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Covid 19 - Our service changes

Sunrise at St Marys Island

Published on 03 April 2020 06:41 PM

Covid 19 - Our current opening times are Mondays to Fridays 8:45 am to 4:30 pm.

Although we have suspended our face-to-face social and exercise groups, all of our other services such as Customer Services, Information and Advice, Befriending, Admiral Nurses and Dementia Services are still operating.

From Monday 17th August we have reopened the doors of our Bradbury Centre main office to the public from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. 

Update 25th September

Having reviewed the latest Government Guidance we are not making any immediate changes to services, other than introducing some additional controls. 

We will outline what our ‘new world’ looks like which we will start to implement from Monday 5 October 2020. This is Phase 4, which does mean we will be opening up more services in a safe,  planned and phased way.

We continue to operate with a staff absence rate between 5-7%. However, we have seen the number of staff reporting the need to self- isolate increasing this week. This has not been related to the work environmen

Staff are reminded that if they feel unwell that they must contact their Line Manager before even thinking about coming into work (even if it’s a cold).

Just to confirm the current state of play across our services:

All care services continue to operate face to face essential services, including the Wellbeing Centres with increased controls in place.

These services are constantly monitored by North Tyneside Council who regularly review our Risk Assessments. Furthermore, North Tyneside Council this week inspected Linskill Park Wellbeing Centre and we are pleased to report out of 40 categories tested we had one recommendation, which was that all staff watch the NTC Video for “donning and doffing PPE”, which we addressed immediately.

 

The Bradbury Centre:

Remains open to the public Monday to Friday 10 am to 2 pm with a ‘one in one out’ system for customers, we must remember that most contact with customers is via telephone and therefore numbers are very low, even then we will offer a telephone appointment to follow up.

The Customer Service and Information and Advice Teams will have staff available in the Bradbury Centre Monday to Friday at the times noted above

There are no changes across all other Charity Services where we continue to provide a face to face service where it is essential.

All business premises must, from 24.09.2020 display a poster with a QR Code to track and trace visitors to their premises. We have this signage in place. We are encouraging all staff members to download the new NHS Covid-19 App and add themselves for ease. 

Our 2020 strategy ended on 31 March 2020 and we were about the launch of our new 2025 strategy when C19 hit,. As a result we had to put this on hold. We immediately implemented our C19 Plan which included Four Phases:

  • Phase 1- Prepare for paperless and move to digital working
  • Phase 2- Consult and engage with customers on their needs and aspirations post lockdown
  • Phase 3- Prepare and re-design services for the new world
  • Phase 4- Implement changes to commence our new world

As reported last week we are about to move into Phase 4, our new world, where we will align what our customers and staff have told us during the consultation and engagement phases with the new 2025 strategy.

We would like to focus on the most immediate changes next week our CE will communicate with staff what we are striving to achieve with our new strategy.

Our new world starting Monday 5 October 2020, will look like this:

Wellbeing Centres – no changes planned to service provision.

Dementia Connections Service and Admiral Nursing- we will start to develop the new customer activity groups identified within the customer consultation exercise, limiting numbers and ensuring locations are fully risk assessed.

Customer Services and Information & Advice- no changes, opening times are detailed above.

Strength & Balance classes- no change but we are working with the commissioners to open up the face to face service in a safe and phased way over the next couple of months.

Care Plus- to note that this service is now part of Care Point, it is the same service which will continue to operate as it does now, no change in provision.

Older Offenders- no change, although to note that we have started to deliver telephone wellbeing calls to older offenders from within the prisons, which remain locked down

All Social and Physical Activity Groups, including Healthy Habits- your customer voice was very strong, you wanted to return to your existing groups so long as it is safe to do so.

Government Guidance does allow these groups to open and therefore we will work to open them up limiting numbers and ensuring locations are fully risk assessed.

Befriending, including Telephone Befriending- we have increased the capacity for the telephone befriending service and we are working to expand the service further. This involves the introduction of specialist Veterans, Dementia and Older Offenders services. We also plan to expand the “enabling” service which could include a supported shopping service, digitally and physically.

By far the biggest change, as we move through to Autumn and then Winter, will be our Charity team working in localities. The Charity Teams will support the implementation of our new Neighbourhood Network, in partnership with VODA.

We continue to discuss with staff leading on the support for voluntary ‘Ambassadors’ who will provide a link into neighbourhoods and allow us to support more older people.

Winter is fast approaching so during October we will work to establish the network so we have a framework in place over the winter months.

We would encourage customers who feel they would like a FREE benefit check to contact our qualified team of advisors ensuring they have access to the benefits they may well be entitled to. Tel: 0191 2808484 


Update 18th September 2020

We know that it can feel overwhelming with so many changes and constant messages but let's not forget how well we, as an organisation have done in keeping customers, staff, and volunteers safe.

We were ahead of the curve last week with the changes we announced which stood us in good stead for the changes the Government announced yesterday.

Our Leadership Team is monitoring on a daily basis the number of C-19 cases across the North East. This means we can implement changes quickly and then cross-check our changes with those our local Director of Public Health or Government may announce at any one time.

We continue to be optimistic and responsive in these tough times. Winter is approaching which will be a challenging time for us all . We remain confident and proud that we will continue to support our older people no matter what.

We wanted to therefore start by clarifying some of the messages from last week, and to encourage our stakeholders to seek further clarification if necessary.

  1. Clarification from last week’s briefing on C-19

To allow us to reach older people and their families who prefer to speak to us face to face, we continue to operate a “one in one out” system for customers at the Bradbury Centre.

Around 99% of our contact with customers is now being done over the telephone, by video and other digital means and therefore numbers will be low for those needing us face to face.

We have implemented, and continue to monitor, all of the controls we feel are necessary to keep all of us safe.

We are committed to consulting with all of our stakeholders regularly to understand what additional steps we need to take on this journey but we must continue to be available for those in greatest need.

The Customer Service Team are doing a fantastic job at managing access to our services and their triaging statistics are outstanding. They deal with over 70% of calls/walk-ins themselves without having to refer to other services.

Some team members are working from home currently. This does not apply to essential workers like our care teams, where we will continue to manage the risk differently. In reality, our care staff predominantly work in their local area and are not using public transport to a great extent.

We can continue to keep our Wellbeing Centres open. Public Health in North Tyneside is confident that the controls we have in place will continue to keep our customers and staff members safe.

Our team members in the Wellbeing Centres will be reminding customers about the new rules around socialising at home and in particular the potential risk if children are visiting now that they have returned to school.

Visiting in our Extra Care Housing Schemes is limited to “essential adult visitors” only. We have encouraged our Digital Champions in our Schemes to support customers to access technology more where they can. We are conscious as winter approaches that we need to try to offer different ways for families to remain connected.

Phase 3 and preparing for Phase 4 after Lockdown

We are preparing for Phase 4 which will commence on 1 October 2020. We have engaged and consulted with all of our customers during Phase 2 and 3. We are now busy reviewing services and preparing to implement changes from 1 October 2020 as we plan to provide services in the new world.

Neighbourhood Network

We are keen to start implementing our Locality Plans and most importantly our plans for a Neighbourhood Network.

The Neighbourhood Network will mean recruiting Volunteer Ambassadors who will keep an eye on their older neighbours. These Ambassadors will develop a working relationship with our own key staff in localities and can support them to support their older neighbours. This network should allow us to reach more older people and help them make more of life.

Unpaid Carers

Caring for someone can be especially challenging during these difficult times. We are supporting Carers UK who are repeating their survey aimed at evidence gathering from carers .They are building on the one first in April. This had a really good impact in terms of awareness, but getting to hear about change that carers see in their every-day life is becoming even more challenging.

The opportunity to share your thoughts and feelings is a short one. The survey closes on Sunday 27 September, the link to the survey is https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CNTJ8GM .

Please complete the survey if you can, especially if you took part the first time. This information is invaluable to providing unpaid carers with the support they need.

Useful information

For anyone who wants to review the changes for North Tyneside and Newcastle announced this week around C19 or just a good refresh of the rules here are the links to the respective websites.

https://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/page/26134/coronavirus-covid-19

https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/services/public-health-wellbeing-and-leisure/public-health-services/coronavirus-covid-19

Update 11th September 2020

The big talking point this week sadly has been the increasing C19 infection rates across the North East region. The increase in infection rates appears to be most pronounced in younger adults, particularly those aged 20-29, who may form part of our staff teams.

An increase in infection in this age group may well have an impact on the people we support. It is therefore increasingly important that all infection prevention and control measures remain in place and our team complies fully with them.

Whilst our customers are focused in North Tyneside our staff live all over the North East, therefore, our C-19 Plans and Risk Assessments must always reflect local variations.

We will focus this week’s update on C-19 and outline the changes we are making across services from Monday 14 September 2020.

The changes reflect new Government guidance and aim to reduce the increasing rate of infection across the country. All C19 Service Plans and Risk Assessments have been updated to reflect the changes and are available for circulation/discussion via your Head of Service.

Services

Customer Services

Our team will work at the Bradbury Centre from 8.45am until 2.00pm, Monday to Friday, and our doors will be open to the public (on a one in, one out basis).

Information & Advice

This service is available for face to face appointments 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday at the Bradbury Centre. Give our team a call to book an appointment Tel 0191 2808484

Dementia Connections

operating normally Tel 0191 2877014

Befriending

no changes to report Tel: 0191 2877013

Finance

Business as usual 0191 2877010

HR

no changes to report. Our team is extremely busy with recruitment , our vacancies are live on the webiste

Tel 0191 2877011

Training

We continue to limit the number of people in the Training Centre to 6 people

Activity groups

no changes to report, we continue to keep in contact with customers by telephone or digitally

Strength & Balance & Healthy Habits

no changes to report, both services continue to operate as they do now

Updates on all services are available on our websites and our social media pages


Update 4th September 2020 

We are pleased to report that absence levels remain stable and customers are generally very well. Our Managers monitor our Absence Tracker daily and alert their Head of Service if they have any concerns at all.

However we must all remain vigilant as the number of Covid 19 cases has increased over the last week in North Tyneside

Jarrett’s Coffee Shop

Sadly, our Coffee Shop is our first casualty of C19. We have agreed to close Jarrett’s permanently with immediate effect. Unfortunately, we had to face the fact that the size of the Coffee Shop does not allow us to operate safely for staff, volunteers, and customers. Unfortunately the low numbers of customers we could support would not cover our costs.

The space within the Bradbury Centre occupied by Jarrett’s will eventually be available to support community activities.

New Appointment

We are delighted to announce that Len Watson will be joining us as our new Charity Services Manager from 12 October 2020

Customer Consultation & Engagement

As previously reported we extended Phase 2 of our Exit from Lockdown Plan to allow more time to engage and consult with customers about what they wanted to see change/not change to allow them to continue to enjoy our services, or return safely to services. We brought this exercise to a close on 31 August and this week the Leadership Team reviewed the feedback from the Charity’s Services. Here is a flavour of the feedback:

We carried out 194 guided conversations and asked 4 questions:

  • What changes do we need to make to our services to make them safe for you to return to them? Generally, customers were happy with the current situation and willing to return if government guidance allowed.
  • What new services do you want to see us deliver? Most customers were happy with current services with the addition of singing and gardening. Most customers were not interested in online services and wanted to meet or do exercise in groups face to face. Some customers were interested in learning more about digital and technology.
  • Are there any unmet needs that could enhance your quality of life? The majority of customers had no unmet needs, most had already been cross-referred or signposted to the services they wanted or needed
  • Are you satisfied with the service you receive? There was 100% satisfaction, the majority of customers were “very happy”

Physical and social groups survey results:

162 responses were returned from 520 questionnaires, a response rate of 31%. The majority were female, aged between 71-90 years old.

  • Customer’s requested more yoga, tai chi, line dancing, and seated exercise groups, and new zumba groups.
  • 71% of customers have the internet at home and use a variety of devices,   63% are confident in using these devices. Emails and texting were the most popular,  the most used being whatsapp then online banking. There was an even split as to how confident/not confident people are in using apps. Only 45 have used technology to attend a physical or social group and 81% would not be interested in online groups.
  • 50% of customers reported they have been exercising less and 29% the same amount prior to the pandemic. Many customers were walking and gardening.
  • 96% happy with the current venues we use for our physical and social groups
  • Customers were asked about payment methods for groups. Contactless payments were the most popular option followed by monthly subscriptions, some customers would like to continue paying with cash. 

Dementia Connections activities survey results:

Survey returns were at 16% and 87% were in the above 70 age range.

  • 50% already using Dementia Connections activities predominantly singing followed by memory café and time travellers.
  • The most popular activities requested were singing, live music and dominoes, walking and gardening, comedy, board games, cookery, crosswords and word search, jigsaws, chair exercises, flower arranging, quizzes and family tree. Only one customer suggested computers
  • Other suggestions included Holiday Club, Day Trip, Classical music, Playing cards and Groups for company/befriending.

Older Offender’s consultation result:

We consulted with 75 residents, 66 residents said they would like to attend Age UK when it restarts. We asked 3 questions:

  • If we were able to start some version of the Inside Out club, what would it look like and what changes do we need to make to our sessions to make you feel safe to return?. The general feeling was they feel safe to return to sessions and are keen to do so. They did not think additional safety measures were necessary as they are already isolated.
  • What should we do differently in our sessions and are there any ideas of changes you’d like to make? Are there any unmet needs that we should consider? Residents liked the Age UK sessions as they are, but there were some good ideas e.g. use of microphones, maybe some gentle exercises to start sessions, bring own coffee cups for hygiene/safety.
  • Have you received an Age UK activity/wellbeing pack? Do you think they are good/useful, not good/a waste, very good and useful? If not good then please state why not and how we could improve. What else would you like to see in the pack or taken out of the pack? The majority of residents said that they found the packs good and useful and also had some suggestions for inclusion.
  • The prison consultation mirrored much of what the community-based groups had said.

Your feedback is now informing slight changes to services and the introduction of new ones. We plan to announce our “new operating world” later this month to roll out from 1 October 2020.


Update 21st August 2020

It has been wonderful to welcome back to the Bradbury Centre the Customer Services Team. Our doors are now open 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday. However Jarrett’s does remain closed. For any information and advice please give our team a call Tel: 0191 2808484 Option 1 or alternatively take a look at the information available on our website https://www.ageuk.org.uk/northtyneside/  and social media .

We’d like to remind everyone that we do operate “track and trace”. We all have a responsibility to be alert and do everything we can to prevent the spread of the virus. The Customer Service Team will ask any visitors to provide a name and contact telephone number for this purpose specifically.

This is even more important now when there has been an increase in the number of confirmed cases of C19 in Newcastle and North Tyneside over the last 3 weeks.

Our Leadership Team are monitoring data daily and are prepared to enforce stricter controls if we feel it is necessary. At the moment we are confident that the organisation can continue to operate as we are, but, we have asked all Managers to prepare again for lockdown.

On a brighter note we are pleased to report that staff absence is consistently reported at 5%, and our customers are all safe and well.

A couple of updates this week to share with you all:

  1. The Board of Trustees met on Wednesday and applauded the performance of its staff and volunteers throughout the first quarter of the financial year, and in particular during the pandemic.
  2. We are delighted to announce that Leah Phillips is taking up the role as Customer Services & Quality Assurance Co-ordinator from 1 September 2020
  3. Our Chief Executive Dawn McNally had the pleasure of meeting one of our volunteers, Paul Thompson. Paul supported older people in North Tyneside during lockdown by delivering essential shopping. Paul lives in Wallsend and works for David Wilson Homes , which is part of the Barrett Group, who donated £1,000 to Age UK North Tyneside when they heard how Paul was supporting us.

Update 14th August 2020

Here are some of the highlights from this quarter…

  1. Edith Moffat House, we finally agreed the long term future of this extra care housing scheme on Monday with the transfer of the landlord from Riverside to New Walk. New Walk has been busy preparing empty apartments ready for new customers and already the door bell is ringing. We have two new tenants moving in and interest remains high. It has been an unsettling time for customers and staff in the scheme but that is behind us now as we work to get the empty properties filled, nothing has changed other than the landlord, our role remains the same.
  2. Havelock Place construction is 4-5 weeks ahead of schedule and we’re receiving enquiries regarding recruitment opportunities already.
  3. We have secured new funding from the BIG Lottery and RISE, this funding will allow us to:
    • Recruit a new part-time Personal Trainer linked to the Healthy Habits programme, to engage and support the most vulnerable individuals, 1-2-1, to increase their confidence and become more active.
    • Recruit a Locality Co-ordinator and Volunteer Co-ordinator to support our Locality Plans and Volunteer recruitment, co-ordination etc for our Neighbourhood Network. This will will better support our customers in local communities should i.e. we go into lockdown again.
  4. We are awaiting the outcome of a number of funding applications to enhance the Neighbourhood Network and in particular address the digital divide where it impacts on older people. Ideally, we are looking for funding to employ two Digital Inclusion Officers to work with individuals in communities to introduce them to technology, support them to use it to enhance their quality of life. This will also address social isolation and loneliness.
  5. Within our strategic plans for this year  we set ourselves 42 strategic objectives and at 30 June 2020, 37 were on target and 5 are behind target at this stage of the year. The five which are behind target are entirely down to COVID19, they are:
    • To provide information, advice and guidance to people over 50. This service was not in demand in the first quarter and all supporting agencies were closed
    • To support people to improve their financial independence. As above and staff were re-deployed to support essential services
    • To engage more people in activities to improve their physical wellbeing. With no face to face activity we responded with telephone and virtual contact with customers to keep them engaged and involved.
    • To recruit, induct and support new staff and volunteers to give them the best possible start.  Whilst we over-achieved on the recruitment of new volunteers due to the uncertainty in the job market it proved difficult to recruit new staff.
    • To invest in training and personal development of our staff and volunteers to help them achieve their full potential. We had to reduce the number of staff we could safely train which impacted on our targets
  6. On 1 April 2020 we started the year with 3,238 customers.  Natural movement in services with aims being achieved cases closed and little opportunity to expand services during the pandemic meant we ended the quarter with 2,572 customers. However the organisation reached an additional 16,784 older people during the first quarter as services were re-designed and new ones implemented.
    • EveryDay Home Care services continued as normal, quite an achievement in itself.  The services most in demand across the Charity were Customer Services, Admiral Nurse service, Telephone Befriending, the new C19 Emergency Shopping Service, and Food Parcel Deliveries.
    • The Telephone Befriending service was set up during lockdown to continue to support those Befriending Customers who wanted to receive a service but also to support new customers who were feeling lonely and isolated.  There are currently 50 telephone befriending customers and 49 volunteers supporting this service.
  7. The new C19 Emergency Shopping Service was set up to ensure those people who were shielding or living alone with no other support received their weekly shopping.  The number of customers have fluctuated during the quarter rising to 45 at one point down to 15 at the end of the first quarter.  There are 13 volunteers supporting this service.
  8. We delivered 850 food parcels to those people living alone and/or housebound across North Tyneside
  9. OurCustomer Services team were the busiest they have ever been, working across 7 days a week with an increase in customers contacting them for information relating to C19, and what was available to them or who could provide support.
  10. The services least in demand were those we could not provide face to face i.e. our community and activity services, information & advice and wellbeing services.
  11. Statisticsreported to Age UK during this quarter to support their national funding appeal, from which we received £35k, were:
    • 850 isolation parcels delivered
    • 1,500 additional meals delivered
    • 2,934 customer enquiries
    • 796 essential shopping trips
    • 34,990 customer contacts
    • 13,000 leaflet drops
    • 110 new volunteers
    • 12,190 website hits
  12. Most importantly we kept our customers and staff safe with no customer deaths reported due to C19 (none reported to date)  and staff absence is still averaging 5%

We have a couple of changes to announce:

  1. The Customer Services Team will return to work in the Bradbury Centre on Monday so we can re-open telephone lines to live calls again, and we will open the doors to customers between 10am and 2pm Monday to Friday. The downstairs (and upstairs) areas will be closed to customers other than the reception area where access will be controlled and managed to 1 in and 1 out.
  2. The next Team to have a presence in the Bradbury Centre will be the Information & Advice Team where they will work to a rota and have one individual on site whilst the two other members of the team continue to support from home.
  3. For all other projects and services, the Bradbury Centre remains closed and staff continue to work from home or use the calendar to book a desk

Finally, our Wellbeing Centres opened on Monday, please have a look on the website and social media at some of the images of our customers, it was quite emotional for customers and staff seeing each other again.

Update 7th August 2020

We have reviewed our statistics and performance data for the previous week, there is no change to staff absence or customers with C-19 symptoms. Most importantly everyone continues to be vigilant as we continue to deliver vital services to our customers.

We are pleased to announce that the Wellbeing Centres will join the rest of the organisation in Phase 3 of the Exit Plan, and re-open on 10 August 2020. We will be following strict new guidelines which include limiting customer numbers to 10 each day Monday to Friday.

As we move through Phase 3 of the Exit Plan we are recording a high number of customers returning questionnaires or simply taking the valuable opportunity to have their say in how their service might change to make it safe for them to return.

We still have until the end of this month to capture more information before we start working through any changes we may need to make.  This feedback is like gold dust and will allow us to tailor services further to meet customer needs and aspirations.

We will be announcing changes to the Bradbury Centre HQ next week, once the Leadership Team have finalised all plans and communicated with those on annual leave.

We will not be making wholesale changes as we must remember the Bradbury Centre, when it opens will be to deliver essential services only.

We have received several calls from older people about what to do about their TV Licence. We signpost callers to our Customer Service Team and share this link for more information.

Finally, welcome back to all staff returning from shielding. We hope that they do feel safe returning to their positions.


Update 31st July 2020

We have enjoyed another productive week across the organisation with staff absence increasing to 7% early in the week and then decreasing to 5%.

There are no reports of staff or customers with C-19 symptoms. The number of staff and customers being tested has increased. Thankfully they have all tested negative.

We as a Group take the potential threat of a second wave very seriously which is why we would like to confirm some new ways of working and to encourage everyone to uphold the controls we have in place.

The Leadership Team update an Absence Tracker every day to assess staff capacity across all our services and redeploy staff if necessary. We use this tool in situations where we invoke our emergency plans. We now, largely, have all staff back in their substantive roles and staff absence remains low.

In planning for a resurgence of C-19 the Leadership Team have started to monitor, through Public Health information, the number of C-19 cases in the immediate local area to our services. We are doing this so we can protect our staff, volunteers and customers for example by locking down a Wellbeing Centre or Extra Care Housing Scheme quickly if there is a spike in reported cases in the locale.

This information will be reported in the Absence Tracker daily, and we will alert staff if we feel it is necessary to lock down services. We are recommending that staff play their part and inform Line Managers if they are aware of any increases in cases in their neighbourhood.

We remain in Phase 3 of our Exit Plan, with the Wellbeing Centres still in Phase 2, the Bradbury Centre HQ remains closed to visitors but open to staff for essential work only, and our Extra Care Housing Schemes are open to visitors with additional controls in place.

Other news this week:

Wellbeing Centres - we will not be opening on 3 August 2020, the date we had pencilled in with North Tyneside Council. We plan to re-open on 10 August 2020. We are delaying the re-opening until all customer Risk Assessments have been reviewed and signed off by Social Workers and other senior staff within North Tyneside Council.

The Leadership Team yesterday started to review the feedback from customers through our consultation exercise. We agreed to extend the consultation and engagement period until 31 August to allow us to hit at least a 50% return target.

The Leadership Team yesterday clarified our policy around annual leave where holidays have been booked overseas and the impact of the ever-changing rules around quarantine. These have been shared internally.

We are delighted to announce we have again maintained the ISO9001:2015 standard following our assessment over the last 10 days.


Update 24th July 2020

We have seen another good week where staff absence has plateaued at 5% and we have no reported cases of customers with C19. We will keep up the great work upholding all controls and protecting customers, staff and volunteers effectively.

We remain in Phase 3 of our Exit Plans and Wellbeing Centres remain in Phase 2. Kerry Parker, Head of Professional Care Services has been in discussions this week again, with North Tyneside Council about the opening of the Wellbeing Centres which hopefully we can announce next week.

The Bradbury Centre HQ remains closed but has all controls are in place as a safe place to work, including ‘Sneeze Screens’.

The Leadership Team will finalise working arrangements for the Bradbury Centre next Wednesday which our Chief Executive, Dawn McNally will communicate next Friday.

Our social groups, Dementia Connections service, Healthy Habits project and Strength & Balance courses are now operating normally, albeit via Zoom.

From 1 August we will be welcoming back to work those staff who have been shielding. For these staff, we will have finalised their risk assessments.

A quick round-up of what's been happening this week:

We have been successful in securing a further £15k from Age UK on the back of the national appeal they have been running. This funding will be used to invest in a full-time Telephone Befriending Co-ordinator, initially until 31 March 2021. The vacancy is going live this week.

We are through to the second round of the Big Lottery C19 Emergency Fund which would also support this service and allow us to increase our capacity further, if successful. Telephone Befriending has been in huge demand during the pandemic and some conversations have been particularly challenging, verging on counselling which has stretched our resources. We, therefore, decided to invest in new staff roles to meet demand but to also invest in new skill sets.

As announced last week, the role vacancy for the Locality & Community Development Manager will also go live this week

The ISO 9001-2015 inspection started this week and will run until 30 July 2020, when we expect to hear the outcome. It has been a tough week for all those involved as this too has taken place via Zoom. However we’re extremely confident of a very positive outcome.

Staff working from home, or on furlough have completed the Staff Survey circulated by HR. Their feedback is being collated and will be presented to the Leadership Team next week to tie in with the discussions around future working arrangements in the Bradbury Centre.


Update 10 July 2020

A Message from Chief Executive, Dawn McNally

Let me start by stating what a fantastic job our staff have all done during the pandemic. I say that based upon an excellent track record of controlling the virus and protecting customers, staff, and volunteers.

Staff absence remains stable and we have no recorded customer deaths from C19 on our watch. When customers have returned from the hospital with C19 (the only time C19 has featured) into our EveryDay Extra Care Housing Schemes, our care staff have managed to control the virus and support the customer back to good health.

Everyone one of our staff should be proud to be part of a fantastic organisation that has gone above and beyond to keep us all safe, an effort supported by each and every one of you.

Moving to news from this week:

  1. Our Customer Service Team may see an increase in inbound calls over the coming weeks. The Charity is sending out 2,000+ letters to customers outlining changes to their service, and the option to speak to someone about their current service or a new service. We would very much like to hear customer views on their service and how they’d like to see this delivered in the future.
  2. We are also embarking on a consultation exercise next week on the use of cash throughout the organisation. Whilst the use of cash is small, our ambition is to remove all cash transactions. But, before we do, we would like to hear what the issues may be for those this will impact on. C19 is a key driver to remove cash as is the time associated with these transactions.
  3. As reported on Monday the EveryDay Wellbeing Centres have been pushed back into Phase 2 until further notice. We may find out more next week from North Tyneside Council who have arranged a meeting with all Day Service Providers. I know that part of the call will be to demonstrate how to use PPE effectively. We need to be mindful that whilst we have been well versed in the use of PPE through the pandemic, other care providers have yet to embrace this brave new world.! Phase 2 means the three centres remain closed and the staff and volunteers support customers at home.
  4. The EveryDay Extra Care Housing Schemes are now open for visitors with new controls in place. We have insisted on additional controls being implemented this week, which include the Social Landlords taking responsibility for additional cleaning in communal areas including gardens. We have asked all visitors to record their visit to allow the care team to track and trace in the event of someone showing signs of C19. All Visitors must wear a face mask at all times. I would encourage care staff within the Schemes to be confident and challenge when they see anyone not following the new guidance and if necessary report it to their Manager.
  5. The Bradbury Centre remains closed apart from authorised visits.
  6. I wanted to encourage you all to participate in the Age UK Campaign for free TV Licences for older people, you may have seen the BBC made a further change to their previous decision to remove the free TV Licence for older people this week, it will now be means-tested. Here is a link to the campaign https://campaigns.ageuk.org.uk/page/64039/action/1?ea.tracking.id=Email1, feel free to share and encourage others to take part.
  7. Betty Lucas, our Lead Admiral Nurse, recently wrote an article for Dementia UK https://mailchi.mp/f66cac982ea7/admiral-nurse-weekly-bulletin-11?e=[UNIQID]. Our Dementia Connections Team has been extremely busy during the pandemic and reports some quite harrowing stories. Where you can let people know we have this service to support families and carers who are living with dementia.
  8. We are involved in the prestigious housing development for EveryDay Homes and our website launched this week. You will hear a great deal more about this in coming months as the build progresses. www.everydayhomes.co.uk

Update 26 June 2020

All services are performing well and staff absence rates have plateaued at 5-7%

Our customers on the whole remain well, and the gentleman who we reported last week who returned from hospital with C19 to one of our schemes, sadly had to return to hospital as his health deteriorated.

Over the last couple of days the HM Government has announced further relaxing of lockdown from 4 July 2020. The Leadership Team and CE met this week to review how Phase 2 of our plans was going, and when to move to Phase 3.

We have agreed to move to Phase 3 on 6 July this allows us to ring the changes on a week day rather than a weekend. To emphasise our next Phase will start on Monday 6 July 2020 and not 4 July 2020.

Staff and volunteers will be trained in the updated Risk Assessments for their specific service for the new Phase. The new procedures allows us to track which staff member is in contact with others.

So what does this all mean, our key headlines?:

  • Working from Home - those who can work from home should continue to work from home, which means we continue as we are for now. We are not opening the Bradbury Centre to the public, staff can use the Centre for essential work but must use the Booking System and have the authority of their Head of Service.
  • Customer Engagement & Consultation with Customers- this work was started in Phase 2 and will continue and will be fed into the Leadership Team to discuss and agree changes informed by customers and our staff, through the ‘Guided Conversation’ Toolkit. Changes will be shared in advance of any changes to service delivery.
  • Wellbeing Centres- all three centres will open from 6 July 2020 with additional controls in place, plus new options for customers. Customers will be given the choice to return to the Centres, to continue to have the service at home/one to one to allow them to get out and about, or to join another customer on an outing of their choice with one of our drivers.
  • Extra Care Housing Schemes- we are working closely with Registered Social Landlords to agree the opening of Extra Care Schemes to visitors, with additional controls in place, from Monday 6 July 2020.
  • Domiciliary Care in Community- will continue to operate as it does now, with all existing controls remaining in place.
  • EveryDay Living- will continue to operate as it does now, with all existing controls remaining in place. We will be contacting those customers who put a hold on their service to ask them if they’d like to resume
  • Admiral Nursing- will continue to operate as it does now, with all existing controls remaining in place.
  • Essential Shopping- thanks to the work of the Customer Services Team this service has moved from staff delivering the service to volunteers delivering the service. We are looking to increase the number of volunteers to deliver this service as we have been made aware community groups will stop this service from 31 July 2020, when “shielding” stops. We think this service is still required, but we will keep it under constant review.
  • Befriending, including Telephone Befriending- as we gather customer feedback this service will move to delivering a face to face service as well as offering a Telephone Service. Face to face meetings can resume from 6 July 2020, with additional guidance and controls in place. We are aware that this service may require additional capacity.
  • Dementia Connections- will continue to operate as it is now but with some social groups re-opening with additional controls in place, from Monday 6 July 2020
  • Information & Advice- will continue to operate as it does now remotely, but will prepare to move back to the Bradbury Centre as soon as the screen protectors and sneeze screens are in place. One member of staff will deliver from the Bradbury Centre on a rota basis with the remainder of the team working from home.
  • Strength & Balance - will continue to operate as it does now remotely and are preparing to deliver the new home exercise programme HowFit. which starts mid-July. Changes again will be communicated in advance.
  • Care Plus- will continue to operate as it does now remotely
  • Social Groups- will start to re-open with additional controls in place, from Monday 6 July 2020.
  • Physical Activities- will remain closed until further notice and are developing virtual and outdoor alternatives.
  • Healthy Habits - will start on the 3rd August with its first cohort being initially delivered virtually.
  • Older Offenders- will continue to operate as it does now remotely, producing and circulating the now nationally recognised Resource/Distraction Packs
  • Jarrett’s- will remain closed until further notice
  • Customer Services- will continue to operate as it does now remotely and from home but will prepare to move back to the Bradbury Centre in Phase 3 as soon as the screening and sneeze screens are in place.
  • Finance- will continue to operate as it does now remotely for 4 days each week and work from the Bradbury Centre on one other day
  • Human Resources - will continue to operate as it does now remotely. The Government is changing lockdown rules, starting next week our HR team will be contacting staff who have been either been furloughed or have been working from home to see how they are, and what we can do to help or support them in preparation for a return to work whenever that may be.
  • Training Provision- will continue to operate as it does now from the Training Suite in Whitley Bay.
  • Marketing, Campaigns & Engagement-will continue to operate as it does now remotely
  • Executive & Leadership Teams- will continue to operate as they do now working between home and the Bradbury Centre or other place of work

Finally, it’s Armed Forces Day & Week so just to let you know we have launched a new Veterans Service this week, here is the link https://www.ageuk.org.uk/northtyneside/our-services/joining-forces/, we are promoting it across 28k properties across North Tyneside in July & August as well as our media. Veterans aged over 50, their spouses and carers can take advantage of the service by calling 0191 2808484.


Update 10th June 2020

In our CE Dawn McNally's last briefing she said she would focus on the headlines from the changes we will make across the organisation from Monday 15 June 2020 which is when we will move to Phase 2 of our C19 Plan.

Infection Rate

The C19 infection rate is now decreasing each day in North Tyneside and the North East, and therefore we are ready to move to the next Phase..

Generally in Phase 2 all services will move to engaging and consulting with their customers to discuss changes to services, as well as carrying out a light touch ‘guided conversation’ to ensure we capture any changes where customers may require our help and support.

Key headlines and changes for Phase 2:

  1. Emergency Food ParcelsAs we have moved from an immediate emergency response to ensure older people had enough food, to now having arrangements in place to ensure older people have their emergency shopping done etc this service is no longer required. We’d like to thank everyone who supported the delivery of 850 emergency food parcels which were gratefully received by older people.
  1. Prepared Food & Snacks- Our Catering Team based at Edith Moffat House will continue to cater for those customers who want meals. Keith Pott’s, Head Chef will process all orders.
  1. Essential Shopping this service will continue but will be supported entirely by volunteers from 15 June 2020, all staff supporting this service will have moved back to their substantive role. The service will continue to be free to customers and will be co-ordinated now by Caitlin Calvert, referrals should be made via the Customer Service Team
  1. Telephone Befriendingthis service will continue as it is currently with Beverley Swan. Customers who are being contacted by us for a wellbeing call can be referred into this service.
  1. Extra Care Housing Schemes- the schemes will remain locked down, but we will now encourage customers to meet with loved ones (in line with Government Guidance) outside of the scheme but not in the communal gardens. Families will be asked to meet customers at the front door of the housing scheme and care staff will be asked to carry out a dynamic risk assessment immediately before their customer is to meet with loved ones to make sure they have no C19 symptoms. Kerry Parker, Head of Professional Care Services will continue to communicate with customer families and Registered Social Landlords to remind family members etc not to go ahead with a visit if they are showing any symptoms of C19. Staff will remain extra vigilant to ensure we uphold all controls and report any concerns immediately to our Team Leader, Care Manager or Head of Service.
  1. Domiciliary Care in the Community there is no change and we continue as we are, we continue to uphold all controls and the use of PPE
  1. Wellbeing Centre- again there is no change and we continue as we are, we continue to uphold all controls and the use of PPE.
  1. Admiral Nursing- no change and we continue as we are, face to face visits will be held with customers in greatest need, otherwise we will continue to use telephone and video to support customers
  1. Dementia Connections-no change and again we continue as we are, we continue to use telephone and video to support customers
  1. EveryDay Living-no change and we’ll continue as we are, we continue to uphold all controls and the use of PPE
  1. Jarrett’s Coffee Shop-will remain closed during Phase 2
  1. Health & Social Activity Groups, including ActivAge and Healthy Habits-no change and to continue as we are, we continue to use telephone and video to support customers
  1. Older Offenders-no change and to continue as we are, we continue to prepare and send Activity Resource Packs to local prisons.
  1. Information and Advice-no change and to continue as we are, we continue to use telephone and video to support customers
  1. Befriending-no change and to continue as we are, we continue to use telephone and video to support customers. See Telephone Befriending above.
  1. Care Plus- Team members have returned to their substantive service and are supporting existing customers for Care Plus.
  1. Strength & Balance- no change and continue as we are, our trainers continue to use telephone and video to support customers
  1. Customer Services– no change and to continue as we are, customers contact us, leave a message and our team returns their calls and triage where required
  1. Training-we are now increasing the number of training sessions we are delivering and also the number of staff who can attend.  A Risk Assessment has been prepared to ensure staff safety at all times and PPE is available for use while at the Training Suite.

The Bradbury Centre will remain closed to the public and customers during Phase 2. Some staff will be able to work from the Bradbury Centre from 15 June 2020 but only as agreed with your Head of Service, to enable us to manage the numbers and keep everyone safe.  Staff who can work from home will remain working from home.  A Risk Assessment has been prepared for the Bradbury Centre, it includes the following controls:

  • How we minimise the number of staff in the building at any one time
  • How we minimise the use of shared equipment
  • Consideration of staff individual circumstances
  • Use of transportation to and from work
  • Maximising handwashing and sanitisation
  • New signage for maintaining social distancing
  • Screening off areas for protection
  • Introducing one way system where possible

Update 1st June 2020

Customer Update

We have one customer, within our Dementia Connections service, with C19 symptoms and no customer deaths from the virus, where we provide the customer’s care.

This is incredible to be this far through the pandemic, it is not luck but down to everyone single one of our team who have upheld our infection controls.

Staff Update

We end the last week in May with a slight increase to staff absences. This is now at 6% having risen from 5%. This is still an enviable figure allowing us to continue to deliver services as normal. 

Phase 1

We remain in Phase 1, of our Exit Plans, until at least 14 June 2020, and we will continue as we are until further notice.

Our Chief Executive, Dawn McNally will prepare and circulate a summary of the year and present it very soon as we move through Phase 2 of the Exit Plan, and then our plans for this year in Phase 3.

In other News

We are delighted to announce that we have again maintained our CHAS status which ultimately means our health and safety systems and processes are fit for purpose, and are well managed. Thanks to Angela Dawson who leads on this process for steering us through this assessment despite the challenges of C19.

Recognition

We have received two very special messages this week, one from the Mrs Susan M Winfield OBE, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant, who wrote “to Dawn McNally and all at Age UK North Tyneside & EveryDay Care, I want to express my deepest gratitude for the incredible support and service you have given throughout the Covid-19 crisis. My wholehearted thanks for all you have contributed and my best wishes”.

The second was a letter from Councillor, Carole Burdis a member of North Tyneside’s Cabinet. It is fantastic to have received this kind of recognition for our organisation.

Charity Performance

Our Charity performance for the year ended 31 March 2020 was reported into the Board of Trustees last week and we are pleased to confirm that we achieved 29 out of 33 strategic objectives, and ended the year with a surplus of £61k, a great result and another strong year’s performance.

We have again achieved an awful lot on behalf of older people in North Tyneside.


Update May 15 2020

Government Guidance

It has been a particularly hard week for our teams in Extra Care because of the Government announcement on Sunday, and everyone’s  interpretation of the new rules on visiting their families.

We hope we have now reached a new steady state, at least for another couple of weeks. Unfortunately every time there is a change in Government Guidance we will have to prepare ourselves and our customers for the inevitable uncertainty which follows, and then the subsequent calm as everyone settles down into the new rules.

Technology

We are going to accelerate our plans to introduce further technology into our Extra Care Housing Schemes. Our Head of Professional Care, Kerry Parker and our Chief Executive, Dawn McNally have this week discussed the role of technology in care in detail and will be preparing teams for the part they will play in supporting customers to access this.

Staff Update

Staff absence this week has averaged at 6%, it did fall to 5% on Wednesday. All in all another very good week for our team .

Customer Update

We have 2 customers reporting C19 symptoms but thankfully no recorded deaths due to C19. Our infection control measures are proving very effective but we will not become complacent.

Exit Strategy

We are still in Phase 1 of our Exit from Lockdown Plan, and we continue as we are with the same levels of control in place. We will share detail when we plan to move to Phase 2.

Service Update

Our services have evolved during C19 and we have launched:

Carer Peer Support Group

Bereavement Support Group

Recruitment

We are recruiting new care staff as we are receiving new customers regularly. The Staff Referral Scheme rewards the person referring a new employee who stays with us with £200.

Food Parcel Friday

We end the week having delivered a further 100 food parcels across North Tyneside, and the Bradbury Centre HQ building is slowly morphing to provide a new working environment for us. We feel very well prepared to meet the challenges the ‘new normal’ presents.


Update May 11 2020

Lockdown Remains

Whilst the Government announced some changes last night Age UK North Tyneside and EveryDay Care does not intend making any further changes to those in our existing Phase 1 plan which was announced last Thursday.

Phase 1 which starts 11.05.2020 means we will continue as we are currently, until we are advised by Dawn McNally, Chief Executive.

For those staff whose normal place of work is the Bradbury Centre we will allow “selected” staff to come in and prepare their work area for our new ways of working. This will be done on a rota basis which is being managed by our Heads of Service.

We are not rostering the following staff to come into the Bradbury Centre:

  • Staff with caring responsibilities, including children at home
  • Staff who would have to use public transport to travel to and from work

Control Measures

All staff will uphold the following controls:

  • Do not come in if you feel unwell, let your Line Manager know as you would normally
  • Wash your hands regularly and especially when you come into the Bradbury Centre and last thing before you leave
  • Keep 2 metres apart from other people, there will be a maximum of four people in the building at any one time, including a key holder
  • We have set up a PPE Station which includes aprons, gloves and face masks. We strongly advise staff to wear the aprons and to dispose of any worn items in the bins provided. The PPE is being provided for those staff who will feel more comfortable with additional protection.

BBC Look North Special Report

We contributed video footage for a special report for BBC Look North which aired 11.05.2020. This piece covered how our customers are coping during lockdown and their reaction to Boris’ speech last evening,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWJfOSScL2w 

Dementia Action Week

It is Dementia Action Week this week so a great opportunity to raise awareness of dementia and how we support those families living and caring for someone with dementia. Our websites have been updated with relevant information including our new Peer Support Group specifically for carers. These take place by Zoom on Mondays.

Food Parcels

We are expecting to deliver another 200 food parcels this week taking our total to 750 which is incredible and hugely appreciated by the recipients.

Staff Update

Staff absence remains at 6% today therefore no change which is fantastic news.

Customer Update

We sadly have two customers within Extra Care Housing Schemes with C19 symptoms, where infection controls have been increased to the highest levels. Both customers have mild symptoms and will be in isolation for 14 days.

Our staff have had some difficulties reinforcing lockdown procedures with families. Our Head of Professional Care Services, Kerry Parker has requested additional support from North Tyneside Council and our Registered Social Landlords to reinforce the messages that we remain in lockdown to ensure customer safety.


Update 9 May 2020

Road Map Back

Another week ends with great progress made across our Group services https://www.ageuk.org.uk/northtyneside/about-us/news/articles/2020/our-covid-19-response/

Staff  Update

Staff absence is down to 6% with no staff absent with C19 symptoms or in isolation, the only absence we have is “none” C19. We can also report 9 staff have now been tested for the virus to date, with 1 out of these 9 confirmed with C19, now recovered.

 Customer Update

We are down to 1 Customer reporting symptoms of C19, we pray they come through and fully recover from this.

Road Map Back To The ‘New Normal’

We intend to communicate our plans for changes to lockdown, after the Prime Minister’s announcement on 10.05.2020.

Phased Approach

To outline how we will approach the easing of lockdown we have identified four phases as follows:

Phase 1- As we are, supporting customers as we have been doing so, with staff being asked, on a rota basis, to prepare their work areas for our new ways of working and to cleanse all customer data. This will be the Phase we move into next week which essentially means we continue as we are. The reason for this is to remain locked down until we see the impact of any changes the Government makes. We deliver services to older people who are high risk and therefore we cannot take the risk of removing any of the controls we have in place, yet. This includes visitors to our Extra Care Housing Schemes which will remain locked down until further notice. The North East is just moving through the peak of the virus now, unlike London and other areas down south, so we must continue to be extra vigilant.

We will communicate when we are ready to move to Phase 2 .

Phase 2- Consultation and Engagement, all services will  move to engaging and consulting with our customers to discuss what changes to services they would like to see, if any.

Phase 3- Planning for our New World where training, equipment needs etc will be identified and actioned to reflect changes to service delivery as informed by our customers, funders etc. new strategic priorities. Performance targets will be identified and management tools updated. Whilst the essence of our work will continue as before we will be delivering in a different way, hence this phase to allow time to adapt our ways of working.

Phase 4- Our New World, we start to deliver in the new world.

These phases have not been timed, yet, they will evolve naturally from one phase to another. The detailed plans prepared by our Heads of Service reflect these four phases.

In the news

Yvonne Probert, Head of Charity Services, has been exceptionally busy last week providing TV and radio interviews. The media was very interested to understand how our own Covid-19 response supported North Tyneside residents and customers.

A clip of one interview with BBC Look North https://youtu.be/3QJeCmEmL5M .

Celebrations

Our Customers have enjoyed VE Day celebrations this week and although we’ve been in a lockdown situation that hasn’t stopped EveryDay providing a wonderful party atmosphere. In addition school children kindly provided a number of cards, drawings and letters to our customers across the borough for which they were very grateful.

Dementia Action Week

Next week is Dementia Action Week and our Dementia Connections Team led by Betty Lucas will be sharing advice and information about supporting loved ones at home especially during Covid-19.


Update May 2 2020

Staff Absence Update

We are pleased to report that staff absence continues at 9%, whilst there are changes between different services overall absence remains unchanged.

As part of her role, Kerry Parker, Head of Professional Care Services reports staff absence and customer illnesses/deaths to various agencies every day, including North Tyneside Council. We are very proud of the way our service has remained uninterrupted during Covid-19.

Customer Update

In addition we are absolutely delighted to report that customer’s reporting symptoms of the virus have reduced to 2, which means 3 have recovered which is fantastic news for all concerned.

End of Financial Year

Our Leadership Team has been busy preparing the end of year reports, which are looking positive.

Food Parcels Deliveries Continue

The most recent delivery of 200 food parcels has gone this week to older people who are not Age UK North Tyneside or EveryDay Care customers.  This brings the total delivered to date to 550.

Our sincere thanks again go to Vicky Pattison who continues to fund raise to make these donations a reality.

Partnerships

We also reached out to Everlasting Care customers, a well-respected domiciliary care partner organisation and provided their customers with 80 parcels for which they were very grateful.

New Carer Support Group

We have launched a new peer support group for carers in North Tyneside . This group is not just for those who are caring for someone living with dementia but for all carers. Covid-19 has created additional challenges for carers isolated with their loved ones, sometimes 24/7. 

Covid-19 Testing

We are encouraging all staff with symptoms to arrange to be tested for Covid-19. Use this link https://www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test to arrange a test. As part of the process staff will asked for some basic information which includes:

  • Vehicle registration number (of the car you will attend your appointment in)
  • Mobile Phone Number (so they can make contact with you)
  • Organisation (that the health or social care professional works for)
  • NHS Number (please note this is optional)
  • Health or Social Care Professionals name
  • E-mail address (so that they can confirm an appointment with you once booked)
  • Position / Role (for example – nurse / social worker / carer etc.)

Please note: If you do not reply with this information, they will not be able to book an appointment slot.  Once they receive this information they will make arrangements to call you.

Do let our HR Team you have had a test and the outcome please. Tel: 0191 2877011

VE Day 75

Friday 8th May is VE Day. We intend to remember the day and what it may mean to our customers regardless of the lockdown situation we will ensure the date is marked.

Life After Lockdown

Finally it is our intention to circulate details of our exit strategy next week. This will involve a phased return which Heads of Service and Managers will communicate to teams.

Service Update 26th April 2020

Staff Absences

Our staff absence continues to show no real change, currently we have 10% of the workforce absent which is now the lowest it has been during lockdown. As a result all services continue to run normally.

Customer Update

Very sadly, one of our Dementia Connections customers died earlier this week in his care home (Ethoian Homes). It’s a very distressing time for his family who continue to be in our thoughts as well as those who cared for him.

Apart from this gentleman there is one other change to the number of customers reporting COVID 19 symptoms, which is a positive one, this customer is now reporting to be very well which is fantastic news.

Business As Usual

Since lockdown was extended we have continued to receive a very steady number of calls to our Customer Services Team who continue to offer the service 7 days of the week.

The nature of these calls continues to be for information, advice and guidance with referrals to our essential shopping service and telephone befriending. We have additionally been able to take on new care packages.

Both new services are getting busier each day, and we continue to be comfortable with our capacity to deliver these vital services.

Food Parcel Donations

We delivered 350 essential food parcels to older people across the borough supported by Aspire Technology Solutions.

We will continue to target those older people in greatest need. We’ve had some wonderful feedack from very grateful older people following receipt of their parcels. Additionally Care Scheme Managers fedback that they’d seen a marked up lift in the spirits of their residents.

PPE Update

To ensure the continued safety of our key workers and our customers we have again replenished our stock of PPE. We were very fortunate to receive donations of face shields from AMAP: University of Sunderland who donated a further 250 for which we are extremely grateful.

Exit Strategy

Our Leadership Team continues to work on our Exit Strategy which we expect to communicate internally before the next Government Announcement about lockdown on 7 May 2020.


Service Update 17th April 2020

The Government has confirmed that “lockdown” will remain in place for another 3 weeks. For our organisation this means we will continue to operate as we have done over the last couple of weeks. Any changes in service provision will be communicated and shared as we’ve done throughout COVID19

The Leadership Team reported a further decrease in staff absence this morning which is fantastic news.

Very sadly, the number of customers reporting COVID 19 symptoms has increased to 10 over these last two days, 3 are supported through our Dementia Connections Team, 1 at Linskill Park, Rowan Croft, Care at Home in the North West, Crossgates, Fontburn Court, Thomas Ferguson Court and EveryDay Living. Our thoughts are with their families at this time.

Our Leadership Team have discussed the Employee and Team of the Quarter Awards, and have agreed not to identify any one individual this quarter as we are inundated with stories and fantastic examples of how our team members are all going above and beyond. Therefore, we have nominated and recognise every staff member.

We have been notified of a donation of 150 food parcels from reality TV personality Vicky Pattison (ex Geordie Shore/Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here) which is incredibly generous.

We will be supported by Aspire (our IT support company) to deliver the packages to older people across the borough. They have put 3 of their vans and drivers at our disposal. Our gratitude goes to Vicky and to Aspire for their support.

In addition our Information and Advice team reported its final year end outcomes which were incredible. The team which comprises both staff and volunteers achieved some amazing results for older people in North Tyneside.

The total benefit gain achieved was £1,778,026 not only smashing our target of £1,178,487, but breaking the record of the highest benefit gain to date.

Customers supported to maximise their income are on average better off by £140.62 per week, as we know securing this extra income has a huge impact often allowing a person to remain independent for as long as possible in their own homes.

We have supported;

  •  831 individuals through face to face office based appointments
  • Carried out 462 home visits
  • Resolved 3764 enquires via telephone and
  • 996 individuals have been supported by just popping into the Bradbury Centre
  • In total approximately 3619 individuals have been supported through the I&A project resolving over 6200 enquiries

Service Update 14th April 2020

The emails have been pouring in this morning applauding our EveryDay Professional Care & Support staff for being so responsive over the bank holiday weekend, here is just one of those messages:

Message of thanks

Hi Kerry, Can I ask you to send through a massive thank you message to all your team. Our Emergency Duty Team and Gateway have told us Age UK North Tyneside’s homecare service was incredibly helpful and responsive over the Easter weekend. And they will be clapping extra hard for you on Thursday. Thank you so much"

Proud

We are so very, very proud and a thank you goes to everyone who was working over the weekend supporting older people.

Charity Update

The numbers of people requesting our essential shopping service is slowly increasing and the telephone befriending service continues to be busy.

Dementia Connections

Our Dementia Connections team continue to support existing and new customers, and we can see that there are some very distressed carers struggling during lockdown. Very sadly, we now have a customer within this service diagnosed with the virus and who now is on an end of life pathway.

His wife is not allowed to visit him which is obviously very distressing for her, and our team are supporting her. Our thoughts are with them at this absolutely awful time

We’d like to extend our sincere gratitude to  SOS Industrial who today offered to donate 250 face mask clips to ease the pressure on the ears of our key workers who are working in PPE constantly now.

We have received another shipment of PPE this weekend and our stock has once again been replenished which is further great news as new guidelines were circulated this weekend for it’s use.

Please stay safe and help us to continue to support North Tyneside and Newcastle’s most vulnerable, and of course our fantastic care team.


Easter Services Update

With Easter fast approaching and lockdown highly likely to be extended over the Easter weekend we continue to operate steadily, and are well prepared for an increased demand on our services.

Staff Absences Reduced

We’ve seen a decrease in staff absent or self-isolating which is fantastic news. Our absence figures are very small considering the circumstances.

Sadly, the number of customers reporting virus symptoms has increased to 7 from the 3 reported last week. Our thoughts are with their families at this time.

Projected Peak Period

As we move towards the projected “peak period” for the virus, we have implemented additional controls for our teams working within our Extra Care Housing Schemes, which go above and beyond the Government’s most recent Guidance.

Business As Usual

All of our care services continue to run without any disruption which is a fantastic achievement, we are reliably informed that we have further increased our reputation as a quality care provider as not all providers have coped as well as EveryDay.

Councillor Gary Bell (Cabinet Member with responsibility for Adult Social Care) has tweeted his “heartfelt thanks” and appreciation for our care staff, which is so well deserved.

Charity Services Update

Our Charity services also continue to run smoothly, those that continue to run “virtually” include Dementia Connections, Older Offenders, Information & Advice and Strength & Balance.

The new services, which include Telephone Befriending, Essential Shopping, Emergency Food Deliveries and Patient Transport, all have capacity.

Existing customers are currently very well supported, but this may change if/when lockdown is extended.

Reaching Out

We are reaching out to older people in the most deprived areas of the borough with high levels of older people living on their own, which we expect to increase demand for these services in the coming weeks.

And Finally

We do not need to make any efficiencies or lose any jobs because of COVID 19. Our  leadership team is now planning our Exit Strategy for when lockdown is lifted and as always we will ensure that all of our stakeholders remain informed and updated.



Sunday 29 March 2020

Thankfully today’s service provision update is short and sweet.

Staff absence is reducing which is fantastic news but we are not being complacent and remain ready for the next challenge!

We have no changes to highlight and all services which are running are operating without any disruption over the weekend. Another amazing achievement for our teams. Thank you all for your continued passion in these challenging times.

We do hope that everyone has had a chance to read the letter from the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care Matt Hancock applauding the work of carers in social care.

Until tomorrow, stay safe and well


Saturday 28 MARCH 2020

Weekend Update On Service Provision

We start the weekend with one only more member of staff self-isolating, and the fantastic news is that next week we expect a number of staff to return to work after self-isolation.

All in all as a Group we continue to perform superbly during the COVID-19 situation.

High Sheriff for Tyne and Wear

We have received a message from the High Sheriff for Tyne and Wear applauding our work,
Dawn, long ago I decided that a key focus of my shrieval year would be to support charities and community groups in Tyne & Wear working to combatting loneliness, little knowing that their work would become even more vital with the arrival of COVID-19. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to raise the profile of your valuable work .
In the days/weeks/months ahead – as and when appropriate I’d also be keen to visit and view your work first hand. Meanwhile, hope you are keeping well.
Best wishes. Sarah”

Sarah Stewart OBE DL, High Sheriff for Tyne and Wear

It is very motivating for us all to receive something like this,  and well deserved as our team is pulling together amazingly in light of COVID-19

Reaching Out

We have reached a steady state and the Leadership Team has agreed today to try and reach out to those older people who are not aware of the support we are offering. 
We must emphasise this will very much depend on Northumbria Police agreeing to us carrying out a leaflet drop of the “contact cards” we use currently for our existing customers.

Additionally we are in the process of asking the Post Office if they could support us to do this, and we will also ask for volunteers to be on standby to support.

Yvonne Probert, Head of Charity Services is preparing a “hit list” of the areas we intend to target starting early next week. The plan is to do this in phases starting with the most “deprived” areas of the borough, monitoring the demand on our services as we go. Yvonne will also be responsible for communicating this to volunteers.

Our Customer Service Team has received a steady stream of requests today from local residents and their families , some of whom are not located locally .

The lines are open 7 days 10:00-15:00 Tel 0191 2808484 . The team will respond to all voicemail messages left on this number.

We will continue to produce a regular update as developments take shape so please check our social media platforms for regular updates and share our messages with your own networks.


Friday 27 MARCH 2020

It’s fantastic to be able to report that there are no changes to our staff absences, and none of our customers are reporting COVID 19 symptoms today.

Age UK North Tyneside and EveryDay Care have circulated to all relevant staff, a letter from our Chief Executive, Dawn McNally which emphasises our role in delivering essential services to vulnerable older people, and therefore our right to continue to travel during lock down.

Staff had requested this as the Police have challenged them and asked for evidence that confirms they are supporting an essential service.

In addition to this we are in the process of getting a car parking permit to relevant key worker staff allowing access to restricted parking areas without fear of recompense.

The Customer Service Team are available over 7 days, 10am to 3pm. Only new customer enquiries and referrals will go through this team who will then action these to the relevant service.

The main telephone system is operating on a “night” service with a new message asking our customers to leave a voicemail for us.

We are linking with other local support partners in North Tyneside who in addition to ourselves are supporting older, vulnerable residents to remain at home safely.

These include:

The Whitley Bay Roundtable http://whitleybayroundtable.org/support/

VODA https://voda.org.uk/good-neighbours/

We are updating our websites and social media platforms daily with information pertinent to our customer demographic linking to partner activity and support available locally.

Although our Bradbury Centre building is currently closed and our teams are all working from home and our Extra Care Schemes in the case of EveryDay our leadership team meets virtually each day to ensure service provision is sustained. 

As always we will keep all of our stakeholders fully appraised of any changes to service provision for Age UK North Tyneside and EveryDay Care.


Thursday 26 March 2020

It’s good news that I have very little to report today, most importantly that our “essential” care services continue without any disruption. The EveryDay Care teams continue to do a fantastic job.

Please check our website news page and encourage friends and family members to do the same as there are lots of different activities that you and our customers could be doing whilst we’re in the ongoing lockdown situation.

In addition our social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook) are working well for us with key partners liking and sharing our news constantly.

I am delighted to report that we still have no customers reporting COVID-19 symptoms which is testament to the procedures and processes already in place to combat every eventuality, even a pandemic of this magnitude.  

For our key worker care teams in the community we are today trying to get confirmation from North Tyneside and Newcastle City Councils that they will supply us with a letter confirming our care service is “essential”.

Unfortunately some of our key worker staff have been stopped by the Police who have asked for confirmation of their necessity to be ‘on the road’.

EveryDay Care team members should have their ID with them at all times in addition their managers will supply them with a sign for either their vehicle or to carry about their person with our Head of Professional Care services Kerry Parker’s mobile number which they can share with the Police if challenged.

Sadly there is no sign of the delivery of face masks. Be assured that we are chasing the supply chain.

As necessity is the ‘mother of invention’ we have made over 750 face masks in house to date. We have 400 in stock and materials to make a further 400 if necessary, so as you’d expect we are well prepared.

We have launched the Telephone Befriending Service and we are now receiving referrals. Our Customer Service team will continue to triage enquiries and pass these to our Volunteering team.

The main contact number to access this service is 0191 2808484.

Our 40 existing Befriending volunteers continue to support our existing customers, and we have 10 new COVID 19 volunteers on the telephones with a further 77 volunteers in the process of being checked and trained to support older customers over the telephone.

The numbers are staggering and include volunteers from Accenture based at the Cobalt Industrial Estate. Our Volunteering team is supporting this service and we hope that in the future the friendships made during COVID-19 will be sustained.

Our Customer Service team has offered advice and guidance to some 100+, often distressed, older people, and demand for our shopping service is strong.

Our website is updated very regularly as are all of our social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook ) so we can direct customers online if needs be.

Our Customer Service team is available over 7 days 10am to 3pm Tel 0191 2808484.

Until tomorrow, stay safe everyone.

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