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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 These have now been replaced by 16 pharmacy-led sites across the borough.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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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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Bereavement & loss training for VCS staff & volunteers *Fully Booked*

During the pandemic, we are aware that many Community and Voluntary Sector organisations have lost volunteers, beneficiaries, colleagues. Staff and volunteers have also been supporting many residents across North Tyneside who have experienced loss and bereavement. As restrictions start to ease and more people are starting to re connect with their communities, we have worked in partnership to develop a training offer to build confidence and awareness around having conversations around loss.

VODA has been working with North Tyneside Council and the NHS and have arranged level 1 and level 2 training courses for members of the Community and Voluntary Sector based in North Tyneside.

These sessions will be free to North Tyneside based organisations and will be held virtually.


Level one bereavement & loss training

Delivered by an experienced trainer from St Oswald’s Hospice, each session will explore – what to say, how to help and why it is important.

The session will focus on:

  • Exploring bereavement and loss
  • Normalising grief and how to manage those difficult conversations
  • Looking after yourself whilst you look after others

Each course can have a maximum of 15 people attending.

Courses are limited to 15 people, so please register now for one of the following four sessions:

  • Monday 5 July 2pm-3pm (FULLY BOOKED)
  • Tuesday 20 July 10am-11am (FULLY BOOKED)
  • Monday 26 July 2pm-3pm (FULLY BOOKED)
  • Tuesday 27 July 11am-12noon (FULLY BOOKED)

Once you’ve booked your place you will be able to log into your Eventbrite account to access the Zoom link.


Level Two: Loss and Bereavement Awareness Session

These sessions are aimed at people working with in Voluntary and Community Sector that may have line management responsibilities or be responsible for supporting volunteers.

The course will be run by Cruse Bereavement Support and by the end of the session, the participants will have:

  • Reflected on the grieving process and gained an understanding of current models that help understand grief and bereavement
  • Become aware of the impact of loss and bereavement on families
  • Considered, through our own understanding of the impact of loss, the ways we may assist individuals following bereavement
  • Considered skills relevant to their role and organisation, which will improve how they communicate with bereaved people
  • Developed awareness of support organisations, and how and when to refer individuals for further support, including an understanding of the boundaries of our roles

Read the supporting information here.

Course are limited to 12 attendees, so please register now for one of the following two sessions:

  • Tuesday 6 July 2:15pm – 4.45pm (FULLY BOOKED)
  • Thursday 15 July 10:15am – 12.45pm (FULLY BOOKED)

Once you’ve booked your place you will be able to log into your Eventbrite account to access the Zoom link.

For more information about these courses please contact Claire Howard at VODA claire.howard@voda.org.uk

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First for North East as Age UK to open Dementia Meeting Centre at Howdon Community Hub

First published on 10 June 2021 on the Family Gateway website.

Life-changing centres where people living with Dementia and their families can receive vital support are set to appear in the North East for the first time.

We’re so proud to be one of Age UK’s Dementia Meeting Centres, offering individually-tailored, expert-led support to people (and their family members) affected by the condition.

Research has shown that Meeting Centres have a hugely positive impact: statistics indicate that after attending people living with the condition were happier, and families felt more able to look after their loved ones.

Greg Lambert, Head of Community and Enterprise at Howdon Community Hub, is pleased to be helping to bring the Meeting Centres to people in North Tyneside.

He said: “Everybody knows someone who has been affected by Dementia in some way, so to have a service like this operating is absolutely essential. My Nan suffered with it so I know the toll Dementia can take on people living with it and their families; this will be a vital support for them.

“My family didn’t have anything like this available to them and I wish we had, it’s a fantastic idea and I’m proud the sessions will be running from Howdon Community Hub. The centre is here for the community, and this is something the community really needs.”

There are around 3000 people over 65 living with Dementia across North Tyneside, and the condition is listed as the biggest cause of death in the UK.

Age UK North Tyneside’s Dementia Connections team currently supports almost 400 people a month who are living with Dementia, and their families. During the pandemic it has kept in touch with customers via telephone, Zoom and FaceTime, while also providing essential home visits. The idea for Meeting Centres originated in the Netherlands, where there are now hundreds dotted across the country.

Despite their success in Europe, they are still uncommon in the UK.

Kirsty De Bono-Hume, one of Age UK’s seven Dementia-specialist Admiral Nurses and the Centres’ ‘lead’, said: “The idea is to bring together the people affected by Dementia and support them through what can be a very difficult process. The Meeting Centres will provide an inclusive, warm and enjoyable environment to support both people with Dementia alongside their family carers.

“Activities will reflect the interests of the members and will promote practical, emotional and social adjustments, and there will always be Dementia specialists on hand to provide information and advice. There is nothing else like this in the North East and we think it is going to have a massive impact on people in the community.”

The first meeting will be held on July 8th. For more information, please call 0191 209 0092 or send email.

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Healthy Habits Programme from Age UK North Tyneside

Age UK North Tyneside’s Healthy Habits is a project designed around you and your wellbeing goals.

Taking a peer-to-peer approach, this programme allows you to address health related topics and achieve goals relevant to you within a supportive environment. Alongside the peer group sessions you will also have the opportunity to work one on one with a Coordinator to focus more specifically on your own individual goals and aspirations.

Here’s a quote from Susan, a happy participant in the 2020 sessions:
One-to-one and group support with Healthy Habits has helped me make positive changes to my diet,  health and exercise as I get older and I’m looking forward to social interaction in group settings when circumstances allow.” Read more about Susan’s experience

And here’s one from Leon, another happy participant: “Being involved in Healthy Habits with Tom’s positive attitude gives me something to look forward to every week.” Read more about Leon’s experience

Other quotes from past users:

The best help possible during the pandemic. Advice has been a help with the virus and keeping me awake and interested in myself. Simply put thank you all staff”. –  Nick

“The Healthy Habits project has opened my eyes to lots of health issues that I need to consider now, rather than when it is too late – prevention is much better than cure!”  – Pia

As the programme is run over a 12 month period you have the opportunity to build new relationships within your group, which you could then continue beyond Healthy Habits.

The programme will involve:

  • Workshops and support groups
  • Guest speakers
  • Peer to peer and one to one support
  • Social activities
  • Goal setting, monitoring and reflection
  • Support accessing both online and offline services

Whether the changes you hope to make are large or small, the Healthy Habits team can help.

If this sounds like the programme for you, please call 0191 280 8484 or email Rachel.haldenby@ageuknorthtyneside.org.uk

Due to COVID-19, the Healthy Habits programme is currently run virtually.  It will return to face to face sessions as soon as it is safe to do so.

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North Shields High Street Heritage Action Zone newsletter – Issue 2

An Ambition for North Shields has produced the second issue of their North Shields High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) newsletter, which well worth a read to keep up to date with what is happening in North Shields.

The newsletter includes an update on the HAZ Cultural Consortium, of which VODA is the lead partner, supporting a programme of work that enables staff and volunteers to further develop their digital skills whilst working together on an inclusive and engaging project

Staff and volunteers from the North Shields Heritology Project and Remembering The Past have collaborated with local musicians, photographers and drone operators to produce five short films exploring everything from the importance of Howard Street in the abolition of slavery, to imagining the life of a servant following the unexpected discovery of an ex-servants’ quarters in Northumberland Square.

The newsletter also includes:

  • A reminder of what the scheme is all about
  • Introducing Ian McCaffery, Heritage Action Zone Officer
  • Fascinating discoveries at 18 Northumberland Square
  • HAZ public realm update
  • Creative projects underway
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Winning raffle numbers for Jam Jar cinema tickets

Thank you so much to the generous Jam Jar Cinema in Whitley Bay, who have provided a large number of free cinema tickets for our amazing volunteers. To make it fair, we have given each volunteer a raffle ticket, which was sent out with their copy of our The Year of the Volunteer commemorative magazine as part of our Volunteers’ Week celebrations.

We used a Google random number generator to pick the winning numbers. Please see below for the lucky numbers who have won either £20 or £5 vouchers. If you have a matching number, please contact Keith.Hardy@voda.org.uk or call (0191) 643 2636 to arrange delivery.

You can claim your price until the 14th of July.

Congratulations to all the lucky winners.

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