Your organisation: Management, finance and governance
Edition 40 – Wednesday 27 January
Social enterprises face ‘damaging obstacles’ to Covid-19 loans
Social enterprises could go out of business because of “damaging obstacles” to accessing government-backed bank loans, sector leaders have said.
Locality, UnLtd and Social Enterprise UK are among the social enterprise bodies which have written an open letter to the Treasury demanding that the loan scheme system “improves swiftly”.
Firstly, the ethical and social banks used by many social enterprises are not included in the scheme, meaning that organisations need to set up new banking arrangements.
Secondly, with the banking system already under pressure, banks have told some social enterprises that opening an account will take “months rather than weeks”, with other social enterprises turned away completely. The letter said that social enterprises also face delays because their business model is seen as “outside the banking norm”.
“This is a failure which we are confident can be corrected”, the signatories said, although they warned that “businesses that have to wait twelve weeks for a Bounce Back Loan are in danger of failing”. They asked to meet officials to “jointly overcome these damaging obstacles to the much-needed government-backed loan schemes”.
Charity sector calls for emergency support package
Civil society leaders are once again calling on the government to develop an emergency support package for the not-for-profit, charity and social enterprise sector. Ahead of the government’s Budget statement in March, charity leaders are urging Rishi Sunak to urgently work with them to develop a package of financial support for #NeverMoreNeeded non-profit organisations.
The government’s £750m package of support announced in March 2020 was welcomed by charity leaders, but was not enough to ensure they and other not-for-profit organisations could continue to deliver essential services to those people who rely on them.
As well as asking for an emergency support package, the representation also reiterates the sector’s Five Point Plan which sets out specific measures as to how the government can support civil society in the medium and longer-term.
Click here to read the statement in full
Karl Wilding, Chief Executive of NCVO, has stepped down from the role after 18 months so that someone who is “not part of the past” can take over.
Wilding, who took up the role in September 2019 having already spent 21 years at the umbrella body, said in a statement today that he was relinquishing the role with immediate effect. [Well that’s a bit of a shocker. I’m very sorry to see him go. I don’t’ always agree with him, but think he brings some welcome challenge to our sector]
Also from NCVO…
NCVO have boldly gone where others fear to tread, and published The Road Ahead 2021, examining ‘forces and trends that are shaping the sector and are likely to have an impact on organisations in the future.’ Gaze in to the crystal ball here
vHelp has created a mobile phone app for reimbursing volunteers shopping on behalf of others. The service is available for free, and makes it easy, quick and safe to transfer payments electronically to volunteers.
The app eliminates the need for vulnerable residents or family members to withdraw cash or make bank transfers to reimburse volunteers. vHelp Shopping can be set up and managed by a trusted adult or support workehttps://actionhampshire.org/news-blogs-events/r, removing the need for the vulnerable person to use technology themselves.
Volunteers simply upload their receipts and submit their shopping claims through their mobile phones. The funds are then deducted from the relevant bank card or another chosen card, and the money is reimbursed to the volunteer’s bank account within 24 hours. The app is supported by Innovate UK, the government-backed innovation agency. This service is free.
vHelp has also created vHelp Expenses for reimbursing volunteers and service users for food, travel and other expenses. The app includes a Gift Aid function that allows charities to seamlessly claim an extra 25 per cent from government on any unwanted expenses donated back by volunteers or service users.
Organisations simply need to sign up to the service and then invite their volunteers to download the vHelp app to their mobile phones. As part of an introductory offer, vHelp is making the app available to charities for free for two months (it usually costs).
Village Halls week
This week is Village Halls Week, a celebration of the volunteers who run England’s 10,000+ village halls and the difference they make to their communities. A cause very dear to Action Hampshire’s heart.
The 2021 campaign, led by our national partner charity ACRE, is a celebration of how village halls are survivors. Many have been bringing people together in rural communities since the 1920s. And in the past year, the volunteers who manage these buildings have shown huge determination and resilience in the face of Covid-19, negotiating lockdowns and putting in place Covid-19 Secure measures so they could continue supporting their local community. I’m raising a virtual glass to you all!
There are several online events that you can join in with through the week. All the details are on ACRE’s website
Community Participatory Action Research – Applications Open
Several NHS bodies are running a programme to train people from diverse ethnic communities in Community Participatory Action Research (CPAR) techniques. Researchers will ideally come from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic community, or have direct first-hand experience of the issues affecting BAME people. Voluntary community and social enterprises, NHS organisations or local authorities can apply for this funded opportunity. Your organisation must have close links with BAME communitis.
Application deadline: Tuesday 16 February, noon / Further information is available here
Supporting the mental health of frontline charity workers ‘must be a national priority’
The leaders of almost 20 mental health organisations have said supporting the health of frontline workers, including those in the voluntary sector, “must be a national priority”.
In an open letter to people working in health, care and formal and informal education, the chief executives of charities including Mind, Samaritans, Rethink Mental Illness and Young Minds acknowledge the pressures faced by frontline workers in the UK.
“We are grateful for your courage, resilience and humanity in the face of ever-changing circumstances and relentlessly difficult choices,” the letter says. “We also acknowledge the pressures on your mental and physical wellbeing. Supporting you must be a national priority over the coming months.”
It wants workers to be aware of the help that is available through a service called Our Frontline, which offers one-to-one support by call or text for all health, care, emergency, education and key workers.
“It is important to take the wellbeing of key workers seriously, both now and for a long time to come. We will work tirelessly to ensure your mental health is at the heart of the recovery.”
Our Frontline can be reached between 7am and 11pm on 0800 069 6222. People can also text FRONTLINE to 85258 at any time.
No surprises here…
Research conducted by Third Sector shows that 90 per cent of respondents say they have felt stress, overwhelm or burnout over the past year.
The survey of more than 350 charity workers also found that 90 per cent of respondents said they had taken on extra hours or more work during the period.
Asked to identify the main causes of those feelings, 80.6 per cent identified the Covid-19 crisis, while almost two-thirds said it was poor work-life balance. Funding concerns was identified as a reason for stress by 40 per cent of participants, while poor organisational culture was chosen by 38.4 per cent. Slightly more than one-quarter said job insecurity was a cause of stress (respondents could choose more than one answer).
More than four-fifths of respondents said they were more likely to put themselves in situations that led to stress, burnout or feelings of mental exhaustion if their charity’s cause area or service users were going through a crisis.
Edition 37 – Wednesday 8 January
Additional Restrictions Grant (Second round)
Some local authorities have been awarded additional funding by the government, and are inviting applications. Check your local authority’s website asap to see if you are eligible.
Scores of voluntary sector figures recognised in New Year Honours list
It was good to see that lots of voluntary sector figures (staff and volunteers) were recognised with honours. Apparently 65% of the 1,239 people who received an honour were recognised because of outstanding work in communities. Louise Beaton was awarded an OBE for her long-standing dedication to village and community halls. Louise is now a special adviser to ACRE (Action for Communities in Rural England), but started her career as Action Hampshire’s rural officer. [We’ll bask in the reflected gleam of her shiny medal].
Edition 36 – Wednesday 16 December
Covid Winter Grant Funding
Hampshire has received £2.9 million from the government’s Covid Winter Grant funding scheme to support vulnerable households between December 2020 and March 2021. They are providing a range of support under the programme name ‘Connect4Communities’.
A food voucher scheme will be available during the school Christmas holidays, and schools and colleges will also get a discretionary grant fund.
Charities and community group who are in a position to support families and individuals facing hardship because of Covid-19 are encouraged to apply to a grant. These grants are specifically intended to help people, especially families with children, to access necessities like food and fuel. (Further details in the funding section above)
How the UK leaving the EU will affect data protection
At 11pm 31 December 2020 the transition period of the UK leaving the EU will end. At this point the UK GDPR will replace EU GDPR. NCVO’s Knowhow pages have been update to reflect what the differences are and how this will impact organisations in the UK.
JGA Group have launched an 18 month Fundraiser Apprenticeship. This new, expert-developed, apprenticeship focused on achieving occupational competence for fundraisers is free for charities.
The Gas Safe Charity is offering a free, on line Zoom workshop aimed at front line staff and volunteers who visit or work in the homes of vulnerable people. The workshop lasts about an hour and explains the sources, signs and symptoms of high and low level carbon monoxide risks in the home and includes relevant scenarios to explain what steps to take if carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected. To find out more and book one of the 15 workshops taking place before the end of March 2021, please click here
Just Ideas/WSA are currently working with Engage Britain, on an new piece of work around health and care (find out more here). The project will bring together the public, practitioners, charities and communities to develop new ways forward for health and care across Britain. Part of the project will involve a series of 100 ‘Community Conversations’. They are now looking to recruit hosts for these conversations across England, Scotland and Wales. Hosts will be paid for their time, you can find out more here (note the link opens as a pdf).
Imagining better: prioritising people and planet over growth
Vicky Browning and Kristiana Wrixon of ACEVO have written a joint blog stating “Government misunderstands civil society as something that takes more than it gives. Empowering civil society requires understanding it as a set of relationships – between people, places and sectors – and an essential partner in creating social value.”
Read in full here
Advice in Southampton
Advice providers in Southampton work together to produce two monthly newsletters. [They’re very interesting, and much shorter than mine!] VCSEs can sign up to receive them here. And the public can sign up here
High Sheriff of Hampshire Awards 2020-2021 – Nominations Now Open
The High Sheriff of Hampshire, Revd Sue Colman, has launched the High Sheriff of Hampshire Awards to recognise those going beyond the call of duty in the field of law and order in their everyday activities. Nominations are open for those that deserve special recognition for their work on projects that enhance safety and cohesion in our local communities. To make a nomination please click here
Closing date 29 January 2021
Edition 34 – Wednesday 3 December
Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) and Additional Restrictions Support Grant (ARG)
Two grant pots are available from district councils for organisations that have been mandated to close by Government, or who have suffered significant income losses during this latest period of the national restrictions. You may not be eligible for LRSG, but make sure you check your district council’s website to see if you are eligible for ARG.
Spending Review 2020
On 25 November, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered his Spending Review to Parliament. Jay Kennedy from DSC and Richard Sagar from Charity Finance Group have put together their thoughts on what the spending review means for charities.
- 5 takeaways from Spending Review 2020 for charities by Jay Kennedy
- What does the Spending Review mean for charities? by Richard Sagar
Voluntary sector undervalued by £160bn
A new report Civil Action published by Pro Bono Economics suggests that the value of charitable work in the UK is undervalued by about £160bn.
PBE say that the undervaluation of the sector has led to “policy neglect and a dramatic underestimation of its true economic contribution” and resulted in the government offering “insufficient support” in the form of its £750m emergency funding package.
It says, for example, that the official valuation figure takes no account of the contribution of the UK’s 11.9 million formal volunteers and the many more who provide informal volunteering support, which, combined with Office for National Statistics data, could add another £44bn a year to the UK economy.
Further details of £1.5bn UK Shared Prosperity Fund finally emerge
The government has pledged that the long-awaited UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be worth an average of about £1.5bn a year – but might not be available until 2022.
Papers released as part of the Spending Review said that the UKSPF, which will replace EU funding for communities and charities, will at least match comparative funding from EU sources. The voluntary sector typically receives about £500m of such funds each year.
The planned fund will target the places most in need across the UK and “help to level up and create opportunity across the UK for people and places”.
Paul Winyward, policy manager at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said he was pleased to see more details on the “fabled fund”, but significant questions remained.
Government announces £16.5m fund for youth charities
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has announced a £16.5m fund for youth charities.
The announcement comes shortly after youth charities called on the government to follow through on its promise to create a £500m Youth Investment Fund, warning that services could close without such support.
DCMS said the fund will be open to grassroots youth clubs, uniformed youth groups and national youth and umbrella organisations, “to help to mitigate the impact of lost income during the winter period due to the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Local people have had to improvise during the pandemic. Could their solutions stick?
In a recent blog for the Guardian, John Harris looked at a new kind of community politics – ‘flatpack democracy’ – which has emerged in towns left to fend for themselves. Click here for his blog
Fury as commission chair says charities should not be involved in ‘party politics and culture wars’
The chair of the Charity Commission has found herself at the centre of another row with charity leaders after she warned charities not to engage in “party politics and culture wars”.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday newspaper, Baroness Stowell said: “There’s more than one way to help those in need, but if you want to improve lives and strengthen communities through charity, you need to leave party politics and the culture wars out of it.”
Many in the sector were quick to question whether the chair had even read the regulator’s own guidance, which says that a charity can engage in political activity and campaigning providing it is done in support of its charitable purposes.
The commission did not respond to a question from Third Sector about whether Stowell had read the commission’s own guidance on campaigning and political activity. It also did not respond to a question on whether there was any evidence to support Stowell’s assertion that “many people seek out charities as an antidote to politics, not a continuation of it”.
Do read this brilliant blog by Andrew Purkiss
[I just looked up how to spell bête noire – can’t think why]
Charities give cautious welcome to £4bn Levelling Up Fund
Voluntary sector organisations have given a cautious welcome to the government’s new £4bn Levelling Up Fund amid concerns about the need to prepare for a shrunken economy and difficulties in the labour market.
Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of the Charity Finance Group, said: “The ‘Levelling up’ £4bn investment is welcome and we are keen to see how it will be distributed, how quickly, and to whom.”
But Bradshaw said the funding needed to be set in a context that took into account the depth of local authority cuts over the past decade, the immediate rising demand in unmet needs caused by the pandemic and the potential consequences of Brexit.
“The government needs to shift its thinking away from the short-term gimmicks to strategic investment if it is ever to succeed at ‘levelling up’ and see Britain ‘build back better’,” said Bradshaw.
Self care and resilience during Covid-19: Fatima Khan-Shah
The King’s Fund recently spoke to Fatima Khan-Shah, Patient Leader and Partnership Lead for the Unpaid Carers Programme, West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, about why it’s so important to prioritise self care during the Covid-19 crisis.
The burden of working through a pandemic can lead to a drop in resilience and self confidence. [Ain’t that the truth] Fatima encourages setting aside time and space to focus on things that restore energy and allow for self reflection.
Click here to watch the interview
Census Support Service
Good Things Foundation has been contracted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to support the delivery of the next Census in England and Wales.
They’ve got an opportunity for partners to apply for funding to support the delivery of the 2021 census.
They are looking for organisations who can deliver support to people wishing to complete the census online between March and May 2021. You’ll be required to deliver the service across a set amount of hours each week with the possibility of additional delivery covering evenings, weekends and the census weekend.
The application form is open now (available here) and they are encouraging people to apply as soon as possible.
Edition 33 – Wednesday 18 November
All the latest information for community buildings amidst lockdown is available on our website here. We have written to all the local authorities in Hampshire to highlight the eligibility of community buildings to claim the Local Restrictions Support Grant. [Fingers firmly crossed]
Spending watchdog investigates government’s emergency funding for the sector
The National Audit Office has opened an investigation into the government’s support for charities during the Covid-19 pandemic, and will examine how the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has distributed the £750m in emergency funding provided to help the sector through the Covid-19 crisis.
The government faced heavy criticism for the length of time it took before a support package for the sector was announced, and then for how long it was before charities could apply for the funding.
Debra Allcock Tyler, Chief Executive of Directory said she looked forward to seeing what would emerge in the final report. She said there had been a lack of transparency and scrutiny of decision-making around the whole process for releasing the funds. “It’s part of a wider piece of work the NAO is doing about the government’s response generally, but we’re very pleased that our sector has got its attention and is felt to be worthy of the work,” she said.
Ninety per cent of small charities lack access to adequate mental health support, survey finds
A survey of more than 700 members by the Small Charities Coalition looked at the health and wellbeing needs of those who work for and volunteer in small charities. The results showed a clear lack of support and resources for small charities on how to manage mental wellbeing, the SCC said.
One-third of the people responding to the survey described their own mental health as either fair or poor, and nearly 70 per cent felt the pandemic had had a significant impact on their mental wellbeing.
Rita Chadha, Chief Executive of the SCC said it should act as a “wake-up call” as to how much stress small charities and their staff were under.
Say hello to mobile mental health
Solent Mind have launched a completely free new wellbeing app.
It supports users to take positive steps in their lives and to take control of their emotional wellbeing in fun and engaging ways, such as guided breathing activities and an interactive mood tracker.
It is packed full of tips and advice for living well, from guided mindfulness exercises and healthy recipes to employment advice and interactive resources. Form good habits with weekly wellbeing challenges, read positive news stories and enjoy personalised activities.
The Solent Mind Wellbeing App is now available to download from Google Play or the App Store.
Guidance on restructuring and redundancy
The financial pressures caused by the pandemic mean many organisations are having to make difficult decisions about staffing and services. NCVO’s Knowhow guidance covers the main things to consider and signposts you to other useful sources of advice.
High Sheriff of Hampshire Awards
The High Sheriff is welcoming nominations for unsung heroes.
The awards honour those who deserve special recognition for their work in the field of law and order. She would particularly like to honour “organisations and individuals who, during this time of pandemic, have adapted their practices and innovated news ways of working to ensure others have remained safe and supported.”
Edition 31 – Wednesday 4 November
The PM has pledged that government will do ‘much more’ to support the voluntary sector over the winter
Boris Johnson was responding to a question in the House of Commons on 2nd November from Rachael Maskell, the shadow charities minister. “…What additional resources will the Prime Minister bring forward to ensure they [charities] can deliver vital services at this time?”
Johnson responded: “We will be doing much more over the winter to support the voluntary sector, which is, as she rightly says, doing a fantastic job of helping in this crisis.”
It is not clear whether Johnson was suggesting the government might offer additional support, or referring to existing covid schemes that charities will be able to make use of over the coming months.
In an additional statement, Maskell said charities and social enterprises had been “all but forgotten by government” since the initial £750m package in April … This year’s deficit is already projected to exceed £10bn, while this latest lockdown will further harm charity finances as retail outlets close and fundraising events are cancelled…
It is time the Prime Minister recognised the considerable contribution of the sector – which has stepped in like never before during this pandemic.” [Good on you Rachel]
Furlough scheme extension
The Government have announced that the furlough scheme will be extended by one month to 2nd December.
The Job Support Scheme has now been postponed until furlough ends.
- Employees on furlough will continue to get 80% of their salary, up to £2,500/mth.
- Employers can use the scheme – even if they haven’t before. Crucially, the employer doesn’t previously need to have used the furlough scheme.
- Staff DON’T need to have been furloughed previously to take part, but do need to have been on the employer’s PAYE payroll on 30th October.
- People who have been made redundant after 23rd September CAN be rehired and furloughed.
- You WILL be able to work part-time while on furlough, as now.
- Employees on all types of contract can take part.
MoneySavingExpert has a clear, frequently updated and ‘unwaffly’ overview of the scheme here
Support groups of up to 15
Government guidance on new restrictions for Lockdown #2, say that “some venues will be allowed to remain open for specific exempt activities like childcare and support groups. Support groups that are essential to deliver in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support…”
A number of people have asked whether the 15 people includes staff and/or volunteers. NCVO have said that they “think it is reasonable to say that if staff/volunteers are supporting with the running of the group rather than actually participating, they would not be included in the 15.” However, they have said that where there is uncertainty, it’s important for organisations to be clear about why they have taken a particular course of action in line with the guidance, in case questioned.
If you have specific questions about some element of the new restrictions, please drop Kirsty a line and she will try to get some answers for you.
Claim tax relief for your job expenses
If you’ve asked your employees to work from home, and you’ve not reimbursed them already, your employees may be entitled to claim tax relief on additional household expenses they’ve incurred, such as heating and lighting.
From 6 April 2020, this tax relief is based on £6 per week or £26 per month (£4 per week, or £18 per month before 6 April 2020). To make a claim, tell your employees to go to GOV.UK and search ‘claim tax relief for your job expenses’. It’s quick and secure, and those who are eligible will receive their full entitlement by an adjustment to their tax code.
Ingenuity South Coast launches
Ingenuity is a programme that is looking to invest £400,000 in new start-ups that will tackle society’s biggest challenges. The recently formed Ingenuity South Coast brings together local Universities, the public sector and businesses including SMEs to develop new ideas that will benefit everyday lives.
The deadline for applications is 12 November.
Tina Stowell will not seek a second term at the Charity Commission
The chair of the Charity Commission, Baroness Stowell, will step down from the role in February. Stowell told The Telegraph that she will not seek a second term at the end of her three-year period. [The best news I’ve heard all week]
New social value test
The Cabinet Office has announced the launch of an updated social value in procurement model
From 1 January 2021 a new social value test will come into effect for government procurements. The social value model which departments will assess contracts on includes:
- Supporting covid-19 recovery, including helping local communities manage and recover from the impact of covid
- Tackling economic inequality, including creating new businesses, jobs and skills, as well as increasing supply chain resilience
- Fighting climate change and reducing waste
- Driving equal opportunity, including reducing the disability employment gap and tackling workforce inequality
- Improving health and wellbeing and community integration.
The government has said the new approach will apply tests that all bidders, irrespective of their size and type, will be capable of meeting and that this will level the playing field for the UK’s small businesses, start-ups and voluntary and community sector organisations and social enterprises. [On the face of it, that sounds like pretty good news for the sector, but of course the devil will be in the detail]
Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act extensions
The temporary changes to insolvency and corporate governance law made by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 were originally designed to last until 30 September 2020. However, new secondary legislation is now in force, meaning that many of these changes will now continue until either December or the New Year.
This is good news for companies and charities facing financial difficulty, or finding it hard to hold members’ meetings, as they may be able to take advantage of the continuing flexibility. The Charity Commission’s covid-19 guidance has been updated to reflect this extension.
Winchester Churches Nightshelter
Winchester Churches Nightshelter would like to invite you to join their online Supporters’ Evening and AGM on Monday 9 November, 18:45. They have some great guest speakers as well as an update about how they have coped over recent months.
You can find out more info and how to register here
Edition 29 – Thursday 15 October
Anyone like food and talking?
Would anyone like to participate in an informal Zoom network – to meet more people professionally, and learn from each other and develop new skills?
I don’t know exactly how it would work but my ideas so far are … “Charity wine society” – a peer learning network with wine? “Malteser League” – discussing TED Talks while eating chocolate? “Crisp appreciation club” – do something improving while eating crisps? (Spot the theme?)
So if you feel the need for new input, ideas, networks, development, please email Kirsty. Founder members can have special badges!
A Healthy Audience
Interesting report from nfpSynergy titled “ A Healthy Audience? 2019 Update” asking whether the number of people who have a medical condition or a disability dictate the size of charities that support them? Turns out the answer is no.
I have such a huge rant inside me just begging to be released. But this newsletter isn’t supposed to be the “Kirsty rant vehicle” so I’ll hold back the frothing tides. But if I gave my rant a title it would be “With friends like these, who needs enemies?” Or perhaps “When is a regulator not a regulator?” Or “How do you solve a problem like the Tina?” Sorry, I’ll stop now and tell you the story.
The Charity Commission recently held their AGM. The audience were informed that Baroness Tina Stowell (their Chair) would not be taking questions. She proceeded to say that the first lesson that charities should learn from the last six months was the need to show “more humility and accountability”.
Two brilliant blogs resulted:
- Accountability in the Charity Commission by Kristiana Wrixon of Acevo
- The Charity Commission is losing the trust and confidence of charities by Jay Kenney of DSC
Fast forward a couple of days, and Tina Stowell was at it again when she addressed the Charity Law Association “…when advising charity clients, including in the context of commission case work, help trustees’ focus on the big picture” [ie. advise them against legal action] and then again refused to take questions.
A request from Charity Today
Online publication Charity Today is looking for positive articles and picture stories ahead of this year’s UK Charity Week (which happens from 7 to 13 December).
They are particularly looking for:
- Fundraising success stories
- Insights from volunteers during the pandemic
- Pictures of charities holding the ‘Proud to support UK Charity Week’ poster
- Pictures of charities taking part in the Charity BIG Bake
- Supporter videos thanking charities for all their hard work
If you’d like to get your charity featured in this article please email here
#CharitySoWhite: a survey for the sector
#CharitySoWhite – a campaign that grew out of people sharing their experiences of institutional racism in the voluntary sector – has launched two surveys in an attempt to overhaul their approach to tackling racism in the sector.
The aim is to build a better understanding of the sector as a whole, and those working towards creating a more equal and anti-racist sector.
The two surveys can be viewed here
One is a survey for people who experience racism (BAME) and the other is for those who identify as white allies. The deadline for completing the survey(s) is 26 October.
‘Lockdown is nothing new for many disabled people’
Disabled people have a long history of coming together to support each other when social systems fail the community. Clare Bonetree, a disabled artist and activist, realised that this experience could be an invaluable tool in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. In this video she shares her experience of creating a forum to provide support and share expertise on how to maintain wellbeing during lockdown.
More information here
Food banks are forecast to give out six emergency food parcels a minute this winter.
- The Trussell Trust’s new analysis forecasts a 61% increase in food parcels needed across its UK network in October to December – six parcels given out every minute
- During the start of the pandemic around half of people who used a food bank had never needed one before
- Families with children have been hardest hit
- The charity is clear the situation can be turned around if this evidence is prioritised and acted upon by government during the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review and budget
Behind the mask
‘Behind the mask’ is a campaign set up by Community Action Bradford and District (CABAD) and Bradford Metropolitan District Council.
The aim is to raise awareness of the different ways the pandemic, lockdown etc. affect people. These are real people, real experiences. These may be your neighbours, family, friends or strangers from the same community. Having been affected in some way by Covid-19, they have come forward to share their true experiences and hope to encourage others to be safe.
[I know it’s not Hampshire, but I thought it was a really powerful campaign that is well worth taking a look at. And I like the fact that it was a charity and local authority partnership]
Reimbursing volunteers for shopping
Digital start-up vHelp is looking for groups to take part in a trial of its new online payment system designed to securely reimburse volunteers shopping on behalf of vulnerable people during the pandemic period. vHelp recently won an Innovate UK grant from the Government to build and pilot the system with local groups. They are looking to offer up to five organisations access to the app during a free two-month trial. The co-founders of the app said: “We’ve been working flat out over the past few months testing and trialling the app behind the scenes. We now need to start testing it in real-world conditions. The app solves the tricky problem that many local groups have been grappling with recently: how to reimburse volunteers, keep vulnerable people and their money safe and maintain a clear audit trail.” Any organisations interested in taking part in the trial please contact Patricia Salume –
07981 141 530 / Email
The delayed Queens Birthday Honours have been announced, with a range of charity leaders from across the country being recognized. Among these was Hampshire’s own Rebecca Kennelly, director of volunteering at Royal Voluntary Service. She was given the award for services to the Covid-19 response. Rebecca is also the new Chair of Hampshire and IOW Community Foundation. To see the other charity leaders honoured, click here
Editon 26 – Wednesday 30 September
You’ve probably heard about the government’s Kickstart scheme, which provides funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds.
For further information please see our quick guide here
Free supplies for your charity and beneficiaries
Giving World helps charities access brand new life-essentials for free.
As we approach the end of the furlough scheme when we will all be supporting the newly vulnerable, we have a wide range of products available including clothing for adults and children, toiletries, baby products, toys, bedding, kitchen equipment and other household items, books, crafts and ambient foods.
Please let them know if there are particular items that would help support your beneficiaries during this difficult time. If you have any questions or ideas, please call them on 0116 251 6205 or email
Now I’m going to go out on a limb here and confess that I’m struggling with motivation at work. I’ve been trying to work out what would make me feel better (apart from no Covid, more money, more time, more gin…). I’ve come to the conclusion that two things would help me:
- More contact with more people professionally. Face-to-face would be great, but Zoom will do in the meantime.
- To feel like I am learning and developing and getting new input, not mouldering away in my back room.
Does this ring bells for anyone else? If so, then please drop me a line. I don’t have any solutions, but perhaps we could work something out together.
“Charity wine society” – a peer learning network with wine? / “Malteser League” – discussing TED Talks while eating chocolate? “Crisp appreciation club” – do something improving while eating crisps? (Spot the theme?). So if you also feel the need for new input, ideas, networks, development, please contact Kirsty Rowlinson. Founder members can have special badges!
Guidance for Multi-use venues
We’ve updated our guidance [groundhog day] to reflect all the new guidance. Please visit our website here to receive the glorious Kevin’s pearls of wisdom.
Who ya gonna call?… SUE DOVEY
VCS Emergency Partnership in Hampshire
Each area across the country has a named person who acts as the link between local VCSEs and the national Emergency Partnership. In Hampshire (including Southampton, Portsmouth and Isle of Wight) the contact person is Sue Dovey
The Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership was set up after the Grenfell tragedy. It’s made up of a range of organisations aiming to improving coordination at national and local levels before, during and after emergencies.
So far, Hampshire has not needed to call on the services of the VCSEP as local mechanisms have been able to meet local need [and we’re all brilliant!]. But this may not continue to be the case as the Covid-19 crisis continues.
If these arrangements are not working for some reason e.g. hubs have no further capacity, then contact Sue Dovey and she’ll call in the national cavalry.
Nineteen foundations will get Covid-19 match-funding from DCMSGovernment has announced that 19 funders will receive just over £82 million in match-funded cash. This is from the £750m Covid-19 support package for charities announced by the Treasury in April.
This match-funding programme was criticised last month when it emerged that DCMS had announced the scheme despite a promise to review existing funding prior to any decision. DCMS said at the time that it had not held a formal review in order “to avoid any unnecessary delays in funding reaching charities and organisations that need it.” [Hmmm. Chinnee-rackon as we used to say at school. Or is that just a Midlands phrase?]
Full list of recipients:
- ARK – £4.75m
- Charities Aid Foundation with Association of British Insurers – £20m
- Church Revitalisation Trust / Love Your Neighbour – £4m
- Comic Relief – £5m
- Founders Pledge – £1.56m
- Global’s Make Some Noise – £1.5m
- Greggs Foundation – £1m
- Henry Smith Charity – £2m
- Lloyds Bank Foundation – £5m
- Localgiving Foundation – £1m
- National Emergencies Trust – £2.5m
- The OnSide Foundation – £6mPears Foundation – £5.5m
- Rank Foundation – £5m
- Smallwood Trust – £2.1m
- Stefanou Foundation – £2.5m
- Steve Morgan Foundation – £10m
- The Coalfields Regeneration Trust – £1m
- The Vardy Foundation – £2m
The Growth Project
Are you a leader who wants to make a difference?
The Growth Charity are recruiting for their 2021 cohort to take part on a 10-month personal development program that brings together charity and business leaders in an environment of shared learning. During the course, participants will share knowledge and experiences, learn how to run more effective and efficient organisations and develop their leadership skills.
Apply by 30 November
Download your NHS covid-19 app poster
You can quickly and easily create a unique QR code and poster for your business through the government website. Once you have registered, your unique QR code and poster will be emailed to you, ready to print and display.
You should create and display a QR code if you are:
a business, place of worship or community organisation with a physical location that is open to the public
an event which is taking place in a physical location
Hampshire based Charity Podcasts was born out of the Covid-19 lockdown when Communication Generation decided to offer free podcasts and voiceovers to non-profits during a very difficult time.
“Charity Podcasts takes this a stage further. We connect businesses with charities and community groups through podcasting. This helps groups communicate their messages using podcasts while giving businesses an easy way to help out, while also benefitting their CSR (corporate social responsibility) goals.”
For further information see their website
Edition 25 – Wednesday 25 16 September
You’ve probably heard about the government’s Kickstart scheme, which provides funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds.
The key points of the scheme to consider are:
- Placements are for a minimum of 6 months
- Scheme runs until Dec 2021
- You have to prove this is a new job, it mustn’t replace existing or planned jobs, and no existing staff members can be disadvantaged
- Minimum of 25 hours per week
- Govt will reimburse minimum wage for 25 hours per week, including NI & pension. Anything above that is employer’s responsibility
- Normal Ts & Cs
- Employer needs to provide ‘wraparound support’. This means that you have to support the YP to get general employability skills. Currently no specifics on that, but things like being on time, dressing appropriately, inter-personal skills … You might also want to help them with CV & jobhunting
- The employer gets a payment of £1,500 upfront. This can be used to fund ‘wraparound support’ or work equipment etc.
- Salary is paid at 2, 4, 6 month periods
- Create job placement info
- Send to intermediary org
- Intermediary sends to govt for approval
- Govt send approved posts to Job Centre
- Job Centre sends you applicants
- You select your staff member or ask for new candidates
- Start the person as normal
Employers have to take on at least 30 young people, BUT a number of organisations are planning to become ‘intermediary’ organisations so that smaller orgs can just take on 1 or 2 placements. The Small Charities Coalition (SCC) is thinking of becoming an intermediary organisation, so if you’re interested in recruiting a young person, please express your interest by emailing SCC
[I’m sure others will also be considering being an intermediary org – I just happen to know about SCC]
Guidance for Multi-use venues
We’ve updated our guidance [yet again!] to reflect the ‘rule of 6’. To read information on opening your community building after lockdown view our webspage here
No tuck shops!
Kailea Hurcombe, Chief Executive of Solent Youth Action has written an extremely useful article on the implications of the ‘rule of 6’ for the youth services sector. Full article here
- You can deliver online and digital youth services, detached/outdoor local youth services, 1-2-1 sessions (indoors) and small group sessions delivered indoors.
- The youth sector is EXEMPT from the current 6 person only social restrictions. You can see the exempt list here
- You can continue to run groups with bubbles of 15 young people PLUS staff members (personal assistants count as staff).
- Indoor club activities (playing XBox, baking, crafts etc) can all continue provided all social distancing etc is adhered to.
- Young people can be transported in buses/cars etc, as long as masks are worn and social distancing measures are in place.
Youth sector organisations cannot apply guidance for the education sector or sports clubs to their activities. The NYA guidance is THE guidance to use. This applies to faith organisations running youth activities too.
Hampshire County Council are looking for local people to join a Hampshire Perspectives residents’ forum to help shape the delivery of essential services, and support the County to get back on its feet. Anyone who lives in Hampshire and is over 18 can sign up.
- Members will be regularly asked for their feedback on issues that are important to local people. This, in turn, will help drive changes and improvements.
- Taking part should be quick and easy – short, five minute surveys, every 2-4 weeks, on a wide range of topics.
To register your interest, please complete the short online questionnaire
More information about the Forum is available on the County Council’s website
Don’t leave us stranded
Brilliant blog by Caron Bradshaw, CEO at Charity Finance Group.
[I urge you to read it – it really is excellent, and very readable!]
“The problem is we haven’t convinced Government its assumptions about the sectors’ balance sheet, efficiency and effectiveness are wrong. That it is in government and society’s best interests to invest in us. It gets business. Yet at the heart of government it seems that the case for the value we generate or the long term benefit we generate for the economy is yet to be accepted. How else might we explain £750m for an entire sector (c170,000 organisations) versus Tesco receiving £585m in rate relief, whilst concurrently distributing £635m to shareholders and seeing sales increase by 30% during the crisis? £585m for a single company. £750m for all of us.”
Are you in a constant state of transition – dealing with loss, change and organisational adjustments?
Sign up for a free peer support session with IVAR
These 90 minute zoom calls aim to help VCSE leaders navigate and respond to live challenges. Past attendees have valued the opportunity to hear from other leaders, and to contribute to advice for funders through a briefing series
More information available here
Charity bodies lobby for major VAT reform
A group of major charity umbrella bodies have called for major reform to the VAT system because of the “significant burden” it places on UK voluntary sector organisations.
In a written submission to the House of Commons Treasury Committee for its inquiry into “tax after coronavirus”, the four umbrella bodies say that charities are unable to recover the VAT they pay on purchases to help their beneficiaries because they provide services that are outside the scope of the VAT system.
“They are, in effect, treated as the final consumer, even when they are not,” says the submission, from NCVO, the Charity Finance Group, the Charity Tax Group and the Chartered Institute of Fundraising.
It says the sector paid at least £2bn in business rates and irrecoverable VAT last year, “significantly more than is commonly perceived to be the case”.
The paper also reiterates calls for the government to temporarily increase the level of Gift Aid charities can claim in a bid to provide a £450m funding boost over the next two years.
Edition 23 – Wednesday 2 September
Department of Health and Social Care begins process of recruiting charities alliance
The Department of Health and Social Care has invited charities to apply to join the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Health and Wellbeing Alliance. Members of the alliance receive grant funding on an annual basis of up to £80,000 for their core work.
Jo Churchill, minister for prevention, public health and primary care, said: “The Health and Wellbeing Alliance is an excellent way to ensure a range of voices are heard and reflected in government policy. Over the last three years members have made an enormous contribution to a number of important policy developments … This relaunch is a fantastic opportunity to ensure that we not only continue to hear from the most underrepresented voices, but also allows us a refresh, so that important health messages reach those they affect the most.”
The deadline is 6 November, noon. Application support webinars will be run in September.
Getting on Board webinar on trustee diversity
Join national trustee recruitment and diversity charity, Getting on Board, for a practical webinar about how charities can diversify their trustee boards.
Only one third of trustees are women, 8% are people of colour and one third are under 50. 59% of charities report that their board does not reflect the communities they serve. And 74% of charities struggle to find the trustees they need. 9 September 11-12 and the cost is £10.
Loneliness Monetisation Report
DCMS has published the Loneliness Monetisation Report which estimates the monetised impacts associated with loneliness stemming from subjective wellbeing, health and productivity.
The report states that the combined wellbeing, health and productivity impacts associated with severe loneliness are estimated to be at least £9,976 per person experiencing severe loneliness per year. These estimates are calculated using best-practice techniques endorsed by the HM Treasury Green Book.
[Might be useful ammunition for grant applications?]
Hampshire County Council has decided to close 8 libraries: Blackfield, Elson, Fair Oak, Horndean, Lee-on-the-Solent, Lyndhurst, Odiham and South Ham.
The Council would welcome approaches from community groups or organisations interested in taking them over. If your organisation is interested in running an Independent Community Library in one of the areas identified then please complete and return an Expression Of Interest Form. Closing date for EOIs is Wednesday 30th September.
Collapse in charity provision looms at moment of greatest need
The Charity Finance Group has issued a depressing but all too familiar report which states that 58% of charities are to cut back services costing the sector 60,000 jobs.
The survey of 455 charities found that 19% have already made redundancies, and that 23% plan to make further cutbacks once the government’s furlough scheme comes to an end. That number jumps to 44% among the UK’s largest charities. Remarkably, nearly one-in-ten (8%) large charities anticipate reducing their headcount by 25-50%.
Social care challenges
Another report from the King’s Fund about how Covid-19 has magnified some of social care’s key problems.
Read report here
Public Health changes
A flurry of quality articles from the Kings Fund about the changes to the public health system and what the future might hold for the nation’s health.
“Found guilty without trial: The King’s Fund response to the shake-up of public health”
“Strengthening health protection: right idea, wrong time”
“The future of public health: many questions still to be answered”
[The second article is about the truly bizarre move of merging Public Health England with NHS Test & Trace. I once heard someone say that merging two sinking ships doesn’t make a seaworthy ship, it makes a sinking catamaran. Wise words!]
Government admits there has been no formal review into emergency small charity funding
The Government has been accused of breaking a promise over emergency Covid-19 funding for small charities, reports Civil Society, after it emerged that no “standalone review” has been conducted into the scheme.
In April this year, DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) stated they would “review early learnings” from the £200m Covid-19 Community Support Fund in order to “inform decisions about how to distribute the remaining cash”.
“Just before we pressed send on this newsletter, there was an announcement that Ipsos MORI will lead an evaluation of the £200m emergency support funding. They will subcontract NPC, Third Sector Research Centre & the Tavistock Institute to work alongside them.”
Learning to sail in a storm
A Charity CEO’s reflections on life during Covid-19. “Of all the lessons I’ve learned, the key to surviving a storm is the network of people around you, finding strength in a shared purpose and making sure nobody gets left behind.” [That’s why you should read our newsletter and become a member of Action Hampshire. Just saying …]
Food drop is a website that allows charities to sign up to weekly surplus food collections. You sign up to the website and it tells you what local retails have surplus food available for collection.
[I got an e-mail saying that Pret on Winchester High Street has surplus food available for collection. Shame I’m at home in Southampton, I do like Pret grub]
Autumn Online Training Workshops
The Sheila McKechnie Foundation is hosting a range of workshops to help you unleash your power, improve your personal campaigning skills, communicate your passion, generate support across the public and political worlds, as well as build stronger teams and organisations ready to create winning campaigns.
There are a number of workshops running right up to December so have a browse and see if any suit you. They aren’t free though – each one is £90 and they last about half a day.
Edition 21 – Wednesday 19 August
Department of Health and Social Care begins process of recruiting charities alliance
The Department of Health and Social Care has invited charities to apply to join the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Health and Wellbeing Alliance. Members of the alliance receive grant funding on an annual basis of up to £80,000 for their core work.
Jo Churchill, minister for prevention, public health and primary care, said: “The Health and Wellbeing Alliance is an excellent way to ensure a range of voices are heard and reflected in government policy. Over the last three years members have made an enormous contribution to a number of important policy developments … This relaunch is a fantastic opportunity to ensure that we not only continue to hear from the most underrepresented voices, but also allows us a refresh, so that important health messages reach those they affect the most.”
The deadline is 6 November, noon. Application support webinars will be run in September. Details can be found on the department’s website
We need to move on from emergency funding, charity leaders say
Sector leaders are calling for charities to move on from the demands of applying for emergency funding and back into more conventional cycles so they can begin to plan for the long term.
A briefing produced by the Institute for Voluntary Action Research called Between a Rock and a Hard Place, is informed by research among charity bosses on the challenges their organisations were facing and what support they needed to move on from the Covid-19 crisis.
As well as moving on from short-term funding, the report calls for funders to develop and prioritise trust, flexible funding, and support. The report says that this is best expressed through genuinely unrestricted funding, which grantees can use as they see fit in response to changing circumstances.
Sector leaders were also concerned with their staff and personal welfare, navigating the ease of lockdown, and how they develop plans for the long-term. The report calls for more access to peer support for charity bosses, more supportive funding structures, and greater collaboration and cross-sector engagement.
Covid-19 charity redundancies monitor
NPC (New Philanthropy Capital) is collating publicly available information about redundancies, both those that have occurred and those under consultation, in the charity sector. They have produced a series of timelines and graphs to indicate the scale of the crisis affecting the sector, so funders and philanthropists can target their giving and policymakers can better understand where the sector is struggling. Much of the data used to produce these graphs has come from the #NeverMoreNeeded campaign.
Click here to view the timeline and graphs
Annual leave and furlough guidance
NCVO’s Knowhow team has brought together a range of information on protecting and supporting the people working in your charity or voluntary organisation, and those who use your services, during the Covid-19 outbreak.
They have a specific section on this page which outlines updated guidance on annual leave and furlough which is worth reviewing, especially as legislation changes around the carrying over of annual leave and what to do if furloughed employees take/took annual leave. Don’t forget the Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme ends in October 2020.
Click here to see all the resources on that page
Gigabit broadband rollout milestone reached
The Government has announced that almost 500,000 premises across the UK are now connected to gigabit-capable broadband. This is part of a £1 billion government funding commitment until the end of 2021, with a further £5 billion for the hardest-to-reach areas to be earmarked soon. Nearly 45,000 vouchers, worth more than £90 million, have been issued to subsidise the cost of building faster, gigabit-capable broadband infrastructure to homes and businesses. The Government has asked organisations and residents in rural towns and villages to apply for some of the £70 million+ on offer that will “take them out of the digital slow lane”.
Click here for more details
A five point plan for charities, and what you can do to support it
It’s really important that MPs hear about the challenges that charities in their constituency are facing, so NCVO are encouraging charities to make sure they’re talking to their local MPs about how covid-19 is affecting your work, and how you expect it will do so in the future.
It’s clear that without ongoing support, charities are likely to become smaller and less able to respond to the many challenges that exist in society.
Along with a number of other charities who are part of the #NeverMoreNeeded campaign, NCVO are supporting a five point plan to ensure that charities are able to support the recovery – if you do speak to MPs it would be great if you could mention these five points
Eight opportunities that the Covid-19crisis reveals for the charity sector
Great blog by Joe Saxon of nfpSynergy
He writes “It’s very easy to get gloomy and despondent about the situation for charities, and while some would say there is plenty to be gloomy about, the reality is that the charity sector will only be able to come out of this crisis by making the most of the potential opportunities. So here is my analysis of some opportunities that the crisis has revealed for charities to grasp with both hands.”
I’d recommend you read the blog, but if you really can’t summon the will, here are the 8 opportunities he identifies:
- People are basically amazing humanitarians
- The older generation is getting Zoomtastic
- Charities have been there for many people in this crisis
- Office lockdowns have produced a geographical equality
- Pensioners are getting wealthier
- Grant-makers have shown their flexible side
- Fundraising is over-rated. Long live volunteering!
- The Charity Commission is now friendly and responsive with stable leadership [I’m biting my tongue in a frantic effort to be unbiased]
As workplaces reopen, employers face a surge in mental health issues
At the beginning of this year, Deloitte estimated that a sixth of UK workers were experiencing a mental health issue at any one time, costing UK businesses between £42-45 billion a year through lost days and reduced productivity. Thanks to the Covid-19-imposed lockdown, that figure is expected to continue to grow. Read this article about what you as an employer can do to help your employees during this time.
Covid-19 Hampshire impact survey
Across the vast variety of causes we work for and communities we serve, there is no doubt that the past few months have placed extraordinary demands on the voluntary sector. The challenges have and continue to be enormous, and the legacy on our sector will be profound.
- We need you to tell us what issues you are facing and what help you need.
- How has Covid-19 impacted your organisation?
- What do you need from us, now and in the weeks and months to come?
By completing the Hampshire CVS Network’s latest Covid-19 impact survey, you will help us to better understand the needs of local groups so that we can identify our role in supporting groups in our area as effectively and quickly as possible.
Please click here to take the survey
Thank you for your time and support!
Edition 19 – Wednesday 5 August
Reopening community buildings
We’ve updated (yet again, sigh) our website with the latest advice on re-opening your community building. You can access it on our website here
‘Emergency’ funding for charities. The saga continues …
11 weeks on from the opening of the Covid-19 Community Support Fund (on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis) barely a quarter of the government-funded part of the scheme for small charities has been ‘awarded’. It is not known if any of this £55 million has actually reached grantee bank accounts.
£310 million was originally pledged by Government to help small charities survive the Covid-19, and National Lottery Community Fund (NCLF) were chosen as the distributors. This funding seems to have turned into £200 million, with £110 million held back for unexplained reasons and apparently diverted elsewhere.
It now transpires that applications for grants from the pot are being assessed not only by the NLCF, but are also being privately vetted by consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has been awarded a £1.4m contract for the work!
Voluntary sector leaders who have grown increasingly alarmed at the delay in allocating the cash have reacted angrily to disclosure of the PwC vetting. Debra Allcock Tyler, Chief Executive of the Directory of Social Change (DSC) said: “This is an absolute travesty. Our suspicion is that it is all to do with political decisions about which charities are approved of by the government and which are not.”
The fund will close on 17th August, so if you want to get an application in, you need to do it sharpish. But my understanding is that you should not expect a speedy, transparent or apolitical process. Emergency funding it is not! To read the full (depressing) chapter and verse, see the Guardian’s article here or DSC’s piece here
A cynic might be drawn to conclude that our government is not that interested in saving small charities.
Covid-19 Hampshire impact survey
Across the vast variety of causes we work for and communities we serve, there is no doubt that the past few months have placed extraordinary demands on the voluntary sector. The challenges have and continue to be enormous, and the legacy on our sector will be profound.
We need you to tell us what issues you are facing and what help you need. How has Covid-19 impacted your organisation? What do you need from us, now and in the weeks and months to come?
By completing the Hampshire CVS Network’s latest Covid-19 impact survey, you will help us to better understand the needs of local groups so that we can identify our role in supporting groups in our area as effectively and quickly as possible. Please click here to take the survey. Thank you for your time and support.
How the voluntary sector and start ups can collaborate
NESTA’s latest report outlines how innovative collaborations are an important way to tackle complex challenges. It contains useful ideas for the types of partnerships might help you tackle some of the challenges presented by Covid-19.
Domestic abuse training – August dates
The Hampshire Domestic Abuse Partnership and some partner agencies offer training to public agency and voluntary sector professionals working within the domestic abuse field.
If you are a VCSE based within the Winchester district, Crowdfunder & Winchester City Council have grants available now. Additionally, Action Hampshire is working with an organisation that will help you to write the application. If you are interested and eligible, do please contact us via email
Collecting customer and visitor details for contact tracing
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published advice for organisations that are asked by government to collect and retain customer and visitor information, for a limited time period, for the purposes of a Covid-19 contact tracing scheme.
Covid-19 Recovery in Hampshire
Live interview with Sue Dovey, CEO of Action Hampshire, Neil Odin, Chief Fire Officer at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and David Williams, CEO of Portsmouth City Council. Together they discussed some of the issues facing local communities and organisations as they recover from Covid-19 and how they can build resilience. If you would like to view the recording of the interview please visit the video section of our Facebook page
DSC Zoom Talk – Racism: Not in our sector?
DSC (Directory of Social Change) is hosting a series of ‘Zoom talks’ aimed at creating an opportunity for people to get together for an honest discussion of the topical issues facing our sector today.
The latest one will be held on 12 August at 5pm and will focus on how racism has manifested itself in the charity sector and how we, as organisations and as individuals, can contribute to making the sector better.
Click here for more details
Communities vs. Covid-19: The Rise of Mutual Aid
This report from the New Local Government Network argues that the recent Mutual Aid response is a powerful demonstration what’s possible when communities come together. Yet for community collaboration to outlast this crisis and make our places more resilient in future, lessons must be learnt. The report offers a series of recommendations and lessons that can be used to help make this possible.
Being A Patient
The Patient Association has launched a report based on their work looking at patient experience. The report found that the approaches used to measure patient experience were quite narrow and focused on receiving care. Other approaches have been suggested with the report identifying some “promising avenues for exploration”.
Edition 17 – Wednesday 15 July
On 8th July the Chancellor announced the Government’s Summer Economic Update which included measures to ‘support, create and protect’ jobs, jobs, jobs.
Highlights from the update included the phasing out of the furlough scheme and introducing the ‘kick start’ scheme to help 18-24 year olds get into meaningful work. Full details of the measures can be found on the Government website here
Other measures relevant to the voluntary sector included the VAT reduction from 20% to 5% for the hospitality and tourism sectors.
Also the Charity Finance Group has helpfully summarised the Summer Economic Update and highlighted the key points for our sector going forward. Read their thoughts here
The #NeverMoreNeeded campaign is full of material explaining the positive impact of charities on people and communities, but it’s also useful to remember that across the UK the sector employs almost 1 million people, or 3% of the workforce. By comparison, the NHS employs around 1.5 million people. (Figures from the NCVO Almanac (2019) and FullFact for the NHS stats).
National Lottery Community Fund announces £45m Covid partnerships
The National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) has opened a £45m programme to fund charities and social enterprises working with people “disproportionately impacted” by Covid-19.
The money will be distributed through five partnerships, which includes £5m for migrant and refugee charities made available by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, and another £5m for homelessness charities via Homeless Link.
A further £5m will be distributed to charities giving welfare advice, while nearly £20m will go to social enterprises. A consortium headed by Power to Change has received £10m to work with community businesses and other local organisations in England.
The announcement comes a fortnight after the government reportedly withdrew from a series of partnership agreements without warning.
The partnerships would have been funded using public money from the NLCF’s Covid-19 Community Support Fund.
The NLCF told those partners last week that, in the absence of public funding, it would finance the work instead.
The annual UK Civil Society Almanac is now available to download
If, like me, you have an inner data geek that demands frequent feeding, you’ll be pleased to hear that NCVO’s annual Almanac has landed. It provides a snapshot of what voluntary organisations do, their income and spending, workforce, volunteering and its impact.
Key highlights include:
- 19.4m people volunteered at least once a year during 2018/19
- The voluntary sector contributed £18.2bn to the economy in 2017/18, representing about 0.9% of total GDP
- The voluntary sector has a paid workforce of 909,088, 5% more than in 2018
Click here to view the UK Civil Society Almanac 2020
On 8th July, the Chancellor announced some financial incentives for organisations recruiting new apprentices.
These range from £3,000 to £1,500 depending on the age of the apprentice. The incentives will last until 31st January 2021. As I know nothing about apprenticeships, I’ve done a bit of research and written a short guide to apprenticeships and Hampshire’s VCSEs.
Download the guide here
Risk of insolvency – what Chairs need to know
The Association of Chairs has put together guidance for trustees and Chairs who are worried whether their charity is insolvent; or, whether will become insolvent in the future and how will they recognise when this is the case.
Click here to read their guidance
Chartered Institute of Fundraising publishes recruitment guides
The Chartered Institute of Fundraising (IoF) has published a series of recruitment guides to support the sector to become a more equal, diverse and inclusive profession where we recruit for “culture add”, not “culture fit”. The four guides offer advice to: hiring managers, small charities recruiting their first fundraiser, people looking to start or move into a career in fundraising, and recruitment agencies. Each has been written with input from recruiters and experts on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI). All four guides also reflect on the challenges of more diverse recruitment during and after the Covid-19 crisis.
The Charity Excellence Framework has recently had a substantial upgrade, including post-lockdown support and 6 Covid-19 response toolkits. A 2 min video explains how the system is enabling charities, to not only survive, but also emerge from the crisis stronger and more effective.
Havant – in it to win it
Support your community through thick and thin, and be in with the chance of winning one of five £100 B&Q gift cards!
Havant Borough Community Lottery operates on the principle of raising money within the community, for the community. To enter the summer prize draw, buy one of more lottery tickets before Saturday 29th August.
A Lottery ticket costs £1, and 50p goes directly back to the Good Cause that you have chosen to support and a further 10p goes into the Havant Borough Community Fund, through which local groups can apply for small grants to support their work.
There are currently 97 Good Causes across the Borough, please support your local Good Cause, full details on our website
If you are a community group and would like to become a Good Cause, please visit our website for further information or email Laura Bevis, Community Officer
Health Lottery increases proportion of ticket price that goes to good causes
The Health Lottery has increased the proportion of its ticket prices that goes to good causes, from 20.3% to 25.5% (as compared to the National Lottery’s 28%).
The Health Lottery consists of 12 regional and country lotteries operating under the same brand across Britain. The ‘good causes’ money is allocated to one of the regions each month in rotation to tackle health inequalities.
Life beyond Covid
The Covid-19 Committee is inviting people to share their hopes and fears about what the pandemic might mean in the long-term for our home and working lives, and for how we function as a society – what might it mean for social cohesion, for (in)equality, for our environment or for arts and culture? Deadline for submission is 31 August.
Click here for full details
Original propositions are fundraising’s biggest opportunity as recession looms
A blog by fundraising consultant Chloe Amstein says that fundraisers should be focussing on ‘swing donors’ ie. those who are most likely to stop giving during tough economic times.
She says that people connect with the cause first, and we must focus on the message that emotionally connects people to the cause. “I believe the key to persuading the swing donor is using original propositions that invite people to create the world they want to live in: propositions like the NSPCC’s ‘Cruelty to children must stop, full stop’, and WaterAid’s less well-known ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’. They inspire and excite.”
Amstein observes that most charities still talk in a very similar way, using words like “help us be there”, and crafting original propositions can take a significant shift in mindset.
“Firstly, charities must accept that the proposition is all about the donor. Organisational announcements will fall on deaf ears. We must speak their language.
Secondly, charities need to embrace the power of lateral thinking. The university degrees most fundraisers have encourage analytical, literal thinking which rarely bears any original creative fruit.
Finally, charities must consistently apply their proposition across all activity – and that’s across both brand and fundraising. Consistency wins the attention of the distracted individual.
The silver lining from the Covid-19 crisis was that the sector finally gained some much longed-for relevancy.
But keeping a place in people’s hearts will not be easy as we all feel the recession bite. It will take some bold and original creative thinking to make sure people keep giving.”
You can read the full blog here, but unfortunately it’s behind Third Sector’s paywall.
Edition 15 – Wednesday 1 July
Covid-19 grants for small charities hit by ‘dithering and delay’
The government and the National Lottery Community Fund have faced renewed criticism over their handling of Covid-19 grants aimed at small charities.
Officials at both the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and NLCF have been unable to confirm whether any grants have yet been made from the Covid-19 Community Support Fund, which was set up a month ago to distribute millions of pounds to small charities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Charity leaders concerned about the lack of transparency have called the situation “deeply concerning” and “unacceptable.”
Emergency funding for small charities was first announced by the chancellor on 8 April, when he committed to “do everything we can to help the sector during this difficult time”. Six weeks later, after concerns about delays in setting up the fund, NLCF announced that it was open for applications, with £200m set for distribution in the first round of funding.
The NLCF has subsequently confirmed that it has received a “record breaking” number of applications to the fund, but has not released any data on the criteria for making funding decisions, how many applications it has received, how much money has been committed to charities, and how much money remains to be allocated. This week both NLCF and DCMS refused to comment on whether the fund had made any payments to charities so far.
The magnificent Debra Allcock Tyler (Chief Exec of Directory of Social Change) wrote: “… we received strong indications from multiple different sources that Ministers are unnecessarily slowing down the distribution of this emergency funding for small charities. To try to shed some light on the process we’ve submitted a Freedom of Information request to the National Lottery Community Fund about the Covid-19 Community Support Fund which you can read here – we’ll let you know as soon as we get a response!”
PM asks Danny Kruger to find out how charities can support Covid-19 recovery
Danny Kruger has been charged with putting forward proposals to “maximise” the role for charities in the next phase of the Covid-19 recovery.
Kruger, an MP and former Number Ten adviser, will consult with charities to look at how they can support public services and people facing additional disadvantage as result of the crisis, as well as what tools may be needed to support the sector.
Johnson has asked Kruger to report back by 24 July and cover the following topics:
- How civil society can support the NHS and other public services more effectively.
- Local social infrastructure such as libraries, youth clubs and services for older people, and the role of local communities in supporting this infrastructure.
- How civil society can help people facing unemployment as a result of the pandemic, especially young people who are new to the labour market.
- Public procurement, and how better commissioning of services can strengthen local civil society and improve outcomes.
- The role of philanthropy, social investment and business, and what new forms of finance can be used to support communities.
- The contribution of faith groups in strengthening social capital and community resilience.
- Opportunities for young people.
The opportunities of data and technology to improve the effectiveness of charities and social enterprises, and to enhance collaboration between organisations in the public private.
On Twitter, Kruger said: “We have seen society in action in this crisis – how can we empower and strengthen communities for the long term?” He has invited people to email him here
[Oh there are so many things I want to say about this … biting my tongue!]
Charities should ‘exercise judgment’ as they resume public fundraising, guidance says
Charities can start planning for the return of public fundraising activities but should consider the risks before going ahead with them, new guidance has said.
Published by the Fundraising Regulator and the Chartered Institute of Fundraising (IoF), the guidance lists the precautions charities should take if they decide to resume their public fundraising once the lockdown is lifted.
It includes a section on key principles when fundraising during the Covid-19 health emergency and a more specific guide on public fundraising, and was written in consultation with Public Health England.
“It’s the responsibility of individual charities to exercise judgment about when and how to resume fundraising, and this should only be when thorough risk assessments have been carried out, and informed decisions based on each individual organisation’s unique circumstances have been made.”
eBay to launch training programme for online charity retail
eBay is launching a training programme to help charity retailers make the most of e-commerce opportunities. eBay UK is urging charities to embrace online retail as a way to help raise funds in the face of the challenges posed by Covid-19.
Charity Connect aims to help charity retailers to build an effective online presence through dedicated customer service, onboarding assistance, promotional support and a tailored eBay training programme.
Charity Connect will begin next month with a series of free weekly webinars for new and existing charity sellers on how to boost sales on eBay, including follow-up one-to-one sessions with e-commerce experts. Training will begin from Tuesday 7 July and is free for charities to book.
“Inaction on racial justice is an active choice”
Fatima Iftikhar, of the anti-racism campaign group CharitySoWhite, said recently that in the foundation sector “inaction on racial justice is an active choice”. She added that if the sector does not change existing systems to make them more equitable for BAME people, it is coming up to face a moment of reckoning.
Find out more
Charity trustees face ‘undue burden’ due to volume and tone of guidance, say lawyers
There is an “undue burden” placed on trustees by the volume and tone of Charity Commission guidance, according to members of the Charity Law Association (CLA).
It says: “We are concerned that the volume and tone of the material that trustees are currently expected to read, know and apply places an undue burden on volunteer trustees and may discourage individuals from becoming or continuing as trustees.”
The submission also criticises the Commission for its focus on “public expectations”. “We do not consider this approach is helpful, or correct,” it states.
A 2017 Law Commission report on Technical Issues in Charity Law made 43 recommendations that it estimated would result in £27.76m in savings for the charity sector. The government has not yet responded to the Law Commission’s report or found legislative time to introduce a new Charities Bill implementing its recommendations.
[Still biting my tongue]
Charity coalition calls for temporary rise in Gift Aid rate
A coalition of major charities and umbrella bodies has urged the government to temporarily increase the rate of Gift Aid not-for-profit organisations can claim in a bid to provide a £450m boost to the sector’s finances.
The group is asking the government to increase the effective amount of Gift Aid that charities receive on eligible donations from 25 per cent to 33 per cent for the next two years, in a move that would help alleviate the shortfall many charities are facing because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The organisations estimate that the increase would be worth an additional £450m to the sector over the next two years. But be cost-neutral to the public purse because the cancellation of many fundraising events in the midst of the pandemic will lead to fewer Gift Aid claims being made.
Sir John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said the move would be a “straightforward, quick and tangible way to help charities at this most challenging time in their history”.
Weathing the storm
Third Sector have produced a free insight report looking at how charities weathered previous economic crises, considering a post-Covid fundraising landscape, and how tech can aid third sector recovery.
It has some interesting bits, but my main take-away was their “thinking on the bright side” section:
- Despite economic uncertainty, a third of donors are giving more during lockdown than usual. Plus, 15% are volunteering more.
- Large scale disaster appeals do not cannibalise donations to the sector, they actually increase overall giving. Non-disaster charities see an increase in average donations for around six weeks after an appeal.
- Recessions tend to make people more generous. Despite a decline in overall donation income during recessions, this is mainly due to wealthier individuals giving less. As a whole, low to middle wage workers actually increase their donations to charity.
Edition 14 – Wednesday 24 June
We were built for this
[I love this title! With a title like that, it’s got to be worth a read.]
Locality have produced a report “We were built for this” which highlights the vital role community organisations have played in meeting community need and supporting people during the Covid-19 crisis.
The report had four key findings including:
- Community organisations have often been the quickest to mobilise and adapt their services to the crisis – but need support to meet the challenges of the future
- Community organisations have been the glue that has held together the community response
Read the full report here
Home Truths: Undoing racism and delivering real diversity in the charity sector
This week ACEVO has published their final report from its Making Diversity Count project which is in collaboration with Voice4Change England.
The report – ‘Home Truths: Undoing racism and delivering real diversity in the charity sector’ – does not ask if there is a problem with ‘race’ equity in the charity sector. It has long been known that there is an under-representation of BAME people working in the charity sector, and that under-representation is worse in senior leadership roles. Instead, this report looks to reframe the ‘diversity’ debate, saying that racism is a significant and unresolved issue in the charity sector just as it is in the rest of society. Download the report here
As well as reading the report you can listen to a special podcast where Kristiana Wrixon – Head of Policy at ACEVO – talks to Dr Sanjiv Lingayah, lead author and Voice4Change England associate, and Sufina Ahmad, director at John Ellerman Foundation and a member of the ACEVO race advisory group, about the making of the report as well as their personal impressions about the findings and recommendations.
Lloyds Bank promises £25.5m to its charitable foundations in 2021
In a statement, Lloyds said that the pandemic had created “unprecedented difficulties” for the charity sector, but the funding commitment from the group “will help to safeguard their future and the important work that they do”.
Leading Beyond Lockdown
Clore Social Leadership have launched their new online programme designed to help individuals whose work has been affected by Covid-19 gain the clarity, support, and skills to lead confidently in a post-pandemic world. If you’re interested, apply as soon as possible to get the Early Bird fee of £95 (deadline 13th July). More information
Proportion of people giving to charity at new low
A new report by nfpSynergy says that the proportion of people giving to charity has fallen to the lowest level in a decade.
60% of the 1,000 adults it surveyed last month said they had donated to charity in the previous three months, the lowest level recorded by the quarterly poll since nfpSynergy started asking the question in 2011. But … for those who said they had given, the average amount donated had risen to a new high. And among the key fundraising audience of people aged over 65, only 22 per cent said they would cut back on their charitable spending over the next year. A statement from nfpSynergy said that “beyond the lockdown’s immediate impact on charities’ ability to raise funds, it is not necessarily clear what the long-term impact will be of a recession on the sector”.
So if I’m reading it correctly, fewer people are giving, but those that do are giving larger amounts. And most don’t intend to reduce this. I wonder where donations to NHS charities fit into this? Do people consider these donations to charity, or to the NHS? Would this have skewed the answers to nfpSynergy’s poll? Interesting.
A fifth of voluntary sector staff have been furloughed
Almost a fifth of all voluntary sector employees have been furloughed during the Covid-19 pandemic, government figures show.
The government’s response to the inquiry by MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee into the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak on the voluntary sector says that, as of 3 May, 164,000 jobs in the charity sector had been furloughed.
NCVO said in its UK Civil Society Almanac 2019 that the voluntary sector employed 865,000 people as of June 2018, which means that about 19 per cent of employees have been put on furlough.
Edition 13 – Wednesday 17 June
Delivering public services
Has your organisation been delivering public services during the pandemic?
NCVO would really like to hear how it’s been going as they’re pushing for improvements to the system via a new government inquiry. And they’re also planning a new guide to principles in commissioning
Re-opening your hall
ACRE have produced some excellent guidance for halls and centres who wish to re-open asap.
View guidance here
Make your workplace Covid-19 secure
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have produced a guide to help you manage the risk associated with restarting or running your business during the outbreak across a number of topics, including the latest advice on:
Charities face £10.1 billion funding gap over next six month
UK charities are facing a £10.1 billion funding gap over the next six months as a result of Covid-19, according to new analysis from Pro Bono Economics (PBE). PBE says that small charities, with incomes of less than £500,000 a year, are especially exposed to the income squeeze.
“Government has its head in the sand”
The government has been accused of taking a “head-in-the-sand” approach to the voluntary sector after ministers rejected recommendations from MPs on the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee.
The government reiterates that charities delivering vital services and assisting vulnerable people during the Covid-19 crisis would be eligible to apply for support from the government’s £750m funding package for the sector, and said that it was important to “strike the right balance between supporting the sector’s important work and ensuring its ongoing independence and sustainability”.
Julian Knight, chair of the DCMS Select Committee, said: “The government is taking a head-in-the-sand approach to the plight of charities, struggling for survival against lost income and soaring demands for their services from people hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis.” Ministers fail to recognise that the charities and voluntary sector present a special case at such a critical time for the country.
Navigating funding during Covid-19
Good Finance have created a new downloadable guide to help organisations navigate funding and government support.
It also includes information on new funds and facilities, emergency finance options and how funders are responding.
Get the guide here
How do we build back better?
In an article for the Financial Times, Vidhya Alakeson (CEO of Power to Change) explores how we can build more vibrant high streets post-lockdown, and why the first step should be putting ownership into the hands of the community.
Read it here
Charities advised to consider deferring pension contributions
A report published by the pensions consultancy Hymans Robertson, says that as charities need to consider conserving cash, they may wish to consider deferring pension contributions to save money in the short term. There needs to be a strong business need for a deferral and it should be for no longer than an initial three months, the report adds.
“Charities need to be aware that, while deferring pension contributions provides short-term respite, the contributions will ultimately still need to be paid,” it says.
Applications invited for the Big Give Christmas Challenge
The annual match-funding event raised £15.6m for almost 600 UK good causes last year.
After registering, which must be done by 5pm on 3 July, charities will have until 28 August to raise pledges from major supporters that will form the basis of each organisation’s match-fund pot. To be eligible for the scheme, a charity must be UK-registered and have an annual income of more than £25,000.
Edition 12 – Wednesday 10 June
Peer support for VCSE Leaders
IVAR is offering online peer support sessions for the leaders of voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations – 90 minute sessions, for up to 10 leaders at a time. This is a space to share experiences, dilemmas and worries precipitated by the Covid-19 outbreak. Each session will be led by an experienced facilitator, supported by a researcher to capture and record key data. These will be held across June and July. Click here to book your place
Health and Safety
HSE has published a range of guidance, which you may find useful. It includes information on:
- Hand sanitiser and surface disinfectant: Advice for employers, manufacturers and suppliers on hand sanitiser and surface disinfectant
- Legionella risks: Building closure or reduced occupancy can increase the risks of Legionnaires’ disease
- Working safely during the Covid-19 outbreak: Guidance to help you run your business while keeping your workplace Covid-19 secure
Reporting serious incidents to the Charity Commission during the Covid-19 pandemic
The Charity Commission has updated its guidance for trustees on what they should do if a serious incident occurs during the pandemic. The guide discusses whether trustees should/should not be reporting certain issues and other steps to consider. The Commission says they appreciate the unprecedented nature of these times and encourage swift reporting so they can understand the issues charities are facing. View the guidance here
As part of changes to the Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), there are important dates that may impact you in the coming weeks:
- The scheme will close to anyone who hasn’t been furloughed for 3 weeks by 30 June, so you will only be able to claim for employees after that if they have been furloughed for a full three-week period at any time before the end of June.
- So, if you intend to furlough an employee who hasn’t been furloughed before, you will need to agree that with them and start their period of furlough on or before 10 June – this is the last day on which someone who has never been furloughed before can start a period of furlough and qualify for the scheme – this ensures the minimum three-week period is complete by 30 June.
- You will then have until 31 July to make a claim for any periods of furlough up until 30 June – this applies to both employees furloughed for the first time and those you have previously furloughed and claimed for.
- The rules are changing on 1 July – this will include ‘flexible furloughing’. On 12 June, full guidance on all the scheme changes will be published on GOV.UK – search for ‘Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme’ to find this – webinars offering more support on the changes will also be available to book online from 12 June.
More info here
Free online checklist for working digitally
Charity trustees are being offered a free online checklist to help them make effective decisions about working digitally.
It has been written as a starting point to help leaders of organisations review digital progress made in the light of the Covid-19 crisis. The checklist identifies best practice and tips on subjects ranging from remote working to digitalising governance processes.
“The great thing about this new checklist is that it’s accessible to everyone. It is a tool that can bring an understanding of digital to the entire board, giving them everything they need to understand what they should be aiming to achieve and how to go about it.”
The All Parliamentary Group on Social Integration has published its interim report from the Covid-19 inquiry. The findings focus around:
- the impact of Covid-19 on social isolation
- community relations
- the different responses to the crisis
They also have some recommendations which include this one – “during the crisis period all councils should have a cabinet lead whose remit covers social isolation and volunteering.” Read the report in full here
Edition 11 – Wednesday 3 June
Changes to furlough rules
Firstly the rate that the government pays:
- Currently, and up to the end of July, the Government pay 80% of salary up to the cap of £2,500 per month, plus 3% pension contributions, and the NI.
- From 1 August the Government will pay 80% of salary up to the cap of £2,500 per month, but the employer will pay the pension contributions and the NI.
- From 1 September the Government will pay 70% up to £2,190 per month, employers will pay 10% of salary plus the pension and NI.
- From 1 October the Government will pay 60% of salary up to £1,875, employers will pay 20% of salary plus the pension and NI.
Secondly, the ability to bring back employees from furlough part time. The HMRC website states:
From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.
The scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3 week period prior to 30 June.
This means that the final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10 June, in order for the 3 week furlough period to be completed by 30 June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.
Further guidance on flexible furloughing and how employers should calculate claims will be published on 12 June.
Community buildings – guidance for hosting pre-schools
The legislation to allow community buildings to open for use by a pre-school is now in force (as of 1st June). The regulations now say that community buildings can open for two reasons:
1. To provide essential voluntary activities or urgent public support services OR
2. For early years childcare provided by a person registered on the Early Years Register under Part 3 of the Childcare Act 2006.2.
Community centres and halls must still remain closed to the public for all other activities.
See more detail here
Sector bodies call for Covid-19 ‘data collective’
A group of 15 major voluntary sector organisations has called for the creation of a “data collective” that will enable charities and other sector bodies to more effectively share information about the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the think tank NPC, the British Red Cross and Citizens Advice are among the organisations to have signed an open letter proposing the move. It says that the organisations “want to make sure that people in charities, on the front line and in leadership positions, have access to the information they need, in a timely fashion, in the easiest possible format to understand, with the clearest possible analysis of what it means for them”.
Online discussion events
NCVO is asking you to share your experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic, and invites you to join their free online discussion events in partnership with Tortoise.
Each one will cover a specific topic that gives you a chance to share the challenges you face, the decisions you’re making and the solutions you’re finding with your colleagues in voluntary organisations.
- The future of fundraising: threats and opportunities – 2 June, 14:00 – 15:00
- Building organisational resilience: what do we need to think about? – 9 June, 14:00 – 15:00
- Lessons learnt from the pandemic: planning for a new normal -16 June, 14:00 – 15:00
- Lessons learnt from the pandemic: planning for a new normal – 23 June,14:00 – 15:00
- Working together to move forward: opportunities and challenges – 7 July, 14:00 – 15:00
- What do we want the future of the sector to look like? – 14 July, 14:00 – 15:00
Charity Retail Association’s latest re-opening pack
The Charity Retail Association has issued version 4 of its Charity Retail Reopening Pack. This version includes the workplace-specific guidance published by the Government last week and supersedes previous versions.
Virtual Board Meetings
Legislation that will allow charities to hold board and members meetings virtually, even if the organisations’ constitutions do not permit it, passed the first stage on its way to becoming law on 20th May.
The Office for National Statistics has published indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey covering the period 21 May to 24 May, which aimed to understand the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on people, households and communities.
Friends Against Scams
Friends Against Scams is a National Trading Standards initiative which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams. Their website has a range of information to help prevent scams, as well as online training and downloadable information.
New guidance from Health and Safety Executive
- Using PPE at work during the Covid-19 outbreak
- Hand sanitiser products and surface disinfectants during the Covid-19 outbreak
South Western Railway has been running a reduced train service since March. From Monday 1 June, they will re-introduce services on several routes including:
- An hourly service between Guildford and Farnham
- An hourly service between Ascot and Aldershot
- A full service on the Salisbury to Romsey via Southampton Central & Eastleigh service
- A full service on the Island Line
When this is all over
Rev Tim Clarke of Ibex has written a blog on the theme of “When this is all over”. And launched a competition to write a blog/make a video on the same theme. Prizes for winners! See here
Edition 10 – Thursday 29 May
Discretionary Grants Fund
As previously outlined in the newsletter, this funding has been passed from government to local authorities and should be open to charities with properties that are receiving charities business rates relief – but it is discretionary.
Guidance for local authorities was published on 13th May and states: “It is recognised that local authorities will need to run some form of application process as the potential beneficiaries are highly unlikely to be known directly by the local authorities. This will allow local authorities to undertake proportionate pre-payment checks to confirm eligibility relative to their local scheme and to allow each local authority to determine how to use its discretion in relation to the appropriate level of grant.”
The Charity Tax Group advises that charities contact their local authority to express their view that they should be eligible!
How’s your Chair?
Is your Chair looking a bit frayed at the edges? Chairs and other trustees play an invaluable part in the life of the VCS and deserve our thanks – volunteering at board level takes a special set of skills and knowledge, as well as time and energy. The Association of Chairs has produced a handy Self Care for Chairs guide. #ShowYourChairYouCare
A winge from me… I’ve been trying to persuade Zoom to let Action Hampshire ‘bulk buy’ Zoom licences at a reduced rate, on behalf of smaller charities and community groups. After lots of to-ing and fro-ing, Zoom have refused to help. So I’ve got the hump! I’m investigating alternative options, with GoToMeeting seemingly a good option. Please let me know if you have any experience of alternatives, or any other suggestions/bright ideas. (Charity Digital provide a reduced rate for Zoom subscriptions, but you have to pay them £56 to access it, so you only save about a fiver).
Covid-19: guidance for Community Interest Companies (CICs)
The Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies (CICs) has robust plans in place to maintain services for CICs and protect the welfare of employees during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Do you have any experience of commissioning or contracting (good or bad) since the outbreak?
NCVO needs you to help make the case for a more flexible approach to commissioning and contracting post-Covid-19. They are working in collaboration with Children England, Clinks, Locality and Lloyds Bank Foundation to set out what the ‘new normal’ should look like.
Complete this form and tell your stories of good and bad commissioning practice since the outbreak. Your experiences will help highlight the benefits of flexible and collaborative approaches.
Lottery record breaker
The Covid-19 Community Support Fund (made up of £200m of the £750m promised by government) received hundreds of applications when it launched last Friday, with requests totalling “multi-millions of pounds” – and broke the Lottery’s record for the most applications received in a single day.
There’s no specific deadline or window for the fund, and how long it remains open will depend on both the demand, and how quickly decisions to award grants can be made. If you are thinking of applying, or you’re working on an application now, don’t hang about! Further details are in our funding section.
Lockdown and its effects on society
Stacie duPerrouzel, a freelance writer/director, is working on a story about the lockdown and how it has affected society.
She is particularly interested in speaking with charities who are working with women, domestic violence survivors and people in an economically unstable position.
Contact Stacie by phone on 0777 1790 042 or email Stacie Duperrouzel to find out more about her project.
Edition 9 – Wednesday 20 May
Furlough and holiday
A number of people have been asking us about furlough and annual leave entitlement. The furlough rules state that:
- Furloughed staff continue to accrue annual leave while on furlough – their contracts and terms and conditions are no different to normal.
- You can ask furloughed staff to take ‘reasonable’ amounts of annual leave whilst on furlough, but you need to give them double the days as notice. Ie. if you want them to take 5 days a/l, you need to give them 10 working days of notice.
- Bank holidays. If you are paying furloughed staff anything less than 100% salary, you need to either give them the ‘credit’ for the bank holiday when they return to work, or pay them the 100% rate for the bank holiday.
£100m fund launched to support charities through crisis
The Covid-19 Support Fund aims to raise £100m in total, with £82.5m already pledged by 29 personal finance companies.
The fund has been launched in partnership with the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and has made an initial £20m donation to the National Emergencies Trust (NET). Charities will not be able to apply for funding directly, but money will be distributed through umbrella bodies. The fund aims to “provide immediate relief to charities affected by Covid-19”. It is looking to support community-based charities that are struggling during the crisis, charities supporting the most vulnerable, and wellbeing and mental health initiatives, among others.
We don’t currently know any further details, but as National Emergencies Trust money is being distributed through Community Foundations, this initial funding should provide a welcome top-up for Hampshire and IOW Community Foundation’s funding.
The Government’s Covid-19 recovery strategy: Implications for charities
Elizabeth Chamberlain has written a helpful blog about the ‘steps’ towards easing lockdown and how they will affect charities. Many charities are thinking about how they will manage phased re-opening. Some community buildings are telling us about issues such as pre-schools operating from their premises wishing to re-open on 1st June, but the buildings themselves not being permitted to open until at least July.
Sayer Vincent have a useful Covid-19 hub and FAQs on their website, covering issues such as Gift Aid, business rates and Annual Reports. Sayer Vincent are specialist charity accountants, so it’s worth a look.
Transition from lock down
ACAS have put together a new digital training session designed to address the key issues that employers are facing in navigating from lock down through to transition and beyond.
These sessions will be delivered by Zoom, with small delegate numbers to allow the opportunity to ask questions of our knowledgeable advisers and to also allow for delegates to share their own experiences and explore the key issues they may be facing.
- 08th June – 10am till 12pm
- 16th June – 10am till 12pm
- 24th June – 10am till 12pm
- 3rd July – 10am till 12pm
Monitoring the impact of Covid-19 on the charity sector
Pro Bono Economics and Civil Society Media want to continue to understand the pressures being faced by the charity sector, and to monitor how things change week to week as the Covid-19 challenge shifts. In order to collect this data, they are running a weekly survey which will take only 60 seconds to complete.
Click here to complete the survey
The Evaluation Mindset: When nobody listens
Maybe evaluation is not at the top of your priority list right now, but given that we’re all doing things in new and peculiar ways, perhaps it should be (or near the top anyway). Chris Lysy has written a fantastic blog about evaluation. I really enjoyed reading it – largely because it’s got lots of brilliant cartoons.
DCMS Committee report on the impact of Covid-19 on charities
The DCMS Committee has published its report on the impact of Covid-19 on charities, saying the funding provided so far is ‘too little too late’
The report argues that the government should introduce the stabilisation fund advocated by NCVO and other sector bodies, criticising the government for only focusing on charities working directly on Covid-19, the lack of transparency in the allocation of funding, and calling on the government to allow furloughed staff in charities to volunteer for their employers.
NCVO chief executive Karl Wilding has this week expressed concerns over the length of time that the publication of criteria for funding is taking.
Social Enterprise online forum
Social Enterprise UK have launched an online forum, designed to bring the social enterprise community together to share their experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic, to discuss important topics and to post offers of support and calls for help. You can register for it here
Charity Retail Association Reopening Pack
The second draft of the CRA’s Reopening Pack is available for download. The pack consists of helpful guidance for when the green light to open up shops begins to shine, and provides some suggestions of things to think about in the meantime. The pack is being updated regularly in response to feedback and as government guidance changes.
Updated and interactive data on the Covid-19 crisis for charities and funders
Think NPC has built an interactive dashboard to help charities see which places are currently suffering the most from Covid-19, and where underlying factors such as age, health, ethnicity, as well as economic indicators, may indicate greater risk. Take a dive into their website and let us know what you think.
Edition 8 – Wednesday 13 May
Peers tell Chancellor he must allow furloughed charity staff to volunteer for their own organisations
A letter to Rishi Sunak, written by the Liberal Democrat Baroness Tyler of Enfield and signed by 13 others, says failure to do so could create ‘an irreparable void’ in charity services. The letter, sent yesterday (12th), acknowledges that the job-rentention scheme needs to be protected from abuse, but the nature of charities means the chances of that happening are “inherently remote”. It adds: “We strongly believe charities must not be discouraged from delivering critical front-line services at a time where demand has soared, income has disappeared and they face a very uncertain future.”
Making the government’s Covid-19 support schemes work better for charities
Many of the business support measures are open to charities, but they are designed in ways that actually restrict access. Elizabeth Chamberlain explains the improvements that NCVO and others are pushing for.
DCMS select committee report calls for urgent action to support charities
After hearing evidence from NCVO and many other charities, the committee’s recommendations include a stabilisation fund for the sector and a review of existing support schemes.
Is your district council dishing out the dosh?
Figures released this week by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show a big discrepancy in the distribution of Covid-19 support grants by local authorities. The data covers the distribution of Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund (RHLGF), both of which can be claimed by charities in some circumstances.
The top distributor nationally is our very own Basingstoke and Deane Council, who has distributed over 97% of their allocation. At the other end of the scale is Havant Borough Council who have only distributed 40%.
We are wondering whether the councils with the lower levels of distribution have not had many applications, or of there are other barriers preventing these funds being distributed. Please let us know what the issue is, if your area is at the lower end – we will make sure information is fed in to MHCLG – email Kirsty Rowlinson. If you want to check on your council, the data is here
Local authorities and discretionary funding for charities
Last weekend, the Government announced additional discretionary support for small businesses, including charities
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.
This is a limited pot of funding and we urge you to contact your local authority urgently if you believe you may be eligible.
Extra 1,500 free places available for Third Sector’s Fundraising Conference
Third Sector is making an additional 1,500 places available for free for next week’s (20th -21st May) virtual Fundraising Conference after the initial allocation of tickets sold out within 48 hours.
We understand that some smaller charities have not been applying for government support because of confusion over business rates and rateable value. Rateable value (RV) is a value that is given to all non-domestic and commercial properties. It is used to assess the amount of business rates the property owner or leaseholder must pay. Some government support for businesses (including charities and voluntary organisations) is allocated based on the RV of your premises. You can find out the RV of your premises by entering your postcode or part address to find the details for your premises.
Once you know your rateable value or RV from the database above, you can calculate business rates. Your business rates (whether or not you actually pay them) will be roughly half that figure. (The multipliers for this financial year be either 0.5040 or 0.4910 depending on the type of property), so about half. If your rateable value is £50,000, then your business rates will be around £25,000. Clear as mud?
A quarter of charities cannot take digital donations, CAF poll finds
Almost a quarter of charities cannot take digital donations, new research shows, meaning it will be harder for them to adapt to the more cash-free environment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
CAF said other research had shown that, within days of lockdown being imposed in late March, the use of cash in the UK fell by 50 per cent as consumers turned to contactless payments in a bid to reduce the spread of the virus. Is this something your organisation is worried about? If so, contact us and we’ll see if we can help.
Covid-19 research findings. What do donors think about giving now?
Bluefrog Fundraising carried out depth interviews with people who actually give to charity, including donors who had cut back their giving.
You can watch a video of their findings here
Financial health of sector ‘worse than all-time low in manufacturing’
A survey by Acevo, in partnership with the Centre for Mental Health, finds that the financial health of the sector is worse than that of manufacturing, which is at an all-time low. Seven out of 10 charities say donations and new business have fallen in the past month, and nearly six out 10 say cash flow has worsened. Seventy per cent of respondents said new business and donation income had fallen, while 59 per cent said they felt cash flow had deteriorated and 61 per cent said their reserve levels had fallen.
There will be no ‘back to normal’
For anyone starting to think about resilience and redesign, NESTA have produced a useful and considered PESTLE analysis. Click here to view
Has anyone written a fundraising recovery plan for the rest of the year?
This question was pasted on a Covid Facebook group we are following. It had 50 comments attached to it – mostly people saying that they knew they should create one but weren’t sure where to start. Charity Excellence Framework posted this as some guidance
An updated warning on charity fraud
Action Fraud has updated its charity fraud page to include new trends and issues to look out for. It is worth sharing this information to ensure beneficiaries and donors know that your charity is legitimate.
See the full details here
Shelter warns of ‘tsunami’ of evictions once the lockdown ends
According to The Independent, Shelter says many of the two million people applying for universal credit, which includes the local housing allowance, are still struggling to meet the costs of rent, which is leading to mounting debt and rent arrears.
It is asking for the government to increase housing benefit to match 50 per cent of the average rent in the area. “Our services are already hearing from families in homes they could comfortably afford under normal circumstances who are now in serious financial difficulty,” Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, told the newspaper.
#iwill campaign letter urges a Covid-19 conference for young people
The letter is supported by 80 charity organisations, includes the Scouts, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and Unicef.
It says: “We must recognise and respect their contribution. From Norway to New Zealand to Scotland, other countries are already leading the way forward in engaging with young people directly on these issues and more. The UK government should do the same.” For more information, click here
Power to change report: Locally rooted community organisations play central role in tackling the crisis
Power to Change has produced a report called ‘Local Heroes: How to Sustain Community Spirit Beyond Covid-19’ which presents six insights into the initial community response to the crisis. The report says mutual aid works best at the micro-level and that mutual aid at scale needs community organisations. It adds that community spirit is everywhere, but some places need more support and that community organisations have changed quickly to meet local needs. Lastly, the report finds that bigger institutions rely on community organisations to respond well and that trading community organisations are falling through the cracks.
The Charity Commission may have ‘eroded’ public trust, says Sir Stuart Etherington
The Charity Commission may have “created a climate where public confidence may have been eroded, rather than public trust being enhanced”, Sir Stuart Etherington, the former chief executive of NCVO has said. Etherington says that the sector needs to think through what a good model for charity regulation would look like. He writes: “It [regulation] should be based on a public interest framework, which is not the same thing as public opinion. One thing is for sure, voluntary organisations suffering significantly as a result of the reduction of income are not going to have the resources to respond to the level of compliance implied by current narrow view of regulation. So, the framework will need to change.”
Edition 7 – Wednesday 6 May
Helping charities focus on recovery
A blog by NPC’s Charlotte Lamb, says charities should be focusing on their core purposes and adapting their work to changes in the external environment, but in line with their resources and capabilities, helping to anchor them in a time of uncertainty.
She examines whether core purposes need to be adapted, looks at opportunities in the external environment and how resources can be maximised, concluding that strategy development is key.
UN urges nations to ‘recover better’
As the world begins planning for a post-pandemic recovery, the United Nations is calling on Governments to seize the opportunity to “build back better” by creating more sustainable, resilient and inclusive societies.
The United Nations is devising a blueprint for a healthier plant and society that leaves no one behind. Read here and check out #buildbackbetter on Twitter.
Society will be weaker in the future if charities don’t get help now, warn peers
The Liberal Democrat peer Lord Addington called a virtual debate to discuss how the charity sector would be affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. A fuller description of the proceedings can be read here.
Opening the debate, he said: “Virtually all aspects of life have a charitable input into them. Education, care, support, social activity, the arts and sport are all covered and interact with it in certain ways, as do virtually all commercial activities. This is something we must take seriously and pay attention to, not only during the crisis but as we exit it.”
Many positive statements about the voluntary sector were made by peers during the debate, which was oversubscribed, leading to 17 peers being excluded.
During the debate, Baroness Barker, Lib Dem, said: “This debate, from which several members of the House have been excluded by the government, is inadequate to cover the complexity and the details for the subject, and that is rather unsatisfactory. Therefore my first question is to ask when the government will set aside time for a proper debate. It is needed.” Hear hear!
‘Overlooked’ charities could add much more to the economy than is currently estimated
The charity sector’s contribution to the economy is severely underestimated and could amount to £200bn per year, a report from Pro Bono Economics (PBE) has found. This is 12 times more than officially estimated, a discrepancy which leaves the sector “vulnerable to policy neglect”.
The report, Undervalued and Overlooked? The Need for Better Understanding of Civil Society’s Contribution to the UK Economy, was put together by 3 PBE economists. It argues for a review of the way the charity sector’s contribution to the economy is officially calculated.
Currently, the sector’s gross added value (GVA) is estimated at £17bn. However, the report’s authors say that four types of contribution have not been taken into account:
- Official volunteers
- Informal volunteers
- Spillover fiscal benefits (eg. helping homeless people into accommodation and work can result in lower crime rates and health spend, as well as higher tax revenues)
- Wider economic spillover (eg. receiving counselling at primary school can result in a person living a healthier life and having higher lifetime earnings).
The report says that while there is not enough data available to make an accurate estimate, if these factors are considered, the sector could be worth as much as £200bn. Finally, the report suggests that the £750m government response package to the Coronavirus crisis is insufficient due to this undervaluation.
Public understanding of charities ‘must be improved when pandemic recedes’
A study by the academics Beth Breeze and John Mohan says the public’s ‘low and arguably uninformed’ opinion of the sector dates back at least 70 years.
The study, called Sceptical Yet Supportive: Understanding Public Attitudes to Charity says that people in Britain are supportive of charities but do not really understand them.
The report says more needs to be done by the sector and its stakeholders to provide evidence-based responses to public criticism. But it says that “When influential people are ‘sticking the boot into charity’ – whether they be senior political figures, current and former chairs of the Charity Commission or newspaper editors – this hardly seems likely to stimulate public support”.
Gift Aid Newbies
Some established organisations may find themselves in a situation where they wish to claim Gift Aid for the first time. For example, a group that usually charges for lessons, but is now taking donations for on-line sessions. Sayer Vincent have a helpful ‘beginner’s guide’ to Gift Aid here
Insurers ‘hold secret talks’ on £100m fund to help charities
Sky News claim that the chairs of major insurance companies including Aviva, Hiscox and RSA have floated the idea during discussions in recent weeks, and the Association of British Insurers, the industry body, has been involved. According to the broadcaster, the objective of the new fund would be to donate sums to smaller charities that have been brought to the brink of collapse by the pandemic. [My breath is bated]
Megan Hann has written a great blog for School for Social Enterpreneurs on “5 Reasons why now is a good time to consider crowdfunding” [I was initially skeptical, but I have to admit that she really does have a point, 5 in fact]. And for those in Winchester District or Solent area, there are two funding schemes that can lever in extra funds for your Crowdfunding campaign.
Volunteering interest has declined but donating intention doubles
A poll of 10,000 British people conducted by YouGov found that the number of British people interested in face-to-face volunteering during the coronavirus pandemic declined in April, but those interested in making financial donations to charities doubled.
Grassroots radio boosted through community fund
The government has announced that the £400,000 Community Radio Fund administered by Ofcom will be used to provide a lifeline for radio stations hit hardest by the coronavirus. Relevant stations will be invited to bid for emergency grants through Ofcom to help meet their core costs. Community radio stations can receive further guidance and information from Ofcom
Healthwatch Eye and Ears
Healthwatch Hampshire are asking you to tell them about people’s experiences of health and social care services at this difficult time. “We don’t want to add more work to everything you are already doing, but if people are talking about or expressing concerns about health and social care services please encourage them to get in touch with us and provide feedback. We will use the feedback to create change and improve services by sharing this with health and social care partners.”
Healthwatch would also like feedback on how the public are finding the new ways of working across health and social care e.g. different processes for appointment bookings, use of e-consult, and potentially video consultations. Has this actually improved things? They would love to hear from you, please get in touch or ask people in your community to contact them directly.
Edition 6 – Wednesday 29 April
Mental health support for frontline workers
Our Frontline offers round-the-clock one-to-one support, along with a collection of resources, tips and ideas chosen to support your mental health as you do your work to protect us all and keep the country going. Text FRONTLINE to 85258 for a text conversation or call 116 123 for a phone conversation – all in confidence, with a trained volunteer, at any time. The website also has lots of other resources that can support your emotional and mental wellbeing.
Dealing with harrowing conversations
Many services are currently supporting clients whose mental health is extremely fragile. The Zero Suicide Alliance has produced two online training packages which can support staff and volunteers with these conversations. The training can be accessed here
Think tank compiles data on coronavirus to help charities and funders
NPC says that a big challenge is to determine which people and places need extra support now, and which might need support as the crisis develops. This, it says, will become particularly pertinent when we start to see some of the economic factors of this crisis take effect. Its tables show the places that are suffering the most from Covid-19 and those where underlying health factors leave people facing most risk. Extract showing data for Hampshire
Leading through uncertainty
In his recent blog, Ben Cairns from IVAR (Institute for Voluntary Action Research) reviews the lessons learnt from the recession and austerity to see how they can be applied to dealing with the current crisis. Read his blog here
Community owned businesses
Plunkett Foundation is working with others to secure long term support and investment for community businesses. They are asking for feedback from community businesses – how has your thinking changed as a result of the current crisis? What new services, innovations, expansions is your community business planning or already operating? What does your community business want to do – and how might Plunkett help? Email or phone 01993 810730.
2.6 Challenge total passes £7m
The event established by a number of mass-participation events, designed to make up for some of the shortfall in donations caused by the cancellation of the London Marathon and other events, saw people all over the country take part in self-designed challenges themed around the figures 2 and 6. At time of writing the total raised stood at just over £7m, according to the 2.6 Challenge website.
DCMS Committee Hearing
On 22nd April, DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) held a session which covered financial support for charities.
NCVO have written an article about the session here, but the main points are:
- Charities are engaging with policymakers
- Charities working directly on coronavirus will be prioritised
- Charities will be expected to make use of reserves first
- Departmental funding is oversubscribed
- Some funding is on the way soon
- The government still wants other schemes and philanthropy to fill the gaps
Rural proofing lockdown
Jeremy Leggett, Rural Policy Adviser to ACRE, considers why all decisions to be made about exiting from lockdown and moving into the recovery phase need to be rural proofed to be most effective for everyone.
Rural Services Network
There is so much going on in our communities to provide support and encouragement to everyone who is either in self-isolation, in lockdown or working from home. The Rural Services Network wants to share these great local initiatives and would love to hear what is happening.
Edition 5 – Wednesday 22 April
Thank you and keep it coming… A message from Sue Dovey, our Chief Exec
I have found myself on a number of countywide groups that are addressing the Covid-19 crisis – a vulnerable people’s group, a food group, a logistics group, in addition to groups that feed information to national and government groups.
All of these groups are working their socks off to ensure that Hampshire’s most vulnerable people have access to support in this time of crisis. However, they are dealing with logistics, systems, supply chains etc.
What I am able to add is real experience of how these things are working, especially where unanticipated and unintended consequences become apparent.
The only reason I am able to make this contribution is because of the information that you are sending me. So thank you to Madeline for the information about guide dogs and social distancing; to Debbie for keeping me informed about food stocks in your local foodbank; to Jo for telling me about the closure of vital village shops; to Keith for telling me about the methadone scripts. Each piece of information illustrates the impact of this crisis on someone’s quality of life.
Keep the information coming, I am using it wherever and whenever I can. Please ring 07793 444971 or email and keep telling Sue about the realities of life on the ground. She wants to hear from as many people as possible. Thank you!
Charities at increased risk of fraud and cybercrime during pandemic
“All charities, but especially those providing services and supporting local communities during the coronavirus crisis, could be targeted by fraudsters,” the Charity Commission has said in an alert to the sector. Procurement fraud is one example – payment is made but no/substandard products are received. Other types of fraud to look out for include emails purporting to be from the chief executive with instructions to change account details or pay someone new, phishing emails and unsolicited offers of financial support.
Best charities to work for
The winners of the Third Sector “Best Charities to Work for 2020” have been announced. It was open to all charities with 15 or more employees. Top three were: Thirtyone:Eight, Designability and ReachOut
Key themes of the top 15 charities:
- encouraging activities to create strong teams and foster good personal relationships.
- Good leadership and strategic planning – staff have confidence in their organisation’s leadership and understand the long-term strategy.
- Basics of pay and conditions – staff are satisfied with the organisation’s benefits scheme.
- Staff are supported to advance their careers.
- Employees of small or medium sized charities seem to be happiest. Only one of the 15 winning organisations employs more than 100 staff.
9 of the top 15 are London based charities, but we have one of the winners is our midst. The Brain Tumour Charity in Farnborough, Hampshire came in at number 11. Congratulations!
How can we capitalise on the upsurge in volunteering?
Policy fellow from the Kings Fund Helen Gilburt writes that “In the moment, the willingness of so many to step forward and volunteer has to be seen as a silver lining, but winning the race and turning this into a lasting legacy will require organisations to see volunteers as more than a resource. Importantly, they will need to consider the balance between people and services in need of volunteers and the needs of volunteers themselves, and to ensure that we invest in capacity, capability and flexibility to incorporate those needs in our communities as we seek to find our way forward post-Covid-19.”
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance hub
The Charity Tax Group have detailed guidance on their website for those wishing to reclaim staff costs. For example, they say that “applications need to be completed in one session and will time out after 30 minutes of inactivity. Also there will be no e-mail confirmation so take a screenshot/print the confirmation and make sure you retain calculation information in case HMRC needs to review it in future”.
Practical relaxations to the operation of Retail Gift Aid
Many charities have now closed the offices in which Gift Aid claims are processed and are now working remotely. With Gift Aid claims due to be processed in April 2020, this has presented charities operating Retail Gift Aid Standard Method with several problems. The Charity Tax Group has guidance on its website about temporary relaxation of rules.
Virgin Money Giving
The fundraising platform is waiving its 2% platform fee for charities during the lockdown period. Charities (or donors) will still need to pay the 2.5% payment processing fee.
Edition 4 – Wednesday 15 April
Financial package for charities
On Wednesday last week, the Chancellor announced £750m in new funding for charities.
After a month of urging the Treasury to create a financial package for the sector, charities welcomed the announcement but said it will not be enough and called on the Treasury to keep the funding under review.
The £750m will be new money, separate from the £300m which the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) announced on 27th March. But it is important to note that the money is very much targeted at charities responding to the current crisis. That is of course right and proper, but it won’t help those whose viability is affected by the crisis. A stark contrast to what has been done for profit making organisations in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors.
£370m is due to go to small and medium-sized charities, channelled through the NLCF and other funds. It will support locally-focused charities doing most during the outbreak – such as delivering food and medicines and providing financial advice.
Another £360m will be allocated by government departments to charities providing essential services and supporting people during the crisis. Out of this:
- up to £200m will support hospices
- funding is specifically allocated to St John Ambulance to support the NHS and Citizens Advice to allow more staff to provide advice.
The announcement also singled out vulnerable children’s charities delivering local services and victims’ charities, including domestic abuse, to help address rising demand. It’s not clear how much flexibility there will be for other types of need – disability charities are an obvious example – and more clarity is needed on that.
The government will also match public donations to the BBC’s Big Night In charity appeal, with a minimum donation of £20m to the National Emergencies Trust.
Karl Wilding, chief executive of NCVO, said: “Today’s announcement is an important first step, though it will not be enough to prevent good charities around the country from closing their doors. Even many that survive will look very different in a few months’ time, with a severely reduced capacity to provide the support that people rely on.”
Charities fail to claim £600m in Gift Aid each year and we now need that money more than ever. Unlike funding bids, as long as you qualify, the money is certain. There are different types. Are your claiming everything you’re entitled to? This Charity Excellence resource will give you what you need to get yours.
Charity SORP News
The SORP-making body has published guidance for trustees and preparers of charity accounts, looking at the potential impact of COVID-19 on financial reporting by charities.
Implications of COVID-19 control measures and charity financial reporting: PDF | Microsoft Word
Edition 3 – Wednesday 8 April
Key issues Trustees should consider
Gatenby Sanderson has pulled together a seven-point checklist of the key issues trustees should consider to ensure they offer the best support to their organisation.
FREE HR helpline
Croner’s free HR helpline is now available for all voluntary sector organisations. Call 0844 561 8133 and state the name of your organisation.
Your organisation and Coronavirus
Information to help you protect your staff, volunteers and beneficiaries, and plan for financial and other impacts on your organisation.
Edition 2 – Wednesday 1 April
DSC has urged funders to ‘support core costs and be flexible’
DSC has addressed funders in an open letter, detailing how to best support charities at this time. Among “10 things foundation trustees and other funders should do now”, DSC lists supporting core costs, being flexible about reporting, speeding up application processes for emergency funding, removing funding restrictions and responding to cash flow issues. “By being a good grant-giving trustee – show you get it. Break some rules and chuck some conventions away. Take a few well-calculated risks. There are bigger considerations here than grant monitoring and reporting, KPIs and outcomes metrics.”
Funders pledge flexibility and support to grantees
249 funders (so far) have signed a statement published by London Funders pledging to offer flexibility and support to grantees during the crisis. Click here to see who the signatories are and how they have agreed to support grantees.
Are you a Chief Executive or senior leader in need of a friendly and confidential chat?
Our Chief Executive Sue Dovey would be very happy to have a (virtual) drink with you down the (virtual) pub. Whether you want a rant or a weep, contact Sue and she’ll be happy to listen (and then forget). Ring Sue on 07793 444971 or you can email e-mail. Our job is to support you!
Edition 1 – Thursday 26 March
The Institute of Fundraising have published guidance on how to approach individual giving against the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak.
Reporting accounts and finances
The Charity SORP has issued updated guidance about what and how to report. Full guidance from the Charity Commission is here
Some key questions that trustees should consider when thinking about how best to support their organisations:
- Do we have, or need to develop a plan which:
– sets out the potential risks and explores different scenarios
– identifies responses to manage these risks
-gives authority to staff or individual trustees to make key tactical decisions quickly
– sets out a clear line of authority and decision making in the case of absence
- Can we refocus our efforts and activities, in line with our charitable purpose, to respond to coronavirus?
- What are our most essential operations and services? How could we continue to operate these in the event of isolation or staff absences?
- What organisations can we partner with to continue to deliver services or provide new support?
- What extra flexibility or support might employees, volunteers and beneficiaries need at this time and how can we communicate with them?
- What immediate actions do we need to take to manage our finances – considering cash flow and increased contingency costs?
- Can we speak to funders about the impact of cancelling, delaying project activities, or even in repurposing funds?
- How can the board and staff team utilise technology to continue to meet and make decisions if we cannot meet in person?
- How might this impact on our corporate decision making, audits and filing deadlines as well as meetings such as AGM’s?