News

Fri 22 May 2020

Thank you everyone who responded to our first Covid-19 Sector Survey, we had a great response and this has enabled us to paint a strong picture of the situation and to input this to national datasets (anonymised). Below is what we know from your responses combined with local intelligence. We have now started our second telephone survey, so please do take part if you can – it really helps us to ensure your views, opinions and concerns are heard.

The majority of the voluntary sector has kept going
Around 2/3 of the sector is still operating, either with reduced services, adapted services or enhanced services – you are playing a critical role in supporting people and stemming demand into critical statutory services. About a third have mothballed – generally these are the smaller groups, whose activities are based around face to face meetings and to an extent engage with more vulnerable and therefore isolating people.

There is a slow but steady re-emergence for those who have been closed
Most of those who have closed down are planning to reopen using digital or good old phone/mail – this is taking some time to plan and implement but at present only a tiny handful see themselves as giving up entirely. And I hope it goes without saying that we are here to help you – just get in touch!

Funding really matters in this regard
Of those who are closed, funding is almost as strong a factor as isolating for health reasons. Almost a third had applied for financial help and were awaiting the outcome.

Volunteering has been massively disrupted – positive and negative
Disruption is the only word I can think of to summarise here. Whilst almost 80% were continuing to use volunteers and many reported increased levels of volunteering, some two thirds cited older volunteers self-isolating and hence unavailable to volunteer. You should all be aware by now that Communities 1st can broker volunteers aplenty at present, but we can also help you rethink your recruitment, roles, and management of volunteers to take on more, different and remote tasks, so as usual, drop us a line.

Recovery is now
Recovery started only a few days ago and is evolving each day, so whether it is funding, volunteers or wider support that you need, please do not hesitate to get in touch – even just to use us as a sounding board - as often as you need.

If someone has forwarded this to you, you can sign up to receive our e-newsletters directly into your inbox here: www.communities1st.org.uk/newsletter

Stay safe, stay well, be kind

Stephen Craker,
Chief Executive, Communities 1st

 

This newsletter is split into the following sections:

  • Communities 1st COVID-19 Information and Support
  • Information to support voluntary and community sector organisations
  • Funding for non-profit organisations
  • Information to support individuals

COMMUNITIES 1st COVID-19 INFORMATION AND SUPPORT

Support for groups/charities

We need to hear from you
If you are are a charity or community group and you need additional support to deliver services during the pandemic, Communities 1st is here to help. We can offer advice on issues that affect charities, from fundraising to governance and managing volunteers.

You can contact us on 01727 743018 or via email: memberservices@communities1st.org.uk and we will prioritise support for your organisation.

Compassionate Community Connector Programme
This programme is being co-ordinated by Communities 1st in response to Covid-19 and covers the Districts and Boroughs of St Albans, Hertsmere, Welwyn/Hatfield, Broxbourne and East Herts in conjunction with many local organisations.

Supporting Individuals:
People who need help whilst isolated (or someone on their behalf) can complete an online form here or call 020 8207 5115 or email.

They will then be either matched with one of the Compassionate Community Connector volunteers, offered support immediately or signposted/referred on to a local voluntary/community organisation.

Volunteering:
for people who are healthy and at low risk to help others.  Individuals wishing to volunteer their time can sign-up here or call 020 3940 4865 between 1pm – 3pm, Monday to Friday.

On our website you can find a range of resources and support aimed at local charities, community groups, voluntary organisations and social enterprises on issues relating to Covid-19, including:

  • Funding sources – we’re updating our funding sources regularly with the latest information we find
  • Planning and adapting – including staffing issues, governance, managing a funding crisis, digital support, safeguarding and other useful resources (operational issues and guidance on working with different sectors of the community)
  • Useful Covid-19 volunteer introduction videos and documents for your organisation and information about mutual aid groups
  • Changes to services – our Covid-19 Community Directory provides information of local charities and how their services have adapted and been affected by the current situation.

Kindness Stories
We want to gather stories about positive things that are happening in our local communities during this #coronalockdown. If you have a Kindness Story that you would like to share please email us: covid19news@communities1st.org.uk #1stcommunitieskind

If you want more information you can visit our website: www.communities1st.org.uk/Covid-19Updates or contact our Voluntary Sector support team on 01727 743018.

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT VOLUNTARY AND COMMUNITY SECTOR ORGANISATIONS

COVID-19 Testing for VCF Sector Staff & Volunteers
Volunteers can now be tested for COVID-19 if they or a member of their household is symptomatic and so they are self-isolating. They can self-register by submitting their details here where they will be able to add more people from their household.

COVID-19 Testing for Employers
To obtain a log-in employers should email portalservicedesk@dhsc.gov.uk with the organisation name, sector, as well as the name and email address of up to two people who will use the portal. Once employer details have been verified two log-in credentials will be issued for the employer referral portal. More information available here.

The situation is changing rapidly so to keep up to date - Check the Government’s latest guidance on Coronavirus testing.

 

Stronger Together Networks

We have adapted our Stronger Together Network meetings to take place on Zoom. Three meetings took place this week, with three to take place next weeks. The focus of these meetings will be around moving on from the immediate crisis response, and thinking about the first stages of recovery/easing of lock down, including:

  • Service delivery
  • Volunteer offer
  • Lost/ reduced income
  • Future opportunities
  • Achievements during covid-19
  • Building on collaboration

If you would like to come along to network, share ideas and best practice you would be very welcome:

  • The Children & Young People Network – Wed 27 May: 10.30am – 12noon
  • The Disability Network - Tue 26 May: 10.30am – 12noon
  • The Transport Network – Tue 26 May: 2pm – 3.30pm

Please contact Isobel or Christine on 01727 743018 or email memberservices@communities1st.org.uk for zoom meeting details.

Volunteering Herts Valuing Volunteer Management Conference

Now in its 13th year, the Valuing Volunteer Management Conference this year will take place via zoom on Wednesday 3rd June.

Each year the Volunteering Herts partnership hold a conference celebrating excellence in volunteer management and with the events of COVID-19 dominating world affairs in 2020 good volunteer management is #NeverMoreNeeded.

We want to thank those who have continued to support volunteers in delivering services throughout the year. Special tribute will be paid to those involved in supporting the historic effort responding to COVID-19 crisis.

Owing to current events our conference this year will be a virtual one. We have put together an unmissable schedule of events and we’d really love you to join us.

The event will be going live between 10:30am and 12:30pm on Wednesday 3rd June. Our Keynote speaker this year is HM Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Robert Voss CBE StJ.

Sign up now using the following link: www.eventbrite.com/e/the-volunteering-hertfordshire-annual-conference-tickets-105978295936.

Better Business - Inspire KS3 Masterclasses – Business Volunteers wanted

Communities 1st will soon be launching an online webinar version of its Inspire KS3 Schools Masterclasses. Volunteers from a range of professional backgrounds give talks to students at Key Stage 3 about their jobs, how they got into them and what it’s like to work in their industries. If you’d like to take part, please click to complete a short questionnaire and we’ll get in touch with more details.

Share your volunteering stories

We are inviting local voluntary groups and organisations to share their volunteering videos, photos and stories with us as part of Volunteers Week.  This is an opportunity to recognise the valuable work of volunteers who make a difference in our communities. We'll also be highlighting the work of local volunteers through our regional and national partners - so please let us know if you and your volunteers would like to be featured as part of Volunteers Week 2020.   
 
There's a few ways for your group or organisation to share your volunteering stories with us, including by email and social media using the details below: 
 
Email: volunteer@communities1st.org.uk  
Twitter: @1stcommunities   
 
We're keen to hear from volunteers themselves about the fantastic work they've been doing for your group or organisation, including information about their role, why they decided to volunteer, and what their experiences have been like - whether that's before or during the COVID-19 pandemic. We'd also like to hear from YOU about how volunteers have supported your group, so please get in touch to share your stories ahead of Volunteers Week 2020! 

Small Charity Week is just around the corner!

Small Charity Week is happening during 15th-20th June. The week will be an opportunity to highlight the work of small charities across the UK, especially at this time when we are #NeverMoreNeeded. This year The Foundation for Social Improvement (FSI) will be working with Localgiving, NAVCA, NCVO and Small Charities Coalition to bring a week of activities and events to support your charity.

Keep telling the world why your organisation is #NeverMoreNeede than now

Let's make a significant social media noise using the hashtag #NeverMoreNeeded. Share your stories, share your members' stories - tag us in it (@1Communities) if you want us to give it a retweet etc. And please, also ask the organisations in your network to do the same. If you'd like to download the official logo click here. For the Twitter logo its here and finally there is a LinkedIn one here.

Valuing Volunteer Management Training – recruiting and retaining volunteers

This interactive and engaging course explores the challenges of recruiting, retaining and managing volunteers.  The full day’s course is split into two halves to give participants more choice.  The morning session is focussed on the recruitment process the afternoon is geared towards the ongoing management and motivation of your volunteers.  
 
It’s also a really great opportunity to begin the process of working towards achieving the Six-Point Promise. This is a solid affirmation of your commitment to the pursuit of excellence in volunteer management. It gives potential funders evidence of the quality service they look for and potential volunteers can be more confident that they will be valued and supported by your organisation. 
 
Thursday 25 June 2020 
10am – 12.30pm - Recruiting Volunteers 
2pm - 4.30pm - Managing Volunteers 

Cost:                
Herts voluntary organisations: £25 half-day or £45 full-day (includes handbook)  
Statutory organisations: £50 half-day or £90 full-day (includes handbook)  
 
For further information email Volunteering Herts at info@volunteeringherts.uk or call 01707 274861.

Alcumus: Covid-19 Health and Safety
Alcumus describe themselves as the UK’s market-leading provider of technology led compliance and risk management solutions. Their purpose is to help organisations be safer, healthier, and stronger.

They have free COVID-19 Health and Safety documents that can be downloaded. These include:

  • COVID-19 Return to Work Guidance Pack
  • COVID-19 Workplace Health & Safety Inspection Checklist
  • COVID-19 Risk Assessment Template
  • Checklist and Risk Assessment for Individual Worker

Click here for download links for all documents

We recommend that you read this in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive guidance.

Food safety for community cooking and food banks

As the lockdown continues in a “stay alert” capacity, it is important to continue to provide food for people in self-isolation due to coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms etc.

Food provided must comply with food law and be safe to eat. The food standards agency has produced some guidance to help you carry out this role. The guidance covers:

  • Registration
  • Food hygiene when cooking for your community or donating food
  • Food temperature
  • Redistributing food and donating to food banks
  • Businesses donating to food banks
  • Best before advice for specific food products
  • Allergen guidance when cooking for your community or donating food
  • Food that needs extra care
  • Meal containers
  • Delivering guidance

Find out more here.

FUNDING

If you would like help with applying for these funds such as a read and review, Christine Halpin and Isobel Hatfield are on hand to help you through, please contact them by email at memberservices@communities1st.org.uk and they will book some time in to work with you.

Hertfordshire Community Foundation (HCF) - grants of £5,000 available
HCF have grants of up to £5,000 available for community groups and charities dealing with emergency issues caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Please check the fund eligibility criteria before completing your application process.  Click here to access information from HCF about the application process.

Herts Sports Partnership have produced a funding newsletter which is extremely useful for sports groups and can be found on their website. It includes both local, national and sport specific funding packages. 

Active Local Funding
The focus of this funding and programme of work is to help reduce the negative impact of COVID-19 and the widening of the inequalities in sport and physical activity.  The target audiences are: Lower Socio-Economic Groups, Black, Asian Minority Ethnic Communities, Disabled People and People with Long-Term Health Conditions (LTC). 

It has been allocated for community groups/organisations that work in Hertfordshire’s Active Local areas (Waltham Cross, Wormley and Turnford, Grovehill, Hertford Sele, Cowley Hill, Jackmans, Sopwell, Bedwell, South Oxhey, Holywell, Peartree) and use physical activity or sport to help with wellbeing.

For further information, please contact Jamie or Richard on 01707 281201.

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner's Action Fund
Grants of up to £5,000 are available for projects that are helping to reduce crime and make Hertfordshire a safer place to live.

www.hertscf.org.uk/pcc-action-fund.

Crowdfund Hertfordshire
Crowdfunder are working with a number of partners across Hertfordshire, helping to make great ideas happen through a combination of expert crowdfunding coaching, events and grants.

Do you have a great idea for a project or initiative in Hertfordshire that needs funding?

For any queries relating to these funds please contact Hertfordshire Community Foundation at ana.siewniak@hertscf.org.uk.

www.crowdfunder.co.uk/programmes/crowdfund-hertfordshire.

Coronavirus Community Support Fund
The Government’s new Coronavirus Community Support Fund opened for applications today, Friday 22nd May.

This new funding stream makes available £200m in Government funding that will be aimed primarily at small to medium organisations in England.

The Fund has two key objectives:

  • To increase community support to vulnerable people affected by the COVID-19 crisis, through the work of civil society organisations.
  • To reduce temporary closures of essential charities and social enterprises, ensuring services for vulnerable people impacted by COVID-19 have the financial resources to operate, and so reduce the burden on public services.

Grants will allow organisations to meet service costs, where they are experiencing increased demand and/or short-term income disruption. Grants will also allow organisations to refocus services to address more immediate beneficiary needs in light of COVID-19.

www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/covid-19/learn-about-applying-for-emergency-funding-in-england.

www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/covid-19/learn-about-applying-for-emergency-funding-in-england#item-2.

Greggs Foundation
The foundation provides small grants of up to £2,000 in areas where Greggs operate. Funding is for work in a socially deprived area, or with Older people, People with disabilities, People with caring responsibilities, Homeless people.  Click here for more information.

Grocers' Charity
Financial support for UK-registered charities, with the selection of recipients being regularly reviewed in line with a policy to support specific areas of need. The relief of poverty (including youth poverty) and help for the disabled usually take priority, with medicine, the arts, heritage, the Church and the elderly also designated. Click here for more information.

The Football Association: Pitch Preparation Fund
Alongside the Football Association, The Premier League, the Government and Sport England have collaborated through their Football Foundation to launch the new ‘Pitch Preparation Fund’.

The fund is here to try and support as many clubs and organisations as possible to be ready for when football returns. Every applicant must be a club or organisation with a minimum of 12 months’ security of tenure over the pitches they wish to improve by freehold, leasehold or licence, and have the legal responsibility for maintaining them.

It can be used for such things as: grass cutting, line marking and weed killing etc. For 3G pitches it can be used for deep cleaning etc.  Any work that has been completed since The FA suspended football on the 16 March 2020 is eligible to be funded.  Details of the full criteria and eligibility can be found here.

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs:  Covid-19 Food Charity Grant Scheme
If you run a front-line food aid charity in England, you can apply for a grant of at least £30,000 up to a maximum of £100,000 to help you continue to provide food to the vulnerable

You’re eligible to apply if you are unable to meet an increased demand for food from vulnerable individuals or supporting charities or you have the capacity to distribute all of the food purchased under this grant by 9 August 2020.

You can apply for the grant to provide for people:

  • unable to afford food
  • who have moved into temporary accommodation as a result of COVID-19, for example those who have left home due to domestic abuse, newly released prisoners, the newly homeless

You’ll need to provide details of your current food distribution activities. If you receive food from the Fare Share network, you are still eligible to apply for this grant. The deadline for applications is 6 July 2020.

Further information and details of how to apply are available here.

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust: Armed Forces Covid-19 Impact Programme
The Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund are administering the Ministry of Defence funding to ensure that people from armed forces communities can keep accessing important services, where resources for these services have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Armed forces charities and community interest companies can apply. Grants of up to £60,000 can be applied for. In exceptional circumstances, grants of up to £125,000 or more may be awarded.

Organisations must be working in one of nine key areas:

  • Support to the elderly (including care homes)
  • Mental and physical health
  • Welfare
  • Domestic violence
  • Housing
  • Criminal Justice System
  • Service families (including childcare)
  • Bereavement
  • Employment

£300k funding available through Clinks
Working with HM Prison and Probation Service, Clinks - the criminal justice charity - has been given £300k to share with organisations working with people in the criminal justice system and who have an annual income of less than £500k.

Bids should be directly related to Covid-19 and meet an immediate requirement or anticipated gap in provision.

Bidding opens this week and the funding is available for six months, or until the funding runs out.

Click here for further details.

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT INDIVIDUALS

If you are looking for a good way to spend time during a pandemic, Alison.com could have the answer. Alison offers over 1500 free courses with the option to purchase the certificate after taking the course. Courses cover many topics, from Business and Marketing to IT, Science and even the notorious Coronavirus course, which has been translated to most major languages in the world.

NHS in Hertfordshire is still here to help you get the treatment you need over the Spring bank holiday

The local NHS is still here to help you get the treatment you need over this coming Spring bank holiday.

The bank holiday weekend means that some pharmacies and GP practices will be closed on Monday 25 May.  However, the good news is that there are pharmacies open, dispensing advice as well as medicines.  To find one near you, visit: https://hertsvalleysccg.nhs.uk/your-services/local-services/find_a_service.

As well as advice from pharmacists, don’t forget that NHS 111 online is here for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year if you urgently need health advice.

Urgent treatment is also still available at local hospital urgent treatment centres. West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust 'minors' department in Watford General Hospital A&E is open 24 hours. Hemel Hempstead Urgent Treatment Centre is open 08.00 - 22.00 every day. Both departments see adult patients with minor injuries.  The children's emergency department at Watford General Hospital is also open.

Further details of how to access urgent treatment at other NHS Trusts who cover our local area can be found on their websites:

Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

Luton and Dunstable University Hospital

Trust launches ‘round the clock’ enhanced mental health support

Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (HFPT) is providing increased access to help and support for people in Hertfordshire who are experiencing a mental health crisis, looking for mental health help or just need to talk.

Support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 0300 777 0707.

Herts residents experiencing a mental health crisis now also have the option to access our team of mental health professionals directly via the NHS 111 service. Selecting option 2 for mental health services will automatically direct Herts callers to the 24/7 HPFT helpline team.

A clinician specialising in children and young people’s mental health is also available on the helpline number, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They provide specialist advice to families and other professionals for children and young people in a mental health crisis and can also arrange an assessment if required.

Living Room Herts
People who suffer from any addiction that need help and support can call Living Room Herts to discuss their needs.  The service delivers group counselling therapy via Zoom (during the pandemic), but usually takes the form of group therapy in three centres – St Albans, Stevenage and Watford.  They also support the loved ones and carers of people suffering with an addiction. The lockdown has seen heightened needs for their services generally and they want to help people to have coping strategies that divert them away from drugs, alcohol or behavioural addictions, by connecting with other people who have experienced the same or similar issues.

www.livingroomherts.org 0300 365 0304 and out of hours helpline (Family Lives) 0808 800 2222.

Bereavement
In normal circumstances, bereavement can be a lonely and isolating experience, and these feelings can be made worse by the impact of self-isolation and social distancing measures which are currently in place. 

Local Bereavement Support is available from Peace Hospice Care, who have a team of volunteer bereavement counsellors and run regular bereavement groups. Tel: 03332 340 868 and ask for the Bereavement Support Team.

Cruse Bereavement Care Hertfordshire provide telephone support to bereaved people via a telephone helpline. You can access support on 01707 278389 Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.  For helpful resources see the Cruse website.

InTouch is a countywide emotional support line for older people, open Monday to Friday 9am – 4:30pm. Tel:  01992 629 358 OR 01992 634 964 OR 07538 954 189 Email: InTouch@ageukherts.org.uk.

Join stakeholder reference group on hospital plans for residents of west Hertfordshire
Over the last couple of months West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust and Herts Valleys CCG have been busy responding to COVID-19. The outbreak hasn’t diminished our ambition; to provide patients, staff and the community with new buildings and up-to-date hospital facilities. We are still aiming for new buildings to open in 2025.

An outline business case (OBC) is being developed, in line with HM Treasury guidelines. It will revisit the case for change and the preferred way forward identified in the Strategic Outline Case (SOC) last year. As part of this work we would very much like to involve interested people from across west Hertfordshire to join our stakeholder reference group.

Fri 15 May 2020

Life is very strange and challenging at the moment, not least for Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise organisations and our beneficiaries. Some of us have had to furlough staff and close services, while others are supporting huge increases in their number of beneficiaries.

Challenging as the present is for us all, it feels like we are in the lull before the economic storm Covid-19 will leave in its wake. Charity reserves will start to run dry with no means to recoup lost income. The local voluntary sector has been a lifeline during the immediate crisis but looks likely to have to retrench just when we should be moving into “post-crisis” support mode, when the sector will be needed more than ever as demand for services spikes.  

As a sector, we must also prepare ourselves for the far more difficult, and much more costly, challenge that awaits us post-emergency: “recovery” and “renewal”.  Our CVS Team are undertaking a second telephone survey with member organisations to understand how they are responding to the current situation and the future plans post-crisis.  This information will enable us understand the real state of the voluntary and community sector in Hertsmere and St Albans and to inform local authorities, Hertfordshire County Council and national voluntary sector infrastructure organisations such as NCVO and NAVCA.

We have adapted our Stronger Together Network meetings to take place on Zoom over the next few weeks.  The focus of these meetings will be around moving on from the immediate crisis response, and thinking about the first stages of recovery/easing of lock down.  If you would like to come along to network, share ideas and best practice you would be very welcome. Please see details below. 

Kindness Stories
We want to gather stories about positive things that are happening in our local communities during this #coronalockdown.  If you have a Kindness Story that you would like to share please email us: covid19news@communities1st.org.uk #1stcommunitieskind

If someone has forwarded this to you, you can sign up to receive our e-newsletters directly into your inbox here: www.communities1st.org.uk/newsletter

Stay safe, stay well, be kind

Stephen Craker,

Chief Executive, Communities 1st

 

This newsletter is split into the following sections:

  • Communities 1st COVID-19 Information and Support
  • Information to support voluntary and community sector organisations
  • Funding for non-profit organisations
  • Information to support individuals

COMMUNITIES 1st COVID-19 INFORMATION AND SUPPORT

Support for groups/charities

We need to hear from you
If your voluntary organisation is still delivering your service, please inform us of what kind of help, support, guidance you most need from Communities 1st.

If your organisation is facing challenges as a direct result of Coronavirus you can contact us on 01727 743018 or via email: memberservices@communities1st.org.uk and we will prioritise support for your organisation.

Compassionate Community Connector Programme
This programme is being co-ordinated by Communities 1st in response to Covid-19 and covers the Districts and Boroughs of St Albans, Hertsmere, Welwyn/Hatfield, Broxbourne and East Herts in conjunction with many local organisations.

Supporting Individuals:
People who need help whilst isolated (or someone on their behalf) can complete an online form here or call 020 8207 5115 or email.

They will then be either matched with one of the Compassionate Community Connector volunteers, offered support immediately or signposted/referred on to a local voluntary/community organisation.

Volunteering:

For people who are healthy and at low risk to help others.  Individuals wishing to volunteer their time can sign-up here or call 020 3940 4865 between 1pm – 3pm, Monday to Friday.

On our website you can find a range of resources and support aimed at local charities, community groups, voluntary organisations and social enterprises on issues relating to Covid-19, including:

  • Funding sources – we’re updating our funding sources regularly with the latest information we find
  • Planning and adapting – including staffing issues, governance, managing a funding crisis, digital support, safeguarding and other useful resources (operational issues and guidance on working with different sectors of the community)
  • Useful Covid-19 volunteer introduction videos and documents for your organisation and information about mutual aid groups
  • Changes to services – our Covid-19 Community Directory provides information of local charities and how their services have adapted and been affected by the current situation.

If you want more information you can visit our website: www.communities1st.org.uk/Covid-19Updates or contact our Voluntary Sector support team on 01727 743018.  

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT VOLUNTARY AND COMMUNITY SECTOR ORGANISATIONS

Stronger Together Network

We have adapted our Stronger Together Network meetings to take place on Zoom over the next few weeks.  The focus of these meetings will be around moving on from the immediate crisis response, and thinking about the first stages of recovery/easing of lock down, including:

  • Service delivery
  • Volunteer offer
  • Lost/ reduced income
  • Future opportunities
  • Achievements during covid-19
  • Building on collaboration

If you would like to come along to network, share ideas and best practice you would be very welcome.  There are 6 Stronger Together Networks:

  • The Mental Health Network – Tue 19 May: 10.30am – 12noon
  • The Children & Young People Network – Wed 27 May: 10.30am – 12noon
  • The Transport Network – Wed 20 May: 2pm – 3.30pm
  • The Older People Network – Tue 19 May: 2pm – 3.30pm
  • The Culture and Environment Network – Wed 20 May: 10.30am – 12noon
  • The Disability Network - Tue 26 May: 10.30am – 12noon

Please contact Isobel Hatfield on 020 3940 4870 or email Isobel and Christine at memberservices@communities1st.org.uk for zoom meeting details.

Valuing Volunteer Management Training – recruiting and retaining volunteers

This interactive and engaging one-day course explores the challenges of recruiting, retaining and managing volunteers. It is ideal for any staff who have responsibility for supporting or managing volunteers in their role. As volunteers play an ever more vital role in the way our organisations are run this course could not be more timely. Best practise in volunteer management is something we all need to be aware of.

The full day’s course is split into two halves to give participants more choice.  The morning session is focussed on the recruitment process the afternoon is geared towards the ongoing management and motivation of your volunteers.

It’s also a really great opportunity to begin the process of working towards achieving the Six-Point Promise. This is a solid affirmation of your commitment to the pursuit of excellence in volunteer management. It gives potential funders evidence of the quality service they look for and potential volunteers can be more confident that they will be valued and supported by your organisation.

Thursday 25 June 2020
10am – 12.30pm - Recruiting Volunteers
2pm - 4.30pm - Managing Volunteers

Cost:
Herts voluntary organisations: £25 half-day or £45 full-day (includes handbook)
Statutory organisations: £50 half-day or £90 full-day (includes handbook)

For further information email Volunteering Herts at info@volunteeringherts.uk or call 01707 274861

Volunteering Herts Valuing Volunteer Management Conference

Now in its 13th year, the Valuing Volunteer Management Conference this year will take place via zoom on Wednesday 3rd June.   The revised programme is just being finalised.  Places are limited to 90, so please email info@volunteeringherts.uk to book your ‘virtual seat’.

Dementia Friends Training

We’re delighted to say that this week we’re on track to have close to 100 new dementia friends as part of our pilot with The Alzheimer’s Society.  With more online sessions booked we hope to have a lot more dementia friends being created.  It’s great that our volunteers are learning how to challenge their own perceptions of dementia and treat those living with the condition with kindness and understanding.

Sunday 17th – 2pm – 3pm  – Book here

Thursday 21st – 1pm – 2pm  Book here

Friday 22nd – 11am – 12noon  Book here

Saturday 23rd – 3pm – 4pm  Book here

Keep telling the world why your organisation is #NeverMoreNeeded than now

Let's make a significant social media noise using the hashtag #NeverMoreNeeded. Share your stories, share your members' stories - tag us in it (@1Communities) if you want us to give it a retweet etc. And please, also ask the organisations in your network to do the same. If you'd like to download the official logo click here. For the Twitter logo its here and finally there is a LinkedIn one here

Chancellor extends furlough scheme until October

This week the Chancellor announced an extension to the current furlough system.

From the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.

The government will explore ways through which furloughed workers who wish to do additional training or learn new skills are supported during this period.

Full details of the announcement can be found here

Contingency planning and Financial Implications

NCVO have produced some guidance on contingency planning and the financial implications of the current crisis.

Charity Retail Association Reopening Pack

The second draft of the CRA's Reopening Pack is available for download. 

The pack consists of helpful guidance for when the green light to open up shops begins to shine, and provides some suggestions of things to think about in the meantime.

As the pack is being updated regularly in response to feedback and as government guidance changes, please do send the CRA any comments and feedback.

You can view the pack here.

#LetsTalkAboutLoneliness

The Government has launched a plan to tackle loneliness and social isolation during the coronavirus outbreak and period of social distancing.

As part of this plan, national organisations working to tackle loneliness and build social connections are invited to apply for a share of £5m funding.

There is also a toolkit, resources and advice page on their website which you can delve into.

Accounts and tax returns

You can apply to extend your accounts filing deadline with Companies House if you cannot send your accounts because of an event that’s outside of your control. Due to Covid-19, you can apply for an immediate 3 month extension if your company is affected by coronavirus.

As a charitable company or a social enterprise such as a community interest company or a company limited by guarantee, you are legally required to complete a return to the regulator companies house. To qualify for this extension, you must apply before your filing deadline. You may not be eligible if you’ve already extended your filing deadline, or shortened your accounting period.

To apply for an extension due to coronavirus you must apply online. Details of how to apply can be found here.

Confidential Support for St Albans community groups

If you are a staff member or volunteer working for a community group or charity during this pandemic period, you might be feeling you need some emotional support yourself. If so, we are here to provide you with a trained listener and a confidential space as well as practical information to enable you to continue delivering the valuable service you offer to our local communities.

The Counselling Foundation, in partnership with St Albans City and District Council, has set up a free and confidential helpline service for you.

Your issues could be due to the pressure of helping others in distress, working in your home environment, bereavement, concerns about your health or health of those around you, or simply wanting to talk or find resources.

Although the sessions will not be counselling, you will be talking to counsellors who are trained and work within the Foundation’s strict confidentiality boundaries.

All you will need to do is email helpline@counsellingfoundation.org and someone will contact you to arrange a phone or online call. Funded by St Albans City and District Council.

Amendment to insolvency law – relevance to charities and social enterprises:

On 14 May, the government amend insolvency law to give companies breathing space and keep trading while they explore options for rescue.

This was initially announced on 28 March, but has now been extended in light of the government’s update to lockdown rules earlier this week.  This will enable companies to continue buying much-needed supplies, such as energy, raw materials or broadband, while attempting a rescue.

The temporary suspension of wrongful trading provisions, retrospectively from 1 March 2020 for three months, will enable company directors to keep their businesses going without the threat of personal liability.  The press release on this can be found here.

To understand how this is relevant to a charity, Bates Wells have produced a guide called “Charity Governance and Solvency: A Coronavirus Guide” view here.  Aspects of the guide might also be useful for social enterprises.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - increased risk of fraud and cybercrime against charities

On 12 May the charity commission updated their alert providing information and advice for charities about coronavirus (COVID-19) related fraud and cybercrime.

It provides an update to their scam email and protect your devices sections. Including a free webinar that can be accessed at your leisure. It highlights some of the common ways that charities may be affected by fraud during the Covid-19 pandemic and provide some simple prevention tips. Read more.

FUNDING

If you would like help with applying for these funds such as a read and review, Christine Halpin and Isobel Hatfield are on hand to help you through, please contact them by email at memberservices@communities1st.org.uk and they will book some time in to work with you.

Hertfordshire Community Foundation (HCF) - grants of £5,000 available
HCF have grants of up to £5,000 available for community groups and charities dealing with emergency issues caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Please check the fund eligibility criteria before completing your application process.  Click here to access information from HCF about the application process.

Herts Sports Partnership have produced a funding newsletter which is extremely useful for sports groups and can be found on their website. It includes both local, national and sport specific funding packages. 

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner's Action Fund
Grants of up to £5,000 are available for projects that are helping to reduce crime and make Hertfordshire a safer place to live. www.hertscf.org.uk/pcc-action-fund.

Crowdfund Hertfordshire
Crowdfunder are working with a number of partners across Hertfordshire, helping to make great ideas happen through a combination of expert crowdfunding coaching, events and grants.

Do you have a great idea for a project or initiative in Hertfordshire that needs funding?

For any queries relating to these funds please contact Hertfordshire Community Foundation at ana.siewniak@hertscf.org.uk

www.crowdfunder.co.uk/programmes/crowdfund-hertfordshire

Ecclesiastical Insurance
Nominate a charity to win a donation of £1,000. Ecclesiastical Insurance is inviting nominations to its £1 million Movement for Good Awards.

The Youth Endowment Fund
The Youth Endowment Fund has opened a new £6.5m COVID-19 round of grant funding to support vulnerable young people at risk of youth violence. Of the total fund, 50% will be reserved for charities and social enterprises.

It is expected that the average grant will be around £50,000. The minimum organisations can apply for is £25,000.  Funding will focus on two work areas:

  • Digital/virtual delivery of programmes
  • Face-to-face activity that can be delivered whilst adhering to social distancing/stay at home guidelines

For more information click here.

Heritage Lottery Fund - Heritage Enterprise
The Heritage Enterprise process is for projects that seek to achieve economic growth by investing in heritage. It is aimed at enterprising community organisations and commercial organisations working in partnership with community organisations to help them rescue neglected historic buildings and sites and return them to a viable productive use. You can apply for a grant from £250k to £5m. Deadline is 1 June. Full details here.

D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust
The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust funds United Kingdom Registered Charities operating in the UK in the fields of the advancement of the arts, health and medical welfare and environmental protection or improvement. The majority of the Trust’s grants are single grants over a one-year period. Occasionally longer-term grants (usually up to 3 years) are agreed by the Trustees when deemed to have particular merit. Deadline is 1 June. Full details here.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Apply for the Food Charities Grant Fund
Frontline food aid charities can now apply for a grant of up to £100k to provide food to vulnerable people within your community.

Eligible organisations are those who are unable to meet the increasing demands for food and can distribute food purchased by 9 August. This grant is not to provide food for the extremely clinically vulnerable, who are already being supported by government.

The grant scheme closes on 6 July. Full details here.

Strengthening Civil Society programme: new funding to support civil society through the pandemic
The Baring Foundation has introduced three new funding streams to support civil society to undertake legal action related to COVID-19.

This funding will run throughout 2020 and represents a commitment of up to £1m to supporting civil society at this time.

The first deadline is 28 May with more deadlines outlined in the application form. Full details can be found here

Social Investment Business
Charities and social enterprises can now apply to a £25m emergency loan fund for financial support during the coronavirus crisis. See more here.  

Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme
The latest round of the Energy Redress Funding Scheme is now open for applications. There is £13m available to help support vulnerable energy consumers and reduce fuel poverty.

If you want to find out more about the application process and future funding rounds head over to their website.

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT INDIVIDUALS

Update on gambling addiction services available

GamCare - the charity which supports those with an addiction to gambling - has posted a blog outlining which of their services are still available during the lockdown.

Their helpline is open 24/7 plus they have online forums and chatroom sessions to provide additional support. Treatment services are being done over the phone - click here to see the full details of their support.

Top Tips for resilience at home
A new group has been set up to oversee the mental health and wellbeing support available to Hertfordshire residents and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hertfordshire’s Behaviour Change Unit has developed a Top Tips for resilience at home infographic.

Bereavement
A series of guides to support people through bereavement are available on the county council website.

The St Albans Big Iftar 2020

You are invited to join St Albans Big Iftar Steering Group on Wednesday 20th May and fast for the day.

17 Hours of no food and no water, are you up for the challenge?

Come together this Ramadan with your friends, colleagues and neighbours to experience a day like no other.

To find out more and register online go to www.theaddaclub.co.uk.  You can also get an Iftar pack filled with information on Ramadan, tips to get you through the day and some delicious sweet treats to break your fast. The money raised from the packs will go to St Albans and District Food Bank.

Want to shout about your fast and encourage others? Why don’t you video yourself saying “I’ll fast for the day on 20th May” and share it around! Just watch the video here to get the idea. www.youtu.be/cKfRIEbo-rE.

So join in and fast for a day, and come together as one community, #alonetogther.

Healthwatch Hertfordshire

Healthwatch Hertfordshire are looking to understand the experiences people have had over recent weeks and how the coronavirus pandemic has affected their care and treatment. To do this they have created three different surveys for people to share their views.

One survey focuses on how coronavirus has affected mental health, one survey is specifically for people who have been advised to shield to understand their experiences, and the final survey focuses on health and social care more generally. Please find below the links to each survey:

Shielding: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RJQ9RX2

Mental Health: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RJDLQ23

Health & Social Care: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RC62QGV

All the links can also be found on their website: www.healthwatchhertfordshire.co.uk/covid-19-surveys/.

Fighting against Gender Bias and Equity

Community Action Dacorum are carrying out research through focus groups and online survey from stake holders and organisations to see if there is training available in this subject and there are gaps. Once they have compiled the findings they will be creating online training.  If you could complete the survey, it would help to capture wider viewpoints. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fri 8 May 2020

Working together
I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all the charities, community groups, social enterprises, local businesses and individuals for giving up their time for local communities during COVID-19. With all your help we have mobilised over 850 volunteers.

We continue to work in partnership with a range of organisations and individuals and have recently partnered with The Alzheimer’s Society to pilot some new Dementia Friends Information Webinar Sessions. 

Dementia Friends Training
A large number of the people we are supporting at present through the Compassionate Community Connector project are living with some form of cognitive impairment.  The first of the webinars will be taking place next week and individuals will learn more about what it is like to live with dementia and turn that understanding into action.  They are open to all so register now for your free place – see details below.

Timebanking UK
Earlier this week I was reminded of a recent short film we took part in with Timebanking UK that was shot just before Christmas.  Because of the pandemic, it all seems so far away, but here is the link and we’re back working with Timebanking UK looking at how we might embrace timebanking in the new post Covid-19 world: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xfMm0BYANQ

Volunteering Herts Annual Valuing Volunteer Management Conference
Each year, Communities 1st, Welwyn/Hatfield CVS, Community Action Dacorum, Broxbourne & East Herts Volunteer Centre and University of Herts Students Union hosts the above Conference and Award Ceremony during Volunteers Week (this year 1-7 June 2020).  A date had already been set for Wednesday 3 June and we’re working to bring this conference to you via Zoom.  Please hold the date and more information will follow next week. 

Kindness Stories
We want to gather stories about positive things that are happening in our local communities during this #coronalockdown.  If you have a Kindness Story that you would like to share please email us: covid19news@communities1st.org.uk #1stcommunitieskind

If someone has forwarded this to you, you can sign up to receive our e-newsletters directly into your inbox here: www.communities1st.org.uk/newsletter

Stay safe, stay well, be kind

Stephen Craker,

Chief Executive, Communities 1st

 

This newsletter is split into the following sections:

  • Communities 1st COVID-19 Information and Support
  • Information to support voluntary and community sector organisations
  • Funding for non-profit organisations
  • Information to support individuals

COMMUNITIES 1st COVID-19 INFORMATION AND SUPPORT

Support for groups/charities

We need to hear from you
If your voluntary organisation is still delivering your service, please inform us of what kind of help, support, guidance you most need from Communities 1st.

If your organisation is facing challenges as a direct result of Coronavirus you can contact us on 01727 743018 or via email: memberservices@communities1st.org.uk and we will prioritise support for your organisation.

On our website you can find a range of resources and support aimed at local charities, community groups, voluntary organisations and social enterprises on issues relating to Covid-19, including:

  • Funding sources – we’re updating our funding sources regularly with the latest information we find
  • Planning and adapting – including staffing issues, governance, managing a funding crisis, digital support, safeguarding and other useful resources (operational issues and guidance on working with different sectors of the community)
  • Useful Covid-19 volunteer introduction videos and documents for your organisation and information about mutual aid groups
  • Changes to services – our Covid-19 Community Directory provides information of local charities and how their services have adapted and been affected by the current situation.

Compassionate Community Connector Programme
This programme is being co-ordinated by Communities 1st in response to Covid-19 and covers the Districts and Boroughs of St Albans, Hertsmere, Welwyn/Hatfield, Broxbourne and East Herts in conjunction with many local organisations.

Supporting Individuals: People who need help whilst isolated (or someone on their behalf) can complete an online form here or call 020 8207 5115 or email. They will then be either matched with one of the Compassionate Community Connector volunteers, offered support immediately or signposted/referred on to a local voluntary/community organisation.

Volunteering: for people who are healthy and at low risk to help others.  Individuals wishing to volunteer their time can sign-up here or call 020 3940 4865 between 1pm – 3pm, Monday to Friday.

If you want more information you can visit our website: www.communities1st.org.uk/Covid-19Updates or contact our Voluntary Sector support team on 01727 743018.  

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT VOLUNTARY AND COMMUNITY SECTOR ORGANISATIONS

Volunteering Herts Valuing Volunteer Management Conference & Awards
Now in its 13th year, the Valuing Volunteer Management Awards is very special as nominations can only be made by volunteers.  The idea is to champion organisations who demonstrate quality in their volunteer management. To be eligible, organisations must demonstrate a basic level of good practice.   They must demonstrate this by either achieving or be actively working towards achieving the Hertfordshire Valuing Volunteer Management 6 Point Promise – just contact us for more details about how you can sign up to this.

This Award is presented annually to an organisation in Hertfordshire who involve volunteers in their workforce, who demonstrate excellence in welcoming, training and supporting volunteers. The organisation must be working towards or have achieved the Volunteering Herts Six Point promise.  The nature of the work of the organisations will not be taken into consideration – this initiative is all about how volunteers are looked after. It is the quality of the nominations that is judged and not the quantity. As previously mentioned - Organisations can only be nominated by their volunteers.

More information to follow next week.

Dementia Friends Training
Communities 1st have partnered with The Alzheimer’s Society to pilot some new Dementia Friends Information Webinar Sessions. The first of these will be taking place next week. At these sessions you will learn more about what it is like to live with dementia and turn that understanding into action.  The Dementia Friends programme is aiming to transform the nation’s perceptions of dementia – How we act and talk about the condition.

Weds 13th – 6pm – 7PM Book here

Fri 15th – 3pm  – 4PM Book here

Sun 17th – 2pm  – 3pm Book here

Staying at home and away from others (social distancing)
On 1 May the government’s social distancing guidance was superseded by their guidance. Staying at home and away from others (social distancing).

We recommend that you read this guidance in full so that you are aware how it will affect your VCSE organisation.

#NeverMoreNeeded

Just a gentle reminder to keep tweeting, sharing, using the #NeverMoreNeeded on your digital channels. 

Let's make a significant social media noise using the hashtag #NeverMoreNeeded. Share your stories, share your members' stories - tag us in it (@1stcommunities) if you want us to give it a retweet etc. And please, also ask the volunteers and users in your network to do the same.

If you'd like to download the official logo click here. For the Twitter logo its here and finally there is a LinkedIn one here.

An updated warning on charity fraud
Action Fraud has updated its charity fraud page to include new trends and issues to look out for.

It is worth sharing this information to ensure beneficiaries and donors know that your charity is legitimate. See the full details here

Hertfordshire Consultation on Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) information, advice and support
Hertfordshire County Council is consulting on the way that they deliver SEND information, advice and support across Hertfordshire and is looking for your views on how they do this.

A key proposal within the consultation is to provide a single telephone helpline to run alongside the SEND Local Offer website giving families the opportunity to talk to a trained information worker as well as finding up to date SEND information and support online.

This consultation closes on 14 June 2020 and can be found at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/iasconsultation

If you have any questions please email  sendtransformation@hertfordshire.gov.uk

House of Lords Covid-19 committee will focus on the re-building of society
We know some of you are already starting to have conversations around recovery and resilience, so you might be interested in this blog. A House of Lords committee will take evidence and report on taking stock and looking beyond the here and now, to what the world will look like post coronavirus. Read the blog in full here

FUNDING

If you would like help with applying for these funds such as a read and review, Christine Halpin and Isobel Hatfield are on hand to help you through, please contact them by email at memberservices@communities1st.org.uk and they will book some time in to work with you.

Hertfordshire Community Foundation (HCF) - grants of £5,000 available
HCF have grants of up to £5,000 available for community groups and charities dealing with emergency issues caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Please check the fund eligibility criteria before completing your application process.  Click here to access information from HCF about the application process.

Herts Sports Partnership have produced a funding newsletter which is extremely useful for sports groups and can be found on their website. It includes both local, national and sport specific funding packages. 

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner's Action Fund
Grants of up to £5,000 are available for projects that are helping to reduce crime and make Hertfordshire a safer place to live.

www.hertscf.org.uk/pcc-action-fund

Crowdfund Hertfordshire: Small Business Innovation Fund
To qualify, your organisation will need to be located in Hertfordshire and be a micro or small business or charity primarily operating in tourism, leisure, hospitality, retail, arts or culture sectors. You will need to demonstrate that your business or charity has been affected by Covid-19 and how you would use the funding to adapt your current business to either operate during lockdown, or to adjust to post lockdown measures. You will also need to clearly demonstrate that the adjustments you intend to make will help protect jobs directly within your organisation.  Once your organisation secures their target through the Crowdfunder campaign, successful applicants will be able to unlock between £2,000 - £5,000 in match-funding from the scheme.

National Lottery Community Fund
All Lottery grant programmes now focus on funding projects and organisations helping communities through the Covid-19 pandemic. They are looking to award funding to cover six months of expenditure and information on what they can fund and how to apply can be found here for requests below £10,000 and here for request above £10,000.

Tesco Community Grants
Tesco Bags of Help is responding to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis by setting up a new short-term fund to support local communities.

Barclays’ 100x100 UK COVID-19 Community Relief Programme
Open to charities that have an annual income of more than £1M.  100 donations of £100,000 each are available to UK charities working to support vulnerable communities impacted by coronavirus/COVID-19, and the associated social and economic hardship caused by the crisis.  The programme is unable to consider applications to fund core staff salaries but recognise that providing relief work will incur direct and necessary expenditure – such as volunteer expenses, programme delivery staff costs and expenses to carry out relief work or for transport.

Faith, Race and Hate Crime Grant scheme 2020 to 2021
The 2020 to 2021 Faith, Race and Hate Crime Grant scheme is now open for applications from established community organisations and charities to carry out projects that meet at least one of the following aims:

  • To promote shared values among people of all backgrounds through sustainable social integration and meaningful civic participation
  • To effectively tackle and prevent religiously and racially discriminatory behaviour and those acting against others because of their faith or race

The Edward Gostling Foundation
The Edward Gostling Foundation is providing grants of up to £10,000 for smaller registered charities providing front line community services with less than six months free reserves. Please visit their website for more information and application form.

Charity Fundraising Ltd
Charity Fundraising Ltd are offering free fundraising consultancy support to charities affected by Coronavirus www.charity-fundraising.org.uk/free-fundraising-consultation.  They have also developed a how-to guide on developing virtual fundraising events www.charity-fundraising.org.uk/virtual-fundraising-events-how-to-guide.

INFORMATIONT TO SUPPORT INDIVIDUALS

Information for people on the autism spectrum
If you’re a person on the spectrum this will be a difficult time for you. There are a range of resources to support you through this time.  You can find the latest guidance on coronavirus and useful information on the following websites: National Autistic Society: www.autism.org.uk

Dementia
If you are concerned that you or a loved one are developing memory problems, your GP can still make a referral to Hertfordshire’s Early Memory Diagnostic and Support Service (EMDASS). However, new referrals are being held on a waiting list until normal services resume.

In the meantime, there is a range of information and ideas to support people with symptoms of dementia through Hertswise and Alzheimer’s Society.

Admiral nurses are supporting people mainly by phone but are still making home visits on an individually assessed basis.

For more information you can still talk to Herts Help on 0300 123 4044.

Bereavement
In normal circumstances, bereavement can be a lonely and isolating experience, and these feelings can be made worse by the impact of self-isolation and social distancing measures which are currently in place.

Local Bereavement Support is available from Peace Hospice Care, who have a team of volunteer bereavement counsellors and run regular bereavement groups. Tel: 03332 340 868 and ask for the Bereavement Support Team

Cruse Bereavement Care Hertfordshire provide telephone support to bereaved people via a telephone helpline. You can access support on 01707 278389 Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. For helpful resources see the Cruse website.

InTouch is a countywide emotional support line for older people, open Monday to Friday 9am – 4:30pm. Tel: 01992 629 358 OR 01992 634 964 OR 07538 954 189 Email: InTouch@ageukherts.org.uk.

Talk in Herts – Bereavement support - enquiries@talk-in-herts-counselling.co.uk.

Hospice of St Francis - info@stfrancis.org.uk.

Mind - www.mind.org.uk.

Samaritans - www.samaritans.org.

Sane - out of hours helpline Tel: 0300 304 7000 from 4.30pm - 10.30pm every day.

Alcohol Health Alliance UK: In order to support those in recovery at this difficult time, the Alcohol Health Alliance has put together a list of resources which may be useful.  www.ahauk.org/recovery-during-coronavirus.

Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters service has launched a new suite of tips and advice, focussed on looking after people’s mental wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Resources include a tailored COVID-19 Mind Plan, content for individuals and their loved ones on managing their mental wellbeing during the outbreak, and support for specific mental health issues such as anxiety, stress, low mood and trouble sleeping.  For more information visit: www.everymindmatters.co.uk

Herts Mind Network – Mental health helpline
Anyone experiencing mental health distress can call the Crisis Helpline for emotional support and signposting. You also can call if your mental health is impacted by the current Coronavirus outbreak. Available to provide emotional support 24 hours a day, every day of the week.  To contact the helpline please call us on 01923 256391

Harpenden Cares
Harpenden Cares is a community led initiative, supported by Harpenden Town Council, to help support our community in these unprecedented times. There are four main parts to the Harpenden Cares initiative:

  • Befriending support – to avoid vulnerable people feeling isolated and ensure we are aware of any emergency support that they require;
  • Essential supplies - to deliver essential supplies of food and medication to vulnerable people;
  • Street level support - to support and encourage street level coordinators;
  • General advice and guidance - to share appropriate solid advice through an official trusted channel.

Further information about Harpenden Cares is available at https://harpendencares.org

London Colney Good Neighbourhood Scheme:
Tel: 01727 261104 - Monday or Friday 10am – 1pm.

Redbourn Care Group:
Tel: 01582 794550,  info@redbourncaregroup.co.uk

Wheathampstead Support For All:
A Wheathampstead group set up to help isolated and vulnerable people.

Tel: 01582 380910, info@wheathampstead-pc.gov.uk

Little book of Phone Scams

Online Watch Link (OWL) your online Neighbourhood Watch, have circulated this simple guide on how to avoid getting caught in a scam.

It’s up to all of us to contact those we know who are not often online to make them aware by a phone call, that there are unscrupulous people who are taking advantage of the current crisis.

St Albans Mencap goes Live!

Come and join in the fun with a live interactive MAKATON STORY session on Thursday 14th May at 2pm, brought straight to your living room. The session will be reading the story book The Gruffalo.

To be part of the session please register your interest on the event, or contact kelseyferrari@stalbansmencap.org.uk to be sent a secure link.

 

 

 

 

 

Fri 1 May 2020

Working in the voluntary and community sector one can become used to the empathy and commitment shown on a daily basis by volunteers, staff, and all the people who use our services, but what I have been amazed about is how individuals, volunteers and countless voluntary and community sector organisations, together with public and private sector organisations have rallied to provide support to communities across our local communities.  From the amazing number of new neighbourhood groups that have sprung up to support our shielded, elderly and isolated people, to all of the previously existing organisations across the county that have redeployed their volunteers, staff, and in some cases even their own family to support people through these difficult times.

Communities 1st is no exception to this.  Our staff have continued to provide the same level, if not a greater level of service than ever before.  We have continued to support our volunteers who, like our staff, have needed to re-adjust to working differently.  Pre-covid19 our organisation used to provide a diverse range of services and projects (around 25 at last count).   Our teams across the organisation - Centre for Voluntary Service (CVS), Volunteer Centre and Wellbeing Services are now nearly solely focused on Covid-19.  I am however pleased to say that our Better Business project restarted this week and has engaged with many schools, care homes and local businesses.  Our Trusted Handyperson Service is also re-starting next week.

I would like to thank everyone who was either already part of the Communities 1st family and those who have recently registered to volunteer or become member organisations.  We have seen a huge demand, with over 3,000 people signing up to volunteer and support their community. We are currently in the process of mobilising volunteers: if you have not heard from us yet, please bear with us.

Although things are hard at the moment as I’ve mentioned, there's some amazing stuff happening. We are gathering stories about positive things that are happening in our local communities during this #coronalockdown.  If you have a story Kindness Story that you would like to share please email us: covid19news@communities1st.org.uk #1stcommunitieskind

If someone has forwarded this to you, you can sign up to receive our e-newsletters directly into your inbox here: www.communities1st.org.uk/newsletter

Stay safe, stay well, be kind

Stephen Craker,

Chief Executive, Communities 1st

 

This newsletter is split into the following sections:

  • Communities 1st COVID-19 Information and Support
  • Information to support voluntary and community sector organisations
  • Funding for non-profit organisations
  • Information to support individuals

 

COMMUNITIES 1ST COVID-19 INFORMATION AND SUPPORT

Support for groups/charities

We need to hear from you

If your voluntary organisation is still delivering your service, please inform us of what kind of help, support, guidance you most need from Communities 1st.

If your organisation is facing challenges as a direct result of Coronavirus you can contact us on 01727 743018 or via email: memberservices@communities1st.org.uk and we will prioritise support for your organisation.

On our website you can find a range of resources and support aimed at local charities, community groups, voluntary organisations and social enterprises on issues relating to Covid-19, including:

  • Funding sources – we’re updating our funding sources regularly with the latest information we find
  • Planning and adapting – including staffing issues, governance, managing a funding crisis, digital support, safeguarding and other useful resources (operational issues and guidance on working with different sectors of the community)
  • Useful Covid-19 volunteer introduction videos and documents for your organisation and information about mutual aid groups
  • Changes to services – our Covid-19 Community Directory provides information of local charities and how they’re services have adapted and been affected by the current situation.

Compassionate Community Connector Programme

This programme is being co-ordinated by Communities 1st in response to Covid-19 and covers the Districts and Boroughs of St Albans, Hertsmere, Welwyn/Hatfield, Broxbourne and East Herts in conjunction with many local organisations.

Volunteering: for people who are healthy and at low risk to help others. Individuals wishing to volunteer their time can sign-up here or call 020 3940 4865 between 1pm – 3pm, Monday to Friday.

Supporting Individuals: People who need help whilst isolated (or someone on their behalf) can complete an online form here or call 020 8207 5115 or emailThey will then be either matched with one of the Compassionate Community Connector volunteers, offered support immediately or signposted/referred on to a local voluntary/community organisation.  

If you want more information you can visit our website: www.communities1st.org.uk/Covid-19Updates or contact our Voluntary Sector support team on 01727 743018.  

 

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT VOLUNTARY AND COMMUNITY SECTOR ORGANISATIONS

Mental health support for frontline workers

Mental health charities have come together to provide 'round-the-clock' support to people working on the frontline of the pandemic. This includes NHS staff, carers, emergency services and other key workers.

The new service - brought together by Mind, Samaritans, Shout, Hospice UK and The Royal Foundation - is called 'Our Frontline' and includes a combination of 1-2-1 support and online resources, toolkits and advice to support their mental health and emotional wellbeing through this challenging time.

Head to the specially developed website ourfrontline.org for more details.

#GivingTuesdayNow

#GivingTuesdayNow is coming on 5 May and it's the perfect time to come together to celebrate and show appreciation for the sector's outstanding response to the crisis.

The global day of unity is a chance to thank all of the essential workers including volunteers and charity workers.  In the run-up to the day, it is also a great moment to play a part in the coinciding campaigns #NeverMoreNeeded and #EveryDayCounts. On the day share your activities using the hashtag #GivingTuesdayNow & tag @givingtuesdayuk in your posts.

You can find all the resources you could need here including a social media toolkit and imagery.

Save our Social Enterprises

Many social enterprises have been falling through the cracks of the current Government support measures, and are unable to access the necessary grants and loans to keep their businesses afloat. In fact, research shows that half the social sector could run out of money by June.

A campaign has been set up as a collaboration between Community Leisure UK, Co-operatives UK, Locality, Plunkett Foundation, School for Social Entrepreneurs, Social Enterprise Mark CIC, Social Enterprise UK, Social Value UK, and UnLtd. The collaboration have written to the Chancellor to outline a four-point action plan to ensure social enterprises receive appropriate support:

For more information and to view their letter and sign the campaign

#NeverMoreNeeded

Just a gentle reminder to keep tweeting, sharing, using the #NeverMoreNeeded on your digital channels. 

Let's make a significant social media noise using the hashtag #NeverMoreNeeded. Share your stories, share your members' stories - tag us in it (@1stcommunities) if you want us to give it a retweet etc. And please, also ask the volunteers and users in your network to do the same.

If you'd like to download the official logo click here. For the Twitter logo its here and finally there is a LinkedIn one here.

Free online training

The Zero Suicide Alliance is a collaborative of National Health Service trusts, businesses and individuals who are all committed to suicide prevention in the UK and beyond. The alliance is ultimately concerned with improving support for people contemplating suicide by raising awareness of and promoting FREE suicide prevention training which is accessible to all. The aims of this training are:

  • to enable people to identify when someone is presenting with suicidal thoughts/behaviour
  • to be able to speak out in a supportive manner, and
  • to empower them to signpost the individual to the correct services or support.

The training can be found at  www.zerosuicidealliance.com/training

haysmacintyre

haysmacintyre has created a web page to collate, analyse and provide insights on the various financial, tax and accounting measures and initiatives being announced – mainly from governmental departments, but also from other relevant bodies and organisations.

The web page is updated regularly as further announcements and analysis are made. Please visit www.haysmacintyre.com/covid-19-not-for-profit.

Free Mental Health Awareness training for Sport and Physical Activity

Herts Sports Partnership is offering 260 FREE places on Mind’s online Mental Health Awareness in Sport and Physical Activity course, as we firmly believe that those involved in organising and delivering our community sports programmes, will come across a range of mental health issues being experienced by participants, club members, players, coaches, volunteers and officials, as and when we come through the current crisis, and community sporting programmes return to near normal.

This programme is also supporting the #2.6Challenge whereby for every Hertfordshire based person who completes the course, the Partnership will donate £10 to our sister charity – the Herts Disability Sports Foundation which is currently delivering some fantastic virtual programmes for some of the county’s most vulnerable residents. Find out more

FAQs and resources from LawWorks

LawWorks has received many queries about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on small charities and other not-for-profits. In response, the charity has collaborated with its members to produce tailored briefs relevant specifically to small not-for-profit organisations.

These focus on key questions, from “How do I furlough an employee?” and “Can an employee we have furloughed still volunteer for us?” to “How do we hold a remote board meeting / AGM?” and “Our landlord has asked our organisation to leave the premises due to the COVID-19 outbreak. What are our rights and can we challenge this?”. You can find the resources here.

Institute for Voluntary Action Research briefing on the challenges faced by VCSE leaders during the Covid-19 crisis

Getting Ready for the Fallout says that there is “considerable anxiety about the long-term impact of Covid-19” in the sector, including the social consequences of current lockdown measures. See more by clicking here.

Traveller Community

The website has some good resources and access to further links for the traveller community and those working with them including funeral advice, education and domestic abuse. www.travellermovement.org.uk/covid-19

 

FUNDING

If you would like help with applying for these funds such as a read and review, Christine Halpin and Isobel Hatfield are on hand to help you through, please contact them by email at memberservices@communities1st.org.uk and they will book some time in to work with you.

Hertfordshire Community Foundation (HCF) - grants of £5,000 available

HCF have grants of up to £5,000 available for community groups and charities dealing with emergency issues caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Please check the fund eligibility criteria before completing your application process.  Click here to access information from HCF about the application process.

Herts Sports Partnership have produced a funding newsletter which is extremely useful for sports groups and can be found on their website

It includes both local, national and sport specific funding packages. 

Climate Launchpad: Competition for Green Business Entrepreneurs

Submit your idea or innovation with environmental impact.  The competition will help you fast track that idea into a business and bypass all possible pitfalls along the way. You’ll learn how to get your idea funded and launched. If you have a green business idea and have what it takes to become an entrepreneur, then this competition might be for you. To be eligible, you must:  

  • Not have started a business or you started it less than one year ago
  • Have no substantial revenue
  • Have attracted no more than €200,000 in investment
  •  Not yet sold products, solutions or prototypes on commercial terms.

Social Investment Business: Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund

The Resilience & Recovery Loan Fund (RRLF) is a new fund for social enterprises and charities who are experiencing disruption to their normal business model as a result of COVID-19.  It is intended for those organisations who face a problem because expected income and activity has been delayed or disrupted. A loan may help with this, providing working capital until normal business can commence again.  The loan can be used for:  

  • Lending until government payments are received (eg contracts, furlough etc.)
  • Lending to cover delays in trade payments (trade debtors).
  • Lending to support the rapid scaling up of an existing business model to meet an increased demand for services during the crisis.
  • Lending to provide a bridge to cover revenue shortfall for proven and profitable trading activity. Trading or retail models that rely heavily on footfall / shared office space that are likely to continue to be affected by social distancing are unlikely to be suitable/be able to prove viability.

Alpkit Foundation: Grassroots funding support 

Alpkit as a charity normally help people Go Nice Places, Do Good Things. In their response to Covid-19 they have shifted their focus to funding projects that demonstrate an immediate impact on those affected by the Covid-19.

Examples of how their funding can be used includes:

  • Being active in your local community to help elderly or vulnerable people
  • Minimising the impact of self-isolation for those in quarantine and need access to food, medicines or social care
  • Supporting foodbanks and increasing the number of meals on wheels deliveries to support the elderly
  • Supporting those who are homeless or in temporary accommodation
  • Bringing adventure indoors and overcoming the obstacles that prevent us benefiting from going outdoors.

The Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust

The Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust has announced that it is accelerating its annual Hospice Fund programme, in recognition of the additional pressures many hospices are experiencing due to COVID-19 and the associated restrictions on normal activities. For 2020, the Trust has simplified the application process and amended its normal eligibility criteria. The available funding will be used to provide one-off grants of up to £5,000 to support hospices’ core costs. Applications will only be accepted from hospices that are charities registered in the UK, and are members of either Hospice UK or Together for Short Lives.  The closing date for applications is midnight on the 10th May 2020.

Standard Life Foundation

At Standard Life Foundation they have been considering how they can best meet their mission of tackling financial problems and improving living standards. They have been talking to organisations working in the field, other funders and key stakeholders and following the rapid development of the pandemic.

 

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT INDIVIDUALS

NHS urges public to get care when they need it

NHS England have launched a campaign urging people to seek medical care if they need it. People are delaying getting every day treatments and are becoming severely - sometimes fatally - ill as a result.  Fear of going to hospital or even the GP, coupled with not wanting to put undue pressure on the NHS would cause 40% of those surveyed not to seek medical help.

See the full details here.

#StayInWorkOut

Sport England has launched its #StayInWorkOut campaign to encourage people to keep active during lockdown.  Join the movement, use the hashtag and take a look at their website which has loads of great ideas on how to keep active whilst staying locked down.

Visit their website here.

The Sensory Trust

The Sensory Trust has a selection of activities on its website to help people connect with nature.  Engaging with nature helps improve mental health, and all the activities are easily adaptable for use with people with different abilities, including people of all ages with disabilities, and those with dementia.

Read more here.

Coach AI at Home – Virtual Exercise Companion

Herts Sports Partnership and the University of Hertfordshire have adopted Coach AI – a virtual companion that interacts with individuals via smart phones – to help them make exercise a regular part of their weekly routine.

It takes less than a minute to get started and the programme will give your residents the extra motivation and guidance they may need to stay active, during such challenging times.

The programme is being offered FREE to Hertfordshire residents and can be accessed at https://sportinherts.org.uk/coachai/

Coronavirus guidance for people receiving direct payments

The government has published advice for people who buy care and support through direct payments, as well as local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and those who provide care and support.

The guidance sets out the main messages for people and organisations that can support planning, and help slow the transmission of the coronavirus as the outbreak progresses across the country.

It’s accompanied by a Q&A, mostly aimed at direct payment holders, that responds to questions and concerns raised by direct payment holders, personal assistants, and charities and organisations that support them. Read now.

#StopFoodWasteDay

Today is #StopFoodWasteDay which is always important. This year it seems even more relevant, following our recent experience of stockpiling and subsequent reports on increased food waste.   So here are some headline-grabbing stats for you:

  • 33% of all food produced globally last year was wasted
  • 25% of the food wasted globally could feed all 795 million undernourished people in the world
  • 45% of fruit and vegetables produced globally is lost or wasted per year

So what can we do? Head over to the dedicated website and take the pledge to become a Food Waste Warrior. There are also recipes, events and some interesting stories.

Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust (HPFT) Mental Health Services

The Wellbeing Service offers short term support to people with mild to moderate mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Please visit: www.northessexiapt.nhs.uk/hertfordshire for more information about the service.

HPFT remains open, for more information or to make a referral for services please contact the Single Point of Access (SPA) number (8am - 7pm): 0300 777 0707

Herts Mind Network

Herts Mind Network deliver a number of services including peer support, domestic abuse services, complex needs outreach services, dementia and carers support as well as a range of online services including Meeting Places and Wellbeing Courses. There are a number of sessions including ‘Coronavirus and your Wellbeing’ and ‘Overcoming Anxiety and Fear’.

You can contact them on 020 3727 3600 where your call will be triaged and directed to the most appropriate service or find out more on the website: www.hertsmindnetwork.org

Mind in Mid-Herts

Mind in Mid-Herts deliver a range of services to support individuals who are suffering or who have suffered from mental and emotional distress. Emotional support is available on the telephone during the covid-19 pandemic on 03303 208100 and you can find out more about online social groups and living well courses including ‘Feeling Well’ to reduce feelings of depression and sadness and ‘Learning to Relax’ and ‘Building Courage’ to cope with anxiety on the website www.mindinmidherts.org.uk

Viewpoint is a user involvement charity in Hertfordshire for people with mental health or drug and alcohol problems. For more information on social activities and programmes please see their website www.hertsviewpoint.co.uk or you can also find out more by visiting the Viewpoint Facebook page.

Guideposts is a mental health and wellbeing charity that deliver services including befriending, carer support and support for people on the autism spectrum. For more information please visit www.guideposts.org.uk/hertfordshire-services or call 01923 223554.

Drug and Alcohol services

You can contact Change Grow Live (CGL) Drug and Alcohol Recovery Services from 09:00-19:00 by phoning them on 0800 652 3169 or emailing Herts@cgl.org.uk.  CGL recovery workers are offering support over the phone.

Domestic Abuse

If you are experiencing domestic abuse or worried about someone else who might be you can contact Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline: 08 088 088 088 (freephone Mon-Fri 9am-9pm, Sat/Sun 9am-4pm) or visit the website for more information: www.hertssunflower.org If you are in immediate danger always dial 999

Carers in Herts

Carers in Herts have up to date information, advice and resources on their website and they can also be contacted on 01992 586969 or by email on contact@carersinherts.org.uk.

St Albans Mencap goes Live!

Week 3 of fun packed and interactive live sessions will look as follows. For more information please visit their Facebook page.

  • Monday 4th May
  • Tuesday 5th May
  • Wednesday 6th May
  • Thursday 7th May
  • Friday 8th May

Warnings and advice about COVID-19 scams

Friends Against Scams has issued guidance on the particular types of scams related to COVID-19 that have been identified. These include doorstep crime, online scams, refund scams, counterfeit goods plus several more. You can read the guidance here.

 

Fri 24 Apr 2020

I would like to say a huge thanks to all those who have offered to support us with helping those most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you’re aware Communities 1st has been working with a range of local organisations to set up a volunteering hub to recruit and place volunteers during the coronavirus crisis and it’s great when we receive feedback direct from the people we’re helping.  “Thank you for my shopping I received yesterday, everything was exactly what I had asked for and needed.” 

As we navigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, people across the country are relying on Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations, the essential support they provide and how they shape our society for the better. Not-for-profit organisations make our communities stronger. Our unique role and services are invaluable right now and will be essential when our country begins to heal and re-builds.

Following on from the #EveryDayCounts campaign, we want to celebrate and highlight the vital and amazing work that all charities do.  We are asking you and your organisation to showcase the way you support and improve lives using the hashtag #NeverMoreNeeded in your social media. 

Here are a few of my reflections on the past four weeks:

  • Amazing response from communities to volunteering call and supporting their neighbours
  • We have well established and trusted relationships between the VCSE and local councils which are key to the successful local response
  • System wide solutions are being developed to ensure a focused approach including totally new ways of working and digitally enhanced support for communities. But we need to capture longer term learning in case of reoccurrence and the wider benefits these may bring
  • Sector resilience continues to be a significant concern and we’re busy working on getting a clear local/regional view to ensure we’re able to feed this into local and national conversations to ensure our VCSE is supported while it supports the COVID-19 response
  • Still some lack of clarity around of delivery of the NHS programme and we’re really trying to understand how this national programme will link with county, district, parishes and VCSE
  • Need to understand likely timeframes (peak, removal of lockdown and recovery) to assist in mobilisation of necessary solutions/support.  We have already started thinking about the recovery phase and what this plan might look like – but please do contact us if you have any ideas!

If someone has forwarded this to you, you can sign up to receive our e-newsletters directly into your inbox here: www.communities1st.org.uk/newsletter

Stay safe, stay well, be kind

Stephen Craker,

Chief Executive, Communities 1st

 

This newsletter is split into the following sections:

  • Communities 1st COVID-19 Information and Support
  • Information to support voluntary and community sector organisations
  • Funding for non-profit organisations
  • Information to support individuals

COMMUNITIES 1ST COVID-19 INFORMATION AND SUPPORT

Support for groups/charities

We need to hear from you

If your voluntary organisation is still delivering your service, please inform us of what kind of help, support, guidance you most need from Communities 1st.

If your organisation is facing challenges as a direct result of Coronavirus you can contact us on 01727 743018 or via email: memberservices@communities1st.org.uk and we will prioritise support for your organisation.

Do you need volunteers? 

Please let us know asap if you are in need of volunteers by emailing us at volunteer@communities1st.org.uk with ORGANISATION NEEDING VOLUNTEERS in the subject line.

Compassionate Community Connector Programme

This programme is being co-ordinated by Communities 1st in response to Covid-19 and covers the Districts and Boroughs of St Albans, Hertsmere, Welwyn/Hatfield, Broxbourne and East Herts in conjunction with many local organisations.

Volunteering: for people who are healthy and at low risk to help others. Individuals wishing to volunteer their time can sign-up here or call 020 3940 4865 between 1pm – 3pm, Monday to Friday.

Supporting Individuals: People who need help whilst isolated (or someone on their behalf) can complete an online form here or call 020 8207 5115 or email.

Be a Good Neighbour

We want to encourage kindness and neighbourliness, but we want people to stay safe so we’ve made a Being a Good Neighbour Booklet – Top Tips to help others guide free for everyone to access.  We’ve produced some animations to share with volunteers, including: safeguardingpractical support volunteering and keeping in touch volunteering and many downloadable factsheets on our  COVID-19 Setting up a new group webpage.  

If you want more information you can visit our website: www.communities1st.org.uk/Covid-19Updates or contact our Voluntary Sector support team on 01727 743018.  

 

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT VOLUNTARY AND COMMUNITY SECTOR ORGANISATIONS

#NeverMoreNeeded

The charity sector has never more been in the public eye and we want to use this momentum to raise the public profile of the invaluable work charities do and why the public must continue to support it.  

We are asking you to use the hashtag to sustain the sector’s profile in the following weeks. 

To take part, you just need to tell your story and why your organisation and charities are #NeverMoreNeeded, or use the hashtag in your existing social comms. If you have any other ideas of how to use the campaign, please share.

Claim system now open for furloughed staff

You can now make your claim for the 80% of furloughed staff salaries through HMRC's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Before you make your claim:

  • Read all the available guidance at GOV.UK
  • Make sure you have all the information and calculations you need beforehand (calculator guidance is here)
  • Take a look through the step-by-step guide

Then you are ready to make your claim here.

Fundraising during challenging times

Funding is a critical topic for all charities but during a national crisis there is increased pressure on existing funding sources, especially for charities that rely on trading. At the same, there are potential new options opening up as the government and other bodies offer alternative funding opportunities for those organisations that might be struggling.

The principle of fundraising is that trustees should agree, set, and monitor your charity’s overall approach to fundraising. The Charity Commission guidance on trustee duties and charity funding states that your fundraising plan should take account of risks, your charity’s values, its relationship with donors and the wider public, as well as its income needs and expectations.

Manage financial difficulties in your charity caused by coronavirus  

On 23 April the charity commission guidance published the manage financial difficulties in your charity caused by coronavirus guidance.
 
They understand that many trustees are having to cope with serious financial challenges that will have a major effect on their charities and those who depend on them. They have produced some guidance for trustees, especially smaller charities, who may need help facing difficult situations or decisions.

The guidance helps you to:

  • Consider your current financial situation
  • Look at options for minimising costs and protecting and increasing income
  • How to keep the charity’s operations and finances under regular review and take any additional actions
  • Know what to do if your charity cannot continue to operate because of the financial problems caused by COVID-19

Charity Commission: How to donate safely during Ramadan

On 23 April the charity commission published guidance on how to donate safely during Ramadan.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community. Ramadan is a time of huge generosity among British Muslims, with people donating to charities. Increased online giving is expected this Ramadan, with a reduction in cash collections, as mosques and community centres remain closed to reduce social contact.  The charity commission is giving advice on how to give safely and securely - find out more.

Spark & Co – an organisation that runs community events for women – has created a resource hub for BAME groups, which have been hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 outbreak.

In it, you will find curated links to organisations and information designed to help those from BAME backgrounds.  Take a look.

Virgin Money Giving are waiving its platform fee, normally set at 2%, on all donations until the end of lockdown. See more here.  

 

FUNDING

If you would like help with applying for these funds such as a read and review, Christine Halpin and Isobel Hatfield are on hand to help you through, please contact them by email at memberservices@communities1st.org.uk and they will book some time in to work with you.

Hertfordshire Community Foundation (HCF) - grants of £5,000 available

HCF have grants of up to £5,000 available for community groups and charities dealing with emergency issues caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Please check the fund eligibility criteria before completing your application process.  Click here to access information from HCF about the application process.

Herts Sports Partnership have produced a funding newsletter which is extremely useful for sports groups and can be found on their website.

It includes both local, national and sport specific funding packages. 

The 2.6 Challenge

The organisers of the UK's largest mass-participation sports events have come together to create The 2.6 Challenge to raise vital funds to help save the UK’s charities.  The challenge is due to take place on the 26th April, the day that thousands of people would be running or tuning into the London Marathon. It is encouraging people to take on a challenge or initiative of their choice, on that day that is 2.6 or 26 of something - 2.6 sofa dips; 2.6km cycle; 26 laps of your garden etc. - and to then fund raise or donate to a charity of your choice.  There’s a great video here which is a summary of what the campaign is all about.

Jewish Child's Day Grants

Jewish Childs Day aim to assist disabled, disadvantaged, neglected or abused Jewish children worldwide. Deadline 30 April.

Erasmus + Youth Funding

Erasmus+ is the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport. Each year, UK youth organisations and young people can access Erasmus+ funding to support life-changing international opportunities. Deadline 30 April.

Magdalen Hospital Trust

The fund benefits vulnerable children and young adults, especially those at risk of sexual and other forms of exploitation. Deadline 30 April.

Golsoncott Foundation

The Golsoncott Foundation aims to promote, maintain, improve and advance the education of the public in the arts generally and in particular the fine arts and music. This includes providing access to the arts for young people and developing new audiences. Deadline 30 April.

The Clothworkers’ Emergency Capital Programme will award small capital grants of up to £5,000 for essential capital items to adapt or increase services in response Covid-19 pandemic.

Elton John Aids Foundation (UK) has launched a COVID-19 Emergency Fund 

The RAFT (Rapid Action by The Fore Trusts) programme has been launched to support small charities and social enterprises adversely affected by the crisis with grants up to £5,000.

Social Investment Business (UK) is a new £25 million fund for social enterprises and charities who are experiencing disruption to their normal business.

Funding to Support Charities and Communities Affected by Coronavirus (UK)

The Yorkshire Building Society’s Charitable Foundation has launched a Coronavirus Response Fund to support registered charities that are helping local communities affected by the coronavirus. Funding will support groups and activities that help vulnerable people who are self-isolating, co-ordinate community response, provide emergency support such as food banks, help with loss of income and ensure health and wellbeing is maintained. The £100,000 fund will make donations of between £250 and £2,000 to help with costs such as running costs, staff and travel costs, and volunteer expenses. Applications can be made at any time and will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis.

 

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT INDIVIDUALS

NHS advice on looking after your mental health during COVID-19, includes physical health and apps as well as how to look after yourself while staying at home. Click here.
 
NHS 10-minute workouts – the website provides instructions on carrying out the exercises. Click here.

NHS Health at Home Toolkit and Assets

The COVID-19 outbreak means the public need to stay at home except for very limited reasons.

If people need an NHS service, they should try to do it online from home first (unless there is a serious or life-threatening emergency or they are advised to attend an existing appointment for ongoing treatment).

The NHS Health at Home campaign will signpost to useful information about how the public can contact their GP, order repeat prescriptions, manage their wellbeing and existing conditions – without leaving their home.

You can download the toolkit and assets to use on your digital channels and print resources here.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): increased risk of fraud and cybercrime against charities 

The charity commission has published a news story about increased risk of fraud and cybercrime against charities.  Fraudsters are exploiting the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to carry out fraud and cybercrime. Police have reported an increase in coronavirus related scams. The charity commission alert was issued to help charities minimise the risk of becoming a victim of such frauds and cyber-attacks. They feel all charities, especially those providing services and supporting local communities during the coronavirus crisis, could be targeted by fraudsters. 

Fraud has included:

  • Purchasing PPE equipment and the goods not arriving once the financial transaction has been completed
  • A charity employee working from home receives an email purporting to be from a legitimate company providing services for the charity. The email asks that future payments be made to an alternative bank account, which is controlled by the fraudster. 

 For more details and how to minimise the risk

Shape Up

The Watford FC Community Sports Education Trust Shape Up is a free 12 week weight loss course for men aged 18-65 who live in Hertfordshire with a BMI of 30+.

Shape Up will still operate during the lockdown via interactive video and they will help the participants on the courses get 150 minutes of exercise per week by running a timetable of short online classes each week which are there to support and enhance the course

The sessions begin next week and participants can sign up now for the Tuesday 12.30-2pm sessions or the Thursday 6-7.30pm sessions.

If you could please share this information and the posters as far are you can with your work and personal network the Shape Up team would be incredibly grateful. www.shapeupherts.com  

Warnings and advice about COVID-19 scams

Friends Against Scams has issued guidance on the particular types of scams related to COVID-19 that have been identified. These include doorstep crime, online scams, refund scams, counterfeit goods plus several more. You can read the guidance here.

Fri 17 Apr 2020

“Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something …”

Sometimes it can be difficult to feel inspired at a time of national emergency.  The effect of separation can be extremely hard to deal with and as we move through the Coronavirus lockdown, and hear of more hospitalisation, rising numbers of those ‘in need’ including and increasingly requiring support for their emotional wellbeing, the thought of keeping ourselves motivated or optimistic, let alone others, can be somewhat dismaying.

But we start this week’s newsletter with the above quote as a reminder that you are not alone, and that EVERY SINGLE DAY, we are hearing of and seeing, more and more incredible stories of kindness, neighbourliness, companionship and selflessness across our districts.   

At Communities 1st, we want to help share - we will continue to produce and share new resources, guidance and support as we have been. But we also want to hear more of the amazing things happening across our districts of St Albans and Hertsmere and shout about them as loud as possible so that others can be inspired to follow in your footsteps.  You can share your stories with us by email, or on our social media platforms, and we will keep the good news rolling on…

I would like to say a huge thank you to all those who have offered to support us with helping those most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If someone has forwarded this to you, you can sign up to receive our e-newsletters directly into your inbox here: www.communities1st.org.uk/newsletter

Stay safe, stay well, be kind
 

Stephen Craker,

Chief Executive, Communities 1st

 

This newsletter is split into the following sections:

  • Communities 1st COVID-19 Information and Support
  • Information to support voluntary and community sector organisations
  • Funding for non-profit organisations
  • Information to support individuals

 

COMMUNITIES 1ST COVID-19 INFORMATION AND SUPPORT

Support for groups/charities

We need to hear from you

If your voluntary organisation is still delivering your service, please inform us of what kind of help, support, guidance you most need from Communities 1st.

If your organisation is facing challenges as a direct result of Coronavirus you can contact us via email on: memberservices@communities1st.org.uk or by completing an online form here and we will prioritise support for your organisation.

Do you need volunteers? 

Please let us know asap if you are in need of volunteers by emailing us at volunteer@communities1st.org.uk with ORGANISATION NEEDING VOLUNTEERS in the subject line.

In addition to checked and screened volunteers with cars who can help with deliveries, including shopping and prescription deliveries, we have screened volunteers with specialist skills including: therapists / doctor / filmmaker / project management and construction / lawyers / counsellors / communication and marketing specialists

Compassionate Community Connector Programme

This programme is being co-ordinated by Communities 1st in response to Covid-19 and covers the Districts and Boroughs of St Albans, Hertsmere, Welwyn/Hatfield, Broxbourne and East Herts in conjunction with many local organisations.

Volunteering: for people who are healthy and at low risk to help others. Individuals wishing to volunteer their time can sign-up here or call 020 3940 4865 between 1pm – 3pm, Monday to Friday.

Supporting Individuals: People who need help whilst isolated (or someone on their behalf) can complete an online form here or call 020 8207 5115 or email.

Be a Good Neighbour

We want to encourage kindness and neighbourliness, but we want people to stay safe so we’ve made a Being a Good Neighbour Booklet – Top Tips to help others guide free for everyone to access.  We’ve produced some animations to share with volunteers, including: safeguardingpractical support volunteering and keeping in touch volunteering and many downloadable factsheets on our  COVID-19 Setting up a new group webpage.  

If you want more information you can visit our website: www.communities1st.org.uk/Covid-19Updates or contact our Voluntary Sector support team on 01727 743018.  

 

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT VOLUNTARY AND COMMUNITY SECTOR ORGANISATIONS

The Government has updated guidance and launched further resources to encourage people to volunteer while remaining safe.  Find out more.

Charities SORP (Statement of Recommended Practice) News

The SORP-making body has published guidance for trustees and preparers of charity accounts looking at the potential impact of the control measures to contain COVID-19 on financial reporting by charities. The guidance considers the implications for the trustees’ annual report, going concern and the alternative basis to going concern when preparing accounts under the SORP:

Implications of COVID-19 control measures and charity financial reporting here.

Trustees may also find the FRC’s guidance to company Directors helpful when looking at their assessment of going concern: www.frc.org.uk/news/april-2016/guidance-on-the-going-concern-basis-of-accounting.

Cybercrime on the increase during pandemic

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) says there has been an increase in cybercrime - with coronavirus being used as a main theme.

They have produced some resources which provide advice for individuals and organisations on how to deal with this new trend.

Also they have produced guides on the following issues which may be of interest to you currently:

Charity Sector Survival: #EveryDayCounts

The #EveryDayCounts campaign was set to persuade the government to provide emergency funding that will keep charities alive and enable them to continue to serve their beneficiaries and communities. The campaign is asking charities to share their stories, so the government can understand how essential it is to invest in the sector and prevent its collapse.

  • Use the #EveryDayCounts campaign badge on your website, emails and social media to show support and promote the campaign. You can download the badge from the Charity Finance Group where you will also find useful tips about sharing your message on social media
  • Share your stories; use local media, social media using the hashtag #EveryDayCounts and get your stories out there by sharing what are you doing to support in response to COVID19 crisis.  Highlight any increases in your activities as a result of the crisis any capacity or financial squeezes.

FUNDING

If you would like help with applying for these funds such as a read and review, Christine Halpin and Isobel Hatfield are on hand to help you through, please contact them by email at memberservices@communities1st.org.uk and they will book some time in to work with you.

Hertfordshire Community Foundation (HCF) - grants of £5000 available

HCF have grants of up to £5,000 available for community groups and charities dealing with emergency issues caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Please check the fund eligibility criteria before completing your application process.  Click here to access information from HCF about the application process.

Nationwide Community Grants - join the online event on 21 May 2020 and help us solve the housing emergency in your area

Local charitable organisations can apply for grants of up to £50,000. You can take a look at who can apply here.

Want to find out how you can apply?

Join the live Community Grants event on 21 May 2020 at 2:30pm, to:

  • find out more about our programme and the brand new and improved application process
  • hear from one of our awarded charities about their experience and how they’ve used the grant money
  • ask our experts any questions you've got about our Grants programme.

Simply let them know you’re coming and they’ll send you the link seven days before the event which you can save in your calendar.

Sport England: Community Emergency Fund

This fund is specifically targeted at organisations, including those not currently supported by them, who have a role in supporting the nation to be active but who are experiencing short term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the ongoing crisis. Awards will be between £300 and £10,000. In exceptional circumstances they will consider awards of more than £10,000.  Find out more.

Herts Sports Partnership have produced a funding newsletter which is extremely useful for sports groups and can be found on their website. It includes both local, national and sport specific funding packages. 

The 2.6 Challenge

The organisers of the UK's largest mass-participation sports events have come together to create The 2.6 Challenge to raise vital funds to help save the UK’s charities.  The challenge is due to take place on the 26th April, the day that thousands of people would be running or tuning into the London Marathon. It is encouraging people to take on a challenge or initiative of their choice, on that day that is 2.6 or 26 of something - 2.6 sofa dips; 2.6km cycle; 26 laps of your garden etc. - and to then fund raise or donate to a charity of your choice.  There’s a great video here which is a summary of what the campaign is all about.

All charities that are registered on either Virgin MoneyGiving or JustGiving are eligible to benefit from this, and all other charities can now register for free on these platforms in order to also benefit from this initiative.

COVID-19 Emergency Surplus Food Grant

As part of the UK Government's collaborative response to supporting key infrastructure throughout this difficult time, Defra has made £3.25m available through the Resource Action Fund administered by WRAP.

Phase 2 for small surplus food redistributors is now open.

Phase 3 for medium-to-larger operators is now open.

Heritage Emergency Fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has put together a £50million fund to support the heritage sector as an immediate response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  Find out more.

A B Charitable Trust

A B Charitable Trust supports charities that defend human rights and promote respect for vulnerable individuals whatever their circumstances. The Trust is particularly interested in charities that work with marginalised and excluded people in society, with a focus on: migrants, refugees and asylum seekers prisoners and penal reform human rights, particularly access to justice. Deadline 26 April. Find out more.

The Concertina Charitable Trust

Concertina makes grants to charitable bodies which provide musical entertainment and related activities for the elderly. This not only brightens up their lives, but also provides a therapeutic benefit to their health and well-being. Deadline 30 April.  Find out more.

#iwill Fund

A limited number of grants are available for not-for-profit organisations to deliver peer support and/or youth-led advocacy projects to help young people up to the age of 20 experiencing bereavement.  Max. Value: £ 10,000. Find out more.

Big Society Capital

Big Society Capital is planning to launch an emergency loan fund for the sector. Around £100m is expected to be available and more details are still to be announced. Find out more here about Big Society Capital Funding.

Standard Life Foundation

The Standard Life Foundation has launched funding for work directly related to the coronavirus pandemic. Grants will be made to organisations which tackle financial problems and improve living standards for those on low-to-middle incomes in the UK. Find out more about Standard Life Foundation.

 

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT INDIVIDUALS

FAQs from Carers UK

Carers UK has brought together the questions they have most frequently been asked by carers, to help address the main concerns and help put carers' minds at rest, reassuring them that they’re not alone and guiding them to what support there is to help.  Please share this resource.

UK coronavirus rules relaxed for people with autism and learning disabilities

The government has amended guidance relating to people with learning disabilities or autism leaving the house for exercise. It states they can now do this more than once a day and can travel outside of their local area under current lockdown measures.

The guidance refers to people with a “specific health condition” and reads:

“This could, for example, include where individuals with learning disabilities or autism require specific exercise in an open space two or three times each day – ideally in line with a care plan agreed with a medical professional.”

You can read the updated guidance here.

Safer Places have launched a new live chat service to support those experiencing, or at risk of abuse

The new service enables anyone experiencing abuse to chat directly with a member of the Safer Places team.

The service provides survivors with information and supports individuals to make choices about how to increase their safety, the safety of their family and make decisions about their future. Safer Places online chat service is available both day and night and enables those who feel safer seeking support online to chat to a qualified professional to get confidential support and advice when, where, and how they want it.

The new service will initially be open between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday and 8pm - 8am Fri - Sun 8pm - 8am.

Preventing exploitation of children

  • The Lucy Faithfull Foundation's confidential helpline ‘Stop it Now!’ (0808 1000 900) is for anyone concerned about their behaviour or the behaviour of others. They also have a secure messaging service and information on their website
  • The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command Centre (CEOP) has launched its #OnlineSafetyAtHome campaign to prevent online exploitation, plus they've produced a number of resources for a range of age groups
  • Finally, the NSPCC has produced some guidance for parents on online safety

RSPCA urges pet owners to fill out a pet care plan

Pet owners are being urged to make a plan for their pet during the Coronavirus outbreak, to make sure animals get the care they need in an emergency.  Click here to download the pet care form.

Herts Inclusive Theatre are launching online live interactive sessions

Herts Inclusive Theatre will be running online live sessions from this week. These include drama activities, games, yoga, breathing techniques and mindfulness for children, young people and adults. All sessions will take place via 'Zoom' and will happen on a weekly basis.  

Warnings and advice about COVID-19 scams

Friends Against Scams has issued guidance on the particular types of scams related to COVID-19 that have been identified. These include doorstep crime, online scams, refund scams, counterfeit goods plus several more. You can read the guidance here.

Fri 10 Apr 2020

We are in a time where everyone is expecting to hear bad news at some point. We’re also in a time where more than ever we need to support each other, to work together and unleash all the skill, creativity, kindness and compassion we can muster. We must all work to support each other and ensure we remain connected for the benefit of our most vulnerable residents.

The Chancellors announcement on Wednesday about funding available for the charity sector will support many charities currently on the frontline of the current pandemic.  This will make sure that much-needed services supporting those in need – including hospices, food banks, domestic abuse services along with homelessness and addiction charities – can continue to support the communities that need them more than ever at this time.

There is still work to be done though.  We’re very aware that while this money will support some, there are many charities and other voluntary organisations who will not be able to access it.  Communities 1st is working hard to identify funding options for everyone and will continue to support our members to recognise other funding pots available.  Our website has updated funding information relating to COVID-19 and our weekly updates include information on new funds that we have identified.

We continue to work with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and the National Association For Voluntary And Community Action (NAVCA) to share what is happening at a grassroots level, which allows them to continue to make the case to government. Consequently, we ask you to keep in contact with us throughout this time, letting us know what support your group needs and what issues you are facing. This can be done by making contact via email at memberservices@communities1st.org.uk, calling 01727 743018 or by filling out our member survey

I would like to say a huge thanks to all those who have offered to support us with helping those most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If someone has forwarded this to you, you can sign up to receive our e-newsletters directly into your inbox here: www.communities1st.org.uk/newsletter

Stay safe, stay well, be kind

Stephen Craker,

Chief Executive, Communities 1st

 

This newsletter is split into the following sections:

  • Communities 1st COVID-19 Information and Support
  • Information to support voluntary and community sector organisations
  • Funding for non-profit organisations
  • Information to support individuals

COMMUNITIES 1ST COVID-19 INFORMATION AND SUPPORT

Support for groups/charities

We need to hear from you

If your voluntary organisation is still delivering your service, please inform us of what kind of help, support, guidance you most need from Communities 1st.

If your organisation is facing challenges as a direct result of Coronavirus you can contact us via email on: memberservices@communities1st.org.uk or by completing an online form here and we will prioritise support for your organisation.

Compassionate Community Connector Programme

This programme is being co-ordinated by Communities 1st in response to Covid-19 and covers St Albans, Hertsmere, Welwyn/Hatfield, Broxbourne and East Herts.  Communities 1st is working in conjunction with Broxbourne and East Herts and Welwyn Hatfield Volunteer Centres, Volunteering Herts, Harpenden Cares, London Colney Good Neighbour Scheme, #TeamHerts, HertsHelp and many other local organisations.

Volunteering: for people who are healthy and at low risk to help others. Individuals wishing to volunteer their time can sign-up here or call 020 3940 4865 between 1pm – 3pm, Monday to Friday.

Supporting Individuals: People who need help whilst isolated (or someone on their behalf) can complete an online form here or call 020 8207 5115 or email. They will then be either matched with one of the Compassionate Community Connector volunteers, offered support immediately or signposted/referred on to a local voluntary/community organisation.

Be a Good Neighbour

Many people want to help as the Coronavirus causes more people to stay at home – this is great, but people aren’t always sure where to start and some are worried about safety or fraud.  

We want to encourage neighbourliness in these uncertain times, so we have put together some advice for community involvement during the Coronavirus outbreak. We want to encourage kindness and neighbourliness, but we want people to stay safe so we’ve shared some tips for everyone to please bear in mind.

  • Keep it local and manageable – we suggest your own street or about 20-30 houses at most, please don’t try and cover a larger area!
  • Don’t try to cover more than you realistically can sustain – this might last for months
  • Stick to a patch you know well
  • Keep to where people will recognise you and trust your offer is genuine
  • Don’t get into personal care or going into people’s houses – be assured that other agencies are looking at this
  • Keep it to essentials so we are talking pence not pounds and don’t expect or ask people to pay for support, if they insist, suggest they pay you back later ‘in kind’ when they are well
  • Keep an eye out for fraudsters, and if confident to do so, politely (and safely) challenge any cold callers in your area
  • Follow the advice, and don’t pass on germs
  • When dropping off supplies, remember to observe social distancing guidance

We’ve made a Being a Good Neighbour Booklet – Top Tips to help others guide free for everyone to access.  We’ve produced some animations to share with volunteers, including: safeguardingpractical support volunteering and keeping in touch volunteering and many downloadable factsheets on our  COVID-19 Setting up a new group webpage.  

If you want more information you can visit our website: www.communities1st.org.uk/Covid-19Updates or contact our Voluntary Sector support team on 01727 743018.

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT VOLUNTARY AND COMMUNITY SECTOR ORGANISATIONS

NCVO free resources during covid-19: A trustee's role and responsibilities

NCVO has a diverse community of over 14,000 member organisations – a third of the voluntary sector workforce in England. They have made their member-only resources free to everyone because of the current situation. They think it’s important people have the guidance they need to run their organisations during this time.

One of those free resources is access to a pre-recorded four-part practical course which will introduce you to the key aspects and responsibilities of any trustee role.  Find out more here.

NCVO Government funding for charities: An important start but more is needed

Elizabeth Chamberlain is Head of Policy and Public Services at NCVO. Her expertise is on charity law and regulation. Her policy interests include charity campaigning, the sector’s independence, transparency, and accountability.

On 8 April Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a bailout package for the UK charity sector.  Read blog here.

Charity Sector Survival: #EveryDayCounts

The #EveryDayCounts campaign was set to persuade the government to provide emergency funding that will keep charities alive and enable them to continue to serve their beneficiaries and communities. The campaign is asking charities to share their stories, so the government can understand how essential it is to invest in the sector and prevent its collapse.

  • Use the #EveryDayCounts campaign badge on your website, emails and social media to show support and promote the campaign. You can download the badge from the Charity Finance Group where you will also find useful tips about sharing your message on social media
  • Share your stories; use local media, social media using the hashtag #EveryDayCounts and get your stories out there by sharing what are you doing to support in response to COVID19 crisis.  Highlight any increases in your activities as a result of the crisis any capacity or financial squeezes.

Mental health for small workplaces

Now might be a very good time to focus on your team’s mental health as the current pandemic puts us all under unusual levels of stress. This free resource from Mind is a quick eLearning tool with three modules:

  • Building your awareness
  • Looking after yourself
  • Supporting each other

Take a look

How DBS is supporting the fight against coronavirus

The government has updated its guidance on how the DBS is supporting the fight against coronavirus. On the dedicated webpage you can find a collection of factsheets, updated guidelines and news stories related to DBS and coronavirus. These include FAQs, updated ID checking guidelines and information about Enhanced DBS checks for healthcare professionals. Take a look

First aid cover and qualifications during coronavirus (COVID-19)

If first aid cover for your business is reduced because of coronavirus or you can’t get the first aid training you need, there are some things you can do so that you still comply with the law.

For example, if you hold a first aid certificate that expires on or after 16 March 2020 and cannot access requalification training because of coronavirus you may qualify for a 3-month extension. Find out more.

Free business support for charities

Cranfield Trust provides free tailored business support to voluntary organisations. During this challenging time all its services are being offered remotely.  This includes one-to-one telephone support from experts on topics such as finance, communication and business contingency planning, tailored HR and employment advice, management consultancy and leadership mentoring.  Email admin@cranfieldtrust.org or visit www.cranfieldtrust.org for more details.

Supporting BAME communities

The Ubele Initative has set up a new webpage about the impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities and the charities that work with them. The website includes the statement that the Ubele initiative has released to government, case studies, webinars and research into the impact of COVID-19 on BAME community and voluntary organisations. Visit the website now.

A guide to fact-checking content

There is a huge amount of data out there that the average person is expected to process and understand. With social media and internet searches making up the vast proportion of data directed at informing the general public, separating fact from fiction is becoming increasingly difficult. This article from Charity Digital News, gives advice and practical tips on some of the ways charity digital leaders and staff can ensure that the right message gets across. Read now.

Considerations for community groups, volunteers and charities

Ladbrook Insurance have produced a document relaying and relying on other published materials to provide some information to policyholders and prospective clients.  This includes information for those managing premises that have recently become unoccupied.  Read now.

 

FUNDING

If you would like help with applying for these funds such as a read and review, Christine Halpin and Isobel Hatfield are on hand to help you through, please contact them by email at memberservices@communities1st.org.uk and they will book some time in to work with you.

HCF - grants of £2000 available

HCF have grants of up to £2,000 available for community groups and charities dealing with emergency issues caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Please check the fund eligibility criteria before completing your application process.  Click here to access information from HCF about the application process.

Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme

The Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme is run in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs, and jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.

  • Start Up: Your project is in the planning stages but ready to start, or less than two years old. It makes £0 – £15,000 a year
  • Trade Up: Your project was established at least a year ago, and probably has at least one paid member of staff. It makes at least £15,000 a year
  • Scale Up: Your project was probably established two or more years ago, and probably has two or more paid members of staff. It makes at least £75,000 a year

Applications are open until Thursday 30 April 2020. Find out more.

Sport England: Community Emergency Fund

This new fund aims to deliver immediate funding to those most in need. It’s specifically targeted at organisations, including those not currently supported by them, who have a role in supporting the nation to be active but who are experiencing short term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the ongoing crisis. Awards will be between £300 and £10,000. In exceptional circumstances they will consider awards of more than £10,000.  Find out more.

In This Together: Emergency Grants Fund

Emergency grants to support local organisations that are meeting the current needs of those experiencing homelessness across the UK and who are affected by the coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis.  Find out more.

Audio Content Fund

The Audio Content Fund has “announced a special funding round, for content that will support radio audiences during the coronavirus crisis. The fund, which is financed by the UK Government, has made a minimum of £200,000 of its budget available for ideas that will improve the quality of listeners’ lives during restrictions in place due to Covid-19.”  Find out more.

Can your VCSE organisation apply for Covid-19 support for businesses?

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.  Find out more.

Coronavirus Voluntary Sector Support Fund

Catalyst Housing has set up an emergency fund to help small charities and voluntary sector organisations responding to support communities with the challenges of coronavirus.  The fund is open to organisations working in Catalyst neighbourhoods that are supporting those with low and insecure incomes, older people and vulnerable adults, as well as those with mental ill health.  Groups can apply for up to £2,000 and will cover costs.  Find out more.

BBC to host Big Night In fundraiser

BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief are joining forces to host an evening of fundraising in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Big Night In will be broadcast live on 23 April from 7pm to 10pm and will feature a range of celebrities and artists, some performing from home to respect social distancing rules.

This is the first time that the charity partners have collaborated. Funds will be divided between BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief and will then be used “to provide essential support to local charities, projects and programmes across the UK to help those most in need.”

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT INDIVIDUALS

Self-care during COVID-19

Mental health experts, Combat Stress have shared some help and advice to support everyone in managing their mental health throughout the COVID-19 crisis. The guidance includes some simple and quick tips as well as more detailed guides and resources on topics like managing anxiety and working out from experts including occupational therapists and art therapists.  Take a look

Increase to Universal Credit

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has provided information relating to an increase in Universal Credit allowance:  The standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit were increased for one year. Both will increase by £20 per week on top of planned annual uprating. This applies to all new and existing Universal Credit claimants and to existing Working Tax Credit claimants. This means that for a single Universal Credit claimant (aged 25 or over), the standard allowance will increase from £317.82 to £409.89 per month.  Click here for the most up to date information about changes to Universal Credit.

Warnings and advice about COVID-19 scams

Unscrupulous criminals are exploiting fears about COVID-19 to prey on members of the public, particularly older and vulnerable people who are isolated from family and friends. National Trading Standards is warning people to remain vigilant following a rise in coronavirus-related scams that seek to benefit from the public’s concern and uncertainty over COVID-19.

Friends Against Scams has issued guidance on the particular types of scams related to COVID-19 that have been identified. These include doorstep crime, online scams, refund scams, counterfeit goods plus several more. You can read the guidance here.

The Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund

The £5million Enterprise Relief Fund will offer grants to 18 to 30-year olds across the UK who are self-employed and/or running their own business. In conjunction with cash grants, the initiative will offer one-to-one support and guidance to anyone who needs it and who may be worried about their future.  The process at this stage for all situations is just to register your interest. Find out more and register your interest.

St Albans Minor Injuries Unit temporarily closed as part of COVID-19 response

Patients with minor injuries should visit www.111.nhs.uk, the 111 online service. This will provide advice on where a patient should go for their symptoms. People should only phone 111 if they cannot get online.

Those patients who feel that they need a GP appointment should call their local GP practice and they are likely to be offered a phone or video consultation in the first instance, unless a face-to-face appointment is necessary. Patients who have sustained serious injuries and/or are suffering blood loss or a serious deterioration should call 999.

No-one with COVID-19 symptoms should attend any medical setting unless explicitly directed to do by the NHS 111 service or the 999 call operator.

For more information, visit West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust website

Update on mental health and learning disability services

At this challenging and unprecedented time, like many of our colleagues across the NHS, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust have needed to make some changes to the way they are providing services to keep staff and service users safe during this challenging time.  Find out more here.

 

Sat 4 Apr 2020

Was that only a week?

Firstly, I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone working hard to ensure that we support local people during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  Throughout our incredible membership we have seen an amazing community response.

All through the last few weeks I’ve heard from amazing folk in other charities and voluntary organisations who are working flat out to help. They are rewiring their entire organisations to be able to do what is needed right now, to keep people safe and well. Although we’re physically distancing, being socially connected has never mattered more. Rightly, the NHS is getting a lot of attention as our NHS staff are at the frontline of dealing with the impact of Covid19. It’s also important to remember that the wider system includes social care staff in Local Authorities, care homes, agencies which provide support at home and of course thousands (and I’m not exaggerating here) of charities and community groups.

Some things we’ve done

  • Launched our Compassionate Community Connector volunteer programme - The headline has to be the fantastic response to our call for volunteers – over 2,000 people have signed up already
  • Created a space for local charities and community groups to tell us what they need
  • Added to our resources with news about funding, safe practice and much more 
  • Working with partners to gather information about what’s going on in neighbourhoods, what the needs are, what’s in place and what isn’t and how to connect it all together. We are effectively building in a matter of days a district-wide information system. The start of this is here
  • Launched our helpline for people who are in an at risk group and need help or support.  Please can complete the form here: www.communities1st.org.uk/COVID19support or contact us on 020 8207 5115 or email help@communities1st.org.uk

Some things I’ve learned this week

  • There is a massive collective effort. Each of us is just one cell in this collective brain trying to figure it out and get everything done. Without any one of us it wouldn’t be as smart, with just one of us it wouldn’t work at all
  • It’s very easy for time to be eaten up when working in a crisis. Whole days have gone by moving from one conference call to the next without time to change mental gears
  • We all need time out and time to smile. I’m still learning how to do that

Stuff still to sort

  • Some groups of people are still too invisible in all of this
  • NHS Volunteering. It’s wonderful to see so many thousands of people sign up. All that’s needed now is some ideas of how that’s going to be organised because I don’t yet understand how we are supposed to connect to it. We’ll find a way
  • Crisis funding for charities. Some funds available are listed here

So if you’re feeling that this is still an anxious time where not everything is clear, all I can say is that’s OK. Everything is still coming together but it is making a difference. It will get better, more connected and the system will improve. Last week I said, it was not a sprint, but a marathon. I’d add to that now: it’s a relay marathon where the course keeps changing. 

Thank you once again for all you have done and will do in the future.

Stephen Craker,

Chief Executive, Communities 1st

 

COMMUNITIES 1ST INFORMATION AND SUPPORT

Support for groups/charities

We need to hear from you

If your voluntary organisation is still delivering your service, please inform us of what kind of help, support, guidance you most need from Communities 1st.

  • What are the implications of Coronavirus for your organisation?
  • Do you have or need volunteers?
  • Is your service operating?
  • Can we signpost to you?

If your organisation is facing challenges as a direct result of Coronavirus you can contact us via email on: memberservices@communities1st.org.uk or by completing an online form here and we will prioritise support for your organisation.

Compassionate Community Connector Programme
This programme is being co-ordinated by Communities 1st in response to Covid-19 and covers St Albans, Hertsmere, Welwyn/Hatfield, Broxbourne and East Herts.  Communities 1st is working in conjunction with Broxbourne and East Herts and Welwyn Hatfield Volunteer Centres, Harpenden Cares, London Colney Good Neighbour Scheme, #TeamHerts Volunteering and many other local organisations.

Volunteering: for people who are healthy and at low risk to help others. Individuals wishing to volunteer their time can sign-up here or call 020 3940 4865 between 1pm – 3pm, Monday to Friday.

Supporting Individuals: People who need help whilst isolated (or someone on their behalf) can complete an online form here or call 020 8207 5115 or email. They will then be either matched with one of the Compassionate Community Connector volunteers, offered support immediately or signposted/referred on to a local voluntary/community organisation.

Can anyone set themselves up as a support group? 

Anyone can set up a group and its great people have a natural impulse to do so. Once you start to form an organisation you encounter more legal responsibilities by default. This includes how you’re managing safeguarding and a common part of doing that is criminal record checks along with references.  We’ve made a Being a Good Neighbour Booklet – Top Tips to help others guide free for everyone to access.  We have also produced a short video on recruiting and retaining volunteers.

We’ve produced some animations to share with volunteers, including: safeguardingpractical support volunteering and keeping in touch volunteering.

If you want more information you can visit our website: www.communities1st.org.uk/Covid-19Updates or contact our Voluntary Sector support team on 01727 743018.  

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT VOLUNTARY AND COMMUNITY SECTOR ORGANISATIONS

TrustLaw: Series of webinars on the law and Covid-19

TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono network, are continuing to operate core services online during the evolving COVID-19 situation and are arranging a series of webinars with partner law firms. These webinars will provide an opportunity to ask lawyers questions on the legal implications of COVID-19.

If you would like to attend one of these webinars, register your interest here. The registration form will ask you for your contact details and to indicate the areas of law which you would most like to discuss. Once enough information has been gathered topics will be confirmed based on popularity.

Updated guidance from the Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has updated its guidance to help with running a charity during the coronavirus outbreak. In the guidance, the Commission sets out its response to the most commonly asked questions. This includes consideration of whether your charitable objects allow for your charity to offer support, how you can get support to pay staff and whether you can use reserves and restricted funds to help your charity survive the crisis.  You can here: www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-the-charity-sector.

Furlough guidance

This guidance sets out the process to claim for your employees' wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. It explains who is eligible and how much you can claim to cover wages for employees on temporary leave (“furlough”) due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

There is a very important and relevant paragraph which states that if you're receiving public money to cover staff costs you cannot furlough those staff even if you can't deliver the work. This could make the process very complicated as VCSE organisations will need to look at every contract to see what the implications are. This information is detailed under section ‘Who can claim’ and under the sub-heading ‘Public sector organisations’Read the guidance here.

Community groups and COVID-19: what you need to know about data protection

Ian Hulme, Director for Regulatory Assurance at the ICO explains some of the basics of data protection, and gives new and established community groups, services and charities clarity on how to apply the law in this extraordinary time. Read this blog.

Update from Association of British Insurers.

Support those who use their cars to help their communities.  If you are using your own car for voluntary purposes to transport medicines or groceries to support others who are impacted by Covid-19, your cover will not be affected. You do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover. This applies to all categories of NHS Volunteer Responders, including transporting patients, equipment, or other essential supplies.  Read more.

Using local radio to reach your clients, colleagues or the public

If you need to reach your clients, colleagues/volunteers or just the local public, you can use a special programme (Local Life) that is being broadcast on Radio Verulam 92.6 FM and live online at www.radioverulam.com.

In terms of ongoing support here are Radio Verulam’s community-focused initiatives:

  • Community Circle: www.radioverulam.com/communitycircle/. Charities and not-for-profits can have a profile on our website, which includes a function for blog posts and occasional on-air mentions
  • Community Corner: contact Rob Pearman info@sadt.org.uk. If clients, colleagues, the general public or volunteers need to reach each other, they can email a message which will be broadcast on our Local Life programme
  • Community Shoutouts: www.radioverulam.com/shoutout/. As above, however, people can press a button to record a message or thank you on their phone, laptop or PC, this will also be broadcast on air 
  • Local news: www.radioverulam.com/mynews. Charities, support groups or local organisations can share their updates, events or offers of help
  • #SideWithStAlbans: @radioverulam on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. A community-led project created by our volunteer digital media team to encourage residents and organisations in Hertfordshire to share their positive news online 

Charity Bank COVID-19 Resource Hub

Charity Bank has created a Resource Hub which it is updating regularly to include information on topics such as HR, finance, fundraising and fraud. Take a look

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

On 26 March HM Revenue and Customs published its guidance “Claim for your employee’s wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme”.

This guidance sets out the process to claim for your employees' wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. It explains who is eligible and how much you can claim to cover wages for employees on temporary leave (“furlough”) due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

There is a very important and relevant paragraph which states that if you're receiving public money to cover staff costs you cannot furlough those staff even if you can't deliver the work.  This could make the process very complicated as VCSE organisations will need to look at every contract to see what the implications are. This information is detailed under section ‘Who can claim’ and under the sub-heading ‘Public sector organisations’. Read the guidance here.

Coronavirus and Your Charity’s Finances

A Webinar about Coronavirus and Your Charity's Finances was recorded here.

Sandy Adirondack’s legal updates

We’ve shared bits and pieces from legal specialist Sandy Adirondack before as she regularly issues mailings with relevant and clear guidance, advice and resources for the voluntary sector. Now more than ever, we recommend signing up to Sandy’s mailing list. You’ll receive updates including links to home working policies, risk assessments, HR guidance and legal advice, plus much more.

To sign up for the legal updates email list contact Sandy on legalupdate@sandy-a.co.uk.

FUNDING

If you would like help with applying for these funds such as a read and review, Christine Halpin and Isobel Hatfield are on hand to help you through, please contact them by email at memberservices@communities1st.org.uk and they will book some time in to work with you.

HCF - grants of £2000 available

HCF have grants of up to £2000 available for community groups and charities dealing with emergency issues caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Please check the fund eligibility criteria before completing your application process.  Click here to access information from HCF about the application process.

Small grants scheme for smaller charitable organisations

Charities Aid Foundation has launched a small grants scheme for smaller charitable organisations. It’s for grants of up to £10,000 for smaller organisations affected by the virus outbreak. Details can be found here:  www.cafonline.org/charities/grantmaking/caf-coronavirus-emergency-fund.

Nisa Stores charity funds

All Nisa Stores across the UK have a charity fund to support small, local charities. Retailers are facing unprecedented demands at the moment and are extremely busy so don’t have the time to actively seek out charities, but if you call or pop in (safely) to ask, you may be in luck! Find your local Nisa store.

National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF)

NHLF remains open for its current grant programmes and are seeking to reassure everyone they fund that they will be as flexible and supportive as possible.  Find out more about Heritage Fund funding.

CAF Coronavirus Emergency Fund

Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has launched a rapid response fund to help smaller charitable organisations affected by COVID-19. Grants of up to £10,000 are available.  Find out more about CAF Coronavirus Emergency Fund.

The National Emergencies Trust

NET has launched a Coronavirus fundraising appeal to raise funds for local charities. The British Red Cross will be managing donations. Find out more about National Emergencies Trust funding.

Power to Change

Power to Change have paused their current programmes for community businesses in order to turn their attention and funding towards the support and advice the sector needs now. Find out more about Power to Change funding and support.

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation (EFF)

EFF are currently concentrating on supporting the organisations they already fund. Find out more about Esmee Fairbairn Foundation funding.

Big Society Capital

Big Society Capital is planning to launch an emergency loan fund for the sector. Around £100m is expected to be available and more details are still to be announced.  Find out more about Big Society Capital Funding.

Standard Life Foundation

The Standard Life Foundation has launched funding for work directly related to the coronavirus pandemic. Grants will be made to organisations which tackle financial problems and improve living standards for those on low-to-middle incomes in the UK.  Find out more about Standard Life Foundation funding.

John Lewis and Waitrose £1m fund

The partnership has launched a £1m community support fund. Waitrose stores will have these funds to support their local area based on the needs of the community.  Find out more about John Lewis and Waitrose funding.

Arts Council England

 

Emergency funding package and support for funded organisations and individuals announced.  Find out more about Arts Council funding.

The Indigo Trust

The Indigo Trust is making £2.5m available through emergency grants to help charities respond to the coronavirus emergency. The trust responded to an initiative from charity think tank New Philanthropy Capital (NPC), which has published guidance for philanthropists on how to best support charities through to the crisis.  Find out more about Indigo Trust funding.

Steve Morgan Foundation

Housebuilder Redrow’s founder Steve Morgan has also pledged £1m a week to charity, joining the list of celebrities and business people offering their support.  Find out more about Steven Morgan Foundation funding

Cadent Foundation

Charities and community groups can apply for individual grants of between £100 and £100,000 as a new foundation, funded by the UK’s biggest gas network Cadent, opens for applications.  It committed £240,000 to the Trussell Trust last week to help food banks respond to challenges presented by Covid-19.  Find out more about Cadent Foundation funding.

Youth Futures Foundation

The Foundation’s rolling grants programme is now live.  The new fund will be distributed to organisations across England that have a promising track record of supporting young people (aged 14-24) who face barriers to accessing employment.  The Foundation is also calling for government to unlock an emergency support package for charities and social enterprises working with children and young people. Find out more about Youth Futures Foundation funding.

Localgiving and People’s Postcode lottery – Magic Little Grants

Magic Little Grants of £500 are available to local charities that support and inspire people to participate in sports or exercise. Localgiving have announced that they will support projects that help people to stay active during social distancing, such as online fitness classes delivered via video conferencing software or Youtube.  Find out more about Magic Little Grants.

Emergency funding to support highly vulnerable veterans

The Covenant Fund Trust will this month be launching an emergency programme to support the Armed Forces Community with funding from the Covenant Fund and from HM Treasury; with special attention on those who have faced hardships as a result of the pandemic; on projects to help isolated people reconnect with wider communities; projects that support improved mental health and encouraging stronger links between Armed Forces Charities.  Find out more how the Covenant Fund Trust is responding to COVID-19 here.

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT INDIVIDUALS

Herts Sports Partnership launches WorkOut from Home

WorkOut From Home is the starting point to learning how you can WorkOut your Body, WorkOut your Mind and WorkOut What's Next.  It includes a downloadable, editable tracker for you to use to keep the whole family's activities scheduled on. Download it and make changes on any device, or print and pop up in the kitchen where everyone will see a daily reminder!

Hertfordshire Year of Culture – WhatsONLINE

HYOC2020 is keen to remind everyone that whilst lots of things might be cancelled, creativity certainly isn’t.  Organisations across the county are finding new ways to deliver their content and you can find it on the WhatsONLINE page on Creative Hertfordshire.  There’s plenty on here to keep your creative mind active during social distancing. Organisations can upload their own online activities directly here.  Follow @HYOC2020 across all social media platforms for some more inspiration or to share your own creations. 

Supermarket vouchers for children who get free school meals

Parents of children eligible for free school meals will begin getting weekly supermarket vouchers to try to help them through the coronavirus shutdown, ministers have announced. The government has acknowledged that the closure of schools was “dramatically affecting the lives of many families” and has introduced this new measure in a collaboration with major supermarket chains including Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys.

Schools will provide vouchers to families electronically - with parents showing codes on their phones at supermarket titles - or as gift cards for families without internet access.  You can read more on this here.

Look out for the blue tick on Twitter

There’s a lot of fake news out there about coronavirus so it’s really important to get your news from a trusted source. The NHS has worked with Twitter UK to make sure local NHS organisations are blue-tick verified – so it’s easier to know who to trust.

Cyber Threats and Increased Risks

There are increasing risks of cyber-crime during this period of lock-down.  It is worth reminding staff who are working at home, and some of whom, may be using their own equipment of the risks and what to do/not do.  You may want to consider circulating a reminder.  The do/don’ts below should cover the majority of scenarios at present.

Top tips:

  • Check that incoming emails are from a legitimate sender. At a quick glance the email address may appear to be that of a colleague, a client, or a known third party, however, it could be just a single character different
  • Never click on links in emails from sources where you do not know the sender, are not expecting the email or the contents appear suspicious in any way
  • Never share bank details with anyone over email. Never accept changed bank details from anyone over email
  • Always follow the organisation’s processes for identity checking, verifying and double-checking bank details, confirming client identities etc
  • Never share personal or confidential details about yourself or others when requested to do so via email
  • Be wary of bogus websites that can copy the identity of a genuine firm.
  • Avoid clicking on adverts in websites that you cannot verify as genuine – they may contain hidden code to download malware
  • Be aware of the increased incidence of “doorstep” scams. Do not accept offers of help or to provide services when you do not know the caller and have not previously arranged to engage with or speak to them
  • Always ensure that your anti-virus software on your personal computer is up to date and fully operational
  • Never allow anyone else to use your login, nor access your personal computer equipment
  • Never allow anyone other than authorised personnel to download any software onto your computer equipment
  • Always check with your manager or a partner if you are unsure about the authenticity of an email, or a request to provide information or carry out a financial transaction.
Sun 29 Mar 2020

I would like to thank every single one of you for your efforts during this challenging time. I have heard many examples of the fantastic work charities, voluntary organisations, social enterprises and local neighbourhood groups are doing in mobilising communities, providing frontline services and helping the vulnerable.

I also want to thank member organisations for keeping in regular contact with Communities 1st during this time. I know from personal experience that running a charity is a full-time job even at the best of times. But the information that you have provided has been critical in our efforts to support local communities. Our members are our greatest asset, and we will never take you for granted. So, thank you again for all your help and please continue to work with us.

COVID-19 is already making radical changes to the way that people think about our society. Things that were unthinkable just a few days ago, are now received wisdom.  It’s unlikely that we’ll back to ‘business as usual’ after something of this scale. Things must be different. Our priority for the moment must be to respond to this health emergency and the needs of members and the local community. But beyond this I hope we can all commit to working together so that the sacrifices that are being made are not in vain.  I would encourage any members with thoughts or ideas about how we can achieve this to contact me.

Our COVID-19 Support and Resources webpages are being updated daily with briefings, guidance and other practical resources to help you through the coming weeks. You are not alone.

Thank you once again for all you have done and will do in the future.

Stephen Craker,
Chief Executive, Communities 1st

 

COMMUNITIES 1ST INFORMATION AND SUPPORT 

Support for groups/charities

We are in contact with many local charities and community groups to identify how we can help support you and your organisation in response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, and thank you to those organisations who are continuing to provide valuable support to our most vulnerable residents.  We’ve added this feedback on a new community directory here so everyone can see what organisations are able to deliver during this time.

Where possible, please let us know what services or initiatives your organisation is delivering during these challenging times and how we can help you - whether that's with advice, volunteer recruitment, capacity building, accessing available funds or any other issues that you're becoming aware of within your organisation or in your communities. 

If you are contacted by a resident needing help, but don’t have a suitable volunteer available, or if you have a volunteer available, but don’t have a job for them you now can work together with other organisations by completing an online form here. If a group or local organisation would like to discuss anything, please email memberservices@communities1st.org.uk or call on 01727 743018.

New page of Ideas and inspiration for fun

Ideas to keep yourself busy or entertain the kids at home during the coronavirus outbreak www.communities1st.org.uk/Covid19Ideas.

New page for funding sources following the Covid-19 outbreak  

This page is intended as a place where groups, charities and social enterprises might find additional funding which they might need as a result of Coronavirus and the general www.communities1st.org.uk/Covid19Funding

Compassionate Community Connector Programme

This programme is being co-ordinated by Communities 1st in response to Covid-19 and covers St Albans, Hertsmere, Welwyn/Hatfield, Broxbourne and East Herts.  Communities 1st is working in conjunction with Broxbourne and East Herts and Welwyn Hatfield Volunteer Centres, Harpenden Cares, London.

Volunteering:

For people who are healthy and at low risk to help others. Individuals wishing to volunteer their time can sign-up here or call 020 3940 4865 between 1pm – 3pm, Monday to Friday.

Supporting Individuals:

People who need help whilst isolated (or someone on their behalf) can complete an online form here or call 020 8207 5115 or email help@communities1st.org.uk. They will then be either matched with one of the Compassionate Community Connector volunteers, offered support immediately or signposted/referred on to a local voluntary/community organisation.

Can anyone set themselves up as a support group? 

Anyone can set up a group and its great people have a natural impulse to do so. Once you start to form an organisation you encounter more legal responsibilities by default. This includes how you’re managing safeguarding and a common part of doing that is criminal record checks along with references. We’ve made a Being a Good Neighbour Booklet – Top Tips to help others guide free for everyone to access.  We have also produced a short video on recruiting and retaining volunteers

The laws around volunteer safety and safeguarding can be quite complicated.  We’re doing what we can to support groups that are setting up to make sure they’re safe and effective.  If you want more information you can visit our website: www.communities1st.org.uk/Covid-19Updates or contact our Voluntary Sector support team on 01727 743018.  

If you would like to join the Communities 1st family which will then allow our insurance to cover your group, please review our template partnership agreement and contact the Voluntary Sector team on memberservices@communities1st.org.uk.

We’ve produced some animations to share with volunteers, including: safeguardingpractical support volunteering and keeping in touch volunteering.

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT VOLUNTARY AND COMMUNITY SECTOR ORGANISATIONS

Six key points for community organisations to consider

COVID-19: support for businesses
COVID-19: guidance for employees

  • As a charity, community group or CIC you should see how your resources could be useful to the community in partnership with other charities etc.  This situation is a big jolt and it is a very difficult environment now – but this could be an opportunity for your charity to fulfil its objective in a way that builds its good reputation.

Filing charity annual returns during the coronavirus pandemic

Any charity that needs an extension to their annual return deadline can contact the Charity Commission to ask for one.

Talk to us if you have questions about any of the above or would like to discuss how these points relate to your own situation.

Safeguarding Factsheet: Community volunteers during COVID-19 outbreak

The government has published a safeguarding factsheet with accompanying FAQs to address specific concerns that people involved in supporting their community may have at this time. You can read the factsheet and FAQs here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/safeguarding-factsheet-community-volunteers-during-covid-19-outbreak.

Every day counts

Last week a number of national charity membership bodies launched the #EveryDayCounts campaign. Through this campaign, non-profit organisations are asking the government to provide emergency funding that will keep charities alive and enable them to continue to serve their communities.

However, despite regular engagement with officials and some amazing support from MPs and peers of all political parties, our understanding is that this is not enough. We understand that the case is not sufficiently strong to convince the chancellor of the voluntary sectors’ need.

We are being asked for a list of charities which will be in significant financial difficulties within the next few weeks if the chancellor does not act to support the work of the sector.

Ideas, resources and templates

  • Write to your MPs – using this template
  • Mobilise your supporters – by asking them to write to their MP using this template letter 
  • Share your stories - share videos talking about your work, use local media, social media using the hashtags #EveryDayCounts and get your stories out there, in particular:
      -  what you are doing to support in response to COVID-19 crisis (through existing services and/or additional activity you have taken on)
      - highlight any increases in your activities as a result of the crisis
      - highlight any capacity or financial squeezes where you can
      - tag local media outlets/journalists/mainstream media

Using local radio to reach your clients, colleagues or the public

If you need to reach your clients, colleagues/volunteers or just the local public, you can use a special programme (Local Life) that is being broadcast on Radio Verulam 92.6 FM and live online at www.radioverulam.com each Wednesday evening between 7 and 8pm and on Sunday morning from 8 till 9am, and then on Listen Again for 7 days. Radio Verulam has a coverage area of over 450,000 people and we have over 11,000 social media followers. You can either send an emailed message to the producer who will announce it or you can send a good quality (brief) audio recording which will be broadcast as soon as possible. Radio Verulam has already stepped in to help the local Talking Newspaper to reach their visually impaired listeners starting next Thursday evening from 7 till 7.30pm. If demand from other charities, voluntary groups etc is as heavy as expected, the joint team at Radio Verulam and the Talking Newspaper will expand the total broadcast time and facilities available. Contact Rob Pearman at info@sadtn.org.uk for more information.

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT INDIVIDUALS

Look out for the blue tick on Twitter

There’s a lot of fake news out there about coronavirus so it’s really important to get your news from a trusted source. The NHS has worked with Twitter UK to make sure local NHS organisations are blue-tick verified – so it’s easier to know who to trust.

Rightsnet: corona virus support

Rightsnet provides daily news and caselaw updates across five areas of social welfare law - welfare benefits, debt, housing, employment and community care - and facilitates access to peer to peer case work support via online adviser forums.  Rightsnet has now made its resources more widely available – take a look at the website.

COVID-19 and homelessness

Homeless Link is running weekly webinars to provide updates on the situation and how homelessness services are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. You can find webinar recordings here:

https://www.homeless.org.uk/covid19-homelessness

Harpenden Cares

Harpenden Town Council is supporting a new initiative called Harpenden Cares. Harpenden Cares is a community-led response to the coronavirus that involves lots of Harpenden’s brilliant voluntary sector groups. The initiative aims to support local people at risk, help keep key services running, and to be a trusted source of information.  They can be contacted on 01582 460 457 from Monday – Friday between 10am – 2pm.

London Colney Good Neighbour Scheme

London Colney Parish Council has set up a good neighbour scheme. They can help with Shopping, Posting mail, Prescription collections or a friendly Phone call, If someone you know who lives in London Colney and need helps while isolated they can call the Good Neighbour Scheme on 01727 261104 (Monday to Friday between 10am -1pm).

Support and advice for people working from home

The FSI and Skill Pill have created a free remote working pack with 6 short films to help get your small charity up and running with working away from the office. The pack includes:

  • Setting up a remote team
  • Effective virtual meetings
  • Managing remote teams
  • Working as part of a remote team
  • Building emotional resilience
  • Writing effective emails

Access your free pack via the website

Coronavirus and your wellbeing has been produced by Mind to help people to cope with anxieties about coronavirus and to deal with issues around self isolation.

Working well from home under self-quarantine for coronavirus: this guide from Leapers explores what you can do to plan for the possibility of staff needing to self-isolate, as well as tips for home-workers. Advice includes using a variety of ways of keeping in touch with colleagues, how to build a structure for your day, and ensuring you don’t neglect the important social aspect of work.

Remote working: a practical safety guide for businesses.

You can find these and other guidance on the Mental Health at Work website.

Domestic Abuse during COVID-19 Guidance & Information

Many residents will be following the national advice around household isolation and social distancing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This advice is in place to limit the spread of the virus and keep as many people as safe and well as possible. We know that there are vulnerable people in our communities who will be more concerned than others about the prospect of staying at home for a number of reasons, including those who have been the victims of domestic abuse such as violence or coercive and controlling behaviour.

While all public services are adapting to new ways of working during this pandemic, our message to anyone who is experiencing domestic abuse is clear: You are not alone and you don’t have to suffer in silence - we will still be here for you, no matter what.

Hertfordshire Police, local authorities and providers of domestic abuse support across Hertfordshire continue working together to maintain essential services and contacts for anyone affected by domestic abuse during the weeks and months to come.

If you, your child or anyone in the family are at immediate risk of harm, you should contact the police urgently, CALL 999.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse or believe someone you know is please contact Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline on 08 088 088 088.

Further support can also be found at these national agencies:

Advice from National Trading Standards:

People are being encouraged to protect their neighbours by joining Friends Against Scams, which provides free online training to empower people to take a stand against scams. To complete the online modules, visit www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk.  

NTS is also issuing urgent advice to help prevent people falling victim to COVID-19 scams through its Friends Against Scams initiative.  www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/shopimages/coronavirus.png.

Members of the public are being urged to keep in contact with family members regularly and inform them of the most prolific scams and the possible dangers to them. If someone has been targeted by a scam it can be reported to Action Fraud online at www.actionfraud.police.uk/ or by calling 0300 123 2040.

For advice and information on how to check if something might be a scam, visit: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/check-if-something-might-be-a-scam.

The following article from Which? On how to spot them and stop them www.which.co.uk/news/2020/03/coronavirus-scam-lookout-for-fake-lockdown-fine-texts/.

Tue 24 Mar 2020

When crisis hits, people step up – and we’re seeing lots of that right now.  So I’d like to thank all those people volunteering their time and everyone managing and coordinating volunteer efforts.

People are still keen to sign up to volunteer – which is great!  We have received nearly 1,400 volunteer applications in the eight days since our Compassionate Community Connector programme was launched.   We are busy working behind the scenes to contact everyone who has registered an interest.  We are also working closely with a range of partner organisations to ensure they are being supported during these challenging times.  However, this is a marathon not a sprint. We’re not at the peak and your help will be even more crucial in a few weeks’ time.  So, we’re continuing to collect details of potential volunteers so we can call when needed.

On a personal note, there are moments when it doesn’t feel real. And then there are moments where it feels all too real. And it hits you again, the sheer scale of what is happening. When I first started getting involved in conversations about covid19 only a matter of days ago, I couldn’t visualise where it would take us.  Every day there is something new, something else to take into account but never, never in any doubt that we should keep trying.  That is something I have seen in everyone I have spoken to or connected with or, increasingly, been in a conference call with. Despite the fast pace of change, the complexity and the uncertainty, everyone is trying their best to help. And everyone is still working out what that help might look like and how to do it.  We have to trust ourselves and each other to do our best.

Below is some information which we hope will be useful. 

 

Stephen Craker

CEO, Communities 1st

 

Compassionate Community Connector Programme
This programme is being co-ordinated by Communities 1st in response to Covid-19 and covers St Albans, Hertsmere, Welwyn/Hatfield, Broxbourne and East Herts.  Communities 1st is working in conjunction with Broxbourne and East Herts and Welwyn Hatfield Volunteer Centres, Harpenden Cares and #TeamHerts Volunteering

Volunteering: for people who are healthy and at low risk to help others.  Individuals wishing to volunteer their time can sign-up HERE or call 020 3940 4865 between 1pm – 3pm, Monday to Friday.

Supporting Individuals: People who need help whilst isolated (or someone on their behalf) can complete an online form HERE or call 020 8207 5115 or EmailThey will then be either matched with one of the Compassionate Community Connector volunteers, offered support immediately or signposted/referred on to a local voluntary/community organisation.  

Local Groups and Organisations: Can your organisation be contacted by local residents needing help or make use of additional volunteers? If you are contacted by a resident needing help, but don’t have a suitable volunteer available, or if you have a volunteer available, but don’t have a job for them you now can work together with other organisations by completing an online form HERE. If a group or local organisation would like to discuss anything, please Email or call on 01727 743018 .

 

Can anyone set themselves up as a support group? 

Anyone can set up a group and its great people have a natural impulse to do so. Once you start to form an organisation you encounter more legal responsibilities by default. This includes how you’re managing safeguarding and a common part of doing that is criminal record checks along with references. We’ve made our Being a Good Neighbour Booklet - Top Tips to help others guide free for everyone to access.  We have also produced a short video on recruiting and retaining volunteers.

The laws around volunteer safety and safeguarding can be quite complicated.  We’re doing what we can to support groups that are setting up to make sure they’re safe and effective.  If you want more information you can visit our website: www.communities1st.org.uk/Covid-19Updates or contact our Voluntary Sector support team on 01727 743018.  

If you would like to join the Communities 1st family which will then allow our insurance to cover your group, please review our template partnership agreement and contact the Voluntary Sector team on memberservices@communities1st.org.uk

We’ve produced some animations to share with volunteers, including: safeguarding, practical support volunteering and keeping in touch volunteering.

New Disclosure and Service Barring (DBS) Checks Information
On 19 March 2020, the DBS updated how they are currently accepting new DBS checks with volunteers to make it easier to process so volunteers do not have to physically meet Volunteer Managers with proof of ID & Documentation. They can do this via Video Online and scanning documents. See full details here:

www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-changes-to-standard-and-enhanced-id-checking-guidelines

Communities Prepared – Public Health Emergencies Training
Communities Prepared has developed training resources to help Community Emergency Volunteers and spontaneous local groups better understand public health emergencies and their potential role in supporting community resilience at this time.

www.communitiesprepared.org.uk/2020/03/communities-prepared-launches-public-health-volunteer-training-in-response-to-coronavirus/

Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare (HEE e-LfH)
This programme has been created by Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare (HEE e-LfH) in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.  The programme includes key materials to help the health and care workforce respond to Coronavirus. This link may be useful to share with your volunteers (formal or informal groups):
www.e-lfh.org.uk/programmes/coronavirus

Coronavirus and your charity - Free webinar, Wednesday 25 March,10am: 

NCVO are hosting a webinar on Coronavirus and your charity: Key legal issues to consider  with legal experts Bates Wells who will be advising on:

  • HR and employment law 
  • contracts, insurance and serious incident reporting 
  • governance and solvency considerations 
  • legal considerations when managing volunteers 
  • meetings and decision making.

There will also be a Q&A session for any questions you have. Register now

Coronavirus financial support for charities

NCVO is working closely with government on a package of financial support specifically aimed at supporting the voluntary sector as the coronavirus emergency unfolds. This forms part of a coordinated effort with sector partners in highlighting to government that charities, like business, are experiencing financial pressures because of coronavirus, while also being on the frontline of supporting vulnerable people at this crucial time.

National Emergencies Trust coronavirus appeal – Funding Available through HCF

The National Emergencies Trust (NET) has launched a fundraising appeal to help people most affected by the coronavirus emergency. The appeal will raise funds for local charities and grassroots organisations that can provide vital support to people in the quickest way possible.

Individuals and charities should not apply directly to the NET for funds. Applications for grants of up to £2,000 for groups dealing with the emerging issues in the community caused by the threat of the Coronovirus (Covid-19) outbreak can apply through Hertfordshire Community Foundation (HCF).

The focus of emergency funding is being prioritised to organisations providing services and support to older and vulnerable people as well as those with low and insecure incomes.  They are also inviting applications from groups applying to support people of all ages with mental health issues. 

Visit www.hertscf.org.uk/coronavirus for the fund criteria and how to apply.

Data Protection and Coronavirus

On the 12th March the Information Commissioners’ Office (UK regulated of Data Protection Law) released the following statement:

‘We all share the same concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The need for public bodies and health practitioners to be able to communicate directly with people when dealing with this type of health emergency has never been greater.

The ICO is a reasonable and pragmatic regulator, one that does not operate in isolation from matters of serious public concern. Regarding compliance with data protection, we will take into account the compelling public interest in the current health emergency.

The safety and security of the public remains our primary concern. We are here to help our colleagues on the frontline. We can offer advice to make sure the law around data protection and direct marketing is clear. Information is available on our website or you can call our helpline on 0303 123 1113.’

www.ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-and-coronavirus

Online isolation notes launched – providing proof of coronavirus absence from work

 People unable to work for more than seven days because of coronavirus (COVID-19) can obtain an isolation note through a new online service. Isolation notes will provide employees with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms, and so cannot work.

As isolation notes can be obtained without contacting a doctor, this will reduce the pressure on GP surgeries and prevent people needing to leave their homes.

The isolation note service can be accessed via the 111 online coronavirus service or www.NHS.UK/coronavirus as well as via the NHS app

Individuals on Benefits and coronavirus

The national charity Turn2us which provides practical help to people who are struggling financially has created a complete guide to financial support during coronavirus. It includes guidance on the various benefits available in the event of self-isolation and a useful benefits calculator based on the latest government policy.

Message from the Hertfordshire Beacon Victim Care Service

The Hertfordshire Beacon Victim Care Service is still providing a service for anyone who has been affected by crime in Hertfordshire. If you require support from Beacon, please email info.hertfordshirebeacon@catch-22.org.uk  and a Case Manager can get in touch to provide support, including helping with:

  • Providing someone to talk to about the crime
  • Practical support and information, for example, how to keep safe.
  • Support with contacting other organisations who are involved, for example, the police
  • Information about other organisations that can help

The main phone line, is more limited than usual, however you can leave a voicemail and someone will get back to you: 0300 0115 555 (option 3).

www.hertfordshirebeacon.org

Community Action Response – five things you can do:

  1. Think of others, consider your actions & be kind: People in every community will face the challenges of Covid-19 in some way – from needing basic provisions to help while they are unwell.
  2. Connect and reach out to your neighbours: as self-isolation increases, we need to find new ways to stay connected and check in on one another for our physical and mental wellbeing. Share phone numbers and stay in touch.
  3. Make the most of local online groups: Keep up to date, share information and be a positive part of your local community conversations using platforms like Nextdoor.
  4. Support vulnerable or isolated people: different groups in our communities are at increased risk and social isolation and loneliness are key concerns for all ages. There are things you can do like volunteering for local support services or donating to food banks to help.
  5. Share accurate information and advice: Support anyone who may be anxious about Covid-19. Sign post them to the correct advice from Public Health England and encourage people to follow the correct hygiene practices.

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