Coronavirus updates and guidance

Coronavirus graphic

It’s important we all continue to take steps to prevent the spread of the illness, and support our staff and volunteers in different ways as restrictions change.


COVID-19 Response in England

The Prime Minister has paused moving to Step 4 of the Roadmap on 21 June to allow further roll out of vaccinations over the next 4 weeks. The decision to proceed to Step 4 on 19 July will be reviewed in two weeks taking account of the latest data.

  • Most Step 3 guidelines around social distancing, face masks and working from home will remain in place. From 21 June, there will be some relaxation of rules around social settings to enable important family events to take place.

  • Weddings, civil partnerships and commemorations such as wakes: The 30-person limit will be lifted with the number of attendees set by the number of people which can be hosted in a venue operating to a COVID-19 risk assessment. Organisers must make settings COVID-Secure, by facilitating social distancing, operating at a safe capacity and following other COVID-19 guidelines. Use the risk assessment guidance on

  • Care homes: Care home residents will no longer need to isolate after time away from their residence. Exceptions include overnight stays in hospital and high risk visits as determined by the care home. The need to isolate following admission from the community will also be removed as long as Public Health England guidance and testing protocol is followed. Family or friends can be nominated to give care during periods of isolation.

  • Residential visits for young people: Out-of-school organisations, such as Scouting groups and other community providers, will be allowed to organise residential visits with overnight stays in groups of up to 30 children. This is an increase from the current limit of six or two households, and aligns with the current position for schools. 

  • Large events: Another phase of pilot events will be run to test COVID-19 certification and safety procedures, including some Euro 2020 matches, Wimbledon, and arts and music performances. Approximately 10 to 15 large events will take place after 21 June. Attendees will show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test. 

  • Current guidance on meeting and greeting friends and family remains in place. People should use their personal judgement when greeting others to continue to protect those most at risk. Continue to exercise caution; assess the risks and take action to help keep you, your loved ones and your community safe.

There is a Stakeholder Influencer Toolkit about weddings and commemorative events.


Vaccinations and testing

Vaccine Information from Connected Voice Haref

Our Haref project strives for health equality for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities. They have been working with key organisations to produce useful resources around the COVID-19 vaccine. These are available on our website to share.


People aged 21 and over can now book a vaccine

You can only use this service if any of the following apply:

  • you're aged 21 or over
  • you're at high risk from COVID-19 (clinically extremely vulnerable)
  • you have a condition that puts you at higher risk (clinically vulnerable)
  • you have a learning disability
  • you're an eligible frontline health or social care worker
  • you get a Carer's Allowance, get support following an assessment by your local authority or your GP record shows you're a carer

If you're an eligible unpaid carer but you cannot book an appointment, speak to your GP surgery.

Find out more


Vaccinations for Newcastle’s frontline health and staff and volunteers
In line with the JCVI prioritisation, vaccinations for frontline health and social care workers in Voluntary and Community organisations in Newcastle are now available. Frontline health and social care workers have been identified as a priority group as they are at increased personal risk of exposure to infection with Covid-19 and of transmitting that infection to susceptible and vulnerable people in health and social care settings. 
If you are a Voluntary and Community Organisation working in Newcastle, you will be re required to pre-register your organisation using the online form below. As part of pre-registering, you will be asked to confirm how many frontline health and social care staff and/or volunteers your organisation has working within the boundary of Newcastle upon Tyne. A member of the team will then contact you with booking information for you to share with your frontline workers so they can book their vaccination on days and at venues allocated for the vaccination of frontline workers. This will also include Frequently Asked Questions about the vaccine that can be shared with your frontline workers.  Important - please note this offer is for frontline health and social care only.  Any staff/volunteers who do not fit the criteria cannot be offered a vaccine.
Please only complete one form per organisation.  Where organisations operate across multiple Local Authority areas, please ensure the form you submit relates to service delivery in Newcastle only.
The link to pre-register here.


Order lateral flow tests

You can find a rapid lateral flow test site using the government postcode search

You can order free lateral flow tests online using the government website. Alternatively call 119. Lines are open 7am to 11pm and calls are free. Lateral flow tests are also available to collect at pharmacies. You must not use lateral flow tests if you have symptoms of coronavirus.


If you have Coronavirus symptoms:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste

Get a PCR test now


What we're doing

Due to the latest Government restrictions, the Connected Voice team will be continuing to work from home.  Our services are still available and our phone line is diverted so you can still speak to the team any time you want. We will be continuing to do most of our work digitally for the time being and this is being regularly reviewed.

We have been continuing to work with Newcastle and Gateshead Councils on their community response and the latest information and advice from the Councils can be found at the following links:

Newcastle City Council COVID guidance

Gateshead Council COVID Guidance

To request help and support from the Councils visit: 

Gateshead Support

Newcastle Support

The #BeatCovidNE digital hub is now live. This is a regional campaign and the website contains all of the most up-to-date advice for the North East, and other sources of support you might need. For more information please click here.


Our Events and Services

Many of the staff within our team are carrying on their work as normal, albeit remotely - particularly the Advocacy and Business Services Finance teams.

Our Advocacy Services are still running with a combination of remote/homeworking and essential visits. You can find out more here: Advocacy Services during COVID-19

The Support and Development team are available for advice and support via email and telephone. Please let us know if you would like some practical support.

We have been running our events and training as Zoom sessions and will continue to do so for now. For more information about the Training programme and booking links visit: Connected Voice Training.

Key advice for your organisation

We have had a high number of requests for support from organisations on how to ensure their volunteers stay safe, and they manage their community facilities safely.

The government guidance is now:

  • Wash hands - keep washing your hands regularly
  • Cover face - wear a face covering in enclosed spaces
  • Make space - stay at least 2 metres apart - or 1 metre with a face covering or other precautions

If you have Coronavirus symptoms:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste

Get a test now

Do not leave home until you get your test result.


Useful information for charities and organisations

The Government has updated its guidance on the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities

This Government guidance aims to help organisations and groups understand how to safely and effectively involve volunteers during the pandemic. 

For the latest information from the Charity Commission about running your charity during the pandemic please click here.

Advice and guidance from the fundraising regulator can be found here.

NCVO has produced detailed advice for VCSE organisations, which links to the relevant public health information. The information is changing on a daily basis so rather than replicate it here we urge you to look at the links.


Community buildings re-opening advice: Risk assessment templates to ensure the safety of staff, volunteers, community members and customers: Risk Assessments for Community Buildings


Changes to DBS ID checking guidelines - guidance allows:

  • ID documents to be viewed over video link
  • scanned images to be used in advance of the DBS check being submitted

Read the updated guidance at


Benefits advice: Newcastle City Council now has a special webpage on Coronavirus and benefitsNewcastle City Council Benefits guidance


Business Services advice: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) extension guidance.

Business Grants

Businesses who are required to close due to the local or national restrictions will be eligible for a business grant dependant on the business property rateable value, this is as follows:

  • Rateable value of £15k or under grant of £1,334 per month or £664 for two weeks
  • Rateable value between £15k-£51k grants of £2,000 per month or £1,000 for two weeks
  • Rateable value of £51k or over, grants of £3,000 per month or £1,500 for two weeks

These grants should be paid by the local authority automatically similar to the last time, however if any updates are issued we will provide updates.


Safeguarding: Newcastle City Council has also produced safeguarding guidance for adults self isolating and a general adult safeguarding poster that can be shared.


Working from home: We realise that digital working is not possible for everyone. For those of you who can do it, Charity Digital has produced some useful guidance on tools for working remotely. Mark Shilcock, OurGateshead Officer, has written a useful blog on his experiences of working from home - Top Ten Tips for Working from Home


Preventing the spread of Coronavirus

Detailed guidance is available on the government website:

Staying Safe outside your home

Face coverings: When to wear one


Supporting diverse communities

Haref continues to share information with BAME community groups across Newcastle and Gateshead.

Members of some communities are experiencing acts of racism, discrimination and verbal abuse with the outbreak of the virus. Stop Hate UK is providing anyone experiencing or witnessing such discrimination with a confidential 24-hour third-party reporting service.

Doctors of the World has translated advice into a number of languages

Service Area