voluntary and community sector

Voluntary and Community Sector COVID-19 Update – 3 April 2020

Dear Colleagues

Welcome to the second VCSE sector newsletter, from Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum (VSF) and Cornwall Council. 

 
Voluntary and Community Sector COVID-19 Update – 3 April 2020

Welcome to the second VCSE sector newsletter, from Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum (VSF) and Cornwall Council.    VERA During the past two weeks VSF supported by Cornwall Council has developed a new VCSE Emergency Response Alliance (VERA) to provide a VCSE strategic response to the wide range of issues arising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are 15 VCSE organisations represented on
VERA, with each one bringing a wealth of information, expertise, and
strategic and operational influence. VERA is the VCSE response mechanism to COVID-19 and it works collaboratively with Cornwall Council’s COVID-19 governance arrangements. Within the Council’s COVID-19 governance arrangements there are ten ‘cells’, one of which is the Community Cell.
Helen Boardman, the new CEO of Cornwall VSF, is the VCSE representative on this cell, with a brief to ensure seamless and integrated dialogue
between the VCSE and the cell. Our central aim within this Community Cell is to help to maximise and sustain the VCSE’s capacity to respond to the emergency issues wherever it is possible.    Share this information with your community:   <image002.jpg>   Share <image002.jpg>   Tweet <image002.jpg>   Forward  Community hubs
Over the next couple weeks we will also be jointly developing local
community hubs with our statutory partners and stakeholders including local businesses and faith organisations. The aim of these hubs will be to
assist existing operations and initiatives within local communities, whilst
also helping to galvanise the volunteering response. There will be 19
community hubs which will operate across the 19 Community Network Areas within Cornwall. The VCSE will be represented on each of the hubs,
drawing on their local knowledge, relationships and networks, and
contributing their expertise and resources. The purpose of these hubs is to help individuals, self-help groups and constituted organisations in their
efforts to address the immediate needs of local residents. We hope to
sustain both VERA and community hubs beyond the crisis and recovery
phase, so that we will also be able to provide longer term benefits to the
residents of Cornwall. We will share more information about how this
model is developing in our next newsletter. 
As an organisation, Cornwall VSF sees that this work, while not what was
planned for this year, absolutely falls in the remit of its VICA strategy –
Voices, Influence, Collaboration, Actions. Both Cornwall VS and Cornwall
Council would really welcome the opportunity to raise the profile of the excellent work that the VCSE sector is doing during this time of crisis. We want to hear about the positive outcomes that you have been able to achieve for your beneficiaries and members of the public. Just recently Gemma
Finnegan from CRCC told us that “A lady contacted CRCC to say she needs to self-isolate for 3 months but she didn’t have any food in. I connected our worker, with Andrew Yates (Truro Diocese Social Responsibility Officer),
who linked her with Truro Food Bank and now the lady will have food
dropped off by Volunteer Cornwall tomorrow morning.” We hope that by
sharing stories of your response and actions, it will encourage others in the sector, and help spread positive actions. if you would like to contact us
please email office@cornwallvsf.org or find us on our social media
channels.  
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We are delighted to be working closely with Volunteer Cornwall, who have recruited an extraordinary 2,600 volunteers to help out in their local
communities, supporting 995 people in Cornwall in the last two weeks. They are the single point of access for volunteering, so if you have
volunteers working with you whom you would like to recognise officially, or would like to recruit more, then contact Volunteer Cornwall via the form
on their website or on or by emailing mid@volunteercornwall.org.uk.  Share this information with your community:   <image002.jpg>   Share <image002.jpg>   Tweet <image002.jpg>   Forward    
Cornwall Link
Cornwall Link connects individuals, families, carers, volunteers, and
healthcare professionals with services and social activities in their area.
The idea behind the platform is to reduce social isolation through these
connections, encouraging people to join in community-led activities on-line. Within Cornwall Link a support site has been developed by Age UK Cornwall and Made Open Communications that will be focused to provide a
community portal and support system to connect people during the
coronavirus pandemic. It forms part of the Inclusion Matters Partnership
led by Cornwall Rural Community Charity (CRCC) also including Disability Cornwall, Inclusion Cornwall and the Digital Inclusion team at Cornwall Council. 

For those without access to the internet, information from the site is also
available via the Inclusion Matters Helpline on 01872 266383 during
business hours. 

If you know anyone who could benefit from this platform, please signpost
them to it.  
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Funding for organisations
We are proud to be working with Cornwall Community Foundation, who
have launched an Emergency COVID-19 Fund, offering small grants of
£500 – £3,000 to charities and constituted organisations in Cornwall, to
cover the additional costs of supporting people during the coronavirus crisis. To apply for this funding, or extend funding already provided through CCF, see the Cornwall Community Foundation website.    Share this information with your community:   <image002.jpg>   Share <image002.jpg>   Tweet <image002.jpg>   Forward
 Cornwall Council Community Chest Crisis Scheme

If your group is a new initiative, you are encouraged to apply to your local
Cornwall Councillor’s Community Chest fund in the first instance. Each
councillor has a fund of £2,000 and they are being asked to support new
and emerging groups. We recognise that these groups may often need a
way to simply apply for small funds to support their work.

To apply, simply email your Community Link Officer (CLO) with brief
details of your group and the work you’re doing. Please see contact details on the map in this link, and copy in communitynetworks@cornwall.gov.uk. The CLO will then contact the relevant Cornwall Councillors to see if they
are willing to support your project in principle, and have sufficient funds in
their Community Chest to do so. 

VCSE bodies that are formally constituted should, in the first instance,
apply to access Cornwall Community Foundation’s Emergency Fund.
Cornwall Council has contributed £100,000 to the fund.

Funding opportunities are still open for national and non-COVID-19
sources. Cornwall VSF has published a list of opportunities closing soon.   Share this information with your community:   <image002.jpg>   Share <image002.jpg>   Tweet <image002.jpg>   Forward    
Support for individuals
For information about the Government’s support package for individuals whose income has been affected by the coronavirus, see Cornwall Council’s Benefits support web pages.

Anyone who is struggling to pay their council tax should get in touch with Cornwall Council and let the Council know if they’re going to miss a
payment or not pay the full amount, so the Council can agree to a special
payment plan. For more information, see Cornwall Council’s
Council tax support during the Coronavirus Pandemic web page.

The Council is giving everyone currently receiving Council Tax Support an
additional £150, which will happen automatically.
See the Council Tax Support pages for details.

The Chancellor has also announced a plan to see grants of up to £2,500 a month, to cover up to 80% of normal trading profits for the self-employed.

During this time of isolation, The National Careers Service are offering
confidential and impartial information, advice and guidance on everything
to do with work, skills and education.

Women and girls in England can now have home abortions during the
COVID-19 outbreak to avoid going to a clinic and exposing themselves to
the virus.  
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Proud to care Cornwall
Cornwall Council is spearheading the Proud to Care Cornwall campaign to
recruit carers to help support vulnerable people across Cornwall during the COVID-19 crisis. More than 200 people have already applied, and basic training has been given to 35 volunteers who are set to start work on
Saturday.

Those who are interested should visit the Proud to Care Cornwall website and apply as soon as possible. Anyone wanting to help only in a volunteer
capacity should visit the Volunteer Cornwall website.  Share this information with your community:   <image002.jpg>   Share <image002.jpg>   Tweet <image002.jpg>   Forward    
Retired or former social workers needed to support Cornwall’s most
vulnerable
Cornwall Council is calling for any former or retired social workers to help Cornwall’s most vulnerable people during this time of unprecedented
demand. 

The Council is asking anyone living in Cornwall who has experience of
working in social services – including retired social workers or those who
have recently left the profession – to help maintain the support provided to vulnerable families, children and adults through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

If you know a former or retired social worker who might be interested, they can register their interest via email at HRdeployment@cornwall.gov.uk. Cornwall Council will then contact them to gain further details of their
qualifications and skill set.    Share this information with your community:   <image002.jpg>   Share <image002.jpg>   Tweet <image002.jpg>   Forward    
New guidance on how to help people safely
Public Health England (PHE) has published new guidance on how to help
people safely. This is aimed at people who are providing essential support
to friends, family and neighbours who are in isolation, as well as those who are formal volunteers. 

Our Safeguarding Children’s Partnership has a new area on its website
around safeguarding, for children and vulnerable adults, which is a useful resource for organisations and individuals.    Share this information with your community:   <image002.jpg>   Share <image002.jpg>   Tweet <image002.jpg>   Forward    
Food parcels
Last weekend, volunteer groups, food suppliers and Cornwall Council worked together to distribute the first food boxes to the 252 residents who are
living alone, with no immediate family nearby, and are on the Government’s shielded list.

Alongside the supplies, they were also given a phone number so that they
can provide the Council with more information on things like their dietary
requirements and their pharmaceutical needs, allowing volunteers from
Volunteer Cornwall to make sure they have the right food and medication
to stay safe and well.

Housing associations are also working to find and support people who are
not on the shielded list but are vulnerable and without support networks of their own.  
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Hotel for hospital leavers
Cornwall Council’s Adult Social Care teams have been working to relieve
some of the pressure the local health system is currently facing and have
been able to work closely with Cornwall’s hospitality sector to find a way to help people get out of hospital more quickly.

The aim is to free up to 120 hospital beds by helping those people who are
safe to be released from hospital, but are unable to go home yet, to stay in a hotel, being cared for by fully trained care and support workers from
Corcare, part of Corserv. Read more   Share this iinformation with your community:   <image002.jpg>   Share <image002.jpg>   Tweet <image002.jpg>   Forward    
Domestic abuse
A rise in domestic abuse has already been reported by Devon and Cornwall Police during the lockdown, and the joint message is being given out
through all channels: One conversation can change someone’s life. This goes alongside a short film, being shared on social media channels that encourages people to look out for each other. 

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, or would like further information
about services available, please go to the Safer Cornwall website or the
Safer Futures website. 
You can also ring Safer Futures on 0300 777 4777 or Cornwall Refuge
Trust’s 24Hr Helpline on 01872 225629.

If you or someone you know is at immediate risk of harm, please call the
police now on 999.

Safer Futures has put contingencies in place as a result of the coronavirus
outbreak, to ensure they continue provide specialist services to those
experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence. Their message is: ‘Don’t
suffer in silence, help is available to you if you need it. Help includes safe
accommodation, advocacy and advice for you, your family, friends or
colleagues, as well as recovery services.’   Share this information with your community:   <image002.jpg>   Share <image002.jpg>   Tweet <image002.jpg>   Forward    
Sector wide information
A COVID-19 survey carried out by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), the Institute of Fundraising and the Charity Finance Group indicates that the charity sector is heading towards a crisis caused
by a lack of funding and an unprecedented increase in demand on services
due to the coronavirus. Charity leaders are calling on the Government to
provide more support to them, to help them continue to meet the need at
this time. For more information, see the Institute of Fundraising website. Share this information with your community:   <image002.jpg>   Share <image002.jpg>   Tweet <image002.jpg>   Forward    
Additional support for organisations via Cornwall VSF
There is to be more time for organisations using
HMRC’s digital tax system.

There is a roundup of Criminal Justice System advice and information
during the COVID-19 outbreak on Cornwall VSF’s website.  Share this information with your community:   <image002.jpg>   Share <image002.jpg>   Tweet <image002.jpg>   Forward    
Support for the creative sector
Cornwall Council has announced support for Cornish cultural and
creative organisations who are in receipt of grant support from the
Council, agreeing £687,000 of financial support and proactive efforts to
renegotiate programmes and outcomes to put these organisations in the
strongest financial position to support their resilience. Those organisations affected will be contacted directly.

To ensure appropriate support can be put in place to ensure a successful
recovery phase for Cornwall’s creative sector, all creative organisations and self-employed individuals are encouraged to take part in this survey.    Share this information with your community:   <image002.jpg>   Share <image002.jpg>   Tweet <image002.jpg>   Forward    
Transport Cornwall Council has removed all charges at Council car parks
until at least the end of April to ensure essential workers are able to travel as required. 

As fewer journeys are made at this time, bus timetables will be being
reduced. More information about timetable changes and public transport can be found at www.cornwall.gov.uk/coronavirus.   Share this information with your community:   <image002.jpg>   Share <image002.jpg>   Tweet <image002.jpg>   Forward    
Registration of births, deaths and marriages
Emergency legislation to register deaths by phone has been implemented, with no face-to-face appointments available at Cornwall’s Register Offices. 

People can request to register a death through an on-line form on the Cornwall Council website or by phoning 0300 1234 181 (Monday to Friday 8:30am to 6:00pm). Please be aware that there may be delays in receiving
the full set of medical paperwork. The Council will contact the customer
only once it receives all the necessary paperwork, which may be subject to understandable delays with the medical profession.

All other Register Office services are suspended until further notice,
including registering births.

People who are not able to register the birth of their child because of
coronavirus can still make a claim to receive child benefit.   Share this information with your community:   <image002.jpg>   Share <image002.jpg>   Tweet <image002.jpg>   Forward    
Scam advice
Cornwall Council is urging residents to follow online safety advice and
guidance on how to spot and deal with suspicious emails, and defend
against malware and ransomware on their computers. The full advice is on
the National Cyber Security Centre website.   Share this information with your community:   <image002.jpg>   Share <image002.jpg>   Tweet <image002.jpg>   Forward    
New COVID-19 WhatsApp information service
The Government has now launched a Coronavirus Information Service
on WhatsApp. The free service is an automated ‘chatbot’ that will allow
people to get answers to the most common questions about COVID-19
directly from Government. It aims to further reduce the burden on NHS
services, including 111, combat the spread of the virus and ensure people
stay at home and save lives. It’s as easy as sending a message ‘hi’ to the
dedicated number on WhatsApp. Please share details about the
Coronavirus Information Service on your communications channels. More
information can be found on the Government website.   Share this information with your community:   <image002.jpg>   Share <image002.jpg>   Tweet <image002.jpg>   Forward    
Important links
Volunteer Cornwall is the single point of access to register interest in
volunteering and is matching requests for help with people offering help.
You can register as a volunteer on Volunteer Cornwall’s website or
emailing mid@volunteercornwall.org.uk

Anyone who needs help can request a volunteer by ringing 01872 266988 or emailing requestforhelp@volunteercornwall.org.uk

Find out more about Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum, including joining as a Member (which is free), at www.cornwallvsf.org, nor email
office@cornwallvsf.org

Please send all coronavirus related enquiries or issues to Cornwall
Council’s dedicated email address covid19@cornwall.gov.uk.

We hope you have found our newsletter to be useful and informative and we welcome any feedback to help us improve this newsletter to better meet your information needs. We would really appreciate it if you could share our newsletter with your partners, and encourage them to sign up to receive it themselves, using the link below. 

Regards,  
Julian German 
Leader of Cornwall Counci

Hembrenkyas an Konsel
Helen Boardman
CEO of Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum
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