News and information around the coronavirus pandemic, with relation to the charity sector, and those we serve.

Support for vulnerable customers from the energy sector

The government has agreed measures with the energy industry to support vulnerable people through COVID-19.

Measures include ensuring prepayment and pay-as-you go customers remain supplied with energy through challenging times and supporting all customers in financial distress. The industry agreement has been signed by all UK domestic suppliers and will come into force immediately. You can read the full government press statement online.

“Proposals agreed to ensure vulnerable customers who may fall into debt remain supplied with energy while in self isolation”.

 

Support for renters

The Government has announced a complete ban on evictions, and additional protection for renters

  • Emergency legislation to suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation while this national emergency is taking place
  • No new possession proceedings through applications to the court to start during the crisis
  • Landlords will also be protected as 3 month mortgage payment holiday is extended to Buy to Let mortgages

Read the full announcement here.

 

National Emergencies Trust launches Coronavirus appeal

The NET has launched a fundraising appeal to help fund local charities and grassroots organisations that are working to support vulnerable people in their communities.

You can read more about it on the Appeal page on the NET website.

The website says “Individuals and charities should not apply directly to the NET for funds. Grant aid and how to apply to your local community foundation will be available from 23rd March 2020.”  We will bring you this information as soon as we can.

 

Support from the NCVO for the sector

The NCVO has published a pledge, stating what support it can offer to charities and voluntary organisation during this pandemic, including information provision, government lobbying and supporting the co-ordination of volunteering.  You can read their whole statement on their website, with links to their information pages.  We will also be sharing this information, as the situation changes.

 

School closures – measures to protect vulnerable children

With school closures being announced across England from the end of Friday 20 March, measures are being put in place to protect children from low income families where the children are eligible for free school meals.

Guidance has been given to schools encouraging them to set up either provision of meals, or shop vouchers for those families.  The headteachers are being allowed the leeway to choose which solution will work best in their areas.  Effective immediately, schools will be able to order vouchers directly from supermarkets or shops in their communities to be emailed or printed and posted to families, and they will have their costs covered by the Department for Education.

You can read the guidance here.

Guidance has not yet appeared detailing how schools in Cornwall will be handling the pupils who are vulnerable, and those whose parents are key workers (nor yet a definition of ‘key worker’), but we will share this as soon as we can. This should appear on the Cornwall Council website, probably here.

 

Free access to NHS coronavirus advice via mobiles

Free access has been granted to online NHS services, for as long as coronavirus (COVID-19) remains widespread in the UK, as mobile network providers have removed the data charges for accessing the information sites.

The sites included are:

See the full announcement here.