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COVID-19 information for your organisation
Government-related updates specifically for the VCSE sector
- 15 December 2020: The government has updated its guidance on running a charity during the pandemic. Key changes include an extension on holding members' meetings and AGMs virtually, or by video or phone, until 30 March 2021.
- 16 November 2020: The government has published updated guidelines for VCSE organisations and groups on volunteering during the pandemic. You can read a Voscur summary here.
- 3 November 2020: The Office for Civil Society has issued new guidance for VCSE organisations and groups on volunteering and volunteer management in the second lockdown.
- 24 September 2020: The Kruger report, called Levelling Up Communities, has been published. It looks at charities' roles in COVID-19 recovery.
- 26 June 2020: The government has asked MP Danny Kruger to consult with charities to "maximise" their role in COVID-19 recovery. Kruger will talk to organisations across the VCSE sector to find out which tools they need to support public services and communities. His report to the Prime Minister is due on 24 July.
- 30 April 2020: New Philantrophy Capital has used government data sources to develop local profiles linking age, household type and health conditions with COVID-19 deaths to help charities and funders understand the places worst affected, most at risk and in need of targeted support.
- 29 April 2020: The Directory of Social Change (DSC) has put together a list of suggested questions for the House of Lords debate, taking place on Thursday 30 April 2020, about the challenges facing the VCSE sector.
- 21 April 2020: The government has created a webpage, COVID-19 guidance for voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations, with a comprehensive list of trusted resources for the sector. It was issued by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and the Office for Civil Society. The webpage includes advice for VCSE sector employers and employees, funding sources, and volunteering information.
- 8 April 2020: The government has announced a £750m aid package for charities, including £370m for small to medium charities responding to coronavirus.
Funding and resources
- 17 December 2020: A new help sheet, Charity fraud in a pandemic, has been issued by the Fraud Advisory Panel to help charities understand the additional fraud risks during coronavirus (and any other pandemics). The sheet was created in collaboration with Cancer Research UK, the Charity Commission, CFG, the National Cyber Security Centre, and the Small Charities Coalition.
- 8 October 2020: The COVID-19 Safer Spaces guide was produced to assist staff and volunteers in adapting their centres to enable safe reopening and hire.
- 22 September 2020: Small grants are now available for community mental health organisations and mutual aid groups in Bristol, thanks to the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG) and Bristol City Council. Funding will help the mental health and wellbeing of Bristol residents. Guidance notes and the application form can be downloaded now; the deadline is 5pm on Wednesday 21 October 2020.
- 4 September 2020: The Youth Sector Support Fund, from Quartet Community Foundation and Bristol City Council, has now reopened after a summer break, to support youth and play-focused VCSE organisations working with young people in Bristol aged 8-19. There are now five funding aims, and your application should meet at least one of the aims - click here for details. Voscur can help you before, during and after your application. Grant deadlines are rolling, but the next deadline is 12pm on Monday 5 October 2020.
- 13 July 2020: Bristol Women's Voice wants to hear from all local organisations that support women, to find out how COVID-19 has affected service delivery, staff and support. Click here to take the short survey.
- 21 July 2020: For COVID-19 emergency grants, please see our Coronavirus emergency grants digest - updated regularly.
- 27 May 2020: Bristol City Council has launched Small Business Discretionary Grants, which are open for applications from 27 May - 8 June 2020. Click here to find the eligibility criteria and to apply.
- 13 May 2020: The Charities Aid Foundation has conducted a poll which found that a quarter of UK charities have no means of taking online donations. 1 in 5 charities said they are worried about the impact of people carrying less cash, as this may mean fewer charity donations. Read the full details here.
- 30 April 2020: Following a successful period of free training courses, job advertisements and membership (all of which normally have a fee), Voscur will continue to offer these services for free until Sunday 31 May, to support the local VCSE sector.
- 28 April 2020: The Youth Sector Support Fund, which provides grants from Quartet Community Foundation and Bristol City Council to youth and play organisations with projects supporting Bristol children aged 8-19, has reopened for applications. Voscur is on hand for application support before, during and after you submit your funding bid - you can get in touch by emailing email@example.com or calling 0117 909 9949 to discuss your needs with the development team.
- 21 April 2020: UK Fundraising has a list of virtual fundraising tools to help your organisation adapt to losing traditional fundraising methods during COVID-19.
- 17 April 2020: Due to COVID-19, NCVO will no longer be promoting Volunteers' Week 2020, which was scheduled to take place from 1-7 June. Volunteers' Week is normally an important part of the calendar for VCSE organisations, as the publicity campaign generates interest from new potential volunteers and celebrates the great contributions made by existing volunteers. Face-to-face engagement events are often a big part of the week's plans, with organisations up and down the country involved. The Volunteers' Week website will remain live, with resources still available, but the related social media channels and events listings won't be updated. You are welcome to publicly thank your volunteers from 1-7 June, but NCVO suggests avoiding outright 'celebration' or 'party-related images', which may not be received well by the public at this difficult time.
- 14 April 2020: The West of England Civil Society Partnership (WoECSP) has outlined the role that many VCSE sector organisations are playing in a coordinated response to coronavirus, covered in our news story. To see the full information update from WoECSP, click here or see the attached file at the end of this page.
- 3 April 2020: Commissioning/procurement/grants/contracts - In response to Voscur's request to Bristol City Council and Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG, news: guidance for grant and contract holders. Please also see this letter from BNSSG CCG, dated 02/04/2020.
- 27 March 2020: If you're setting up community response initiatives and need furniture or equipment, Collecteco offers recycled furniture from businesses to charities, schools, the NHS, etc.
- 25 March 2020: Voscur services that normally incur a charge, including training courses, job advertising and membership, are free to all users from 25 March - 30 April 2020. This is to support the local VCSE sector and help all local VCSE organisations deal with increased demand for services and workforce challenges related to coronavirus. Click here for more details.
- 20 March 2020: Organisations using social investment may want to read the COVID-19 response statement from Charity Bank and a range of other social investors, reinforcing their support and commitment.
- 23 November 2020: A new Voscur briefing, on VCSE sector needs in the first lockdown, has been published. We welcome feedback on the briefing - please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 12 October 2020: Voscur has launched a free online peer support network for VCSE organisation managers, which will meet every fortnight for an informal 90-minute session. Upcoming sessions will be listed on the events calendar - please book to attend, so we have an idea of numbers.
- 1 July 2020: Charity Digital Code has produced a free COVID-19 digital checklist for trustees and leaders, helping you track your organisation's progress with digital technology and work towards digital goals, with different topics to discuss in board meetings. The checklist will grow as more information and insights are added throughout the pandemic.
- 26 June 2020: Re-opening village and community halls - Action for Communities in Rural England (ACRE) have published guidance on safely re-opening community buildings based on the two metre social distancing guidance.
- 21 May 2020: The Charity Retail Association has created a reopening pack for charity shops, covering the physical space of charity shops, staff and volunteer considerations, and general retail or commercial issues. Pack information is subject to change due to government guidelines; this is version 3.0.
- 13 May 2020: The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has issued guidance on working safely during COVID-19 in many different workplaces. Those most relevant to the VCSE sector include offices, contact centres, shops, and working in other people's homes. Advice includes reducing direct contact between staff through changed layouts, staggered breaks and using tape markers on the floor to encourage social distancing.
- 12 May 2020: Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the government's Job Retention Scheme (furlough) will be extended for four months, until the end of October 2020. There will be no changes to the scheme until the end of July 2020, at which point the government will ask employers to start sharing the cost of paying people's salaries. Further announcements will be made at the end of May 2020.
- 11 May 2020: Following today's release of the UK government COVID-19 recovery plan, anyone who is able to work from home is still advised to do so, and social distancing remains in place. There are no VCSE sector-specific directives in the recovery plan.
- 27 April 2020: Socialsuite has launched a free assessment tool to help managers understand the impact of COVID-19 on staff. It includes analysis of your staff's greatest needs, and whether the initiatives you put in place are working.
- 20 April 2020: Guidance on the government's Job Retention Scheme (furlough) and how it relates to VCSE organisations where many employees are paid for through 'public funding' and hence not eligible (with further clarification from RefreshingLaw).
- 17 April 2020: Working together with other VCSE organisations, informal and community groups is especially crucial at this time, and this guidance sets out some key principles and approaches to collaorating effectively.
- 7 April 2020: Bristol City Council will hold weekly coronavirus webinars, bringing together businesses and VCSE sector organisations to share updates and take questions on what they are doing, seeing and hearing in the city. The next of these webinars will take place on Thursday 16 April, from 4pm-5pm, via Zoom. Click here to register via Eventbrite and book your place. To submit a question before the webinar, please email email@example.com.
- 31 March 2020: The Charity Commission has published guidance for charity managers and trustees about responding to Covid19, paying staff, using reserves, AGMs and reporting.
- 26 March 2020: Bates Wells have produced a webinar about legal issues you may need to consider for your organisation at this time. It's available on demand.
- 26 March 2020: Hope & May have produced advice on data protection, particularly concerning information about staff and their own health. The ICO have also offered advice to underline their position that data protection isn't a barrier to responding to Coronavirus, but people's information still needs safeguarding.
- 25 March 2020: Voscur has launched an employment rights briefing which covers HR issues such as sick pay, furlough, childcare and redundancy.
- 19 March 2020: Voscur has published a range of COVID-19 related resources to help VCSE organisations.
- 19 March 2020: Follow advice from NCVO. Its webpage includes advice on sick leave policies, financial implications, and contingency plans. We also recommend reading this blog post from Karl Wilding, Chief Executive of NCVO.
- 19 March 2020: Refer to Voscur guidance for VCSE organisations, community groups and social enterprises, on Bristol's response to coronavirus.
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