as Healthwatch, the VCSE sector and experts by experience
  • working alongside councils to invest in local community organisations and infrastructure There already exists in North Tyneside some great partnership working between the CCG and the VCSE sector. We look forward to seeing this grow under these new arrangements which will come into force by April 2022.

VONNE and Cumbria CVS are leading a VCSE Partnership Programme supporting VCSE organisations across the North East and North Cumbria to have a voice and influence ICS decision making at all levels, from local partnership working to board level, to make our ICS a truly Integrated Care System across the public, voluntary and independent sectors. They are keeping our sector informed by creating a Health & Wellbeing Network where members receive regular news bulletins containing information and opportunities relating to the ICS and health and wellbeing. They are also supporting organisations who have the same interests, e.g. mental health, to work with the ICS and input into relevant ICS workstreams and plans via our “communities of interest” sub-groups

You can join the North East and Cumbria Health and Wellbeing Network and find out more about how your organisation can become involved with the ICS.

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Working With the VCS: Partnership Working event 12 July 2021

34 representatives from North Tyneside gathered online this week to enjoy a whistle-stop tour of some of the great partnership work going on across the borough. Attendees came from the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector, North Tyneside Council, DWP, National Lottery Community Fund and Primary Care Networks.

Hosted by VODA and North Tyneside Council, this was the fifth virtual Working With the VCS event held during the pandemic. Felicity Shoesmith from North Tyneside Council kicked off proceedings by providing an update on the free Loss and Bereavement training sessions that are being provided to 82 members of staff and volunteers within the VCS workforce.

Heather Thrussell then spoke about the current consultation on the Council Plan, outlining a vision of building a better North Tyneside looking to the future. Attendees were encouraged to share their views via this online questionnaire.

There followed four short presentations about emerging areas of work, with attendees encouraged to use the chat to offer feedback in the form of:

  • Roses – something they like about the idea
  • Buds – something they could add to the idea
  • Thorns – something they find challenging about the idea


Ruth Barfoot and Dr Dave Tomson provided an update on the new Living Well in North Tyneside website. This new website will launch in the summer, building on the success of the SIGN Directory and providing a wider offer to residents locally. Attendees were positive about the support this platform would offer them to feel much more connected to other organisations and more confident to signpost. It was recognised that one of the challenges with this piece of work is ensuring we have as many people and groups and orgs on board to make it work well for everyone in North Tyneside, and making sure the website and the information provided is accessible to everyone. Further info: ruth.barfoot@northtyneside.gov.uk


Helen Grieg was up next, offering an overview of the Social Prescribing Service provided by First Contact Clinical. Comments were shared by attendees recognising that social prescribing is a critical part of the overall offer from the system and a great way to provide support around what really matters to someone. Challenges were shared about ensuring that smaller VCS organisations have the capacity to take on new referrals and it was requested that a flow chart be shared showing how a resident might get involved from start to finish. Further info: helengreig@firstcontactclinical.co.uk.


Josie Robinson spoke about VODA’s experience of using the Volunteero app to co-ordinate multiple volunteers during the pandemic. This has brought lots of advantages to make the volunteering experience and the management of tasks more accessible and efficient. Attendees were impressed with the proposition of co-ordinating volunteers much less time consuming as well as more user-friendly from the volunteers’ point of view. Questions were raised about how this might impact digitally excluded volunteers, and whether there is a ‘tipping point’ for the number of volunteer users that would make it it financially viable for organisations to use. Further info: josie.robinson@voda.org.uk / www.volunteero.org

The final presentation came from Cheryl Gavin from Helix Arts who shared details of the new Better Connect programme – a social prescribing project aimed at connecting young and adult carers with arts and culture. Attendees commented that it was great to have such a wide range of opportunities to support lots of different groups, especially when the pandemic has highlighted a lot of hidden carers who will benefit from the range of activities on offer. It was agreed that getting this offer on to the Living Well North Tyneside website would be useful. A question was raised about how we can ensure the sustainability of this offer long term. Further info: cheryl.gavin@helixarts.com 


We then premiered ‘Connections in the Community’ a short spoken word piece by Alex Woolley sharing the experiences of residents during the pandemic. The piece provoked a great response from attendees who described it as ‘well composed and narrated’, ‘wonderful and very moving’ and ‘heart breaking’.

To close the event attendees broke into four discussion groups to share information and idea about supporting local residents to overcome feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Details of the next Working With the VCS event will be shared via VODA’s social media channels.

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New TyneHealth Long Covid resource hub

Tynehealth Post-Covid Syndrome, For some people, Covid-19 can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is sometimes calls Long Covid or Post Covid Syndrome

What is Long Covid

In October 2020 the following definition of Post COVID-19 Syndrome was made:

“Signs and symptoms that develop during or following an infection consistent with COVID-19, continue for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis. It usually presents with clusters of symptoms, often overlapping, which can fluctuate and change over time and can affect any system in the body. Post-COVID-19 syndrome may be considered before 12 weeks while the possibility of an alternative underlying disease is also being assessed.” NICE, October 2020

New resource hub for Long Covid

TyneHealth, the North Tyneside GP Federation which all of the practices in North Tyneside, has created a really valuable set of resources for those suffering Long Covid – which we encourage you to read and share with your networks.

The hub contains advice on symptoms, when and how to get help, FAQs, online resources and information what to expect from Long Covid clinics.

Covid, Me and My New Wheels

TyneHealth’s Medical Director Dr Susannah Thompson has spoken about her own experiences of Long COVID in a video monologue she wrote and performed for an open mic event earlier this year.

Susannah is passionate about support for those with Long COVID and championing the voice of the patient in shaping NHS plans and services around this condition. She is a GP, who used to love walking and swimming in the sea, but due to Long COVID is learning to rest and pace, and make the best of this new way of life.


TyneHealth is also hoping to create a supportive on-line community for North Tyneside residents on their website and through the @TyneHealth social media channels and are encouraging people to share their experiences with Long COVID using the hashtag #MyLongCOVID.

Access the Long Covid resource hub

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North East Humanists Community Fund

Microgrants of up to £500 available for projects to improve community living.

North East Humanists is a small registered charity that has been active for over 60 years and has a membership of about 200 people. Due to the generosity of their members over the years, they have accumulated some reserves which they would like to give to the local community.

They will fund short-term projects to help the community. Open to all groups. Some funding restrictions apply.

Applications are welcome from any community groups which: give opportunities for people to support each other; are inclusive (in line with the Equalities Act 2010); are committed to the protection of vulnerable people involved; and have a bank account in the name of the group. They do not fund projects which: are profit-making; are solely or partially for the purpose of promoting a religion; include the purchase of services or training; include salaries; and include medicines or treatment.

Decisions: On an ongoing basis. First-come first-served.
3-week turnaround for stage 1.
4-week turnaround for stage 2.

Deadline: 31 January 2022

Read more and apply here.


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Making Every Contact Count: Conversations about Covid-19 Vaccination

North Tyneside Council is hosting 30-minute webinars via Microsoft Teams For Frontline staff / volunteers ‘Making Every Contact Count: Conversations about Covid-19 Vaccination’.

By the end of the session, participants will be able to:

  • Deliver key information about Covid-19 vaccination
  • Have behaviour change conversations with people, to build and strengthen motivation to engage with the Covid-19 vaccination programme

Session dates:

Mon 5 July, Wed 7 July and Fri 9 July

Mon 12 July, Wed 14 July and Fri 16 July

Course times: 14:30 – 15:00 (for all sessions)

Email david.fellows@northtyneside.gov.uk to book places

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Free trees for community groups

The Woodland Trust’s popular free tree pack scheme is now open for applications.  Schools and community groups across the North East are now able to apply for the first one million trees, and into 2022 there are over three million trees in total available via free tree packs.  Packs are sent out twice a year with November packs now available for order.

In Spring the uptake was high across the North East with 18,120 trees despatched for planting, including· 5,430 to 47 schools and community groups in Northumberland.  The Trust is a leading delivery partner of The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) and is offering free trees as an opportunity to help schools and communities to plant trees to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

Applications are accepted on a first come, first served basis and the first million trees will be despatched in November during the planting season.  The packs are available in a range of themes – year-long colour, a wild harvest, or a haven for wildlife.  The packs also come in a range of sizes – 15, 30, 105 or 420 (which can cover the size of a football pitch).

Visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/freetrees before August 25 to order free trees, which will be delivered in November 2021.

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Henry Smith Charity: Holiday Grants for Disadvantaged and Disabled Children

Schools, youth groups, not for profit organisations and charities can apply for grants of £500 to £2,500 to support recreational trips or holidays within the UK for groups of disabled or disadvantaged children (aged 13 or under).

  • Priority will be given to applications coming from the 20% most deprived areas in the UK.
  • The grants can cover up to two-thirds of the cost of a holiday or trip lasting one to seven days.
  • The funding is being made available through the Henry Smith Charity.

Deadline: Applications will be accepted until the 13 August 2021, for day trips taking place between 1 July and 30 September 2021. Applications must be made at least six weeks before the trip or holiday is due to take place. Applications must be made at least six weeks before the trip or holiday is due to take place.

Read more and apply here.

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NTCA Recovery Innovation Grants

Funded through the North of Tyne Recovery Innovation Fund, this new grant programme has been designed to help businesses grow by adopting innovative practice or by bringing innovative products or services to market.

The Innovation Recovery Grant has been launched by the North of Tyne Combined Authority following the impact of COVID-19 and the need for business support. It aims to enable a green and sustainable recovery by funding projects that have potential to safeguard and create good quality jobs, build a more inclusive economy and/or contribute towards the net zero agenda.

This innovation funding is open to SME’s and Social Enterprises working in all sectors and are based in Northumberland, Newcastle or North Tyneside.

VCSE orgs are eligible to apply to cover 50% of eligible business spend towards Innovation Projects totalling between £10,000 and £20,000 (excluding VAT). Grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 are available.

Accessing the North of Tyne Innovation Recovery Grant is very straightforward – you could have a decision on your grant application within a few weeks.

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