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Coronavirus (COVID-19) – advice for the voluntary and community sector and community centres

Making changes to your services

Reviewing your services

Organisations in Islington have already made adaptations to the way they deliver their services in response to COVID-19, changing them to align with government guidance on reducing social contact.

We have developed guidance for the VCS and community centres to help you make decisions about whether to stop, change or scale the services you currently offer. More information can be found in our guidance on Covid19 for community centres and VCS.

How are you supporting residents?

We are continuously updating the Islington Coronavirus Support Directory so that people can see what support is available during the COVID-19 crisis

If you are a voluntary organisation or community centre continuing to provide services or activities and are happy for us to share details of this with residents, please complete a short questionnaire so we can add it to ouronline support directory.

Complete details of your service

Support for residents

We are Islington helpline

The We Are Islington helpline has been set up for residents who may be struggling to cope, orwhere people are concerned about someone they know or work with

This could include help with getting food or medicine, online group activities, access to emergency financial support, legal and welfare benefits advice, or a range of other services.

Please ask them to contact 020 7527 8222.

Lines are open every day from 9am to 5pm. 

Minicom 0207 527 1900 

Email weareislington@islington.gov.uk

Community Support Directory

The council’s directory has a specific Coronavirus support section that is continuously being updated and includes information about shopping, meals, food delivery, pharmacies, online support, legal advice, and counselling. You can filter this by category of support or by postcode to see what’s available.

Islington Resident Support Scheme

Islington Council’s Resident Support Scheme (RSS) offers temporary financial support to residents facing severe difficulties because of government cuts, changes to welfare benefits or those who find themselves in crisis.

The process for applying to the RSS has been simplified in order to ensure those most in need can request assistance. 

Residents and organisations (on behalf of residents) can apply for this by sending an email to the RSS team with the person’s contact information and details about their situation. The team will then contact the resident to issue a voucher for groceries/fuel as necessary.

Email ResidentSupportTeam@islington.gov.uk

Volunteering

Accessing volunteers

If you require volunteers to support your work please contact Voluntary Action Islington by e-mailing them at volunteer@vai.org.uk

In case you’ve not seen it, there is a growing amount of information about staying safe and ensuring the safety of others whilst volunteering.

Staying safe

  • Government and NHS tips on safe volunteering: Government Guidance on how to help safely can be found on this page: Coronavirus: How to help safely
  • Public Health COVID-19 volunteering health checklist: Islington and Camden Public Health have prepared this straightforward checklist to protect yourself as a volunteer and others from COVID-19. This can be found, along with other guidance, on the Voluntary Action Islington website.

Ensuring the safety of others  

If you have safeguarding concerns about any child or vulnerable person you meet during your volunteering, it’s important you pass on your concerns. This online video provides some useful tips about looking out for resident safety.

Safeguarding advice has been developed to guide volunteers when they are out and about. 

Key worker letter template

VCS organisations may want to provide staff and volunteers who are working in the community with a letter in case they are challenged by the authorities, as proof of their critical worker role. We have drafted some suggested text you may wish to adapt for this. Please ensure the letter is signed and on headed paper if possible.

Funding 

Islington Giving public appeal

We have been working with Islington Giving to support their Covid 19 Crisis Public Appeal. Money raised will go directly to support groups and organisations delivering essential services, and some money directly to residents in crisis through the Resident Support Scheme. If you receive enquiries from residents who want to make donations to the COVID-19 effort you can signpost them to this appeal. 

The London Community Response

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of London funders have come together to provide funding to support groups responding to the needs of the capital’s communities, which can be applied to via a single application point.

Over the coming months further waves of funding will become available to the sector and we would encourage organisations to consider applying. Islington Giving has aligned with this fund in order to provide a simple, central point for organisations to access funding.

The current funds available from the London Community Response for wave 2 are detailed below:

Crisis response - grants of up to £10,000 to enable you to meet the immediate needs of communities, from food and essentials, to equipment and additional short-term staff costs:

Delivering differently - as of 5.00pm on Tuesday 19 May applications in this strand have been paused.

To be kept up to date on the funding waves as they open and for information about this fund please sign up to receive updates by visiting London community response fund.

COVID-19 funders statement

Islington Council has signed up to the COVID-19 Funders Statement to show support and reassurance to the sector during this challenging time. If you have any questions about grant funding from the Council please get in contact with the council’s VCS Team at partnerships@islington.gov.uk.

Details of the COVID-19 Funders Statement can be found hereby visiting covid-19 funders.

Government guidance

Government funding for front line charities

 Please find below information announced by the government for charities:

  • £750 million pot for front line charities across the UK – including hospices and those supporting domestic abuse victims
  • £360 million direct from government departments and £370 million for smaller charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund
  • Government will match donations to the National Emergencies Trust as part of the BBC’s Big Night In fundraiser in April – pledging a minimum of £20 million

The National Lottery - Coronavirus community support fund – open for applications

The National Lottery have launched a £200m fund aimed primarily at small to medium organisations in England. The fund is part of the government’s £750m financial support package for charities and social enterprises announced by government on April 8. They will distribute the government funding alongside National Lottery funding, to support organisations to continue to deliver services to people and communities affected by COVID-19. The application you need to fill in is the same whether your funding comes from the government or from us.

If you're a group that's looking for government funding, because you can't accept funding from The National Lottery, please tell us in your application.

They can fund activities supporting people and communities affected by COVID-19.They can also help organisations overcome any acute financial difficulties they’re facing because of the pandemic. 

Apply now 

The Voluntary and Community Sector team

The VCS team is on hand to provide support to the sector at this time. Please contact the team at partnerships@islington.gov.uk with any queries or questions and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

VCS Newsletters

VCS Newsletters are being shared with the sector containing useful information and guidance during this time. If you would like to sign up to receive future mailings please email partnerships@islington.gov.uk with your organisations name, contact name and email.

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