Jack Brooke-Battersby
By Jack Brooke-Battersby

Senior Staff Writer

12 May 2020

| | 4 min read


Citylife Line praised by those who contacted coronavirus support service

Since it was established at the end of March, Citylife Line has taken enquiries from more than 2,200 Newcastle residents, each struggling with the effects of the coronavirus lockdown. 

Citylife Line logo
Citylife Line logo

Many have been unable to purchase food as the pandemic has cost them their livelihoods, while the most vulnerable residents who the government told to shield from the virus have been confined to their homes, unable to access basic provisions for themselves. 

Here, we hear from two residents who reached out the Citylife Line to get help with their lives in lockdown. 

Jean Whitfield, 56, of Throckley 

Mrs Whitfield with dogs Simba and Narla

Mrs Whitfield lives in Throckley with her husband Ronald and son Joseph. As a result of her health problems, when lockdown was introduced, Jean and her family were unable to leave their home having been identified by the government as needing to shield from coronavirus. 

That meant beloved dogs Simba, a miniature Jack Russell; and Narla, a Jack Chi, had nobody to take them out. 

“I got a letter from the government to say I was classed as vulnerable with my health problems. I didn’t know I could get help with dog walking and it was really stressing us out because we couldn’t leave the house. 

“Even though I can’t walk I normally take the dogs out one a time on my scooter, but now they are going out together thanks to volunteers we found through CityLife Line.” 

Mrs Whitfield and her family have also received food parcels through Citylife Line, and she says the support they’ve received has been a big help as to how they’ve coped with the pandemic. 

“My husband has been petrified because if I was to catch the virus that would be it, so this has made a huge difference and it’s made things a lot less stressful for us. 

“It’s nice that there’s so many people wanting to volunteer at the moment, it’s actually quite overwhelming. 

“Of course at first you’re a bit nervous about accepting the help but the volunteers have been checked out, and the dog walkers have become quite attached to my dogs now.” 

Council leader Cllr Nick Forbes gives his thanks to all individuals and residents have helped to support others during the coronavirus lockdown.

Cllr Forbes thanks city for community response

Dianne Home, 51, Scotswood 

For Dianne Home, following her doctor’s advice to contact Citylife Line for support during lockdown led to a surprise reunion. 

Her disabilities combined with having a 72-year-old carer who had been forced into isolation, meant she was unable to visit the shops and contend with new lengthy queues that were forming as a result of social-distancing measures. 

When she contacted Citylife Line to ask for help, the volunteer sent to her door was estranged neighbour and friend Wendy Thompson. 

“I hadn’t seen her for a few years and didn’t recognise her with her mask on, but she recognised me,” said Dianne. 

“It was really nice to reconnect because I’d lost her number. It was great to hear how the bairns had grown up and have a bit of a catch up from the end of the garden.” 

Turning to Citylife Line had been difficult for Dianne as she didn’t like asking for support, but she was full of praise for the service she received once she did. 

“I think it’s been brilliant,” she said. “It’s amazing how many people have come out to help, with all the stress this has been a bit of light. 

“I don’t like asking for help and I hadn’t spoken to Wendy for a couple of days since she visited, but she rang me to ask if I needed anything getting and it made everything so much easier. 

“She’s helped me about half a dozen times now and been amazing.” 

A public appeal is in place to allow residents to help voluntary and community sector organisations purchase provisions they need to support the residents they are helping during the lockdown. 

The appeal, which was launched with an initial target of £30,000, is now closing in on the £50,000 mark. 

If you are able to make a donation, please do so at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/CitylifeLine