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Covid 19 Latest News

North Tyneside volunteering update 25/02/21

A number of North Tyneside organisations are currently recruiting for volunteers and trustees.

Volunteering opportunities

VODA is recruiting Digital Champions, Community Health Champions and Good Neighbours shopping and prescription collection volunteers.

English Heritage has two new roles – Hadrian’s Wall Translation Audit Volunteer and St Paul’s Monastery, Jarrow Visitor Survey Volunteer.

Cruse Bereavement Care is recruiting a Fundraising and Marketing Volunteer

St Oswald’s needs an Admin Volunteer for their research centre and their fundraising team is looking for a Driver Volunteer.

Family Gateway needs drivers to support with food deliveries.

Dreamshine is recruiting for home-based telephone support volunteers,

North Tyneside Citizens Advice has a number of volunteer opportunities available.

Trustee Vacancies in North Tyneside

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The COVID Winter Grant for North Tyneside residents

The COVID Winter Grant is designed to help North Tyneside residents pay for essential bills related to food and warmth.

North Tyneside Council knows that many residents are struggling and may need help paying for essential bills related to food and warmth because they are on low income.

They still have funding remaining up to the end of March, and are encouraging the VCS to let colleagues who are working with financially vulnerable people and who need some financial support to contact the Welfare Provision Team on 0191 643 2777 option 2 or by emailing  Welfare.Provision@northtyneside.gov.uk.

The council can provide a wide range of help from food and utilities to other essential items connected to food and warmth such as warm clothing and bedding, repairs to boilers, washing machines, fridges etc.

They don’t want people struggling and taking out high interest loans to pay for essential items such as the things mentioned, any money or support they provide does not have to be paid back.

This funding is only available for a short period of time and North Tyneside Council is keen to help as many people as possible.

If you are working with someone who needs help with things related to food and warmth can be referred to the above contact details.

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Prime Minister sets out roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions

UK Government Press Release 22 February 2021

PM Boris Johnson has announced the government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England.

  • Government publishes four-step roadmap to ease restrictions across England and provide a route back to a more normal way of life
  • Each step to be assessed against four tests before restrictions ease, starting with the return of schools on 8 March
  • PM is clear that the decision on each stage will be based on data not dates, and government will move cautiously to keep infection rates under control

The Prime Minister has announced the government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in England.

In a statement to parliament this afternoon he paid tribute to the extraordinary success of the UK’s vaccination programme and the resolve of the British public in following the lockdown restrictions, which has helped to cut infection rates and reduce the spread of the virus.

He also set out the latest vaccine efficacy data, with Public Health England finding that one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine reduces hospitalisations and deaths by at least 75%. Analysis of the AstraZeneca vaccine efficacy continues, with promising early results.

Supported by the increased protection offered by these vaccines, the government is able to slowly and cautiously begin to ease restrictions in all areas across England at the same time, guided at all stages by data, not dates.

The roadmap, which has now been published on gov.uk, outlines four steps for easing restrictions. Before proceeding to the next step, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous steps.

This assessment will be based on four tests:

  • The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
  • Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step: four weeks for the data to reflect changes in restrictions; followed by seven days’ notice of the restrictions to be eased.

The Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser have made clear that this will give adequate time to assess the impact of each step and reduce the risk of having to re-impose restrictions at a later date.

As the Prime Minister said, getting children back into school has been the top priority, and so from 8 March all children and students will return to face to face education in schools and college. By this point, everyone in the top four vaccine priority cohorts – as determined by the independent JCVI – will have received the first dose of their vaccine and developed the necessary protection from it.

Also from this date:

  • Wraparound childcare and other supervised children’s activities can resume where they enable parents to work, seek work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group
  • Care home residents will be allowed one regular visitor provided they are tested and wear PPE
  • The Stay at Home requirement will remain, but people can leave home for recreation outdoors such as a coffee or picnic with their household or support bubble, or with one person outside their household
  • Some university students on practical courses will be able to return to face to face learning

As part of step one, there will be further limited changes from 29 March, the week in which most schools will break up for Easter. Outdoor gatherings of either 6 people or 2 households will be allowed, providing greater flexibility for families to see each other. This includes in private gardens.

Outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis and basketball courts, will be allowed to reopen, and people can take part in formally organised outdoor sports.

At this point, the Stay at Home order will end, although many lockdown restrictions will remain.

For example, you should continue to work from home where possible, and overseas travel remains banned, aside for a small number of reasons.

The subsequent steps are set out as follows:

Step 2, no earlier than 12 April:

  • Non-essential retail, personal care premises, such as hairdressers and nail salons, and public buildings, such as libraries and community centres, will reopen.
  • Most outdoor attractions and settings, including zoos, and theme parks, will also reopen although wider social contact rules will apply in these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households. Drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances will also be permitted.
  • Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools, will also reopen – but only for use by people on their own or with their household.
  • Hospitality venues can serve people outdoors only. There will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcohol, and no curfew – although customers must order, eat and drink while seated.
  • Self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.
  • Funerals can continue with up to 30 people, and the numbers able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15 (from 6).

Step 3, no earlier than 17 May:

  • Outdoors, most social contact rules will be lifted – although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal.
  • Outdoor performances such as outdoor cinemas, outdoor theatres and outdoor cinemas can reopen.. Indoors, the rule of 6 or 2 households will apply – although we will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.
  • Indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will also reopen.
  • Larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower) will also be allowed, as will those in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4000 people or half-full (whichever is lower).
  • In the largest outdoor seated venues where crowds can spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).
  • Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. Other life events that will be permitted include bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Step 4, no earlier than 21 June:

  • It is hoped all legal limits on social contact can be removed.
  • We hope to reopen nightclubs, and lift restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3.
  • This will also guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.

In the meantime, the vaccination programme continues at pace, with the announcement of a new target to offer a first dose of the vaccine to every adult by the end of July.

The government hopes that the increased protection offered by vaccines will gradually replace the restrictions, with the roadmap published today providing the principles of the transition.

MPs will have an opportunity to vote on the regulations that will enable this roadmap in Parliament in the coming weeks.

We continue to work closely with the Devolved Administrations as we have throughout the pandemic. They are setting out approaches for easing for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The roadmap can be found in full here.

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One day vaccination hub at Heaton Mosque

Habib Jiwa, a pharmacist working for TyneHealth in North Tyneside, set up a onetime vaccination clinic at Heaton Mosque to encourage vaccination uptake within his local Muslim community.

Habib commented: “Uptake for vaccination is low amongst minority ethnic groups. So, we decided to set up a vaccination hub at my local mosque.

“Our main aim for doing all of this was to signal that vaccinations were happening in our community and as this was arranged by working with senior people in the mosque, we knew that the wider Muslim community – if they had doubts around the vaccine – would be more trusting and open to it if they saw their friends and family receiving a vaccine.”

Watch the video until the end to hear from Mr Aslam, who was vaccinated on the day.

Find out more about the work of VODA’s Health, Wellbeing and Information Worker, who works specifically with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities in North Tyneside. You can also sign up to be a Community Health Champion and share verified, up to date health messages with your network.

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North Shields Covid-19 vaccination centre walkthrough

There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now and many people who have spent the majority of the last year staying home, or close to home, are understandably nervous about going to new places. We wanted to make sure that North Tyneside residents were comfortable visiting their local Covid-19 vaccination centres, so we have created this short video walkthrough of resident Judy and her husband having their vaccinations at the Parks in North Shields.

Please share this with anyone who you feel would benefit. For more information contact VODA – www.voda.org.uk.

You can also keep up to date with all the latest, verified Covid-19 updates by following our Community Health Champion.

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Digital Boost – free support to boost your digital skills

Digital Boost, a non-profit online platform that brings together those who work in small businesses and charities with a community of digital expert volunteers, is offering to help charities and small businesses get the essential digital skills they need by matching them with digital experts to offer one to one conversations and practical webinars for free.

There are three Digital Boost services to help equip your organisation with essential skills: Mentoring Calls, Webinars and Workshops, and a Resource Library.

Co-founded by Founders4Schools and BCG Digital Ventures and supported by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Google, Digital Boost aims to help rebuild our economy by helping those who work for small businesses and charities access digital expertise so they get through the COVID-19 crisis, and stay competitive in today’s digital world.

Find out more here

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An update on government grants from North Tyneside Business Forum

Government grants cover the following periods:

  • 18 Sept – 04 Nov 2020 (Tier 2)
  • 05 Nov – 01 Dec 2020 (National Lockdown 2)
  • 02 Dec – 29 Dec 2020 (Tier 3)
  • Christmas Support Payments for Wet-led Pubs
  • 30 Dec 2020 – 04 Jan 2021 (Tier 4)
  • 5 Jan onwards (National Lockdown 3 & Top-up grants)

Funding has been issued from Government to the Local Authority for the funding periods 30 Dec onwards. Every business which qualifies for Tier 4, National Lockdown and Top-up grants will be sent an email either about remittance or a direct email informing them of the automatic payment process.

If you have already applied for Tier 2 or National Lockdown 2, please do not make a further application. Systems are designed to calculate the grants that each business is entitled to for the above periods, based on the information provided.

It is anticipated that all payments will reach qualifying business bank accounts by 31 January 2021 at the latest providing applications & evidence received and approved. More information can be found on the North Tyneside Council website here 👉https://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/…/local-restrictions…

Editors note: at present, the guidance states that this new round of grants will automatically be paid to rate-payers and there is yet to be any guidance/clarification for those that don’t pay rates, but were in receipt of earlier grants. Please contact business@northtyneside.gov.uk for more information.

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Latest volunteering opportunities in North Tyneside 20.01.21

Home-based roles

The following are some of the roles currently available. Click on the links to find out more and apply.
  • Dreamshine is recruiting telephone support volunteers for their Covid befriending phone service
  • VODA is recruiting Digital Champions(currently remote, over the phone) to provide digital support for people who need help getting online.
  • VODA is recruiting Community Health Champions to share updates of trusted public health information via your own community networks. Minimum commitment is 5 minutes a week.
  • English Heritage – Handbook volunteers (UK Wide)
Currently home-based Trustee roles:
  • Wallsend Kinship Carers
  • Whitley Bay Young People’s Centre

Roles in the community

All opportunities are listed on our searchable online volunteering database however, many of these will currently be on hold due to the lockdown. It is however a good resource for seeing roles which may become available in North Tyneside again in the future, once the lockdown starts to ease.
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COVID-19 Vaccine Fraud Warning

Criminals are using the COVID-19 vaccine as a way to target the public by tricking them to hand over cash or financial details. They are sending convincing-looking text messages letting people know they are eligible for the vaccine, or phoning people directly, pretending to be from the NHS, or local pharmacy.

The NHS will:

  • NEVER ask for payment – the vaccine is free
  • NEVER ask for your bank details
  • NEVER arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine
  • NEVER ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of your personal documents such as your passport.

See below for full details of what to do. You can also download a PDF of this flyer here. Thank you to our Community Health Champions for sharing this update.

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VCS Workforce Rapid COVID-19 Testing

North Tyneside council has opened a new COVID-19 rapid testing service.

The aim of rapid community testing is to test people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms to identify those who are positive so they can self-isolate immediately. This will stop them from passing on the virus to other colleagues and disrupting service delivery.

Members of the VCS workforce who are unable to work from home will be able to access the new testing site at the Riverside Children’s Centre, North Shields, twice weekly, throughout a 6-week period. If you would like to access this service please email robin.fry@voda.org.uk – there is no deadline for your response.

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