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Updated Guidance on Volunteering, Shielding and Furlough

Everything is moving fast since the announcement of the lockdown that came into force on 5 November 2020, and community organisations may be struggling to keep up. This quick primer should bring you up to speed on the key facts.

This article was published on 6 November 2020. We will strive to update it as new information becomes available.

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The growing numbers of Covid-19 cases has lead to the reintroduction of tighter lockdown restrictions across England. The advice now is to stay at home and avoid meeting people you do not live with, except for specific purposes. Various businesses and venues are also closed.

Volunteering

One of the “specific purposes” where people are permitted to leave their home is for “work purposes, or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where you cannot do this from home.” (link here)

Elsewhere on the Gov.uk website (here) it gives more information about volunteering:

“While volunteering, you can meet in groups of any size from different households, indoors or outdoors. When meeting people from outside your household or support bubble, you should follow social distancing guidelines.”

The guidance goes to say that people can travel to volunteer or while volunteering, and restates rules about face coverings. It also lists ways to volunteer, with just four examples given:

  • shop for food and medicine (online, or in person)
  • deliver food and medicine
  • help with food banks and homeless services
  • work on a telephone support helpline

From this guidance, it is unclear whether this is an exhaustive list or just examples. Crucially, the guidance doesn’t state whether contact with other people while volunteering for other causes is currently permitted. However, the links to general volunteering opportunities such as Reach Volunteering imply that any form of formal volunteering meets the criteria.

Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) people

During the first lockdown in March-July 2020, people who are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) were instructed to shield. These are the people who are at the highest risk of become very unwell if they were to catch Covid-19 – the list of medical conditions can be found here. During March to July, shielding meant no contact with anyone outside of their own home, except for medical reasons.

This time (from 5 November), the rules aren’t quite as strict. CEV people who live alone can continue to be part of a support bubble with another household. However the government is still advising that they “stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors for exercise or to attend essential health appointments.” On that basis, demand for community shopping services is likely to increase for this group.

The guidance for CEV people goes on to say, “You may wish to meet up with one other person from outside your household or support bubble, for example, to exercise in an outdoor public place, but we suggest that you always try to do so as safely as possible.” This is the same rule as for the general public. However, it’s a different story for CEV people and work: “You are strongly advised to work from home. If you cannot work from home, you should not attend work for this period of restrictions.” People in this situation may be eligible for furlough (see below).

While these restrictions for CEV people aren’t as tough as in the first lockdown, it’s important to realise that the risks to their health are just as high. Community support groups may wish to consider how they can encourage these people to stay safe while still maintaining some kind of social contact.

Extension of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough)

On 30 October 2020, the day before the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS, also known as Furlough) was due to be replaced by the less generous Job Support Scheme, it was announced that CJRS would be extended through November for this latest lockdown period. On 5 November, there was a further announcement that CJRS would be extended to 31 March 2021.

The latest guidance is yet to be published, but as of 31 October, the guidance is that employees can be placed on full-time or part-time furlough, with the government paying a grant to the employer to cover 80% of salaries for the hours not worked, up to a monthly cap of £2,500. Employers have the option to top up salaries.

Previously CJRS was only available to people who had already been placed on furlough before 1 July 2020. The government’s CJRS page still states this rule, although BBC News reports that employees “must have been on the payroll by 30 October 2020. They do not need to have been furloughed before.” This is backed up by the guidance on this government page. We will update this page when the change to the rules is confirmed.

Coronavirus – Funding

The charity sector has a vital role to play in responding to the Covid-19 crisis. Below is our guide to funding projects to support people in need, plus funds to keep your organisation afloat at this difficult time.

Funding News

£750m Government Support for UK Charity Sector

On 8 April Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer, announced that the Government will provide £750 million to frontline charities across the UK so that they can continue their services to those in need during the coronavirus crisis.

£360m will be allocated directly by central government to large charities such as hospices, St Johns Ambulance, Citizens Advice and victim’s and vulnerable children’s charities. A further £370m will be directed to small- and medium-sized charities.

A transcript of the speech is available here. Read Hunts Forum’s response here.

Refocusing Lottery Funding

Prior to the Chancellor’s announcement on 8 April 2020 (see above), The National Lottery Community Fund announced that it has turned its focus to responding to the coronavirus crisis. In a press release dated 27 March, it explained that “all funding decisions for the next six months (up to £300m…) will be devoted to addressing the current crisis.” It also states that the turnaround for applications will be much faster than before. In order to do this, it will prioritise “existing grant holders and applicants using the following criteria:

Activities specifically geared to supporting communities through this crisis
Helping organisations overcome any liquidity issues caused by COVID-19.”

The press release also states, “This is not new money, but it will be faster money and we know that we must act quickly and with confidence.” As such, organisations considering applications for other purposes may want to delay their application and/or contact TNL Community Fund before submitting.

Charitable Funders “Stand with the Sector”

Hundreds of UK funders have signed a joint statement, committing to being supportive and flexible about existing funding throughout the outbreak. If your organisation is unable to deliver services for which you are being funded, need to delay or want to adapt your activities to respond to coronavirus, the statement serves as a reassurance that these funders are sympathetic. When you are ready, contact your existing funder to discuss the best way forward.

0% Commission on Crowdfunder Campaigns

Crowdfunder.co.uk has waived its usual 3% commission on campaigns to fundraise via online donations. Current campaigns in Cambridgeshire include raising £24,000 for Hamerton Zoo Park, £5,000 for Soham’s South Angle Farm and £750 for Fenland Light Railway, all of which are struggling due to lost income during lockdown.

Funding for Organisations Responding to Covid-19

Cambridgeshire Coronavirus Community Fund

Grants of £1,000 to £5,000 for constituted community organisations throughout Cambridgeshire (including Peterborough), who are supporting isolated older and vulnerable people through the Covid-19 crisis. Projects must either:

  • Support ongoing needs of people, to ensure that their well-being is maintained,
  • Reduce isolation and vulnerability during any isolation period
  • Help people remain safely connected with the outside world

The National Lottery Community Fund

Please see the above News report regarding the refocusing of TNL Community Fund’s operations for the next six months.

Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund

Grants of £5,000 to £100,000 to registered charities, CICs, CIOs and limited companies with track record of delivering services for people with, or at risk of developing, mental health problems, in order for them to respond to an anticipated increase in need as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Morrisons Foundation – COVID-19 Homeless Support Fund

Grants of up to £10,000 for registered charities working directly with homeless people during the coronavirus outbreak to ensure help gets to those who need it most. Eligible expenditure includes outreach and support for rough sleepers, provision of essentials, delivery of services in hostels and shelters, information and advice.

RAFT Fund

Rapid Action by the Fore and Trusts Fund (‘‘RAFT’’) will provide grants for high-quality, well-managed small charities and social enterprises with great leadership doing vital work in their communities. The £1m pot will be open to the first 500 applicants from 22 April until 6 May 2020.

Clothworkers’ Emergency Capital Programme

Grants of up to £5,000 for registered charities, CICs, exempt charities and special schools for the purchase of essential capital items required to adapt or increase a charity’s services in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Yorkshire Building Society – Coronavirus Response Fund

Grants of £250 to £2,000 for registered charities helping local communities (with a maximum income of £100,000) to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Grants can be used for a variety of purposes including activities for people who are self-isolating, supplies for foodbanks, small captical costs and loss of income for charities providing support for vulnerable groups.

Tesco Bags of Help COVID-19 Communities Fund

Grants of up to £500 to support a wide range of non-profit organisations who are supporting vulnerable groups during the coronavirus crisis. Due to demand some areas as closed for applications (including Cambridge as of 23 April).

Norrsken Foundation: Action Against Corona

Grants of up to €1m for projects or startups around the world helping in the fight against the coronavirus. It funds efforts supporting victims of the virus, improving the health care system or otherwise helping the “billions of people whose lives are, or will be, affected” around the world. This news story is a useful primer.

And there’s more…

There are many more new funds set up to respond to Coronavirus. Please check out the following websites for more suggestions and links:

Funding for Organisations Struggling Financially as a Result of Covid-19

Charitable Funding

National Lottery Heritage Fund – Heritage Emergency Fund

Grants of £3,000 to £50,000 to current or previous recipients of a grant directly from the Heritage Lottery, in order to support the immediate actions required to stabilise operations and manage unforeseen risks. Applications are being accepted from Wednesday 15 April 2020 to 30 June 2020.

Arts Council England

This fund, which directs National Lottery funding to arts and cultural institutions and projects, is “making £160 million of emergency funding available for those organisations and individuals who will need it during this crisis, and we have also changed the funding requirements for individuals and organisations currently in receipt of our funding, to help alleviate pressure on them as best we can.” The fund is divided into £90m for “National Portfolio Organisations”, £50m for other organisations and £20m for “creative practitioners and cultural workers”

Sport England Community Emergency Fund

Grants of £300 to £10,000 to help community sport and physical activity organisations who are experiencing short term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the coronavirus crisis. It doesn’t cover new activities or events, capital works or costs already covered by government funding. Costs must be incurred from 1 March to 31 July 2020.

Yorkshire Building Society – Coronavirus Response Fund

Grants of £250 to £2,000 for registered charities helping local communities (with a maximum income of £100,000) to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Grants can be used for a variety of purposes including loss of income for charities providing support for vulnerable groups.

Youth Music Emergency Fund

Grants of up to £10,000 for music-making organisations whose primary activity is inclusive music-making with children and young people, and who are affected by coronavirus. Funding can help with cashflow, maintaining or adapting services, and supporting children and young people through the crisis. Core and staff costs, equipment and training are all acceptable expenditure.

Government Support

Job Retention (furlough) scheme

The well-publicised furlough scheme allows employers to put certain employees on temporary leave due to coronavirus.

The government will cover salaries up to 80% and £2,500 a month. It currently runs from 1 March 2020 for four months and may be extended. Any entity with a UK payroll can apply, including charities. It is not intended for public sector or other organisations where staff costs are covered by public funding, although the guidance does allow exceptions.

Statutory Sick Pay

The government will pay for 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for organisations that employ less than 250 staff.

COVID-19 Capital Grant Scheme

The Capital Grant Scheme provides a flexible capital subsidy to help Registered Limited Companies (including charitable companies) create or protect jobs. It is open to Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority area. Eligible projects are those which involve the outright purchase of capital equipment (up to 80% for grants from £2,000 to £49,000, up to 50% for grants from £50,000 to £150,000). Applicants must be able to demonstrate how the purchase of grant funded equipment will protect and/or generate new jobs, with one job per £25,000 of funding.

Financial support for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors (including village halls)

One-off Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants (RHLG) are available for businesses in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector including community buildings (but not church halls or halls run by town and parish councils unless the council is the sole trustee of a charitable hall). Premises with a rateable value up to £15,000 are eligible to receive £10,000. Premises with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 can access £25,000. Contact your district council for more information and to apply.

Expanded Business Rate Relief

Most village and community halls should also be eligible for 100% business rate relief in 2020/21 through the Expanded Retail Discount, which is available to places of public assembly. All local authorities are working on issuing revised bills showing the correct relief entitlement, there is no need to make a claim.

Small business grant funding

The government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding via local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

Eligible businesses should receive a letter from their district council. Please visit your council’s website or call them for more information.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A loan rather than a grant – up to £5m is available to businesses with an annual turnover of up to £45 million. The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees. The scheme is delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the government-owned British Business Bank.

Briefing: How Can the Voluntary Sector Help Primary Care Networks Engage with Communities?

NHS England has set out a new way for health and care services to be organised at a local level; these are called primary care networks (PCNs).

National Voices (a coalition of health and care charities in England) has published a briefing that explores how voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations might supply knowledge, expertise and training to help PCNs develop. This could be significant in making sure the PCNs – as they are supposed to do – become closely engaged with their local population and focus on what matters most to individuals and communities.

Please click here to open the briefing in your browser.

Lloyds Bank Foundation Grants

The Lloyds Bank Foundation is offering grants of up to 45K or 100K to organisations with a proven track record of helping people achieve Positive Change.

Charities can apply if they have an annual turnover of between 25K and 1M pounds per annum, and have worked holistically with individuals to achieve Person Centred Support. 

Charities can use this funding for a 3 year period which can cover core operating costs.

For more information visit their site which can be found by clicking here:

The Foundation Priorities can be viewed below:

Our ambition is to support small and medium-sized charities over the longer term. This gives the charities we partner with greater flexibility over how they use those resources, allows them to build an in-depth relationship with us and take advantage of the wide range of development support we offer.

We recognise that there are many charities out there who would like and would benefit from our support but, like any funder, we have a limit to the money we have available. In fact, in 2020, we will only be able to make around 170 new grants to small charities in England and Wales, half of which will be for £100,000 over three years, and the other half for £45,000 over three years.

Our new funding process considers local need, the prevalence of eligible small and medium sized charities, the nature of the region and the balance of our portfolio to date. The size of grant a charity can apply for depends on this information, which we review and update every six months and informs our online eligibility checker.

We work with hundreds of small and local charities helping people dealing with complex social issues that don’t have simple solutions. Difficulties such as poor mental health, homelessness and substance abuse. We fund charities helping people whose lives are significantly affected by:

  • Domestic and sexual abuse
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Mental health
  • Homelessness and vulnerably housed
  • Offending, prison or community service
  • Care leavers
  • Learning disabilities
  • Addiction or dependency on alcohol, drugs, substances and/or gambling
  • Trafficking and modern slavery
  • Young parents
  • Asylum seekers and refugees.

If you require support or assistance with your funding application please contact:

For organisations operating in Huntingdonshire and East Cambridgeshire – keith@huntsforum.org.uk

For organisations operating in Cambridge, South Cambridgeshire or Fenland – Alan@cambridgecvs.org.uk

 

 

Trustees Week November 2019

Between the 4th and the 8th November 2019 organisations across the country will be celebrating the people that are in charge of our charities, the Trustees.

Trustees play a pivotal role in local organisations across Cambridgeshire, make often difficult decisions and give their time freely, all of which contributes to the UK being the sixth most giving country in the world.

Trustees’ Week is an annual event to showcase the great work that trustees do and highlight opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved and make a difference.

Support Cambridgeshire wants to play it’s part.

So if you want to recognise a Trustee from your organisation in that week please send us one side of A4 plus a JPEG photograph of the individual concerned and we will include them in our news items for that week. Tell us why they are such a great Trustee, how they help and why they do what they do.

Contributions should be with russell@huntsforum.org.uk by 5PM on the 1st November 2019. 

 

 

#YouMadeItHappen

We all know that volunteers are the life-blood of many community organisations, and that without their dedication activities and projects would simply not be delivered.

So lets all join in with NCVO’s latest campaign – YouMadeItHappen.

This is an opportunity for voluntary sector organisations across Cambridgeshire to say a big thank you to their supporters and to show them the difference their time and money has made, and its all happening soon.

NCVO are asking every charity to use the hashtag #YouMadeItHappen on social media on Friday 11 October 2019.

Here’s some guidance from NCVO about the day:

  • Join others across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram all day on 11 October 2019 by thinking of the messages you want to highlight and using the hashtag #YouMadeItHappen.
  • The key is to make sure your supporters see you saying thank you. Get everyone to notice the hashtag and see the amazing organisations they and their friends and family are supporting, as well as the huge range of work charities do.
  • Focus on providing stories and statistics that illustrate the difference your supporters make. This is not about raising money or getting more volunteers signing up, it is about simply saying ‘thank you’ to those who have already donated their time and money, as well as showing them exactly what that time and money is achieving for your mission. 

 

Its Very Hot..!!

The Met Office have today issued a Level 3 Heat wave warning across Cambridgeshire.

The warning will stay in place until the 27th July 2019.  Temperatures are predicted to remain over 30 degrees over the next few days, with warm and humid conditions expected to continue overnight. Hot weather can be uncomfortable for most people. However for the old, very young and those with an ongoing health condition it can have very negative effect upon their health. There some key actions people can take to reduce the ill effects of very hot weather.

If you know or work with these and any other vulnerable people who may be at risk of becoming unwell in high temperatures please check on them and take action to lessen the effects of the heat.

Here are some practical tips on how to stay cool:

Shade or cover windows that are exposed to direct sunlight during the day, and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped.
Drink plenty of water as sugary, alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, including tea and coffee can make you more dehydrated.
Make sure you take water with you if you are travelling. If you are working or going outdoors during the heatwave make sure you are protected with sun screen.
Walk in the shade if possible.
Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals.
Try to avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm.
Avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day.
Wear light, loose fitting cotton clothes.

For more information visit www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Summerhealth/Pages/Heatwave.aspx

Ask Me Community Ambassador Scheme

[Republished from www.cambridgewa.org.uk]

People within a survivor’s community are often the first to know that domestic abuse is happening. But lack of understanding and confidence can make people afraid to talk about it, and unsure of how to respond when someone speaks out. Survivors have told us they can feel judged, silenced or isolated by the people around them.

We are changing that through the Change That Lasts Ask Me scheme, developed in partnership between Women’s Aid Federation England and Welsh Women’s Aid.

The project is a simple initiative that equips community members in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough with an understanding of domestic abuse and how to respond to survivors. This knowledge will enable the community to play an active role in ending domestic abuse.

Being a Change That Lasts Community Ambassador

We offer free 12 hour training courses to members of the local community from all backgrounds and identities where they learn about domestic abuse, including its gendered nature, how to challenge the stereotypes surrounding it and how to listen to, believe and direct survivors to specialist support.

Anyone with a connection to Cambridgeshire and/or Peterborough can become an Ask Me ambassador, whether you have been personally affected by domestic abuse or whether you would like to learn more.

After the training, ambassadors are given resources and support to share what they have learned with those around them in ways that feel most comfortable to them. They are encouraged to start conversations about domestic abuse that will help others to better understand the barriers that survivors face in speaking out. An ambassador can commit as much or as little time as they can give.

We keep in touch with Community Ambassadors with new opportunities and events such as ambassador meet-ups, campaign involvement and volunteering. We also send short surveys to find out how they are getting on and how we can support them further.

A Community Ambassador…

… believes in equality of all people, regardless of their gender identity, age, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, cultural beliefs or circumstances.

… listens and believes others that share their personal experiences of domestic abuse.

… is non-judgmental and respectful.

… is passionate about ending domestic abuse.

There is a chance that we may decide that it isn’t appropriate for a person to take on the role if they don’t share these values and qualities. We will work with people to overcome any barriers wherever possible, or we will direct you to a more suitable volunteering or training opportunity.

Interested? Join the Scheme

If you would like to take part, please register your interest through the online form here: REGISTER INTEREST FORM

The 6 top challenges for Charities

The CAF Charity Landscape report of 2019 has identified the top 6 challenges for CEO’s and the Charitable sector across the UK.

The most pressing challenge at number 1 is that of Income Generation, particularly at a time where demand for services is growing and financial restrictions continue to dominate the headlines.

Digital technology is number 2, seen as a double edged sword by many Charity leaders. Whilst embracing new digital technology will provide opportunities for Charities, it comes at a cost and may well change the nature of the problems currently faced.

Number 3 on the list is Brexit. Most leaders feel that Brexit will have a very negative impact on the Charitable sector and the beneficiaries for whom they serve.

Fourth up is Government. Few Charitable leaders think that the Government will continue to support the sector, with many thinking that the Government will see them as a nuisance for criticising policy decisions made in Westminster.

At number 5 its public trust. Many Charity leaders believe that media negativity surrounding Charities makes it harder to build levels of public trust, and that many members of the public have no understanding of the importance of Charities and the work they do.

Number 6 is a mixed bag: Many Charity leaders are more confident about the future of their own organisation than they are for the sector as a whole.

Fore more detailed information on the CAF Landscape Report, and how Charities can rise to the challenges click here:

 

 

Government provides support for Village Halls

Charities are being invited to apply to a £3m government fund for improving village halls.

The Village Halls Improvement Grant Fund will issue awards for up to 20 per cent of improvement costs, with a minimum grant of £10,000 and a maximum grant of £75,000 available.

This means that overall scheme costs could be between £50,000 and £375,000.

For more information click here:

The fund is being managed by ACRE on behalf of DEFRA and with the support of the local ACRE network.

For more information on costs, guidelines and possible timelines click here:

If you require information or advice on any aspect of this fund please contact Cambridgeshire ACRE at lisa.chambers@cambsacre.org.uk