Changes to Key Services and Local Updates
Updated: 4 days ago
Current working arrangements of teams within Newcastle City Council’s Active Inclusion Service
The Housing Advice Centre building remains closed for face-to-face advice until further notice and Newcastle City Council’s Housing Advice Centre staff continue to provide telephone and email advice. The Housing Advice Centre has a new freephone number which is 0800 1707 008. We would be grateful if you could pass this information on to the residents you are working with who may be at risk of homelessness and to relevant colleagues or you can contact them via email at email@example.com
The Newcastle Gateway is being maintained and you can contact the Active Inclusion Newcastle Unit for support via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Supporting Independence Scheme (SIS) is fully operational with all items available. For more information or guidance, email the team at email@example.com
The FoodWorks catering outlets are all temporarily closed. Natures Landscapes reopened on 3 August 2020
Other Supported Employment staff, the Money Matters debt and budgeting team and the Welfare Rights team are only providing telephone and email advice until further notice. Their telephone lines for thepublic and professionals are open as normal
Changes to Jobcentre Plus opening hours
To help keep customers and colleagues as safe as possible in the latest phase of the pandemic, the Department has decided jobcentre opening hours will be 10am to 2pm beginning on Monday 18 January 2021. This temporary change means we can continue providing safe, essential services for those who need to come into the jobcentre and who are unable to interact with us on the phone or digitally. The opening hours of our phone lines remain as they were. In addition, the Relay UK service and the Video relay service are both still available.
Anyone entering a jobcentre will be required to wear a face covering, unless they are in an exempt category. Please remind your audiences to follow the latest government guidance on meeting with others safely and lockdown restrictions and that if we need to make an appointment with a customer, this will be by the phone. We will leave a message in their journal before we call them.
Food banks and free food services
For up-to-date information on food banks and other free food services in Newcastle, please check the Information NOW website at the following links:
The My Neighbourhood service on Newcastle City Council’s website is using the above information to produce maps of where to find free and low-cost food provision in your area. Please click here to find out more.
Changes to benefit and debt advice services due to coronavirus (COVID-19) Newcastle City Council’s website includes changes to how residents can contact advice services and benefit offices at Benefit advice services in Newcastle and benefit offices. The ‘coronavirus and benefits’ website information has been updated and consists of the following three website pages:
Coronavirus and benefits – what the changes mean for you describes the main measures, explains what they mean for you and provides more detail
Coronavirus and benefits – guidance and legislation provides background resources, with guidance from the government and independent sources and the legislation that has brought in the measures
Coronavirus and benefits – news includes the latest announcements, so you can see them as they happen rather than being hidden in the detail
The latest version of our booklet ‘Where to get benefit and debt advice in Newcastle’ is now available on this webpage: www.newcastle.gov.uk/benefitcontacts It includes the latest changes to services due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Previously advised service changes
Moving On Tyne & Wear are still delivering their service to help residents who are unemployed and have a health barrier, disability, additional learning need or autism get into employment, training or volunteering. You can find out more and sign up to this free service by visiting www.motw.org.uk emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0191 217 3206. They are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MovingOnTW/ and Twitter https://twitter.com/MovingOnTW
Shelter’s face-to-face services are closed but the team can be contacted from Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm, on 0344 515 1601 or via email at email@example.com. Residents can also send a text to 07919 046449 to get a call back
Newcastle Futures are still delivering their service to help residents to access key sector jobs now, as well as helping residents to prepare for when other employers are fully open for business. You can register for Newcastle Futures Tyne Online, their digital employment service, at www.tyneonline.co.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0191 2302970. They are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TyneOnline/
Crisis Skylight face-to-face services and the Skylight centre remain closed, whilst they work on their re-entry plan. The Newcastle team have been working on a new online learning programme, accessible via their website at www.crisis.org.uk/newcastle. They also continue to offer support remotely for the foreseeable future and will continue to work directly with members by phone and online for those requiring individual and ongoing support. They welcome new member referrals for learning and / or support and are checking the email@example.com inbox daily. Alternatively, you can leave a voicemail on their office phone number (0191 222 0622) and they will endeavour to respond to your query as soon as they can
The People’s Kitchen are serving takeaway hot food at the Alison Centre, Bath Lane from Monday to Friday between 7pm and 8.15pm, and are serving breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays between 10am and 11.15am. They are still happy to support food parcels via a referral if they are collected by a support worker, but can no longer do deliveries to the public. More information is available here
Citizens Advice Newcastle’s drop-in sessions at City Library remain closed until further notice. They continue to deliver their service via freephone (0808 278 7823), email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and webchat (www.citizensadvice.org.uk)
Joseph Cowen Healthcare Centre remains open from Monday to Thursday between 8am and 4pm, and on Fridays between 8am and 3pm. Please note that the centre is closed for lunch between 12.30pm and 1pm. Most of the provision is offered at reception on a one-to-one basis, enabling control over how many people can enter the building to maintain social distancing and confidentiality
City Road Drop In remains open and able to support those sleeping rough. They are open between 8am and 12pm and again from 1pm to 3.30pm. Access is controlled to ensure social distancing is maintained
The twice weekly InterAction drop-in service will not be operating, but staff will continue to support clients via appointments. Please do not go to Castle Gate unless you have an appointment and someone is expecting you. For more information contact the team on 07826 266 630. Action Foundation are unable to accept donations of clothing or food at this time
Newcastle City Council have sent out council tax bills for 2021/22 and it is the intention to follow the normal recovery cycle in 2021/22. This means that reminders will be issued at the end of April for those who have fallen behind in council tax for both financial years 2020/21 and 2021/22; we will also issues summons in June. Contact us as soon as possible if you need help with installment plans, claiming benefits, budgeting and debt management. You can contact the team on 0191 278 7878 (asking for Council Tax) or you can complete our online form at www.newcastle.gov.uk/counciltax.
For the second year running we will ease the burden of council tax by giving eligible working age people up to £160 in hardship towards their bill. This means that we expect about 16,000 households to receive a nil bill with a further 14,000 receiving additional support during these tough times: The qualifying criteria is as follows and we will apply the hardship automatically before bills are issued:
Working age households in receipt of council tax support (previously known council tax reduction)
The self-employed in hardship & receiving council tax support
Other families struggling to pay council tax
We will also continue to disregard the additional £20 in universal credit uplift for the assessment of council tax support.
Hardship on council tax bills will show as ‘Covid19 Hardship Payment’.
Census 2021 – field staff are working in Newcastle
Over the next few weeks, Census field staff will be visiting properties across Newcastle to support anyone who has not yet taken part in the 2021 Census. They will provide support and guidance to help people complete the forms and have been provided with PPE equipment including face masks and sanitiser. Census field staff carry ID badges with their name and photograph to identify them as Census staff. They will not call before 9am or after 8pm, they will never ask for money or bank details, and they will not need to enter your home. Some Census forms are still in the post, so if you have completed a paper form and a Census field officer knocks on your door, you can just inform them that you have already taken part in the Census. If you have not yet taken part in the Census, you can also get help to do this by visiting www.census.gov.uk or calling 0800 141 2021.
Healthwatch Newcastle - help them with their priorities
Healthwatch Newcastle are exploring these priority ideas and would like to hear from people on what they think the focus should be on
• annual health checks
• access to GP services
• mental health needs
• facing difficult new circumstances as a result of the pandemic
You can have a look at their website here for more information about each topic. You can also contribute by phone, Call Freephone 0808 178 9282. Closes: Friday 16 April 2021
Temporary jobcentres established
The DWP has announced that 80 temporary jobcentres will open to improve access to frontline support. Temporary centres will be opening at Gateshead Metrocentre and Royal Quays at North Shields. Further information is available here.
European Union Settlement Scheme
Eligibility Criteria. A reminder is given that eligibility checks for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will not change until after 30 June 2021. Employers and landlords must not discriminate against citizens of these nations who do not yet have status under EUSS or who choose to use their passport or national ID to prove a right to work or rent. Telephone helplines are available for employers and landlords if any guidance on this is needed.
CityLife Line still offering essential support across Newcastle
A support service that has provided assistance to Newcastle residents throughout the pandemic is on hand to help those during the current national lockdown.
To get support, please complete this online form or visit www.newcastle.gov.uk/welfare. Alternatively, call 0800 170 7001 and someone can complete the form on your behalf. The team works Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday from 9am – 3pm. Those requiring immediate support, will be contacted by telephone on the same day (except Sundays). For all other requests, you will be contacted within 36 hours.
European Union Settlement Scheme
Following Brexit, EU / EEA and Swiss nationals wanting to stay in the UK need to apply to the European Union Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021. People needing a bit of help to apply can get free assistance from local organisations: https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/services/citizenship/eu-settlement-scheme. Government requires that people who receive a positive decision keep their records up to date themselves. Advice is that people contact (and this is not an exhaustive list) any landlord, their GP, the DWP (Universal Credit, PIP, ESA/JSA); HMRC (Tax Credits) and their local council (Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction).
Your Homes Newcastle's EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) support service is open to any resident of Newcastle thanks to a successful bid for Home Office funding to deliver the service across the city. The team can provide free support to any EEA national (comprising EU citizens and people from Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein) to ensure they have completed the EUSS application process by the deadline of 30 June 2021 and offers advice about what to do after being awarded Settled or Pre-settled Status. Email the team on email@example.com to find out more
Recovery of outstanding Council Tax
Newcastle City Council have issued reminders to customers who had fallen behind with their Council Tax payments. Whilst a number of customers made contact to make payments or arrangements, there are a significant number who didn’t and remain in arrears. Therefore, from 4 November 2020, summons notices have been sent to those who are still in arrears. The summons notices will hopefully encourage customers to make contact to either pay or set up suitable arrangements and the Council will support those who are struggling financially to do this. Customers will also be asked to seek advice during these unprecedented times if they need help with claiming benefits or budgeting and debt management. Customers can contact the team on 0191 278 7878 (asking for Council Tax) or by completing our online form at www.newcastle.gov.uk/counciltax. Please note that customers may experience longer waiting times than usual.
Are you self-isolating? Are you finding it difficult?
Correctly self-isolating is the best way to keep our families, community and city safe. We know there are lots of things to think about if you are self-isolating; food, work, money, even who is going to walk your dog. Newcastle City Council have a welfare checklist to help you think about those questions. The Welfare and Wellbeing Team work from Monday to Saturday between 8am and 8pm and can be contacted by freephone number 0800 170 700, or by completing this form and the team will contact you within 36 hours.
Warnings over vaccination scams
Northumbria Police have received a number of reports relating to scam emails purporting to offer vaccine appointments from the NHS. Typically, they ask the recipient to provide personal information such as their bank details. Covid-19 vaccines are free of choice and will you will not be asked to provide any financial information when contacted about an appointment. If you are contacted and asked for bank details, this could be a scam and you should not respond. More information about what to expect when you are legitimately contacted about a vaccination appointment, and who to report suspected fraudulent material, is available here on the FAQs of the coronavirus pages on the council’s website.
EU withdrawal support for EEA nationals
Your Homes Newcastle's EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) support service is now open to any resident of Newcastle thanks to a successful bid for Home Office funding to deliver the service across the city. The team can provide free support to any EEA national (comprising EU citizens and people from Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein) to ensure they have completed the EUSS application process by the deadline of 30 June 2021 and offers advice about what to do after being awarded Settled or Pre-settled Status. Email the team on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Council launches new service to help people into work
The Jobs@skillshub project, funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority’s COVID-19 Capacity Fund, will provide a job matching service for those looking for work and information on events, work experience, apprenticeships and training. Once registered, people will also receive information on vacancies and other opportunities, to help them move closer to work or training. The new service will complement existing services provided by the Skills Hub. Based at the City Library, the Skills Hub works with a range of partners, including Jobcentre Plus and the National Careers Service, and has supported hundreds of people into education, work or training. For more information, please click here.
Are you self isolating? Are you finding it difficult?
Correctly self-isolating is the best way to keep our families, community and city safe. We know there are lots of things to think about if you are self-isolating; food, work, money, even who is going to walk your dog. Newcastle City Council have a welfare checklist to help you think about those questions. Complete the online form and someone from the Welfare and Wellbeing Team will phone you back to help you think about all the things you need when self-isolating. The Welfare and Wellbeing Team work from Monday to Saturday during the hours of 8am to 8pm. For immediate support, please phone 0191 277 8000 for a same day discussion. Otherwise, you can complete this form and they will contact you within 36 hours.
Health and wellbeing
Newcastle City Council have a website page with advice on how to look after yourself and your family during this time, particularly when staying at home, given that some people understandably find social distancing or self-isolation very difficult. At this time more than ever, emotional and mental wellbeing should be considered. The Coronavirus: Looking after yourself website page includes some helpful information and advice on how to do this, much of this from the Mental Health Foundation website
If you have a disability or a medical condition that means that you are exempt from wearing a face covering on public transport, you may find it useful to download a Journey Assistance Card. You can print this card at home, or save it to your mobile phone. The Journey Assistance Card can be shown to staff when you are travelling on public transport in north east England. More information is available here.
Nexus continue to announce changes to local public transport, with reduced bus and metro services. More information is available here.
Active Inclusion Newcastle information update: 13 April 2021