Health & Care Services
The NHS is providing a new and more convenient way for you to access urgent care from the 1st December. Find out what this means for you and your loved ones. The NHS wants to make it easier and safer for patients to get the right treatment when they need it, without waiting a long time to be seen in A&E. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, crowded waiting rooms are also putting patients and hospital staff at risk of catching COVID-19.
Read the article here Think you need to go to A&E? Call NHS 111 first
Tees Valley CCG share information about repeat prescriptions and how to order your repeat prescription. Read the article here Is your repeat prescription on your Christmas list?
Darlington Pharmacy Christmas and New Year opening times
Up until Christmas Eve (24th December) all pharmacies will be open as normal.
If you require advice out of hours please contact NHS 111.
Do not visit a pharmacy if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, you must self isolate.
You can also use NHS Find a pharmacy to find details and opening times of pharmacies in your town or close to where you live, just enter your postcode to search.
Find out more about the government's plans to support people's wellbeing and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic this winter here.
You can form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ of up to three households on Christmas Day only, this applies across the UK in Tier 1,2 and 3 areas only. More information here Making a Christmas bubble with friends and family
The festive season can be a difficult time of year for many. If you’re worried about someone else this Christmas and New Year, Samaritans have got some tips to help you reach out. Take a look here.
Mind explains how the period around Christmas and New Year might affect your mental health and gives tips on how to cope and suggestions for supporting someone else here.
Darlington Mind launch 'Lose The Blues' a project to help young people with their mental health, all you need to do is walk or run throughout January to improve your wellbeing and promote mental health awareness. Sign up here There's also a Facebook group to join here.
Kooth is a free, online counselling and emotional wellbeing platform for young people aged 11-18 years. You can still access support over the holiday period, they're online everyday including Christmas Day. More information here.
Over the Christmas and New Year period, Arriva services will be running to different timetables. See their guide to service levels this Christmas here.
Blurt are a social enterprise dedicated to help those affected by depression by increasing awareness and understanding. Read their self care for the festive season here.
It’s ok to feel lonely, particularly at a time like this. Don’t suffer in silence, we can all help each other stay connected. Every day up to Christmas Let's Talk Loneliness will be sharing top tips, inspiring stories and easy things you can do to help alleviate loneliness this festive season here.
Coronavirus may have kept us apart – but creativity and nature can bring us together. Take a look at the Mental Health Foundations Thriving with Nature activity here.
The Bee Tree Community are offering free Zoom Support Groups for people affected by loneliness and isolation during lockdown, more information here. The organisation is UK-wide and aims to be a 'virtual community centre' by running online sessions using Zoom. For more information, contact The Bee Tree Community by emailing email@example.com.
Arcus offer counselling and a social support service, primarily developed for LGBT+ people. Their Support Line is open 10am - 10pm on Christmas Day. More details here.
NHS Winter Wellness Pack
Mental health self help is available, details here.
Long dark evenings and bad weather can make it harder to go out and the cold can affect your health. Being prepared can help you stay healthy & safe. Check out the Independent Age website for preparing yourself to stay well in winter here.
Public Health England share the direct and indirect health effects of winter weather here.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions and regulations may mean things feel very different this year. This month, Bupa look at five ways to boost your mood and create those warm, festive feelings while keeping safe. Take a look here.
Forestry England have put together three ways you can stay connected to nature and people this winter. Based on neuroscience, advice from an expert psychiatrist, and guidance from Mind, they want to share these three tips for a kinder, more connected Christmas. Read more here.
Get tips, information and resources on walking here.
Groundwork are currently offering 1-1 walks with one of their friendly members of staff. More information about their Winter Walks here.
The Get Kids Outside website share tips for getting kids outside in winter here.
Drink Aware provide tips to stay safe this Christmas here.
Bike stop are still able to deliver one to one walks and bike rides. This is perfect for anyone at home feeling lonely and could do with some company. More details here.
This month Step Forward Tees Valley are working with local Citizen Advice Bureaus to help you manage your money over Christmas time. They're kicking the month off with some tips from @MartinSLewis for planning for a different kind of Christmas. Read more here.
Grief is universal. It has no rules.
We need to speak about death, bereavement and grief. If you can, talk to your family, your friends, your colleagues, your neighbours.
There are also many other options available, which can offer emotional and practical support or simply a listening ear.
Cruse is the largest national charity for the bereaved
0808 808 1677
Sudden provides support for those bereaved by sudden death
0800 2600 400
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide provides support for people bereaved following suicide
0300 111 5065
Winstons's Wish provides specialist support for bereaved children and their families
08088 020 021
London Friend provides support for the LGB&T community
0300 330 0630
Other specialist services can be found at thegoodgrieftrust.org/find-support/
Do you need to speak to someone now?
0800 1111 (under 18s and their carers)
0800 470 8090 (over 50s)
You can find more information on our Bereavement - where can I get support? Advice & information page.
Food Banks and Hot Food Initiatives
Age UK North Yorkshire & Darlington are offering a ‘meals to warm’ service across the festive period including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.
Bookings are being taken up until 16th December but bookings can be picked up anything up until the day before.
The Bread and Butter Thing
The scheme provides groceries at a fraction of the high street prices. For £7.50 you receive three bags of food. They try and always give you some fruit and vegetables and something for your cupboards and fridge. More information here.
Open Friday 25th, Saturday 26th, Sunday 27th and Tuesday 29th December.12 noon until 5pm.
Friday 1st, Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd January 2021. 12noon until 5pm.
Salvation Army Foodbank
Open Friday 18th December and Tuesday 22nd December 1-3pm
Reopens Friday 8th January 2021.
170 Thompson Street East, Darlington DL1 3EW
St Andrew’s Haughton Foodbank
Open Tuesday 22nd December 1.30pm until 2.30pm and Tuesday 29th December 1.30pm until 2.30pm
St Andrew's Church Hall off Haughton Green, Darlington DL1 2DD
King’s Church Foodbank
Open Tuesday 22nd, Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th December 1-3pm
Tuesday 29th, Weds 30th and Thurs 31st December 1-3pm
The King's Centre, Prospect Place, Whessoe Road, Darlington DL3 0QT
Open Thursday 24th December 11-12 noon
Thursday 31st December 11-12 noon
St Columba's Church, Clifton Avenue, Darlington DL1 5EE
All McColl’s Newsagents will be open Christmas Day 9.30am until 3pm if you have forgotten to put money on Gas and Electric cards.
The purpose of the group is to support residents requiring help across our town by organising the efforts of volunteers who can provide assistance.
Online and Offline Activities
Family Action share Christmas tips for families here.
‘Tis the season to go WILD! Everyone’s favourite festive nature challenge, #12DaysWild, is back! Can you do one wild thing a day from 25th December – 5th January? Sign up here.
This December, join families and homes across the UK taking part in the fantastically festive Big Neighbourhood Winter Windowland Trail! ARTventurers have got nearly 80,000 households (and probably many more!) joining in with The Big Neighbourhood Winter Windowland Trail. More details here.
One Voice Darlington a network of local churches is organising Drive in Carols. The Drive In Carol Service is taking place at Teesside International Airport on Sunday 20th December. You can book your free ticket here.
Celebrate the festive season with a stellar cast of renowned musicians and A-list celebrities for a Carol Concert, re-imagined for 2020, which is being streamed online free to all and can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home. Read more here.
St Teresa's Hospice will shine lights on the trees in their Hospice grounds during the festive season for everyone whose life is being remembered. They will be broadcasting a live ceremony of their Dedication & Lighting Ceremony from the Hospice on Sunday 20th December. An online Dedication Programme will be published for you to view during the Ceremony. More details here.
Talking Tees Valley Activity Pack - Dementia Friendly Christmas Activity Pack
Tees Valley Museums, working with Teesside Dementia Link Services, based in Stockton, have produced the first of a series of ‘Talking Tees Valley Activity Packs’, featuring the story of Christmas objects from different museums around the Tees Valley. You can download the Activity pack below.
Entertainment and Libraries
Darlington Borough Council's fabulous staff at Darlington Libraries are pulling out all the stops to offer some festive fun for youngsters in the run up to Christmas. There's festive online story time sessions with Suzy and Big Ron from the Snow Globe, as well as Christmas BAGs for little ones and a special window competition. Find out more here.