General Information and Support

The UK Government is asking us all to help minimize the spread of the Coronavirus and have published this public health guidance which we urge everyone to follow.

Connected Voice has compiled a great special feature called Voices of the Pandemic. It is a collection of case studies of support provided by VCSE organizations in Newcastle and Gateshead, including Disability North:

Voices-of-the-Pandemic

Skills for Health provide a free and comprehensive Covid-19 Awareness Course for those working in the public sector, particularly key workers, to learn about  symptoms, infection prevention, investigation, guidance and support.

Skills for Care offer useful guidance on COVID-19 to support the adult social care sector during this this challenging time.

As criminals begin to exploit the fear and uncertainty around COVID-19 National Trading Standards have warned people to remain vigilant following a rise in coronavirus-related scams. They have compiled information to raise awareness of known scams and offer advice on how to protect yourself and others. Friends Against Scams also provide information and resources relating to this issue.

It is more important than ever in these challenging times for everyone to look after their mental health and well-being. Our fellow user-led disability charity Real recognise that social distancing and social isolation can be stressful and anxiety-inducing for everyone, and that disabled people may feel especially vulnerable or targeted. Therefore they have compiled and excellent range or resources and relevant information.

Citylife Line is a new service, set up with partners in the voluntary and community sector, that has been launched to help harness the outpouring of goodwill from residents in Newcastle who want to help the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 outbreak. To volunteer your time or register your need for assistance visit the Citylife website.

Click here if you wish to sign a petition encouraging Parliament to debate how to support social care during COVID-19 and beyond, so that it is financially, publicly and systematically on an equal par as the NHS.

COVID 19 Vaccine

We have been receiving a high level of calls from PAs and employers about the vaccine.

Our Community Care and Personalisation Lead Vici Richardson has been attending meetings and gathering as much information as she can and along with other organisations has been able to feedback the importance of ensuring PAs are not overlooked in the vaccine rollout.

It is clear that PAs are frontline health and social care workers and as such are eligible for the vaccine as part of the priority 2 group.

From a webinar yesterday hosted by the NHS we understand that PAs should be contacted and invited for their vaccine and the instruction is that this roll out should be starting imminently.

We understand that local authorities will lead on this supported by their partners at local level. However, as you can imagine there is a lot of information to take on board and our understanding is that some of this information has only just been released.

We have been asked about timescales and what we do know is that the government has committed to vaccinating all four priority groups by the 15th February.

As soon as we know the procedures for our local authority areas we will update our website and social media.

If letters are needed for PAs as proof of eligibility we will also be able to provide these for those using our payroll and support service.

We understand that these are difficult times and want you to know that we are working hard to ensure the voice of the individual employer and the PA is heard not only at a local level but at a national level.

Please do let us know if you have any experiences you wish to share. Contact vicirichardson@disabilitynorth.org.uk

UK COVID-19 vaccines delivery plan:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/951284/UK_COVID-19_vaccines_delivery_plan.pdf

Furlough

The furlough scheme that was extended from 1 November for 4 weeks will now continue till 31 March 2021, and be reviewed in January.

The government has stated that; “As part of the revised scheme, anyone made redundant after 23 September can be rehired and put back on furlough.”

The Self Employed Income Support Scheme is increased “with the third grant covering November to January calculated at 80% of average trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500.”

Please see BBC news, the Government news story and the government page which will be updated as they provide more information over the coming weeks.

NHS COVID-19 APP

We are encouraging everyone to download the NHS Covid19 App and share the communications to encourage others to download it as the simplest way to help protect those we love. The NHS COVID-19 App is part of the large scale coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and contact tracing programme and will be used, alongside traditional contact tracing, to notify users if they come into contact with someone who later tests positive for coronavirus – helping to keep us all safer. The NHS COVID-19 App alerts people at risk of coronavirus, asking them to isolate before they potentially pass the virus on to others as well as providing local area alerts and QR venue check-in. The app will help the NHS understand if the virus is spreading in a particular area, and so local authorities can respond quickly to stop it spreading further and save lives. The app does this while protecting a user’s anonymity. Nobody, including the government, will know who or where a particular user is.

To download the app go to: https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/nhs-covid-19/

Track and Trace Support for people who need to self- isolate

The government has announced a new payment for people in England who are required to self-isolate, who are unable to work from home during their period of self-isolation and who lose money as a result.

According to government guidance, in order to be eligible for this new £500 payment:

  • You must have been asked to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace Service.
  • You must either be employed or self-employed.
  • You cannot work from home and will lose income as a result.
  • You have claimed at least one of the following benefits: Universal CreditWorking Tax Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit.

The new payment will be administered by local authorities and will apply to those who start to self-isolate from 28 September 2020 onwards. Local authority schemes may not start making payments until 12 October, but those who start to self-isolate from 28 September can get payments backdated.

Please see links below for the North East local authority schemes:

Newcastle  https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/citylife-news/ps500-payment-scheme-launched-people-who-must-self-isolate?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialSignIn&utm_content=

Northumberland  https://www.northumberland.gov.uk/coronavirus/Testing-and-self-isolation.aspx

North Tyneside  https://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/category/1491/apply-test-and-trace-support-payment

South Tyneside  https://www.southtyneside.gov.uk/70840

Sunderland  https://www.sunderland.gov.uk/article/17595/Test-and-Trace-Support-Payment-

Durham  http://www.durham.gov.uk/testandtracepayment

Middlesbrough  https://www.middlesbrough.gov.uk/community-support-and-safety/coronavirus-covid-19/test-and-trace-self-isolation-support-payment

Roadmap for lockdown easing

On Monday 22nd February 2021 the government set out a roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown. These are the restrictions that are expected to be adjusted over the coming months:

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