The latest information, advice and support on Coronavirus. 

Voluntary and Community Sector Support

Voluntary and Community Sector organisations are a vital part of the social infrastructure of neighbourhoods providing places of support, advice and social contact. 

The Community Development Team at Blaby District Council provides support to local voluntary and community groups that helps them to:

  • Be more efficient and effective
  • Be more sustainable
  • Meet their legal obligations
  • Have greater funding security
  • Be able to set up a new group/activity that meets a local need

Whether your group is large or small, established or new, we can help you to strengthen and develop it. Using our local knowledge and expertise to operate at the heart of the community, we aim to provide straightforward, useful information to help people run community and voluntary groups.

Drop in sessions

Regular drop in sessions are held throughout the District where you can get more information and 1-2-1 advice. Please note that these sessions are currently on hold until further notice.

Health Checks

We can help you with 'health checking' your group to determine your organisation’s strengths and areas for improvement and help you to action plan for the future.  We will award you with a health check accreditation to show you have been through the health check process and will review this with you on an annual basis.  Please use the form below to request a health check.

Coronavirus Crisis Support

In the coming weeks we will provide as much practical information as we can on how you can restart services safely, with links to specific advice and information to suit your group and what you are doing.

If you are an existing community organisation it is possible that aspects of the services you deliver in future will not be the same as they were before the pandemic.

We have created this self service area where you will find resources, support and information on a range of issues to help your organisation during the recovery phase of the pandemic. Information and advice from the government changes frequently so we will keep this webpage updated as regularly as possible and, together with local partners, we will review the support we can offer.

Financial Sustainability

This section provides a range of information and resources related to Grants and Funding.

Blaby District Council Community Grants

We are pleased to announce that our Community Grants scheme is now open for applications. We have made some changes to the scheme this year. We are making a larger amount of funding available in the first round and we will prioritise projects that address needs that have arisen directly from the pandemic. In these cases we are also increasing small capital and revenue grants to £1000 and introducing a more flexible approach to project costs to support organisations that have lost income during this time.

The deadline for applications to the first grant round is midday on Friday 14 August. For full details visit our Community Grants webpage

 

Covid-19 Grants and Funding

Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation Coronavirus Emergency Support Fund offers grants up to £10,000

This scheme is open to constituted charitable and community organisations in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, including Parish Councils, for activities that support:

  • Older people (over the age of 70) not otherwise supported
  • Vulnerable people with medical conditions, including mental health difficulties.
  • People who are isolated and lack a support network
  • People with low or insecure incomes e.g. having to claim universal credit or use food banks
  • People facing domestic violence
  • People facing other emergency needs not met by other organisations.

Grants can be awarded for a range of running and small capital costs.

 

National Lottery Coronavirus Community Support Fund offers grants from £300 - £100,000

These grants fund activities supporting people and communities affected by COVID-19 as well as helping organisations overcome any acute financial difficulties they face as a result of the pandemic.

Small Business Grants  and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant are available to help any small business that is registered as the occupier for non-domestic rates i.e. you receive a rates bill (even if you don’t pay anything due to relief). This can include premises used for public assembly and leisure activities, including sports clubs, community centres/halls and libraries. Eligibility criteria apply.

 

The following organisations keep lists of all grants available relating to the Coronavirus pandemic:

Leicestershire County Council Leicestershire Communities website

Voluntary Action Leicestershire

Good Finance Project

Love Blaby Lottery

Love Blaby Lottery is a weekly online lottery set up by the Council to support local voluntary sector organisations in Blaby District.  It has raised over £69,000 for good causes since it started two and a half years ago and has helped bring in extra income for local charities, community groups and sports clubs even through the recent tough times.

It is FREE for organisations to join and you receive lots of help to promote your cause. You can spend the proceeds however your organisation needs: whether that's paying a bill, making up for lost income or meeting new costs that have arisen from the pandemic in order for you to run activities safely.

So, if you’ve not already signed up, it’s a great time to join the Love Blaby Lottery and start raising money in a matter of days! How much money could your organisation raise by joining the Love Blaby Lottery?

Number of tickets in play per week Projected annual income for good cause
10 £260
20 £520
30 £780
50 £1300

The projected annual income is based on maintaining a consistent level of ticket sales per week. For more information and to register your organisation visit Love Blaby Lottery.

Loans and Financing

As part of its response to support charities and social enterprises through the Coronavirus pandemic, the government is supporting a number of financing options:

£45 million will be deployed by Big Society Capital to allow better access to investment including emergency loans for charities, social enterprises and some small businesses facing cash-flow problems and disruption to their trading following the coronavirus outbreak.

The demand for affordable credit is expected to rise substantially in light of the coronavirus outbreak. Fair4All Finance will use £65 million to support registered affordable credit providers to increase access to fair, appropriate products and services for those struggling financially, providing them with an alternative to high cost loans.

£30 million will go to Access - The Foundation for Social Investment who will support social enterprises helping people in vulnerable circumstances. They will make up to £10 million available for emergency support through social lenders while also developing a wider programme of recovery finance for the social sector.

Re-starting Services

This section contains information and advice to help organisations to safely re-open community venues.

In addition to the information below please note the following important advice from our Environmental Health Team:

  • Buffets cannot take place at any venue or group during the pandemic
  • Following a group activity remind staff/volunteers that before they mingle with others in their household they should shower, wash hair and wash all clothes at 60 degrees. 
  • Clothes can be left in a bin/bag for 3 days at home and then wash at normal cycle

You must complete the risk assessment template before you commence any group session or activity - this can be found using the Rural Community Council website link below.

You may find these video clips on 'how to wear a face covering' and 'good handwashing' useful.

Re-opening Community Halls and Buildings

Leicestershire County Council has produced a set of guidance around the re-opening and safe usage of community buildings, venues and centres, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a summarised version of national guidance, and is particularly useful for organisations involved in running community buildings, or organisations who utilise community buildings to deliver projects, services and activities.

Further information about the use of community facilities during the pandemic can be seen on the Leicestershire Communities website.

The Rural Community Council are continuing to provide remote support to people managing village halls and other community buildings across Leicestershire and Rutland. You can find a series of useful resources related to the re-opening and usage of community buildings on the Rural Community Council website. This includes guidance from Action with Communities in Rural England around opening village halls and community buildings.

Promoting your activities/services

Communicating with your service users and the wider public when you have re-opened or re-started services/activities safely is a really important step. You may also want to promote new fundraising initiatives that you are running to help re-coup lost income.

We may be able to help promote your updates and activities through the Council's communications channels, such as a our monthly e-newsletters. Please use the Voluntary and Community Sector Hub request for help form on this webpage to share details with our Communications Team.

Meetings and Reporting

There is also guidance available from the Charity Commission for village halls and other charities concerned about meetings and reporting during the coronavirus outbreak.

Welfare

We know that many voluntary and community sector organisations help isolated or more vulnerable residents and we want to make sure that those individuals as well as our organisations are supported during this difficult time.

Shielded Residents

The guidance is different for residents in different parts of the district as a result of the local Leicester/Leicestershire lockdown measure that came into place on 30 June 2020.  On 18 July 2020, general restrictions were lifted for areas of Blaby district that were in the original local lockdown zone. However, this is not the case for shielded individuals for whom restrictions remain in place.

For those outside of the Local Lockdown Area:

The Health Secretary and Chief Medical Officer set out a plan with regard to relaxing restrictions. The key points are:

  • Shielding guidance will be relaxed in stages, subject to clinical evidence
  • From 6 July: the guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable was relaxed to allow shielded individuals to meet up to 5 people from other households outdoors, socially distanced, and to form support bubbles if they live alone or are a lone adult with a dependent under 18.
  • From 1 August: the clinically extremely vulnerable can stop shielding. The guidance will be updated to allow this cohort to go to the shops and places of worship, while following current social distancing rules.
  • The food and medicine boxes facilitated by the National Shielding Service will stop as of 1 August as individuals are advised they can visit shops and pharmacies. However, other forms of support – such as priority supermarket delivery slots and the NHS Volunteers Scheme, amongst a range of local volunteer schemes – will continue. If an individual is concerned about support after 1 August, they should contact their local authority.
  • The categorisation of ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ will remain in place indefinitely and people in this cohort should continue to follow the government guidance specific to them.  This is because community transmission and the R number will continue to be closely monitored and the government will tighten advice to this cohort as needed.
  • Shielding guidance has been and continues to be advisory.
  • Everybody in the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ categorisation should have received a letter.

 

For those inside of the original Local Lockdown Area:

The relaxation of shielding does not apply to residents living in the affected areas in Blaby district. These include:

  • Braunstone Town
  • Glenfield
  • Glen Parva
  • Leicester Forest East (the area east of the M1)
  • Thorpe Astley
  • Some parts of Enderby

The following guidance remains in place for Shielded Individuals until 17 August 2020:

  • you are strongly advised to stay at home as much as possible and keep visits outside to a minimum
  • if you wish to spend time outdoors this can be with members of your own household or, if you live alone, you may choose to spend time outdoors with one person from another household (ideally the same person each time). You should maintain social distancing and avoiding gatherings of any size.
  • people who are clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to be part of a support bubble
  • If you have not been able to access a priority supermarket delivery slot, individuals need to re-register with the government for this service
  • If you are in receipt of a food parcel provided by the government, these will continue for as long as you are required to isolate. However, you are advised to try to obtain a priority supermarket delivery slot.
  • If you require help with the above or need additional support Blaby District Council Community Hub can help.

For Twitter updates follow the Department of Health and Social Care, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and NHS England.

Community Hub Support

Blaby District Community Hub was set up at the start of the lockdown to ensure vulnerable and isolated people get the support they need, either from friends or family, volunteers in the community, the Council or other partners organisations. The Community Hub will remain in place at this time so if you are worried about someone, please contact us using the online referral process.

Useful Support Organisations

Ageing Well information at Blaby District Council

Benefits Team at Blaby District Council

Domestic Abuse Support Service at Blaby District Council

Resident Support Service at Blaby District Council

Adult Social Care at Leicestershire County Council

Children’s Services at Leicestershire County Council

Alzheimer’s Society - Dementia Support Workers in Leicester and Leicestershire are providing telephone support to people living with dementia, their carers and families.

AgeUK Leicestershire and Rutland - is offering a package of support for older people which helps with the challenges faced during self-isolation. These include practical challenges in getting to the supermarket or pharmacy as well as support with fears and anxieties, low mood, loneliness and boredom. We can also help with issues which are exacerbated by the coronavirus, for example bereavement, carer strain and financial challenges.

LAMP is offering mental health support via a telephone service during this time as well as virtual group support for carers of someone with a mental health condition.

Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust has launched a dedicated telephone line so that people of all ages in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland can access urgent NHS mental health support directly on 0116 295 3060. Please note that this is not an emergency service. Where people have immediate, serious and life-threatening emergency mental and/or physical health needs, for example if an individual has taken an overdose or is in imminent danger of physical harm, they should attend the accident and emergency department or call 999 for the appropriate emergency service. Further information about national, local and online non-urgent mental health support is available on the Leicestershire Partnership Trust website.

Young Minds - Children and Young People's Mental Health Charity

Sports Clubs

Blaby District Council Health and Leisure Team

Our Health and Leisure Team is offering a range of tailored support to sports clubs and instructors. Sign up to receive support.

Leicestershire and Rutland Sport

Leicestershire and Rutland Sport have a dedicated section on their website relating to all matters COVID including advice about re-opening and funding.

 

Staffing and Volunteers

Volunteers

For more information on how we can support you to find new volunteers or work with your existing ones, please go to our volunteering webpage.

Employee Support

The government has provided a range of information and advice  for those organisations that employ staff with regard to financial support schemes. For further information visit the Government's Coronavirus Business Support webpages.

Free Online Resources

National Council for Voluntary Organisations

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations is the umbrella body for the Voluntary and Community Sector.  It's knowhow section contains guidance and resources to support charities, voluntary organisations and volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Online Capability

There are organisations that can assist with getting groups/organisations online and using digital communication or can provide advice  on organising online activities and the tools needed.

Digital Boost

Digital Boost is a platform that will host a community of digital experts, who will offer one-to-one digital support to small businesses and charities free of charge to help them improve their digital capability to grow and prosper.

 

Digital Services

Catalyst has developed guidance and offer support via zoom to help you think about how to move your services online. Cast is a charity which helps people use digital for social good.

 

The Resource Centre

Organising an activity or event online requires the same basic steps as an in-person event or activity. The keys to success are to be clear about what you are trying to achieve and to plan it well. 

There are a few tools available for groups who need to find a way for several people to have a discussion together, without physically being in the same place.

Other Support

In addition to the help available through Blaby District Council, there is lots of other support available for local voluntary and community sector organisations.

Voluntary Action Leicestershire

Voluntary Action Leicestershire offers a range of services including:

  • Advice on setting up or growing your group or organisation
  • Recruitment, retention and management of volunteers
  • Training courses
  • Opportunities to consult with key partners and commissioners
  • Different types of funding, including access to the Leicestershire Funding Toolkit

To find out more visit the Voluntary Action Leicestershire website.

Leicestershire Cares

Leicestershire Cares is a charity which brings together businesses and the community for the benefit of both.

Cooperative and Social Enterprise

Cooperative and Social Enterprise aims to grow the impact of the co-operative and social enterprise economy in the East Midlands by delivering business support as well as developing and offering products and services that meet current and emerging business needs.

The Resource Centre

The Resource Centre is based in Brighton and although it focuses on supporting community groups in Brighton and Hove, any organisation is welcome to use their online resources

Community Network Blaby District

Community Network Blaby District is our quarterly forum to support the local voluntary and community sector. We arrange FREE regular events and training on the topics that matter to our non-profit organisations, groups and clubs in the district. Recent events have included:

  • Insurance and managing risks
  • Generating a sustainable income
  • Safeguarding
  • Recruiting, retaining and managing volunteers
  • Successful funding bids, corporate giving and Gift Aid
  • Food Hygiene

Voluntary and Community Sector Database

The Community Development Team hold a database of voluntary and community sector organisations and groups that provide services for residents in the District.  This enables us to keep in touch and share information.  For information about future events or to join our Voluntary and Community Sector mailing list, use the contact form at the bottom of the page.

If you have not found the information you are looking for or need further advice or information please complete our request for help form.

Last updated 27 August 2020
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