General advice for charities and community groups

There is lots of advice on the  NCVO website  

The Government have now produced Safeguarding Factsheet:Community Volunteers during COVID-19 outbreak and Coronavirus:How to help safely

The Small Charities Coalition have produced a briefing that can be found here

The Charity Commission are regularly updating their guidance here

Any charity that needs to file annual returns during the coronavirus outbreak can contact the Charity Commission for an extension to time limits 

There are lots of helpful articles and links on the Catalyst website

Ideas on how to keep your volunteers engaged during lockdown

Many organisations are now out of physical contact with their volunteers as we self-isolate, but we know groups are still working to keep their volunteers engaged ready to step back into the fray when the situation improves.   

Groups are also concerned volunteers may also be missing the camaraderie of volunteering and have started to think about ways to address this.   We have pulled together some ideas on keeping your volunteers engaged - this is a starting point and not intended to be an exhaustive list, please let us have your ideas and recommendations/

Useful online learning available to staff and volunteers includes National Careers Service The skills toolkit and Helpforce online learning for volunteers

Information on funding and financial support

The situation is obviously fluid and this means that advice will change and you should ensure you are up to date.  If you are a registered charity you will be able to access some support from the Government .  At present this includes:

Coronavirus Job retention scheme (Furlough Scheme). This is the scheme that will may 80% of salary costs for staff unable to work.  Birketts has produced some clear and comprehensive information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which you can find here

Business interruption loans - Charities that raise at least 50% from trade can apply but need to be able to pay it back.  

Deferral of VAT payments for those who are VAT registered you can find out how to defer your payments.

Good Finance have produced A guide for navigating funding possibilities during Covid-19 which includes a summary of fthe support available.

The Charity Finance Group are providing daily updates on the situation 

The DSC website has a list of funding sources that might be able to help cover costs.

There are also a number of funds being made available to charities which we will include in our regular bulletin - if you aren't already sign up here

There are some useful factsheets on which include information on loss of income, contingency planning, setting up an informal group and staying safe when volunteering.

If your group is commissioned by public bodies take a look at this article as the government has issued guidelines for commissioners.

If you are extending your activities

If you are extending your activities to meet local need during this crisis, risk assess  and contact your insurance provider to make them aware. 

This article from Ansvar insurance provides advice on employees working from home, unoccupied premises and highlights the need to consult your insurer on any additional activities you are undertaking.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) have stated that those using their cars to help their communities do not need to contact their insurer to update documents or extend cover.  

Guidance on staff issues

We also recommend the ACAS site for information on staffing issues ACAS recently ran and advisory webinar for employers View the recording here

You might also find this site useful

Data protection and coronavirus: what you need to know

The Information Commissioner’s Office is aware that many groups are having to change the way they are working and may also be called on to respond to issues quickly and that this is causing concerns around data protection.  

‘We know you might need to share information quickly or adapt the way you work. Data protection will not stop you doing that. It’s about being proportionate - if something feels excessive from the public’s point of view, then it probably is.'

The ICO has published questions from groups and the answers it has given on its website

We are available to offer support and advice, in the first instance contact us on and we will get back to you promptly.