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Covid 19 Latest News

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 These have now been replaced by 16 pharmacy-led sites across the borough.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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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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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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Voices from Behind the Door by Alex Woolley

Local writer and director Alexandra Wolley produced this powerful spoken word piece to reflect on people’s experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Albert Hunt Trust

The trust supports local charities working in the following areas:

  • hospice care
  • support for the homeless
  • health and well-being (aimed at organisations with an income less than £250k).

Grants may be considered for a range of purposes but, for now, don’t include capital projects (to be reviewed in July). The type, size and time period of the grant is decided on the basis of the perceived difference that the support will make to the organisation, the project and the beneficiaries. Read funding criteria here.

No amount specified. Registered charities. No deadline.

Read more and apply here.


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Volunteers’ Week: A message of thanks from Paul Hanson, North Tyneside Council

As part of our Volunteers’ Week celebrations, Paul Hanson – Chief Executive of North Tyneside Council – shared his message of thanks to the volunteers who have supported the North Tyneside community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Surge testing and vaccination drive to launch in North Tyneside

First published by North Tyneside Council on 20 May 2021










Surge testing and additional vaccinations are launching in North Tyneside, following a rise in case numbers and growing concerns nationally around increased cases of the variant first identified in India.

COVID-19 cases in North Tyneside have risen from 22 to 53 per 100,000 over the last week and more cases of the variant, first identified in India, have been found in parts of the borough. There are currently 19 confirmed cases and it is likely that this number will increase.

From Saturday 22 May, the council will deploy two mobile testing units (MTUs) in North Shields and Wallsend.

From Saturday morning they will be open without an appointment between 10am and 4pm at Wallsend Forum, behind the Anson pub, and in North Shields town centre.

Residents and those who work or learn in North Tyneside are encouraged to make use of these PCR test sites, if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19.

The guidance for anyone who does have symptoms of COVID-19 remains the same:  stay at home, self-isolate and book a test online or by calling 119.

The existing test sites at The Parks Leisure Centre in North Shields and the Coronation Street car park in Wallsend should continue to only be used by those with symptoms.

This enhanced testing is in addition to lateral flow tests which the government encourage everyone to do twice a week.

The council and the local NHS is reminding residents that getting vaccinated is the best defence against COVID-19.

People over 50 and those with underlying health conditions who have had their first dose and not yet had their second will be contacted either by their GP practice or by the NHS National Booking Service with an offer to bring forward the date of their second dose.

Residents in this group should not contact their GP or the NHS and should wait to be contacted.

The rollout will remain in line with national eligibility, which is now open to everyone aged over 34 to book a vaccine appointment.

People who are eligible but who have not yet had a first dose can book quickly and easily at one of 11 local community pharmacy locations in North Tyneside.

There are over 15,000 weekly appointments available in North Tyneside via the NHS National Booking Service or call 119 between 7am and 11pm.

The Council and NHS are also exploring additional opportunities to get vaccinated within North Tyneside.

It follows a Government announcement on Wednesday that North Tyneside and five other areas of England would receive an extra supply of testing kits and vaccines.

There is no current evidence that the variant first identified in India causes more serious illness and there is no evidence that vaccines are less effective against it. It does though appear to pass to others more easily.

Wendy Burke, Director of Public Health, is appealing for people to remain vigilant and get themselves tested and vaccinated when the offer is made.

She said: “Extensive surveillance of COVID-19 has found in North Tyneside a small number of cases of the variant that was first identified in India. All cases are now self-isolating and robust contact tracing has taken place to trace their contacts and ask them to self-isolate as well.

“Although there is currently no evidence that the new variant causes more serious illness, or that the vaccine will be ineffective against it, it does appear to pass to others more easily.

“Working in partnership with NHS Test and Trace, we strongly encourage every resident over the age of 16 to take a PCR COVID-19 test, even if they are not showing symptoms.

“The additional testing, together with other measures such as hands-face-space-fresh air and following national guidance, will help us to suppress and control the spread of the virus, while enabling a better understanding of the new variant.

“If a person tests positive, has any symptoms, or are contact traced following contact with someone who tests positive, they should self-isolate immediately.

“We’d like to offer reassurance that the surge testing is being carried out as a precaution and these areas are not subject to extra or different restrictions. However, this acts as a reminder to us all that the virus is still out there, and we must not allow complacency to creep in.”

Professor Neil Watson, who runs the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme for the North East and North Cumbria said: “Now is the time to get vaccinated if you are in an eligible group because the sooner you’re vaccinated, the sooner you’ll begin to protect yourself, your family, your friends and your community.

“We also know that vaccinating as many people as possible should reduce the levels of local infections too.

“The NHS in North Tyneside has made thousands of appointments available each week via community pharmacies, while GPs concentrate on bringing second dose appointments forward for people over 50. So please do your bit to help beat COVID – take up your appointment when it’s offered.”

For those who need to self-isolate because they test positive or because they are a close contact, financial support is available from the council through the Test and Trace support payment. Recipients must be financially impacted because they cannot work from home and will lose income as a result, or be in receipt of benefits.

Details of locations of the test sites can be found on the North Tyneside Council website.


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Whitley Bay Islamic Cultural Centre launches test site with council’s support

A new COVID-19 test site has been set up at the Whitley Bay Islamic Cultural Centre to encourage regular testing for those without symptoms in all North Tyneside communities.

North Tyneside Council and VODA (Voluntary Organisations Development Agency) have supported the centre in Whitley Bay with advice and training to set up its own testing site.

It’s part of the local authority’s work to make sure testing is accessible and easy for all, which has also seen sites set up in schools, large workplaces, community buildings and even in the borough’s fire stations.

With results processed within an hour, the testing aims to quickly identify those with the virus, but without symptoms, who could unknowingly pass it on to others.

After visiting the centre, North Tyneside Director of Public Health, Wendy Burke said: “One in three people with coronavirus don’t display any symptoms, so this testing has a role to play in breaking the chain of transmission and preventing outbreaks in the borough.

“We’d encourage everyone in North Tyneside to get into the habit of twice-weekly testing as part of our everyday lives. It helps us all to play our part and do what we can to keep each other safe and, alongside the vaccine, ensures we can continue to ease our way out of lockdown.

“It was brilliant to see the testing site in action at the Islamic Cultural Centre and hear how well it is going. I’d like to thank them for their unwavering support during the pandemic, which has also included sharing information with their community and their brilliant work in promoting vaccine uptake and hosting a pop-up vaccine clinic.”

Misbah Hanan who is the community leader at the Whitley Bay Islamic Cultural Centre said: “So far people are responding well to having access to testing in a place they feel comfortable and we want to continue to spread positive COVID-19 messages after Ramadan. Getting tested regularly is so important in order to stop the spread of the virus, and therefore in protecting our friends, families and communities. The centre is open to everybody, and so I’d encourage everyone to please get tested.”

Imam Syed Al Amin reiterated the importance of people getting tested, saying: “One in three people have no COVID-19 symptoms and aren’t aware that they are spreading the virus. It is important for people within our community, especially those on the frontline, including those working in the restaurant trade and as taxi drivers, to get tested. You will receive your test results within the hour and if you do have the virus you can get support from your local council.”

Testing is available at the centre on Rink Way, Whitley Bay, every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11am to 1pm and 2pm to 3pm.

All residents without symptoms can access free regular coronavirus testing several ways, including in person at the Riverside Centre, North Shields, from over 40 pharmacies in the borough, through the post and more. For full details click here.

This testing is for those without symptoms. Anyone with symptoms, which includes a new continuous cough, change or loss of smell or taste and/or a temperature, should self-isolate immediately and book a test via www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119.

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New vaccination support buddy scheme for North Tyneside

VODA has teamed up with local GP Surgeries and North Tyneside Council to offer support to people struggling to take up their vaccine in North Tyneside.

There are a number of reasons that lead to someone missing their vaccine slot, they may be shielding, are vulnerable or have no one to help them get there.

To help people who are struggling to attend, VODA will provide a volunteer to accompany the patient through the vaccination process. These volunteers are already volunteering at the clinics so are very familiar with the process and can provide reassurance and support to someone who may be too nervous to go on their own. We can also help organise transport if that is a barrier to them attending the clinic.

“ It is vitally important that we provide every opportunity for people to take up their vaccine, we want to make it as stress free and easy as possible for those who are vulnerable or anxious about attending the clinics,” said VODA’s Keith Hardy, Core Services Manager responsible for delivering the project.

Referrals can be made via the North Tyneside Council’s Local Support Service T:0345 2000101.

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