Communities 1st Voluntary Sector Briefing 17th April 2020

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

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

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

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

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

If someone has forwarded this to you, you can sign up to receive our e-newsletters directly into your inbox here:

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



Support for groups/charities

We need to hear from you

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

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

Do you need volunteers? 

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

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

Compassionate Community Connector Programme

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

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

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

Be a Good Neighbour

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

If you want more information you can visit our website: or contact our Voluntary Sector support team on 01727 743018.  



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

Charities SORP (Statement of Recommended Practice) News

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

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

Trustees may also find the FRC’s guidance to company Directors helpful when looking at their assessment of going concern:

Cybercrime on the increase during pandemic

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

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

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

Charity Sector Survival: #EveryDayCounts

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

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


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 and they will book some time in to work with you.

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

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

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

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

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

Want to find out how you can apply?

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

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

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

Sport England: Community Emergency Fund

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

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

The 2.6 Challenge

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

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

COVID-19 Emergency Surplus Food Grant

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

Phase 2 for small surplus food redistributors is now open.

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

Heritage Emergency Fund

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

A B Charitable Trust

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

The Concertina Charitable Trust

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

#iwill Fund

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

Big Society Capital

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

Standard Life Foundation

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



FAQs from Carers UK

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

UK coronavirus rules relaxed for people with autism and learning disabilities

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

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

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

You can read the updated guidance here.

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

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

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

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

Preventing exploitation of children

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

RSPCA urges pet owners to fill out a pet care plan

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

Herts Inclusive Theatre are launching online live interactive sessions

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

Warnings and advice about COVID-19 scams

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