VAC is posting the latest information and updates on Coronavirus COVID-19 here.
The Camden Covid-19 Community Directory is here: http://vac.secure.nonprofitsoapbox.com/covid-19
Please update the directory using this online form: https://www.tfaforms.com/4811729
Covid-19 Resource Page is here: https://vac.org.uk/covid-19-resource-page/
Latest Lockdown rules overview here.
Advice on Shielding here.
If you need to drive in the Congestion Charge Zone to respond to the pandemic to deliver eligible items or services, this scheme will allow charities who are operating within the Congestion Zone to claim a refund. Full details here.
The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) supports businesses (including charities) that were open as usual, providing services in person to customers from their business premises, but which were then required to close for at least 3 weeks due to local lockdown restrictions imposed by government.
There is a good briefing for the VCS from Charity Tax Group
Key requirements are the premises were “required to close for at least 3 weeks because of the lockdown” and “unable to provide its usual in-person customer service from its premises”. There is some discretion including for organisations that don’t pay business rates. Camden’s guidance is now out.
Links to all government support for businesses can be found here.
Links to all government support for individuals can be found here.
Self-isolating staff may also be able access the Test and Trace Support Payment – a one-off payment of £500 to support people on low incomes to self-isolate. More information at camden.gov.uk/apply-for-test-and-trace-support-payment
New government guidance on Enabling safe and effective volunteering during coronavirus (COVID-19)
How to Volunteer and How to Help Safely have both been updated, but completely new guidance is expected soon
As the rules and exemptions become more complicated it may be necessary to refer to the original regulations.
The National Youth Agency introduced updated guidance listing exceptions for pre-planned support group activity for “vulnerable” young people of max 15 total participants.
There is no ‘shielding’ this time, but the clinically vulnerable and everyone over 70 are advised to take extra precautions.
The government has summarised the support the are giving to jobs and businesses here.
NAVCA have produced a quick guide to decision-making in relation to volunteering activity which you may find useful.
Guidance from Acre for Village Halls and Community Centres here.
The Charity Retail Association guidance on temporary closure of a charity shop is here.
The fundraising regulator has issued guidance related to fundraising activities during the lockdown.
As before there will be a scheme of Business Support Grants tied to the rates system. And as before there will be a degree of discretion given to Local Authorities. The Rates team at the council should have the guidance by 10th November and hopefully the extent to which VCS organisations can apply for support grants will be communicated soon after. See page 4 of the Locality Guidance and page 2 of the Government summary of financial support.
Updated Charity Commission guidance is out. Measures around postponing and cancelling AGMs and other meetings have been extended to 30 December. It has also been clarified that you can hold trustee or members’ meetings of more than 6 people where these meetings are necessary for providing charitable services. Full details here.
Londoners will be banned from mixing with other households indoors. This includes in pubs and restaurants. When outdoors, you must not socialise in a group larger than 6 people. Summary graphic of the rules here.
Exercise classes can continue outdoors, but indoor classes are only permitted if it’s possible to avoid mixing with people outside your household. Full details.
See weekly e-bulletin and follow @OneCamden on twitter for updates.
Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy – the Government’s roadmap for how and when the UK will adjust its response to the COVID-19 crisis (published 17 July)
New powers and framework to help contain coronavirus (COVID-19) locally – A new framework setting out how to manage COVID-19 outbreaks through the use of national and local expertise has been published by the government.
Government confirms allocations of £500 million additional funding for councils in England to help deliver essential services for residents during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemi
Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19
Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities
Camden and Islington Public Health have produced an excellent guide to Test and Trace.
New Fund to help organisations employing vulnerable people to bridge income gap & survive. Opens today for just 1 week. Details here.
The rules are changing. Find out what you can and can’t do here.
A guide to dealing with cash and payments for volunteers
New section in ‘Resources’ – ‘Planning for the Future’ where we are gathering a range of resources to help you Build Back Better.
New DWP Employment and Benefits website bringing all the information into one place.
The disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities is the subject of major government report.
Government FAQ on what you can and can’t do now.
Independent Age Grants Fund – Reaching older people most likely to be missing out.
My Community – an online network to inspire and enable local people to act for themselves on the issues they care about
Healthwatch Camden Blog – ‘Lockdown’ not good for our emotional wellbeing
Government Financial support for voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations to respond to coronavirus (COVID-19)
Details of the new Coronavirus Community Support Fund – open for applications at 10am on Friday 22nd May
Guidelines on Working safely during COVID-19
Government announces £150M more in funding for VCS. Full details tomorrow (Friday)
Some Government Guidance has been updated:
Updated Guidance on Testing Eligibility (19th May 2020)
Updated Symptoms Guidance (18th May 2020)
Free School Meals (15th May 2020)
New Guidance for Sports & Leisure (13th May 2020)
Use of Open & Green Spaces (13th May 2020)
Use of Face Coverings (11th May 2020)
Details of the the Discretionary Grants Fund distributed by councils have been published. It is expected that this will be open to charities with properties that are receiving charities business rates relief – however please note that every Local Authority will be expected to develop and publish its own criteria.
If you run a front-line food aid charity you can apply for a grant of up to £100,000 to help you continue to provide food to the vulnerable.
We are reaching a critical juncture as the speed of government response is now causing serious concerns. A group of Lords have again pressed the government to allow furloughed charity staff to volunteer for their own charity. NCVO has issued an urgent call to for government action. A number of national organisations have expressed grave reservations about the new testing ‘volunteers’ being recruited by Boots.
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has conducted initial hearings into Covid-19 and Charities and produced a useful report.
A list of useful data sources has been compiled by London Plus
Refugee Council updates on Changes to Asylum & Resettlement policy and practice in response to Covid-19
Youth Endowment Fund £6.5m COVID-19 grant round now open
A team of volunteer brokers can now screen and find you volunteers from the Camden volunteer list.
Top-up to local business grant funds scheme announced.
“This additional fund of £617m will be distributed via local authorities. It is aimed at small businesses – and charities – with ongoing fixed property-related costs.
‘Discretionary’ is a key issue. Local authorities are being asked by the Government to include priority for small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief. However local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses, based on local economic need. The allocation of funding will be at the discretion of local authorities.
To qualify, organisations must have fewer than 50 employees, and be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to coronavirus restriction measures.
There will be three levels of grant payments. The maximum will be £25,000. There will also be grants of £10,000. Local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000. The Government says it will be for councils to adapt this approach to local circumstances.”
Somers Town Big Local grants scheme announced. Grants of up to £1500 for local ideas. Deadline 25 May.
Useful resources from Women’s Aid:
Also, as of 30 April 2020, any woman who needs to travel to find refuge from domestic violence can do so for free on any UK train. Email email@example.com to access.
Ageing Better in Camden resources to keep us entertained, happy, healthy and creative
Public Health advice for Ramadan
Useful resources for organisations from NAVCA
Covid-19 BAME resource hub from Spark & Co
Our Front Line is a new hub of resources dedicated to supporting front line workers
Banks are innovating in response to the crisis: a carer’s card, cash delivery and emergency withdrawals
Charity Commission issues guidance for managing financial difficulties in your charity caused by coronavirus
Changes to London TaxiCard Scheme (21st April 2020)
New flexibilities have been introduced during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, to firstly ensure
drivers are able to pick up and deliver essential supplies and secondly allow friends, family members
and carers to travel on behalf of those using the ‘taxicard’ for the same purpose.
Mayor Sadiq Khan says More BAME people are dying from coronavirus. We have to know why
Parks and open spaces to remain open to the public. Councils urged to ensure they are accessible for local people.
Demand for mental health services is increasing. In Response £5m support from government (the Department of Health and Social Care)has been made available, grants of £20,000 or £50,000 are available for projects lasting up to 12 months. https://amhp.org.uk/mental-health-response-fund/
A simple constitution for a community group. Adopt a constitution and you can then open a bank account and take out insurance.
Today’s e-bulletin is mainly about the Covid-19 emergency.
Camden announces £3million hardship fund to support residents through coronavirus crisis
Camden Council COVID-19 weekly update April 16
ACAS sample furlough agreement letter
Latest on the Government’s Financial Package from ACEVO
Latest PPE Guidance from Camden and Islington Public Health
National Lottery Awards for All £300 to £10,000 – prioritising the current crisis
Covid-19: Making payments safely in lockdown. A UK Finance Guide.
Healthwatch Camden have brought together resources in other languages into one handy place
Camden council has worked with community leaders to record short films to help spread key messages in community languages.
- Cllr Hai-Cabinet member for Young People and Cohesion (in English)
- Maryam Cabdi – community leader and life coach (in Somali)
- Yusuf Deerow – Chair of the Somali Youth Development and Resource Centre (in Somali)
BBC Asian Network is planning Asian language resources (tbc)
A list of emergency grants for individuals: https://vac.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Individual-funds-only-for-covid-19.pdf
Today’s e-bulletin is mainly about coronavirus issues: https://vac.org.uk/voluntary-action-camden-e-bulletin-9th-april-2020/
Further legal advice on Charities and Job Retention Scheme from Hempsons.
Letter from the Prime Minister to all households.
Downloadable public information posters and materials from Public Health England.
Shielding, stringent social distancing and social distancing. Who should be doing which.
Comprehensive guide to insurance issues for organisations in the current situation including impliations for changing ways of work and leaving buildings empty.
The Neighbourly Community Fund is a new fund that aims to distribute small sums (up to £400) quickly.
There’s a possibility of getting emergency volunteers fast tracked DBS checks for free under section h). Government guidance here.
Government Guidance for Schools and other educational settings: Colleges, Nurseries, Child minders, Vulnerable children, free school meals, residential settings, GCSEs and A levels
The DWP has stopped recovery action associated with benefit overpayments, tax credits debt, and social fund loans due to the coronavirus outbreak. ‘we are stopping recovery action associated to benefits overpayments, tax credits debt being managed by DWP, and social fund loans’ (awaiting official confirmation).
The FCA proposes temporary financial relief for bank and credit card customers impacted by coronavirus.
If you may need to leave your pets the RSPC has some signs for you to display. CSFG has advice on pets and coronavirus and walking someone else’s dog.
‘Your car, van or motorcycle’s MOT expiry date will be extended by 6 months if it’s due on or after 30 March 2020 – but you must keep your vehicle safe to drive.’
If you are trying to get someone onto the ‘extremely vulnerable persons’ list and they have been rejected it is worth looking at this detailed NHS guidance which sets out in detail the medical criteria and the different routes to be accepted onto the list. Contact the GP or consultant first. Note that the basis of this list is that the person is considered to be at very high risk of infection – not necessarily how ill, frail or vulnerable (in a general sense) they are. The letter also sets out various roles for link workers and social prescribing.
Funding and Finance
Big Society Capital and BHP have both produced useful guides to help you think through your funding and financial options.
The Association of British Insurers have pledged that if you need to use your car for volunteering, driving for work as a key worker, or driving to a place of work because you can’t work at home then you will automatically be covered and you do not need contact your insurer.
Government has re-issued guidance on infection prevention and control partly in response to the misuse of PPE. (btw Museums and Galleries have donated all their PPE supplies used in conservation to the NHS). Also issued is guidance on taking care of Mental Health and Wellbeing during the pandemic. Finally a reminder that the Furlough scheme is not available “Where employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, we expect employers to use that money to continue to pay staff in the usual fashion – and correspondingly not furlough them. This also applies to non-public sector employers who receive public funding for staff costs.”
Detailed guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme from Ramon Lee.
Although the London Community Response is an online application process, London Funders have produced a helpful downloadable form so that you can prepare your response off line.
Charity Bank have set up a page of emergency sources of funding for VCS organisations.
The Charity Tax Group have put together a Coronavirus information hub for charity tax and finance professionals.
If you are concerned about your solvency there is important information from Bates Wells in their Charity Insolvency and Rescue Mechanisms: A Coronavirus Guide – essentially there is a de-facto moratorium for winding up petitions as the High Court has given a blanket adjournment to any creditor winding up petitions to June 2020 at the earliest. Emergency legislation may allow companies to continue trading while undergoing rescue or restructure.
More funding announced today:
CAF Coronavirus Emergency Fund: This Fund is to help smaller charitable organisations in the UK affected by the impact of Covid-19. Grants of up to £10,000 are available.
Camden Giving Covid-19 Charity Fund: Grants of up to £6,000 to not-for-profit organisations who provide services to people living in the borough of Camden. Funding will be made available to registered charities, social enterprises and constituted community groups who need financial support as a result of the COVID-19 Crisis
Leathersellers Company Charitable Fund: £3k from charities supporting: the homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless, provision of food and essential supplies, victims of domestic violence, nursing care to vulnerable patients
Free Webinar from Bates, Wells: Coronavirus and your charity – key legal issues to consider
The London Community Response fund is now open. Find out more, how to apply and make an application online: https://londoncommunityresponsefund.org.uk/
Most of today’s VAC e-bulletin is devoted to COVID-19 related content including the latest from Camden council and news of government schemes to help charities financially.
New government guidance – Coronavirus: How to help safely
If you’re at home & need help or know someone who is, check out Camden’s directory to link you to support near where you live. There is also a telephone helpline – 02079744444 (9) – if can’t get online.
Safeguarding and Volunteering: We have added some videos on keeping safe when volunteering on our home page (in the carousel)
Mutual Aid and Whats App groups have guidelines here: https://covidmutualaid.org/resources/#safety
Our sister CVS in Cumbria have produced some simple guidelines on volunteering as well as a complete COVID-19 Volunteering Handbook in word that groups can adapt: https://cumbriacvs.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-Volunteer-Handbook-Guidelines-230320.doc
New government safeguarding and DBS fact sheet has just been published
The NHS has launched a major drive for volunteers. They are recruiting 3 roles:
Find out more at https://goodsamapp.org/NHS
Camden Council and Camden and Islington Public Health have issued guidelines for preventing infection when volunteering.
DBS ID checking guidelines have been relaxed to make online checking easier: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-changes-to-dbs-id-checking-guidelines
The government’s latest statement – What you need to do.
Let us know what you are doing by filling in our COVID 19 Community Directory survey.
Volunteer Centre Camden have updated their volunteering pages.
The government launched a dedicated webpage outlining the key business support measures that have been put in place to support businesses through the disruption brought by Covid-19. There are 11 schemes, not all are relevant to the sector.
Resources from NAVCA: Operational and remote working; Guidance on working with different sectors of the community; Funding and fundraising; Safeguarding; Governance; Legislation etc. View them here.
We’re collecting ideas to help make isolation more bearable. Please send us your suggestions.
CVSs have written to MPs urging them to support Stephen Doughty’s letter to the Chancellor which has already been signed by 100 MPs. The letter calls for urgent support to the sector, to avoid closures and enable vcs organisations to contribute to the relief effort. You can view VAC’s letter to Keir Starmer MP and Tulip Siddiq MP here.
Camden Giving has launched a Covid-19 Charity Fund to support Charities, community groups and social enterprises in Camden to do what they do best and to ensure they are here in the future. Details here.
Martin Lewis is releasing £1M from his charity fund to provide grants of £5,000 to £20,000 to small registered charities, or local arms of bigger charities, across the UK – to help with specific UK coronavirus-related poverty relief projects.
Examples could include foodbanks, charities engaged in community aid, financial advice help and more. The hope is to get the money distributed within the next couple of weeks. Full details here.
Acas have updated their Coronvirus advice page and also working from home guidance. View it here.
There have been a number of important Government announcements:
Complete ban on evictions and additional protection for renters
Guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision
Charity Commission advice relaxing rules on AGMs and holding trustee meetings virtually
Key Worker guidance. The government guidance is broad and included volunteers in health, education and charities involved in key public services.
Emergency support fund – with an initial £1 million provided by City Hall and £1 million from City Bridge Trust. The emergency fund will be available to organisations that are facing immediate financial pressures and uncertainty because of coronavirus. This includes increasing demands for services, higher staff absences, fewer volunteers and lower donations for organisations. Full details here.
Camden New Journal have published a list of the local Whats App groups developed by COVID-19 Mutual Aid UK (see 16/3/20 Update).
Doctors of the World have updated their Covid 19 translated guidance: English, Albanian, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish are now ready – https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/coronavirus-information/
To be updated very soon: Bengali, Dari, Farsi, Hindi, Kurdish Sorani, Mandarin, Pashto, Urdu, Vietnamese, Tigrinya, Amharic, Malayalam, Somali
More European languages have been added: Polish, Romanian, Russian are ready. Coming soon: Bulgarian, Latvian, and Hungarian.
Coronavirus and your wellbeing. Mind have some information to help you cope.
London Funders statement of support for the sector gathers signatories including Camden Council and the Mayor of London.
The National Emergencies Trust lunches Coronavirus Appeal.
A COVID-19 bill will go before parliament soon. Find out what it will do here.
Important information about benefits and coronavirus.
Explaining coronavirus to young children. Child Friendly Explanation of Coronavirus
Statement from the National Lottery Community Fund on their desire to act flexibly to support grant holders. View it here.
Report from the Imperial COVID-19 Response team modelling some of the outcomes of various strategies to tackle virus. View it here.
Volunteer Centre Camden have produced a COVID 19 Good Neighbour Guide. Useful for staff and volunteers as well as those you support.
Want to volunteer to help? Camden Council have commissioned a website where volunteers can sign up to offer help.
Another option is Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK is a new online group that is providing resources and connecting people to their nearest local groups, willing volunteers and those in need. The group is run entirely by volunteers. There are now more than 400 local groups across the country.
Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK press release: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MBQRxlolWVRMvjhoUxIdA1ZUIl3YMcTjPGRQ5_6l2pQ/edit
Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK website: https://covidmutualaid.org/local-groups/
News story about Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK: https://www.civilsociety.co.uk/news/local-community-groups-established-to-organise-covid-19-aid.html
Link to the Camden Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/199172994722225/
We’ve produced a comprehensive briefing on potential impacts in Camden.
Easy Read Poster on keeping safe: Coronavirus-Poster-Photosymbols.
Age UK Camden have given details of their emergency response arrangements for older people in Camden here.
London Funders have put out a statement to grantees committing to being flexible and understanding at this time. View it here.
Doctors of the World (DOTW) have produced Coronavirus (Covid 19) advice for patients in 20 languages. The guidance is based on the government’s updated advice and health information.
Available languages include: English, Albanian, Dari, French, Pashto, Portuguese, Mandarin, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Arabic, Spanish, Turkish, Vietnamese, Farsi
You can find them on their google drive: https://drive.google.com/open?id=193qQN9l04Dvf0N9L5zeWTiXK_DRbrAxg .
Further information can be found at: https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/news/coronavirus-information/#
VAC’s guidance to staff and volunteers is here. You are welcome to adapt/share.
A VAC briefing on financial impacts on the sector – looking at insurance issues and support being considered by funders and at national level.
We have a summary of the recent budget. It contains some important news, including assurance that individuals won’t be sanctioned by DWP if they are self-isolating and miss an appointment; the extension of statutory sick pay; and the creation of a new £500M hardship fund.
Together Matters have produced a template for creating an emergency plan for those with caring responsibilities available here.
Emergency legislation is expected soon. The bill’s powers would include:
Expansion of court hearings by television and video link;
“Additional employment safeguards” for those who volunteer in the health and social care system, so they can “leave their main jobs and temporarily volunteer in the event of a widespread pandemic”; and
A range of previously announced measures, such as emergency registration of health professionals who have retired, and relaxation of rules around staff to pupil ratios in education and childcare settings.
General advice on keeping yourself and those around you healthy and safe:
Government information and advice: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
NHS overview: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
NHS common questions: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/common-questions/
Information on charity finance and fundraising:
Charity Finance Group general information: https://cfg.org.uk/coronavirus_guide
Institute of Fundraising information: https://www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/news/information-for-fundraisers-about-coronavirus/
Information about managing your organisation NCVO advice an information for voluntary and community organisations: https://www.ncvo.org.uk/practical-support/information/coronavirus
Acas employment advice: https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus
Business continuity planning for charities and voluntary organisations from the Charity Finance Group: https://www.cfg.org.uk/covid19_what_planning_should_charities_be_undertaking
The Charities Facilities Management Group has guidance on Business Continuity Management for charities https://charitiesfmgroup.org/business-continuity-management-charities
A risk assessment template document which you can download here.
Camden Council FAQ on COVID-19 for Social or Community Care and Residential Settings 10/3/20 here
Keep up to date with the latest Government information and advice here.
• NCVO have produced a practical and informative guide here.
• NHS advice here
• Advice for employers and employees is available here.
• New Scientist have a useful guide to preparing for pandemic here.
For those who need for in depth information you can read the National Coronavirus Action Plan here.
The UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the UK from low to moderate. This follows the World Health Organisation’s declaration that this is a public health emergency of international concern.
• Government information and advice here.
• NHS overview here
• NHS common questions here
Advice for employers and employees from Acas is available here.