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Here to help this Christmas

For many reasons, the festive period can be difficult for lots of people.

Whether we are experiencing loneliness, or isolation, limited by our physical or mental health, a time of year that is supposed to bring joy can be tough.

We wanted to offer some ideas, practical tips and support to people who may need it or are worried about friends, family, or neighbours.


Make time to check-in

If you have a frail or elderly neighbour, check in on them. The current weather conditions can make it even more hazardous for people with limited mobility to get out. So checking that they have the necessary supplies and medication can be a big help.

It’s also an excellent opportunity to check they can keep safe and warm at home and to let them know you are thinking of them.

Suppose you are worried about someone and feel they would benefit from professional support. In that case, you can contact Age UK.

Start a Conversation

It’s a myth that more people commit suicide at Christmas, but that doesn’t mean it is something we should ignore.

Suicide disproportionately affects men – 3 in every four are male – and it is the biggest cause of death in men under 50.

We know that strong social bonds can reduce the risk of suicide, so don’t be afraid to start a conversation. It can save a life.

The Movember website has some brilliant resources to help you spot the signs, and practice how to start a difficult conversation.

Wellbeing Hubs

This Winter, there are more than 70 Wellbeing Hubs across Newcastle.

Many offer free hot and cold drinks, access to wifi and use of computers. Others may also offer hot food, baby changing facilities, indoor spaces and activities and hygiene or period poverty packs.

All offer a warm, welcoming and safe place for anyone who needs help, support or advice.

Visit the Public Health Newcastle website, where you can filter by opening dates, postcode and facilities.

Crisis at Christmas

Crisis Skylight Services has partnered with Gateshead College this year to deliver its Crisis @ Christmas Project.

This includes a sit-down meal on the 24th of December. Each person who attends will receive a Christmas Hamper. There will be entertainment, advice and support on-site.

Mini-buses are available for transport to and from the event (booking required). This is for skylight members only, but if you have anyone who you think would benefit from this service, then please call them to see if there’s space available.

If you know anyone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness this year who would benefit from attending the event, please ring Crisis Skylight Newcastle on 0191 222 0622 to book a place or delivery.

Christmas Eve 24th December – Festive Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings, plus tasty alternatives. Live music and bingo. Location: Gateshead College Address: Gateshead College, Baltic Campus, NE8 3BE Support with travel is available from 11 am to 4 pm.

Christmas Day 25th December – Hot Meal & Gift Hamper Deliveries Delivered directly to you 11 am to 3 pm. 

Crisis Skylight opening times:

  • Closed 25th and 26th December 2023
  • Open 27th, 28th and 29th December 2023, 10 am to 2 pm for Engagement and Assessment drop in and festive activities 
  • Closed 31st December and 1st January 2024
  • Open 2nd January for normal service 

Other Free Christmas Meals

People’s Kitchen provides free meals to people who need it in Newcastle and are open:

  • Christmas Eve, Sunday 24 December, 9:30 am to 11:30 am 
  • Christmas Day Monday 25 December – 11:30 am to 2 pm Christmas dinner
  • Boxing Day Tuesday 26 December – 6 pm to 8 pm
  • New Year’s Eve Sunday 31 December – 6:30 pm to 9 pm 
  • New Year’s Day  Monday 1 January 2024 – 9:30 am to 11:30 am 

At other times open Monday to Friday, 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm and weekends, 9:30 am to 11:30 am.

On Christmas Eve, Newcastle Cathedral, in partnership with Changing Lives, is offering free meals to people who are experiencing homelessness, unemployment, in recovery or facing abuse or exploitation.

For anyone who would like to gift a meal to someone less fortunate than themselves, you can make a donation here.

Festive Drop-Ins at Marie Curie

The Marie Cure Hospice is hosting a series of festive drop-ins between Christmas and New Year.

‘Festive Nibbles and Natter’ is a free drop-in for people who, for whatever reason, may be alone at this time of year.

On Wednesday, 27th, Thursday, 28th and Friday, 29th December, from 10 am to 3 pm, there will be nibbles, games and a chance to chat and meet some new people.

Marie Cure Hospice is on Marie Curie Drive, Elswick Road, Newcastle, NE4 6SS. They can be reached on 0191 2191000.

Support and Helplines

Many organisations offer helplines, text support and online help for mental health and other conditions or circumstances where people may need support.

Samaritans

Call 116 123
Visit samaritans.org
Text ‘SHOUT’ to 85258

Tyneside Mind Support Line

Call 0191 477 4545 (8am to 10pm)
Visit tynesidemind.org.uk

Newcastle Crisis Team

Call 0191 814 8899 (24/7)
Call 0800 652 2863 (freephone)
Text 07919 228 548 (for people who are deaf/have communications difficulties)

Age UK Advice Line

Call0800 678 1602
Lines are open 8 am – 7 pm, 365 days a year.

Beat Eating Disorders

Call 0808 801 0677
Helplines are open 365 days a year from 3 pm-8 pm during the week, and 5 pm-9 pm on weekends and bank holidays.

Campaign Against Living Miserably – Calm

Call 0800585858
5 pm-midnight, 365 days a year

Combat Stress

For veterans’ mental Health
Call 08001381619
24-hour helpline

The Compassionate Friends

Supporting bereaved parents and their families
Call 03451232304
Open 10 am – 4 pm, 7 – 10 pm every day of the year

The Trussell Trust

Call 08082082138
Helpline for those struggling to afford essentials
Monday to Friday, 9 am – 5 pm.
Closed on bank holidays.

Newcastle Carers

Call 0191 275 5060 (10 am to 4 pm)
Visit newcastlecarers.org.uk

North East Council on Addictions

Call 0191 222 1262
Visit neca.co.uk

No Panic

Call 0300 772 9844 (helpline)
Call 0330 606 1174 (youth line)
Visit nopanic.org.uk

Money Helper

Call 08001387777
Mon-Fri 8 am – 6 pm
Sat, Sun & bank holidays – Closed

The National Association for People Abused in

Childhood (NAPAC)

Call 08088010331
Monday-Thurs 10 am-9 pm
Friday 10 am – 6 pm
Sat & Sun – Closed

National Domestic Abuse Helpline

24-hour helpline for women who have experienced domestic abuse and violence.
Call 08082000247

The Silver Line

Helpline for older, lonely & isolated people
Call 08004708090
24 hours, 7 days a week

Cruse Bereavement Support

Call 08088081677

LGBT Foundation

Call 03453303030
9 am – 9 pm on a weekday and 10 am – 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday (excluding bank holidays and religious festivals).

Men’s advice line

For victims of domestic abuse
Call 08088010327
Mon – Fri 10 am – 5 pm

Apps and Online Mental Health Support

Togetherall is a safe online community where people support each other anonymously to improve their mental health.

Visit togetherall.com

Kooth offers counselling and support services for young people aged 11-18 and those in Looked After Care up to 25.

Visit kooth.com

NHS Every Mind Matters has tips and other small things we can all do to be kind to our minds. There is expert advice and practical tips to look after your mental wellbeing.

Visit nhs.uk/every-mind-matters

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