0191 643 2626
admin@voda.org.uk

COVID19

Supporting your child’s mental health as they return to school during COVID-19

UNICEF has published advice on how parents can help their children navigate their feelings during school reopenings.

The coronavirus outbreak has caused major disruptions to daily life and children are feeling these changes deeply. While the return to school will be not only welcome but exciting for many students, others will be feeling anxious or frightened. UNICEF has put together a series of tips to help your children navigate some of the complicated emotions they may be facing with going back to school. Issues covered include:

  • My child is scared to go back to school. How can I help him feel at ease?
  • My child’s school is recommending the wearing of protective clothing, which is making my child feel more nervous. What should I say to her?
  • How can I encourage my child to follow precautions (such as frequent handwashing, physical distancing, etc.) at school without alarming her?
  • My child is not part of the same group as his close friends returning to school and is feeling even more isolated. How can he feel more connected to the classroom and his friends?
  • How can I gently check in to see how my child is coping?
  • Is there anything I should look out for as my child starts back at school?
  • My child is worried about bullying at school and online, how can I talk to them about it?

Read more here.

Read more

Looking after your mental health as we come out of lockdown

For many of us, the gradual easing of lockdown brings longed-for opportunities (even if at a social distance) – to see friends, play sports, resume contact with family in ‘real space’ or get back to work that we value.

But for many of us, even the happy, much anticipated changes can be difficult for our mental health.
And for many others the prospect of coming out of lockdown when debate is still live about the science supporting it can be a real worry. This may especially apply to those more vulnerable to the virus and those of us with mental health concerns.
The Mental Health Foundation, which is part of the national mental health response during the coronavirus outbreak, has put together advice and links to further information on how to look after your mental health as we come out of lockdown.
The advice covers:
  • people who are shielding
  • the mental health challenges people face and how to cope with them
  • picking up social lives
  • looking after children and family
  • grief
Read more

Leigh Culyer: Good Neighbours Volunteer

After seeing a number of posts on social media about supporting the most vulnerable residents of North Tyneside during the COVID-19 lockdown, retired Head Teacher Leigh Culyer from North Shields enlisted to help by joining VODA’s Good Neighbours and the national Good Sam scheme.

Leigh, who is currently studying to be a counsellor at Newcastle College was keen to help people isolating and shielding who would be unable to shop, access essential services and pick up medication. Leigh commented: “I worried that many of these people could be alone and without families or friends to support them. I felt that if I could help in a small way it might make things easier for those most vulnerable who needed support”. Leigh now has four regulars that she shops for each week, as well as delivering prescriptions and topping up gas and electricity.

One of Leigh’s regulars is an elderly lady who lives alone and has existing health conditions and will be isolating at least until the end of June. Her family live in another part of the country and are key workers. Leigh has been delivering shopping to her since the beginning of the lockdown and is the only person she sees from week to week. Their relationship has developed from volunteer and beneficiary to good friends, with Leigh planning to continue her visits when lockdown is over.

Leigh has loved all aspects of the volunteering role, but the biggest part has been getting to know the residents. “The feeling of a community who works together for the benefit of others has been really special. The organisation and the people running the project have been so friendly, helpful and efficient. Overall, the project has brought so many people together for the needs of others – a great positive to come out of this crisis.”

When asked if she would recommend volunteering to others, Leigh said: Definitely, it’s a great way to give some of your time and skills to benefit and support others. You will meet new people, feel part of a community and put a smile on someone’s face. Giving just a little of your time can mean a great deal to others.”

*Photo shows Leigh with her new grandson Albert, born a few weeks before the lockdown.

Read more

Pat: Good Neighbours Volunteer

Pat from Whitley Bay was in Spain with her husband and dog when the Coronavirus lockdown started to happen and they quickly made their way home. As soon as she returned, Pat started thinking of what she could do to help people in her local community most affected by the crisis.

Pat commented: “I was really keen to do something useful, like most of us, and researched volunteer groups on the internet. I immediately found VODA and the NHS volunteer responders’ scheme and applied for both.  Once the application process started with VODA, like all the other applicants, I became eager to do my first job.”

Since signing up, Pat has undertaken a number of roles for VODA’s COVID-19 Good Neighbours, including delivering shopping for a number of residents as well as an emergency prescription pick up. She has also become a regular shopper for one lady who is nearly 90. Pat is keen to keep this relationship going as the older lady has very little contact with anyone else and has begun to rely on the weekly contact with Pat for her food delivery but also for the weekly telephone call Pat makes to her, checking her food order to make sure she’s ordered enough food for herself for the week.

Reflecting on her experience of signing up as a volunteer with Good Neighbours Pat said: “Every member of staff from VODA has taken the actions the volunteers are doing so personally, it’s like we are doing this for them! In every email and conversation you all make me feel that you are personally grateful for everything I do – I feel so valued and appreciated – as if I am unique and special and doing a brilliant job.  I never expected to feel this from the staff as a volunteer. It’s been brilliant.”

As Pat had more time on her hands than was called upon by the volunteer groups, she decided to help the food banks that she’d heard were desperately in need of donations. Pat asked all her neighbours in the surrounding area of her home if they would like to get involved too, and they did, in a very generous way. She set up a donation bin on her drive and wrote to all her neighbours asking for donations of food to be placed in the bin and offered to collect any donations on Thursday evenings after the Clap for Carers at 8 pm for all those neighbours who couldn’t leave their homes. The neighbours left their donations on their driveways for Pat and husband Tony to collect.  For the last 3 weeks Pat and Tony have delivered car boot’s worth of food to the Bay Foodbank.  This is something they are planning to continue and now have another local street involved. As well as being able to support the food bank, Pat says her neighbours are grateful to be able to contribute to helping others during the pandemic, and it helps with their own wellbeing at the same time.

Read more

COVID-19 guide to volunteering with people with dementia

Understandably there are many volunteers who are offering to help people with dementia with practical day to day tasks. To help them with a better understanding of a person with dementia’s situation Innovations in Dementia has created a volunteer guide that has been produced by people with dementia, which you can download here.

There are also four new short videos, designed for volunteers who are supporting a person with dementia. These are endorsed by the British Psychological Society, Alzheimer’s Society and NAPA (National Activity Providers Association).

Read more here.

Read more

Public urged to flag coronavirus related email scams as online security campaign launches

Cyber experts have launched measures to protect the UK from online harm as the country continues to rely more on technology while staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

  • The National Cyber Security Centre, a part of GCHQ, has;
    • Launched ‘Cyber Aware’ campaign promoting behaviours to mitigate threats
    • Created a world-leading  ‘Suspicious Email Reporting Service’, which will make it easy for people to forward suspicious emails to the NCSC – including those claiming to offer services related to coronavirus.
    • Revealed they have already taken down 2,000 scams – including 471 fake online shops – trying to trick people looking for coronavirus-related services
    • Published new advice for individuals and organisations hosting online video conferences

The NCSC’s new guidance on the secure use of video conferencing services builds on a raft of advice published on www.ncsc.gov.uk since the coronavirus outbreak started.

With many people in the UK trying video conferencing for the first time, the advice includes top tips on securely installing the app, creating a strong password and tracking who is joining the chat.

The NCSC also recommends that you do not make meetings public, connect only to people through your contacts or address book – and to never post the link or password publicly.

Read more here.

Read more

Diabetes UK coronavirus update

Diabetes UK recognises that this is a very worrying and busy time for everyone.  They are working hard to adapt and provide the best possible support to people living with diabetes and healthcare professionals during these times.

They have created a series of new webpages;

These pages are based on the most recent guidance available and also signpost to other relevant sources of support and information. They will continue to update these pages as new guidance is released.

There is also helpful information to help people staying at home and managing their diabetes and to help people cope with stress and other emotions. There is also a useful coronavirus thread on their online forum, where members are sharing information and experiences.

People can follow and keep up to date with us and our advice and support on our Diabetes UK Facebook and Twitter feeds. For anyone not able to access face to face diabetes education or support during this time our Leaning Zone is a good place to access simple information from our Diabetes UK clinical team, and sensible advice from people living with diabetes.

In addition to their own resources, Partha Kar and a group of healthcare professionals are also providing ongoing interaction and signposting to trusted sources of information through Diabetes 101 on twitter.

Read more

VCSE Supporting Response to COVID-19

VODA is working closely with North Tyneside Council and Health Services to provide a coordinated response to the current situation.

As part of this we are working with North Tyneside Council and North Tyneside CCG to encourage them to provide reassurance that they will continue to fund VCS organisations even if normal services are on pause.

The Local Authority has set up a Coronavirus helpline – 0345 2000 101 – and we are looking to assess current levels of provision across the VCSE to enable us to provide a cross sector response.

We are aware that many services are currently closed or closing or have altered the way they work. Please help us to keep abreast of what levels of services are currently operating. You can send updates via our website contact page. We will then update our COVID-19 pages and inform the Council and Health Services.

If you have any problems please email our Information & Communications Officer Victoria logan-coulsey@voda.org.uk

Please give us as much detail as possible to help us understand potential provision across the borough, to identify gaps and help support your needs. If you have already provided this detail to our Chief Executive Robin Fry this week then you do not need to do this again.

New online resources

We have updated our website to see a series of animated videos covering essential information for volunteers around safeguarding, volunteering advice, supporting volunteers and telephone befriending. Look out for the latest animation about staying safe when shopping.

Read more

New COVID-19 guidance and support from VODA

In light of the unprecedented growth of online COVID-19 informal support groups, VODA has developed a new Informal Volunteering Guidance sheet for volunteers and a series of videos with useful guidance on areas such as Supporting Volunteers – aimed primarily at informal volunteering groups – Safeguarding, Telephone Befriending Tips and how to Stay Safe as a Volunteer.

Supporting Volunteers (aimed primarily at informal volunteering groups)

Supporting Volunteers from Robin on Vimeo.

Safeguarding Tips

Safeguarding tips from Robin on Vimeo.

Staying Safe while Volunteering

Staying safe whilst volunteering from Robin on Vimeo.

Telephone Befriending

Telephone Befriending advice from Robin on Vimeo.

Read more

Charity Commission publishes Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance

The Charity Commission has published new guidance to help with running your charity during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Understandably, charities are concerned about what to do during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, so the Charity Commission has set out their response to the most commonly asked questions.

  • Can I cancel or postpone my charity’s AGM or other key meetings?
  • Can I use video, teleconferencing and the internet in place of face-to-face meetings?
  • What do I need to report to the Charity Commission?

Read the full guidance here.

Read more