Healthwatch Gateshead and Newcastle October online forum

Our monthly forums are a chance for anyone and everyone to learn more about health and social care services in our area. We aim to keep you updated with any changes to services in particular, and health and social care in general. This is for sharing, so while we have a lot to say, we also want to hear your views and feedback, and answer your questions.
Zoom and a cuppa!

A massive thank you to all who attended, and we hope you found the information useful and informative. As promised, here are links to some of the services we spoke about.

Healthwatch is an independent organisation with statutory powers aimed at identifying trends and issues in health and social care services, and bringing the voice of the real people to those in positions of power to make positive changes. There’s a Healthwatch branch for each local authority, so the people of Newcastle and Gateshead have representation within our team.

As well as listening to people’s experiences and making sure that the people planning services understand what people need and want, we help people find out about and access local services.

Our newsletters are designed to keep people updated on what we’re up to, and this month we launched our newsletter in podcast-style audio format.

Listen here!

Healthwatch Gateshead updates

What’s going on in Gateshead this month?

Autism Survey

Healthwatch Gateshead are running a survey to find out more about the experience people with autism have when accessing health and social care services. This will go live on 7 November. We want to hear about experiences, preferences, what works well and what doesn’t.   

Gateshead Warm Spaces directory 

Gateshead council have been working to create a network of 'Warm Spaces' for residents, so they can keep warm as the cost-of-living crisis escalates. These will be hosted by a number of community organisations across Gateshead, and are designed to provide a safe, comfortable and non-judgemental space for people who may be struggling. The list is regularly updated as more and more people are offering their spaces to anyone in need.

Gateshead warm spaces directory

Birtley Library Death Cafe

 Birtley Library hosts a Death Cafe from 10-12 noon on the 3rd Thursday of every month. Death Cafe is a friendly and welcoming space to talk about all aspects of dying in a relaxed and informal setting. It aims to break down the taboos about this natural, unavoidable part of everyone’s life.

No booking required, and it’s absolutely free, with a suggested donation of £2 for refreshments from those who are able.


Gateshead Public Health have set up a fantastic activity for the coming half-term, for intrepid explorers to follow maps a clues left all over Gateshead to try and crack the code.

10 coded messages on different poster designs will be placed at locations across Gateshead. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to decode the messages on all 10. You'll need to walk, cycle, scoot or wheel between parks, libraries and other locations to find the posters and crack the codes - no driving allowed!



Healthwatch Newcastle updates

What’s happening in Newcastle this month?

Covid-19 vaccination survey

We’re launching a survey this week to find out more about people’s experiences of receiving their Covid-19 vaccination in Newcastle. We want to find out about the booking process and how well it worked at the venues. Responses by 4th December please!

Healthwatch children and young people’s SEND survey

Another survey starting next week, aims to find out about the experiences of children and young people, along with their parents and carers, when accessing health and social care services, as well as their experience of their diagnosis process and support in education. 

Winter wellbeing hubs

Across the city a network of winter wellbeing spaces can support you, providing not just warmth but a warm welcome and a place for coming together to meet, learn new skills, and socialise over a hot drink.

Find more here

Cost of living support

Newcastle Council have also produced a useful guide to support with the rising cost of living – brochure here.

Newcastle Civic Centre Health and Wellbeing Event

There’s a health and wellbeing fair at the Civic Centre from 11am – 3pm on Saturday 22 October.

It’s going to be a fantastic event with karate demonstrations, CPR training from NEAS, all kinds of health checks and support for your physical and mental health. We’ll see you there!

Holistic Health at Fenham Library

There’s a holistic health advice event every Wednesday 10 – 12 noon. For more information and to book call Daniel on 07701381244 or email

Newcastle Early Help Teams

Having a young family is hard – so hard that a specialist service has been set up to make sure that anyone can access early support when they’re struggling. Getting the help you need early can mean all the difference to your own, and your family’s, health and wellbeing.

More information


For both areas

There are also several important services that cover a wider area in and around the North East.

Cost of living support

Connected Voice have a really useful directory of ways you can access support with the cost of living, from practical advice to extra funds and help.

More information here

North East parents and carer support line

A support line is available for parents and carers who may be struggling with their mental health.

The free phone line, which is run by North East Counselling Services (NECS), was set up after recognising the difficulties faced by parents who often had to bring their children to counselling sessions, and whose worries often revolved around the challenges of caring for someone.  

Thanks to funding from Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), the line operates Monday to Friday between 10am and 2pm.

If you are a parent or guardian wishing to access the parent and carer support line, call 0333 358 3040. Callers are welcome to leave a message outside of the opening hours to request a call-back during opening hours.

Covid-19 and flu vaccines in Gateshead and Newcastle

Experts advise that those at greater risk will need extra protection this winter. The flu vaccination & Covid-19 autumn booster will be critical to protecting lives. You may be eligible for both vaccinations if you are: 

  • aged 50 years & over
  • in a clinical risk group
  • pregnant
  • aged 5 – 49 & a household contact of someone in a high clinical risk
  • a carer aged 16 – 49
  • a resident, or staff member in a care home for older adults
  • a frontline health or social care worker

In addition, the free flu vaccine will be offered to the following: 

  • children aged 2-3 years
  • all primary school children

And once the most vulnerable have been offered the jab 

  • all healthy adults aged 50 to 64 years
  • secondary school children in years 7, 8 and 9

Covid-19 booster vaccines

The NHS is offering Covid-19 vaccines to those eligible, starting with people aged 75 and over and those who are immunosuppressed, who are at greatest risk. It is important people who are eligible come forward as soon as possible when it’s their turn, for extra protection ahead of winter, when viruses circulate most and can cause greatest harm.  For maximum protection, your Covid vaccination must be at least three months after your previous dose.


The NHS will let people know when it is their turn to come forward for their Covid-19 vaccine. Once invited, people can book their seasonal Covid-19 vaccine using the National Booking Service or by calling 119, or can find a local vaccination walk-in site.

Flu jabs

This year, the flu vaccine will be offered to those most at risk from flu first. From September, younger children, older people, those in clinical risk groups and pregnant women will be able to book an appointment for a flu vaccine at their GP practice or pharmacy. From mid-October 2022, people aged 50 to 64 years old who aren’t in a clinical risk group will also be able to get a free flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is offered through schools for school-aged children, and pregnant women can get their flu vaccine through their GP practice, pharmacy or maternity service.

The COVID-19 and the flu vaccine can be given on the same day and some people might get both vaccines at the same time. However, this may not always be possible, so we encourage everybody to get each vaccination as soon as they can, rather than waiting to get both at the same time.

Please help to keep yourself and those around you safe against these viruses by getting vaccinated when you are invited. You can find out more about what vaccinations you may need, and information about how to book an appointment, by visiting and   

First and second Covid-19 doses

The evergreen offering of the initial course of Covid-19 vaccines is still available.

Everyone aged 5 and over can get a 1st and 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. People aged 16 and over, and some children aged 12 to 15, can also get a booster dose.

People aged 5 and over who had a severely weakened immune system when they had their first 2 doses, will be offered a 3rd dose before any booster doses.

You can make your appointment on the NHS website or by calling 119 free of charge between 7am and 11pm, seven days a week.

If you have any questions about your vaccine, please contact the National Booking Service or call 119. You can also find more information on Covid-19 vaccines on the NHS website or

Suicide Prevention Training

Zero Suicide Alliance offer FREE online training courses to teach you the skills and confidence to have a potentially life-saving conversation with someone you’re worried about.  

These training courses are also available in British Sign Language (BSL).

ANDYSMANCLUB - an Introduction

Started in 2016 after the untimely death of Andy Roberts by suicide, ANDYSMANCLUB is a series of talking groups for men that operate in over 100 locations nationwide. ANDYSMANCLUB was set up after Andy’s family identified the fact that talking isn’t easy for men, and that talking openly may have helped Andy - as a result, the group ran its first session back in 2016. 

Free-to-attend with no registration or referral needed, ANDYSMANCLUB is a safe, non-judgmental space where men can talk openly about the troubles in their lives. The group runs every Monday from 7pm, excluding bank holidays, and is open to anyone who identifies as male over the age of 18. Find your nearest ANDYSMANCLUB here - Andy's Man Club | #ITSOKAYTOTALK | Andy's Man Club ( or email with any questions you have.

Better Health – Every Mind Matters Campaign for World Mental Health Day 

For World Mental Health Day on 10 October, Better Health – Every Mind Matters launched a campaign to encourage people to be ‘kind to your mind’ and highlight that ‘doing the small things can make a big difference to your mental wellbeing.’ Aimed at 18-34 year olds, but weighted towards vulnerable groups and those most at risk of mental health problems, the campaign will launch across Video-On-Demand, PR, online video, social and digital. A range of free campaign resources is now available here.

Recovery College Collective

The Recovery College Collective (Re-co-co), based on the North East aims to provide a peer led, peer delivered education and support service where people can learn from each other’s insights, skills and lived experience. For information on their plans and prospectus please visit their website or email

Other information

What is social prescribing?  

Alcohol and cancer -

Reducing alcohol intake -  

NHS Health Checks - NHS Health Checks - Healthworks

Asthma and Lung UK - Parent Carer Network Events