Communities 1st Voluntary Sector Briefing 23rd November 2020

As we’re approaching December and more talk about potential vaccines against Covid-19 it’s natural that we all start to think of this period as one of a new chapter.

More than ever, with the backdrop of Covid, there’s a real air of ‘next phase’ in our tentative steps forward the festive holidays. We all understand that it’s on us to think and behave differently.

This theme is at the top of my mind as I think about the way Communities 1st – and so many of our member organisations – need to move forward and structure our delivery for a changed world.

We’re working with local groups, volunteers and partner organisations to review what is working now, where any possible gaps are now and planning for the future.

  • Our Centre for Voluntary Service (CVS) is re-contacting our 280+ member organisations to take part in our third ‘Voluntary & Community Sector (VCS) Resilience Survey’ to help measure the impact that the coronavirus is having on the sector.
  • Our Volunteer Centre is providing one-to-one support for over 20 local groups and charities in developing/re-imagining volunteering roles for their organisation(s) and getting their volunteering programmes back on-track in the ‘new normal’ times ahead.
  • Our Compassionate Community Connector Team are busy developing plans to support individuals over the holiday season and beyond.

I want to thank member organisations for keeping in regular contact with Communities 1st during this time and thank volunteers and volunteer leaders alike in working to support local people and communities.

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


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


Get in touch
If your organisation is still delivering services, is considering closing/closed or is temporarily closed, we'd like to hear from you.  Please visit to complete our survey or email

Thinking about volunteering during lockdown 2?
Contact our Volunteer Centre team who will be able to assist you through the volunteering decision tree to help you work out which volunteering activities can be done safely in person, or remotely. Email

Weekly Coffee Mornings for Member Organisations
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.

Hand Sanitiser
We have been donated a number of 5 litre containers of hand sanitiser, to share with our member organisations.

If your organisation would benefit from receiving some, please email

Dementia Friends Information Sessions
Our first few Dementia Friends Information Sessions have been going well. If you haven’t been yet, there are more coming up over the next few days and weeks! Can you help us reach our target of creating 1000 new dementia friends and help to make our communities more dementia aware?

These Zoom sessions are bookable now. Please sign up:

  • 27th November - 11.00am - 12.00pm Session 3 to book click here
  • 2nd December - 5.00pm - 6.00pm Session 4 to book click here
  • 11th December - 11.00am - 12.00pm Session 5 to book click here

Stopping movement of staff between care settings
The government wants your views on plans to minimise the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections by making residential and nursing care home providers restrict the movement of care staff. The government wants to make regulations that would temporarily modify regulation 18 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 which deals with staffing.

Read the consultation here.

The government have released a step-by-step guide to the COVID-19 home test
On 12 November the government published guidance on how to use a coronavirus (COVID-19) home test kit. There is a step by step guide which can be found here.
Along with the more standard government guidance document which can be found here. Details of all of these home testing  guidance can be found here.

Read more.

On 12 November the government released a report about the deaths from COVID-19 of people identified as having learning disabilities
The review will help inform policy and practice to reduce the future risk and impact of COVID-19 on people with learning disabilities.

The research may be of interest to local VCSE organisations working with people with learning disabilities to help inform how you can keep your beneficiaries safe.

Mencap, a charity focusing on people with learning disabilities stated:
“Decades of under investment in social care has left most people with a learning disability with no support to understand ever-changing guidance on staying safe and accessing testing.”

Read more.

COVID-19 guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable
On 13 November the government updated the guidance to include letters to clinically extremely vulnerable people.
These new shielding measures apply nationally for 4 weeks up to 2nd December. At the end of the period, the government will look to return to a regional approach and will issue further guidance at the time.

Local VCSE organisations may find it useful to review these documents to help provide the relevant support during this period of national restrictions. Further details can be found here.

An easy read version of the guidance was updated on 11 November. The title has been changed to make it more accessible to the reader –  “Guidance on protecting people most likely to get very poorly from coronavirus(COVID-19)(shielding). "

  • Are you a BAME fundraiser or Charity Leader? The FSI now have a small number of bursary places for an award-winning Introduction to Fundraising Practice qualification.
  • Do you need advice or a document reviewed? FSI volunteer advisors are poised to give advice!
  • Are you a sole fundraiser? The FSI now have a programme of free peer learning and support sessions just for you!
  • Are you an FSI member? The organisation are ramping up activities as we begin to move into 2021 and they are totally free! All deposits will be 100% refunded.

There are also a selection of helpful reading materials for charities on the FSI website.

Volunteering Matters have created a really simple social media campaign using #NotJustVolunteering.  

Any organisation can take part - all it involves is a simple photo and text including #NotJustVolunteering.

You can get behind this campaign and show support to volunteers and the sector, using your own volunteers stories to showcase the life changing work they do, and the expertise and skills they bring to overcome complex challenges and situations.


Accessible online training for the Hertfordshire voluntary sector
HCF’s online training programme has been developed in response to the changing needs of the Hertfordshire voluntary sector. They provide interactive & engaging courses via the latest webinar technology. All courses have been adapted by experienced and trusted trainers, specifically to be led online.

Courses include:

Safeguarding adults at risk- refresher level 1
Tuesday 24 November 10.00 - 12.30

Data Protection for Non-Profit Organisations (Free Webinar)
Wednesday 25 November 10.00 - 12.00 

Unconscious Bias Training (New Free Course)
Tuesday 01 December 10.00 - 12.30 

Mental Health and Wellbeing: Local support services for you and your workforce (Free Webinar)
Wednesday 09 December 11.00 - 12.15

Book here.

NCVO have launched a new selection of upcoming accessible, interactive eLearning course on the roles and duties of trustees.

Courses include:

  • Funding strategy and diversification in the current climate – 14th December 2020
  • Good practice in volunteer management – 19th January 2021
  • Charity trustee induction and refresher – 25th January 2021
  • Charity finance for non-financial managers – 26th January 2021

Book here.

New Leaf Recovery and Wellbeing College has just released a new 45-minute seminar to help people with mental-ill health challenges through the latest lockdown.
This seminar will discuss:

  • ways to keep well and stay healthy during periods of change
  • how change and loss can affect our physical, emotional, mental & spiritual well being
  • ways to manage change, isolation and loss
  • how self-compassion practices can deepen your resilience

Book 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.

St Albans City & District Community Grants Fund 2020/21
The second round of Community Grants Fund 2020-21 is now open 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

Funding for Capacity Building and Organisational Resilience in the Heritage Sector 
Funding is available to support not-for-profit organisations that can help support digital development in the heritage sector across England. Through the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s £2.5 million Digital Skills for Heritage initiative, funding is available to organisations in three tranches: to answer the sector's most pressing and frequently asked digital questions; for digital business support, including help with designing new digital services; and to provide the sector with resources to build network capability and make use of technology for collaborative practice. The closing date for submitting applications is the 15th January 2021. One organisation will also receive Business Support Funding to deliver a programme of training and development to build skills in organisational leadership and management. Project enquiry forms must be submitted by 12pm on the 24th November 2020.

Full details here.

Funding to Support the Delivery of the Next Census 
The Good Things Foundation are looking for organisations which can deliver digital support to people in England and Wales wishing to complete the next census which will be available online between March and May 2021. Working with the Office for National Statistics, the Good Things Foundation will build a network of Census Support Centres to provide support targeted on areas of greatest need, where residents face a combination of digital exclusion and other barriers that may make it harder to participate There are a range of contract sizes depending on the number of advisors and hours worked each week. Organisations are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Full details here.

The New National Lottery Infrastructure Programme 
The National Lottery Community Fund has launched a new £400,000 Infrastructure Programme. The programme is designed to support established and newly emerging Infrastructure organisations that support other local and regional voluntary and community sector organisations, networks, groups and/or communities. The overall aim of the programme is to help Infrastructure organisations become stronger, more resilient and responsive to the changing environment. Between 8 and 10 infrastructure organisations will receive a package of funding of up to £50,000 combined with on-site coaching and expertise. The closing date for applications is the 1st December 2020.

Full details here.

Funding for Initiatives to Transform Lung Cancer Care 
Round two of the Initiatives in Lung Cancer Care (ILC2) programme has been launched by the Lung Ambition Alliance to support registered charities and not-for-profit organizations focused on lung cancer care. The programme will support projects which increase screening and early diagnosis, deliver innovative medicine, and improve the quality of care and outcomes for people with lung cancer around the world. ILC2 offers three categories of funding of up to $100,000 which vary according to the size of the applicant organisation, the starting point for the project, and the scale of reach and impact that could be achieved. Non-financial support will also be provided for successful projects and may include ILC2 networking, peer-to-peer facilitation, and project and organisational support. The deadline for applications is the 31st December 2020.

Full details here.

Funding to Boost Digital Developments in Museums and Galleries 
Grants of up to £50,000 are available to museums and galleries across the UK for creative digital engagement. UK Research and Innovation has partnered with the Museums Association and creative design agency, The Liminal Space, to launch a new two-strand £400,000 Digital Innovation and Engagement for Museums fund to help museums and galleries in starting, scaling up or evaluating innovations made in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. ‘Mindsets for Museums of the Future’, a programme run in conjunction with the funding offer, will also provide support to plan for a post-pandemic world through a series of workshops and networking opportunities. The closing date for applications is the 21st December 2020.

Full details here.

Grants for Chemistry Outreach Projects in Schools and Colleges 
The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) is making grants of up to £25,000 available to universities, consortia of organisations, individuals, charities and other not-for-profit organisations to support the design and implementation of chemistry outreach programmes for school students. Through their Chemistry for All Outreach Grants: Putting Research into Practice, the RSC are seeking applications which interpret the findings from their Chemistry for All project which set out to explore and address barriers to participation in UK chemistry undergraduate study, and apply these in the design and implementation of a two-year outreach programme for school students. Organisations must provide an in-kind contribution or match funding. The deadline for applications is 12pm on the 1st March 2021.

Full details here.

Rank Foundation Launches DCMS Covid-19 Response Programme 
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Rank Foundation has launched a new DCMS Covid-19 Response Programme to provide support to 200 small-medium charities and social enterprises within the social sector. In partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Foundation will provide funding in two strands: the Covid-19 Recovery Fund will provide grants of up to £25,000 for RankNet member organisations with urgent and immediate financial needs as a result of the pandemic. Applications can be made at any time; In addition, organisations can take part in the match funded Covid-19 Time to Shine Leadership Programme which expands on the Time to Shine programme to create new jobs within the social sector and to help build resilience. The closing date for applications is the 14th December 2020.

Full details here.

Funding for Building Maintenance & Improvements for Education Establishments 
The latest round of the UK Government’s Condition Improvement Fund is now open to academies, multi-academy trusts, sixth-form colleges and voluntary aided schools across England. The Fund provides capital funding for projects of up to £4 million which help keep school and college buildings safe and in good working order. This includes funding projects to address health and safety issues, building compliance and poor building conditions A small proportion of expansion projects will also be supported. The deadline for applications is 12pm on the 14th January 2021.

Full details here.

Funding to Provide Meals for those in Need in the Run Up to Christmas 
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Asda Foundation has created the Feeding Communities Grant Scheme to provide meals for those in need in the run up to Christmas. Charities, community interest companies, unincorporated clubs or associations, and other not-for-profit organisations across the UK can apply for grants of up to £1,000 to provide meals costing £4 or less for individuals, families, and children’s healthy holiday clubs. Funding could be used to provide food parcels, Christmas meal delivery or collection, and Christmas hampers, or provide support for soup kitchens/homeless centres, and local community centres providing meal deliveries. Applications should be made through each local Asda store’s Community Champion whose role is to support projects. The deadline for applications is the 6th December 2020.

Full details here.

£2 Million Available to Support Youth Organisation During the Covid-19 Crisis 
Small youth organisations who have not had access to the crisis funding they require to survive the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for grants of up to £50,000. The grants are available to organisations that have lost funding, face the threat of closure, or had to reduce delivery or services supporting young people, and will directly support young people. Awarded organisations can use the funds to cover staff salaries, project running costs, organisational development and goods and equipment which supports delivery. The funding is being made available through the £2 million UK Youth Fund – Covid Relief; which is funded through the DCMS Community Match Challenge scheme. The application process will be open until midday on 25th November 2020.

Full details here.


The Hertfordshire Partnership University is still offering services throughout the lockdown, to support those in need during the Covid-19 pandemic.

How to contact them:

  • 24/7 free-phone Single Point of Access number is: 0800 6444 101
  • They also offer a live webchat service with a member of the helpline team by clicking the red button on our website Monday-Friday 7am-7pm (for people who prefer to talk online)
  • People can also access services via NHS 111 and select option 2 for mental health services 
  • In a mental health crisis situation people should call the Single Point of Access free-phone number above, or alternatively they can call NHS 111, selecting option 2
  • In the case of serious illness or injury, people should dial 999 for emergency services
  • There is also lots of self-help advice and the option to self-refer on the Hertfordshire IAPT (Wellbeing) website. We also recommend browsing the Every Mind Matters website for mental health and wellbeing advice, as well as details of local services

Keep your health appointments during lockdown
Family doctors across Hertfordshire are urging people to continue to attend hospital and clinic appointments with a simple message: “The NHS is here to see you safely, even during the lockdown”.

Although there will be restrictions in many aspects of our lives due to the new lockdown rules, GPs, pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and other NHS services remain open, and are working in different ways to keep patients and staff safe.

Dr Nicolas Small, a Hertfordshire GP who chairs the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Our top concern is the health and safety of our patients and staff. We want to assure people that it is safe for them to come for any existing or new appointments. Things may look a little different, but we’ve made it safe for you and we want you to come to your appointment.”

In order to ensure patient safety, people are asked not to arrive at their GP practice without an appointment.  For urgent physical or mental health help when your GP is closed, or for help if you are not registered with a GP practice, go online to NHS 111 or call 111.  All calls are free to this number. As ever, for very serious life or limb-threatening emergencies, people should dial 999 immediately.

Are you a parent or carer living in Hertfordshire? We need your views and feedback!
In Hertfordshire, we are teaming up with the NSPCC to launch a new campaign raising awareness about neglect aimed at all communities across our county. The ‘Neglect Matters’ campaign will be launching early on in 2021 and will involve people who are working and living in Hertfordshire as well as children and young people.

In order for us to make the campaign the best we can, we need your views! We would be so grateful if you could spare 3 minutes of your time to answer just 8 questions to help us measure the community’s understanding of the issue of neglect. The survey is completely anonymous but we need as many parents and carers as possible to answer it so that we can build up a clearer picture of what parents and carers understand neglect to be. This will help us to create a campaign that will be most relevant to Hertfordshire and the people living here!

We really want to hear from a variety of parents and carers – whether they are biological parents, adoptive parents, grandparents, foster carers and so on. We would like to hear from people of all ages, communities and backgrounds. Please share the following link to the survey with all your friends, family, followers and networks, and remember to take the survey yourself if you are a parent or carer too!

Complete the survey here.


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

The For Baby’s Sake Trust are advertising for a Hertfordshire Team Manager role and also for practitioners within our new For Baby’s Sake CONNECT service, which will be launched in early 2021.

For Baby’s Sake Hertfordshire Team Manager (£45,899.26)
A rare opportunity exists to manage the Hertfordshire team delivering For Baby’s Sake, an innovative, therapeutic, trauma-informed programme working with both co-parents individually and supporting a recovery framework to overcome the devastating effects of domestic abuse in their relationship.

Applications can be made through the Guardian website.

For Baby’s Sake CONNECT Practitioners (£35,000 - £37,991.63)
A rare opportunity exists to be part of the first For Baby’s Sake CONNECT team. The For Baby’s Sake programme was launched in 2015. Its innovative, therapeutic, trauma-informed model works with both co-parents individually, supporting a recovery framework to overcome the devastating effects of domestic abuse in their relationship. Parents join For Baby’s Sake during pregnancy and may be supported until their baby reaches the age of two.

Applications can be made through the Guardian website.

Project Manager (part time)
Do you have the skills to build relationships with employers to encourage them to recruit ex-offenders.

CDA Herts are looking for a self-starter, lots of enthusiasm and commitment on this new and exciting pilot project to place ex-offenders in meaningful jobs.

The salary negotiable up to £18,900pa for 3 days per week.

Please contact Kate Belinis for the Job Description.

Application is by covering letter and CV.


Closing date: noon 30 November 2020

Interviews from 02 December 2020