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.

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

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 for at least 10 days after your test.

Changes from 19 January

Vaccinations for front line staff in voluntary organisations in Gateshead

Registration and booking arrangements are now live to vaccinate front line staff in voluntary organisations in Gateshead. The designated site for these vaccinations is the QE hospital.

Before booking an appointment staff will have to pre-register – the link and further instructions are below. 

NB This is for Gateshead staff only and all vaccinations will be carried out on the main QE site.  Staff should bring along their organisational ID card to verify identity.

The link for pre-registration:-

https://bit.ly/C19VoluntaryStaff

If staff do not have access to IT then managers can register a number of staff, but individual staff member's mobile phone numbers will be needed i.e. they cannot all be registered using 1 phone number.

Once people have registered please ask them to book an appointment by calling 0191 445 3231 and choosing option 1Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm.

Please see the attached Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Covid-19 vaccines.

Further details regarding the vaccine rollout in Newcastle will follow when available.

Covid-19 Vaccines - Frequently Asked Questions - please see attached document at the foot of this page.

Changes from 4 January

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced England is in full national lockdown. View the Government guidance.

Everyone must now stay at home at all times except for essential reasons. These include to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare - for those eligible

From Monday 14 December - There was a change to the self-isolation period from 14 to 10 days. Read the government's official announcement here.

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

NAVCA have produced a quick guide to decision-making in relation to volunteering activity which you may find useful.

The safe use of multi-purpose community facilities

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

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 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-changes-to-dbs-id-checking-guidelines

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.

Specific information for charities: 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.

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 https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/news/coronavirus-information/

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