Voluntary Sector Briefing 11th July 2020

How has volunteering been affected by the pandemic?
During the last few months, as the country has gone into lockdown and we have all had to change the ways we live our lives, the volunteering landscape has also had to adapt the way volunteers support local organisations.

Lots of community groups have adapted quickly to involve volunteers in finding ways to deliver services online in order to engage with the more socially isolated people, such as those who are disabled, those with mental health conditions, those in vulnerable age ranges and those shielding. However, there is a real fear that if everything goes online there will be vulnerable people who won’t be able to access the support that they need.

There are definitely positive and negatives to online engagement. It’s a fine balance and it will be interesting to see how digital content  is utilised over the coming months as lockdown eases. Organisations are doing regular zoom quizzes, bingo, training sessions on coping with mental health issues during lockdown along with that relevant to volunteering roles as well as general catching up with volunteers via other methods like phone, text messaging and Whatsapp.

The key is to keep volunteer engagement going. Some volunteers will be keen to try out a new role or deliver their existing role in a new way on their phased return.  Both require time, resources and in some cases training, to adjust at a pace the volunteer feels comfortable with.

Before face to face volunteering is restarted organisations must ensure the safety of the place where they will be undertaking the task by carrying out risk assessments of the building to make sure current social distancing measures are in place.

How could we work together going forward?
It would be great to build on this and hear thoughts and have further discussion about potential ideals of engagement.

There are lots of ways to support your local community and volunteering is adapting to allow people to continue to offer their time in creative ways.  Moving forward we will be re-launching our Volunteer Managers Forum to allow us all to share ideas through peer to peer learning for all who are interested.  It would be a great way to hear thoughts on current topics and have further discussions.

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 individual


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.  


Meet The Funder Session – BBC Children in Need
Communities 1st is holding another “Meet the Funder” event via ZOOM this month

Sophie Charles from BBC Children in Need will give a talk about their Covid-19 response and what Children in Need look for in applications.

Children in Need consider applications from registered charities and CICs. You can find full details on their website here for eligibility and their policies around different organisation types, particularly under the headings CICs, Charity Registration and Social Enterprises. They also welcome applications from Partnerships

Tuesday 14 July  between 11.00am -12.30pm.

Click here register for the event.

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs – what you can and can’t do
On 9 July the government updated the coronavirus outbreaks FAQs to reflect new regulations coming into force on 9 July. Read more.

Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs to help the UK’s recovery
On 8 July the government published its Summer Economic Update. The Chancellor announced a package of measures to support jobs in every part of the country, give businesses the confidence to retain and hire, and provide people with the tools they need to get better jobs. Read more.

Highlights from the update included the phasing out of the furlough scheme and introducing the 'kick start' scheme to help 18-24 year olds get into meaningful work. Full details of the measures can be found on the Government website here.

Other measures relevant to the voluntary sector included the VAT reduction from 20% to 5% for the hospitality and tourism sectors.

The Charity Finance Group has helpfully summarised the Summer Economic Update and highlighted the key points for our sector going forward. Read their thoughts here.

The annual UK Civil Society Almanac is now available to download.
Drawing on a range of sources, the Almanac provides a snapshot of what voluntary organisations do, their income and spending, workforce, volunteering and its impact.

Key highlights include:

  • 19.4m people volunteered at least once a year during 2018/19 through a group, club or organisation
  • The voluntary sector contributed £18.2bn to the economy in 2017/18, representing about 0.9% of total GDP
  • The voluntary sector has a paid workforce of 909,088, 5% more than in 2018

Click here to view the UK Civil Society Almanac 2020.

Thanks to our friends at NCVO for this great piece of work.

Cultural and heritage organisations to receive a £1.57bn support package
The government has announced that the UK's arts, culture and heritage industries will receive a £1.57 billion rescue package to help with the impact of coronavirus

Organisations - many of which are charities - across the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will be able to access emergency grants and loans.

The money will provide a lifeline to cultural and heritage organisations hit hard by the pandemic. Plus funding to restart paused projects will help support employment, including freelancers working in these sectors.

Click here for more details about the announcement.

Risk of insolvency – what Chairs need to know
The Association of Chairs has put together a guidance for those Trustees and Chairs whether their charity is presently insolvent; or, whether it will become insolvent in the future and how will they recognise when this is the case.

Click here to read their guidance.

The Change Collective Guide to Recruitment for Small Charities
Running a small charity is hard work, and you get used to doing everything yourself - you have to, when there isn’t a volunteer available with the skills and time, and you just do not have the money to pay others to do it. Making the decision to employ someone to help you with fundraising is a big one – you need the investment to pay off to keep running your services and not deplete your reserves.

The Institute of Fundraising has produced a guide, supported by the Small Charities Coalition, to help identify what you need from a fundraiser and the different options for recruiting your first fundraiser into this role. It is primarily aimed at organisations operating under £350,000 a year.

Click here to view the guide.

Trans and Non-Binary COVID-19 Impact Focus Group
The LGBT Foundation is looking to explore how trans and non-binary communities have been impacted by the current health crisis.

They are looking to discuss how these communities have been affected, what resources have been useful, and what more can be done to support them.

The event will be held on 14 July and you can sign up through their Eventbrite page.

Chairing Plus Webinar: Working with Your Chief Executive
As a chair, building and maintaining a successful relationship with a chief executive is a key part of the role. But it’s not always a simple task.

The Association of Chairs is holding a webinar on 12 August to look at what is needed at key stages in the Chair-Chief Executive relationship, including appraisal of a Chief Executive.

Click here for more information and to register.

How to manage negative social media comments
At some point if you are on social media, you will encounter a negative comment or two directed your way.

The temptation is to respond in a similar manner and explain why they are wrong, however this is usually not the best approach.

Digital Giants has put together an infographic showing the seven steps to responding to a negative comment. We highly recommend adopting these as a strategy so you and your colleagues are prepared should you encounter such negativity.

Click here for the infographic.

Life Beyond Covid-19
The COVID-19 Committee is inviting people to share their hopes and fears about what the pandemic might mean in the long-term for our home and working lives, and for how we function as a society – what might it mean for social cohesion, for (in)equality, for our environment or for arts and culture?

Deadline for submission is 31 August.

Click here for full details.

Time to Spare: Track and Trace system
As part of the government guidance on maintaining records on people using your establishments, an organisation called Time to Spare has produced a track and trace system for the safe collection of contact details. Read more.

Convenors of SORP engagement discussions announced
The Charities Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) sets out the framework for how larger charities prepare their annual report and accounts. On 8 July the charity commission released a press release explaining the SORP engagement process.

Following a governance review of the SORP development process in 2018-19, a new approach has been initiated which has greater engagement at its heart.

To support the SORP-making body and the advisory SORP Committee in this work, volunteer engagement partners have been recruited through an open recruitment process.

Details of the engagement partners and more about this engagement process can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Stay safe and make positive choices – Summer Programme 2020
A two week programme for young people to learn about keeping themselves safe and engage in positive alternatives to gangs and knife crime.

Please speak to a YC Hertfordshire Youth Worker if you’re interested in joining the project.

  • Monday-Friday 3 hours daily
  • 2 hours of professional sports coaching
  • £30 Amazon voucher on completion
  • Certificate of participation

To refer a young person to the programme email ychreferral@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

Click here for more information.

Training - Get Started with Analytics
Media Trust’s Get Started with Analytics webinar will take place on 16 July. Learn more about web analytics and what ‘data driven’ decision making means for your charity. Register here.

New Premises Required – Centre 33 St Albans
Centre 33 is looking for new premises to provide their twice daily meal service in St Albans.  Their current premises 2A Spicer Street St Albans are unsuitable amid the COVID -19 pandemic as they are too small for safe operation. Ideally, premises would be in central St Albans of around 1,000 sq ft with kitchen, toilets, a large room for dining and with a separate access to the kitchen area.  If you know of anywhere, please contact Colin Simmons – chairman@centre33.org.   

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 are 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.

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
In September, Communities 1st will launch 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.


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.

Hertsmere Borough Council – Community Grant Scheme
Hertsmere Borough Council’s community grant scheme has been split into two funding streams.  The first round is for voluntary sector organisations facing financial difficulty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  The second stream will be used for projects that have a positive impact in supporting the response to Covid-19 in the ‘recovery stage which will be released later in the year depending on how this crisis evolves.

The first stream of funding is now open for applications.  Click here to read the guidance. https://www.hertsmere.gov.uk/Community/Community-Information/Community-Grants.aspx.

St Albans and District Council’s Community Grant Fund is now open!
Grants will be made between £500-£5000. There is just one round this year, and the focus is on creative projects which support vulnerable people to recover from the impact of coronavirus measures.

For further information about the grant follow this link www.communities1st.org.uk/SADCgrants.

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.

HCF Workforce Development Grants
Grants of up to £2,000 are now available for learning and development in voluntary and community organisations in Hertfordshire.

HCC Adult Care Services are funding this grant scheme for VCS organisations that provide adult social care in Hertfordshire. The grants are managed by HCF Training and Development and can be used to support the:

  • Learning and development of the organisation’s workforce
  • Development of the capacity of the organisation to deliver training and skills to its workforce, to carers or to service users/clients

Examples of acceptable uses include:

  • Training or qualifications for paid staff, volunteers or trustees
  • Coaching or mentoring for key leaders (e.g. managers or trustees)
  • Equipment, software or other resources/materials that will be used for the delivery of training and skills to the workforce, carers or service users/clients
  • Costs associated with accreditation of courses (provided there is a sustainable plan for maintaining this)
  • To develop and run peer support programmes to aid recovery and provide on-going care and support

Find out if you are eligible and to apply.

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. 

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.


Herts Valleys (West Herts only) Small Grants process – relaunch
You may be aware that the original process was suspended in March because of the pandemic. Following substantial engagement with the sector and partners, Herts Valleys CCG is now in position to relaunch it. The application form can be found here.

Please note the following conditions have changed:

  • Any voluntary organisation or not for profit can apply
  • They can make only one application and for a maximum of £10,000 (though the full £10,000 will not be reduced if match-funders can add to the project)
  • The project has to be related to helping you either to:
  • deliver pre-existing services in a Covid-proofed way following the easing of lockdown or
  • in creating new types of support specifically for people whose health and wellbeing has been particularly badly affected by the crisis and the lockdown.  You need to explain this in your application
  • Applicants who have applied before can re-send information from last time (appropriately amended) 
  • There will be just six questions to answer, adapted from last time.  Previous applicants will be able to use most of the answers they used before, but must adapt them to show how the request for funding relates to 3.a) and/or b) above

Completed forms must be returned to tim.anfilogoff@nhs.net by midnight on Friday 24 July 2020. 

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Impact Awards
The awards aim to support charities providing individuals with vital health and wellbeing services throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 awards are funded by GSK and managed in partnership with The King’s Fund.

Who can apply? Charities who have been established for 3 years or more and who are located and registered within the UK and working within a health related field. The maximum annual income of charities must not exceed £2.5 million.

Deadline: Monday 14 September 2020

Value: Up to ten winners will receive £30,000 unrestricted funding and one overall winner will receive £40,000.

Find out more.

Independent Age Fund
Grants are available to help older people who are likely to be missing out due to the restrictions from the current pandemic. Support will keep practical services running, provide advice, and opportunities, so individuals can be provided with essentials such as food and medicines and keep connected through digital.

Who can apply? Charities registered for a minimum of 2 years who are working with older people in at least one of two of the priority areas. Either, older people living in particularly complex and challenging situations or older people who are vulnerable.  

Deadline: Opens Monday 27 July until 9am Friday 21 August
Value: Up to £15,000
Find out more.

Julia and Hans Rausing Launch £10 million Charity Survival Fund
The Julia and Hans Rausing Trust has launched a new ‘Charity Survival Fund’. A total of £10 million will be made available to support charities in the UK, specifically focusing on small and medium size charities.

The aim is to provide core funding to help charities overcome the impact of Covid-19, offsetting lost income. Deadline for applications is 27 July.

More details can be found here.

Grants of up to £50,000 Available for Community Projects (Aviva Community Fund)
Small charities and constituted community groups with innovative ideas that benefit their community can apply for funding of up to £50,000 for projects that build more connected, more resilient communities and give people the tools to become more financially independent. The funding is being made available through the Aviva Community Fund. Every three months, £250,000 will be split equally among Aviva’s UK employees to donate to the projects. In response to the Covid-19 Aviva are temporarily opening up the Fund to projects that will ensure organisations can adapt or maintain critical services and infrastructure in response to the impacts of COVID-19. Projects must still relate to one of Aviva’s key funding areas. The closing date for this funding round is the 28th July 2020.

Find out more.

Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust
The Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust awards grants to charitable organisations. Deadline is 31 July.

Find out more.


Advice for Consumers
Applications for free call blockers have re-opened on the Friends Against Scams website. If you know somebody who would benefit from a call blocker, ask them to apply here.


The National Trading Standards Scams Team received government funding to supply and install call blocking technology in consumers’ homes. The project re-launched at the beginning of March and received hundreds of applications.

Due to COVID-19 the very difficult decision was made to close applications as it wasn’t safe under government guidelines to continue posting and installing units. Since then the team has been working with trueCall, the supplier of these devices, to provide a safe application process.

The team and trueCall are now in a position to re-open applications and post units out to consumers who can self-install only.

Units will be sent directly to consumers and people won’t be able to apply on behalf of others.

Units will be supplied on a first come first served basis.

Direct applicants will be able to apply online on the Friends Against Scams website from the 8th July.

July Parents' & Carers' Pack
The July Parents' and Carers' Pack is now available. This month we cover preparing for results day, boosting employability skills, the apprentice perspective during lockdown, Microsoft's new digital skills courses, a parent's take on apprenticeships and much more. Please download here.