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Although our usual activities and clubs have been postponed, we have worked hard to develop new services that supported people through this period of isolation.

Our dedicated staff and volunteers are offering a number of services for those who are unable to leave their homes.

As a charity we have always been part of our community. A voice for the unheard and caring support with a listening ear for those who need it but we also know loving later life goes beyond the crisis and into social interaction, exercise, culture, art and groups of common interest. 
Pre COVID-19 we provided weekly 6 day centres, 6 dementia service centre, stroke rehab service, living with and beyond cancer service, mental health support, bereavement support, 39 exercise classes, income maximisation through benefits advice and claims, advocacy, housing aids and adaptations and palative care. There was also 38 social groups provided monthly for clients. 

Due to COVID-19 all services were stopped and replaced with:

Friendship Calls

The purpose of friendship and welfare calls provides both human contact a listening ear and an opportunity to identify further need such food, prescriptions or mental health pressures.

In the first 100 days of the pandemic we made 112.928 frinedship calls.

This service will always be a main service of ours, recently we have joined an app which allows our volunteers to log on at times that are suitable to them and give us feedback on the calls.

Partners helping Age UK Gateshead make this number of calls are: Gateshead College, Gateshead Council, Adult Social Care, InTu Metro Centre, Virgin Media, Sage Accounting, LNER, EE, Sky, and Northern Gas

Demetia Respite Care

The local authority commission Age UK Gateshead to provide a dementia support service currently support 48 clients with attendance levels per session standing at 18 per day over 6 days a week. We recognised the vulnerabilities of not only these clients but their next of kin and therefore provide a respite sitting service over 7 days a week:

  • 48 clients access respite care
  • Daily we provide up to 37 hours of respite care
  • All clients receive hot meals
  • All clients receive Cognitive Behaviour and fine motor skills provision
  • Activity packs that meet their interests
  • Family face time (the reassurance and impact of this service is invaluable)
  • Daily welfare visits
  • Daily prompted medication visits

This service is far more costly than the commission however we have a duty of care to those most in need and meet that need where we can. In order to provide this service over a 12 month period the expenditure would exceed the commission by £42,905


The shopping service is a service that receives shopping requests from those wishing to self-isolate or unable to access to shopping themselves.

In the first 100 Days of the pandemic we completed 3,585 orders.

The demand for our shopping service is an average of 251 per week.

Hot Meals

The hot meal service delivered meals across the borough in partnership with Dean Taxis who offered this service free of charge were delivering to areas in the West of the borough. Hot meal provision is free to our dementia clients and their next of kin, alongside this we are cooking and delivering a fluctuating number of meals against a fixed menu.

In the first 100 Days we delivered 42,387 Hot Meals

At the peak of the pandemic, the average number of Hot Meals demanded were 420 a week. Currently hot meals are only now available to our dementia service clients

Food Parcels

Over the weekends and Bank holidays Age UK Gateshead provided around  2300 food parcels to those in most need.

With help from Vicky Pattison and her amazing team we also delivered over 1900 parcels into the community at the start of the pandemic.

On line Fitness

Our Newcastle tutors have collectively delivered on line tuition via zoom to not only their own client base but that of Gateshead attendees with participation level increasing substantially. The organisation has facilitated this process by contacting each Active Age Client and offering them the opportunity to take part, sending the zoom link to click and be in the virtual class.

Mental Health Support

Age UK Gateshead’s IMC/IMH mental health support service is currently under great strain working in partnership with Mental Health Matters we are managing to support 178 individual at point of crisis with a further 147 needing continuous welfare provision. The service has seen an increase in supporting those who are threatening suicide from 3 a month to 8 a week.

Bereavement and No One Dies Alone

The demand on Bereavement mirrors those losses felt by the organisations client base where we have effectively lost a day centre to COVID-19. This service is now busier than ever, however due to the nature of need the organisation is unable to incorporate partner provision. Currently 3 staff and 8 volunteers are providing support and talking therapies to a growing client base.

Living with Cancer

The Living With and Beyond Cancer Project is a national transformation programme which aims to improve patient experience by introducing The Recovery Package, a combination of different interventions which when implemented can improve outcomes and co-ordination of care. We continue to support 353 individuals within our community.

Perscription Collection

As people are self isolating not all pharmacies are able to meet the demand of delivering perscriptions to peoples homes. Our team of staff and volunteers picked up and delivered the much needed persciptions. In the first 100 days of the pandemic 1668 percriptions were collected

Thank you to our partners

Community is so much wider than the individual it is formed by people, companies, charities and State provision. The partnership approach to service delivery has been resource intensive with the provision of ongoing support and the introduction of I.T access and policy guidance. Collectively we have driven forward a system that maintains contact with people, identifies need and meets that need. Our current partnership list is:

Charities – Edberts House, FACT, Search, St Chads

Private Sector – LNER, Northern Gas, Sage Accounting, InTu Metro Centre

Public Sector – Gateshead Council, Gateshead College, QE – Hospital

Thank you so much for your help! We are all in this together.