Voluntary Sector Briefing - 8th 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


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.  


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.


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


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.


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.


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

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.

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.