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.

Our Community Development Team provides support to local voluntary and community organisations that help 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.

Coronavirus Support

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on our voluntary and community sector organisations and services.  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 pandemic. In line with government guidance we will continue to review the information and support we can offer.

If you need further advice or assistance from a member of the team, please contact us using our online support form at the bottom of this page.

Financial Sustainability

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

Blaby District Council Community Grants

Our Community Grants scheme for 2021-22 is now open! As well as our popular capital, revenue and Everyone Active grants we have launched some exciting new grants this year. This includes two new Green Grants and a small, one-off VCS Re-Start Grant. We are also continuing to offer priority to Covid-related applications for the first two grant rounds of this financial year. Full details and application information is available at Community Grants webpage

Covid-19 Grants and Funding

Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation Coronavirus Support Fund offers grants up to £5,000 through two funds:

Immediate Emergency Relief Fund: Apply if you are a constituted charitable or community organisation in Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland, providing immediate emergency relief to one or more groups of people below:

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

General Coronavirus Support: A smaller part of the fund is made up of donations from local companies and donors to meet important but less immediate needs that have arisen due to the lockdown and the Coronavirus crisis, for example:

  • Helping people you normally support in different ways – for example, wellbeing, educational or support activities on-line
  • Support for people who need your service, but who are not in an emergency situation
  • Preventative projects or activities to ensure people or communities you work are less likely to need emergency help
  • Adaptions you have had to make that will directly benefit the people you help

National Lottery Funding

The National Lottery funding schemes are open to all applications that meet their criteria, including support during COVID-19. With the COVID-19 pandemic still with us, they will continue to support people and communities most adversely impacted by COVID-19 through two funds:

  • Awards for All - grants between £300 and £10,000
  • Local Connections Fund - grants between £300 and £2,500 for projects to reduce loneliness

For up to date listings of all grants available relating to the Coronavirus pandemic visit:

Leicestershire County Council Leicestershire Communities website 

Voluntary Action Leicestershire website

The government has made a range of funding available to help small businesses that are registered to pay non-domestic rates (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. For up to date information about government grants, visit the Council's Reliefs and Exemptions web page.

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.  We launched the lottery three years ago and it 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 plan to safely re-open community venues and re-start activities once permitted by the government. The Government has set out a roadmap out of lockdown for businesses and venues. In the sections below, we have highlighted how the different steps within the roadmap will affect voluntary sector organisations. It is important to note that the conditions and dates set may be subject to change by the Government. We will update this page regularly to reflect any change in guidance. 

Roadmap out of Lockdown

Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May

Following the move to Step 3, further settings will be permitted to open. Unless a specific exemption exists, these must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits at this stage - in a group of 6 people or 2 households indoors: or in a group of no more than 30 people outdoors.

At this step, both outdoor and indoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation, can be organised, subject to specific conditions:

  • that they comply with COVID-Secure guidance including taking reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission
  • complete a related risk assessment
  • ensure that those attending do not mix beyond what is permitted by the social contact limits (unless another exemption exists such as for organised sport or exercise, supervised activities for children or a significant life event)
  • Spectators will be allowed at elite sporting events and performance events. Attendance at these events will be restricted to 50% of capacity up to 1,000 people for indoor events, and 50% of capacity up to 4,000 people for outdoor events. For outdoor events taking place in venues with seated capacity of over 16,000, event organisers may apply a 25% capacity cap, up to a maximum of 10,000 seated people. Large business events will also be able to go ahead, subject to the same capacity requirements.

Step 4 - no earlier than 21 June

  • In Step 4 we hope to reopen remaining settings such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues, and to lift the restrictions on social contact and large events that apply in Step 3. This is subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme, and a review of social distancing measures.
  • We will also look to relax COVID-Secure requirements on businesses, subject to the outcome of the reviews
Preparing to re-open your premises

The Government has updated its guidance Summary of COVID-19: Guidance (Updated 14th May 2021) for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities  such as community centres, village halls and other community facilities. This is to reflect the further easing of national restrictions which came into effect on 17 May 2021. 

Checklists have been put together to help when re-opening or using community facilities and/or food businesses, these can be found in the documents section below.

The Rural Community Council is 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 (ACRE) around opening village halls and community buildings.

Prior to re-opening your premises you must also review

Risk of Legionnaires Disease

As the building has been closed for a while due to water stagnation there may be an increased risk for Legionnaires Disease - Legionella risks during the coronavirus pandemic - HSE news

Cleaning Procedures

Carry out a deep clean: normal cleaning and disinfection is adequate - Cleaning, hygiene and handwashing to make your workplace COVID-secure (hse.gov.uk)

Risk Assessments

Review the ventilation of the building which will form part of your Covid Risk assessment - Risk assessment - Working safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (hse.gov.uk)

Risk assessment template for events can be found in the downloads section below

Risk assessment template for kitchens can be found in the downloads section below


Review your posters displayed throughout the premises - Coronavirus Resource centre (phe.gov.uk)

Other posters are available in the download section below

  • Handwashing
  • Face Coverings
  • It's Not You It's Covid
  • Hands, Face, Space


 Venues in hospitality, the tourism and leisure industry, close contact services, community centres and village halls must:

  • Ask all members of every party of customers or visitors (up to 6 people) to provide their name and contact details (New Change)
  • Keep a record of all staff working on their premises and shift times on a given day and their contact details
  • Keep these records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and provide data to NHS Test and Trace if requested
  • Display an official NHS QR code poster so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details
  • Adhere to General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Performing, dancing and music

The measures for organisations wishing to perform, dance or play music can be found in the downloads section below

Re-opening of food businesses 

A hospitality fact sheet can be found in the downloads section below

Reopening checklist for food businesses during COVID-19 | Food Standards Agency

covid-19-food-delivery-and-takeaway-guidance.pdf (cieh.org)

covid-19-safe-shopping-guidelines.pdf (cieh.org)

You can also contact our Environmental Health team for advice at environmental.health@blaby.gov.uk 


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 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.


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

Those who are classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) are no longer advised to shield from Thursday 01 April. Although CEV people will no longer be advised to shield, it is still strongly recommended that extra precautions are taken to minimise the Covid risk. Please read the full Government Guidance relating to Clinically Extremely Vulnerable which outlines the precautions that should be taken. 

Supermarkets will continue to offer priority access until 21 June. If you still need support, you can contact us and we will be able to put you in touch with support available in your area. Please see the section Community Hub support below for details of how to access this help.

Anyone classed as a CEV aged 16 or older should already have been offered the first dose of the vaccine. If you have not yet received your first dose, please contact your GP as soon as possible.

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 are 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


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 our 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

VAL is also running online surgeries every Wednesday between 1.30-3.30pm.  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 Transport

Community Action Partnership are a charity who offer a door-to-door transport service through a team of dedicated volunteer drivers.  This service is available to people who have difficulty using public transport in Oadby & Wigston and Blaby District.

Commbus is your local community transport service, every day, for the elderly and for anyone with a disability or limited mobility. 

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 21 June 2021
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