The ongoing pandemic situation is requiring a huge effort from the voluntary and statutory services, and many organisations have stepped up to provide services to those they might not ordinarily have been dealing with, or in greater numbers, or by means not previously employed. Many organisations have come to us asking for support to do what they are now doing, and we have consolidated much of this advice here, divided into two main categories – support for the people you’re working with, and support for you to run your organisation, including funding. Some items fit into both categories.
Support for the people you’re working with
Hardship funds for individuals and families – Hardship grants and funding resources for individuals and families – extensive resources and searchable databases, to support vulnerable people in your community.
Food banks – Transformation Cornwall has a list of food banks, together with their opening details, and how to access them. This is updated every Friday at 6pm, and is the best list of availability. Other organisations operate food pantries, which are not on the Transformation Cornwall list.
Cornwall Council has also now developed an interactive map of all the food banks and community food providers across Cornwall. The new Help with Food map and additional Getting help with food page on their website also include information about arranging food deliveries, and food vouchers.
Clothing banks – like food banks, but for clothes. We have created a list of these organisations,which also includes those organisations that hold a supply of clothing for specific groups in need, eg. homeless people.
Digital inclusion – we collected information about digital inclusion, including sources of cheap internet connectivity, organisations which provide cheap or free IT equipment, and training.
Financial advice – information about avoiding scams, loan sharks and managing debt is available. Credit Unions, which can be a good alternative to banks for those on precarious incomes, can be found here.
Cornwall Council has extended the ban on evictions until 31 March, at present.
Tailored support for older people including around mobility, mental health, domestic abuse, alcoholism, etc.
Specific support for those facing extra hardship with the cold weather.
Many organisations have lists of mental health support that is available, including specifically tailored advice for certain groups, eg children and young people, men, domestic abuse survivors, those at risk of suicide.
Our specific resources to encourage mental wellbeing within the staff and volunteers of the VCSE sector is here – Winter Workforce Wellbeing.
List of helplines
We have created an extensive list of helplines and support resources for those in crisis. There will be some missing – please let us know!
Support for your organisation
Funding resources for organisations include
- our main funding page, including ongoing resources and lists compiled by other organisations
- our own weekly funding mailing, collected on a single page
Data sources to back up funding, and for planning purposes, including the Voluntary and Community Sector Emergencies Partnership weekly Pulse Check, and Citizens Advice Cornwall’s monthly heat map data. Also the ONS.
Health of you and your staff
We are aware that the pressures on voluntary sector staff and volunteers have been immense, so began our Winter Workforce Wellbeing campaign in the autumn, to give regular suggestions in our newsletter for things that could help improve mental health, give little breaks, and help you and your staff feel that you are not alone. You can find them all on our Winter Workforce Wellbeing page. Other Mental Health advice is above.
Our Feb 2021 survey on workforce mental health gave some interesting suggestions of resources and activities that can be put in place in voluntary organisations. Find out what others have been doing locally.
Government guidance & other supoprt
Cornwall Council’s guidance and messages around COVID restrictions.
Support resources in alternative formats, including sign language, Easy Read, and languages other than English
Data around how Cornwall is faring, compared to the rest of the UK.
Reopening guidance for village halls and community venues, including a list of those halls which have told us their reopening plans and covid safety measures. Government guidance on Village Halls reopening is here.
Running your organisation – AGMs, etc.
The Charity Commission has extensive support around how to run your charity (or other organisation) in these strange times, including online AGMs, serious incident reporting, and plentiful information around finance.
Redundancy. HR Specialists Croner have produced a useful pair of checklists – Working from home, and Alternatives to redundancy, some template letters around reducing working hours, and a guide to employment law on redundancy. You can download them all from their online newsletter. All are free to use, but we hope you don’t need them.
Closure. If the worst comes to the worst, and your charity or voluntary organisation can no longer continue, the NCVO has created a useful resource to help you take all the necessary actions. These include informing your team, as well as the official actions needed. We sincerely hope you never have to use this, either.
Other useful information
VCSE newsletters, produced jointly with Cornwall Council and VSF, initially weekly from March to July, and as required subsequently.
Apprenticeships in the Voluntary Sector, around funding and finding apprentices, including the information the Government announced in July 2020 to support employment.
Digital support for voluntary organisations, including which platforms to use, and how to transfer operations online.