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North Tyneside Council

Working With the VCS goes virtual

Monday 15 June saw our first ever online ‘Working With the VCS’ event bringing together 34 representatives from charities, community groups, North Tyneside Council, North Tyneside CCG, Primary Care Networks, VONNE, the North of Tyne Combined Authority and the private sector.

The theme of the event was Building a Recovery Plan for the VCS in North Tyneside and consisted of the following presentations which you can now view and download using the links below. You can also share your thoughts on VCS Recovery by completing this short survey by 26 June.

Vonne’s Carol Botten presented findings from VONNE’s North East VCSE COVID-19 impact survey.  Download the slides here.

 

Felicity Shoesmith from North Tyneside Council outlined the early thinking on a recovery plan for the VCS in North Tyneside. View the draft recovery plan here. We would appreciate it if you could share your thoughts on the draft recovery plan via this short survey

 

Pauline Wonders from Family Gateway and Dean Titterton from YMCA North Tyneside reflected on the potential for a more collaborative approach to supporting beneficiaries.

 

Jackie Laughton from North Tyneside Council discussed the new Poverty Intervention Fund for North Tyneside. Download the slides here. Share your thoughts on this fund by emailing vicki.nixon@northtyneside.gov.uk.

 

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North Tyneside comes together to provide a lifeline from the community

Press release from North Tyneside Council 28.04.20

North Tyneside Council launched its dedicated Covid-19 support hub last month for those in need of immediate help and support and who can’t call on anyone else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s part of the local authority’s response to the pandemic, helping to shield its most vulnerable residents who are living in their home without support from others, by providing non-clinical help.

And it’s been thanks to local authority staff and an army of volunteers that the hub has already helped over 3,200 residents.

A 62-strong council team – made up of the existing contact centre and 28 others who volunteered to be redeployed from their existing role – have fielded over 3,200 calls from the public. A further 65 redeployed staff are helping to support the hub by making regular welfare phone calls, checking that people have food, spending time talking to them and helping to identify any extra help and support they may need to help them to shield.

The requests into the hub from the public have included help picking up prescriptions, household supplies, grocery shopping and purchasing pet food.

North Tyneside-based charity VODA has then mobilised 255 newly recruited volunteers to carry out over 700 tasks to date, via their Good Neighbours project.

Volunteers from charities Age UK North Tyneside and Dreamshine are also offering a befriending telephone service to chat with people who may feel lonely during isolation.

It really is a community effort – with staff and volunteers from Family Gateway and Cedarwood Trust, two other local charities, also delivering meals to residents, while other charities and community groups are focusing their efforts on providing support over the telephone and via digital channels.

And 43 businesses have offered their services as part of the support hub too, helping to provide essential groceries and prepared meals, through North Tyneside Business Forum.

North Tyneside Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn CBE said: “Protecting our most vulnerable residents is always a top priority for this council – and the support hub is absolutely critical in helping to do so right now.

“Working side-by-side with so many remarkable organisations, groups and volunteers means we have been able to help everyone who has urgently needed our support. We could not do this without them, and I would like to thank them all.

“The response from the community has been truly humbling – there have been acts of kindness shown right across the borough. We have had so many community-spirted people willing to help in many different ways, and I am delighted we have been able to coordinate so much of this so successfully through the support hub and, of course, only with VODA’s help.”

Chief Executive of VODA, Robin Fry added: “It’s been amazing to see so many local residents, community groups and charities come together to offer vital support to some of our most vulnerable residents. There has always been a strong culture of volunteering and social action across the borough and we are lucky to have some amazing charities who have been able to adapt their services to meet demand. The contribution of the voluntary sector is going to more important than ever to help our communities recover from this pandemic.”

One of hub’s volunteers is Julie Partridge, a retired teacher from Whitley Bay, who has regularly been grocery shopping and doing telephone shifts talking to those feeling lonely, as well as mentoring young people.

Julie said: “The experience has been an absolute pleasure. I have enjoyed so much about this experience – the smiles, the laughter and the feeling of being a tiny helping part of a much, much bigger movement. I would encourage others thinking about volunteering to just do it!

“I wanted to volunteer during this time because there are many things about the present situation that are so completely beyond our control that I am concerned about people’s mental health and wellbeing.

“One of my regular weekly shopping trips has become a ‘chat’ as well. Once a week we chat on the phone as we go over the list and I make sure that I’m not in a rush when delivering the shopping. The person that I shop for has acknowledged that they are struggling with their mental health in the present climate and seems to enjoy the interaction that we have. Many people have used the phrase ‘human voice’ and I believe that is what is needed at this time.”

The opening hours for the COVID-19 support hub are Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm, and is available via TEL: 0345 2000 101 or emailing contact.us@northtyneside.gov.uk.

While it is available to anyone in urgent need of non-clinical help in the borough, priority will be given to those identified by the NHS as critically vulnerable due to health conditions.

North Tyneside Council’s contact centre is run by its partner Engie.

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North Tyneside support hub launched for those most at risk

A service has been launched in North Tyneside to help those affected by coronavirus – and has already been helping those most in need.

North Tyneside Council has set up a dedicated helpline for those in need of immediate help and support and who can’t call on family, friends, neighbours or carers.

It’s part of the local authority’s plan to shield its most vulnerable residents who are living in their home without support from others, by providing non-clinical help.

The opening hours for the COVID-19 support hub are Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm, and is available via TEL: 0345 2000 101 or emailing contact.us@northtyneside.gov.uk.

While it is available to anyone in urgent need of non-clinical help in the borough, priority will be given to those identified by the NHS as critically vulnerable due to health conditions.

Support will be tailored for individual needs, including help with essential food and medicine deliveries.

Already this week, as part of the service, essential food parcels have been provided to those who have been asked to shield themselves during the outbreak and who do not have any other means of support. This has been provided by the council until a regular supply of weekly food and essential parcels is provided directly by the government to these residents.  The council will continue to provide support to those people who need it.

Speaking about the service, North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn CBE said: “We are absolutely committed to protecting those most vulnerable in our communities, especially right now, which is why I am extremely pleased we have this service up and running. It will be a lifeline for some of our residents.

“We have also been inundated with offers of help from residents, businesses and community organisations in the borough and I’d like to this opportunity to thank each and every one of you. I have been overwhelmed by the generosity, the offers of support and the unity shown by our communities.

“I must also thank VODA for all of their help in mobilising an army of volunteers and I encourage residents who wish to help to contact them.

“Life is changing in ways people could never have imagined but by working together we will steer through this.”

The package delivered this week contained essentials such as fruit, tinned goods, pasta and toilet paper, and are being directed to medically vulnerable residents who are unable to call on support from friends or family.

In an effort to boost morale and send out messages of hope, children from across North Tyneside also drew and painted pictures to be included in the deliveries.

Mayor Redfearn added: “In such challenging times, it’s truly heart-warming to hear about all of the kind gestures taking place right across our borough to help combat loneliness and raise the spirits of others. I would like to thank all the children who have taken the time to do this.”

The support hub will be a partnership provided through the council and North Tyneside-based charity VODA which has mobilised a network of volunteers across the community.

Chief Executive of VODA, Robin Fry said: “We have been working closely with North Tyneside Council and local support groups to scale up our Good Neighbours volunteering project.

“Our volunteers are providing a free shopping service for almost 100 local people who require support whilst they are self-isolating due to infection or as a precautionary measure. We expect demand to rise over the coming weeks.

“We are also working with local pharmacies to explore volunteers supporting the delivery of prescriptions across the borough.

“The current situation has required us to adapt our ways of working to meet demand whilst reducing any risk of infection. As such our volunteers are operating a ‘knock and drop’ service when delivering shopping and are not entering residents’ homes.

“Our team are working flat-out to co-ordinate this service and have been overwhelmed by the kind offers of support from local residents. Anyone wishing to offer their support should visit www.voda.org.uk.”

Volunteers can register now, and they will be added to the list and matched with a person or task when needed.

Volunteers going into the homes of others will need to hold a current DBS certificate, however those without will be able to drop off food parcels on doorsteps and other tasks – helping to provide a vital service to those in need.

North Tyneside Business Forum will be collecting a list of businesses and essential services which are supporting the project and will be working with VODA to keep these lists up to date. Businesses can contact them by emailing business.forum@northtyneside.gov.uk or calling (0191) 643 6000.

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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.

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VODA launches COVID-19 volunteering opportunities

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak we are scaling up our Good Neighbours volunteering project to help address the needs of our local communities across North Tyneside. We are seeking volunteers who can commit a small amount of time to supporting their communities during these difficult times. We are working with North Tyneside Council and local community groups to identify people who require support whilst they are self-isolating due to infection or as a precautionary measure.

We have developed three temporary volunteering roles to help meet demand. Tier 1 roles that do not involve face to face contact with potentially vulnerable people including shopping and making up isolation packs. The Tier 3 role will involve face to face contact with vulnerable people, handling money and having access to medication. These roles will require volunteers to have an Enhanced DBS check.

All volunteers will be supported by VODA. Read more and access the role descriptions here.

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Working With the VCS: Population Health in North Tyneside

Following on from our recruitment of a North Shields Wellbeing Coordinator in the summer, VODA has continued to focus on health and wellbeing. This year’s activities culminated in our final Working With the VCS event of 2019 being focused on Population Health in North Tyneside.  

The event was extremely well attended, with over 50 people from a range of organisations from the VCS and health sector.  Hosted by VODA’s Robin Fry and North Tyneside Council’s Felicity Shoesmith, the day started with a Christmas themed speed networking event with a health theme.  

Claire Howard from VODA introduced ‘A Picture of Health in North Tyneside’, a film where representatives from health, the public sector and North Tyneside CCG who are involved in social prescribing came together to build a picture of what population health management looks like in North Tyneside. The aim of the film is to develop confidence in the VCS around how they can become key partners. 

 

 

The attendees were then encouraged to discuss in groups “What can we do to work together to improve population health in North Tyneside?” There was a diverse range of responses which included: 

“Develop one stop shops in public places e.g. shopping centres etc. to include health, local authority VCS orgs, schools colleges, universities etc. to deliver health messages, provide information and signpost into services.” 

“Collaboration of the sectors to enable a bigger and more comprehensive offer this may include pooling and sharing information and data and sharing resources.” 

“Empower people – acknowledge that they are the experts on their own health and lifestyles.  Work with trained people to navigate through issues and problems that present as barriers to resolving health issues.” 

“Providing safe and supportive spaces for people to explore their health and wellbeing options, taking into account their motivations and preferences.” 

Two local VCS organisations showcased their work and how they support people with their mental health and wellbeing. Paul Hillier from the North Tyneside Art Studio talked about art and the benefits to mental health and highlighted their new studio NTASii which has just opened in Wallsend. Janice Irving from the Linskill Centre talked about their recent CCG funding to develop a men’s community shed and the support they’ve received from VODA’s Sector Connector.  

We then moved on to four themed discussions, where attendees were invited to choose one of the topics to find out more about.  

David Fellows from North Tyneside Council hosted a discussion on Healthy Conversations training, an offer to the VCS. Rachel Martin from Diabetes UK presented on Tackling Diabetes. Collette Horner from Tyne Health provided more information on the local Primary Care Networks and Susan Meins from North Tyneside Council looked at the Dementia Friendly Community initiative.  

We ended the session with what’s becoming a bit of a tradition at our December event, with a VCS networking Ceilidh, where everyone was invited to a have a 5 minute discussion with the person opposite them on “What one thing will you take away from today?”, after which, the person from one end swapped to the other, with some shameless showing off, and onto the next topic of “What can your organisation contribute to this agenda?” 

Feedback from the event has been extremely positive. 

It was great to get the opportunity to network, collaborate and talk about the potential of new opportunities.” 

“The event was well structured, had good variation and allowed for opportunities to meet people from different sectors.” 

Great opportunity to learn about the work of other organisations.” 

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Shiremoor Adventure Playground Trust is Seeking New Trustees

Shiremoor Adventure Playground Trust, a registered charitable incorporated organisation, consists of a group of volunteers who fundraise and provide management, advice and guidance to playground staff. The Trust is currently aiming to expand its membership and is seeking people from a broad range of backgrounds with skills in HR, PR and marketing, financial management, legislation, governance and campaigning. The Trust is committed to strengthening diversity and inclusion, to better understand and reflect the needs of the communities that we work with and the recruitment process is open to all.

Find about more about Shiremoor Adventure Playground by reading their most recent Annual Report.

Trustees currently meet in the evening of the first Wednesday of every month, at the playground. Outside of meetings, trustees are expected to engage in other tasks to support the charity, depending on their expertise. This is not likely to take more than an additional few hours a month.

If you have the skills we are seeking, have an interest in children’s play and would like to contribute to our work, please let us know by contacting Keeks McGarry (manager at the playground) on keeks.mcgarry@northtyneside.gov.uk

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How being a Good Neighbour can really make a difference

As part of North Tyneside Council’s #WhoCares week, we want to share this lovely Good Neighbours case study with you to show the difference volunteering can make to both the volunteer and the beneficiary’s life…

Janet Ross Good Neighbours VolunteerFor many years Janet Ross from Forrest Hall had informally helped her local community alongside her full-time job. However, after taking early retirement, Janet took the step to sign up to volunteering through VODA as a way of keeping active in the community and meeting some new people.

She joined the Good Neighbours project in early 2019 with the aim of helping someone locally with odd jobs typical of a ‘Good Neighbour’. VODA supports and trains volunteers to become Good Neighbours and carry out small jobs for people in North Tyneside who are unable to do them independently.

Janet offers to do little jobs for people, such as picking up little bits of shopping or dropping round soup on a cold day. She fits volunteering around her busy schedule and says that while these tasks take hardly any time out of her day, they actually make a big difference to the people she visits.

Janet likes that she can be of practical help, which can help bring communities closer. Speaking of her experience visiting housebound older people, Janet says: “I am inspired by people’s resilience to hardship and their acceptance of difficult situations. This is something that drives my passion for volunteering as I can use my skill base to make a difference to people’s lives. Although I initially signed up to help people in my local area, I have since found that I get more out of volunteering than I could have ever imagined.”

In addition to odd jobs Janet decided to take on some regular tasks for Good Neighbours. VODA’s Good Neighbours project worker, Ian Brigstock, matched Janet with Joan who is of a similar age and lives close to her home in Forrest Hall. Joan finds getting out of the house difficult so Janet visits her weekly. With some support and a friendly face to rely on, Joan and Janet have been able to take trips to The Rising Sun Country Park and local cafes for lunch.  The two have developed a unique bond through Good Neighbours and Janet plans to take Joan to a Motown dancing event in November, something which Joan hasn’t been able to enjoy for many years.

Joan was referred into Good Neighbours through the re-ablement team for some social contact as she had struggled with agoraphobia for many years.

The pair meet regularly every week and Joan says: “Ian (Brigstock) could not have done a better job at matching me with Janet as she is the same age and has a number of similar interests. Janet has become someone that I can trust; I struggle with anxiety and find leaving the house difficult. Janet has been a great support in helping me tackle my anxieties; she is always there to calm me down when things get too much.”

Janet and Joan often take trips out into the local community for lunch or social activities, and Joan is confident that Janet won’t leave her alone if she becomes anxious when out and about. Janet has played a big part in pushing Joan out of her comfort zone and building confidence.

Janet has supported Joan to use the computer to get quotes for repaving her garden; the work has since been done and has transformed the garden into a space that Joan and her little dog can enjoy spending time in. Janet will be teaching Joan the basics of gardening and helping her to plant spring bulbs. In return Joan has helped Janet with jigsaw puzzles and given her bags of apples to bake with. Joan has such a caring nature and by being able to help Janet with small odd jobs has boosted her confidence and self esteem massively.

Joan commented that: ‘We have become genuine friends through the Good Neighbours project. I admire Janet so much, she gives me hope when times are difficult. But is not just about that, because we’re friends now we help each other out, it’s nice to be able to give something back and offer support to Janet should she need it. I’ll often pop round to collect her for a trip out or offer help with projects. I tell myself regularly – If Janet can do it, I can do it…. she gives me inspiration and I can’t thank her enough.”

Janet commented: “I’m so pleased with the support from Good Neighbours during my volunteering. I meet up with other volunteers on a regular basis and it’s wonderful to feel valued and part of a group who care about the community.”

This winter, if you’ve got a spare couple of minutes, why not check in on an older neighbour?  Your visit to see if they need any shopping or help clearing their icy pathways could really make their week.

Contact a Good Neighbours worker on 0191 643 2626 or email admin@voda.org.uk.

 

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North Tyneside: Better Together Strategy

North Tyneside Council, VODA and the North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have been working together to refresh the North Tyneside Better Together Strategy.

The strategy was first developed in 2015, setting out how North Tyneside Council and the voluntary and community sector would work together to build strong and sustainable partnerships. Since then, a number of positive outcomes have been achieved to increase capacity within the VCS, improve engagement between the two sectors and involve VCS organisations in decision making.

The Better Together strategy has now been widened to include North Tyneside CCG and VODA with an ambition to achieve the following outcomes over the next three years:

  • increasing the capacity of VCS organisations to adapt and thrive in times of diminishing resources and increasing demand
  • supporting residents to play a more active role in managing their own health and wellbeing, as well as the health and wellbeing of their local communities
  • ensuring every resident has the opportunity to contribute to their community through volunteering and social action
  • supporting systems that facilitate positive engagement and collaborative working between all partners
  • supporting the VCS to have a strong and meaningful role in influencing policy by speaking up on behalf of the people they represent.

We welcome your thoughts on this strategy, which will also be discussed at September’s Working with the VCS event.

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New Pavillion and Queens Award for Collingwood Bowling Club

It was a double celebration for the North Shields bowling club this month – not only did their new and improved pavilion get its grand unveiling, but the club was also awarded the prestigious Queens Award for Voluntary Service, the highest honour given to community groups in the UK.

The members of Collingwood Bowling Club have transformed their site at Heaton Terrace over recent years, since taking over the lease of the park from North Tyneside Council. They have also expanded the club’s reach in to the community, involving women players and those of all ages and backgrounds, and is now a thriving club with first class facilities.

Earlier this year, members of the club were nominated for the Queen’s Award by North Tyneside Council, North Tyneside Business Forum and VODA and were surprised and delighted to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

Club Treasurer Keith Armstrong said: “The transformation of our Club over the past five years has been just amazing. Our aim has always been to improve our facilities and reach out to the local community to encourage new members to enjoy bowling both socially and competitively. With the new extension to our pavilion and receiving a Queens Award, everyone should be very proud of our achievements. Our new facilities will enable our club to grow and prosper in the future. Thank you for all the vital support provided by our local sponsors, North Tyneside Council, VODA and all of our financial contributors in helping us to reach our goal.”

You can read about Collingwood Bowling Club’s journey in this specially-produced brochure here.

For more information about Collingwood Bowling Club visit their website.

 

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