Voluntary Sector Briefing 5th June 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



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.  


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


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.



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
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.


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.



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


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.