Coronavirus

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Jack Brooke-Battersby
By Jack Brooke-Battersby

Senior Staff Writer

27 March 2020

| | 4 min read

Community

Citylife Line service opens up to residents in need of support

A coronavirus support service set up in Newcastle – Citylife Line – has now expanded to take enquiries from people who need extra assistance.

Newcastle Civic Centre
Newcastle Civic Centre

As of today (Friday March 27), residents who need help accessing essential services, or who need support as social distancing and isolation measures impact on their existing support networks, can alert Newcastle City Council of their situation.

This can be done online at www.newcastle.gov.uk/citylifeline or by calling 0191 2778000. This number will go live at 11am on Friday March 27.

The service initially launched to allow residents to sign up to volunteer and support the community during the coronavirus outbreak. The impact was immediate with more than 400 people signing up in the first 24 hours to put themselves forward to offer their help to others in the city. Volunteering Matters is working through these offers in liaison with the voluntary and community sector organisations who have told the council that they need more volunteers.

Citylife Line will work alongside national priority efforts to help those ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ residents who have been contacted by the NHS having been identified among the 1.4million individuals most susceptible to the virus. But there will be other residents, not identified on these lists, who may need a helping hand to get through the coronavirus outbreak. This could be requiring help to get essential groceries or even just having somebody to talk to over the telephone.

People who feel they need this help can now register themselves through Citylife Line. Members of the public can also continue to register as volunteers, although if you have already signed up to the NHS volunteer scheme announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, you do not need to do so again with Citylife Line.

Cllr Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, announces the expansion of the Citylife Line service which is now taking enquiries from members of the public who need extra support during the coronavirus outbreak

Cllr Nick Forbes - Citylife Line

Cllr Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “These are unprecedented times and there will be lots of people across Newcastle who will need a bit of extra help in the next few weeks. As we all follow the rules around social distancing and staying at home as much as possible, some will struggle with shopping, getting their prescriptions or walking the dog. Others are bound to feel lonely and a chat with someone could make all the difference to their day.

“At the same time we’ve had hundreds of people step forward to volunteer to help – showing true Geordie spirit in wanting to help others in their time of need.

“This new service will co-ordinate offers and asks for help – matching up people in a real community-led approach to get us through the difficult weeks ahead. Importantly, by using established charities, people asking for help can be assured that their needs will be treated confidentially, securely and with dignity.

“We’ve worked hard with a number of voluntary sector organisations in the city to put this scheme in place, and I’m grateful to everyone who has burned the midnight oil to come up with this brilliant approach. It fills me with pride that we have so many compassionate and dedicated people who, by their actions, are making sure we will all get through this together. You are all magnificent.

“Most importantly, if you are struggling in anyway this service is for you and I would urge you to use it. Don’t feel you are alone – our whole city is here to support you.”

If you register as needing assistance, your details will be referred to a relevant organisation in the voluntary and community sector who will then get in touch to arrange the support needed. People who pledge their support will have their contact details taken and reviewed.  If an organisation in the voluntary sector requires their support, their details will be passed to that organisation who will contact them directly if they are required.

Stay up to date with wider coronavirus developments in Newcastle by visiting www.newcastle.gov.uk/coronavirus. If you are not already doing so, follow Newcastle City Council on Facebook (@NewcastleCityCouncil) and Twitter (@NewcastleCC).