Communities 1st Voluntary Sector Briefing 12th October 2020

Last month, the report, Levelling Up Our Communities: Proposals for a New Social Covenant, was published by Danny Kruger, a Conservative MP and former “civil society tsar”. 

The report was commissioned in June by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, with the aim of examining how the country could “sustain the community spirit we saw during lockdown”.

The report sets out a far-reaching vision for a ‘more local, more human, less bureaucratic, less centralised society in which people are supported and empowered to play an active role in their neighbourhoods’. It argues how a ‘social covenant’ and notion of ‘community power’ must replace remote bureaucracies and put communities at the heart of policy-making. These messages certainly feel like they should strike a chord.

The report is packed with a combination of old and new ideas. Reference to social value threads itself throughout the report as does improving data on what works is in there, as is the potential of digital communications. Newer ideas include a Recovery Fund, community ‘right to buy’, and community improvement districts.

The report hits a welcome note of optimism. Whilst I may not agree with everything, the sentiment is the right one: it will take a collective effort to do this, and Government’s role is to help communities to achieve their potential.

‘Levelling Up’ is a welcome contribution to the discussion on how the UK can recover from COVID-19, and comes at a time when consensus is needed.

You can read the report here:

If someone has forwarded this to you, you can sign up to receive our e-newsletters directly into your inbox here:

Stay safe, stay well, be kind

Stephen Craker,

Chief Executive,
Communities 1st


New! Weekly Coffee Mornings for Member Organisations
Now that many of us are working at home again, it can be hard to keep in touch to share information and support. In order to overcome this, we are delighted to announce our new weekly Communities 1st Virtual Coffee Morning for voluntary sector organisations, which takes place every Wednesday at 10am.

Drop in to say hello, tell us what you are working on, what support you need and to hear from other local voluntary sector organisations.  We want the sessions to be friendly, informal and useful.  You don’t have to come every week, come along whenever you are able to.

For more information please email or phone Christine on 01727 743018, or visit

Wednesday 14th October - book here

Wednesday 21st October - book here

Please note, the link above will enable you to register for the event, after which you will receive an automated link to join the event.  Please check your Junk Folder for this.

We look forward to seeing you then!

Government Kickstart Scheme – Employ a talented young person for a 6 month fully funded job placement
In September the Government announced the launch of the Kickstart scheme, a £2 billion pound initiative to help young people aged between 16-24 into work. Organisations can employ a young person on a part-time 6-month contract, fully funded by the Government up to national minimum wage and including employers’ national insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment costs.

Communities 1st is an approved Kickstart Gateway for the 3rd Sector in Hertfordshire, supporting charities and community groups to access the scheme.

We will be hosting an hour-long information session on Zoom on Thursday 15th October 11.00 - 12.00 to talk about the background to the Kickstart scheme, the benefits of employing a young person through Kickstart and what you need to do to apply.

Kickstart is also an opportunity for volunteer led organisations to benefit from taking on a paid employee. Support is available in offering paid employment placements.

To find out more about employing a young person through the Kickstart scheme, or to book a place on our online information session click here

How to communicate better with people with hearing loss
COVID-19 poses a unique challenge for health and social care professionals when talking to someone with hearing loss.

Those with hearing loss often rely on visual cues such as lip reading or facial expressions during a conversation. Remote appointments on the telephone or talking to someone who is wearing personal protective equipment such as a mask can make things more difficult.

In response to this, Healthwatch has published some important tips to help you communicate effectively with someone with hearing loss.

Click here to review the advice.

Steady on your feet
'Steady On Your Feet' is a campaign led by the NHS and local authorities to help increase confidence and reduce the risk of falls.

Their advice, guidance and resources are designed for anyone worried about feeling unsteady on their feet. They aim to equip people with simple tips to stay active, independent and safe during every day activities.

Click here to visit the website and see their resources.

It's Black History Month
There's lots going on to celebrate Black History month.  Find listings on, or search twitter using #blackhistory or #blackhistorymonth or #blackhistorymonth2020. 

In light of the Black Lives Matter protests, Fair4All have published an edition of the Research Round-Up which highlights existing evidence of the systemic racism in the UK that contributes to race-based gaps in various economic indicators.  Click here for more.

Challenge Poverty Week
Challenge Poverty Week is an opportunity to highlight the incredible work being done by community groups around the country, and to show what can and must be done differently.

The week aims to:

Raise voices in unison against poverty and show that we all want to live in a more just and compassionate country.

  • Show what is already being done at community level to challenge and alleviate poverty.
  • Build awareness and support for long term solutions that focus on enhancing the dignity and agency of people in poverty themselves.
  • Change the conversation around poverty and help end the stigma.

You can download the Challenge Poverty Week toolkit, packed with ideas and tips, here.

WEBINAR: Building a healthy and health-creating society
What role do social businesses have in creating health and wellbeing? This webinar, part of the Building a healthy and health-creating society series, will look at examples in vertical farming, care giving and the making of clothes and draw out lessons for the future.  Register here.

2020 Newton Charity Investment Survey
Newton Investment Management has published the findings from its annual Charity Investment Survey.

The findings cover topics such as the implications of the coronavirus pandemic for the activities, administration and fundraising abilities of charities, how environmental, social and governance issues have affected charities and their investment strategies and the progress towards greater diversity among charity trustee boards.

Click here to read the report.

Search the Companies House register
Companies House has updated the guidance to explain that records of dissolved companies following the government’s response to the Corporate Transparency and Register Reform consultation. Following the Government’s response to the Corporate Transparency and Register Reform consultation, they have stopped removing dissolved records from the Companies House Service (CHS) with immediate effect.  They will also put dissolved records (all companies dissolved since 2010) back onto CHS from January 2021. The guidance can be found here.

Reforms to Companies House to clamp down on fraud and give businesses greater confidence in transactions
Companies House will be reformed to clamp down on fraud and money laundering, with directors unable to be appointed until their identity has been verified. It is hoped that the changes will give businesses confidence in who they are doing business with, with greater accuracy of data on the register, without impacting the speed of service. Read more.

Volunteer involving survey
The Government is currently developing guidance to help volunteer-involving organisations, groups and bodies based in England better understand how volunteering can be done safely and effectively during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As part of this guidance development, they are asking employees and volunteers from volunteer-involving organisations, groups and bodies to complete a short survey. Please only complete this survey if you work and/or volunteer for an organisation, group or body based in England. Deadline to complete the survey is Monday 12 October at 5pm. The survey can be found here.

NHS Covid-19 app: How England and Wales' contact-tracing service works
Apple and Google's automated contact-tracing technology will be used to tell people to self-isolate if their phone detects they were near someone later determined to have the virus.

But there's also:

  • A venue check-in barcode scanner
  • A postcode-based risk-level checker
  • A symptoms-reporter tool
  • The means to order a coronavirus test and receive its results
  • A countdown timer to keep track of how long to stay in self-isolation
  • A guide to the latest advice on local restrictions, financial support and other related information

Click here for more details.

How to create a coronavirus NHS QR code for your venue
There's a walkthrough process on the Government's website which enables you to create a QR code for display in your venue. Ask visitors to scan the QR code when they arrive, using the NHS COVID-19 app. This is to help trace and stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

You should create and display a QR code if you are:

  • a business, place of worship or community organisation with a physical location that is open to the public
  • an event which is taking place in a physical location

If you have more than one venue, you need to create a separate QR code for each location. You can add multiple locations in the service.

Click here to find out more.

Microsoft Office 2010 support to end in October
Support for Microsoft Office 2010 is scheduled to end on October 13th, 2020, with no extension or extended security updates from Microsoft.

This means that you would be using the software without Microsoft providing any bug fixes or security updates.

If your charity is among those still using Microsoft Office 2010 programmes, it’s time to start planning your next Microsoft Office upgrade before October in order to avoid security risks.

Click here for more information on what is available.

New package to support and enforce self-isolation
People with symptoms, or with a positive Covid-19 test result, will be required by law to self-isolate from 28 September. To support those on lower incomes who cannot work from home and will lose income as a result, the Government will provide a payment of £500.

Just under 4 million people who are in receipt of benefits in England will be eligible for this payment, which will be available to those who are required to self-isolate from 28 September.

Local authorities will be working quickly to set up these self-isolation support schemes and we expect them to be in place by 12 October.

More information can be found here.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for the charity sector
On 29 September the charity commission updated the guidance in the sections about AGMs and holding meetings online. The section in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 on holding meetings online has been extended from 30 September to 30 December 2020. The temporary provision allowing the postponement of AGMs ends on 30 September 2020. Read more.

Covid-19: providing unpaid care to adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults
The Government has updated its guidance for people providing unpaid care to adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults during the coronavirus outbreak.

The updates relate to the changes in social distancing guidance and include an "easy-to-read counterpart" on staying alert and safe, coronavirus outbreak FAQs and guidance on meeting with others safely.

The guidance aims to:

  • keep people with learning disabilities and autistic people safe
  • support them to understand the changes they need to make during the COVID-19 outbreak
  • protect their own wellbeing

Click here to review the advice.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Meeting with others safely (social distancing)
On 7 October the Government updated the guidance to explain when seeing friends and family you do not live with you should meet in groups of 6 or less. In England, this limit of 6 includes children of any age. Read more.

Free carbon monoxide awareness workshops
The Gas Safe Charity is offering free, online workshops aimed at frontline staff and volunteers who visit or work in the homes of vulnerable people.

The interactive workshops explain the sources, sign and symptoms of carbon monoxide risks in the home and uses scenarios to explain what steps to take if carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected.

As we move into autumn and winter, with more people staying at home, the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning are increasing. If your staff or volunteers can spot the signs, they can help prevent vulnerable people being poisoned.

Click here to learn more and to select a suitable date.

10 harmful myths about bisexual people, and why they’re wrong
The 23rd September saw the annual Bisexual Visibility Day and to honour this, the Gay Times put forward their 10 myths around bisexuality and how they are harmful to the bi community.

It’s estimated that bisexuals make up the largest part of the LGBTQ community, with the Williams Institute and Human Rights Campaign putting that number at around 50%. Despite this, bisexual people are often erased both from outside and within the LGBTQ community.

Click here for more information.

Requests for charity services more than double during COVID-19
New research from the Association of Charitable Organisations (ACO) has revealed that applications for support from grant-giving charities have increased by 122% since lockdown began on 23 March, compared to the same period in 2019.  Read the full report here.

Homes, health and COVID-19
The Centre for Ageing Better and the King's Fund have jointly published a report summarising the role and impact of poor-quality housing on health, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The condition of homes, insecure tenure, and wider neighbourhood characteristics all have a considerable effect on health and wellbeing.

Despite this, 18% of homes in England are in a 'non-decent' condition. These homes are occupied disproportionately by older people, those with existing health conditions, people on lower incomes and those from ethnic minority groups.

Click here for more information.

The impact of community businesses on people
Power to change latest research report brings together our evidence base about the impact of community businesses on the people they work with and support. This report is not just about the response to Covid-19, but it shows how community businesses are well placed to support communities to respond to the effects of the pandemic.  Discover the impact.

Five Point Plan to help support work of charities updated ahead of winter ‘second wave’
The #NeverMoreNeeded partnership (which we are a part of) has developed an updated Five Point Plan which shows how the Government could provide additional support to the VCSE sector, ahead of the second wave.

The Covid-19 crisis has posed an unprecedented challenge and the Government has had to respond swiftly and will need to continue to do so, following the increase in infections and introductions of further restrictions. This crisis has highlighted the importance of people and communities coming together and the crucial way in which charities and community organisations have contributed.

Download, review and share the 'Five Point Plan' here.

Chancellor outlines Winter Economy Plan
On 24 September the Government unveiled its plan to protect jobs and support businesses over the coming months. Central to the plan is: A new Job Support Scheme introduced from 1 November to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to coronavirus. Read more.

VCS Emergencies Partnership
The VCS Emergencies Partnership website 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.

Click here to go to the VCS EP website.


Basic Fire Safety (without practical work)
Course Aim: To raise awareness of basic fire safety and improve safe working procedures.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understanding of the importance of Fire Legislation and Fire Safety issues
  • Identify causes of fire and good practice recommendations that inform safe practice
  • Develop an appropriate response to fire situations

14th October 2020: 10am – 12noon

Zoom Webinar - to request a place please email your name(s) and email address(es) to

Safeguarding adults at risk - Designated Person
This online course will help designated safeguarding individuals to understand their role and responsibilities, particularly around documenting and reporting abuse. This course is aimed at the adult safeguarding lead (or designated person) within voluntary and community organisations. The course will be delivered interactively online, with pre/post course exercises and materials provided

Friday 23 October book here.

10am - 12.30pm (30 min break included).

HCF Training & Development have launched their Autumn programme
The programme includes practical courses such as 'Digital fundraising' and 'Re-opening buildings confidently during COVID-19'. All courses have been adapted to be run online and support workforce development needs in the current climate.

You can find the full list of courses 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 and they will book some time in to work with you.

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

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

Funding to Projects that Promote Social Justice and Environmental Sustainability
Grants of between £5,000 and £20,000 are available for projects that resolve violent conflicts and projects that promote environmental sustainability. Funding is available for projects that aim to change policy and attitudes at a national or European level. Grants can be for up to three years. The Foundation also supports organisations or projects that are not UK registered charities if they can identify a UK registered charity able to receive funds on their behalf. Priority will be given to small, pioneering organisations. The closing date for applications is the 5th February 2021.  Full details here.

Funding to Support Vulnerable Young Migrants
Not for profit organisations and private law firms working with vulnerable young migrants can apply for grants of up to £30,000. Grants will enable the organisation to undertake strategic legal work to benefit young migrants (under the age of 25) living in poverty who face significant disadvantage or discrimination in connection with their (or their parents') migration status. Applicants should note that the average grant size is around £12,000. The funding is being made available through the Strategic Legal Fund (SLF) for Vulnerable Young Migrants and the closing date for applications is the 20th October.  Full details here.

Grants of up to £5,000 Available for Projects that Help the Homeless
Homeless charities can apply for capital grants of up to £5,000 for projects that aim to help homeless people return to the community and enabling them to resume a normal life.  To be eligible to apply, the charity must have an annual turnover of under £1million and with ‘unrestricted reserves’ of under six months.  The closing date for applications is the 15th December 2020.  Full details here.

Ford Britain Trust Small Grants Programme Re-opens for Applications
The Ford Britain Trust has announced that its large grants programme is now open for applications. Grants of up to £3,000 are available to charities, Schools/PTA’s and other non-profit organisations for work that focuses on education, environment, children, the disabled, youth activities. Priority will be given to projects in locations where Ford Motor Company Limited / FCE Bank plc operate. The closing date for applications is the 31st January 2021. The Trust also operates a small grants programme for amounts up to £250. The closing date for applications to the small grants programme is the 31st October 2020.  Full details here.

Funding for Local Road Safety Pilots and Trials
Local Authorities, Police Forces, Fire and Rescue Services, UK-based registered charities, universities, not-for-profit social enterprises and community interest companies can apply for funding for local road safety pilots and trials. The Road Safety Trust has announced a new £300,000 funding stream to encourage applications that respond to changing road use and emerging road safety issues as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Through the Trust’s Small Grants Plus Programme 2020 funding of between £20,000 and £50,000 over a maximum of two years will be made available for projects which are either a pilot, trial or evaluation of a practical road safety intervention. All projects should have other sources of funding, either cash or in-kind. The closing date for applications is the 21st October 2020.  Full details here.

Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust - Rights and Justice 
The next round of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust’s Rights and Justice programme is now open and will close on the 13th November 2020. The Funding priorities for this scheme are the protection and promotion of human rights and their enforcement in the UK; promoting rights and justice for minorities who face the most severe forms of racism; and the promotion of rights and justice for refugees and other migrants.  Full details here.

Grants for Black-led Social Enterprises and Charities that Benefit Ethnic Minorities
Black-led social enterprises, as well as charities with ethnic minority beneficiaries can apply for grants of between £2,000 and £25,000 for projects which help to build an inclusive culture and tackle racial inequality. The size of the grants will depend on their scale, activity and impact of the social enterprise. The funding is being made available through the PwC Foundation’s ColourBrave Charity Committee and the closing date for applications is 5pm on the 30th October 2020.  Full details here.

Funding to Support Deprived Rural Communities Affected by the Covid-19 Crisis
Grants of up to £10,000 are available for projects which support small, deprived communities in remote rural areas which have been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 crisis. Projects which protect or boost community assets and enterprises, or otherwise strengthen the sense of community will be supported. Funding can be used to cover revenue costs for projects which might include reinvigorating a rural transport scheme to tackle isolation, or projects which engage with hard to reach households. The deadline for applications is 12pm on the 3rd November 2020.  Full details here.

Clarion Futures Digital Grant Funding - Round 6 Now Open
Clarion Futures Digital Team is committed to getting residents online; giving them the basic digital skills and access to equipment and connectivity to safely and confidently access online services on a regular basis.  The final round of Digital Grant Funding for 2020 (Round 6) is now open, and grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 will be available to organisations seeking to deliver innovative, well designed projects that support Clarion residents and the wider community to address digital exclusion.  To find out more, including application guidance and examples of previously funded projects, please click here.  Applications will close 12 noon Wednesday 25 November 2020.


Join Stoptober 2020
The Better Health team are back to help you quit smoking. And right now, looking after your health has never been more important.

Smoking attacks your lungs and makes it harder to breathe. So when you quit smoking, you give your lungs the chance to repair.

So this Stoptober, get the free support you need to stop smoking and start your journey to better health.

Go Sober for October!
Sober October encourages people to go booze-free in October to raise money for a great cause.

Sign up to go sober for 14 or 21 days, or the whole month and raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

No matter how long you choose, you'll be helping Macmillan be there for millions of people with cancer.

Sign up today and go Sober for October here.

Herts Sports Partnership
Herts Sports Partnership organises sports and physical activities across Hertfordshire. Right now, they are working closely with community organisations in the below areas to develop a variety of sport and physical activity opportunities. To do this effectively we would like to find out the opinions of the residents.

If you live in:

  • Cowley Hill, Hertsmere
  • Sopwell, St Albans
  • Peartree, Welwyn Hatfield
  • Waltham Cross, Broxbourne
  • Sele Farm, East Herts
  • Grovehill, Dacorum
  • Bedwell, Stevenage
  • Jackmans, North Herts
  • Watford Central, Watford
  • South Oxhey, Three Rivers

Please take some time to complete this survey which takes about 15 minutes to complete and everyone who completes the survey will be put into a draw for a £50 Tesco voucher.

HENRY Programme - BeeZee Bodies
The new HENRY programme provides free, online support and advice for parents and carers with children under five.

The eight-week programme will run from 10am - 11am on Tuesdays from 20 October; from 6.30pm - 7.30pm on Wednesdays from 21 October or from 1.30pm - 2.30pm on Thursdays from 22 October.

Over the eight weeks a range of topics will be covered, including physical activities for little ones, family lifestyle habits, healthy eating and how to feel more confident as a parent.

The programme uses a partnership approach which is strengths based and solution focused.

For more information on this and other BeeZee Bodies programmes please visit their website.

"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

New legal duty to self-isolate comes into force
The legal duty for people to self-isolate came into force this week. The aim is to ensure compliance and reduce spread of Covid-19.

The Government has announced financial support for people on low incomes who are unable to work while self-isolating through the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment programme.

Also fines for those breaking the rules are in place starting with £1,000 and increasing to £10,000 for repeat offenders.

Click here for more information.


You can advertise your job vacancies, events and contracts through Communities 1st (it's free if you're a member, and very reasonably priced if you aren't) and through our Twitter page!

Just send details including a weblink to

Communities 1st is supporting the #ShowTheSalary campaign. Show The Salary has been born out of frustration at the lack of action being taken to address pay gaps and inequity in the charity sector. One very basic enabler of these pay gaps is job roles being published without transparent salaries. There is ample evidence that this is a discriminatory practice. Please ensure any advert you do send through shows the pay scale, To find out more about the #ShowTheSalary campaign click here.

Operations Manager - Home Start

Home-Start Herts are looking for an inspirational Operations Manager to lead a team of staff and volunteers.  Deadline: 22 October 2020.