General COVID-19 guidance for charities

This page covers general advice for charities and community groups for the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic from national bodies, the public sector and the government.

Local Council: Update

  • Leicestershire County Council: A guide to reducing loneliness in Leicestershire

    Many people across all sections of society experience loneliness or isolation at various times in their lives. Loneliness can affect anyone, regardless of the area you live in, your age, your background or your personal circumstances. The government has recognised that loneliness is a challenge experienced all over the country, which is why a national Loneliness Strategy was published in 2018. Read more

  • Blaby District Council: Telephone Befriending Service

    The council is currently offering a free telephone friendship befriending service, which offers an opportunity for people to enjoy talking to someone over the phone. Anyone interested in using the service  needs to have a landline or mobile phone. They also need to be able to hear and be understood over the phone. You can contact the service to obtain a referral form: Find out more here

  • Leicester City Council’s - Social Care & Education Provider Hub

    Leicester City Council has created a new Social Care & Education Provider Hub for existing and potential providers of adult social care and children and young people’s services in Leicester. Read more

Consultation / Research

  • Talk/together: Consultation

    Talk/together is the UK’s biggest-ever conversation about what divides and unites us, and what could bring our society together in these difficult times. Together is a campaign that starts with questions rather than answers. It’s run by a major new coalition of household names like the NHS and the Scouts, and local community organisations too. Details of the campaign can be found here. 

    They want you to have your say about what divides us, what unites us and what will bring us closer/together. They hope this will be the biggest public survey since the census, engaging people in conversations right across the UK. Details of the survey can be found here.

  • Better Business Act

    During the last week we have seen the power of private business owners trying to make changes to the national sport of Football. Whilst King Power Stadium, as part of the localism act, is listed as an asset of community value. Other aspects within company law do not give communities as much say over decisions. Read more

  • Procurement in an Emergency

    Previously we reported on the procurement notices issued in 2020, including procurement policy note 06/20,  which refers to the Social Value Model Quick Reference Table, which gives illustrative examples of how tenderers can demonstrate their social value within themes. The details of this can be found in VAL’s New year resolutions for the local VCSE sector blog. One procurement notice that has come to light in 2021 is procurement policy notice 01/21 – Procurement in an Emergency. Read more

Out of the EU

  • EU Exit: Preparing for the end of the transition period

    The UK has left the EU, and the transition period comes to an end on 31 December 2020.

    The UK has left the EU, and the transition period comes to an end on 31 December 2020. Please check the new rules from January 2021 to ensure that your organisation is ready. The deadline for applying is 30 June 2021.

    • If your organisation employs EU staff

    Ask your employees to check if they need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. EU, EEA or Swiss citizens can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.

    Read the guidance: Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status)

    • If your organisation receives EU funding

    Under the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK will continue to participate in programmes funded under the current 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework until their closure.

    Read the guidance: Getting EU funding

    • If your organisation receives any personal data from the EU

    If your organisation receives personal data from the EU/EEA, you should review your contracts to ensure you can continue to do so legally during and after the transition period. You may not know if your data is hosted outside of the UK so it is worth checking.

    Read the guidance: Using personal data in your business or other organisation during and after the transition period.

    If your organisation imports or exports goods with the EU

    From 1 January 2021 the process for importing and exporting goods will change. Find out what you need to do to continue to:

    Import goods from the EU.

    Export goods to the EU.

  • Keep data flowing at the end of the UK's transition out of the EU

    On 3 December the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) delivered a webinar aimed at small and medium organisations. The webinar discussed the key data protection requirements to consider at the end of the transition period for leaving the EU. Read more

  • Trading with the EU under the new rules

    On 9 April 2021 the Cabinet Office published a recording giving an overview of the new rules that have come into place since the UK left the EU Customs Union and Single Market. Read more

NHS & Public Health England

  • The NHS Advice for everyone on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • NHS: The Healthy Start Scheme:

    The Healthy Start scheme is a national incentive to encourage the best start in life. Beneficiaries who are eligible for the scheme will receive vouchers to spend with local retailers.

    There are have been some recent changes to the scheme. The vouchers can help encourage a healthy diet and access to wholesome foods for children and pregnant women. The changes to the ‘Healthy Start’ scheme include: A health professionals’ signature is no longer required on the application form, Beneficiaries will still need to provide their own signature before sending off the form and the expiry date of the Health Start vouchers have been increased by 4 weeks, so the vouchers will now be valid for 12 weeks. Find out more

  • Public Health England: COVID-19 - deaths of people with learning disabilities

    On 12 November the government released a report about the deaths from COVID-19 of people identified as having learning disabilities. The review looked at:Deaths from COVID-19 of people with learning disabilities; Factors impacting the risk of death from COVID-19 of people with learning disabilities and Deaths in care settings of people with learning disabilities. The review will help inform policy and practice to reduce the future risk and impact of COVID-19 on people with learning disabilities. Read more

  • Department of Health and Social Care: PPE portal - how to order COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE)

    On 19 November the government updated the guidance. Eligible organisations that can use the PPE portal also include; Community drug and alcohol services and Residential drug and alcohol services. If you’re a provider in one of the eligible categories, your invitation to register will be sent to your email account registered with Care Quality Commission (CQC), NHS Business Services Authority (BSA), NHS England or the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The email will be from: Read guidance here.

  • Government’s white paper on the future of health and care

    On 11 February 2021 the Department of Health and Social Care and The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP published an oral statement to Parliament setting out the government’s white paper on the future of health and care. Read more

  • Guidance on shielding and protecting people guidance revised

    Previously we have reported on Public Health England’s and Department of Health and Social Care’s  COVID-19 guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable. On 16 February 2021 the definition of clinically extremely vulnerable groups was updated. Read more

  • PHE launches new Psychological First Aid training

    Public Health England (PHE) has launched a new psychological first aid (PFA) online training course to help support children and young people that have been affected by emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. The course is free, takes up to three hours to complete and no previous qualifications are required. It is available for all frontline workers such as teachers, health & social workers, charity & community volunteers and anyone who cares for children and young people aged up to 25, including parents & caregivers. Find out more

  • Updated guidance for providers of services for people who use drugs or alcohol

    On 7 April 2021 Public Health England and Department of Health and Social Care updated the COVID-19: guidance for commissioners and providers of services for people who use drugs or alcohol. Read more

Companies House

  • Accounts and Tax Returns

    You can apply to extend your accounts filing deadline with Companies House if you cannot send your accounts because of an event that’s outside of your control. Due to Covid-19, you can apply for an immediate 3 month extension if your company is affected by coronavirus.

    As a charitable company or a social enterprise such as a community interest company or a company limited by guarantee, you are legally required to complete a return to the regulator companies house. To qualify for this extension, you must apply before your filing deadline. You may not be eligible if you’ve already extended your filing deadline, or shortened your accounting period.

    To apply for an extension due to coronavirus you must apply online.
    Details of how to apply can be found here.

  • Companies House: Company authentication codes for online filing

    On 15 July Companies House updated their guidance on authentication codes for online filing.  The authentication code is a 6 digit alphanumeric code issued by us to each company.

    The code is used to authorise information filed online and is the equivalent of a company officer’s signature. As part of their response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, a  temporary service has been introduced. Users can now request to have the authentication code sent to a home address instead of the company’s registered office. For further details click here.

  • Companies House: Accessible documents policy

    This policy explains how accessible the documents Companies House publishes on GOV.UK are.

    A number of charities are registered with companies house and most social enterprises are. It covers PDFs, spreadsheets, presentations and other types of document. The policy can be found here.

  • Companies House: Companies House fees guidance

    On 24 August companies house updated their guidance to include fees for ordering certificates through Companies House Service (CHS).

    The guidance covers a list of all the fees companies House charges, and how they determine these fees. Registration fees do not apply to documents delivered under the Companies Act 1985 or the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986. Any document delivered under these acts will be free of charge.
    The guidance can be found here.

  • Companies House: Applying to protect your personal information on the Companies House register

    On 16 September companies house published this guidance. It explains how to restrict disclosure of certain information if you’re at serious risk as a company director, limited liability partnership (LLP) member or person with significant control (PSC). Most information registered at Companies House is available to the public. Other personal details, such as your home address and full date of birth, are not published on the Companies House register. Read more

  • Companies House: File a second filing of a document previously delivered (RP04)

    On 17 September companies house updated their filing procedures to include online filing options for second filing and advice about correcting You can file your second filing online to correct an error made on: CS01 Confirmation statement (only for errors made on share capital or shareholders), SH01 Return of allotment of shares or AP01 Appointment of director.

    Further details can be found here

  • Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Companies House: Corporate transparency & register reform

    On 18 September the government published the consultation outcome. The government response sets out a range of proposals to improve the reliability and accuracy of information on the Companies Register.

    The proposals include: Identity verification, Reforms to Companies House powers, Protecting personal information and Company accounts.The full outcome can be found here.

  • Companies House: Business plan 2020-2021 and Strategy 2020-2025

    On 29 September companies house published a number of documents in context to their new strategy and business plan. They have a commitment to tackling economic crime and driving confidence in the UK economy. Read more

Charity Commission



  • The Coronavirus Act 2020

    Full version of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

    Read the full act

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance

    Find guidance about coronavirus (COVID-19) for health professionals and other organisations.

    Visit the website

  • Guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities COVID-19 and renting

    Guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities

    Visit the website

  • Cabinet Office: Please give me space’ social distancing cards or badges guidance

    On 4 August the cabinet office published the please give me space’ social distancing cards or badges guidance. Optional badges can be used to show the carrier may have difficulties or concerns in maintaining social distancing.

    They can be used to signal to others around them that they need to pay attention and be given space. There are formats to use on a mobile phone or to print. Details can be found here.

  • Guidance on volunteering during the national lockdown

    On 8 January the  Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport updated the  guidance titled enabling safe and effective volunteering during coronavirus (COVID-19). The guidance aims to help organisations and groups understand how to safely and effectively involve volunteers during the pandemic. Read more

  • Emergency Funding for local government

    On 11 January 2021 the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government updated their Coronavirus (COVID-19): Emergency funding for local government in 2020 to 2021 and additional support in 2021 to 2022 guidance. This revised guidance includes details of the local council tax support grant. Read more

  • Whether volunteers are eligible for vaccines

    Previously we reported on the government’s guidance on volunteering during the pandemic titled Enabling safe and effective volunteering during coronavirus (COVID-19). The article can be accessed here. The guidance was updated by Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport on 4 February 2021, to include a new section on volunteers eligible for vaccines. Read more

  • DWP Kickstart Scheme revised

    The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Kickstart Scheme provides fully-funded jobs for 16-24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment. The funding available pays 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours per week for 6 months. Read more

  • Extension of the 'Furlough' scheme announced in the budget

    In the budget announcement on 3 March 2021 delivered by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the government explained that the Coronavirus Job Retention ‘Furlough’ scheme will be extended until the end of September 2021. Read more

  • Access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for unpaid carers

    In line with current government guidelines this offer is available until 30 June 2021. Free PPE for COVID-19 is presently available to unpaid carers who do not live with the person or people they care for. Read more

  • (COVID-19) Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do

    On 16 April 2021 the Cabinet Office updated the Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do guidance to include translated versions in Arabic, Bengali, Farsi, Gujarati, Hindi, Polish, Punjabi Gurmukhi, Punjabi Shahmukhi, Slovak, Somali, Urdu, and Welsh, explaining the changes from 12 April 202.

    Many restrictions remain in place. Such as you must not socialise indoors with anyone you do not live with, unless you have formed a support bubble with them, or another exemption applies.

    You should continue to work from home if you can and minimise the number of journeys you make where possible.

    You should get a test and follow the stay at home guidance if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

    Details of the revised guidance with translations can be accessed here.

    Local VCSE organisations supporting communities where English is not their first language may want to share the appropriate translated guidance with their beneficiaries.


  • Volunteering matters: National scheme to help keep transport users safe

    On 23 May the Secretary of State for Transport announced that national charity Volunteering Matters is coordinating a volunteer response programme – Journey Makers – to help keep people safe using transport networks as lockdown restrictions are eased.

    Volunteers, called Journey Makers, will be offering guidance, providing friendly advice, reminding passengers about social distancing measures, preventing overcrowding and helping vulnerable passengers on their journeys.  The main role of a Journey Maker will be to provide support for the public in preventing crowd congestion at major transport stations.

    Volunteer tasks will involve:

    • Supporting passenger flow in and out of stations
    • Guiding passengers through new designated social distancing safe pathways
    • Encouraging passengers to use face coverings (in line with government and station advice)
    • Providing clear and concise verbal instructions to people moving through the station
    • Reassuring passengers and answering questions

    Volunteers will be provided with appropriate PPE (in line with that worn by staff) and have an induction by station staff before they begin their role.
    Details of the scheme can be found here.

    If you are interested in knowing more about the volunteer roles locally, then please get in touch with VAL’s helpline If using the online form, please use the option volunteering in the reason for contact drop down box.

  • Charity Bank - COVID-19 Resource Hub for Charities and Social Enterprises

    COVID-19 has created extra challenges for the social sector. Many of your staff may now be working from home. You may have had to cancel events and change how you support your service users.

    Visit Charity Bank

  • Charity Retail Association:  Reopening pack

    The charity retail association describe themselves as the primary membership organisation for charity shops in the United Kingdom.

    The re-opening pack consists of helpful guidance for when charity shops  are given the green light to open up shops, and provides some suggestions of things to think about in the meantime.

    The pack  should be read in conjunction with UK Government guidance for shops on working safely during coronavirus.
    The pack is regularly revised to take account of government changes and feedback from members. The latest version published is version 3. Read more

  • Law works:

    Law Works is a charity connecting volunteer lawyers with people in need of legal advice. They have produced an article -payment of rent where access to premises is forbidden.

    The article covers :

    • What are our rights?
    • Can we withhold rent?
    • If we cannot occupy the premises, does the lease come to an end?
    • How to use  lease frustration and force majeure

    Read more

  • St John Ambulance: Working safely during COVID-19 - Free tool and advice

    St John Ambulance’s describe themselves  as a charity that steps forward in the moments that matter, to save lives and keep communities safe.

    They have produced a  free online tool to help organisations can work safely during this fast-moving situation: Click here to read more and view the online tool and advice

  • Befriending Network: Interim Volunteer Toolkit

    Befriending Networks is a national support organisation for befriending projects throughout the UK. 
    During the Covid-19 period they have produced a whole range of resources, templates and training videos for interim volunteers which are all available to download free on their website.

    This includes information about DBS, handling money, boundaries, safeguarding and confidentiality as well as template forms and policies for telephone and distance befriending. More information can be found here.

    The easy access Interim Volunteer Toolkit can be found here.

  • Leicestershire Police Neighbourhood Link Service
  • Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority: Spot the signs

    The recent local lockdown national media coverage has highlighted some potential issues with working practices in a small number of local employers.

    The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, as part of their day to day work to protect vulnerable and exploited workers, have produced some workers’ rights leaflets, which can be downloaded in 19 different language formats.
    You may find these useful to share with your beneficiaries where appropriate. They have also produced some guidance on how to spot the signs of  labour exploitation which might prove useful to share with your staff and volunteers.

  • Working together to keep children safe

    The Leicester Safeguarding Children Partnership Board have launched a new short film ‘Was not heard’, which was created by young people and is about youth voice and the importance of listening and creating safe environments of communication.

    The film was was written by 17 year-old writer Yasmin Allen and the narration and performances were provided by twelve young actors aged between six and seventeen. It has been funded and supported by the Safeguarding Children Partnership (Board)s of Leicester and Leicestershire & Rutland (LLR), National Youth Agency, and also, secured through the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS England. Read more

  • UK Parliament Committees: Food insecurity exposed by COVID-19

    The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s COVID-19 and Food Supply Report has found that the pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity for millions of people.

    The use of UK food banks almost doubled during lockdown, with a significant spike in demand from people with children. Recognising that the situation is likely to worsen, a cross-party group of MPs has called on Government to urgently appoint a ‘Minister for Food Security’. The new Minister would work across Government departments to collect robust data and deliver sustainable change. The report also urges the Government to consult on whether a ‘right to food’ should be put in legislation. Read the findings from the report here.

  • The University of Sheffield: The Mobilising Volunteers Effectively project report

    The Mobilising Volunteers Effectively (MoVE) project, run by a partnership between the Universities of Sheffield, Hull and Leeds included looking at how best volunteers can be deployed to help vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic. This is the first of three reports from phase one of the MoVE (mobilising volunteers effectively) project, exploring key lessons from the national lockdown. Read more

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