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Coronavirus updates: Third Sector live blog

Keep up to date with all the latest coronavirus-related news affecting the charity sector. Please refresh for the latest updates

Richard Humphrey, senior coordinator at the charity His Church, prepares pallets of food to be distributed to charities near Market Rasen (Photograph Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)
Richard Humphrey, senior coordinator at the charity His Church, prepares pallets of food to be distributed to charities near Market Rasen (Photograph Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

23 April

17:35: We're logging off for the evening. The live blog will resume on Monday

17:20: Pancreatic UK needs donations to keep its support line going

The charity says the coronavirus crisis has left people with pancreatic cancer isolated from both family and treatment.

It adds that people with the disease need its specialist nurses more than ever for support and to help ease the burden on its colleagues in the NHS.

To donate, click here.

17:15: Educational charity launches online course range specifically for the lockdown

City Lit, the London-based charity, has launched a range of online courses designed for those who want to try something new or revisit a past passion while in lockdown.

Courses available online range from how to build a website in one day, Italian for beginners, dance lessons and an introduction to British Sign Language.

Find out more here.

17:00: Charities ask supporters to commit to the 2.6 Challenge

In the spirit of the 2.6 challenge, London's Air Ambulance Charity is challenging supporters to do 26 moves of the "helicopter" exercise. The charity says it's tough, "but we know the public are up for it!"

And staff at the RSPCA Felledge Equine Centre in Durham are challenging animal lovers in north-east England to take part in the 2.6 challenge around something animal-themed. 

All supporters need to do is pick a challenge and make sure it's something you can do safely while conforming to social distancing rules. Set up a fundraising page on the RSPCA 2.6 Challenge JustGiving page or make a donation. Then spread the news and get as many people involved as you can.

16:50: Business in the Community hosting webinars twice a week

Its Business Response Forum webinars cover a range of topics, including health and wellbeing during the lockdown, ethnicity and Covid-19, and risk.

To find out more, click here.

15:55: Muslim charity says 'let's share our sense of community during Ramadan'

The international relief and development organisation Human Appeal is calling on Muslims to share their Ramadan experiences in lockdown.

It is encouraging Muslims to share how they are observing Ramadan at home through photos and videos of themselves on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. People are being asked to nominate five friends to keep the conversation going and to include the hashtag #PrayAtHome.

Further afield, the charity says, it is focusing its efforts where people are particularly at risk because of coronavirus, from providing water disinfectant to nearly 300 wells in Gaza to helping to provide for 3,000 people in Pakistan who can no longer work to support their families.

15:45: Dorset charity running online auction in partnership with AFC Bournemouth

Autism Wessex, a charity based in Dorset, is running an online auction with its charity partner, AFC Bournemouth, to support young adults through Covid-19. The charity's ambassador, Harry Redknapp, has donated a signed football and football shirt from the team, and a signed copy of his book, It Shouldn't Happen to a Manager.

The online auction will run from 15 to 29 April and can be found here.

15:40: Pandemic having 'extreme impact' on British-Somali communities

A report from the non-profit Anti-Tribalism Movement says the community, numbering between 350,000 and 500,000, suffers from "significant inequalities in accessing education, employment, health and housing with resulting
poor outcomes", including health outcomes.

There is also a high prevalence of hypertension, respiratory disease,
diabetes and obesity, all risk factors for susceptibility to Covid-19, the report says.

It offers a number of recommendations to the health authorities, the Greater London Authority, the police, the Department for Education and local authorities.

To read the report, click here.

15:30: Vulnerable and at-risk people can now seek assistance from NHS Volunteer Responders

The website, run by Royal Voluntary Service, says: "If you are currently not supported and need some help with shopping, a prescription collection or a friendly chat then our NHS Volunteer Responders are ready to help."

It says only people in the following groups should get in touch:

  • People aged 70 years and older with underlying health conditions

  • If you are in the "extremely vulnerable" to Covid-19 group and have been sent a letter asking you to shield from the virus

  • People who are pregnant 

  • If you are newly socially vulnerable as a result of Covid-19

  • People who are registered disabled

  • Others with high-risk conditions could include: people with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma; people with serious heart conditions; people who are immunocompromised including because of cancer treatment; people of any age with severe obesity, for example a body mass index over 40; certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, dementia, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk.

For more information, click here.

15:20: HMRC to run webinar on the job-retention scheme on Monday

The step-by-step guide on how to make claim through the scheme, including essential information needed before you start, how to work out your claim and what happens after submitting your claim, will happen three times on 27 April: 10:45, 12:45 and 15:45.

To register, click here.

15:10: Mental Health Foundation gives tips for maintaining wellbeing during the lockdown

On its website, the organisation gives six tips for looking after your mental health during the pandemic. The are:

  • Plan your day

  • Move more every day

  • Try a relaxation technique

  • Connect with others

  • Take time to reflect and practise self-compassion

  • Improve your sleep

To read more, click here.

15:00: Appeal funds wellbeing rooms for Nottingham nurses

Two wellbeing rooms have been funded by £75,000 from the Nottingham NHS Heroes appeal for City Hospital and Queen's Medical Centre NHS hospital staff. 

The two rooms have been used by more than 2,000 staff members, reports Nottinghamshire Live, allowing them to have a safe space to take a break from the ward environment.

Further donations will fund other wellbeing rooms which will include several rest rooms and four sleep pods. To donate, click here.

14:35: BBC's Big Night In is tonight

The Big Night In starts at 7pm tonight on BBC One and iPlayer to raise money for Comic Relief and Children in Need.

The evening's events include Stay Home Lounge with BBC Radio 1, the #keepdancingchallenge, the banana bread challenge and the 2.6 challenge (in which our very own Rebecca Cooney will be taking part: donate donate here). On Friday 24 April The Big Quiz will take place in the evening.

To find out more, click here.

12:40: Foundation launches resources for young people during lockdown

The Jack Petchey Foundation, an organisation for young people, has created an online resource for young people and parents. 

The Young People's Resources section gives advice and tips on how young people can look after their mental health and physical wellbeing.

To access it, click here.

12:25: Care-experienced and estranged students suffering from financial worries, says report

A paper published by Become, the charity for children in care and young care-leavers, is based on a nationwide survey carried out during the first week of the lockdown.

It found that students were most worried about loss of income: respondents reported being unable to find new paid employment or access to universal credit. Many were also worried about loneliness and mental health, and said they wanted clarification about their accommodation arrangements.

To read the report, click here.

12:10: If you're going to borrow, make sure you have the power to do so, says charity law firm

In a blog on its website, Bates Wells looks at different types of charity entity and how they can work out if they have the power to borrow.

These include charitable companies limited by guarantee, charitable incorporated organisations, unincorporated trusts, unincorporated associations, community benefit societies and royal charter bodies.

To read the blog, click here.

12:00: Live panel debate today on how charities are adapting to the new normal

Hosted by the creative agency Raw London, the webinar, which begins at 4pm, will include comms specialists from the British Red Cross, the Alzheimer's Society, Children with Cancer UK and Marie Curie, as well as the digital consultant Kirsty Marrins.

To register, click here.

11:30: Sign up for today's free CFG webinar on coronavirus and finances

The Charity Finance Group is holding a free webinar today at 1pm to advise charities on how to navigate the financial situation caused by Covid-19.

11:25: Electricity distribution firm makes £500k available to community groups in Herefordshire

According to the Hereford Times, Western Power Distribution has launched its In This Together – Community Matters Fund to help local organisations that might need financial help.

The newspaper reports that charities, local authorities and lower-level councils can apply for funding of up to £10,000. Other community groups can apply for up to £1,000.

For further details and to apply, click here.

11:10: Grant-making fund assigns £15.3m to charities affected by coronavirus

The Julia and Hans Rausing Trust, an independent grant-making charitable fund, is allocating £15.3m to charities over the next six months.

Donations are going to a variety of groups, including:

A donation of £5m has been given to the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 appeal.

10:50: Bexhill company fundraising for small charities in East Sussex and Leicester

The insurance company's Covid-19 Community Grant Scheme gives local charities within a 20-mile radius of Conquest House (Hastings Direct’s head office) the opportunity to apply for a grant, reports the Hastings & St Leonards Observer.

It writes that the scheme aims to help the most vulnerable in the community by means of food hamper provisions and through a community grant fund for local charities that colleagues would like the company to support.

Each applicant must be a registered charity. To apply or for further information, email

10:40: Sector responds to minister's comment that not every charity can be saved

The culture secretary yesterday passed this verdict by webcam before the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee.

Vicky Browning, chief executive of Acevo, has said that the £750m package is not enough. She's not alone: industry figures are expressing disappointment at the lack of support. Follow the conversation on the hashtag #NeverMoreNeeded.

10:25: Mental health charities to open new flagship crisis centre in Perth

The Courier reports that a number of charities, led by Anchor House and including Lighthouse for Perth, Andy's Man Club and Women's Wellbeing, are making the move because of concerns about the long-term impact of the lockdown on vulnerable people.

It reports that the charities will share a unit in the city centre, which will be managed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The new location, it writes, will have purpose-built rooms for those who need to stay, as well as showering facilities, sensory rooms and staff and volunteers providing support and running telephone helplines.

The Lighthouse for Perth was granted £10,000 by the National Lottery on Monday to help it deal with issues relating to specifically coronavirus.

10:15: Bradford BID backing new fund to support charities in the city

The business support organisation says the GiveBradford Resilience Fund has been launched to help groups suffering difficulty during the lockdown by offering urgent financial support to cover core operating costs, volunteer expenses, staff costs and transport.

GiveBradford was set up by Leeds Community Foundation to enable local communities across the district to get the support they need. As part of the national network oUK Community Foundations, it invests in these groups by distributing grants and sharing advice.

It has now leveraged more than £200,000 into the GiveBradford Resilience Fund?, but is urgently seeking more support from donors to help its work. To donate, click here.

10:05: 52 Lives sends out hundreds of 'Happy Bags' and wellbeing packs

 The charity, which uses kindness to change the life of someone every week of the year, has seen a significant increase in donations during the lockdown, enabling it to help more people across the UK.

It is sending "Happy Bags" filled with games and toys to 100 children in Wales. It says these children live in difficult circumstances, which have worsened since the lockdown was introduced. Many are living with parents who have serious physical or mental health issues and they often have to take on many extra responsibilities.

It is also helping to send wellbeing packs to almost 400 older people in Berkshire who are in isolation, living on their own with no family support network or internet access. The wellbeing packs include essential items, as well as a regular newsletter to help them stay connected and keep their spirits up.

The charity will also be helping to supply emergency food parcels to 100 vulnerable families in Leeds.

09:45: National Emergencies Trust has distributed £17.5m so far

The NET says a total of £35m has been pledged to the Coronavirus Appeal with a further £20m in match funding promised from the government. Further distributions will be made in the coming days, to continue to support the most vulnerable in society, it says.

The money will be distributed through UK Community Foundations to 47 local community foundations across the country.

The Coronavirus Appeal was launched on 18 March. To donate, click here.

09:40: Children's charities to distribute books and art supplies to kids during lockdown

The Children's Book Project and AT The Bus have joined forces to put together a lockdown bundle of books and creative resources to be gifted to 10,000 young people aged between three and 11 in London and Oxford at the beginning of what would have been the summer term.

Their Story & Draw pack has been designed to inspire enjoyment, creativity, escapism and emotional wellbeing among children and will include three age-relevant books as well as paper, pencils and other resources.

The Story & Draw packs are being distributed through schools in 12 London boroughs (Barking & Dagenham, Brent, Ealing, Enfield, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hillingdon, Newham, Kensington & Chelsea, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Westminster) and to a number of schools in Oxfordshire. Books have been donated by Penguin, Little Tiger and by book-buying families across the capital. Art supplies have been donated by Premier Paper, GF Smith and Fedrigoni. Each bundle will include a unique bookmark designed by the artist and illustrator Jane Ray.

09:10: Christian Aid to furlough 20 per cent of staff to protect country programmes

The international development charity says it is anticipating a fall in unrestricted income of £6m in the current financial year and is taking the step to focus on supporting vulnerable communities. The charity aims to save £1m in payroll over the next nine weeks and will be fully drawing down on its available reserves.

It will implement the government's job-retention scheme from 27 April until 30 June. Christian Aid says it expects that 20 per cent of UK-based staff will be furloughed. All non-furloughed UK staff have been asked to move to a four-day week with 80 per cent of salary for 12 weeks.

Directors and most senior managers will not be furloughed, but members of the leadership group have been asked to move to 80 per cent pay for the three months of May through to July. They will continue to work a full working week.

Christian Aid Week, 10 to 16 May, is being run online this year. For more information, click here. To donate to the charity's coronavirus appeal, click here.

09:05: Councils reassure charities they won't be fined for flytipping

Three local authorities say they will not penalise charities for flytipping if donations are left outside their shop doors while they're closed during lockdown.

The Southend-on-Sea, Eastbourne and Swindon borough councils, which have all been quoted in local media warning people not to leave items outside charity shops while they are closed during the pandemic, have sought to reassure charities that they will not be fined.

Read the full story here

09:00: Culture secretary tells Commons committee 'we can't save every charity'

Oliver Dowden tells culture select committee: “The Chancellor has been honest, and I’ve echoed that, in that we can’t save every business, and that would include not being able to save every single charity."

Dowden pointedd out that, in addition to the £750m package, charities could make use of other government initiatives such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Read the full story here

22 April

17:50: We're clocking off for the evening. The live blog will resume tomorrow

16:35: Age UK puts advice on social distancing on its website

The charity for older people says: "Social distancing, self-isolation and shielding are aimed at reducing close contact with others. However, there are some important differences. Here's what they might mean for you."

To read the guidance, click here.

16:25: Fundraising Regulator issues guidance to public for fundraising appeals

The guidance comes in light of what the regulator called in a statement “the extraordinary fundraising efforts and generosity displayed by the British public” during the coronavirus crisis.

It had been designed to support the public to ensure their appeals are legal, ethical and as effective as possible, the statement said.

Read the full story here

16:00: Charity Finance Group 23 April webinar to focus on finances and coronavirus

The webinar, Coronavirus and Your Charity's Finances – Update, will provide an overview of the latest government announcements, including the support package announced by the Chancellor. Attendees will be able to ask questions of an expert panel of charity finance experts. These should be sent in in advance to

The guest speakers are Pesh Framjee, partner, global head of non-profits team at Crowe, and Naziar Hashemi, partner in the same team at Crowe. The webinar starts at 1pm.

To take part, click here.

15:20: Museums urged to take part in #MuseumsAtHome on 30 April

The Museums Association is calling for museums across the UK to participate in the BBC Arts' Culture in Quarantine event, a whole day of content on social media, TV and radio focusing on the UK’s museums.

The BBC, in partnership with the MA, Art Fund and the National Museum Directors' Council, will host and highlight social media content from museums, galleries and archives on the BBC Arts website and across other BBC programmes and accounts.

For more information, click here.

15:05: Sussex University netball team is 'running the length of Britain' for charity

Brighton and Hove News reports that since Monday 13 April, and until this Thursday, the team of students is running 1,400km, the length of the route from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

It says members of the team, aged between 18 and 23, are aiming to complete just under 5km per person per day, each using their individual hour of daily exercise. BHN reports that four of the team have stayed in Brighton, completing their runs on the seafront, in Hove Park and Preston Park.

Others are doing their running in places such as Teesside, Cardiff, Devon, Surrey and Hertfordshire, some using treadmills.

So far the group has raised more than £4,700 for NHS charities, well over the initial target of £500. To donate, click here.

12:45: Mary's Meals comes up with alternative fundraising ideas

The charity that feeds hungry children around the world has had to cancel most of its fundraising activities, just like other charities, but has devoted a page of its website to some alternative ways to raise money.

These include sending gift cards, organising virtual quizzes, creating and selling crafts, hosting virtual birthday parties and donating unwanted items.

For more information, click here.

11:50: National Union of Students publishes report on coronavirus and students

The report, Coronavirus and Students Survey, covers wellbeing and welfare, self-isolation, support, education, finance, consumption, accomodation, government actions and the future.

Among the findings, the NUS reports that 62 per cent of students are somewhat or very scared of contracting the virus and almost 93 per cent are practising social distancing, but 40 per cent are not at all or only somewhat aware of guidance on living in shared accommodation.

To download the report, click here.

11:40: Social Enterprise UK wants you to fill out a survey

The umbrella body says: "We are working with officials to design support measures to help the sector, but we need your help and we will be taking the key points raised in the survey to government. We need to know how social enterprises may be impacted by Covid-19 to ensure that we give the government the right information to support our sector."

It says that examples include:

  • Social enterprises suffering from a slowdown in trading conditions;

  • Social enterprises that work with vulnerable groups and have seen increased demand for services;

  • Social enterprises that employ vulnerable or high-risk groups and could therefore be unduly affected by the spread of the virus;

  • Social enterprises with low or no financial reserves because of the sector they trade within;

  • Social enterprises that are at risk of their trading being suspended should the pandemic worsen.

To take the survey, click here.

11:30: Aviva Community Fund broadens criteria in face of pandemic

The second quarter of the fund is now open for applications until 5 May, and it has widened the criteria to include applications for projects that enable causes to adapt or continue their vital services by covering core running costs, so they can help their beneficiaries and communities during this time of need.

To find out more and to apply, click here.

11:25: Essex coronavirus fund brings in £1m in a month

The Essex Community Foundation, a charitable trust, has secured more than £1.1m for its Essex Coronavirus Response and Recovery Programme to support local charities and voluntary organisations.

And it says that since the programme was launched on 25 March nearly £530,000 has been awarded in grants.

Nick Alston, chairman of the foundation, said: “We have given priority to organisations delivering vital services to older and vulnerable people, organisations helping to relieve pressure on public services and those coordinating a local community response.

To apply for emergency funding, click here. To donate, click here. For more information and a map of funded projects, click here.

11:10: Charity running survey on the impact of coronavirus on people with pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic Cancer UK says the survey is for people with pancreatic cancer or their family members or friends who are concerned about the impacts of coronavirus on their treatment or care.

The charity says that anyone with questions or worries about coronavirus and how this might affect them and their treatment should speak to its specialist nurses on its free support line, and look for more information on its website.

Take the survey here.

11:05: West Yorkshire hospice launches a Covid-19 support line

Overgate Hospice in Calderdale, working with the local Clinical Commissioning Group, launched a new telephone support and advice service on Monday.

It says the line, called Hear For You, provides support to relatives of patients being cared for in any health or social care facility in relation to Covid-19, all relatives of end-of-life patients, bereaved relatives who can only attend funerals at the crematorium or burial in restricted numbers, and any health professional providing a front-line service in response to the pandemic.

It says its phone lines, on 01422 378172, are open seven days a week from 10am until 6pm.

10:45: Girl, 5, 'climbs fell' on stepladder to raise funds for Martin House children's hospice

According to BBC News, Esther Windass from York climbed 2,277ft (694m), the equivalent of ascending the Yorkshire fell Pen-y-ghent, by going up and down a stepladder in her garden.

Confined to home by the coronavirus lockdown, she climbed up 456 times on Monday and raised more than £400 for the charity. BBC News says Pen-y-ghent is the lowest of the Three Peaks in the Yorkshire Dales.

Esther's dad Steve Windass told the BBC that Esther chose to raise money for Martin House because one of her school friends goes there.

10:35: Suffolk songwriter makes debut single a charity fundraiser for NHS Charities Together

The East Anglian Daily Times reports that Serena Grant, from Sudbury, has released a song called Stay Home, working with musicians who all contributed from home. Grant says every penny from sales of the song will go to the charity.

It reports that the idea for the single was formed after Grant lost her back catalogue of music and songs. She said: “I became very very down for a while but got my keyboard out one evening and started playing about with some chords and lyrics."

Watch the video below.

10:25: Emergency appeal launched for Cotswolds Dogs and Cats Home

According to the Stroud News & Journal, the charity has had to close all 10 of its shops in Gloucestershire and cancel all spring and summer events, which it says is losing it £30,000 each month.

It reports that the charity is now unable to rehome animals and intakes are limited to urgent RSPCA welfare cases and high-priority animals.

To donate, click here. One of the charity's donors has offered to match pound for pound all donations made to the appeal up to the value of £15,000.

10:15: Swindon Council says charity donations could be classed as fly-tipping

The Swindon Advertiser reports that people in the area who are spring cleaning during the lockdown have been advised to hang on to items they want to get rid of and not leave them outside closed charity shops.

A spokesman for the council told the newspaper: “If charity bags are left outside shops we will have no choice but to treat it as fly-tipping, which is a far from ideal situation when our resources are already stretched trying to keep residents’ waste collections going in the current coronavirus crisis.”

10:10: Covid-19 Housing and Employment Taskforce launched

The taskforce brings key leaders from the housing and employment sectors together to work with government and policymakers to ensure that the sectors and the people and communities they serve are best supported during the pandemic.

The taskforce will provide a joined-up focus on employment-related solutions for social housing residents who have been affected by the coronavirus. Members include Lord Kerslake, Communities that Work, the National Housing Federation, the National Federation of Arm's Length Management Organisations, the Centre for Excellence in Community Investment, the Learning and Work Institute, the Employment Related Services Association, the Institute of Employability Professionals, the Institute for Employment Studies and Impetus.

09:22: Sixty charity leaders urge government to allow furloughed staff to work for their own charities

A letter to Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, says the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme brings welcome relief for many employers but does not meet the needs of the voluntary sector.

Furloughed employees are able to volunteer, but not for their own organisations.

Read the full story here

09:20: NCVO to furlough a third of staff on rotating basis

The umbrella body said it had asked staff to volunteer to be furloughed and it planned to introduce a schedule by which people from various teams were off work on a rotating basis. 

It said the largest proportion of furloughed employees would be in its conference and facilities teams.

Read the full story here

09:15: Sight-loss charity appeals for supplies of personal protective equipment

The Beacon Centre, one of the oldest charities in the West Midlands, says the pandemic has forced it to transform its services, creating an emergency response team to help its members with, for example, shopping and medication collection.

It says many of its usual services have had to be temporarily suspended and others have had to be expanded to help meet a surge in demand, including its telephone befriending service.

The organisation has been supporting people with sight loss for more than 145 years and has a team of 28 carers, plus other key workers, who are supporting some of the most vulnerable people in the region.

The charity says it is currently losing more than £25,000 a week and is asking people to give £5 a time. To donate, please text BEACONCRISIS (all one word) to 70085. Texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message. If you are able to help with the supply of PPE please contact the charity by email:

09:00: Marie Curie calls for national day of remembrance for coronavirus victims

Today's Guardian reports that the charity the charity is proposing a “a day of loss or a day of grieving”, possibly on 23 March, the anniversary of the day Britain went into lockdown.

The newspaper says Marie Curie wants the day to become an annual event to remember the tens of thousands of people who are likely to have died from coronavirus, but also those who died during the epidemic and whose loved ones were prevented from gathering together to express their grief.

It quotes chief executive Matthew Reed: “In normal times we know that the ability to attend a funeral, a rite of passage for thousands of years in human civilisation, is an important part of the grieving process. It closes the book on a person’s life and is the chance to open a new chapter for the people that are left. Because people aren’t able to properly express their grief it is creating a tsunami of loss. The consequences of not handling it well can last for decades.”

21 April

17:45 We're clocking off for now. The live blog will resume in the morning

17:30: British Heart Foundation and Scope furlough large numbers of staff

The BHF has put 80 per cent of its workforce on furlough, while Scope has done the same with another 23 members of staff, so that 67 per cent of its employees are now on furlough.

Read the full story here

16:10: Myeloma UK asks for more donations after 249% increase in demand

The charity says that it experienced a huge increase in demand in March for its information and support services as a result of the pandemic. It also predicts that its fundraised income will fall by as much as £550,000 because it has had to cancel fundraising events.

It says it has to raise £300,000 continue to meet the high demand for its help. to donate, click here.

16:00: Age UK plans TV and radio campaign to support its emergency appeal

A film starring the actor Jim Broadbent has been released to back the charity's coronavirus appeal for £10m. It says demand for its services has soared during the pandemic, with calls to its national helpline reaching a peak of 88 per cent higher than before the crisis.

The television advert is due to run for six weeks, having debuted yesterday. The charity says that Broadbent, filmed in his own home, "delivers a simple, powerful and emotive message to viewers". Money raised will help to fund essential services, such as information and advice, friendship services and practical support in local communities.

To watch the advert, click here. To donate click here.

15:40: UN agencies issue plea for more donations to its global Covid-19 response plan

According to an open letter on the Unicef website, international donors have pledged about a quarter of the $2bn the UN requested in the Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19 in March.

It says: "The Central Emergency Response Fund has also released $95m to kick-start the Covid-19 response, help contain the spread of the virus, maintain supply chains and provide assistance and protection to the most vulnerable people, including women and girls, refugees and internally displaced persons. But more needs to be done.

"We, humanitarian organisations from across the world, therefore call upon you to urgently support this global emergency supply system with an initial $350m to enable a rapid scale-up of logistics common services.

"These services, which World Food Programme provides on behalf of the entire global humanitarian community, will enable a swift, efficient response to Covid-19 for the most vulnerable people. Any delay in our action could undermine global efforts to bring the pandemic under control."

Read the open letter here.

15:20: Buckinghamshire man to cycle 100 miles round the block on his grandson's bike

The Bucks Free Press reports that Mike Peters, 63, will ride 113 miles, the distance from his home to the village of River in Kent, by completing 200 laps round the block where he lives.

The newspaper says he is raising money for Baby Basics Dover & Deal, which was started four years ago by his daugther Hannah. Two of his grandsons live with Hannah, but he cannot see them because of the lockdown. It adds that he hasn't been on a bike for more than 15 years and will be using the one owned by his eldest grandson, Toby, who is five.

Baby Basics Dover & Deal is one of 40 Baby Basics centres in the UK, which have experienced a 450 per cent increase in demand for their services since the pandemic took hold, the newspaper reports

To donate, click click here.

12:35: Protect the rights of older people during pandemic, writes global alliance

The steering group of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People has said today that states around the world must look after "the rights of older persons on an equal basis with others without discrimination and without exception and in line with international standards".

Garop says that older people already face human rights challenges around the world because of age discrimination and ageism, and they are at higher risk than others of serious repercussions from contracting Covid-19.

It says: "Efforts to address Covid-19 may exacerbate ongoing threats to the rights of older persons, for example isolation and social exclusion, and the challenges of accessing information, health and social care, and social protection. Stay-at-home and no-visitor policies to contain the spread of the virus are putting some older persons at greater risk of violence, abuse and neglect. Other older persons may be affected disproportionately due to their care and support needs, or underlying health conditions. We are concerned that this pandemic has the potential to exacerbate the entrenched inequalities and disadvantages that older persons experience daily."

Garop warns that it is essential for countries to put measures in place that ensure the human rights of older people are protected.

To read the statement, click here.

12:10: Kings Fund blogger asks how we can capitalise on the upsurge in volunteering

Policy fellow Helen Gilburt writes that the volunteering response to the pandemic has been evolving, with the scale of the situation setting a challenge in terms of matching capacity to demand while ensuring the health and wellbeing of the volunteers.

She writes: "In the moment, the willingness of so many to step forward and volunteer has to be seen as a silver lining, but winning the race and turning this into a lasting legacy will require organisations to see volunteers as more than a resource. Importantly, they will need to consider the balance between people and services in need of volunteers and the needs of volunteers themselves, and to ensure that we invest in capacity, capability and flexibility to incorporate those needs in our communities as we seek to find our way forward post-Covid-19."

To read the blog, click here.

12:00: Guide Dogs hosts virtual tea party at 3pm today to get into the record books

The event is happening both to raise funds and to attempt to get into Guinness World Records for the largest virtual tea party.

On its Facebook page, the charity says: "Join us on this page for a cuppa as we celebrate our expert staff, volunteers and life-changing dogs who, despite everything else going on, remain committed to helping people with sight loss lead the life they choose."

For more information and to join in, click here.

11:50: Scottish counselling charity increases hours for its relationship helpline

The Spark says its free helpline will now be open from 9am to 9pm from Monday to Thursday, and from 9am to 4pm on Fridays, on 0808 802 2088.

It says the confidential telephone service supports people living in Scotland who are struggling with relationship issues; people living outside Scotland are welcome to use the service but are charged a small fee.

The charity has had to change the way it delivers its counselling and support services in response to the coronavirus pandemic, focusing on its existing online counselling and telephone counseling services with increased capacity and more counsellors available for clients. For updates on how to access its services, click here.

11:15: Communications headhunting firm sets up Covid-19 volunteering platform

Ellwood Atfield's hub connects expert communicators, free of charge, with organisations that cannot afford their help or are struggling with their communications during the pandemic.

It says it is offering the service to charities and other organisations involved in health, social care, education and social housing, having heard of communicators in critical organisations who have become exhausted working around the clock and would appreciate extra help.

Volunteers and those needing them can apply here.

10:55: Blackburn charity to loan iPads and dongles to young people

The Lancashire Telegraph writes that One Voice Blackburn will be loaning the equipment so that young people can keep in touch with peers and join in with online group activities during the lockdown.

It says the charity, which works with nearly 400 people in Blackburn and Darwen, has transferred many of its programmes and activities onto digital platforms such as Zoom, Bluejeans and Microsoft Teams.

10:45: Homelessness charity launches emergency appeal

According to the Oldham Times, Emmaus Mossley, which provides homes, work and individual support to people who have experienced homelessness, has had to close its Secondhand Superstore because of the pandemic.

The charity, which supports 26 formerly homeless people, operates a large social enterprise, says the Oldham Times, selling donated and upcycled furniture, household goods, electrical items, clothes and vintage wares.

Most of the funds it needs to survive are generated through the Secondhand Superstore. For more information and to donate, click here.

10:35: UnLtd wants the views of social enterprises on the impact of Covid-19

The foundation has set up a survey on the impact of coronavirus on social entrepreneurs and their support needs so that it can adapt its services where possible and provide evidence to lobbies for government action.

It says the data provided will be stored securely on electronic servers and accessed by the UnLtd research team, and it might share the data with third parties with which it is collaborating on this work, such as Social Enterprise UK. It asks for consent at the end of the survey and can anonymise the data.

To take part, click here.

10:25: Big surge in app downloads from Scottish mental health charity

According to the Daily Record, the Brothers-Thrive app from Brothers in Arms allows men and women to get anonymous help from professionals without leaving their homes.

The Record says the organisation was set up in 2017 by Dan Proverbs, who had himself struggled with mental health. It says the charity provides advice, support and access to therapists digitally, through instant messaging from it’s app, which can be downloaded from the Brothers In Arms website or Facebook page for free.

A sister app called Sisters in Arms is also available. The newspaper says the apps were downloaded 1,100 times in just a few weeks, an increase of 140 per cent on the same period in 2019 and the biggest spike since the charity was launched.

10:10: London council and food poverty charity sending out 1,000 parcels a week

Haringey Council in north London and Edible London, a community interest company, have been working together since the pandemic began to deliver food to those who most need it.

In addition to the food parcels, they are sending out more than 600 hot meals a day. Emergency supplies, groceries and hot meals have been distributed from community kitchens and hubs at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Alexandra Palace. The work is supported by funds secured by Haringey Giving.

The borough’s residents have also been donating to Haringey Giving’s Covid-19 Appeal, and more than £28,000 of the £50,000 target has now been raised. Thirteen local projects have now been awarded grants, with a total value of £58,064, with priority given to not-for-profit projects that provide emergency food and supplies to Haringey’s most vulnerable residents.

To find out more, click here.

09:35: Government's emergency cash could take weeks to arrive

On 8 April, Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a £750m package to help charities hit financially by the pandemic.

The move came after pressure from a number of charities and umbrella organisations, which joined forces to call for funding to be provided and named their campaign #EveryDayCounts to reflect the fact that hundreds of charities were facing closure within days if no support was provided. 

But Third Sector understands that, almost two weeks after the funding was announced, it could still be weeks before the process for applying for the money is operational.

Read the full story here

20 April

We're logging off for the evening. The live blog will resume tomorrow

17:15: Derry charity organises sponsored fast to help African communities fight coronavirus

Derry Now reports that Children in Crossfire, which supports a range of projects in Africa, is holding the 24-hour fast on Friday to raise funds for vulnerable people and communities in Ethiopia and Tanzania likely to be deeply affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

17:05: Man runs 10k for charity on a treadmill while wearing a suit of armour

BBC News reports that Mike Manders, 34, decided on his venture because a race he'd been entered for, the Hull 10k, had been postponed. He set the treadmill up in his Hull garden and completed the distance in a time of one hour 38 minutes wearing the five-stone suit of armour.

Manders, who works for Hull Trains, wants to raise £1,000 for Action for Children. BBC News reports that he is a keen mediaeval re-enactor in his spare time and took up running last year when his weight reached more than 18 stone.

16:05: Think tank NPC produces guide for philanthropists responding to the pandemic

The think tank says the guidance covers how specific areas will be affected and what philanthropists can do. It covers the situation, funding, how the sector works, 16 different sectors, learning and solutions.

NPC says it is keen for this to be a sector-wide effort, so it will be opening up its work through NPC Labs. Interested parties should share their ideas by emailing at or posting in the LinkedIn group. For more information, click here.

15:35: RAF partners with children's education charity to support schools that are still open

The Smallpeice Trust and the RAF are donating engineering-based "Think Kits" to those schools that have remained open to support vulnerable children and students of key workers during the pandemic.

The Think Kits include all the materials and tools necessary for groups of students to work in teams and build an electrically powered glider, supporting the development of their creativity and engineering skills while having fun in the classroom.

The RAF has purchased kits at £250 each, and the trust will match this with an additional 50. They will be donated to non-selective state schools across nine regions in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The goal is to see which group’s glider can travel the furthest over two flights made within 10 minutes of each other. Students are involved with the whole design and construction process.

The project will last up to nine weeks. Twenty students, split into five teams of four, will work on their own powered gliders. All students that finish their gliders will be eligible for a Crest Discovery Award and will receive a personalised certificate.

For more information, click here.

15:25: Unity Trust Bank helps Big Issue by buying 100 subscriptions

The bank has purchased a three-month subscription for each of its 110-strong workforce to help support the publication during the pandemic.

The Big Issue, which is sold by homeless people to help them make some money, has had to abandon all street sales to comply with social distancing measures.

Margaret Willis, chief executive of Unity Trust Bank, said: “These are unprecedented times and now more than ever we must support each other. Through these subscriptions we not only support those most in need but also help colleagues to recognise and respond to some of the more difficult social challenges we face today.”

14:55: Girlguiding to furlough fifty-one per cent of staff

In a statement released to the press, chief executive Angela Salt said the organisation has had to cancel its weekly unit meetings and events at its activity centres, suffered a decline in trading and other income and had had to postpone its fundraising activity.

This meant, she said, that it would suffer estimated losses of between £3m and £5m for 2020 in the UK. In furloughing just over half its staff it has also paused major work projects and plans.

Full story to come

14:45: Call for evidence on wellbeing and volunteering

The What Works Centre for Wellbeing and the Spirit of 2012 are looking across published and unpublished evidence to find out how volunteering affects the wellbeing of volunteers, and have commissioned the Institute for Volunteering Research from the University of East Anglia to lead the project.

If you are involved with an organisation, group or club that works with volunteers or funds volunteering projects, they are keen to see any research studies or evaluation reports that look at the wellbeing impacts of volunteering on volunteers. They are especially keen to work out how the huge increase in volunteering because of the pandemic can be sustained.

For more information and to take part, click here.

12:50: SCVO Zoom call to focus on digital delivery for children and young people's services

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations says attendees will hear from four charity professionals on the changes their organisations have made to service delivery during the pandemic.

They are: Jenny Paterson of Breakthrough Dundee; Reid Aiton of Young Scot (to be confirmed); Laura Frood of Articulate cultural hub; and Jo-Ann Walsh of the Oasis Project.

For more information and to take part, click here.

12:40: Cancer Research UK begins Race for Life at Home

Having had to move many of its 5k Race for Life running events until later in the year, the charity wants supporters to do any sort of exercise-related challenge at home to raise money.

It says supporters can join in livestreaming of its events. To find out more and to get involved, click here.

12:20: NCVO adds to its coronavirus guidance for charities

The two new elements concern the charity funding from the government and other funding opportunities for charities. The former examines how the £750m emergency package is being allocated and to which areas and says the aim is for the sector to receive the money in the coming weeks.

The second element, which the NCVO says is not exhaustive, also recommends charities to check out Funding Central, the Directory of Social Change, Locality and Charity Excellence.

The guidance can be found here.

11:55: ACOSVO runs discussion on being a chair or vice chair during the pandemic

The Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations is organising the Zoom event in partnership with Animate Consulting. It is open to chairs and vice chairs of voluntary sector organisations only.

The discussion will take place on Friday, 24 April at 10am. For more information, click here. There is also a general role of governance facilitated discussion on Wednesday 22 April at 3pm for chairs and chief officers to attend: you can register here.

11:30: Seafarers UK begins £2m emergency fund for those affected by the pandemic

In response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on merchant seafarers, fishers and their families, the charity says grants will be awarded immediately to delivery partners providing advice and support for individual seafarers.

Seventy-five per cent of the new fund will be allocated to the international merchant seafaring community and 25 per cent to UK coastal fishing fleets. Grants fare offered to charities and other organisations providing front-line and support services to merchant seafarers, UK fishers and their families. Applications should be made by email to Guidance to applicants is available at or telephone 020 7932 0000.

11:15: JustGiving publishes 2.6 Challenge guide for charities

The online fundraising portal says it is working with the organisers of the UK’s biggest mass-participation events on the challenge and wants charities to understand what it entails.

Aside from explaining how the challenge works, the guide gives advice on promoting campaigns, provides free marketing materials and gives examples of how some charities have already embraced the campaign.

You can read the guidance here.

11:05: Yorkshire branch of emergency food charity posts busiest month in its history

The Ilkley Gazette quotes Gareth Batty, chief executive of the regional arm of FareShare: “In March, we had our busiest month in 21 years. And since the beginning of March we have already distributed just over 200 tonnes of food.

“Drop-in centre cafés, school breakfast clubs and other places would come to get support, but what we have found in the past four weeks is that those processes had to change. With social distancing rules, there is more of a demand for food parcels and hampers."

The Gazette reports that the charity has been working with Leeds City Council to help distribute food parcels to those in the district struggling to make ends meet.

10:55: SBA The Solicitors Charity launches £1m hardship fund

According to the online news source Legal Cheek, the charity will soon be accepting applications from anyone who is or has been on the roll of solicitors and has accessible savings within their household of less than £2,500.

It reports that solicitors will be able to apply for support if, for example, they have been put on statutory sick pay because they are self-isolating, they have lost their job and are not supported by the government’s job-retention scheme, or if they are self-employed and unable to practise.

The charity also has a Covid-19 support hub on its website.

10:50: Leighton Buzzard children's charity says it will lose £400,000 in next three months

Biggleswade Today reports that KidsOut, which has rebranded temporarily to KidsIn and provides days out for disadvantaged children across the UK, is appealing urgently for funds.

During the lockdown, the newspaper says, it aims to provide positive experiences for children who have to stay indoors, and is planning for days out when the social distancing measures end.

Gavin Bedford, marketing and communications executive for KidsIn, told the newspaper: “The charity has had to cancel all its upcoming corporate networking events until September, which provided about 50 per cent of our cash income."

To donate, click here.

10:20: Captain Tom Moore's charity single tops the iTunes chart soon after release

According to Metro, the version of You'll Never Walk Alone, recorded with the singer Michael Ball and the NHS Voices for Care Choir, went to the top of the chart within hours of being released.

At the time of writing, Captain Moore's much-reported fundraising challenge, which involved the 99-year-old Second World War veteran walking lengths of his garden, had raised more than £26.6m through JustGiving. He had initially hoped to raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together.

Last Friday Metro reported that a choir of doctors and nurses, called Choir Breathe Harmony, had released a version of Mariah Carey's Anytime You Need a Friend to raise money for charity. The choir, made up of NHS staff from Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals, linked up with more than 100 singers and musicians from around the world.

The newspaper reported that all proceeds from the single would be divided between two small charities – Breathe Arts Health Research and the MyCool Foundation – which deliver arts and health projects to patients and NHS staff.

09:30: Charity retailers call on councils to clear donations left outside closed shops

Members of the public are still leaving donations outside closed charity shops or around already full donation banks.

These items then become damaged by the elements and pose a risk to environmental health and fire safety and could limit emergency service access to nearby buildings.

Read the full story here

09:25: Big Issue strikes deal to sell magazines in Co-op stores

The magazine is sold by some of the UK’s most vulnerable people as a means of lifting themselves out of poverty, but Covid-19 has brought an end to street sales.

The charity said the agreement with the Co-op, which has 2,600 stores, would help to fund its work throughout the pandemic and beyond.

Read the full story here

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