Firstly, I’d like to wish you all a very happy new year.

Last year was difficult for all of us. We faced challenges that most of us had never imagined. 2021 will continue to ask a lot of us, but the beginning of the vaccination rollout means we can start to hope for the return of some normality.

This year has been particularly challenging for voluntary and community groups groups; we will continue to support local voluntary organisations with advice, local training and volunteer recruitment. If your group requires support please get in contact.

We are continuing to recruit volunteers to help in COVID-19 vaccination centres. We have seen a brilliant community response, but we still need your help. There are several non-clinical volunteering roles available, both indoors and outdoors. 

We are also recruiting volunteers to assist schools with their testing programmes across Hertfordshire, so we need as much help as possible. These roles will also be non-clinical, and include volunteer ushers and volunteer administrative support.

With your help and a spirit of community, we hope this year will be a much better one than the last.  

For more information on how to volunteer visit, email or call 020 3940 4865.

Many thanks

Stephen Craker
Chief Executive

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 3?
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

Communities 1st survey of the voluntary sector
Communities 1st are carrying out another survey of voluntary sector organisations, in order to understand how your organisation and members are faring in the current circumstances. 

If you haven’t completed the survey, or your circumstances have recently changed, we would be grateful if you can spare five minutes to do so here.

The information will be shared, anonymised, with key stakeholders including district councils, Herts County Council and NCVO. The results will be used to inform their work. We will also use this information to champion and support your organisation. For more information please contact

Weekly Coffee Mornings for Member Organisations Move to New Time
Our weekly Virtual Coffee Mornings for voluntary sector organisations are a chance to say hello, tell us what you are working on, what support you need and to hear from other local voluntary sector organisations.  

The sessions resumed on Weds 6 January, at the new time of 11am.

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.

COVID-19 guidance for the charity sector updated
On 22 December 2020 the charity commission updated the guidance to help charity organisations run during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It is recommended that all local VCSE organisations read the guidance.

The pressures of the pandemic may mean that charities need to reassess their operations in order to avoid reducing services or closing down. This guidance includes advice on merging and collaborative work.

Read more.

National lockdown - Stay at Home guidance issued
On 4 January 2021 the cabinet published this new guidance for the 3rd national lockdown. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives. You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. 

Read more.

Supporting and delivering the COVID-19 vaccination programme
Hertfordshire Community Trust has been designated as the lead provider for the COVID-19 vaccination across the Hertfordshire and West Essex and Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes integrated care systems.

They are working with colleagues across both systems, with the vaccine already being delivered through two acute hospitals and several primary care sites. HCT is in the process of setting up a number of vaccination centres in Hertfordshire, West Essex, Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes.

Read more.

Big picture Charity Films – free film offer
Big Picture Charity Films is offering charities and non-profit organisations free services. They can provide a day’s filming, plus the required editing. If a short film would help you tell your story and connect with your supporters and/or service users, they may be able to help you.

Read more

Census 2021 – Honour a community hero in your local area

22 ordinary people doing extraordinary things for the benefit of their communities to be recognised as a Census local hero
Do you know that special someone who would be a perfect nominee to be a Census local hero? The winners of the competition will be recognised with bespoke purple plaques to honour and celebrate their achievements.

Read more.

Celebrating 100 Years Together: Village Halls Week 2021
Village Halls Week is a national celebration of the 10,000+ village halls which can be found across England, their volunteers and the difference they make to the rural communities they serve. ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) are celebrating from 25 to 29 January with a list of activities.

Read more. 



Recruiting, Retaining and Managing 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.

Wednesday 24th February

The fundraising sources
Wednesday 13 January - 10.30am
Book here

Tools & techniques for better fundraising
22 January – 10.00am
Book here.

Safeguarding essentials
27 January, 24 February or 31 March – 10.00am
Book here.

Writing successful bids 
3 February or 2 March – 10.00am
Book here.

Funding strategy and diversification in the current climate 
5 February or 19 March – 10.00am
Book here.

Good practice in volunteer management
16 February or 16 March – 10.00am
Book here.

Meet the Funder with The People’s Postcode Lottery
24 February - 3.00pm - 4.15pm
Book via email here.

Level 3 Award in Education & Training
Friday 13 January - Wednesday 31 March (11 weeks, including initial assessment session)
Book here.

Mental Health and Wellbeing: Local support services for you and your workforce (Free Webinar)
Monday 18 January 2021 11.00 - 12.15
Book here.

Financial Reporting: How to create a good impression?
Thursday 21 January 2021, 10.00 - 12.30
Book here.

Securing high value grants
Wednesday 27 January 2021, 10.00 - 13.00
Book here.

Social Value UK are holding a free 3-part impact management workshop series focused on VCSE organisations experience

Using Impact Data to Make Decisions
Thursday 14 January – 14.00 – 15:30
Book here.

How to gather data – Qualitative or Quantitative? - An introduction to methods
Thursday 18 February – 14.00 – 15.30
Book here.

Acting for Impact - Working practices and organisational culture 
Thursday 18 March – 14.00 – 15.30
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.

Grants to Enable Disabled People to Play Tennis 
Special schools as well as coaches, clubs, disability groups, associations and individuals can apply for grants from the Dan Maskell Tennis Trust for equipment and specialist wheelchairs to enable disabled people to play tennis. Funding of up to £1,500 is available for groups and clubs and up to £500 for individuals. Individuals can receive support for a sports wheelchairs, tennis rackets, coaching lessons with an Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) licensed coach or course fees for official LTA development/Coaching courses. The next closing date for applications in this round is 23rd March 2021. 

Read more.

Community Partnership Programme to Tackle Food Poverty & Support the Elderly 
Groundwork and One Stop Stores have teamed up to deliver the One Stop Community Partnership Programme to support groups and organisations who are working to tackle food poverty or supporting the elderly within the local community. One Stop convenience stores will create partnerships with local community groups or charities across the UK to provide support for local good causes which could include funding, volunteering, fundraising and awareness raising. Applicants are encouraged to visit their local One Stop store for more information.

Read more.

Covid-19 Emergency Loan Fund for UK Social Enterprises 
Social Investment Business has announced that their Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund will close to new applications at 11.59pm on the 31st March 2021. The £25 million fund provides emergency loans of between £100,000 to £1,500,000 with no fees or interest for the first twelve months to social enterprises and charities which are facing financial difficulty and disruption to their trading due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Fund is intended to provide working capital until normal business can resume for organisations that are improving people’s lives across the UK. Applicants will be considered on a first come first served basis.

Read more.

Volant Trust - Covid-19 Response Fund 
The Volant Trust has announced that its Covid-19 Response Fund has opened for applications. The Trust is accepting applications from registered charities, community interest companies, community organisations or social enterprises in the UK and internationally that demonstrate a strong focus on alleviating social deprivation and helping vulnerable groups who have been particularly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Funding is available to support running and core costs as well as for medical equipment and the production or distribution of PPE will also be considered. The closing date for applications is the 31st July 2021.

Read more.

Windrush community fund now open
The Windrush Community Fund is available to charity, community or grassroots organisations across the UK to fund projects which raise awareness of the Windrush Scheme (documentation), the Windrush Compensation Scheme or both. Awards will range from a minimum of £2,500 to a maximum of £25,000. The closing date for Phase 1 applications is 12 February 2021.

Read more.

Grants Available for Capital Projects Benefiting Disadvantaged People 
The Clothworkers Foundation awards grants to charities and other not for profit organisations (including special schools) to support capital projects that support disadvantaged sections of the community. To be eligible the projects must fit within one or more of the Foundation’s specified programme areas. This includes alcohol & substance misuse; disadvantaged minority communities; disadvantaged young people; homelessness; domestic & sexual abuse; and older people. Applications can be made at any time. The Foundation aim to make a decision within eight weeks for grants and projects less than £10,000 or within six months for grants over £10,000.

Read more.

Screwfix Foundation 
The Screwfix Foundation has re-opened for applications from charities and not for profit organisations for projects that will fix, repair, maintain and improve the properties and community facilities of those in need by reason of financial hardship, sickness, disability, distress or other disadvantage throughout the UK. Grants of up to £5,000 are available for all kinds of projects, from repairing buildings and improving facilities in deprived areas, to decorating the homes of people living with sickness and disabilities. Applications can be made at any time and will be reviewed on a quarterly basis.

Read more.

Funding for Projects that Enable Black Women and Girls Reach their Full Potential 
Grants of up to £20,000 are available to black-led grassroot organisations and projects in the UK that are working to eliminate barriers to progress for black women and girls. The funding is being made available through the Crown Fund UK; an initiative supported by Dove to help eradicate race-based hair discrimination and drive real and actionable change. The closing date for applications is 5pm on the 21st January 2021.

Read more.

Women Make Music Grants Programme 
Grants of up to £5,000 are available to support the development of outstanding women, trans and non-binary songwriters and composers of all genres and backgrounds at different stages of their career. The funding is available to support touring, recording, promotion and marketing, community projects involving high-quality music creators, music creator residencies and live performances featuring new UK music. The funding is being made available through the PRS for Music Foundation’s Woman Make Music Grants Programme and the closing date for applications is 12th February 2021.

Read more.

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 for projects that build more connected, more resilient communities; and give people the tools to become more financially independent. 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 26th January 2021.

Read more.

Funding for Groups Disproportionally Affected by Covid-19 
The Mayor of London has launched a new grant award and capacity building programme to develop partnerships led by and for groups who have been disproportionally affected by Covid-19. The Civil Society Roots Incubator programme will offer two grant streams to charities, community groups, social enterprises and other not for profit organisations: Micro Awards, which will also be open to individuals, will provide up to £5,000 for early-stage projects addressing gaps in community response; and up to £15,000 will be available through Growth Awards to help collaborations and/or partnerships that have developed during the emergency response become more sustainable. The deadline for applications is 5pm on 26th January 2021.

Read more.

Funding for Projects that Work with Disabled Children and their Families 
Grants of up to £10,000 are available to charities and projects with a charitable purpose to support disabled children and their families. The funding can be spent on hydrotherapy pools; multi-sensory rooms; mini buses; young carers projects; sibling projects; and bereavement support. The funding is being made available through the True Colours Trust UK Small Grants Programme. Applications can be submitted at any time.

Read more.

The Cruach Trust 
The Cruach Trust provides financial support for gardeners, retired gardeners and for the preservation of gardens throughout the United Kingdom. The next deadline for applications is the 10th September 2021. The funding is available to registered or recognised charities, societies, trusts or other bodies. There is a preference for small local and national charities. Previous projects supported have included grants for gardens, wildlife and the natural environment; grants for music, the arts and cultural charities; and grants for organisations working with children, the elderly and vulnerable.

Read more.

Funding for Not for Profit Organisations to Develop Digital Services
Not-for-profit organisations in the UK will be able to apply for grants of up to £70,000 to use technology to explore different approaches to delivering better services during the Covid-19 crisis. Over £1 million will be available to individual not-for-profit organisations or those working in partnership to define, test and develop user-centred digital solutions to create more impact for the people they work with. The fund will open for applications on the 7th January 2021.

Read more.

Active Local Tackling Inequalities Fund
Herts Sports Partnership (HSP) has funding available for community groups and organisations based in Waltham Cross, or delivering activities to residents of the area, to deliver sport and/or physical activity to benefit those in the community. Community groups and organisations do not have to be sport or physical activity-focussed, we welcome applications from any group that would like to deliver sport and/or physical activity. Closing date 29 January 2021.

Email Jamie Townsend for more info.

Fund to Help Reduce Loneliness in England
The Local Connections Fund is a new £4 million fund to help charities and community groups in England that are working to reduce loneliness by helping them build connections across their communities. The ‘microgrants’ between £300 and £2,500 will be split into two equal rounds of funding. This first round will be open for applications on
5 January 2021 and close on 26 January 2021.

Read more.

The Fore – Spring 2021 Funding
The Fore’s Spring 2021 Funding Round will open on Thursday January 7th at 10am. This programme offers unrestricted grants of up to £30,000 that can be spread over 1-3 years. The grants can be used for whatever grantees think will help transform their scale, sustainability, efficiency or impact. Any UK-registered charities, CICs or CBSs with annual incomes under £500,000 are welcome to apply. The Fore is particularly keen to fund organisations run by/working with marginalised groups. Once registered, you will have until Monday 25th January to complete your application.

Read more.

Grants of up to £100,000 Available for Community Facilities 
Registered charities, churches, parish councils, local authorities and CASC registered sports clubs can apply for grants of between £2,000 and £100,000 for the provision, maintenance or improvement of community facilities. This can include village halls and community centres, public play areas; publicly available multi use games areas, skate parks and BMX tracks; sport and recreation grounds including pavilions and clubhouses with full public access; churches – community spaces only; nature reserves; public gardens, parks, country parks and woodlands with at least dawn to dusk access; and Museums. The next funding round closes on the 3rd March 2021.

Read more.

Grants of up to £5,000 Available for Projects that Help the Homeless (UK)
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.  Typically, such organisations may operate small or medium-sized residential or training facilities to assist homeless people. 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 March 2021.

Read more.



Advice on COVID-19 Vaccination
Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus. The vaccine is being offered in some hospitals and by the end of January there will be hundreds of local vaccination centres run by GPs. Some are already up and running in Hertfordshire

In the next two months it is being given to:

  • people aged 80 and over who already have a hospital appointment in the next few weeks
  • people who live or work in care homes
  • health care workers at high risk

You will also need to be registered with a GP surgery in England. You can register with a GP if you do not have one. The vaccine will be offered more widely, and at other locations, as soon as possible.

How you can help
Hertfordshire people have an important part to play to help with the vaccine rollout:

  • Please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, they will contact you;
  • When they do contact you, please attend your booked appointments;
  • Please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives.

The vaccine is our best defence against the virus alongside effective social distancing, wearing a mask and washing our hands.

Key Information Sources

To register with a GP please visit

Keep on with social distancing
We need to continue with our current or even more intense restrictions on social contact and mixing to reduce the current surges in COVID-19 cases, to avoid overwhelming healthcare services, as well as making time for the vulnerable to receive their COVID-19 vaccines before they become infected.

St Albans District Council are recommending new online safety member subscriptions for families
Do you want some support to keep you and your family safe online whilst you spend more time on your devices? Whatever your concerns, this subscription service will bring you up to date and give you peace of mind. New, helpful content aimed at families is provided every week.

Read more. 

Looking for work? jobhelp is a good place to start.
Jobhelp is a newly launched campaign that provides hints and tips on applying for jobs, information on employers, job search ideas and advice for under 25s. Despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, there are still jobs out there to apply for. On Jobhelp you can find hints and tips on applying for jobs, as well as new career ideas and opportunities.

Read more. 

Kooth - Online Mental Health and Wellbeing Support Services for Victims of Domestic and/or Sexual Abuse

The online mental health and wellbeing support services are for victims or witnesses of domestic and/or sexual abuse and victims of crime, who are witnesses in the criminal justice system.

Qwell - This service has been commissioned to support those who may wish to access more virtual support services, particularly during the pandemic. Support is free, anonymous, confidential and safe.

Kooth is a service aimed at 10-18 year olds.

Qwell is a service aimed at anyone 18+ years.

Mind in Mid Herts

Mind in Mid Herts continue to offer a huge range of remote support. Find their updated 2021 timetable below.

More courses and information here.

Peace Hospice Care Compassionate Neighbour Initiative

If you know anyone who could benefit from having a Compassionate Neighbour, or would be a great one themselves, they can visit:, email or call 07718 570 112.

Samaritans Brew Monday 18 January 
Brew Monday is a takeover of ‘Blue Monday’ - the third Monday in January, which has previously been dubbed ‘the most difficult day of the year’. Samaritans are helping to turn the day on its head by encouraging people to get together to have a chat over a cuppa. They have developed a 'Learn to Listen' virtual event on Zoom on 18th January 2021 at 10.30am.

To join the session email and the Zoom link will be emailed to you before the session.

New digital support group for bowel cancer patients
Chat Together is a free online support group for people living with and beyond bowel cancer. It’s a welcoming place to talk to others with bowel cancer and to meet new people. It’s a chance to share experiences in a safe, supportive and informal environment.  

Chats take place once a week, via Zoom, over an eight-week period. 
Groups begin on: Tuesday 26 January 7-8pm or Wednesday 27 January 1-2pm
Chats are hosted by Bowel Cancer UK staff and our trained volunteers who’ve had bowel cancer themselves

Book here.

Supporting Links are running a range of parenting courses in 2021
These include ‘Understanding ADHD and Autism’, ‘Natural Steps to Safer, Stronger Families’, and ‘Steps to Parenting your Teen’.

Book here. 

New Leaf Recovery and Wellbeing Courses
New Leaf Recovery and Wellbeing College provides free of charge courses to enable you to take better control of your wellbeing. Courses offer practical tools and an opportunity for self-reflection.

Find their spring term timetable courses here

Shape up is back! This 12 week FREE weight loss course is aimed at men aged 18-65 who have a BMI of 30+. If you know of anyone who could benefit from this course then contact Rhys Ratcliffe at now to secure your place.

Are you a parent or carer living in Hertfordshire? We need your views and feedback!
In Hertfordshire, the NSPCC are launching 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 them to make the campaign the best we can, we need your views! They would be grateful if you could spare 3 minutes of your time to answer a few questions, to help them measure the community’s understanding of the issue of neglect. The survey is completely anonymous but they need as many parents and carers as possible to answer it to 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!

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

Communities 1st supports the #ShowTheSalary campaign. Please ensure any advert you do send through shows the pay scale, To find out more about the #ShowTheSalary campaign click here.

Planning and Building Control

Planning Apprentice (P1454 and P1455) – Full Time 37 Hours – 20-month fixed term

£12,000 inclusive salary for year 1, increasing to £16,822 (pro-rata for remaining 6 months) for year 2.

Closing date for applications: 25th January 2021

St Albans is a unique English Cathedral City with a colourful history which can be seen in the Roman remains and variety of beautiful architecture, heritage sites and conservation areas.

We are looking for 2 Apprentices to join our busy Planning and Building Control department rotating through all areas of the department including Technical Support and Development Management, Building Control and Spatial Planning and Policy. This is an exciting opportunity for you to gain the skills, knowledge and experience to begin your career in the Planning and Building Control field.  

Full details here.