Communities 1st Voluntary Sector Briefing 14th August 2020

Take time to look after yourself and each other
As a sector we have been working harder than ever before to continue to provide support to those most in need.  For volunteers and volunteer leaders alike, it has been a very busy time, adapting to new circumstances and working with others to support local people and communities.

While the priority has rightly been to help those most at need, how much time have you given to your own health and wellbeing?

It’s a question that we don’t often ask ourselves, or at least not in a meaningful way. Stopping to ask someone “how are you?” is a social convention but one that rarely leads to a thorough consideration of what this really means.

We all have a sense for when things are getting on top of us, but it can also be easy to ignore the warning signs if we are busy juggling other priorities. However, being aware of how you’re feeling and, more importantly knowing what to do to stay well, is incredibly important, never more so than in the current circumstances.

It’s important not just to check in with your family, friends and colleagues but with yourself. Some of the questions we might want to ask ourselves are:

  • Am I getting good quality sleep?
  • Am I getting enough exercise?
  • Am I eating in a way that nourishes my body and gives me energy?

Consider setting some time aside in the morning or at the end of each day to reflect on what you are grateful for, what you are excited about and how you can build positive momentum. Taking time to reflect is a good opportunity to assess our energy levels and recognise if we are beginning to feel burnt out. Kings Fund has put together this resource on how you can manage your energy during this time.

All of this is common sense, and I’m sure will not come as a surprise. However, sometimes having a reminder of the things that can help you to feel well – and happier – is important assurance of what matters. After all, looking after your own wellbeing puts you in a much better place to support others.

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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: 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: #1stcommunities

If you want more information you can visit our website: or contact our Voluntary Sector support team on 01727 743018.  


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 Resilience, Sustainability and Collaboration 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 and How to Achieve it’
  • Wednesday 9 September  5pm to 7pm
    Conference - ‘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 a few days, watch this space for further details.

For further information on the Conference and AGM, please contact us on 020 3559 3559 or email

Relaxation of rules on charity AGMs and governance due to end on 30 September 2020
You may remember that the Charity Commission produced guidance to “make it lawful for charitable companies and charitable incorporated organisations to postpone members’ meetings or to hold them remotely, even if this is not allowed by the charitable company’s articles of association or the CIO’s constitution”.

AGMs that were due to be held between 26 March and 21 August are covered by the guidance.

However, the measures under the act expire on 30 September 2020. Although the guidance may be extended, this is not a given - so please plan accordingly. More details in this article from Third Sector.

Developing social contact models in a time of social distancing (Ambition for Ageing)
Ambition for Ageing have released a new report to help build more effective social connection projects during the new operating environment of COVID-19.

To help make this report into a practical document, we have pulled out sections of relevance that can be used independently, as well as alongside the full report. This includes:

  • A number of design principles to best meet the needs of older people
  • A checklist of challenges to consider when designing or restarting projects
  • A collection of case studies of projects compatible with social distancing with key learning

Find out more.

Political campaigning online to be made more transparent under new rules
On 12 August the government released a press release explaining that new measures will mean political parties and campaigners must explicitly show who they are, when promoting campaign content online

A consultation has also been launched. 
The proposals call for digital imprints to apply to all types of campaign content regardless of the country it is being promoted from, and across a variety of digital platforms. The regime is also intended to apply all year round, as while election periods see increased promotional activity, campaigning can happen at any time. The press release can be found here. Find out more here.

Expressions of interest are sought for a new managing organisation for Phillimore Community Centre, Radlett
Expressions of interest are sought initially however due to COVID19 and the number of organisations with staff furloughed we are not fixing the date for any visits or opening to full applications at this stage.

Expressions of interest are sought by Friday 4 September (any time) please advise us if you require any extension of this date due to COVID19.

For further information, please email

Ten tips on Youth Social Prescribing
The Young People's Health Partnership has published a document with ten tips on youth social prescribing.

These tips were developed by StreetGames who lead the Youth Social Prescribing Network, and are intended to support commissioners and practitioners to develop and embed effective social prescribing for children, young people and families.

Plan ahead for planning help
Funding to help communities in urban and deprived areas plan their local neighbourhoods will almost double, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced. Government grants to individual neighbourhood planning groups in both urban and deprived areas will increase to £18,000. This follows funding increasing from £9,000 to £10,000 in May to help with the effects of coronavirus.

The funding boost will strengthen the voice of local communities in some of the most disadvantaged areas in England. More details here.

Food insecurity exposed by COVID-19
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s COVID-19 and Food Supply Report has found that the pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity for millions of people. The use of UK food banks almost doubled during lockdown, with a significant spike in demand from people with children.

Recognising that the situation is likely to worsen, a cross-party group of MPs has called on Government to urgently appoint a ‘Minister for Food Security’.

The new Minister would work across Government departments to collect robust data and deliver sustainable change. The report also urges the Government to consult on whether a ‘right to food’ should be put in legislation.

Read the findings from the report here.

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.

Covid-19 charity redundancies monitor
NPC (New Philanthropy Capital) is collating publicly available information about redundancies, both those that have occurred and those under consultation, in the charity sector.

They have produced a series of timelines and graphs to indicate the scale of the crisis affecting the sector, so funders and philanthropists can target their giving and policymakers can better understand where the sector is struggling.

Much of the data used to produce these graphs has come from the #NeverMoreNeeded campaign.

Click here to view the timeline and graphs.

Charity leaders’ confidence about the future is plummeting
In June 2020, the Third Sector Trends Study carried out a ‘one question survey’ with former participants of its major study across England and Wales which took place in 2019.

Its purpose was to find out the extent to which charity leaders’ attitudes had changed about their prospects for the future after the shock of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Inevitably, following the onset of Covid-19 and in light of its social and economic consequences, confidence has taken a serious knock.

Click here to see the report.

Webinar: Introduction to the code
The Fundraising Regulator maintains and upholds the Code of Fundraising Practice which sets out the responsibilities that apply to fundraising carried out by charitable institutions and third-party fundraisers in the UK.

They have put together a pre-recorded webinar which helps you understand what the code is, who it applies to, what the code covers and how to use the code, both online and offline.

This webinar may be especially helpful for those new to fundraising, as an introduction to the fundraising standards. Charities are welcome to use this material as part of their induction and training.

Click here to watch the webinar.

Annual leave and furlough guidance
NCVO's Knowhow team has brought together a range of information on protecting and supporting the people working in your charity or voluntary organisation, and those who use your services, during the coronavirus outbreak.

They have a specific section on this page which outlines updated guidance on annual leave and furlough which is worth reviewing, especially as legislation changes around the carrying over of annual leave and what to do if furloughed employees take/took annual leave.

Don't forget the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends in October 2020.

Click here to see all the resources on that page.

Supporting your recovery after COVID-19
NHS England has launched a website to provide help and advice to those who are recovering or have recovered from coronavirus.

The website refers to both physical and mental health and also provides information for family, friends and carers of those who are recovering/have recovered.

Click here to view the website.

Pandemic leaves 1.1m teenagers unhappy with their lives
Nearly 1 in 5 children aged 10-17 in the UK – the equivalent of 1.1m – have reported being unhappy with their lives as a whole during the coronavirus lockdown according to a survey by The Children’s Society.

The charity’s annual survey of children’s well-being was completed by just over 2,000 young people and their parents between April and June.

It found 18 per cent of children were dissatisfied with their lives overall. That is a marked increase in a figure which has ranged from 10 per cent to 13 per cent over the last five years.

Click here for the full article.

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 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

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
  • Deadline for applications: Monday 31st August 2020.
  • Successful applicants will be announced in September.
  • For any queries please contact Ashwin Mehta at or 07766 852950. 

Social Enterprise Support Fund – Round 2 now open 
A new support fund for social enterprises, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund. Providing £10k-£300k grants for social enterprises supporting those at increased health risk due to COVID-19, or those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

Application Window: Thursday 13th August until 1pm on Thursday 20th August. The Lottery are advising applicants to submit as soon as possible after the round opens.

Find out more.

The Kings Fund: 2021 GSK IMPACT Awards
The awards are funded by GSK and managed in partnership with The King's Fund. Winning organisations will receive core funding of up to £40,000, plus access to excellent training and development to support their leaders.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on Monday 14 September 2020. To be eligible to apply, organisations must be at least three years old, working in a health-related field in the UK, with income between £80,000 and £2.5 million. Up to 20 awards will be made, ranging from £3,000 to £40,000; the training and development is valued at a further £9,500. Organisations will also have a film made, receive help with press and publicity, and be given a set of promotional materials. The guidelines and application form can be found here.

Funding for Projects that Address Severe Learning Disabilities  
Schools, voluntary organisations and charities can apply for grants to help both children and adults suffering severe learning difficulties. The grants can be used to purchase capital equipment, support capital works as well as covering project and core costs such as staff costs, general running and office costs. Previous grants have been used to support capital works for residential, nursing and respite care, and schools; employment schemes including woodwork, crafts, printing and horticulture; play schemes and play therapy schemes; day and social activities centres including building costs and running costs; support for families, including respite schemes; independent living schemes; support in the community schemes; and Snoezelen rooms. The next deadline for applications seeking funding in excess of £10,000 is the 1st December 2020. Applications for £10,000 and below can be submitted at any time.

Find out more.

Funding to Help Disadvantaged Young People and Children
Charities in England and Wales can apply for grants of between £500 - £5,000 per year for up to 3 years to help disadvantaged children and young people (up to the age of 25 years) overcome the barriers they face to achieve the best possible start in life. To be eligible the charity needs to have an annual income of below £500,000 per year. The funding is being made available through the Masonic Charitable Foundation’s Early Years Opportunities Grant scheme. The next closing date for applications to the small grants programme is 4pm on the 31st August 2020. The Foundation also offers funding of between £20,000 and £60,000 per year for up to three years through its large grants programme. The next closing date for applications to the small grants programme is 4pm on the 31st August 2020.  The large grants programme is currently closed and will re-open on the 1st September 2020.

Find out more.

Theatre Reopening Fund
The UK Theatres Trust has announced that in response to the Coronavirus, they have repurposed the UK Theatres Small Grants Scheme (Theatre Reopening Fund) to support theatres to cover the additional costs of reopening after several months’ closure, including making adaptations for increased hygiene and social distancing measures. Through the scheme, grants of up to £5,000 are available to small Theatres across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The closing date for applications is noon on the 5th October 2020.

Find out more.

Discretionary Grants for Charities how have business properties in St Albans
Charities who have business properties in the St Albans District and who have not previously received any financial support have only two more weeks to apply for a non-repayable Discretionary Grant of up to £25,000 from the Council.

The Council is prioritising awards to charities who didn’t qualify for the previously announced grants because they don’t pay business rates. They have already made payments to several organisations in the District and are looking to make sure other Charities or Voluntary Organisations do not miss out.

For further information and to apply for a grant, please visit by the 28th of August 2020.

Common Call (Do it Now Now) 

  • Grants between £1-£3k for BAME-led organisations
  • BAME specific fund for to help organisations get through COVID and develop new activities and income strategies

Find out more.

Lloyds Bank Foundation – Covid recovery fund for small charities

  • For charities with annual income between £25k-£1m, engaged in “tackling complex social issues such as mental health, homelessness and domestic abuse”
  • Apply for two-year unrestricted grants worth up to £50k
  • 25% of funds have been ringfenced for charities led by and serving BAME communities
  • Applications close September 11th

Find out more.

The Inman Charity 
Grants are available for registered charities in the UK carrying out medical, social welfare or general welfare activities with disadvantaged people. Deadline is 31 August.

Find out more.


NHS: The Healthy Start Scheme
The Healthy Start scheme is a national incentive to encourage the best start in life. Beneficiaries who are eligible for the scheme will receive vouchers to spend with local retailers.

There are have been some recent changes to the scheme. The vouchers can help encourage a healthy diet and access to wholesome foods for children and pregnant women. The changes to the ‘Healthy Start’ scheme include: A health professionals’ signature is no longer required on the application form, Beneficiaries will still need to provide their own signature before sending off the form and the expiry date of the Health Start vouchers have been increased by 4 weeks, so the vouchers will now be valid for 12 weeks. Find out more.

Sporting Chance Bootcamp Fitness 
Until Herts Sports Partnership usual Sporting Chance sessions resume, they are pleased to bring you Sporting Chance Bootcamp Fitness! Happening in Cheshunt, Hitchin, Hertford, Welwyn Garden City, Borehamwood, Hemel Hempstead and Stevenage, all sessions are for 11-14 years olds on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

Thursday, 5-6.30pm at Meadow Park, Borehamwood

You'll need to register in advance, so we know you're coming - use the link.

Helping Hertsmere residents in fuel poverty
Hertsmere residents with no radiators in their homes could be eligible for a free installation of efficient gas-powered central heating to keep homes warm whilst reducing energy bills.

Hertsmere Borough Council (HBC) is working with trusted partners YES Energy Solutions to install 100 A-rated energy efficient heating systems whilst following the Government’s latest coronavirus guidance to ensure safety for residents and installers.

Homeowners and private renters who don’t have radiators qualify for funding by either being in receipt of certain state benefits (e.g. pension guarantee credit, income support, tax credits, etc.) or having a low household income (typically below £20,000 after rent or mortgage costs have been paid).

Alongside North Hertfordshire District Council, East Herts District Council and YES Energy Solutions, HBC has secured over £230,000 from the Warm Homes Fund, an innovative fund established by National Grid.

There are also separate grants available to help connect homes to the mains gas network if required.

Funding is available for a limited number of households, and residents interested in the opportunity are encouraged to contact YES Energy Solutions on 01422 880100 to see if they are eligible for support.

What Does Family Mean to You?
For our 'Friends and Family' theme this month, we're hosting a creative writing competition - giving you the chance to tell us about your family! They might be biological or adopted family, a nuclear or blended family, friends, community or even fur babies! Whatever your family looks like, we'd love you to tell us all about them. To be in with a chance at turning your family story into a short animated film produced by Pearldrop Video Productions, tell us what your family means to you in no more than 500-words. To find out more, click here!

Get your #HertsPride celebrations started with a bang(er)! 
Hertfordshire Year of Culture understands that music is a big part of LGBTQ+ culture. It reaches out to people whose sexuality might leave them feeling isolated from their own families or communities and helps them feel a part of something much bigger. 

To help us stay connected this #HertsPride, we’ve put together a playlist of some of our top Pride songs – but we need your help! We want to make it the most pumping Pride playlist to soundtrack your summer, packed full of songs suggested by Hertfordshire’s fabulous LGBTQ+ community and its allies. That way whether we’re in our kitchens, our gardens or hanging out with our mates, we can celebrate as one! What songs would you have on your Pride playlist? Let us via our socials or send us an email on
Don’t forget to check out the current playlist at!

tay 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