Voluntary Sector Briefing 12th June 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



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. 


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.


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.  


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
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.


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.


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.