News

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.
Fri 20 Mar 2020

We are grateful to everyone who submitted answers to our survey or spoke to us on the phone yesterday 19 March.  We have managed to gather data about your readiness for managing volunteers and supporting local people from so many of you and this has been fed in to planning at local, regional and national government level.

 

Communities 1st is working in partnership with St Albans City and District Council, Hertsmere Borough Council, Broxbourne & East Herts and Welwyn/Hatfield Volunteer Centres, Citizens Advice, plus many other member organisations. Without wishing to sound like a wartime poster, we are stronger when we work together and I have been struck by the support there is across the network of members.

 

There is no indication that the COVID-19 outbreak will be over in just a few weeks, so let's keep working together.

 

Stephen Craker, Chief Executive, Communities 1st

 

What Communities 1st is doing

Communities 1st, together with Broxbourne & East Herts and Welwyn/Hatfield Volunteer Centres is taking a lead on coordinating the volunteer response to the COVID-19 pandemic across the districts of St Albans, Hertsmere, Welwyn/Hatfield, Broxbourne and East Herts.

 

What the partnership is offering:

  • A group of volunteers to support the most vulnerable people across the districts of St Albans, Hertsmere, Welwyn/Hatfield, Broxbourne and East Herts 
  • Guidance on how to best to support neighbourly action in a safe way
  • Identified local partners to support teams of volunteers.
  • A central place for people to request help and support and for those that are self-isolating

 

Key actions to progress the above:

  • Provision of a 7-day contact centre – in place from this weekend.
  • Online registration form – in place now
  • Voluntary Sector support webpages, including Communications pack – in the next couple of days
  • DBS checking process – in place
  • Online induction for volunteers – should be in place by early next week – week of 23 March.
  • Neighbourly action pack - ready by early next week
  • Local coordination and deployment through local trusted organisations
  • Volunteers identified though the above online registration process

At the time of writing, we have received nearly 800 volunteer signups through the online form, showing that local people are really stepping up.

Supporting for the Voluntary/Community Sector

  • Can your organisation be contacted by local residents needing help?
  • Can your organisation make use of additional volunteers?
  • Can we signpost people to your organisation?

If you are a voluntary sector organisation who needs help or can offer support, please complete the form at:  https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/KHFFL88

If a group or local organisation would like to discuss anything, please email memberservices@communities1st.org.uk or phone us on 01727 743018.

Loss of Income and Funder Support

Many local organisations are facing substantial financial losses as a result of the coronavirus situation. There are 3 things you should do:

  • Alert the funder to the situation. They may not be able to react swiftly or at all but if all organisations in receipt of a grant alert them to the issues then funders can work together to address the situation
  • Check your insurance policy. If you have business continuity insurance there is a chance that some of your losses may be covered (see below for more details).
  • Keep an eye on sources of sector news for national and local responses. Central government has already put a range of measures in place for small businesses and sector leaders are lobbying for those to be extended to charities.

Government Support

Trading efforts have been hit. There has also been - and will continue to be - a devastating loss of income due to cancellation of fundraising events and regular small donors being more cautious about what they do with their money.

Without urgent help, many of these charities and voluntary organisations are facing imminent collapse. Alongside fighting for their cause, they are also fighting for survival. Without these grassroots organisations, the people who are most in need in our communities will be even harder hit.

If you feel able, there are two things you can do to help.

  1. Add your organisation's name to the letter to the Prime Minister organised by the Small Charities Coalition.
  2. Share the link to the details of the campaign with your networks and ask them to support this campaign too.

MoneySavingExpert Martin Lewis offers grants to small charities

Martin Lewis says: "We face an unprecedented challenge to our health, economy, businesses, personal finance and way of life. And many of those who normally help society – our charities – are going to face similar pressures right now too.

"To try and help I'm going to release £1,000,000 from my personal charity fund to provide grants of £5,000 to £20,000 to small registered charities, or local arms of bigger charities, across the UK – to help with specific UK coronavirus-related poverty relief projects."

Find our more here .  The deadline for applications is Wed 25 March 2020.

Business Continuity Insurance 

You may have business continuity insurance in place and this will often include cover for loss of rental income. However, it generally doesn’t include cover as standard to provide for business interruption for notifiable diseases.

Even if you have the notifiable diseases cover in place you may find your insurer refusing to accept COVID-19 as it was not on the list of notifiable diseases when the insurance was taken out.   However, as of 1700 on 5 Mar 2020, emergency legislation reclassified COVID-19 as a notifiable disease so the recommendation is to go back to your insurers with this additional information. www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-listed-as-a-notifiable-disease  

Charities are known to have run into the issue with Zurich and Aviva policies.

NCVO, NAVCA and other nationals are trying to lobby the government and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) to resolve it.

Guidance and Information

We're busy adding a whole range of material to our website, in our new Resources Hub.

We've split material into five sections:

  • Organisational and remote working guidance
  • Guidance on working with different sectors of your community
  • Safeguarding
  • Governance
  • Communications, including a guide on dealing with the media

We're adding more material all the time and will let you know what's new in future editions of this Bulletin.

Education settings - guidance and details of key worker categories

More information is now available on schools and other educational settings. This also includes detail about the classification of key workers, whose children can still be sent to school if needed.

More information here.

Message from Radio Verulam - offer of help

This is a very difficult time for everyone and, as your local radio station, we want to do whatever we can to support you and our community through it.  That might be helping to get messages out, promoting what your business or organisation is doing or giving advice to people in need when reaching them direct is difficult.

Our coverage area is over 450,000 people and we have over 11,000 social media followers; we want to make sure you get the best, most useful access to our audience.  Of course, we will do this without charge.

Please could you go to www.radioverulam.com/sidewithstalbans to let us know how you think we might be able to help and to establish contact.

Updated statement from The National Lottery Community Fund: COVID-19

In a recent statement by Dawn Austwick, CEO, The National Lottery Community Fund, they have that they:

  • will be flexible with regards to your current grant
  • will support you and your teams through this crisis
  • don’t want you to worry about deadlines and reporting

Their funding officers can answer questions you might have, do get in touch with them if you need to.  All details can be found here: www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/contact

If you want to help those in need

Communities 1st have set up the Compassionate Community Connector programme for people who are healthy and at low risk to help others.   Sign up to the programme using the online form: www.communities1st.org.uk/COVID-19-community-signup  or by phone:  020 3940 4865 between 1pm – 3pm, Monday to Friday.  There are a range of volunteer roles available. 

Coronavirus (Covid 19) advice in a number of languages.

Doctors of the World and British Red Cross have put together Coronavirus (Covid 19) advice in a number of languages. So far there is English, Albanian, Dari, French, Pashto, Portuguese, Bengali, Vietnamese, Kurdish Sorani, Mandarin, Hindi, Urdu, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish and Farsi, with Malayalam, Amharic, Tigrinya and Somali coming soon.

You can find them here https://www.communities1st.org.uk/Covid-19Updates

If you need help, or know someone that needs support and are self-isolating

For people who need help (shopping, dog walking/pet hosting, telephone tech support for online shopping or using skype/facetime etc) whilst isolated, they (or someone on their behalf) can complete an online form at www.communities1st.org.uk/Covid19support contact us on 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

Tue 17 Mar 2020

Communities 1st is registered charity working all year round for a more connected and resilient districts of Hertsmere and St Albans. During this difficult time, we want to make sure that our residents are looking out for one another to help everyone stay safe and healthy.

Lot's of people are getting in touch to support others in their community which is great. If you're healthy and at low-risk, you can be a Compassionate Community Connector. This programme has now been extended and covers the districts of St Albans, Hertsmere, Broxbourne, East Herts and Welwyn/Hatfield in partnership with Broxbourne & East Herts and Welwyn/Hatfield Volunteer Centres. Sign up now by visiting https://www.communities1st.org.uk/COVID-19-community-signup and pass the word on .

You can also support our COVID-19 Appeal gf.me/u/xq28ad

Sat 14 Mar 2020

 

In the wake of the £30 billion emergency fund announced in the Budget yesterday and anticipated switch to the delay phase of the Government four-part plan, leaders from different sectors have today joined forces to launch the Community Action Response to encourage everyone to do what they can to support their communities and particularly vulnerable and isolated people during Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Launched by Eden Project Communities with partners The National Lottery Community Fund, Nextdoor, Neighbourhood Watch, Campaign to End Loneliness and Eco Attractions Group, the Community Action Response has been created because of the unprecedented challenge that Coronavirus presents for people in every neighbourhood in the UK.

Eden Project Communities is a UK wide network that has grown out of community building campaign The Big Lunch, which reaches over six million people in communities every year. The organisations are calling for everyone to take steps that will help communities cope when the worst impacts of the virus hit.

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.

Helping to connect our communities

Research from The Big Lunch shows nearly a fifth of us in the UK have no-one in our neighbourhoods outside our immediate family we could call on if we needed help or support.

With the rapid spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) increasingly likely, this is a real risk and - combined with the need to self-isolate - this gap in our community connections needs to be closed.

The research also reported that more than 36 million people feel distant or very distant from their neighbours, yet three quarters of us believe it would be better for our communities if we were closer to them.

The Big Lunch commissioned independent research published in their Closing the Distance report to explore how connected our people in communities in the UK feel to one another.

Bringing people together to advocate for community action, Peter Stewart - Executive Director of the Eden Project said: “Through our work with communities UK wide we see the difference that people working together can have. Neighbourly support can make a huge difference in a world fraught with challenge. The current threat is set to impact all of us in one form or another, and stronger local connections within communities are vital to see this crisis out. That’s why we’ve joined forces with our friends and partners to call on people everywhere to take positive action to support and care for each other in the coming weeks and months.”

Dawn Austwick, CEO The National Lottery Community Fund said: “As the largest funder of community activity in the UK, we know community life and connections can help to build bonds of support during difficult times. Being kind, offering support and thinking of one another makes neighbourhoods and communities stronger together. This is particularly important for those who are more vulnerable and isolated. At The National Lottery Community Fund we support communities to thrive, this is why we’re pledging our support for this call to action in the coming weeks and months.”

Wed 19 Feb 2020

Communities 1st are looking for individuals who can live and breathe our values; to work in partnership, deliver quality, adapt, be positive and be inclusive.

We are looking for people with great skills in communications, who are proactive in their approach and able to work with colleagues and volunteers to deliver amazing services for the benefit of the people and communities of districts of Hertsmere, St Albans and Welwyn/Hatfield.

Closing Date: 9am on Wednesday 26 February 2020

Interviews will be held on Monday 2 March 2020.

To apply: please email your completed application form and a covering letter to stephen.craker@communities1st.org.uk.

All appointments are subject to a disclosure from the DBS.

Handyperson – 30 hours per week (£25,187 pro-rata)

The appointed individual will provide a handyperson service for older and vulnerable people across the districts of Hertsmere, St Albans and Welwyn/Hatfield. The appointed individual will need excellent people skills, empathy, compassion, awareness of safeguarding, and a good range of general household maintenance and repair skills. You will need to be a highly organised individual, with the flexibility to undertake a wide variety of tasks, and have a keen sense of humour.

Handyperson Job Description

Application form

Mon 3 Feb 2020

The Mayor’s Pride Awards are held to celebrate extraordinary people and outstanding organisations that make a positive contribution to the local community. Ensure these inspiring individuals and worthy organisations get the recognition they deserve by putting them forward to receive an award. 

Cultural Innovation Award 

Creative people or groups whose ideas or achievements are an inspiration to others can be nominated for this award. 

Young Person of Distinction 

This award provides an opportunity to commend an exceptional child or young person for their talent, positivity, energy or strength of character. 

Community Oriented Business of the Year 

This award is for businesses in St Albans District that are working with the public or voluntary sectors on initiatives to benefit the community. 

Inclusive Communities Award 

This award will be given to a community initiative that unites people of different ethnic, faith or socio-economic backgrounds. 

Environmental Champion of the Year 

A group or individual showing innovation or commitment to improving the local environment will be honoured with this award. 

Nominations

You may nominate as many people or organisations in as many different categories as you like. 

The deadline for nominations is Monday 10th February 2020.

Mon 4 Nov 2019

The Community Grants Fund aims to provide Voluntary and Community Groups with a flexible funding opportunity to support the delivery of projects and activities that benefit the local community and help to deliver the objectives set out in the St Albans City & District Inclusion Strategy.

Everything you need to know about applying for Community Grants Fund can be found in this document or links provided.

Community Grants Fund 2019-20 is a total of £55,000. Groups can apply for grants over £500 and under £5000.

There are 2 rounds this year for Community Grants Fund.

1st round took place in May 2019. £35,143 was allocated in this round.

2nd round- November 2019. This second date was arranged for newer groups still formulating ideas and who would benefit from more time set up and get advice on their application or for groups for whom May timings were not suitable either in terms of project or cultural/faith calendars etc. The remainder of the fund will be allocated in this round. The amount to be allocated in this round is £19,857.00.

For both rounds, applications are considered on how well they meet St Albans City and District Council priorities. The council will aim to fund a spread of projects to ensure that all the priorities are being met. For 2nd round, we particularly encourage applications for projects meeting the needs of BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic), Older residents and those living in target wards of Sopwell, Cunningham, Batchwood, London Colney and Redbourn.
Groups who were not successful in the 1st round can resubmit an application however it is strongly advised that they seek feedback and advice before doing so. Applications must show considerable development in order to be considered. Groups who are successful in 1st round will not be eligible to apply for the 2nd round.
Organisations may submit more than one application for different projects but please note a group will only be awarded a maximum of 1 Community Grant per year.

Community Grants Fund 2019-20 Application Form

Criteria and Guidance

Inclusion Strategy 2017-2020

Sat 14 Sep 2019

Older People’s Day at the Alban Arena, Wednesday 16th October between 10.00am – 1.00pm – FREE ENTRY

Sat 14 Sep 2019

St Albans & District Community Grant Fund November round - opening 4th November.

Watch this space for more information

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