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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

(Photograph: SDI Productions/Getty Images)
(Photograph: SDI Productions/Getty Images)

30 April

17:50: The live blog is clocking off again and will return on Monday

17:15: Charities exempted from key requirement of government loan scheme

When first launched, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme stipulated that applicants needed to make at least 50 per cent of their income from trading.

But the British Business Bank, which is overseeing the scheme, has amended the eligibility criteria to say that registered charities are exempt from that requirement.

Read the full story here

16:35: RNIB launches new online library for people with sight loss

The library offers people with sight loss instant access to thousands of free books in formats they can read. The new platform already has more than 26,000 titles, making it the UK's largest online library of Talking Books.

Funded by voluntary donations, the charity’s library service sends out up to 10,000 books a day and lent more than 1.5 million titles last year on CD, USB and digital downloads.

It hopes the new platform, designed to improve the existing service, will provide even more blind and partially sighted people with access to reading at a time when lockdown measures have restricted outdoor activity

To sign up to the online library, click here, or call the RNIB helpline on 0303 123 9999.     

16:15: Power to Change sets up £12m emergency support fund for community businesses

There are two rounds of funding. The first stage, worth £7m, will offer grants of up to £25,000 to community businesses that have lost income between April and June this year.

The second round of funding, which has a grant pot of £5m and will be available at a later date, will have its eligibility criteria announced in due course.

Read the full story here

15:50: Army officers run seven marathons in seven days for Children with Cancer UK

Six members of the Household Cavalry took on the challeng this week, running a marathon each day in the garden of their barracks in Bulford, Wiltshire where they are currently living because of the pandemic.

Lieutenant Rufus Camm (above) was set to run the London Marathon last Sunday, but it has been postponed until October. So instead, the 150-metre track has been decorated with drawings and models resembling famous London landmarks such as the Elizabeth Tower, Buckingham Palace and the London Eye, to bring the streets of London to the barracks. Each officer has been running 282 laps of the course daily since Sunday, with the fundraising efforts ending on Saturday, when the six officers will take part in a team relay.

So far, they have raised close to £4,000 and have received support from fellow servicemen and women and the wider armed forces community. To donate, click here.

15:15: Freelance service offers free support for charities during coronavirus crisis

Blume, which connects freelance professionals of many varieties with charities, says it is offering 1,000 hours of free support from experienced charity accountants, HR professionals, fundraisers, copywriters and office administrators.

It is offering each charity up to 16 hours – or two days – of free support.

For more information click here. Blume says it will reply to enquiries within one working day to discuss what is needed, and will then match each charity with what it calls "a Blumer", who will be able to begin work immediately.

14:55: Good tech consultancy blog gives tips on putting together emergency appeals

Written by Tereza Litsa, social media and content marketing manager at Lightful, the blog says this is a difficult time for fundraisers, not least because there is no likelihood of any benchmarking.

Using examples of good emergency funding appeals, the blog looks at tone of voice, videos, highlighting your team, making the process easy and exploring new forms of fundraising.

To read the blog, click here.

12:15: Don't ignore young people's voices, says British Youth Council

It is calling for the government to address some of the issues that have become more prevalent as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, saying decision-makers must make provisions to ensure young people’s voices are heard so issues that have been highlighted by the crisis can be resolved.

The BYC says the pandemic has highlighted the ways in which chronic underfunding has led to inequalities in access to health care. "Young people in insecure work and those who are socially and geographically isolated remain a concern for our members," it says. "We cannot forget to address these issues of access and inequality in the wake of doronavirus."

It adds that the crisis has highlighted the need for increased mental health support for young people, and calls on the government to create an open-door policy within child and adolescent mental health services to ensure that young people experiencing mental health crises can always access the support they need.

The BYC says: "We believe all of these issues could be more easily addressed if the government created a Minister for Young People. This would ensure that someone within government was always seeking to bring youth voice into policymaking."

11:35: Scottish armed forces charities unveil plans for virtual VE Day celebrations

Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland are working with the Scottish government to ensure that commemorations and celebrations can go ahead despite the lockdown.

A number of events have been cancelled, but the two organisations have planned a series of virtual events and activities to ensure the commemoration of the end of war in Europe in 1945 can go ahead in some way.

A virtual remembrance service will take place on 8 May, broadcast by both charities on their respective Facebook pages at 10:40am. After the service, there will be an hour-long virtual tribute featuring a range of performers who had been due to perform at the VE Day event in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh.

Poppyscotland is also encouraging people to host their own virtual VE Day parties at home on the same day, which is a bank holiday. The charity has put together a series of resources, including wartime recipes and Second World War playlists, here.

11:20: Comedians take part in live Dungeons & Dragons stream for Comic Relief

Nish Kumar, Sara Pascoe, Sue Perkins and Ed Gamble are among the celebrities due to take part in the event next Friday, 8 May, at 7pm.

The charity says all the money raised will go towards charities?in the UK and around the world fighting the coronavirus pandemic and helping the most vulnerable in society. 

Viewers will be able to influence the game’s narrative by means of polls and can access the live stream here.

10:45: Muslim Hands charity pledges to provide 2.5 million meals during Ramadan

According to Reliefweb, the UK-based charity will provide the meals, costing more than £400,000, to people and their families in 22 countries, including war-torn regions of Syria, Yemen, Kashmir and Palestine.

The charity will also support homeless people in the UK, where its Open Kitchen in Hounslow provides 450 hot nutritious takeaway meals to low-income families and rough sleepers every day, seven days a week. It will also work in partnership with FareShare to provide 120,000 meals over the next month.

For more information, click here.

10:35: Dame Vera Lynn launches appeal for Sussex children's charity

BBC News reports that the veteran entertainer, now 103, says the Dame Vera Lynn Children's Charity is struggling because of the effects of the pandemic, so it has launched the Keep Smiling Through Emergency Appeal.

The charity suspended all face-to-face services on 17 March, in line with government guidelines, but is continuing to give support by video link. It has also cancelled all its fundraising activities for the time being.

For more information and to donate, click here.

10:15: Community workers being trained to help people access financial support

The Covid Cash Course has been set up by the Just Finance Foundation, part of the Church Urban Fund, to help the most marginalised people in the country negotiate the maze of new rules, regulations and benefits as a result of the pandemic.

The JFF says a lot of information is available online, but it is estimated that more than a million people don’t use the internet at all, and many who can lack the skills needed to find the support available to them.

The JFF is training local community workers to deliver information and signposting both online and over the phone to people who don’t have internet access. More than 50 grass-roots community groups have already signed up for training to deliver the course, and the JFF is rolling out further training in response to high demand. Both the course and the training to deliver it are offered free of charge.

For more information, click here.

10:05: Colonel Tom Moore celebrates 100th birthday as fundraising total reaches £30.3m

As he celebrated his century, the Second World War veteran who originally hoped to raise £1,000 for NHS charities by walking up and down his garden has been made an honorary colonel, watched a fly-past by a Spitfire and a Hurricane and was made an honorary member of the England cricket team by former captain Michael Vaughan live on television this morning.

Colonel Moore told BBC News: "Reaching 100 is quite something. Reaching 100 with such interest in me and huge generosity from the public is very overwhelming.

"People keep saying what I have done is remarkable, however it's actually what you have done for me which is remarkable. Please always remember, tomorrow will be a good day."

09:25: Strong foundations 'periodically consider their own futures', says report

The third publication from the Association of Charitable Foundations' Stronger Foundations initiative says they also consider the rate at which they spend funds.

The latest paper, published yesterday, sets out seven characteristics of excellent foundation practice in the areas of strategy and governance, which include organisations being aware of the external context and their role in the wider ecosystem, publicly articulating their vision, mission and values, and continually strengthening their governance arrangements, including board diversity.

Read the full story here

09:20: Embrace the positive change forced upon us by the virus, writes think tank chief

In a blog, the NPC's Dan Corry says that once the pandemic ends charities, government and funders face a choice: to be bold and take risks, or to play it safe.

“The immediate focus on need, on getting things done and getting them done fast, has led to adaptation that would take decades in normal times,” he said. “Collaboration is happening in ways so rarely seen, as the real focus on urgent need trumps any other consideration.”

Read the full story here

29 April

17:35: We're clocking off once more. The live blog will resume tomorrow

17:15: During the lockdown 'you are your best sex partner' warns Terrence Higgins Trust

In what it calls a light-hearted campaign, the HIV and sexual health charity says it's a case of hands at the ready because people should not hooking up for sex with anyone outside their immediate household.

The charity, which says it is "unashamedly sex positive", urges people to contact THT Direct for support if they're finding it hard not to hook up.

THT's medical director Dr Michael Brady says: "Reducing body contact and having less sex really will make a big impact on reducing the onward transmission of the coronavirus.

"I never thought I'd say this but the reality is that, for the time being, you are your safest sexual partner. It's time to stay at home, stop close contact with people outside our households and be creative about how we manage our sex lives."

16:55: Public understanding of charities 'must be improved when pandemic recedes'

A study by the academics Beth Breeze and John Mohan says the public's 'low and arguably uninformed' opinion of the sector dates back at least 70 years.

The study, called Sceptical Yet Supportive: Understanding Public Attitudes to Charity, says that people in Britain are supportive of charities but do not really understand them.

Read the full story here

16:50: Free communications support on offer to health charities during pandemic

HCA Volunteers, set up by the Healthcare Communications Association, enables charities to look for volunteers, and for healthcare comms professionals to offer their services.

Any not-for-profit organisation that is looking for volunteers will be able to use the site to request support from comms professionals from HCA members.

Read the full story here

16:25: Homelessness charities collaborate with The Reader to set up mobile libraries

St Mungo's, Cardboard Citizens and With1V have joined forces with the reading charity to take books to hotels where homeless people are staying during the lockdown.

The project is also trying to reach people still on the streets or living in flats.

For more information, click here.

16:20: Debt charity points people to its advice on dealing with bailiffs

StepChange says the government has ordered that no further bailiff visits should take place in England or Wales while coronavirus lockdown restrictions are in place, but bailiffs can still contact you by phone.

It adds that, in Scotland, the majority of sheriff officer firms have stopped home visits during the lockdown and are contacting people by letter or phone.

To access the charity's advice, click here.

16:10: Scottish cancer charity restates fear that Covid-19 will lead to more cancer deaths

Worldwide Cancer Research says it first raised fears of this a few weeks ago, after Scotland’s chief interim medical officer, Dr Gregor Smith, revealed statistics demonstrating a significant fall in urgent cancer referrals by GPs.

Now, it says, new evidence from University of College London and DATA-CN, the Health Data Research Hub for Cancer, shows that almost 18,000 more people could die from cancer over the next year in England and Northern Ireland alone due to the impact of Covid-19.

According to the evidence, says the charity, the pandemic has not only affected cancer services and treatments, but has also caused people to delay notifying their doctors when they might have signs or symptoms of cancer because they fear becoming infected.

16:00: Citizens Online creates digital exclusion risk map of England

The digital exclusion charity's map shows the GP surgeries with higher numbers of people aged 65 and older on their registers, and those GP surgeries with the lowest levels of digital engagement.

It says the information can be used to identify areas where there are more people who don’t tend to use digital tools or who are not online at all. This can help to provide focused support so that people can still have access to information and social connections. In the the longer term, the map can be used to help people gain access to devices and develop their digital skills.

The map can be found here.

15:25: Annie Lennox opens Circle 19 global emergency appeal

Founded by the singer, the NGO, which champions women's rights, has established the Women and Girls Solidarity Fund, calling on donors, supporters and corporations to support the most vulnerable women across the world during this pandemic.

It says donations to the fund will be distributed across the its existing and expanding portfolio of project partners, with a particular focus on women and girls in Asia and Africa affected by domestic violence and those in the garment industry faced with total loss of income.

The charity has already deployed grants to improve helplines and public awareness campaigns on domestic abuse. Donations to the fund will further support immediate needs such as food and hygiene packages, access to refuges and legal aid packages. This will be combined with The Circle’s ongoing advocacy work, including on the living wage.

To find out more and to donate, click here.

15:00: Green Alliance webinar on 5 May will discuss role of nature in pandemic recovery

In the hour-long event, beginning at 4pm, three speakers will talk about the extent to which nature is necessary for people’s wellbeing and mental health, especially during the lockdown.

The alliances says it will focus in particular on the consequences of the crisis for environmental NGOs and their role in supporting and delivering this vital service to the country.

The three speakers are: Tony Juniper, chair of natural England; Hilary McGrady, director general of the National Trust; and Beccy Speight, chief executive of the RSPB. To register, click here.

14:50: Digital agency offers resource grant worth £20,000 in response to pandemic

Giant Digital, which works exclusively with non-profit and ethical organisations, says it has been talking to charities to find out what impact Covid-19 is having on them.

It says: "The resource grant offers a varied skills set across its strategy, digital development and marketing teams with the hope it can alleviate some of the challenges the sector is facing."

Applications opened today and will close at 5pm next Wednesday, 6 May. Successful applicants will be notified by 11 May. Applicants will be selected based on where Giant feels its skills can make the biggest impact, but it encourages all charities to apply regardless of size, cause or internal resource.

Applications can be made at Alt+, Giant’s charity community platform, by clicking here.

12:50: Big Society Capital updates its coronavirus news page for social investment

BSC says the page shares a range of the latest news, tools and learning from social investors across the world as they respond to Covid-19, but is by no means exhaustive. It aims to evolve this page as responses develop.

If you have any additional items not listed, please get in touch with the team.

To see the latest news, click here.

11:50: Scrap your car and raise money for NHS Charities Together

According to the Brighton & Hove Independent, the car scrapping service Scrap Car Comparison is inviting those who use its services to donate some or all of what they make to the charity.

The BHI say customers can use company's website to find the best deal for their vehicle then choose to donate all or just a portion of the payout to the charities supporting NHS staff during the coronavirus outbreak.

11:30: MPs urge extra funding for charities in light of pandemic, but minister will not be drawn

During question time for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport in the House of Commons this week, Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, was asked if the government could stump up additional funds for charities during the pandemic.

He stopped short of saying the government might put in place further measures to support charities that are at breaking point because of Covid-19.

Read the full story here

11:30: CAF's £5m emergency fund received applications totalling more than £40m

The Charities Aid Foundation launched the emergency fund on 30 March but said it had to close applications on 5 April because the fund was so oversubscribed.

It said the new fund would offer grants of up to £10,000 to small charities, non-profits and social enterprises with annual incomes of less than £1m that are struggling amid the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read the full story here

11:25: Manchester the latest council to warn that dumped 'donations' are flytipping

The Manchester Evening News reports that the executive member for neighbourhoods, Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, told the newspaper: "Leaving goods outside a closed charity shop is flytipping, pure and simple. We have a strong track record of investigating flytippers and taking them to court, so please do not leave yourself open to prosecution by illegally dumping items on the street."

The warning comes, says the MEN, as residents have complained about piles of donations being left outside charity shops that have been closed because of government measures to contain the coronavirus. The Charity Retail Association has urged people to hold on to donations until the crisis has passed.

11:15: Making a Difference Locally reports rise in income of 30 per cent in March

According to Talking Retail, MADL supports communities served by members of Nisa, which represents independent grocers, whose sales have soared since the pandemic began.

Talking Retail reports that the charity's income grew by 30 per cent in March compared with February, and by 87 per cent compared with March last year.

Kate Carroll, Nisa’s head of charity, told TR: “The pandemic has seen many shoppers favouring their local convenience store over making trips to the larger supermarkets and, by supporting their local Nisa store, customers have raised a significant amount of money for some fantastic good causes in their communities."

10:45: Wooden Spoon begins Covid-19 emergency support package

The children’s charity of rugby has pledged £200,000 to support small charities helping vulnerable children during the pandemic. It will provide funds to children’s charities across the UK and Ireland that are struggling to run essential services.

Each of the charity's regional volunteer groups will receive £5,000 generated through the Telegraph Christmas Appeal 2019 and funds raised by Wooden Spoon’s corporate supporter Rugbytots.

For more information, click here.

10:35: Mencap launches online video channel created by and for people with learning disabilities

The charity describes Mencap TV, hosted on YouTube, as providing fun and instructional videos for the 1.5 million people at home with learning disabilities, many of whom will have lost access to support and services because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mencap has also created a wider hub of accessible resources including easy-to-read versions of official government guidance, activity planners and templates to help combat anxiety, loneliness and maintain routine, which is important for some people with learning disabilities.

All the videos posted on Mencap TV feature someone with a learning disability or people who support them. Mencap TV is available here.

10:30: Save the Children 'bowled over' by corporate response to fundraising appeal

The charity says that companies from across the business world have offered their help as it launched its biggest-ever fundraising appeal, hoping to raise more than £80m globally to protect children who are feeling the effects of the coronavirus crisis most acutely.

This week the charity begins rolling out its Emergency Grant Fund, which will ensure families in the UK have access to food vouchers, gifts in kind and goods such as tables and beds.

The toy-maker Hasbro has donated 6,400 games and plasticine kits worth £87,000, and Lego has donated 8,000 Duplo and Lego sets to  programmes supporting vulnerable families during the lockdown.

Help has also been provided by Unilever, SC Johnson, Morgan Stanley, QBE, Discovery UK, Wilko, Castle Water, Collinson, Scholastic, Andersen Press and Egmont.

09:40: Care Workers Charity granted £250k by the Julia and Hans Rausing Trust

Care Home Professional reports that the trust has donated the money to help people who are self-isolating during the pandemic. The magazine says the money will provide 500 emergency grants of £500 for care workers facing financial hardship because they are self-isolating with Covid-19 symptoms.

Karolina Gerlich, executive director at the charity, told Care Home Professional: “Care workers are on the front line of the crisis, delivering the best care they can in these difficult circumstances, often making many personal sacrifices. We think it is essential that we support care workers more than ever in this difficult time and ensure that they do not go hungry or are unable to pay their bills because of following the official guidelines."

To donate, click here.

09:30: Charities face 'time of reckoning' warns Nicva chief

According to BBC News, Seamus McAleavey, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action, said charities that had lost millions in fundraised income faced 'a slow uphill climb' after the pandemic.

McAleavey told the BBC: "The real losers in all this are the clients and the patients. Some of these charities take up a lot of slack within the system, so if they do go under more and more people are going to have to turn to the public sector.

"The sooner they can start to roll out some of this emergency funding the better."

It was announced earlier this month that the Northern Ireland charitable sector would receive at least £10m in Treasury funding.

28 April

17:35: We're clocking off for now. The live blog will resume tomorrow

17:10: NCVO's Good Practice in Volunteer Management course free to all online

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has made all its member-only content available to everyone because of the pandemic lockdown, including this practical four-part course.

To find out more and to watch a preview, click here. To find out more about how you can volunteer to help deal with coronavirus, see the NCVO's volunteering and coronavirus page. If you are looking for advice on coronavirus and your charity, see its dedicated coronavirus page.

16:50: Civil society members of open government body issue warning on democracy

The civil society members of the Open Government Partnership’s Steering Committee have released a statement on Covid-19 and its risks to open government, saying a priority has to be the protection of open, inclusive and accountable governance, with democratic standards and personal rights.

It says responses to the pandemic require extraordinary measures, which have been proportionate and justified in many cases. "However, in several instances there has been weakening of parliamentary oversight and other vital checks and balances, removal of key watchdog officials, aggressive censorship and pressure on journalists, and the introduction of intrusive and potentially permanent digital surveillance regimes," the statement says.

"Many interventions appear to go beyond what is necessary for health and safety, even in a pandemic. And in some instances, measures have been introduced without any clarity on when or how they will be rolled back."

The statement lists 10 measures it wants governments to follow, including ensuring collaboration and oversight, proactively publishing information, guaranteeing and respecting freedom of expression, and strengthening the protection of whistleblowers.

The steering committee includes a number of UK organisations, including the Campaign for Freedom of Information. Read the full statement here.

16:00: Think tank compiles data on coronavirus to help charities and funders

NPC says that a big challenge is to determine which people and places need extra support now, and which might need support as the crisis develops. This, it says, will become particularly pertinent when we start to see some of the economic factors of this crisis take effect.

Its tables show the places that are suffering the most from Covid-19 and those where underlying health factors leave people facing most risk. "We hope this will help to inform funders of where there may be gaps in local-level charity capacity, compared to some of the indicators of risk and need," writes NPC.

You can read about and see the data here. If you want to be involved, get in touch here.

15:50: Fundraise at home for our Mayday appeal, says RNLI

The lifeboat charity will be launching its annual Mayday appeal on Friday, pointing out that despite the lockdown its crews are still on call all day, every day.

It says Mayday normally sees people taking part in group fundraising events, but this year it is taking the campaign online. To ths end it will be running "Cuppa with the Crew", a Facebook Live session on Friday at 10.30am, in which followers can join Rich and Natalie from Appledore RNLI Lifeboat Station for a cuppa, ask questions and enjoy a tea break. Supporters are asked to make a small donation of the price they would usually pay for a takeaway coffee or tea.

"Step to it for Mayday" will encourage people to take part in a daily step challenge. It is also asking people to ditch their favourite tipples, coffees or cans of drink and only imbibe water for 10 days. Supporters can gain sponsorship or donate the money they would have spent on alcohol or coffee.

Further details on each fundraising campaign can be found here.

12:35: Papworth Trust chief executive running virtual marathon this week in place of London run

When the London Marathon, on which so many charities rely for fundraising income, was postponed, Sarah Miller decided to run the 26.2 miles on her treadmill at home over the course of a week.

She began on Sunday morning, when the race should have been run, at 10:58, the time she started in last year's non-virtual London Marathon.

She said: “The trust has seen its fundraising plans devastated because of the coronavirus outbreak. All charities rely on the kindness and generosity of supporters and I am hoping that as many people as possible sponsor me and take on the challenge too, while following government guidelines on social distancing.

“I intend to run four miles a day, finishing next Saturday. It might not seem a huge challenge, but I haven’t run since last April, so it is going to be a huge shock to my system.”

To sponsor Sarah, click here.

12:25: CAF emergency fund grants £1m to 256 charities across the UK

The Charities Aid Foundation's fund was set up late last month with an initial £5m to distribute rapid-response grants of up to £10,000 to help small charities, non-profits and social enterprises that are struggling during the pandemic.

It says applications were paused on 5 April after more than 5,000 applications were received in a week, requesting a combined total of £40m-plus.

Fore more informtion, click here.

12:15: Social enterprise bodies write to Chancellor with four-point plan

Coordinated by Social Enterprise UK and signed by representatives of a number of interested bodies, including the School for Social Entrepreneurs, the Plunkett Foundation and Co-operatives UK, the letter says the plan would ensure the UK’s 100,000 social enterprises, cooperatives and community businesses will help the recovery after the pandemic.

It says: "We are concerned that gaps in the government’s economic support package are putting the country’s recovery at risk. We are also in danger of compounding divisions between different parts of our society.

"Social enterprises contribute £60bn to the UK economy and employ 5 per cent of the UK workforce. Yet these businesses keep reporting to us that they are still unable to access grants and loans which are critical to keeping their businesses alive. Social enterprises are businesses, but because of the design of current programmes, they are falling through the cracks."

It says the government should:

  • Extend business grants to include social enterprises;
  • Change the delivery of loan finance to work for social enterprises;
  • Open up emergency financing for public services to social enterprises delivering services on behalf of the state;
  • Provide business support so that social enterprises can use any funds they do receive effectively to transition their business.

Read the full letter here.

12:00: Homelessness charity The Passage wants you to donate the cost of your dinner

The London-based charity says its priority since the pandemic began has been to get homeless people into emergency temporary accommodation and make sure they get fed.

It has created a Food Hub, preparing hot, nutritious meals for delivery to more than 300 homeless people, seven days a week, in their emergency accommodation. It says it needs to raise £300,000 to this end, and wasnts people to donate the equivalent cost of their dinner to fund a food parcel for a homeless person.

To donate, click here.

11:40: Youth charities form group focusing on impact of coronavirus on young job market

Charities and social enterprises including Impetus, Youth Employment UK and the Prince's Trust have formed the Youth Employment Group "to bring together key leaders and experts around the youth employment sector to help drive the UK’s response".

The YEG says it will focus on the immediate and longer-term impacts of the coronavirus outbreak on the employment prospects of young people. It has established six working groups covering the main areas of concern: reducing job-losses in the immediate term; providing employability support during lockdown; ensuring a quality welfare-to-work system post-lockdown; encouraging a healthy youth labour market post-lockdown; supporting viable and quality self-employment for young people; and ensuring effective and accurate use of data.

For more information, click here.

11:10: Domestic violence charities say emergency funding should meet their needs

Charities including Safe Lives, Respect, Women for Refugee Women and Southall Black Sisters have released a joint statement calling the government to ensure that funding is made available in accordance with three principles.

These are, first, that the funding ring-fenced for front-line charities reaches those organisations urgently. It says: "A long-term, sustainable funding model for the violence against women and girls sector services remains a fundamental priority."

Second, says the statement, "at least £65m of the £750m package... must be ring-fenced for specialist VAWG service providers". Third, it says, "funding must also be ring-fenced for specialist VAWG services led by and for BAME women, deaf/disabled women and LGBT survivors".

Read the full statement here.

10:55: East London council gives £20,000 to four local voluntary organisations

According to the Romford Recorder, emergency grants of £5,000 each have been given by Havering Council to the four voluntary organisations to help disadvantaged and under-represented communities across the borough during the pandemic.

The four organisations are Havering Mind, the Havering Asian Social and Welfare Association, an Asian community-led charity, the night shelter Hope4Havering and Harold Hill Food Bank.

The grants, made from the Havering Funding Programme, are used to adapt services into virtual or remote methods, to support running costs and to help cover losses incurred because of the lockdown.

10:45: Mental health charity Solent Mind sets up free helpline for duration of pandemic

The Hampshire Chronicle reports that the charity's advisers can offer support to those feeling anxious or low as well as practical guidance on keeping mentally well during the lockdown.

It says the Solent Mind Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Helpline is available to residents in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight from Monday to Friday, between 10am and 4pm (except bank holidays) on 023 8017 9049.

The newspaper writes that the confidential service can also refer callers to specific local support, such as benefits advice or bereavement services. Although face-to-face appointments have been temporarily suspended, says the Chronicle, many core services continue to operate a vital telephone service for both new and existing service users.

It adds that Solent Mind supports more than 25,000 people each year through a network of wellbeing centres, talking therapies and specialist recovery-focused services.

10:35: Claims that 'flytipping' is stretching south-east London charities

According to News Shopper, Bexley Council is one local authoirty to warn that it considers leaving items outside closed charity shops to be flytipping. The newspaper says the council could take evidence from dumped loads to find and fine those responsible.

It reports that Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice, which has 17 charity shops across the two boroughs, has been hit by an increase in dumping at its shops during the lockdown, even though they are closed.

The charity's director of income generation, Aneta Saunders, told News Shopper that old mattresses and fridges were among the unusable items ditched on its doorsteps. Like many others, the charity has launched an emergency appeal for donations.

10:25: Surrey Coronavirus Response Fund breaks £1m

Established by the Community Foundation for Surrey, the fund has already distributed more than £600,000 to cover unexpected expenses at local charities.

The figure includes £326,700 from the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal and more than £717,000 in donations from  local donors and partners. Emergency funding has been awarded to 122 community groups, reaching more than 350,000 beneficiaries across the county.

To apply for Coronavirus Response Funding, read the eligibility guidelines and apply here. Applications can be made either by filling out a short online form or by selecting a time for a telephone interview with a CFS volunteer. Donations to the fund are collected through Virgin Money Giving and by direct bank transfer.

10:00: Shadow charities minister starts weekly sector surgery

Rachael Maskell (left), appointed charities spokesperson for the opposition by new Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, wants voluntary and community organisations to set out what support they need during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

She told Third Sector: “I want to create an opportunity for organisations across the sector to talk through the challenges that confront them, how they require support from government and wider society and their long-term aspirations, and champion their work in parliament.”

Read the full story here

27 April

17:45 We are clocking off for today. The live blog will resume tomorrow

17:20: Royal College of Nursing calls for a minute's silence for workers who have died from Covid-19

It has joined forces with the Royal College of Midwives and the trade union Unison, collectively representing more than a million NHS and public service staff, to campaign for a moment of reflection at 11am tomorrow.

The minute’s silence will be held on International Workers’ Memorial Day and allow the nation to pay respect to those whose work involved caring, saving lives and keeping key services running and the rest of the country safe, while showing support for families who have lost loved ones.

Flags at the RCN’s headquarters will also be flown at half-mast in tribute to the nursing staff who have died during the pandemic.

16:20: NCVO publishes volunteering round-up

Charlie Gillies, a volunteering policy officer at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, has put together a round-up of what's happened in the world of volunteering since Covid-19 began to spread around the world.

Among other things, he covers the volunteering response to the pandemic, Volunteers' Week 2020 and the National Volunteering Forum. To read the blog, click here.

15:45: Photographer raises £1,800 by running three half marathons in three days

The Cambs Times reports that Ryan Jarvis raised almost double the money he set out to obtain for NHS Charities Together. He had meant to complete the three 13.1-mile runs in five days, but managed it in three.

He told the newspaper: “I did this simply because I wanted to do whatever I can to support the NHS at such a critical time. The work NHS staff have been doing during the coronavirus has been incredible and this is my way of saying thank you.”

To donate, click here.

15:20: Lockdown exercies classes from Parkinson's UK

Parkinson’s UK has launched a series of online exercise classes for those affected by the condition and other household members involved. 

The charity says exercise can be as important as medication to help people with Parkinson’s manage their symptoms, but because of the pandemic nearly 2,000 Parkinson’s UK exercise programmes across the UK that would have taken place in the next three months have been stopped.

The new virtual classes, shared on the charity's Facebook page, include a mix of cardio, balance and chair-based strength and flexibility training. All the classes will be uploaded to the charity's YouTube channel over the coming weeks so people can watch on demand at a time that's right for them.

15:05: TikTok launches donation feature

The video-sharing social network TikTok has created an in-app donation feature called Donation Stickers that creators can include in their videos and livestreams to raise funds for charities.

The clickable donation buttons can be embedded directly in videos and livestreams, and TikTok says it will be matching donations made this way until 27 May. It says the British Red Cross and Help Musicians are the first UK charities to have the stickers, with all the money raised going towards their Covid-19 response efforts.

Users can track donations in-app, displaying the biggest contributors and top videos.

13:05: RNIB welcomes plan to extend priority home deliveries to wider group

Sarah Lambert, head of social change at the sight-loss charity, says: “It’s fantastic to hear that George Eustice, the environment secretary, has finally started to listen to our calls. That councils will have the power to refer those most in need is a good first step. It is vital that blind and partially sighted people are identified for this new support, and we call on the government, supermarkets and councils to work with us so that all people with sight loss across the UK who need a priority slot are able to access one.”

She says the RNIB welcomes the announcement, but still has some queries: What criteria are being used to determine support and how are these being applied? How is Defra ensuring quality and consistency of service? What are the timelines for rollout? Are these slots recurring? What about people in the devolved nations?

12:55: Social Investment Business opens resilience fund for applications

The Resilience & Recovery Loan Fund is a new fund for social enterprises and charities that are experiencing disruption to their normal business models as a result of the pandemic. It has been established to make an existing government scheme, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, more easily accessible to charities and social enterprises.

It is being run by SIB with an initial £25m investment and support from Big Society Capital. SIB will work initially with three experienced social investor partners on delivery of the fund: Big Issue InvestCharity Bank and Social and Sustainable Capital. Other delivery partners might be added in future.

For more information and to apply, click here.

12:45: Small Charities Challenge Fund closes for first review this Thursday

UK Aid Direct's fund is open until 5pm on 30 April for small UK-registered charities and not-for-profit organisations. Its grants of up to £50,000 are available for projects of up to two years, for UK-registered organisations working towards addressing the Global Goals to improve the lives of the most vulnerable and marginalised.

Because of the pandemic, applicants are asked to demonstrate how the outbreak will affect project delivery along with suggested mitigating actions.

UK Aid welcomes applications from organisations with strong links to the country in which their project operates. SCCF project grants are a rolling funding opportunity whereby applications are reviewed on a six-monthly basis and can be submitted at any stage.

For more information, click here.

12:15: Homeless Link webinar focuses on the safety of homeless women during the pandemic

The free event, at 2.30pm this coming Thursday, 30 April, will talk about the risks to the safety of women experiencing homelessness during the Covid-19 crisis, offering guidance for supporting this vulnerable group.

The speakers are: Lisa Raftery, grants manager, Homeless Link; Louisa Steele, housing first and homelessness coordinator, Standing Together; Catherine Glew, women’s strategy manager, St Mungo’s; and Kate John, women’s recovery coordinator, St Mungos.

For more information, click here.

12:10: Free remote British and Irish Sign Language interpreting service in Northern Ireland

The Health and Social Care department in Northern Ireland has set up this service to provide the deaf community with access to NHS111 and all non-emergency health and social care services during the pandemic. This temporary service is provided by InterpreterNow.

HSC says it can be used to contact:

  • Northern Ireland GPs and GP out-of-hours services
  • Hospitals for inpatient or outpatient queries
  • All health services, including dentists, opticians, optometrists, community pharmacies and so on
  • All social care services
  • Ambulance transport services
  • The Northern Ireland Covid-19 Community Helpline: 0808 802 0020.

It does not include 999 services. For more information, click here.

11:45: National Union of Students calls for 'student safety net'

The NUS says the pandemic means a third of students are at risk of losing their education, have had their living situations severely disrupted and are deeply concerned for their families.

It says a survey of almost 10,000 students revealed the havoc that Covid-19 has wreaked: students’ placements have been paused, lessons moved online and colleges shut. Students are being made to pay for accommodation they no longer need and are at acute financial risk. 

"We believe that every student, at all levels of education, should have access to a national hardship fund and every education leaver should have access to an additional grant, which can be used for training and developing their skills," the NUS argues.

For more information, click here.

11:20: War on Want and Friends of the Earth join call for Covid-19 response to address climate change and justice issues

A coalition of more than 150 organisations released a global set of demands to guide the international pandemic response. Convened by the Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice, the coalition issued the demands as means of addressing both the pandemic and the interlinked climate crisis.

The sign-on letter calls for “a bold response to the Covid-19 pandemic that simultaneously helps address the wider climate crisis and transform the unequal economic system that has led to both".

Its demands include: prioritising the health and wellbeing of people; guaranteeing the protection of marginalised populations; taking economic and social measures to provide relief and security to all; supporting a just transition out of the crisis, using the opportunity to shift to equitable, socially just, climate-resilient and zero-carbon economies; and bolstering international cooperating and people-to-people solidarity.

11:10: Exeter University project develops guidance for dementia sufferers during lockdown

The leaflet features five simple tips, developed using the latest robust research and with the input of people affected by dementia. It has been part-funded by the National Institute for Health Research in a project led by the University of Exeter and the NIHR Older People and Frailty Policy Research Unit, with partners including the Alzheimer’s Society, Manchester University, Bradford University, Brunel University London and the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration South-West Peninsula.

The leaflet, available online here, gives practical and self-help tips, as well as signposting sources of support, on five key points:

  • Staying safe and well

  • Staying connected

  • Keeping a sense of purpose

  • Staying active

  • Staying positive

The advice builds on University of Exeter-led research from the IDEAL programme which seeks to understand, and find ways to improve, the experience of living with dementia.

10:55: 2.6 Challenge running total passes £6m

The event established by a number of mass-participation events, designed to make up for some of the shortfall in donations caused by the cancellation of the London Marathon and other events, saw people all over the country take part in self-designed challenges themed around the figures 2 and 6.

At time of writing the total raised stood at just over £6m, according to the 2.6 Challenge website.

Third Sector staffer Rebecca Cooney has raised more than £1,000 for Refuge and the National Emergencies Trust by donning 26 different costumes in two days, including Del Boy, a T Rex, Mr Benn, the Lonely Goatherd, Frida Kahlo, Father Ted, Ursula, Gaara, Lars Ulrich of Metallica, Dr Frank N Furter, Shrek, Princess Leia, a minion, Ariel, Grotbags, Velma, Spinelli from Recess and The Doctor. To donate, click here.

10:40: Elite British women marathoners run virtual relay to raise money for Mind

Twelve women who would have run the London Marathon yesterday, including former European 10,000-metre champion Jo Pavey and Great Britain and Scotland international Steph Twell, each ran 2.6 miles yesterday as part of The 2.6 Challenge.

The marathon has been postponed until October, leaving many charities with a large hole in their finances: the marathon has long been the biggest single-day fundraising event in the world.

One of the team was Dr Eleanor Davis, who completed her leg on her way into work on coronavirus wards in Stockport. The other runners were Hayley Carruthers, Tish Jones, Jess Piasecki, Rebecca Murray, Steph Davis, Aly Dixon, Helen Davies, Natasha Cockram and Alice Wright.

To donate, click here.

10:25: Paramedic who set up cancer charity returns to NHS work during pandemic

According to BBC News, Tristan Cork of Norfolk, whose son Finnbar died aged five after developing a brain tumour, subsequently launched Finnbar's Force with his partner Claire.

But it reports that they've had to put some plans for the charity on hold while Tristan reports back to the front line of the NHS. He said that the charity – which supports local families of children with cancer – was focusing on handing out emergency grants, totalling about £10,000 so far, and running errands.

The BBC says Tristan works at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital's casualty department and on ambulance shifts, but had recently gone part-time to dedicate more time to the charity

Plans to launch dedicated play and family slots for children waiting for chemotherapy and to employ a specialist liaison worker between families and medics have been delayed. It has also had to cancel some fundraising events.

10:15: Macmillan launches emergency appeal in face of 50 per cent fall in income

The charity said it was facing an unprecedented demand for its services as phone calls to its support line about Covid-19 were up by 1,600 per cent during March compared with the previous month and cancer nurses were redeployed because of the outbreak.

Macmillan said it was investing in a £5m coronavirus response fund to address emerging needs and fund other initiatives, which could include enabling cancer patients to speak virtually with their loved ones or paying for support workers to help with increased workloads.

Read the full story here

10:10: Charity runners might not be able to take part in rescheduled London Marathon

The London Marathon might have to be reserved for elite runners only, meaning thousands of charity runners would not be able to take part, its race director has admitted.

The event was put back to 4 October because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it might not be able to go ahead as normal if social distancing measures remain in place. About 45,000 people are expected to take part in the 40th edition of the marathon, which was originally due to take place yesterday, raising tens of millions of pounds for good causes.

Read the full story here

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