News

Tue 16 Jun 2020

Voluntary and community groups can now apply for grants of up to £5,000 from a fund operated by St Albans City and District Council.

The money is intended to support projects and activities that benefit the whole community including the most vulnerable people.

Priority this year is being given to projects that will help people recover from the impact of the Covid-19 emergency.

This may include, for example, initiatives to re-establish social networks or improve mental health and wellbeing.

The money comes from the Council’s Community Grants Fund and £55,000 is available to be distributed.

Communities 1st helps the Council administer the fund.

Applications can be made during the six weeks from Tuesday 16 June to noon on Friday 31 July.

Last year, 20 projects received funding and these included: Salaam Women’s Café where BAME women can learn English if it is not their first language and socialise;

Herts Youth Inclusive Football which runs tournaments for young people with disabilities; and

The homeless charity Emmaus for developing IT for residents to access support online.

An online launch event will be held on Tuesday 23 June when advice will be given on how to make an application. Information on this and how to download an application form are available here:

Application form

Application Guidance and Criteria

Advice surgeries will be held via Zoom on:

This year, the total fund will be granted in one round of awards instead of the two administered last year. Applicants will be informed in the late summer if they have been successful.

Groups that have received a grant during the past five years or can show at least one year’s full set of accounts are eligible. Other groups may be pointed towards other sources of funding.

Fri 12 Jun 2020

Both during and beyond the coronavirus crisis, our voluntary sector is vital in providing services and support.

As organisations look to move into a new era, possibly with more troubled service users, and often having witnessed huge loss of charitable income over the lockdown period, it will be volunteers who will help these hugely important structures pivot and thrive well into the future.

It would be a tragedy to think that when lockdown finishes, and when our working and behavioural patterns begin to return to some kind of normality, all this impressive and much-needed spirit of rolling up our sleeves to help one another, might be lost altogether.

So, my plea to you?

If you’ve never done so before, or have waivered on the edge of enquiring about the opportunities, please, make now the moment that you look to volunteer.

I’m so pleased to see that of those we’re seeing come forward amid the pandemic, many are young people with a desire to make a difference. This youthful enthusiasm is welcome for our many organisations and projects, and will certainly prove essential to aid the modernising and agile perspective which will be required going forward.

If indeed you are now considering becoming a volunteer but haven’t yet identified what gaps exist in Hertfordshire for you to help, please, get in touch with the team at volunteer@communities1st.org.uk or call 020 3940 4865.

And to those who run organisations in the voluntary sector, I have a request of you too.

Please, take time to consider what roles you have today, but also those which you feel you will have several months from now. What will the future of your organisation look like? How can you make better use of a shift in social conscience about ‘giving time’? Could this be a transition of unexpected positivity?

I would love to hear your experiences of attracting volunteers, or taking up a role during the pandemic. Please email me at stephen.craker@communities1st.org.uk.

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

Charities, Voluntary Organisations and Community Groups - we are here to help
If you need information, advice or support Communities 1st is here to help.  We can offer advice on issues from fundraising to governance and to 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 St Albans, Hertsmere, Welwyn/Hatfield, Broxbourne and East Herts.  Communities 1st is working 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.

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 on issues relating to Covid-19, including:

  • Funding sources – we’re updating our funding sources regularly with the latest information
  • Resource Hub – 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.

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 #1stcommunities

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

Membership Renewal to Communities 1st

Having thought long and hard about whether to issue the annual renewal notices to our members given the challenges everyone is facing.  We know only too well how very stretched so many of our members are right now, operationally and financially, and the last thing we want to do is add to the burden of administration or cost that you may be carrying.

At the same time, we have also had so many messages from members in the last few weeks telling us how much they appreciate and value the support network that they have through Communities 1st – especially the sharing of intelligence and learning, this weekly ebulletin, and the work we have been doing at local, county, regional and national levels both in gathering intelligence on local issues and in campaigning for a proper financial support package for local voluntary sector.

So, if you are able to pay your membership fees now, then thank you. By doing so promptly you will be making a very direct contribution to our ability to support local social action at a critical time, and you’ll help us to preserve our own rather stretched resource to focus on the essential work of supporting you, your fellow members and local communities.  If your organisation is facing financial uncertainty and you feel that paying your membership fee is too much of a stretch right now, then please just let us know by email to membership@communities1st.org.uk by 30th June 2020.

Many thanks to all who have already renewed.

Queens Award for Voluntary Service Winners 2020

Communities 1st congratulates all the 2020 Hertfordshire winners of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS). This is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of The Queen's coronation. It is the MBE for volunteer groups.

Winners of the award in Hertfordshire this year were:

Computer Friendly

Butterfly Volunteer Service

Mill End Community and District Association

Any group doing volunteer work that provides a social, economic or environmental service to the local community can be nominated for the award. Each group is assessed on the benefit it brings to the local community and its standing within that community.

To find out more about the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and how you can nominate click here.

Meet the Funder with Hertfordshire Community Foundation

Wednesday 17th June 2020, 10.30am - 12.00pm
Communities 1st would like to invite you to their “Meet the Funder” event via ZOOM.

Helen Doubal from Hertfordshire Community Foundation will give a talk about the HCF Coronavirus Relief Fund followed by Q’s & A’s.

Please book here by 1.00pm on Tuesday 16th June 2020 latest.

The Lloyds Bank Foundation's report on charities response to COVID-19

The Lloyds Bank Foundation has been monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on their grantees and applicants. The findings they have published in this report are based on conversations with over 300 charities and feedback from their development and grant making teams.

They found that over half of their grant holders only had enough reserves to cover less than three months of operating costs.

Read the report in full here.

COVID-19 digital checklist for charities
The Charity Digital Code of Practice has launched a COVID-19 digital checklist to support charity leaders during this difficult time.

The checklist aims to help charity trustees and leaders make the right digital decisions, evaluate key decisions, assess progress so far and create a consistent understanding of their charity’s digital goals.

The checklist is split into 7 categories which include remote working, fundraising and governance.

View and download the checklist here.

Safe spaces for VCSE leaders

IVAR (Institute for Voluntary Action Research) is hosting a series of webinars for VCSE leaders to come together and discuss their fears, concerns and worries around the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is impacting on their organisation.

These will be held across June and July. Click here to book your place.

NCVO hosts a range of online events

NCVO is asking you to share your experiences during the coronavirus pandemic, and invites you to join their free online discussion events in partnership with Tortoise.

Lessons learnt from the pandemic: planning for a new normal - 16 June, 14:00 – 15:00

Lessons learnt from the pandemic: planning for a new normal - 23 June, 14:00 – 15:00

Working together to move forward: opportunities and challenges - 7 July, 14:00 – 15:00

What do we want the future of the sector to look like? - 14 July, 14:00 – 15:00 

Join the conversation

Do you want to have a say on Britain's future? The People's Commission on Life After COVID-19 wants to hear your stories and ideas.

Have your say here,

This research is being run by the education and research charity, Demos.

Online clinic - Switching to virtual recruitment

Find out how to switch your recruitment processes so they work remotely. From writing ads, to managing online applications and interviewing by phone or video, this clinic will share practical steps. Whether you are recruiting staff, volunteers or trustees, join this free online clinic specifically for small and medium sized charities. Hosted by GoodJobs and Charity People.  Click here for more information and to book your place.

Community Reassurance Cell (CRC)

A  lot of the local co-ordination of work across Hertfordshire to respond to the coronavirus emergency is being undertaken through the Local Resilience Forum (LRF). The LRF has set up this Community Reassurance Cell (CRC), which is one of several cell groups in Hertfordshire coordinating efforts to help restore services affected by coronavirus.

The CRC will focus its efforts on developing a community-led recovery with assistance from experts in our communities. Work has begun to identify community groups across Hertfordshire in need of support but we need your help.

Please complete this questionnaire and share with your networks. This is the starting point for the CRC to gather together information to identify which groups might be in need of support.

Impact of the coronavirus lockdown on women from a BAME background

The Fawcett Society has produced research into the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on women from a BAME background.

Some findings: 43% of disabled or retired BAME women say that they had lost government support compared with 13% of white women in the same group. Over half (51%) of disabled or retired BAME women also said they were not sure where to turn to for help compared with 1 in 5 (19%) of white women.

Read more here.

Next week is Small Charity Week!

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. 

Find out more about how to get involved here.

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.

"Tell the world why your organisation is #NeverMoreNeeded than now"

Create a post on either Facebook or Twitter using #NeverMoreNeeded share your story of how your organisation has never been more needed. Let the public know of the vital importance voluntary sector organisations are to our communities, especially in response to a national crisis.

  • What services are you providing? How many are you helping?
  • To what scale has your service provided for?
  • What would it mean if your service weren’t available? 

Quantify your group’s activities where you can, and don’t forget to use photos where possible, this will help increase the impact of the campaign.

Tag @1stCommunities and @NAVCA (on Twitter) for re-tweets and shares.

If you'd like to download the official logo click here. For the Twitter logo it’s 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

Click the links above to book your place or for further information email Volunteering Herts at info@volunteeringherts.uk or call 01707 274861.

Cost:              

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

Statutory organisations: £50 half-day or £90 full-day (includes handbook)

Spot the Signs suicide prevention – new dates added

Spot the Signs training sessions are now available to book for June. Click on one of the below links for the date and time you wish to book on to and complete the registration form. Once you have registered you will receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite containing your Zoom link (this may go to your junk email).

The password is: StS2020.

If you have any issues with accessing the spot the signs training, please contact Danielle Flood via Hpft.spotthesigns@nhs.net.  

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.

Introduction to Crowdfunding Webinar- Thu, 18 June 2020 12pm – 1pm
Join this 30 minute session to learn more about this method of fundraising and how to run a successful crowdfunding project. The online workshop will also cover the extra funding that is available in the area including Hertfordshire County Council Community Innovation Fund (previously called the Community Grants programme).

Find out more and Book here.

Opening 16th June St Albans & District Community Grant Fund! 
SADC Community Grants Fund 2020-21 is a total of £55,000. Constituted groups with a year’s accounts can apply for grants over £500 and under £5000.

More information can be found on SADC & C1st websites about advice surgeries where Communities 1st can offer some guidance for improvement, help and guidance on applications.

Look for further information about the online Information event on 23rd June in our newsletter next week!

You can access the event here:

The Open Advise Surgeries are on:

BBC Children In Need COVID-19 Next Steps Grant - Up to £80,000
The BBC Children In Need Next Steps programme will open for applications from 10 June 2020. The Next Steps programme is our response programme designed to deliver support for children and young people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible organisations will be able to apply for up to £80,000 for projects commencing in September 2020. These grants can last up to 18 months.

Click here for more information and eligibility details.

Hedley Foundation
The Hedley Foundation assists and encourages development and change. Most grants are capital or one-off, but the Trustees sometimes agree to help fund the introduction of new and innovative projects with a series of up to 3 annual grants. Deadline is 29 June.  Find out more here.

Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund
The Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, run by the Museums Association, funds projects which develop collections to achieve social impact. Museums, galleries and heritage organisations from across the UK can apply for a grant of between £20,000 and £120,000 for a project lasting up to three years.  Find out more here.

The Percy Bilton Charity - UK
The Percy Bilton Charity is a grant-making trust and company limited by guarantee founded in 1962. Grants are made to organisations and individuals in need throughout the U.K. Organisations assisting disadvantaged youth, people with disabilities and older people may apply for grants towards capital expenditure. Social workers may apply on the behalf of individuals who have a disability or mental health problem, or who are over 65, for grants to purchase basic furniture, equipment and clothing.  Find out more here.

Resourcing Racial Justice funding round open
Resourcing Racial Justice has funding available for individuals, groups or organisations who are fighting for racial justice.

The grants are between £5-£50k and they even hosted a webinar (which you can listen back to) where you can find out more about the application process, where the funding comes from and what kind of projects they are looking for.

Click here for more details.

COVID-19 Loan Fund Expanded & Improved
The Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund has been expanded and improved to make more loans to charities and social enterprises affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It offers:

  • Maximum loan amount now £1.5m (minimum still £100k)
  • Interest-free & fee-free for the first 12 months
  • Faster than applying for a standard loan

Find out more here.

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT INDIVIDUALS

The benefits of young carers and NHS staff working together to improve support for young carers

Brief Guide to supporting mental health during Covid-19

A new resource “Supporting mental health during Covid-19: a brief guide”, developed by The Centre for Mental Health and sponsored by Hertfordshire County Council is now available.  Click Here for more information.

New Leaf Recovery and Wellbeing College – online courses

Offering a range of FREE short educational courses that can help you better manage your wellbeing New Leaf is open to all residents of Hertfordshire over the age of 18.  Please visit: www.newleafcollege.co.uk/Courses/Course-A-Z.

Something else which may interest you…

The Buzz has been designed to be inclusive and accessible collection of free videos and activities that people can do at home. This includes things like art, dance, exercise, cooking and more. They have been put together with the aim of appealing to a wide audience including people with a learning disability.  Each weekday new videos are added to the dedicated Facebook group and each week they will be hosted on the Small Good Stuff website.

The Buzz can be accessed in two ways:

Facebook group members can use the group to share ideas, send in pictures of the things they have created and talk about how they are getting on with the activities.

They have created an easy read information sheet about The Buzz.

Here is an easy read information guide to using social media and Facebook safely.

Please feel free to share this with anyone who may be interested and may be wanting something fun to do as lockdown continues.

Hertfordshire Year of Culture 2020

HYOC2020 have just released their latest newsletter demonstrating that whilst many things may be cancelled, creativity certainly isn’t!

There’s a range of stories of how creative and cultural organisations across the county are reaching out during lockdown as well as information on funding sources and how you can share your activities with Hertfordshire’s creative community.  There’s also some inspiration on how you can get creative at home. 

Don’t forget to list your activities on Creative Hertfordshire and visit the and WhatsONLINE pages to find out what’s going on locally.  Follow @HYOC2020 on social media or visit the website at www.HYOC2020.org.uk to find out more and to sign up to the next edition. 

Herts Sports Partnership’s new apprenticeship opportunity

A new opportunity has arisen to become part of the Herts Sports Partnership team as a Level 3 Community Sport and Health Apprentice.  In partnership with The Academy of Education and Training, Herts Sports Partnership are funding 10 Apprenticeships (one in each District / Borough across Hertfordshire).

Click here for more information. The deadline is June 30th.

Cowley Hill residents survey

Want to make Cowley Hill an even better place to live? Have you got some ideas of how to do this? Then please fill out the Cowley Hill Residents’ Survey www.bit.ly/2Yhe7VZ.

Your involvement in the survey will be the first step to helping to improve Cowley Hill in the way that matters most to residents.

The survey will take less than 5 minutes to complete and to thank you for your time, there is a prize draw where you get the chance to win 1 of 3 £50 voucher prizes.

 

Fri 5 Jun 2020

Volunteering and wellbeing

It’s great to see so many of you celebrating National Volunteers Week this week. A big thank you to the volunteers that work with our community partners to help support and strengthen their organisations.

Volunteers have been at the heart of the local community response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Coronavirus is affecting so many aspects of our society today so anything we can do as individuals to support friends, neighbours and family members helps to reduce the impact of the virus. The NHS frontline services can cope with the clinical challenge, in part, because everyone else is also playing their part in helping with the battle against COVID-19. The manner in which civic society has responded to the pandemic can totally refresh how we think about volunteering in the future.

Whilst this opportunity does provide the chance to harness the goodwill and build for the longer term, there is a need for further consideration of the specific roles and contributions that are required if we are to really harness volunteering into the future. 

The Five Ways to Wellbeing’ illustrates how much volunteering maintains and improves our wellbeing, particularly at this time;

  • Volunteering allows us to connect with others and that contact enriches our lives and helps us to cope when things are hard. It helps to lessen loneliness.
  • Volunteering keeps us active – research shows that, especially for over 50 year olds, volunteering increases physical activity levels, which helps to keep us mentally and physically well.
  • Volunteering helps us to notice and engage with the world around us and to keep learning. It helps build skills whether planning a future career or thinking of a change in direction.
  • Most importantly volunteering allows us to give, to make a difference in someone else’s life – to not just think of ourselves but to look out for others.

As we work through the challenges of finding people meaningful opportunities, we should all consider the possibility that this current situation provides us with a chance to build a future that allows people to volunteer to play a fuller role in our community life.

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 are here to help
If you 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.

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 for local  voluntary and community organisations on issues relating to Covid-19, including:

  • Funding sources – we’re updating our funding sources regularly with the latest information we find
  • Resource Hub – 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.

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 #1stcommunities

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

Meet The Funder Session - Wednesday 10 June at 10am

Communities 1st are holding an online ‘Meet the Funder’ session with The National Lottery Community Fund.

A representative from the Fund will discuss the Coronavirus Community Support Fund including

  • Eligibility criteria
  • Application process
  • Q and A

The Coronavirus Community Support Fund is open to applicants including those who have not received National Lottery funding previously and prioritises

  • Organisations supporting people and communities who experience disproportionate challenge and difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 crisis
  • Organisations providing services and support for vulnerable people, for which there will be increased demand as a result of the COVID-19 crisis
  • Organisations which connect communities and support communities to work together to respond to COVID-19

The session will take place via Zoom on Wednesday 10 June at 10am. To book your place please CLICK HERE or email memberservices@communities1st.org.uk

Please ensure you have read all the sections on the following web-page prior to the session.

For funding requests greater than £10,000:

For funding requests under £10,000:

Law works
Law Works is a charity connecting volunteer lawyers with people in need of legal advice. They have produced an article -payment of rent where access to premises is forbidden.  The article covers:

  • What are our rights?
  • Can we withhold rent?
  • If we cannot occupy the premises, does the lease come to an end?
  • How to use lease frustration and force majeure

 Read more.

Reporting serious incidents to the Charity Commission during the coronavirus pandemic
The Charity Commission has updated its guidance for trustees on what they should do if a serious incident occurs during the pandemic.

The guide informs whether trustees should/should not be reporting certain issues and other steps to consider.

The Commission says they appreciate the unprecedented nature of these times and encourage swift reporting so they can best understand the issues charities are facing.

Review the guidance here.

Updated Government Guidance
Last Friday (29 May) the Chancellor announced changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and other measures. Alongside CJRS changes, we had announcements last week on relaxation of the restrictions on interaction with people from outside your household, which came into effect on Monday. This included the decision that people may now visit each other's gardens, provided they maintain a 2m distance from each other.

The Government has recently updated its advice/guidance/rules* on what you can and can't, or should and shouldn't, do as the lockdown eases.  Here are some updated links which you might find useful and/or wish to share:

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do - updated 1 Jun 2020

Guidance on shielding - updated 31 May 2020

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - updated 29 May 2020

Working safely during COVID-19 - updated 29 May 2020

Test and trace: workplace guidance - updated 27 May 2020

You can find all the Government's Guidance on coronavirus at: www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Charity Retail Association’s latest reopening pack

The Charity Retail Association has issued version 4 of its Charity Retail Reopening Pack.  This version includes the workplace-specific guidance published by the Government last week and supersedes previous versions.

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. 

Association of Chairs: The Beacon Programme
The association of chairs have secured additional funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to continue parts of the beacon programme until 30 September 2020.

The Beacon programme is for Chairs and Vice Chairs of smaller charities and non-profit organisations in England with an annual income of under £1 million.

As part of this support, they will be running a series of webinars and online peer and expert surgeries which chairpersons will be able to access free of charge.

Registration for the Beacon Programme will remain open until 30 September.

Register online here.

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.

"Tell the world why your organisation is #NeverMoreNeeded than now".

Create a post on either Facebook or Twitter using #NeverMoreNeeded share your story of how your organisation has never been more needed. Let the public know of the vital importance voluntary sector organisations are to our communities, especially in response to a national crisis.

  • What services are you providing? How many are you helping?
  • To what scale has your service provided for?
  • What would it mean if your service weren’t available? 

Quantify your group’s activities where you can, and don’t forget to use photos where possible, this will help increase the impact of the campaign.

Tag @1stCommunities and @NAVCA (on Twitter) for re-tweets and shares.

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

Click the links above to book your place or for further information email Volunteering Herts at info@volunteeringherts.uk or call 01707 274861

Cost:              

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

Statutory organisations: £50 half-day or £90 full-day (includes handbook)

Free Business Support and Survival Webinars
The Wenta Group are offering free business support and survival webinars to Hertfordshire businesses to help rebuild, start or restart. Find out more.

St John Ambulance: Working safely during COVID-19 - Free tool and advice
St John Ambulance’s describe themselves as a charity that steps forward in the moments that matter, to save lives and keep communities safe.

They have produced a free online tool to help organisations can work safely during this fast-moving situation: Click here to read more and view the online tool and advice.

Foundation for Social Improvement's Fundraising Conference
The FSI’s popular fundraising conference is going virtual on 18th June! And it’s free for charities under £100k, and just £30 for everyone else. Hear from small charity experts on securing your first corporate partner, starting regular giving from scratch, prioritising your funding options when time is tight, making the most of digital fundraising, and much more.  Click here to book.

Public Health England:  COVID-19: review of disparities in risks and outcomes
On 2 June Public Health England published their research and analysis of disparities in the risk and outcomes of Covid-19. 

The research showed that the largest disparity found was by age.

Among people already diagnosed with COVID-19, people who were 80 or older were seventy times more likely to die than those under 40.

Risk of dying among those diagnosed with COVID-19 was also higher in males than females; higher in those living in the more deprived areas than those living in the least deprived; and higher in those in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups than in White ethnic groups.

These inequalities largely replicate existing inequalities in mortality rates in previous years, except for BAME groups, as mortality was previously higher in White ethnic groups.

These analyses take into account age, sex, deprivation, region and ethnicity.

Details of the report can be found 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
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

Interested in finding out more about Crowdfunding Hertfordshire? The Crowdfunder team will be running a short webinar in aid of Crowdfund Hertfordshire. This will be an introductory session suitable for anyone who wants to find out more about this method of fundraising, the potential uses for local projects in Hertfordshire and the extra funding that's available in this area. Crowdfund Hertfordshire information event on Thursday 18 June

12.00 - 13.00  Find out more and Book here.

British Muslim Covid-19 Fund
This Fund is to help charities, organisations and voluntary groups in the UK irrespective of faith affected by the impact of Covid-19.  Grants from £250 up to £5,000 are available.  You are invited to submit an application if you are a charity, organisation or voluntary group working towards ameliorating the impact of coronavirus. For more information and to apply click here.

Rosa - COVID-19 Response Fund (Small Grants)
Grants are available for specialist women’s organisations across the UK to deal with the impact of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic on their work. Click here for more information.

Resourcing Racial Justice funding round open
Resourcing Racial Justice has funding available for individuals, groups or organisations who are fighting for racial justice.

The grants are between £5-£50k and they even hosted a webinar (which you can listen back to) where you can find out more about the application process, where the funding comes from and what kind of projects they are looking for.

Click here for more details.

Coronavirus Community Support Fund
The Government’s new Coronavirus Community Support Fund opened for applications last week.  This 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.

Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust - Response to Coronavirus
The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust is making £5m available for its second phase of funding for May to December 2020.

Funding will include

  • Emergency grants for current grantees who are facing immediate financial crisis
  • 12-month grant extensions for current grantees with ongoing projects
  • Grant increases to enable current grantees to meet costs associated with adapting activities in order to sustain work.

The Trust will also launch a Covid-19 Initiatives Fund over the summer. It will be open to grantees and non-grantees to support new initiatives rooted in the values of equity, rights, peace, climate justice and power and accountability that either a) challenge current responses to and narratives about the crisis, or b) build support for systemic change in a post-Covid society.

Click here to find out more.

Asda Foundation – COVID-19 Hygiene Grants
Grants are available for care homes, hospices, hospitals and homeless shelters supporting residents/patients in facilities in the UK, who are struggling and unable to provide their own toiletries either through lack of funds or access to family support as a result of the current restrictions.

Click here to find out more.

Discretionary grants for small businesses
The Government has launched the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund to support small businesses who have been affected by COVID-19. The grants are to help with property costs. These grants are for £25,000 or for a lower amount of up to £10,000. They are non-repayable.

Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief are eligible for these grants. Other business types are also eligible – more details below.

The grants are mainly aimed at:

  • Businesses in shared offices or flexible workspaces who don’t have their own business rates assessment
  • Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent
  • Bed and breakfasts that pay Council tax instead of business rates
  • Charities in receipt of charitable business rates relief
     
  • Independent businesses not eligible for other grants who make the district a vibrant place to live and work

For more information about discretionary grants and for further financial advice for businesses, visit

In St Albans: www.stalbans.force.com/guest/s/coronavirus-discretionary-grant-fund.

In Hertsmere: www.hertsmere.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT INDIVIDUALS

The benefits of young carers and NHS staff working together to improve support for young carers
Carers in Hertfordshire, which supports unpaid family and friend carers including children and young people, and NHS organisations in Hertfordshire have produced a video to celebrate a health-focused project.

As a result of the project a young carers room was introduced to a ward at Lister Hospital in Stevenage and NHS staff ask young people that attend hospital appointments about their caring responsibilities and how they can be supported.

The video is being launched during Carers Week 2020 (8th – 14th June), and can be viewed at Carers in Hertfordshire’s YouTube channel: www.youtu.be/LVa5FTuaep4 (going live on 8th June).

If you provide unpaid care to someone who is ill, disabled, elderly, or misuses drugs or alcohol, and live, work or care in Hertfordshire, Carers in Hertfordshire can support you. To learn more visit www.carersinherts.org.uk or call 01992 58 69 69.

The Alban Weekend Virtual Festival
As you may already be aware, due to the current government restrictions, St Albans City & District Council have had to cancel the Alban Street Festival 2020. However, they are putting together an offering for the community to enjoy and celebrate everything St Albans and are moving this year’s Alban Street Festival online.

The Alban Weekend Virtual Festival will;

  • Be celebratory of St Albans
  • Echo or reference many of the elements that you’d get at a street festival (street food, entertainment, crafts, performance)
  • Join with the Cathedral to tell the Alban story
  • Support festival suppliers, traders and contractors as well as St Albans-based hospitality and retail businesses
  • Promote St Albans as a destination for when the travel and tourism market reopens

How will it work?

  • Alban Weekend Website
  • There will be a subsection on the Enjoy St Albans web page on key event themes including traders, entertainment, crafts etc. This will be available from early June to commence the celebration of St Albans.
  • Alban Weekend Facebook Page
  • This new page will host a live schedule of activities and entertainment over the Albans Weekend (20th- 21st June).

Would you like to get involved?

St Albans and District Council would like to hear from community or faith groups that would like to get involved in the day and create content for the Alban Weekend Facebook page programme. They are looking for interactive content to engage the community and strongly promote St Albans. If you have any ideas, please get in touch to find out more.

Please email alison.glennie@stalbans.gov.uk or call her on 01727 814625.

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.

As part of this work the local NHS would very much like to involve interested people from across west Hertfordshire to join our stakeholder reference group.

Mon 1 Jun 2020

Monday 1 June 2020

Volunteers Week 2020: Hundreds of organisations join forces to say ‘thank you’ to their fantastic volunteers

 

Communities 1st are delighted to be part of a collaborative action of organisations championing a united response for Volunteers’ Week 1-7 June.  This week Volunteer Managers across the UK are coming together to say a massive thank you to all volunteers.

 

Volunteers have played a vital role from in helping local communities through the current pandemic. They will go on to play a role in helping the nation get back to the things that we love as we ease out of lockdown. By joining forces in Volunteers Week 2020, we are aiming to increase visibility of the vital efforts that all volunteers have made this year.

 

Throughout the week organisations across the UK will be showcasing the amazing contribution volunteers have made.  As a member of Volunteering Herts, Communities 1st we will also be joining in with other local partners on Wednesday 3rd June to recognise the role of good volunteer management supporting volunteers across Hertfordshire.

Volunteers at Communities 1st have been sharing their experience so watch out for some fantastic stories throughout the week. One of our volunteers Kiruthika from St Alban’s shared her story…

 

I work for an Information Technology company, stuck on to computers and meeting people virtually to get things done. With busy personal and work schedules, I seldom get time to talk to people face to face outside of my household, or to even think about others, society or community. People like us need a channel to contribute to the local communities. And my search for that requirement lead to Communities 1st. The work I do makes me feel that I am 'giving back' something to society. Additionally, it gives me an opportunity to connect to people, witness the wider society, relieve my stress, allows me to socialise and even build my skills and endless benefits which are yet to be evident. Therefore I am 'taking more' than 'giving back'. Thank you for selecting me as a volunteer and allowing me to learn more out of volunteering.

 

Stephen Craker, Chief Executive of Communities 1st said:  “our volunteers are amazing and we value their support and contribution to our cause.  Without their commitment and enthusiasm, we would not be able to deliver our service to the exceptional level we do.  We know that many are volunteering to support the consequences of COVID-19. This might be through organised volunteering or by stepping up informally to support their community. For others, it’s a challenging time as they are unable to volunteer in their much loved roles. Whether our volunteers are still active or currently taking a break we want to take this opportunity during Volunteers Week to send a big shout out and say thank you!”

 

#volunteersweek

#CheerForVolunteers

#NeverMoreNeeded

Fri 29 May 2020

A week may be a long time in politics, as the saying goes, but a week during a global pandemic feels even longer.

Like many, at times, I’ve found the pace of change, and the pace of work that accompanied it, difficult to keep up with. As a sector we have done a phenomenal job to respond at speed, but I am thankful that we are starting to have a little more time now to draw breath, reflect and plan for the next phase.

One of my roles during the last few weeks has been to monitor the intelligence coming into Communities 1st about the impact of the pandemic on our members and the wider voluntary sector. These insights have been invaluable in shaping our response and we are grateful to everyone who has been in touch.

For the first few weeks, the overriding feelings were of confusion (about where to get information) and anxiety (about funding, about staffing, and about how best to continue to provide services and support).  As time went on, queries started to become more specific: how to use digital tools to connect staff and to redesign supports; how to access funding to survive, or respond to support that is needed in their communities; how to understand the many implications of remote working; how to navigate government guidance; how to access furlough support. These have shaped the content we put on the Resource Hub

In the last week or so, the tone of the feedback has noticeably started to change, as organisations appear to move out of immediate crisis and start to think about the practicalities of an eventual move out of lockdown and beyond. They are also thinking about others: about shielding groups whose lockdown will last even longer; about the people whose mental health is being impacted by social isolation; about the inequalities being exacerbated by the pandemic and the economic downturn.

Your experiences are critical in helping us make the right choices, so please keep telling us how coronavirus is affecting you and your organisation.

You can:

  • Respond to our telephone survey that Christine and her team of volunteers are currently undertaking – if your organisation hasn’t yet received a call, they soon will be ????   
  • Send an email to memberservices@communities1st.org.uk or call Christine or Isobel on 01727 743018
  • Share your stories as part of the #NeverMoreNeeded campaign

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 are here to help

If you 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

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
  • Resource Hub – 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

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

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.  

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.

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  

Instagram: @communities1st

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!

#CheerForTheVolunteers

Please like and share our #CheerForTheVolunteers posts on Facebook and/or Twitter and help a create movement of appreciation for the volunteers who have provided critical support within our communities in response to COVID-19.

or

(Right click) Save and use the image to the right and create a post with your own sentiments using the hashtag #CheerForTheVolunteers.

Meet The Funder Session - Wednesday 10 June at 10am

Communities 1st are holding an online ‘Meet the Funder’ session with The National Lottery Community Fund.

A representative from the Fund will discuss the Coronavirus Community Support Fund including

  • Eligibility criteria
  • Application process
  • Q and A

The Coronavirus Community Support Fund is open to applicants including those who have not received National Lottery funding previously and prioritises

  • Organisations supporting people and communities who experience disproportionate challenge and difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 crisis
  • Organisations providing services and support for vulnerable people, for which there will be increased demand as a result of the COVID-19 crisis
  • Organisations which connect communities and support communities to work together to respond to COVID-19

The session will take place via Zoom on Wednesday 10 June at 10am. To book your place please CLICK HERE or email memberservices@communities1st.org.uk

Please ensure you have read all the sections on the following web-page prior to the session.

For funding requests greater than £10,000:

For funding requests under £10,000:

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.

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.

‘Tell the world why your organisation is #NeverMoreNeeded than now’

Create a post on either Facebook or Twitter using #NeverMoreNeeded share your story of how your organisation has never been more needed. Let the public know of the vital importance voluntary sector organisations are to our communities, especially in response to a national crisis.

  • What services are you providing? How many are you helping?
  • To what scale has your service provided for?
  • What would it mean if your service weren’t available? 

Quantify your group’s activities where you can, and don’t forget to use photos where possible, this will help increase the impact of the campaign.

Tag @1stCommunities and @NAVCA (on Twitter) for re-tweets and shares.

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

T

his 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

Click the links above to book your place or for further information email Volunteering Herts at info@volunteeringherts.uk or call 01707 274861

Cost:              

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

Statutory organisations: £50 half-day or £90 full-day (includes handbook)

Foundation for Social Improvement's Fundraising Conference

The FSI’s popular fundraising conference is going virtual on 18th June! And it’s free for charities under £100k, and just £30 for everyone else. Hear from small charity experts on securing your first corporate partner, starting regular giving from scratch, prioritising your funding options when time is tight, making the most of digital fundraising, and much more.  Click here to book.

Furlough – Changes to the scheme

Since its introduction, a number of VCSE organisations have utilised the government’s furlough scheme to reduce the drain of salary costs on expenditure where some services have had to temporarily close and caused a loss of trading income.

Initially the government’s scheme was temporary, for 4 months starting from 1 March 2020. You could claim 80% of wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month per furloughed employee. Those employees needed to be on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020.

Under the announcements made by the Chancellor on 12 May, the scheme will continue in its current format until the end of July. Furloughed workers will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to a maximum of £2,500.  Read more.

NCSC Guides for working at home

Our partners at the National Cyber Security Centre have lots of excellent guidance for keeping your charity and your people safe from cyber attacks and crime. Check out their new guidance on working from home.

Statutory Sickpay Extension

Entitlement to statutory sickpay has been extended to people who have been told to isolate under the new 'Test and Trace' system.

A person who has been notified that they have had contact with a person with coronavirus, and who is self-isolating for 14 days as a result, will be entitled to statutory sickpay.

Here’s the link to 'The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2020'

Here’s the link to 'Test and Trace'.

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: Black, Asian Minority Ethnic Communities, Disabled People, Lower Socio-Economic Groups 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.

Interested in finding out more about Crowdfunding Hertfordshire?

Crowdfund Hertfordshire information event on Thursday 18 June

12.00 - 13.00  Find out more and book here.

Coronavirus Community Support Fund

The Government’s new Coronavirus Community Support Fund opened for applications last week.  This 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.

Tampon Tax Fund 2020-21

The Tampon Tax Fund allocates funds generated from the VAT on sanitary products to projects to improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls.  They welcome organisations applying to this round of funding to include activities that seek to address the consequences of COVID-19 for disadvantaged women and girls. Click here for more information.

Youth Futures Foundation:  Emergency Covid-19 funding

The Youth Futures Foundation is committed to transforming employment for young people. They have developed an emergency funding response.

Their emergency funding response consists of:

  • Increased funding available for development and impact grants to rapidly increase youth employment provision. This funding is on a rolling basis with no deadlines
  • Launching an emergency levelling up youth fund to support young people from the hardest hit communities.  The emergency levelling up youth fund is part of the government’s unlocking of £150 million from dormant accounts for coronavirus response. The Government’s press release can be read here

Details of the funding and their contact details, if you have an additional query, can be found here.

Forces Communities Together programme

The Forces Communities Together programme will award small grants of up to £10,000 towards creative and engaging projects, that can be delivered under social restrictions, for people from Armed Forces communities who are isolated as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Closing date: 30 June 2020.  Click here for more information.

INFORMATION TO SUPPORT INDIVIDUALS

MODERN SLAVERY: Spot the Signs, Save Lives!

You may come into contact with someone being exploited. Learn how to spot the signs and report concerns.

Free online benefits training from the Money Advice Unit

Hertfordshire County Council’s Money Advice Unit has launched their first Universal Credit e-learning course in partnership with Child Poverty Action Group, the UK’s leading benefits advice specialists.

The course can be accessed from www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/benefits.

Click on the link on the right-hand side of the page called ’courses for professionals – universal credit’.

The course is free and you can access this short, interactive learning from your tablet, phone, laptop or PC.  The course takes about 30 – 40 minutes to complete. You can do it in one session or spread it over a time to suit yourself.

Try this essential practical learning on financial support for working age adults and their families. Universal credit is a complete change to the benefit system for working age people. Through interactive quizzes and activities, you will look at how universal credit works including:

  • who can get universal credit
  • amounts of universal credit
  • claiming universal credit
  • the claimant commitment
  • moving to universal credit

WEBINAR: Volunteering safely

Over 1,000 volunteers have now been trained in Hertfordshire in response to COVID-19 in partnership with HCF, #TeamHerts Volunteering & all of the Hertfordshire CVS organisations, including Communities 1st.   Thank you to everyone who has been involved! This fully funded online course is an introduction to volunteering safely with vulnerable adults. The training ensures that volunteers can provide a service that is both safe for themselves, and the person who is self-isolating. Final dates for training can be found below:

Volunteering safely: Public spaces

This course is suitable for all volunteer roles where you will be operating within public spaces, such as delivering groceries or prescriptions, dog walking & in community transport roles:

Volunteering safely: Remote befriending

With a specific focus on remote befriending, there will be training on recognising unconscious bias and tips for engaging with someone remotely.

Online Bereavement Counselling Service

The online counselling service provided by Sue Ryder for before and after bereavement has just been upscaled to offer national cover.  Click here for more information.

Wise About Food

Families are put under greater strain as lockdown continues. After distributing a questionnaire for adults working or living with children, Sarah from Wise About Food has tailored this month's newsletter to tackle some of the most pressing household problems that were highlighted. Read for some easy dinner meal ideas, tips about looking after your mental health as a parent, information about Vitamin D, and links to many more resources on www.sarahscotland.co.uk.

Mental health and well-being support services

Information about local services to help with happiness, wellbeing and mental health including support for people on the autism spectrum is available online. These services include but are not limited to advice for bereavement, dementia, advice for carers and domestic abuse.  There is also information on mental health services and how to access support through HPFT and the voluntary sector. 

This information has been collated to provide helpful links to services that can provide extra support when people may be cut off from the usual support networks that would usually give help and comfort during difficult times.

Please feel free to use these links as sign-posting guides to support your ongoing work to help people at this difficult time

Keen Oxford - Creating, supporting and promoting inclusion

Over the past few months KEEN have been running a range of inclusive weekly online projects, including movement, baking, crafts, drumming and so much more.

If you're feeling isolated, bored, frustrated, or simply want to meet some new people and have some fun, then these sessions are absolutely for you!  You can also engage in smaller groups, if you want to meet just a few people before you join in with the regular sessions.

All you need is a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone and an internet connection (our sessions are on Zoom). You can find out more and sign up on their website or get in touch via email or phone 07806 743 595.

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.

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