Communities 1st Voluntary Sector Briefing 9th November 2020

We know you are probably fed-up of the phrase ‘Hope this email finds you well.’ Expressing exactly what we mean and our feeling at the minute is hard, as coronavirus continues to affect our lives, our loved ones, and our livelihoods. Online spaces can be deeply impersonal space and emails doubly so.

We are all now getting used to a second national lockdown. While this news is permeated with uncertainty, we remain a reliable source of information and support to both our member organisations and individuals in helping you get through the month of November. Please make use of our Compassionate Community Connector service if you are feeling isolated or need practical help whilst self-isolating.

Last week was Trustees’ Week. The week is marked annually to illustrate the fantastic work done by trustees and demonstrate that trusteeship can be for people from many different backgrounds. An effective trustee board should boast a wide range of skills and experiences.

Everyone and anyone can make a difference to a cause that they are passionate about by joining a management committee or a board. There are currently around 1 million trustees in the UK, volunteering with a cross range of small and large charities.

If you would like to become a Trustee, or are a charity or group that would like to recruit more Trustees, please contact us at

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

Best wishes, stay safe, stay well, be kind

Stephen Craker,

Chief Executive,
Communities 1st


Weekly Coffee Mornings for Member Organisations
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 at our weekly Virtual Coffee Mornings for voluntary sector organisations, every Wednesday at 10am

The sessions are friendly, informal and hopefully useful.  You don’t have to come every week, come along whenever you are able to.

To register, visit or for more information please email or phone Christine on 01727 743018.

Valuing Volunteer Management Training – recruiting and retaining volunteers
This interactive and engaging one-day course will explore the challenges of recruiting, retaining and managing volunteers. It is ideal for staff who have this responsibility as their role.  We have split the course into two halves to give participants more choice.

It’s also a really great opportunity to begin the process of working towards achieving the Valuing Volunteer Management Six-Point Promise. This is a solid affirmation of your commitment to the pursuit of excellence in volunteer management. It gives potential funders evidence of the quality service they look for and potential volunteers can be more confident that they will be valued and supported by your organisation.

24th February 2021
10.00am – 12.30pm - Recruiting Volunteers – click here

2.00pm - 4.30pm - Managing Volunteers – click here

Click the links above to book your place or for further information email Volunteering Herts at or call 01707 274861.

Herts voluntary organisations: £25 half-day or £45 full-day (includes handbook).

Statutory organisations: £50 half-day or £90 full-day (includes handbook).

As you may remember, early in the summer, Communities 1st surveyed member organisations about their experiences of lockdown. Now we are more than 8 months into the Covid-19 pandemic, we feel the time is right to ask again how your organisation is managing in the situation we are now in. 

We will call you soon in order to complete the survey over the phone, which will take less than ten minutes.

We recognise that you are incredibly busy and may not feel you can spare the time to respond. However, we would encourage you to do so.  The information you provide will enable us to report back on the real state of the voluntary and community sector in Hertsmere, St Albans and Welwyn Hatfield to local authorities, Hertfordshire County Council, NCVO and NAVCA as well as championing your cause and sharing what you need.

For more information about the survey, please email

Respond, recover, reset: the voluntary sector and COVID-19
The Centre of People, Work and Organisational Practice at Nottingham Trent University, The Voluntary Action Research Group at Sheffield Hallam University and NCVO are the project partners of this new research project. The project examines COVID-19 impact on voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations. In particular, it focuses on providing real-time data about how the pandemic is impacting voluntary organisations working-practices and operations, their responses, learning and resilience. Read more.

Finance Jargon Buster
If you're confused by terms like 'cornerstone investment', Net Present Value and 'quasi-equity', Good Finance have just released a new Jargon Buster A-Z to help you understand social investment once and for all and find out whether it's right for your organisation.  Click here.

Five things Black LGBT people have done in 2020
The Black LGBT community have done so many incredible things this year, from raising money for amazing projects and organisations, to individuals going above and beyond to raise awareness and support the community.

As Black History Month drew to a close, Stonewall turned the spotlight onto five incredible individuals and organisations who are doing ground-breaking work to support the Black LGBT community. Find out more.

Guidance for charities who are in the process of closing
Includes key steps to consider, legal implications you need to be aware of and ways to support your staff during this difficult time.  Find out more.

Keeping young people healthy
Doctors of the World UK (DOTW) has produced leaflets with health and wellbeing information for young refugees and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) and young people (YP) living in the UK.

These leaflets are available in 10 languages and were produced in partnership with the British Red Cross (BRC), PositiveNegatives, Transbless Translations, and young people taking part in the BRC’s Refugees and Befriending Project in London.

Click here for more details.

This #iwillweek 16-20 November we are hosting an interactive, digital Power of Youth Festival and we would love for you to get involved!


  • Come along to the Power of Youth Festival: Sign up to sessions on the new Festival website. More sessions will be announced every day in the run up to the Festival
  • Feature your Power Of Youth content at the Festival: Whether it’s inspiring resources or pre-recorded digital events, if it showcases the Power of Youth, this is your chance to showcase it! Tell the #iwill campaign about it by 12th November to have it featured on the festival website.
  • Shout about the #PowerOfYouth this #iwillweek: Download the comms pack and set your social media channels alight with the #PowerOfYouth in the run up to and during #iwillweek.

Inclusive design for social media: tips for creating accessible channels
Several social platforms have made recent accessibility updates. Automatic captioning is available on Facebook Live and Instagram IGTV. After the inaccessible introduction of voice tweets, Twitter established two accessibility teams and plans to roll out automated captions by early 2021. Alt-image description fields are now available across all three platforms, as well as LinkedIn.

This article walks you through the latest developments and how best to use them to ensure your organisation's social media existence is as inclusive as possible.

Minister for Equalities sets out government action to tackle Covid disparities
Minister for Equalities, Kemi Badenoch MP, has announced a number of new measures which the Government is taking to protect those at risk, gather more data on the impact of the virus and to ensure that everyone can access the latest public health messaging. Amongst the new measures set out are:

  • A new ‘Community Champions’ scheme, worth up to £25m, funded by MHCLG, that will provide funding to enhance existing communication strategies in the most at risk places, and fund work with grassroots advocates from impacted communities. The scheme will also provide funding for voluntary and community groups who specialise in working with communities most at risk from COVID-19
  • A new mandate for ethnicity to be recorded as part of the death certification process
  • An enhancement of the national Shielded Patients List to account for the increase in understanding of the risk factors related to the virus and the drivers of disparities.

Find out more.

Charities offered free Brexit assessment tool
Charities and social enterprises are being offered a free tool to help them assess whether they are ready for when the Brexit transition period ends at the turn of the year.

The law firm Stone King has developed a Brexit Self-Audit Tool to help charities and social enterprises assess their readiness for the end of free movement and identify what actions they might need to take.

The tool aims to assist organisations that employ EU nationals, remind them of the steps they might need to take in relation to these individuals, and help charities that rely on the movement of people from outside the UK.  Find out more.

Unsuccessful benefit claimants in the Covid-19 pandemic
A new Health Foundation-funded report, ‘At the edge of the safety net: Unsuccessful benefits claims at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic’ has been released:

  • It looks at the 290,000 people who started making a claim for benefits, but who were unsuccessful – a group largely missed from previous research.
  • It finds that many had seen sharp falls in income, were struggling financially, and had poor mental health. Some were even going hungry because they couldn’t afford food.

Unsuccessful claims were largely because people were not eligible for benefits (about 220,000 people). The numbers of people who had started making a claim but failed to complete it was relatively small (40,000).

Find out more.

From 2 November 2020 those who ‘fail to attend’ telephone work capability assessments may have their ESA stopped or UC entitlement changed
When telephone health assessments were introduced in Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC) earlier this year, an easement was in put in place so that Fail to Attend (FTA) and Fail to Participate (FTP) actions were not taken as a result of someone not attending a scheduled telephone assessment.

“From Monday 2 November, the ESA and UC telephone assessment appointment letters will make it clear that claimants must attend their telephone appointment. FTA and FTP action will commence, e.g. benefit may be stopped (ESA) or entitlement change (UC), for those who have been issued with this letter and fail to attend or participate in their appointments without good reason.  Find out more.

Government extends Furlough to March and increases self-employed support
On 5 November the Government published a news story explaining that workers across the UK will benefit from increased support with a five-month extension of the Furlough Scheme into Spring 2021. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will now run until the end of March with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked. Read more.

Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own
On 4 November the government updated this Guidance to include some next text to the sections 'When to wear a face covering', 'When you do not need to wear a face covering' and 'Staff in indoor settings' to make people aware that from 5 November some of the settings listed may not be open because of the national restrictions.  Read more.

Flu Vaccination Campaign
New Public Health England (PHE) research suggests that people infected with both flu and COVID-19 between January and April were more at risk of severe illness and death. Three of the nation’s senior medics – Dr Yvonne Doyle, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, and Dr Nikita Kanani – are calling on all eligible people to get vaccinated against flu. The health system is working to provide the free flu vaccine to 30 million people. 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.

Furniture available to member charities
Please contact us at if your charity or group can use any of the following:

  • Open plan desks and associated beam work and screens
  • Pedestals
  • Wardrobes
  • Mid height cabinets

A minimum group of desks are a 3 pod and there will not be enough leg parts to set all these up as 3’s because they were originally configured in groups.


Assessing charity financial reserves on the eve of the Covid-19 pandemic - Webinar

The event will appeal to those wanting to know more about patterns of funding, resources and reserves across the voluntary sector. This work provides insights into variations between organisations which dig deeper into patterns of vulnerability and contribute to a better understanding of organisational resilience.

BOOK HERE: Tuesday 10 November 2020  12noon – 1:30pm

Volunteer Management: Volunteering Within the Law - Training
Understand the legal context as it applies to the involvement and management of volunteers.

This course is for anyone currently working with volunteers or wishing to develop a volunteer-led programme. The content for this course will be relevant to supporting volunteers across all sectors.  Please note this training is not taught by a lawyer so the trainer will not be in a position to address specific legal issues.

BOOK HERE:   Wednesday 11 November 2020: 10.00am – 12.30pm.

Financial Reporting: Essentials of Charity Finance - Training
In this overview on financial reporting you will learn the various terms and practices of charity finance: assets, liabilities, depreciation, accruals etc and what key financial information is needed as part of financial reporting. Participants will receive a Post-Course Workbook.

BOOK HERE:  Thursday 12 November: 10.00am – 12.30pm.

Writing grant applications: Practical tools for success!
Learn how to improve your chances of securing grants from smaller local and national grant makers, focussing on smaller funds (under £10,000). This will be an interactive online course, with practical tools and tips that you can take away and use in your current grant applications straight away.

BOOK HERE Wednesday 18 November 10.00am - 12.30pm.

Valuing Volunteer Management Training – recruiting and retaining volunteers
This interactive and engaging one-day course will explore the challenges of recruiting, retaining and managing volunteers. It is ideal for staff who have this responsibility as their role.  We have split the course into two halves to give participants more choice.

BOOK HERE 24th February 2021 10am – 12.30pm - Recruiting Volunteers

BOOK HERE 24th February 2021 2pm - 4.30pm - Managing Volunteers

Dementia Friends Information Sessions
Back in April and May we arranged some extremely popular and successful Dementia Friends Information Sessions. Good news! We’ve got some more coming up very soon! Can you help us reach our target of creating 1,000 new dementia friends and help to make our communities more dementia aware?

These Zoom sessions are bookable now. Please sign up:

  • 13th November: 11am - 12noon: book here 
  • 18th November: 5pm - 6pm: book here
  • 27th November: 11am - 12noon: book here
  • 2nd December: 5pm - 6pm: book here
  • 11th December: 11am - 12noon book here

A large number of the people we are supporting through the Compassionate Community Connector project are living with some form of cognitive impairment.  This session will give you the opportunity to learn more about what it is like to live with dementia and turn that understanding into action. It’s a really good chance to add to your skillset and become an agent of change in our community. These optional sessions are open to all, including those who are not currently signed up to volunteer with us so please do share these links and register now for your free place.   Do let us know if you are unable to book one this time but still wish to attend. We plan to arrange more in the months ahead.


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.

St Albans City & District Community Grants Fund 2020/21
The second round of Community Grants Fund 2020-21 will open on Tuesday 10th November and will close on Monday 11th January 2021. We understand that due to changes to government guidance regarding Covid-19 and the lockdown starting on Thursday 4th November, there may be an impact on staffing and resources available to charities and community groups. Please take this into consideration if you are thinking of applying for a grant, to ensure that the person who is leading on the application has access to their email and relevant information and documents during the application period.

If you have any questions or concerns around timelines or the application generally, please contact Isobel on

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

For any queries relating to these funds please contact Hertfordshire Community Foundation at

Grants to Cover Running Costs for Small Charities
Grants of £300 to £2,000 are available to small charities to help them to pay for with running and core costs. The funding is available to registered charities (Community Interest Companies are excluded) working in the areas of literature, arts and heritage; social welfare; environmental causes and animal welfare; education and training; and healthcare. The funding is being made available through the Marsh Christian Trust. There are no application deadlines.  Full details here.

Grants of up to £50,000 Available for Community Projects
Small charities, schools and community interest groups with innovative ideas that benefit their community can apply for funding of up to £50,000. This is for projects that build more connected, more resilient communities; and give people the tools to become more financially independent. The funding is being made available through the newly re-launched Aviva Community Fund. Every three months from January onwards, £250,000 will be split equally among Aviva’s UK employees to donate to the projects that matter to them most. Applications are open on a continuous basis and are reviewed every three months. The closing date for this round is the 19th January 2021. Aviva have teamed up with the fundraising platform Crowdfunder and applicants can add to any donations they get from the Aviva Community Fund with public donations. Full details here.

Grants to Combat Fuel Poverty & Improve Energy Efficiency
Round 4 of the UK Power Network’s Power Partners Scheme is now open for applications. Up to forty grants of between £2,000 and £20,000 are available to help charities and other not-for-profit organisations in London, the East and South East of England to combat fuel poverty, improve energy efficiency and support people in vulnerable circumstances, particularly those experiencing difficulties resulting from Covid-19. This round will focus on support services such as income maximisation, energy efficiency advice and interventions, tariff switching, time of use tariff awareness, and new registrations for the Priority Service Register - provision of energy advice training and support for frontline workers. The Fund is administered by the Centre for Sustainable Energy. The application deadline is 12pm on the 15th November 2020. Full details here.

Peter Sowerby Foundation: Increasing Access Fund
The new Increasing Access Fund is targeted to support organisations to develop new services that respond to the Covid-19 situation, or to adapt existing services to meet local and national needs. The Fund is aimed specifically at ensuring or increasing access to key services and activities for beneficiaries who have struggled with access due to Covid-19. The Foundation will also consider supporting programmes which provide access for beneficiaries to new services which have been developed in response to a clear Covid-19 need. The application deadline is 5pm on Monday 16th November 2020. Full details here.

Homelessness Winter Transformation Fund Opens for Applications
Homelessness, faith, community and voluntary sector organisations can now apply for funding of between £10,000 and £100,000 to provide single room and COVID-19 secure accommodation for people experiencing homelessness this winter. The £2 million Homelessness Winter Transformation Fund will award grants to support traditional, dormitory-style night shelter provision and will seek to produce a legacy for the future of winter homelessness support. The Fund is open to organisations in England directly working with people experiencing homelessness, and where more than 50 per cent of beneficiaries are people experiencing homelessness. Applicants must have an annual turnover of up to £5 million. There will be two application rounds. The next is 1pm on the 2nd December 2020.  Full details here.

Tesco Bags of Help
During October, November and December, the Tesco Bags of Help grant scheme will provide £1,000 grants to support projects focused on local children and young people. Full details here.

Charities Aid Foundation
CAF Resilience Fund is now open for urgent funding needs to support vulnerable and disadvantaged communities in England. The £20 million fund will be made up of grants of £10,000 to £100,000 to deliver rapid relief from the impact of COVID-19. Full details here.

Grants programme open to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community groups and organisations, working to deliver COVID-19 services across England can apply for grants of £5000 to £10,000. Round 2 of grant applications opens on 25 November.  Full details here.  

AIM Biffa Award: History Makers (England)
Museums, galleries and cultural facilities so that they can tell the stories of some of our lesser known historical figures can apply for grants of up to £75,000 through the Association of Independent Museums - Biffa Award History Makers Scheme. The funding is available for projects that use the life and achievements of extraordinary historical figures to inspire and educate your visitors and users today. The scheme is particularly keen to hear from projects based on women who made history, and history makers from diverse backgrounds. Applicants have until 5pm on 14 December 2020 to submit their expression of interest. Full details here.

Grants for Older People on Low Incomes
Small grants of up to £500 are available to support vulnerable older people living on low incomes. Friends of the Elderly currently have four grant streams open for older people who are of/over state pension age, have savings of less than £4,000, and who do not fit the criteria for other funders: Applications must be made via a third-party Referral Agent such as charities, local authority and social services representatives. Applications can be made at any time, but resources are limited. Full details here.

Funding to Support Disadvantaged Young People and Offenders
Small registered charities can apply for grants of up to £15,000 for projects working with young offenders; prisoners and ex-prisoners as well as young disadvantaged people at risk of criminal involvement. To be eligible for funding, local organisations such as those working in a village, estate or small town should normally have an income of less than £100,000. Those working across the UK or in larger areas should normally have an income of not more than £250,000. Grants are usually given for one year. The funding is being made available through the Weavers' Company, a textile-related, charitable and sociable organisation and the closing date for applications is the 19th November 2020.  Full details here.


Hertsmere Window Wanderland
Taking part as a Windowmaker is FREE and everyone’s welcome. You can make a display in the windows of your flat, house, business, school, nursery, car, campervan, shop – or in your front garden!

Please don’t feel intimidated. Your display could be as simple as a candle, book or fairy-lights in a window. Or you could go all out and stage a performance in your front room! Anything goes… as long as it’s family friendly!

Click here for more information.

Online Singing for Memory Sessions
Herts Musical Memories delivers vibrant singing sessions that are both fun and therapeutic for people with dementia and their carers.  Herts Musical Memories are providing weekly singing sessions on Zoom. These sessions run on Monday 11.00 am, Wednesday 11.00 am and Friday 11.00am.  If you would like to join us please email and we will send you an invite. If you would like more information about the sessions, please click here or call 020 8950 5757.

Herts Careline service (community alarm service)
Herts Careline service helps those who are vulnerable or alone to remain independent in their own homes. Click here for further details.

Have your say on the Hertfordshire Diversity and Inclusion Strategy
Hertfordshire County Council are making the new plan for March 2021, for their Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. And your answers will help them make the new one. Click here for more information.

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


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.

NAVCA – Chief Executive c£55,000
NAVCA are looking for a dynamic and inspirational Chief Executive to lead and shape the future of NAVCA during these turbulent times.

Key expectations of the role include; actively working with staff and Trustees to develop the strategy, supporting members in these tough times, influencing national decision makers and promoting the role of VCSE infrastructure at all levels.

A natural collaborator, the successful candidate will quickly establish credible and professional relationships with key stakeholders, building a reputation on getting the voice of the sector heard.

Deadline: 12 November 2020

Click here for the application pack.