Supporting and Responding
March 25, 2020
I hope you are all keeping well – and your distance!! Challenging times indeed – and it is clear they are going to get even more challenging.
A few things to report and offer:
Supporting the third sector
We have provided some input into an organisational survey to assess what voluntary organisations need to both keep going and to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cumbria Community Foundation (CCF) will be circulating this in the next day or so: please try and give this 10-15 minutes: it will help us make the case for support and also save lives.
As most of you will be aware, CCF have also opened their funding for help organisations deliver COVID-19 support across Cumbria – find it here: https://www.cumbriafoundation.org/fund/covid19-response-fund/ If your organisation needs help in applying for funds, please get in touch with the Cumbria CVS team here: email@example.com
Remember to visit our website pages on Coronavirus – we are updating these regularly but there are some excellent resources already including a COVID-19 volunteer handbook, guidelines and risk assessment are on the volunteering page: https://cumbriacvs.org.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-volunteering
We are also helping to administer the Support Cumbria website where people can sign up to volunteer locally – see more in the Volunteering section below.
We have written to all the MPs in Cumbria asking them to ask the Chancellor to provide financial support to the voluntary sector in the same way as he is doing for business – not least because we are responding to the crisis in spades! If you haven’t seen it, the recent guidance from the charity commission is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-the-charity-sector At best, it’s a “mixed bag” with confusing proposals about “furloughing” staff in order to get compensation: I am hoping this policy will be reviewed as urgently as their recently-reversed guidance on “serious incidents”!
The Directory of Social Change are part of a campaign #SaveOurSector and are encouraging all organisations to write to their MP – they have even devised a template letter. Full details available: https://www.dsc.org.uk/content/saveoursector-please-write-to-your-mp-today/?dm_i=6S7,6SZD7,N8AGT,R8NG5,1
Cumbria CVS has been active in our support and response to COVID-19. All staff are now home-working and either maintaining their previous work, converting it into digital offering or (and/or!) responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are involved in the local resilience groups at district level (Jozi, Bridget, Ali Greenhalgh); Carolyn is co-chairing the Community Resilience Group; I am supporting the North Cumbria Trust response and our Third Sector Referral Co-ordinators (Jayne and Dom) are helping out their Integrated Care Community hubs and the hospitals to make sure voluntary sector capacity is used appropriately. Judith is covering our volunteer guidance, placing volunteers and generally doing everything volunteer-related; Vicky and Gordon are supporting local groups with fundraising bids; Clare Edwards is linking with voluntary agencies able to help the health system respond; Laura is working our digital offering/social media; Ali is working on daily web updates and other communications; Wendy, Sadie and Holly are covering the phones on a rota- and so it goes on!
We are hoping to be able to maintain the third sector network meetings using streaming/online systems – more on this in a couple of weeks.
That’s it for now – please get in touch if you need something or if there is something we haven’t thought of!!
Very best wishes
Stay well and stay safe
Cheif Executive Officer