Voluntary Sector Briefing 26th June 2020

Celebrating Pride - Equality isn’t just for one month a year
Every year, throughout June, there are Pride festivals and events across the world to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall riots.  As well as being a time for celebration, Pride Month also provides the opportunity to reflect on recent weeks.  This includes the unjust death of George Floyd, the ensuing Black Lives Matter movement, the underrepresentation of BAME, LGBTQIA+ and Deaf and Disabled people in charities and the discrimination many still face.

Charites have always been key figures in addressing societal issues but how can we make sure we’re creating real change? It’s easy to write a supportive statement on social media, but we need to back up our words with actions. We now need to look at how we can firmly establish fairness and equality within our own organisations first, addressing all forms of discrimination including racism, sexism, ableism, ageism and LGBTQIA+ rights. We need to remember that charities and our staff and volunteers feel the same unconscious bias as the wider population, and actively work to address this.

We can start by doing what we do best, bringing training to local charities. Communities 1st will be working with local providers to deliver training for the sector in Equality and Diversity over the coming months. We regard it as essential training for ALL organisations to ensure recent events really are a catalyst for real and lasting change in our sector.  We will post details of training in future bulletins.

We know our community can be a force for positive change. We’ve seen volunteers turn up in their hundreds to help people in need because of coronavirus - we can all do our part to ensure that we stand up to the challenge of creating a diverse and representative charity sector where opportunities to work, manage and volunteer are open to all.

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


Compassionate Community Connector Programme
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.

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.

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.  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.  


Hertfordshire’s Accessibility COVID webpage is now out live on:

What you can and can't do after 4 July
The Government has set out its plan to return to what they call "as near normal as we can, for as many people as we can".

They have produced a guide outlining who can do what where and when.

This guidance includes what venues can or can't be opened, what you can do if you are a clinically vulnerable person and the COVID-19 secure safety guidelines for organisations.

Please note this guidance is only for England.

Click here for the full list.

Join the East of England Mind Regional Network
This network is a collection of sport, physical activity and mental health organisations who will work together to increase the number of groups in their region who are equipped with the skills to support and engage people with mental health problems in physical activity.

  • Collaborate to support and engage people with mental health problems in physical activity
  • Work together to share best practice, provide new learning and increase partnership working

Please email Alicja Polak at a.polak@herts.ac.uk if your organisation would like to get involved. For more information about Mind’s Regional Networks please click here.

Join the East of England Mind Regional Network.

Nominations are now open for this year’s Valuing Volunteer Management Award
The Hertfordshire Valuing Volunteer Management awards are unique because they are nominated for solely by volunteers. If you volunteer for any Hertfordshire based organisation that really values their volunteers and you think they deserve to be nominated for an award – we want your nominations now!

Criteria: The volunteering organisation you’re nominating must have either completed the 6 Point Promise (6PP) or are working towards it.  If they haven't done either of the above, all is not lost.  Get your organisation to sign up with their nearest centre before the closing date below.

Please visit www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Volunteering-Herts-Awards-2020.

Do take the time to put together a really good quality nomination for the organisation you volunteer with. Show them how much you value their support for the work you do!

Hurry, closing date is 15 July.

Safe re-opening of Hertsmere’s high streets and other commercial areas
A project to facilitate the return to a safe trading environment for businesses and customers in the borough’s commercial sector in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, including a number of in-house Food and Health & Safety related courses for both members of the public, charities and businesses.  Click here for more information.

Re-opening Village and Community Halls post COVID-19 closure
Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) has published information to help village and community halls reopen once government coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

ACRE’s information sheet looks at how village halls can prepare risk assessments, ensure social distancing once open and introduce effective cleaning regimes. There are also some practical resources including checklists, notices for display in halls and sample terms of hire.

Click here to see the information.

Project to understand veterans' experience of accessing healthcare locally
Healthwatch Hertfordshire is working with the Hertfordshire Armed Forces Covenant Board, known locally as Hertfordshire Heroes to better understand the veteran’s experience of accessing healthcare in Hertfordshire.

There is relatively little local data on this topic, so to make a difference we need to hear from as many veterans as possible on what is important to you, what you think is working, as well as any barriers you may have faced when accessing healthcare.

To help us understand this, and improve services for the veteran community, click here.

For more information or to request the survey in a different format, please contact Annabel on: 01707 275 978 or email info@healthwatchhertfordshire.co.uk.

Coronavirus and loneliness
The Office of National Statistics has published its analysis of loneliness in Great Britain during the pandemic.

The study looks at two groups:

  • Those with "Chronic loneliness” – who feel lonely “often or always”
  • And those with “Lockdown loneliness” – who said their well-being had been affected during lockdown

Click here to read the analysis.

Charities call for boost to Gift Aid amid pandemic fundraising shortfall
We are supporting a campaign calling on the Government to temporarily increase the level of Gift Aid that can be claimed on donations.

The change would mean that a £100 donation from a UK taxpayer would increase to £133.33 for the charity once Gift Aid had been claimed. This compares to £125.00 as is currently be the case.

The coalition estimates that this move could help charities to access an additional £450 million of much needed cash. It also includes changes to the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme to ensure it benefits all.

Read details of the campaign on the #NeverMoreNeeded website.

Lords Public Services Committee: Discussing the collaboration between volunteers, charities and the private sector
Listen back to the House of Lords Public Services Committee discussion held yesterday (24 June) where the role of charities within the delivery of public services was discussed.

Speakers included Kathy Evans, CEO of Children England and Paul Streets, CEO of Lloyd's Bank Foundation.

Listen again here.

COVID-19 crisis risks UK 'lost generation' of people about to retire
The coronavirus crisis could leave the next generation of retirees significantly poorer and sicker, according to research commissioned by the Centre for Ageing Better.

The research, carried out by Ipsos Mori, found that the pandemic risks creating a “lost generation” of older people entering retirement in poor health and without enough money to support themselves in retirement.

Read the full article here.

Plans to ease guidance for over 2 million shielding
On 22 June two government departments published a press release about their plans to alter the restrictions and support to people who are shielding. We recommend that all VCSE organisations read the press release in order they can adapt their services to the changes and gain an understanding on how it might affect their volunteers and staff. Read more.

The #NeverMoreNeeded website is here and ready for you to use!

To fuel you all with content and activities to keep banging the #NeverMoreNeeded drum, the #NeverMoreNeeded website is now live.

Click here to have a view.

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

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 (aged between 11 and 14) 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.

"Invisible" unpaid carers going hungry in lockdown
Research from Sheffield and Birmingham universities suggests more than 100,000 unpaid carers in the UK have had to rely on food banks during the pandemic.

Helen Walker of Carers UK says unpaid carers are at "breaking point".

The study looked at the experiences of people caring for parents and disabled relatives during the lockdown - and found 229,000 unpaid carers were in households where people had "gone hungry".

Read more here.

Spot the Signs suicide prevention
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  

Covid-19: Fundraising key principles and public fundraising guidance
Two new pieces of fundraising guidance by the Fundraising Regulator and Chartered Institute of Fundraising has been published (25 June) for charities in England. The guidance sets out a responsible framework to help charitable organisations return to fundraising as restrictions are eased, whilst still adhering to social distancing measures.

In particular the guidance provides advice on: 

  • How to plan your future fundraising
  • How to interact safely with the public
  • How to safeguard the public, volunteers and staff
  • How to undertake a risk assessment

The guidance aims to support charities to return to fundraising in a safe and sensitive way.   For more information and to read the published guidance, click here.

Interested in creating a summer holiday support programme for children in your local community?
The Herts Sports and Physical Activity Partnership (HSP) is hosting a webinar to demonstrate everything you need to know about setting up your own local offer; drawing on the success of StreetGames’ Fit and Fed campaign. Both this and HSPs own Fit, Fed & Read projects combat the negative effects of school holidays experienced by vulnerable children regarding hunger, isolation and inactivity.

The webinar will include presentations on how to address fundraising, training, food (access and education), physical activities, monitoring and evaluation, and marketing your project. Following the webinar attendees will also be directed towards a menu of available resources to support you and your ideas.

Webinar details:  Thursday 2 July 2020 2pm to 3.30pm

How to join: The webinar will take place on Zoom, attendees must book their place in advance and can do so here

If you have any questions regarding the above, please email courses@sportinherts.org.uk.

National Youth Activity guidance
The government has published guidance for National Youth. The guidance is contextualised for youth sector organisations and intends to support organisations as they prepare for their reopening of services.

The youth sector includes statutory, voluntary, uniformed and private organisations as funders, commissioners and providers of activities and spaces for young people. The guidance takes into consideration the safety and support needed for young people, staff and volunteers and wider public health considerations for those engaging in youth sector activities.

To read the full guidance click 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): Coronavirus Relief Fund Phase 2 Informed by the results of the local and national surveys/reports on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, HCF have launched their next round of funding to support the voluntary sector and the people of Hertfordshire. They are welcoming applications on a rolling basis for the following:

  • Fast track grants of £1,000 to £5,000 prioritising smaller organisations continuing to meet immediate need
  • Grants up to £10,000 for organisations that have adapted their support services and are looking to the longer-term
  • Grants up to £20,000 for collaborative proposals that see organisations coming together to address specific needs

Click here for more information.

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.


Support for the Homeless Charities and Hospices (England and Wales)
Homeless and Hospice charities can apply for support to help improve their buildings. The support takes the form of grants, free building materials and specialist advice such as, architects, quantity surveyors, project managers and specialist engineers. To be eligible for support organisations must be registered charities, have legal hold on the building in question, either freehold or lease for at least 5 years. The funding is being made available through CRASH the construction and property industries' charity and applications can be submitted at any time.  For more information click here.

Places of Worship (POW): protective security funding scheme
The places of worship (POW) protective security funding scheme is a government commitment in the 2016-2020 hate crime action plan. It provides funding for protective security measures to places of worship and associated faith community centres that are vulnerable to hate crime. Funding closes at 23:59 on 9 August 2020. Find out more.

Art Fund: Respond and reimagine grants
Respond and reimagine grants provide funding to help museums, galleries and cultural organisations respond to immediate challenges connected to the Covid-19 crisis, and offer support to adapt and reimagine ways of working for the longer-term future. Their next deadline for applications is Monday 6 July. Find out more.

Warburtons supports charities and the community in three ways: with financial support, product donations and the personal involvement of individual people - both Warburton family members and employees. Our main focus is on grass roots activities that have a positive effect on the aspirations, education, skills and employability of young people, as well as projects that are centred on family life, promoting healthier lifestyles and contributing to improvements in the local community.  Find out more.

Wilkinsons - Helping Hands
Helping Hands is a community initiative where each local store has a budget to distribute to projects and schemes within the stores local community.  Find out more.


Hertfordshire Autism questionnaire
The Hertfordshire All-Age Autism Co-production Board together with autism partnerships across the region would like to find out more about how children and adults with autism have coped with the coronavirus lockdown and what support and advice they need as the lockdown is eased.  More importantly, the partnerships are keen to hear about the impact on mental health, anxiety and behaviour, and what services have been helpful over this period. 

The information from this survey will help the partnerships to make sure that autistic adults, children and their families across the region get the help and support they need. 

Click here to complete the survey.

Herts Welcomes Refugees
Herts Welcomes Refugees works with 53 refugee families as well as asylum seekers across Hertfordshire. Most of the families are from Syria and the Covid-19 crisis greatly frightened them, often bringing to the surface memories of past sufferings.

Fortunately, Herts Welcomes Refugees (HWR) had just completed a Crowdfunding project which enabled them to give Chromebooks or laptops to families with children so that they could continue their schooling online. Many parents and children found it difficult to engage in online schooling so HWR suggested lockdown activities as well as online educational resources in English and Arabic. Their Volunteer Coordinator set up a WhatsApp group with weekly meetings for volunteer befrienders so that they can exchange ideas on remote teaching and other activities. HWR’s Local Convenors keep in regular contact with the families in their area to help with problems and to pass on items such as donated games and puzzles and Eid food parcels. They have also managed to continue with their bicycle scheme, fixing and delivering donated bicycles to refugees whilst following social distancing rules.

If you would like more information, please contact Irene at chair@hwsf.org.uk.

What you can do if you feel lonely during the coronavirus outbreak
Every Mind Matters has produced a guidance for people who have suffered from loneliness during lockdown and feeling anxiety about the slow opening up of services and adopting a new normal.  Read the guidance here.

Shaping our future - give us your views on adult care services
Hertfordshire County Council are running a short survey: Adult Care Services Three Year Plan and Priorities to give people an opportunity to comment on how services have been delivered over the last couple of years, where they need to improve and what your priorities are for the future.

The Adult Care Services Three Year Plan runs from April 2018 to March 2021. It informs service plans to ensure that our entire workforce is working to the same ambitious goals, with drive and clarity.

The 5 big areas in this plan are:

  • Information & Advice
  • Connected Communities
  • Valuing independence
  • Caring Well
  • Connected Lives

Please complete the short survey before 31 July 2020.

New research focusing on the experience of rape victims in the criminal justice system
The Victims’ Commissioner is asking victims of rape to share their experiences of the criminal justice system.

Dame Vera Baird QC is asking anyone who has been the victim of rape – and who feels able to – to tell her about their personal experience of the criminal justice system. It does not matter how far the offence progressed in the system, the VC wants to know about what happens at every stage.

Take part in this research here.