Voluntary Sector Briefing 7th September 2021

We are pleased to share that we were recently mentioned in the NHS's latest Integrated Care Systems report. We have been working with Community Action Dacorum and hospitals to establish ‘virtual wards’, where patients with COVID-19 can be managed at home, using oximetry to monitor their own oxygen levels. These wards support early discharge and free up hospital staff and beds.

Our Trustee Speed Matching sessions, informal sessions that help make trusteeship accessible for everyone, were also recently featured in the 'From Here to Diversity' guide to recruiting Black and Asian charity trustees. Our latest speed matching session represented men, women and trans people, a range of ages, people with disabilities, Black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities.

If your organisation is in need of trustees, or if there are any issues you would like to raise with us as Liaison Lead for the Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership (South East region), please do get in touch.


Below you will find the latest news around the Voluntary and Community sector, as well as information to support individuals.

Many thanks,

Stephen Craker
Chief Executive






If you want more information you can visit our website: www.communities1st.org.uk/Covid-19Updates or contact our Voluntary Sector support team on 01727 743018.


Compassionate Community Connector Programme

If you're in an at-risk group or having to isolate, and need help or support with shopping, prescription collection, pet sitting, or urgent supplies or tech support, you can contact us.

They will ask you some questions about the kind of help you need and can connect you to support from a volunteer in your community. Alternatively, if you would like to volunteer yourself to support this service, please contact us or visit our website for further information.




Weekly coffee mornings for member organisations!
Our weekly Virtual Coffee Mornings for voluntary sector organisations are a chance to network with other local voluntary sector organisations, share your experiences and challenges and tell us what support you need in an informal, supportive environment. Is there a topic you would like to discuss at one of our Coffee Mornings? Please let us know by emailing memberservices@communities1st.org.uk.

  • Every Wednesday at 11am, register using our calendar.
  • The sessions are friendly, informal and practical. Come along whenever you can

For more information, please email memberservices@communities1st.org.uk or phone Christine or Isobel on 01727 743018.







It's Membership Renewal Time! 
Membership renewal emails have now been distributed to all our member organisations. Organisations who haven’t previously registered as members can do so here.


St Albans & District Foodbank need new warehouse space

Having supplied over 10,000 emergency food boxes to Hertfordshire locals, St Albans and District foodbank been given a deadline to move out of their site in Harpenden. If you or anyone you know has any information that could help contact mpontin@stalbansdistrict.foodbank.org.uk.


H'arts in Mind Art Residency at St Albans Museum and Gallery
We have a couple of places left to join H'arts in Mind Art Club residing at the museum, a wonderfully inspiring place to hold our monthly art sessions. Anyone who has a mental or physical health condition or who has been significantly affected by Covid can apply. Email Kim at  hartsinmind@gmail.com.


Charity organisation seeks office space

HACRO, a charity that works towards caring for and resettling offenders, are looking for a space to expand and develop workshops and training etc.


Due to redevelopment, a local artist is seeking a studio space or storage area 

A local artist is seeking an affordable studio or storage space, a minimum of 215ft² (20m²). Larger than this is okay, with some daylight suitable for an artist studio.


What has the impact of coronavirus been on mental health?

Mind conducted research with 12,000 people and found that those who were more likely to struggle with their mental health before the pandemic have been most affected, and now urgently need tailored support. Mental health is sure to continue to be a growing concern for the VCFSE sector as both employers and organisations working closely with volunteers, as well as in terms of local community need. Read more.


New Disabled Toilet to be installed in St Albans

St Albans City and District Council are applying for funding to install at least one new Changing Places Toilet in the District. These are larger accessible toilets for people with disabilities which have equipment such as hoists, privacy screens and adult-sized changing benches. If you would like to have a say in where this toilet should be installed, complete the survey here.


Fundraising page launched for Afghan arrivals in Hertfordshire

Residents in Hertfordshire are being encouraged to make a donation to a countywide appeal in support of Afghan families arriving in the county. ‘Hertfordshire helps Afghan arrivals and refugees’ has been set up on the fundraising site JustGiving, by Hertfordshire Community Foundation (on behalf of a much wider local voluntary and public sector response co-ordinated by Hertfordshire County Council).

  • Find out more or donate here.


People volunteering in care homes must be vaccinated by November
From 11 November 2021, anyone working or volunteering in a care home will need to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19), unless exempt. Guidance has been produced for care home staff and volunteers, residents, relatives and friends of residents, professionals who visit care homes and local authorities. 

  • You can read this here.


Vulnerable children and families supported through new data-sharing projects
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced a £7.9 million data accelerator fund which will support 10 data sharing projects across England to improve joined-up working between councils, NHS trusts and police. The 10 areas supported are: Nottingham, Leicestershire and Doncaster; Avon and Somerset; Reading, Portsmouth, Wokingham and West Berkshire; Sunderland; Leeds and Bradford; Doncaster and Wakefield; London; East Sussex; Greater Manchester; and Hertfordshire, Essex and Suffolk. Read the full announcement here.


Burnout and the UK Charity Sector

Many of us are feeling fed up with the persistence of Covid-19. We are struggling to find enthusiasm amid the ever-growing list of compliance and logistic demands, all stemming from constant change. Charity Digital's recent podcast aims to address and discuss this and find ways to counter burnout by supporting staff and volunteers. Listen here.


Easing of Restrictions in England - Guidance for Charity Shops

The Charity Retail Association has produced guidance on easing of restrictions within charity retail. This includes advice on face masks, social distancing, ventilation, risk assessments, fitting rooms etc.


Reform for People - A Joint Vision for Integrating Care

National Voices, Age UK, The Richmond Group of Charities, and The King’s Fund have joined together, with input from a range of health sector partners, to produce a shared vision of what a new NHS Bill could achieve. This joint vision, ‘Reform for people’ aims to lay out a shared ambition of what integrated care and improved ways of working could mean for people and communities and in doing so motivate the workforce as we embark on the long transition period. Read more.



The Big Issue has launched a major new campaign to #StopMassHomelessness and calls on governments to take immediate action to support people who are at risk of losing their homes and long-term action to end homelessness for good. Read more.









HCF Better Boards online trustee training series
This is a collection of training designed to support Hertfordshire trustees and improve board effectiveness. 
Read more.


Here for your burnout webinar
This is an online webinar for staff members to discuss the concept of Burnout, learn how to recognise the symptoms and a space for reflection on what Burnout means to you. This webinar is open to all staff who work in healthcare, social care, the voluntary sector or not-for-profit sector within the Essex/Herts area


Oliver Dowden MP in Conversation About the Climate Crisis

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Oliver Dowden will be speaking about the Climate Crisis on Friday 24th September at 11.30 am.

  • Friday 24th September - 11:30 am
  • If you have any questions regarding the event please contact Revd Alison Facey at minister@stjohnspb.org.uk


Leading for care integration - the big collaboration

Delivered across three dates, these interactive workshops and talks will explore the biggest challenges and opportunities we face as the health and care community further integrates services. You can now book your space at these events using the links below. 





Below are the latest COVID-19 public health guidelines to help you, your family, friends and community stay safe:

Find all the latest information in a PDF here.


Advice on the COVID-19 Vaccination 

Vaccine Resources:



Bedtime Stories! 

Our volunteers have been creating bedtime stories, for you and your families to enjoy at home. These stories are a great opportunity to help your children improve their literacy skills.

Email: bedtimestories@communities1st.org.uk to get access to our bedtime stories videos!  


Hertsmere Healthy Hubs

A Healthy Hub is a one-stop-shop providing information, advice, and support to improve the health and well-being of the community. The hubs provide free lifestyle support for individuals and their families covering mental health, physical activity, weight management, smoking cessation, health MOT's and nutritional advice. We are also providing support and resources through our Outreach Hubs in Redbourn. Read more.


Volunteers needed for St Albans Food and Drink Festival - 26 September - 10:30am - 6:30pm 
We are providing a ‘Community Safe Zone’  tent at this event, aimed at those with a disability, autism, and older people. Could you help signpost people to the tent and offer a friendly welcome? This is a fantastic opportunity to promote the work and services of your organisation. If you cannot be there on the day but would like to share some information about your organisation, we would be delighted to display it. Please email Christine for more information, at christine.halpin@communities1st.org.uk.


New Leaf Courses for Mental Well-Being

New Leaf College is hosting free courses and seminars to support mental well-being and personal recovery for anyone over 18 living in Hertfordshire. Read more.


Citizens Advice St Albans District - Help with Energy Costs

Their qualified advisers can help with matters relating to household energy supply, including finding the best energy tariff and identifying eligibility for benefits claims.


Fun in the Park

Returning this summer is the popular Fun in the Park event; please see the event schedule poster here. All attendees are required to book but it remains a free event. You can collect tickets here.












Nutritionist, Chef or Food Technology Teacher

  • Hours: Seasonal.
  • Up to £30 ph.

Communities 1st are seeking an enthusiastic nutritionist, chef or food technology teacher to deliver a sessional cookery programme, working with families to cook healthy meals on a budget. The ideal candidate will have appropriate qualifications and experience in teaching cookery skills to small groups. For more information please email Christine at christine.halpin@communties1st.org.uk.


Wellbeing & Engagement Officer

  • Hours: 30 hours per week (9am – 4pm Mon-Thurs, 9am – 1pm Fridays)
  • £22,627 Full-Time Equivalent (£11.76 per hour) | Fixed Term from 6th Sept 21 – 1 April 22 (with possible extension)

We are looking for someone with lots of energy and enthusiasm to play a key role in supporting the community hub. You will have experience and a genuine interest in partnership working to develop service offers that meet resident needs in improving their health and wellbeing.


Finance & Resources Lead (Interim)

  • Hours: 25 hours per week
  • £25,187 pro rata (Fixed Term until 31 March 2022)

We are looking for someone who can live and breathe our values; To work in partnership, deliver quality, adapt, be positive and be inclusive. You will be proactive and able to work with colleagues and volunteers to deliver amazing services.


Cleaner / Assistant Caretaker

  • Hours: 16 per week including morning, daytime, evening & weekend work.
  • £9.65 per hour.

The role of the Cleaner / Assistant Caretaker role is to provide a comprehensive cleaning and setup service at the Community Centres managed by Communities 1st.



  • For Baby's Sake 
  • 37.5 hours per week
  • £38,751.46

This position is for a For Baby’s Sake Practitioner working with mothers and fathers, based
within the For Baby’s Sake Hertfordshire team which works with families across the County. Deadline 1st September. 


Shape Up Coach (Weight Management)

  • Watford FC Community Sports and Education Trust
  • Hours: Casual/Seasonal
  • £20 per hour (Assistant), £30 per hour (Lead)

You will work alongside our Shape Up programme lead to deliver 90-minute classroom-based and physical activity sessions. 


Equality Council Co-ordinator Officer 

  • Herts Equality Council
  • 12 month post
  • £14,430 per year, 2.5 days a week

Herts Equality Council is looking for an experienced, highly motivated, self administrator and skilled community development officer to support, advocate the issues and concerns faced and raised by the protected groups and people. Email info@hertsequality.org to apply or for a detailed job description. 


Digital Inclusion Project Lead Wanted

  • West Essex Community Action Network
  • 37 hours per week
  • Up to £31,000 (Dependent upon experience) 

This person will be working with Local Authorities, VCS groups and health partners to provide both access to technology and data, as well as directed support to BAME and MH communities to enable them to benefit from virtual interventions and services.