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Rough Sleepers To Be Offered Emergency Housing and Vaccine in Omicron Fight



Rough sleepers will be offered a roof over their head this Winter, until March but only if they receive a vaccine in a bid to protect them from the Omicron variant.

With Covid-19 cases reaching record highs in the last week, councils will be given a £28million boost to protect people living on the streets during the cold Winter.

Councils will join with charities to identify those who are sleeping rough, and work with local housing associations or charities and hotels to provide accommodation.

The extra money, part of the government’s Protect and Vaccinate scheme, will see mobile clinics set up on the streets and outreach work in shelters to encourage people to get vaccinated. This comes as homeless charities like Glass Door were forced to shut down their usual Winter services over fears of the transmissibility of the new variant.

For weeks, organisations have been urging the government to give councils clear guidelines to ensure everyone at risk of sleeping rough is offered emergency accommodation, and the funding to provide it.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive at Crisis, said the money is ‘incredibly welcomed’ but pointed out that it must be based on need, rather than if a person was born in the UK or not. Based on the latest guidance, all non-UK nationals should be able to qualify for accommodation, and councils would struggle to find grounds to turn them away.

Prof Jim McManus, the president of the association of public health, welcomed the funding. “It’s important to get people off the streets when they have a vaccine, in case they have the normal flu-like reaction. Trying to keep yourself warm, when your body is having an immune response to a vaccine, and when you’re in the freezing cold, is awful.”

The homeless population has been especially hard hit by Covid-19, with one in 50 deaths among this group related to coronavirus in 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics.

However, there is limited data on what percentage of the homeless population have received a vaccine. Charity Homeless Link estimated in August that only one in three rough sleepers were fully vaccinated – a concern given this group often have underlying medical issues and less ability to self-isolate.

Eddie Hughes, the minister for rough sleeping, said: “In the wake of a surge in Covid-19 cases and a new variant, we have an even greater responsibility to protect vulnerable people.”

While the UK has one of the highest vaccine uptakes in the world – with more than 85% of adults are double jabbed, according to government data yet millions are yet to have their full vaccine course.

What do you make of this? Is this the right way to tackle homelessness? Let us know!

You can help the homeless by supporting our Help The Homeless campaign by donating just £5 to provide someone less fortunate with a warm Christmas Dinner. You can donate here. Thank you.

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Saudi Arabia wants its investors to own Manchester United



North East Updates - Breaking News

Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.


Sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky News – with the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.


It follows the Manchester United board announcing that they are open to a sale of the club.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisalstated he would be keen on Ronaldo signing for a Saudi Pro League after the World Cup, with the 37-year-old a free agent following a controversial interview and exit to Manchester United earlier this week..


“Who wouldn’t want him to play in their league?” “He’s a role model to a lot of young players – him and Messi.”


Sky news are reporting – It is the availability of United – after the Glazers announced plans for a potential sale – and Ronaldo that is interesting Prince Abdulaziz.


What are your thoughts on this – join the conversation on our Facebook page.


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Sunday for Sammy Concert Cancelled For 2023 Due To Cost of Living



A popular charity concert will not be held in 2023 due to the cost of living crisis.

Sunday for Sammy, which is held in memory of North East actor Sammy Johnson, is a biennial event aimed at benefitting young performers.

The long-running event has featured the likes of Joe McElderry, Johnny Vegas, Brenda Blethyn, Denise Welch, AC/DC’s Brian Johnson and Mark Knopfler, Jill Halfpenny and Ant and Dec.

Tim Healy, who hosts Sunday for Sammy, said: “We’ve had lots of enquiries over the recent months asking when the next Sunday for Sammy will take place.

“We are very much aware at the moment that people are struggling with day-to-day living costs and are watching their pennies. Everything is becoming more and more expensive and that includes the cost of putting on a show the size of ours.”

He added: “We can’t in good conscious put on a show that we aren’t sure people can afford to be tickets for. It would be wrong to risk your money you have generously given us.

“So sadly we have decided that there won’t be a show in 2023. We’re going to wait until the time is right.”

Often dubbed The Geordie Command Performance, the shows, which have been running for more than 20 years, are held in memory of Geordie actor Sammy Johnson, who died in 1999.

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STACK Newcastle Bosses Scrap Plans For Christmas Pop-Up Venue



The owners of STACK have confirmed that there won’t be a pop-up version in Newcastle this Christmas, as plans have been shelved.

At the end of September it was reported that STACK’s owner, Danieli Group, were hoping to bring the brand back to the heart of Newcastle after its Pilgrim Street site was demolished earlier this year, after becoming a firm favourite with locals and visitors since 2018. The pop-up, close to the Crowne Plaza hotel in the Stephenson Quarter, looked set to be a massive draw before STACK makes its permanent return to the city next year, was planned to feature a number of shipping container bars, a new take on its famous Hadrian’s Tipi, street food vans, a stage and large screen, all on one level.

But, it has now been announced that the proposed STACK festive pop-up won’t be happening anymore. Confirming the decision, Neill Winch, CEO of Danieli Group said that while it was sad news that the pop-up would no longer take place, it meant the company can forge ahead with the Worswick Chambers plan.

He commented: “We know how much people miss not having a STACK in Newcastle so we are concentrating our efforts on creating what will become a flagship site back where STACK first began,” he said.

“Work is well underway on the scheme with a view to being open in winter 2023.”

In recent weeks it has announced new developments in Lincoln, Durham, Bishop Auckland and Carlisle.

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