Voluntary Action Camden

Corona Virus – COVID-19 Update

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/

Update 20/8/21

#OnTheFence Podcast

A group of young Camden residents who are undecided about getting the COVID-19 vaccine came together with a local GP to have two open discussions. The first conversation is live here:   If you work with local young people or have young followers on social media, please share.

Update 20/4/21

These translated WhatsApp audio clips explain some of the new rules and guidance in Bengali, Gujarati, Polish, Romanian, Turkish and Somali

Guidance for those managing community centres, and other community facilities on safely re-opening multi-purpose buildings here.  A poster for display here.

Update 13/2/21

Vaccination and the VCS

Many people who work in frontline roles in the social care sector, including in voluntary or community organisations, are currently eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination. You may be eligible if you provide direct care and support to an adult who is clinically vulnerable to COVID-19, or to a child who is clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 – in line with national government criteria.
If you think that you, or someone you know or work with, may be eligible for the vaccine please visit this page for more information.
Adult Social Care ran a Q&A session on Tuesday.  View the recording here.
ASC have also provided some useful FAQs
Some slides from a recent national webinar  – slides 5-7 provide some examples of types of roles and work and eligibility under this priority group.
Direct any enquiries to: socialcarevaccinationinfo@camden.gov.uk
At the PPG meeting this week an informative presentation included a useful update on the vaccine roll out on pages 22 – 28 from the health perspective.
There is specific guidance for homelessness workers and volunteers.

Update 11/2/21

Vaccine Information and Hesitancy Resources

The full recording of the recent London Bangladeshi Community Information webinar can be viewed on Youtube.
Camden Council have information in other languages and formats.
NHS  warning poster of some scans in relation to the programme.
DCMS has produced a Covid-19 Vaccine Comms Pack.
Camden BSL Vaccine information and Update here.
Resources to help overcome vaccine reluctance:
BBC Panorama on Vaccine Disinformation
BAME celebrities call out vaccine misinformation
Call-to-action: vaccine roll-out priorities’ from Runnymede Trust
Easy read guide to vaccinations (and other Covid related guides)
MPs from various South Asian backgrounds have recorded messages in support of vaccination.
British Islamic Medical Association Covid-19 Answering the Myths
National Institute for Health Research COVID and Me Vaccine Dramas (Including one story on family influence on attitudes in Urdu, Bengali and Punjabi)
GLA Covid Vaccine Resources in 19 languages.
The National Lottery have put together lots of resources to help with vaccine hesitancy.
Public Health England guidance for older adults on the COVID-19 vaccination. This includes the types of vaccine, at-risk groups and more. Accessible in 17 languages, easy read, braille, large print & a British Sign Language video.
New videos on COVID-19 vaccination for people with Severe Mental Illness and services that support them here.
Ramadan and the vaccine.
Further information about the vaccine here.

Update 8/1/21

Latest Lockdown rules overview here.

Summary here. Full details here.  Summary from the Mayor here.  Audio translations from GLA here.

Advice on Shielding here.

Information on furlough here.  Information on business grants here. Information on financial support for employees who can’t work here.

Update 2/12/20

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.

Claiming working-from-home tax relief has exploded in the last couple of months so HMRC has revamped the system, with a brand new microservice to simplify the process. More 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

Update 16/11/20

New government guidance on Enabling safe and effective volunteering during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Update 5/11/20

A new lockdown started on 5th November.  The e-bulletin covered the main rules – with links to more detail on the rules from the Mayor and Government.  Here’s a handy graphic summary.

There is updated guidance on Making a support bubble  and Making a childcare bubble.

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.

New care home visiting guidance has been published. (Additional guidance from Healthwatch)

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) has been extended until the spring. Step by step instructions here.

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 latest guidance from Locality is here and 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.

Update 16/10/20

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.

Update 25/7/20

See weekly e-bulletin and follow @OneCamden on twitter for updates.

Update 24/7/20

Business events and conferences given go ahead to resume from 1 October

Update 22/7/20

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

Update 3/7/20

Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19

Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities

There are useful risk assessment tools from Gov.uk, the NHS Employers, and one specifically for the VCS from Camden Council.

Camden and Islington Public Health have produced an excellent guide to Test and Trace.

Update 24/6/20

Heatwave advice from NHS and the Government.

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.

Update 11/6/20

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.

Update 10/6/20

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and people receiving direct payments

Places of worship to re-open for individual prayer

Update 9/6/20

Camden’s Discretionary Grant Fund is now open: Full details and FAQ + Guidance.

Update 8/6/20

New DWP Employment and Benefits website bringing all the information into one place.

Update 3/6/20

The disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities is the subject of major government report.

Now is a good time to look at these anti-racism resources from Shake, Anti Racism Resources and It’s Nice That

Government FAQ on what you can and can’t do now.

Test and trace flow chart.

Update 28/5/20

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)

Update 22/5/20

Details of the new Coronavirus Community Support Fund  – open for applications at 10am on Friday 22nd May

Guidelines on Working safely during COVID-19

Update 21/5/20

Government announces £150M more in funding for VCS.  Full details tomorrow (Friday)

“Camden invests almost £1m to support local voluntary organisations in their fight against Covid-19”

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)

Update 19/5/20

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.

Update 13/5/20

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.

Sunday’s announcement of minor changes to the lock down rules start today.  Here is a government clarifying FAQ and road map for the future.

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

Update 6/5/20

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

Ageing Better in Camden have a useful guide to getting online and a guide to things to do.

Guide to Government Business Grants Schemes and Charity Eligibility.

Update 5/5/20

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.

Update 4/5/20

Useful resources from Women’s Aid:

Covid-19/Coronavirus: Safety and support resources for survivors, friends, family, neighbours and community members 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 railtorefuge@womensaid.org.uk to access.

Update 30/4/20

Charity Tax Group calls for reform to small grants system

Ageing Better in Camden resources to keep us entertained, happy, healthy and creative

What Does My Faith Group Currently Advise?

Update 28/4/20

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

Update 27/4/20

To address the digital divide initiatives have been launched locally and nationally.

Banks are innovating in response to the crisis:  a carer’s card, cash delivery and emergency withdrawals

Update 23/4/20

Charity Commission issues guidance for managing financial difficulties in your charity caused by coronavirus

Latest guidance on claiming rates grants.

Update 22/4/20

NHS urges public to stay safe ahead of Ramadan

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.

Update 20/4/20

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/

Update 17/3/20

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.

Update 16/4/20

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

The Guardian reports that the Government rules have been relaxed for people with autism and learning disabilities

Update 15/4/20

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.

Update 14/4/20

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.

BBC Asian Network is planning Asian language resources (tbc)

Update 11/4/20

A list of emergency grants for individuals: https://vac.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Individual-funds-only-for-covid-19.pdf

Update 9/4/20

Today’s e-bulletin is mainly about coronavirus issues: https://vac.org.uk/voluntary-action-camden-e-bulletin-9th-april-2020/

Update 8/4/20

Announcement from the Chancellor of a package of support to the Charity sector. Headlines here.  Summary from Civil Society and Politics Home.

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.

Update 7/4/20

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.

Update 4/4/20

Government Guidance for Schools and other educational settings:  Colleges, Nurseries, Child minders, Vulnerable children, free school meals, residential settings, GCSEs and A levels

Personal Finance
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.

Funding
New funding from Waitrose and the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust

Pets
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.

Update 3/4/20

‘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.’
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-mots-for-cars-vans-and-motorcycles-due-from-30-march-2020

Update 2/4/20

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.”

Update 1/4/20

Detailed guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme from Ramon Lee.

Funding:
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.

Legal Issues:
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.

Update 30/3/20

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

Update 28/3/20

The London Community Response fund is now open.  Find out more, how to apply and make an application online: https://londoncommunityresponsefund.org.uk/

Update 27/3/20

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

Update 26/3/20

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

Update 25/3/20

The NHS has launched a major drive for volunteers. They are recruiting 3 roles:
Getting_started_as_a_NHS_Transport_Volunteer
Getting_started_as_a_Community_Response_Volunteer
Getting_started_as_a_Check_in_and_Chat_volunteer
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

Update 24/3/20

The government’s latest statement – What you need to do.

The government is compiling a list of ‘extremely vulnerable persons‘.  The advice is ‘if you are not sure, register anyway’.  There is also some specific guidance for higher risk groups.

Let us know what you are doing by filling in our COVID 19 Community Directory survey.

Update 23/3/20

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.

Update 22/3/20

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.

Update 20/3/20

Camden Council have issued a comprehensive response to the current situation which you can view here.  They also have web pages covering schools, residential care, financial support etc.

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 is good advice on personal financial help and rights at the Money Saving Expert website and on the council website.

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.

Update 19/3/20

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.

Update 18/3/20

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

Update 17/3/20

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.

Update 16/3/20

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/#

Update 14/3/20

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.

Update 13/3/20

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.

Update 12/3/20

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.

Update 10/3/20

Camden Council FAQ on COVID-19 for Social or Community Care and Residential Settings 10/3/20 here

Update 6/3/20

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.

Update 28/2/20

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.

Voluntary Action Camden Vaccine Special

VAC Vaccine Special

8th February 2021

Vaccine Update and Webinar

Camden’s lead for vaccination of the frontline social care workforce in the borough has sent an email that sets out key information on eligibility for vaccination under this priority cohort, information on a Q&A session where you can find out more, and an email address to contact Camden in relation to any queries.
The email sets out who is eligible under the social care workforce definition and has details of the DHSC Definition and exclusions.  You can read the email here.
Camden will be hosting a webinar talk and Q&A on Tuesday 9th February at 9.30am about the vaccination roll out under the social care workforce priority group. Leads in VCS organisations are encouraged to attend, and can join on Tuesday by clicking this link.

Healthwatch Camden Vaccination Q&A

Healthwatch Camden hosts online Q&A event on the Covid-19 vaccination in Camden. Tuesday, 16th February 2021 5.30 to 7.00
This will be your opportunity to ask questions regarding the Covid-19 vaccination rollout in Camden, the different vaccines available, how you will be invited to get vaccinated and any other concerns regarding the vaccine.
Panel of experts –
Dr Louise Jones, Healthwatch Camden Chair (meeting facilitator)
Piers Simey, Acting Director Camden & Islington Public Health
Dr Ammara Hughes, Partner Bloomsbury Surgery & Clinical Director Central Camden PCN
Dr Archana Tina Agrawal, Museum Practice
Dr Frances Baawuah, Brondesbury Medical Centre
Register now and ask your question –
~ Via Zoom by clicking on this link to register
~ By calling us: 020 7383 2402 (to register to access the event via landline)
~ By emailing at shelly.khan@healthwatchcamden.co.uk
For more information, please visit the website.

Vaccine Resources

The full recording of the recent London Bangladeshi Community Information webinar can be viewed on Youtube.
Camden Council have information in other languages and formats.
NHS  warning poster of some scans in relation to the programme.
DCMS has produced a Covid-19 Vaccine Comms Pack.
Camden BSL Vaccine information and Update here.
Resources to help overcome vaccine reluctance:
BAME celebrities call out vaccine misinformation
Call-to-action: vaccine roll-out priorities’ from Runnymede Trust
Easy read guide to vaccinations (and other Covid related guides)
MPs from various South Asian backgrounds have recorded messages in support of vaccination.
British Islamic Medical Association Covid-19 Answering the Myths
National Institute for Health Research COVID and Me Vaccine Dramas (Including one story on family influence on attitudes in Urdu, Bengali and Punjabi)



Detailed Health Updates

There are some regular health updates for those who want more detail.  Every Tuesday at 5pm, Healthy London Partnership and the GLA host a detailed hour with Professor Kevin Fenton. A recent event can be found here.  To sign up contact  community.engagement@london.gov.uk
The ZOE Covid-19 Vaccine Project run by Kings College and the NHS has regular webinars and briefings going into more detail.  Previous webinars are on YouTube.

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Initial Responses to the Pandemic

Our annual report included a short report on our response to the pandemic as it has been a major part of our recent work to resource Camden’s voluntary and community sector (VCS) to meet the safety and wellbeing needs of our communities. Our concerted efforts in equipping, lobbying for and amplifying the voices of Camden’s diverse VCS demonstrates the vital strategic and operational role of VAC in this time of crisis and VAC will be part of collective action to ‘build back better’ as something approaching normal life returns. The report also shows how our Community Links team changed to deal with emergency requests as part of Camden’s Care Navigation and Social Prescribing service.  You can read the report here.

The Kruger Report – A Brief Summary

Here is a brief summary of the top ideas in the report.  As ever it’s a mixed bag of old, new, borrowed and distinctly blue.  Headlines have focussed on the call for yet another army of volunteers, missing many of the more interesting ideas. Although it may not be perfect it’s by far the best thing to have come out of central government in a decade so well worth engaging with the process that, we are promised, will now follow.
 
There are few press articles so far and those are not great – the best of a lack-lustre bunch is Patrick Butler’s in the Guardian – but it’s not very detailed and misses many of the more interesting proposals. There has been some analysis by the sector – DSC’s initial analysis is the best so far.  There has been some analysis from NCVO.   NAVCA has also written an initial response.  As better articles and analysis appears we will link to them.
 
The top ideas in the report are:
 
A ‘Community Power Act’ to give local people power over the design and delivery of public services
 
‘Pop-up parishes’ with time-limited powers and freedoms to innovate
 
A new £500 million Community Recovery Fund, financed through the defunct National Fund
 
A new £2 billion endowment, the Levelling Up Communities Fund, for investment in long-term, community-led transformation in left-behind areas, financed through dormant insurance accounts.
A Volunteer Passport system to match the supply & demand for voluntary help
 
A new National Volunteer Reserve to help with future emergencies & ongoing environmental challenges
 
Paid ‘service opportunities’ for unemployed young people on social & environmental projects
 
An annual Neighbour Day bank holiday to celebrate communities and volunteering
 
A deal with faith communities to work with the public sector on big social challenges
 
A deal with Big Tech to design new ‘digital infrastructure’ for communities
 
And finally… a couple of recommendations that have had colleagues around the country scratching their heads.
 
“Policy to make it easier to start and run a charity, and create a modern version of the local Council for Voluntary Service (CVS)”
and
Creating a ‘Civil Society Improvement Agency’
 
Well it’s nice that a politician has noticed the CVS movement  – we’ve been fomenting social change and civil society in Britain for over a century and beaver away in the background.  CVSs are currently deeply involved in Social Prescribing, and also champion participatory democracy, the fight for equality and social justice, community health  – and civil society.  There is some trepidation that the political class want to ‘improve’ civil society.  Mutual Aid groups, Black Lives Matter, climate activism, all would suggest that civil society is in rude health and does not need state sponsored ‘improvement’. 
Finally, Danny Kruger MP made these comments at launch: “It all adds up to what I call a ‘social covenant’, namely ‘the mutual commitment by citizens, civil society, businesses and the state, each to fulfil their discrete responsibilities and to work together for the common good of all.
This is the gentle revolution we need: conservative radicalism for a time of crisis. I don’t think this agenda belongs to Left or Right and I would like to work with people of good will from across the political spectrum to improve these ideas, and try and make them happen.”
Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the report is Kruger’s willingness to engage in a process with us to take the report forward.  We are looking forward to it!

Financial Impact of Covid-19 on Camden VCS

Voluntary and Community groups across Camden have risen to the challenge of supporting residents and communities during the crisis, particularly those who are most vulnerable through health or isolation. Yet many groups have no or very limited funding or other income to carry out these activities and there is a risk to ongoing sustainability beyond Covid-19.In May 2020,VAC surveyed the sector to build a detailed picture of the current situation on the ground and to identify future risks to ongoing sustainability and service delivery in Camden. A key outcome of the survey is to identify future support needs for the sector and how VAC can best take forward and advocate for continuing support for the sector in both the short and mid-long term.The findings of this survey were discussed at the Camden Voluntary Action Forum meeting on 3 June 2020. Comments from participants have been incorporated into this report.

Read the full report here

 

 

Care Navigation and Social Prescribing Service: Pandemic Response Update

Background: The Care Navigation and Social prescribing service has played and continues to play an integral role in the local pandemic response. As the response continues to evolve this paper shares some learning and raises issues to further inform decision making. The Care Navigation and Social Prescribing Service comprises of three service providers–Care Navigation by Age UK Camden, Community Links by Voluntary Action Camden and WISH Plus by Camden Council. All three working in partnership to assess, triage, advise and support residents who are registered with a GP in Camden and who have complex needs and long-term health conditions. The service has a single point of referral with an internal triage process to ensure the client has contact from the right team first time.

Read the full report here.

 

 

Support Needs of Camden VCS as a result of Covid-19

When the emergency began VAC surveyed all organisations in Camden to find out how they were adapting to meet the challenge of the Covid-19 emergency. The results of that survey  was published online in the Camden Covid-19 Community Directory. As part of that survey we also asked the VCS organisations for their general support needs and what specifically they would like from VAC as well as their specific volunteer needs.Many of them also raised general concerns which we have collated as well. More than 130 responses were received. The situation is rapidly unfolding and many participants made the point that needs were changing and developing rapidly.

Read the full report here.

The ‘Coronavirus’ Budget

The Budget March 2020

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, stepped up to the Despatch Box with the aim of settling the nerves of the country. The new government wants to ‘level up’, ‘get brexit done’ and deal with global financial turmoil as the implications of pandemic sink in.
The Budget included a £12 billion plan to provide support for public services, individuals and businesses, including £5 billion to support NHS and other public services as they respond to the situation.
For individuals: Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is being extended to cover people advised to self-isolate or who care for them. The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Thérèse Coffey has said that If claimants cannot attend their JobCentre appointment in person because of self-isolation, work coaches can exercise discretion and they will not be sanctioned, as long they let their work coach or JobCentre Plus know before the appointment. She reiterated that “No-one will be penalised for doing the right thing.” There will also be a £500m hardship fund although there are no details at present.
For business: Support takes the form of expanded business rates reliefs along with a loan scheme to support up to £1 billion lending to SMEs, a £2.2 billion grant scheme for small businesses, and a dedicated helpline for those who need a deferral period on their tax liabilities.
Sector leaders asked the Chancellor to recognise the impact COVID-19 could have on the voluntary and community sector – the people who, we’ve seen, are being asked to help support our hard-pressed public services and NHS. The Chancellor was asked to:
1. Immediately establish an emergency fund to support charities at risk of insolvency or significantly lower levels of fundraised or trading income due to economic disruption.
2. Implement immediate short term tax deferments or temporary waivers (for example VAT) to help charities experiencing cash flow crises to stay solvent.
3. Explicitly include charities, social enterprises and other social organisations in any economic stimulus packages and measures offered to support the business sector as part of the Government’s response to coronavirus or its aftermath and to consider the potential longer term impacts of the short term hiatus.
Like many in the voluntary and community sector, we’re very disappointed that the Chancellor has failed to address these issues. The contribution that charities and voluntary organisations make to our society as a whole, and in their local communities, needs to be recognised and supported.

How the VCS Accesses Camden Council’s Training is Changing

If you use the Camden Learning and Development service to train your staff or volunteers then how you access it is changing.

Camden Learning and Development are working to ensure the offer meets the needs of the sector and will be working to finalise arrangements over the coming months.
However, interim arrangements have been put in place to ensure access to key training such as level 1 Safeguarding, health and safety training and other key e-learning courses.  Please read the statement from Camden here.

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