Voluntary Sector Briefing 7th August 2020

Save the date for Communities 1st Voluntary Sector Conference and AGM
We will be hosting three 2-hour zoom meetings over three days in early September for this year’s Voluntary Sector Conference and our AGM.  The theme for the conference this year is Sustainability and we have an exciting line up planned.

The three two-hour Zoom sessions which will take place on

  • Tuesday 8 September  2pm to 4pm
  • Conference - ‘Resilience for Voluntary Sector Organisations’
  • Wednesday 9 September  5pm to 7pm
  • Conference - ‘A Green Recovery - Working Together to Aid Recovery from Covid-19’
  • Thursday 10 September 12 noon to 2pm
  • AGM & Conference - ‘Sustainability through Collaboration’

Places on each day are limited to 100 and booking will open in 7 to 10 days, watch this space for further details.

For further information on the Conference and AGM, please contact Christine at Communities 1st on 020 3940 4869 or email christine.halpin@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



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. 


"Please give me space" social distancing cards or badges
The Government has published badges that can be used to show that the person carrying them may have difficulties or concerns with regards to maintaining social distancing. They can be used to signal to others around them that they need to pay attention and be given space.

These products include images for your phone or to print and carry whilst you are in public.

Click here to download the images.

Social Care Institute for Excellence technology checklist for video calling an adult or carer
This checklist covers the necessary steps a social worker or practitioner should take to ensure that technology for video calling is ready and appropriate. The decision about whether to carry out the intervention online or whether the adult/carer has capacity and is able to understand and use online contact should have been made before using this checklist.

Read More.

Relieve Furniture
Relieve Furniture's aim is to support charities and schools by providing direct access to good quality office furniture at a very low cost.

Registration is free for Charities and Schools and once registered you will have access to, and get notified about, upcoming stock launches on their digital platform.

Click here for more details.

Number giving at lowest level in over a decade
nfpSynergy has been monitoring giving levels every quarter for over a decade. Their research shows that in the latest quarter there were dramatic changes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Number giving down to lowest level in a decade – only 60% of the public say they’ve given to charity in the last 3 months, down from 69% in January this year
  • Charity shops and on-street collections have posted the biggest drops in giving
  • Giving on a charity website and via text message are at their highest levels since we started tracking this question
  • The public say they are almost twice as likely to cut back on eating out than donating to charity

Read the research findings in full here.

COVID-19: Preparing for a Local Lockdown
Across the UK, lockdowns in smaller regions are being enforced in response to local COVID-19 outbreaks. Unfortunately, the locations of these local flare-ups share characteristics that are prevalent amongst BAME communities. Overcrowded housing, poor living conditions, poor working environments and low socio-economic levels all point towards an increased risk of infection and transmission. This makes it particularly pertinent for charities operating in these ‘high risk’ areas to be prepared for a local lockdown. This guide from the Muslim Charities Forum will provide some advice on how this could be done.

Click here to see the report.

How to tackle mental health in the workplace as a manager and colleague
Mental health is a critical part of an employee’s well-being. But according to the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, approximately one in six adults experienced a common mental disorder like depression or anxiety in any given week.

This striking figure underlines the need for workplaces to create environments where employees feel comfortable reaching out for support.

This guide from UCL provides useful resources to help tackle this issue.

Click here to read the guide.

COVID-19: guidance for hostel services for people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping
In line with new Government guidelines, the advice for commissioners and providers of hostel services for people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping has been updated.

Click here to see the guidance in full.

Closing certain businesses and venues in England update
On 3 August the government updated its guidance on the closure of certain businesses and venues as part of further social distancing measures, and on the further easing of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in July and August 2020.

The guidance was updated to reflect additional requirements on face coverings and amendments to 1 August 2020 easings. Read more.

Face coverings: when to wear one and how to make your own
On 31 July the government updated its guidance. The guidance includes the option of using an exemption card where appropriate.

The guidance explains what face coverings are, their role in reducing the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19), the settings in which they are recommended, and how they should be safely used and stored. This information is based on current scientific evidence and is subject to change.

The revised guidance can be found here.

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. 

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.


Superheroes Initiative Offers Local Covid Projects Support – extended deadline
As a conclusion to the successful ‘Support Our Superheroes’ initiative, Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care UK is offering to partner local covid-relief projects with volunteer and financial support of up to £1000 each, to help increase the reach of relief projects with common objectives.

As part of the Superheroes initiative, a lasting legacy of gratitude for keyworkers has also been created on social media with the #GreatWallofGratitude on Instagram @support.our.superheroes, where hundreds of people around the country continue to add their messages, videos and images of appreciation.

How to Apply

  • Support Our Superheroes campaign is offering three covid-relief projects with volunteer and financial support of £1000 each.
  • Covid-relief Projects should be located in NW London, Watford or Hertsmere regions, and ideally supporting key workers.
  • Please submit your Support Request application online by visiting www.supportoursuperheroes.com.
  • Deadline for applications: Monday 31st August 2020.
  • Successful applicants will be announced in September.
  • For any queries please contact Ashwin Mehta at uk@loveandcare.srmd.org or 07766 852950. 

Funding Available to Support Local Good Causes
Registered charities delivering projects which help to improve people’s lives can apply to the Morrison Foundation for a grant of up to £25,000. Since launching in 2015 the Foundation has donated over £24 million to help good causes across England, Scotland and Wales. Recent grants awarded have included Friends of East Preston School who received a grant of £5,000 to replace their old and dilapidated outdoor trim trail; and Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice which received a grant of £20,000 to buy a new minibus and run activity trips for young patients. Applications are accepted any anytime.  Read More.

Grants of up to £20,000 for Community Arts, Sports and Physical and Mental Health Projects
The Postcode Community Trust has re-opened for applications. Registered charities and community groups can apply for grants of £500 - £20,000 (£10,000 in Wales) for projects that benefit communities through sports, arts and recreation programmes; and healthy living initiatives that improve a community's physical and mental health. Please note that only registered charities, CIOs and SCIOs can apply for grants up to £20,000. Other not for profit organisations can apply for grants of up to £2,000. The closing date for submitting applications is the 19th August 2020.  Read More.

Lloyds Bank Foundation COVID Recovery Fund
On 3 August Lloyds Bank Foundation launched a £7.4 million COVID funding aimed at supporting charities to recover beyond the immediate crisis. The COVID Recovery Fund will offer around 140 charities a two-year unrestricted grant of £50,000 alongside a Development Partner to help charities navigate a tumultuous future. Deadline: 11 September. Read More.

Edge Fund Rapid Response Fund
This fund is open to all groups that are working towards systemic change, and whose work is in line with Edge Fund's values. Edge Fund understand that currently, many groups have put their campaigning/systemic change work on hold in order to deal with the effects of the pandemic – this is okay and will not disqualify you for funding. Each successful group will receive £750. Edge Fund will award 30 grants. Of those, at least 15 grants will go to groups working on anti-racist struggles, and at least 10 of those 15 will go to groups fighting for Black/Afrikan liberation and made up of Black/African activists. Deadline: 25 August, 5pm. Read More.

The Fat Beehive Foundation launched to provide digital grants to small charities
A new charity, The Fat Beehive Foundation, has launched to support and amplify the work of small charities providing much needed services. The charity will provide grants of up to £2,500 to help small charities build websites and digital products which will enhance their work and consequently provide social good. The Fat Beehive Foundation has been set up to provide small grants to charities with a turnover under £1 million. This can be used for activities such as the design, build and launch of a new mobile optimised website, an app or to digitise a service. Read More.

Allchurches Trust: Hope Beyond – helping communities to build resilience and a brighter future
The Hope Beyond grants programme aims to enable churches and Christian charities to meet changing needs within their communities, helping them and the communities they support to adapt to the challenges and opportunities presented by the Coronavirus pandemic. Through the Hope Beyond grants, Allchurches Trust aim to fund innovative, impactful projects that will enable people, organisations and communities to flourish in life after lockdown, building resilience and encouraging hope. Grants of up to £50,000 are available to churches and Christian charities. Read More.


Bike Back Better with Cycle September
You are invited to take part in Cycle September – a fun, global competition to help more people realise the benefits of riding a bike. In September, you will earn points by riding and encouraging others to ride too. Ride anywhere, anytime – to the shops, to work or even a quick 10 minute spin around your local park – to earn points and enter the draw for amazing prizes. Confirm to take part by 1 September to enter the early bird registration prize draw. Read more.

"Stay Safe Hertfordshire: Play Your Part" Campaign
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.