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 Key Messages in England

From 4am Tuesday 30 November 2021 face coverings will be compulsory in shops and other settings such as banks, post offices and hairdressers, as well as on public transport unless individuals are exempt from doing so.

All travellers arriving into the country from 4am on Tuesday 30 November will be required to take a PCR test on or before day 2 and self isolate until they have received a negative test result. These PCR tests can be purchased from private providers. Free NHS tests are not valid for this purpose.

It is also important to continue:

  • Washing hands regularly
  • Not touching your face
  • Keeping your distance
  • Meeting outdoors when you can

Self isolating

If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 you don't need to self isolate if:

  • You had your second vaccination at least 14 days ago or you're under 18; and
  • You have a negative PCR test

Unless you have been in close contact with someone who has the Omicron variant, in which case you must self isolate for 10 days regardless of your vaccination status

Remember you must self isolate until you get your test results back or if you test positive for COVID-19.

Care homes

From 11 November 2021, you can only go inside a CQC registered care home if you have had both vaccinations unless

  • You are medically exempt from being vaccinated
  • You are a resident of the care home
  • You are visiting a friend or family member who lives in the care home
  • You are entering to help in an emergency
  • You are carrying out urgent maintenance work
  • You are under 18
  • You are only working in the outdoor grounds at the care home

If you work in a care home you must get vaccinated.

Read the latest Stakeholder Influencer Toolkit (last updated 11 November 2021).

Reporting COVID-19 cases in your organisation

If you run an organisation and know or suspect you have cases of COVID-19 you must report this to the local Health Protection Team. You can do this by:

Calling 0300 303 8596 (covers Newcastle and Gateshead)


Vaccinations and testing


Getting your booster vaccine

Please note that people who have received their first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine via the early access programmes will be automatically contacted by the NHS to get their booster. You will be offered a booster at least six months after your second dose. Frontline health and social care workers do not need to wait for an invite and can book directly on the NHS website.   However you should still wait until at least six months after the second dose. You can find out more about booster vaccines here


Getting a vaccine without an NHS number

Public Health England has shared an NHSEI guidance letter to help those without an NHS number to get a COVID-19 vaccine and register with a GP. It is available in over 20 languages.


Flu vaccines

As winter approaches, we must all be extra careful to follow safer behaviours advice to tackle COVID-19, such as keeping inside areas ventilated. We must all prepare for the flu season as well. So getting a flu vaccine is very important this winter especially as having COVID-19 and flu at the same time doubles the risk of death. Those eligible for the free flu vaccine should book their appointments as soon as possible.


All young people aged 16 and 17 can now get their second vaccine dose from 12 weeks after their first one. All young people aged 12 to 15 can now get their first vaccine dose. You do not need to provide proof of address / immigration status to get a vaccine.

Getting a vaccine in Gateshead

There are GP-led vaccine centres at Blaydon, Birtley, Felling, the Bede Centre and Rawling Road practice as well as a vaccination hub at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

There are drop in sessions available at St Mark's Church and Trinity Square - find out more

And drop in sessions available at The Bede Centre and Blaydon Leisure Centre - find out more

Alternatively, you may find it easier to attend a large vaccination centre such as the Centre for Life in Newcastle or the Nightingale Hospital near Sunderland. To book an appointment, call 119 between 7am and 11pm or visit the main NHS website.

Getting a vaccine in Newcastle

You can view all vaccination centres, walk-in clinics, drop-in vaccine clinics, vaccination buses and pharmacies offering the covid-19 vaccine in Newcastle via the interactive map here.

For more information on where you can get your vaccine visit the Newcastle City Council website.


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

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

#BeatCovidNE is a digital hub that contains all of the most up-to-date advice for the North East, vaccine information and the latest COVID-19 figures, as well as other sources of support you might need.


Our events and services

We're beginning a part-time and phased return to the office for staff.

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 the remainder of 2021. For more information about the Training programme and booking links visit: Connected Voice Training and Events


Useful information for charities and organisations

The government  has guidance on volunteering (last updated 1 October 2021) that aims to help organisations and groups understand how to safely and effectively involve volunteers during the pandemic (last updated November 2020) and on preparing a charity annual return (last updated 21 October 2021)

There is specific government guidance about running your charity during the pandemic (last updated 21 October 2021).

The Fundraising Regulator has advice and guidance around fundraising during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes advice on events and community fundraising activities and cash collections

NCVO has produced detailed advice for VCSE organisations.


Community buildings re-opening advice: The Resource Centre has risk assessments and health and safety information


Changes to DBS ID checking guidelines: New guidelines come into effect from 1 July 2021, however the previous ID checking guidelines can also be used up until 1 October 2021. 


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


Business Services advice:

Job Retention Scheme 

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021. From 1 July 2021, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough.

Employers will top up employees’ wages to make sure they receive 80% of wages (up to £2,500) in total for the hours the employee is on furlough. The caps are proportional to the hours not worked.

Find out more about how the scheme is changing.

Claims for furlough days in June 2021 must be made by 14 July 2021.

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 produced safeguarding guidance for adults self isolating and a general adult safeguarding poster that can be shared.


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