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

On 19 July, most legal restrictions will end, removing social distancing and social contact restrictions and enabling remaining businesses to reopen.

Step 4 will mark a new phase of continued caution, whilst managing the risks of COVID-19, in our response to the pandemic. The Government will be advising clinically extremely vulnerable people, as a minimum, to follow the same guidance as everyone else, but extremely vulnerable people may wish to think particularly carefully about additional precautions they may wish to take, to lower their risk of infection.

  • You will not need to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with. There will also be no limits on the number of people you can meet.
  • However, in order to minimise risk at a time of high prevalence, you should limit the close contact you have with those you do not usually live with, and increase close contact gradually. This includes minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.
  • Meet outdoors where possible and let fresh air into homes or other enclosed spaces.
  • The Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can. However, the Government expects and recommends a gradual return over the summer.
  • The requirement to wear face coverings in law will be lifted. However, the Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport.
  • There will no longer be limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and other life events (including receptions and celebrations). There will be no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing. You should follow guidance for weddings and funerals to reduce risk and protect yourself and others.
  • There will no longer be restrictions on group sizes for attending communal worship.

Read the latest Stakeholder Influencer Toolkit (last updated 14 July).


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 18 and over can now book a vaccine

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

  • you're aged 18 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


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 but our office remains closed to the public.

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 the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities (last updated 17 May 2021).

The government also has guidance on volunteering that aims to help organisations and groups understand how to safely and effectively involve volunteers during the pandemic (last updated November 2020).

There is specific government guidance about running your charity during the pandemic (last updated 2 July 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