Voluntary Sector Briefing 31st July 2020

Sharing the human spirit through friendship
Our world faces many challenges, crises and forces of division - to confront those crises and challenges, their root causes must be addressed by promoting and defending a shared spirit of human solidarity that takes many forms - the simplest of which is friendship.

This International Friendship Day, we may not have been able to meet our friends but we can take this opportunity to look back on those moments spent with them. The International Day of Friendship is a chance to acknowledge and appreciate friends that make our lives worth living. While we may not be able to hug, there are always so many ways to show our love.

Since we are left with no action – thanks to the pandemic – make do with words and lots of them - Let friends know it’s okay to talk…you’re there for them to listen, without judgment.

When someone is struggling with their mental health they may become distant, cancel plans and want to see us less than usual. However, this is when friendships play a key role and is exactly when maintaining friendships are so important.

The mental health foundation says: “If you’re the friend of someone with a mental health problem, you may be concerned about them. The most important thing is to tell them that you’re still their friend". 

Thank you for being a part of our Communities 1st family.

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.  


Reopen your business safely during coronavirus (COVID 19)
Employers that want to reopen their business have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and other people on site.

Use this guidance to help you carry out a risk assessment and make sensible adjustments to the site and workforce. If you do not carry out a risk assessment, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or your local council can issue an enforcement notice.  Read guidance here.

Updated guidance on charity retail
The Charity Retail Association have issued the latest version of their advice on re-opening (and operating) premises in light of Covid-19.

This includes information on the reduction of quarantine for goods to 48 hours and guidance on face coverings.

The pack can be found here.

What is the Covid-19 Community-Led Organisations Recovery Scheme?
The Covid-19 Community-Led Organisations Recovery Scheme offers grants up to £100,000 to community organisations in England who are facing financial difficulties caused by Covid-19.

Delivered by Power to Change, Locality, The Ubele Initiative and Social Investment Business on behalf of the National Lottery Community Fund, the scheme is aimed at organisations delivering services in their local community to support people who are at high risk from Covid-19, with an emphasis on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME)-led or BAME-supporting businesses.

More details, and how to apply, here.

Who's funding what, and where?
360 Giving has developed a searchable grants tracker showing information about funds relating to Covid-19.

Filter by funder, area or recipient, view on a map, to see what has been allocated.

Full details here.

Face coverings - when to wear one and how to make your own
The guidance was updated on 31 July, it explains when to wear a face covering and how to make one

From 24 July you MUST wear a face covering when you go to the shops. This information relates to the use of face coverings in public spaces where social distancing is not always possible. It is important to follow all the other government advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) including staying safe outside your home. View guidance here.

Disabled people exempt from wearing face coverings under new government guidance
The Government has set out a list of face covering exemptions, as they are now mandatory in additional enclosed spaces.  The full information is available here.

There is also a range of resources including exemption information cards to print or show on your phone, available to download.

VCS Emergencies Partnership website launched
The VCS Emergencies Partnership has launched its website which includes a service to support local organisations and community groups to respond to emergencies, where needed. This is done by matching needs with resources locally, regionally and nationally.

Take a few minutes to look around the website and familiarise yourself with the services that are available, then please share it with your networks.

Click here to go to the VCS EP website.

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.


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. www.hertsmere.gov.uk/Community/Community-Information/Community-Grants.aspx

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 welcome 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.


Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage Opens for Applications (England)
Applications have opened for the £92 million Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage, which is aimed at helping heritage organisations to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Who can apply?

  • any heritage organisations managing a heritage site or visitor attraction
  • private owners of a heritage site, venue or attraction
  • organisations managing, maintaining or caring for culturally significant assets or collections
  • businesses which are part of the heritage ecosystem, including conservators, contractors, specialists and suppliers
  • organisations that manage culturally significant assets or collections

Organisations are urged to apply swiftly before the deadline of midday on Monday 17 August 2020.  Find out more.

The Ragdoll Foundation and COVID-19 - Funding for Projects that Use the Arts and Media to Address the Concerns of Children
Not-for-profit organisations in the UK that are working with children and young people using the arts and creative media can apply for funding through the Ragdoll Foundation's grants programmes. Funding of up to £1,500 is available through the small grants programme for projects lasting up to six months and £50,000 through the large grants programme for projects lasting up to three years. The Foundation is mainly interested in applications that involve children during their early years, but appropriate projects for older children (up to 18 years) will also be considered. Applications to the large grants programme are accepted on a rolling basis. The next closing date for the small grants programme is the 28th August 2020.  Find out more.

B&Q Community Reuse Scheme
DIY store B&Q operates a community re-use scheme through all its branches across the UK. The scheme donates unsellable products and materials for re-use by local schools, other educational institutions and community groups, for the benefit of the local community and the environment. All items are donated on the understanding that they will be re-used or disposed of responsibly if they are not used. Eligible groups include community garden projects, registered charities, schools and colleges, youth groups, Scouts and Guides, hospices, preschool groups and registered child minders. B&Q also works with Community Repaint, a network of schemes that collects any surplus, re-usable paint and redistributes it within their communities to individuals and families on low income, charities and community groups. Find out more..

£15 Million Investment to Improve Dedicated Cycling Facilities
British Cycling and Sport England are working closely to develop a national network of cycling facilities across England through a £15 million investment programme from the UK Government. The Places to Ride programme will provide funding to any not-for-profit organisation that is developing cycling activity in their community through new or improvement of existing dedicated cycling facilities. The programme will support small-to-medium-scale facility improvements or equipment, through to large-scale new build facilities across all types of cycling. Two levels of funding are available: small-scale grants of between £1,000 and £50,000; and large-scale grants of up to £500,000. Applications can be submitted at any time up until 12:00am on the 15th January 2021. Decisions will be made every twelve weeks.  Find out more.


Prime Minister Boris Johnson launches plans to boost cycling and walking
Please see below information regarding the Bike Voucher Scheme as part of the government’s plans to increase cycling and walking, which may be of interest to you.

  • Today the first batch of bike repair vouchers worth £50 will be released later tonight to the public in a pilot scheme to encourage thousands of people get back into cycling.
  • Due to demand for cycle shops’ services during the pandemic, vouchers will be released in batches in order to help manage capacity across participating stores. The first 50,000 will be available just before midnight tonight (Tuesday 28) on a first come first served basis to those who register online.

Fix your Bike Voucher Scheme: apply for a voucher

Fix your Bike Voucher Scheme: register as a bike repairer

Hertfordshire County Council has launched a countywide campaign focussing on four of the most important things you can do to help reduce the spread of coronavirus: hand washing, social distancing, wearing a face covering and getting tested if you have symptoms. A useful toolkit, with social media posts and posters, has been created.

  • Testing is available for anyone who is in the first few days of having suspected coronavirus symptoms.
  • Drive through testing continues to operate on various days of the week in Hertford, Hemel Hempstead, Stevenage, and Welwyn Garden City.
  • HCC website – containing coronavirus guidance and service updates
  • PPE online hub - providing guidance on PPE
  • Herts Help contactable on 0300 123 4044 – support for all Hertfordshire residents

What Does Family Mean to You?
A unique competition to mark Hertfordshire’s Year of Culture and Herts Pride is asking people to describe their family – and the winner will see their words literally come to life.

For ‘Friends and Family’ month this August, Hertfordshire Year of Culture 2020’s latest competition asks residents to share what family means to them in no more than 500 words. As August is traditionally Herts Pride, entries from the LGBTQ+ community on their experiences of family will be particularly welcomed.

Entries will be considered by a panel of judges including award winning scriptwriter and broadcaster Nicholas McInerny, who was born in Hertfordshire.  The winning entry will then be turned into a short animated film which will be published on to the community archive website, Herts Memories and become part of Hertfordshire’s local history record. 

Entries can be in the form of short stories, poems, diary entries or any other form of creative writing and should be submitted to hyoc2020@hertsmere.gov.uk by 31 August. 

There is no age restrictions for entrants and the competition is open to anyone living or working in Hertfordshire. 

The competition will form part of a wider celebration of creativity under the banner of Friends and Families for the duration of August for HYOC2020.

In support of Herts Pride, which is being held this year as an online fundraising event, projects and stories involving LGBTQ+ residents will also be celebrated in August and there’s a chance to contribute to a Herts Pride Playlist on Spotify.

If you’re looking for something to entertain the kids, then the HYOC Activity Pack will be launching during August too, filled with quick and easy creative activities submitted from local organisations.   If you are a local organisation and have a creative activity that you would like to submit, visit Creative Hertfordshire for more information.  There’s also over 70 separate listings on our What’s ONLINE pages with loads of inspiration on how to keep busy, as well as a growing number of events taking place in line with current social distancing regulations. 

For more information on Hertfordshire Year of Culture and how you can get involved, visit www.HYOC2020.org.uk.