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: freemixer/Getty Images)
(Photograph: freemixer/Getty Images)

7 May

17:35: The live blog is logging off for the bank holiday weekend and will return on Monday

17:20: Leeds skies will be lit up in blue tonight to thank health and care staff

Blue lasers will light up the skies above Chapel Allerton Hospital, Leeds, from 8pm in time for the weekly clap for carers, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post.

It reports that the gesture has been organised by the Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust to say thank you to health and care staff, key workers and the public who have been working hard during the coronavirus outbreak.

17:15: Emergency loan fund opens for applications

Social Investment Business has opened applications for the Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund.

Big Society Capital has provided £25m for the fund with SIB as the lender. The organisation is working with delivery partners Big Issue Invest, Charity Bank and Social and Sustainable Capital.

Charities can apply for emergency loans of between £100,000 and £500,000 with flexibility in the terms, which include 12 months interest-free. Existing members can apply for a repayment freeze.

For more information, click here.

16:55: Sutton Trust report on the impact of Covid-19 on undergraduates

The Sutton Trust, a social mobility charity, has released a report on the impact Covid-19 is having on university students.

One finding is that "applicants from working-class backgrounds were twice as likely to have insufficient access to internet access, devices for learning or a suitable place to study, compared to those from middle-class homes".

For more information, click here.

15:50: Famous chef teams up with charity to raise money for homeless hospitality staff

The Caterer reports that noted chef Tom Aikens has teamed up with the hospitality charity Only a Pavement Away to launch the Tom Aikens Charity Cooking Challenge, raising money for its Hospitality Against Homelessness campaign.

The magazine says central London has experienced a surge of newly unemployed restaurant and pub workers being forced to sleep on the streets because the coronavirus has closed businesses.

The challenge invites participants to cook a meal in five minutes, donate £5 to the campaign, pass the challenge on to five nominated friends and share their videos on social media, tagged with #fiveminutefeast and #hospitalityagainsthomelessness.

For more information, click here.

15:35: 'Lockdown concert' to be hosted by the Social Club 

The Social Club, a membership organisation for charity chief executives, will host a special lockdown recital featuring the international cellist Hannah Sloane on Tuesday 12 May. 

Usually hosting members-only events, the Social Club is extending free invitations to chief executives of charities, third sector organisations and social enterprises to join the webinar concert.

Sloane will perform a selection of hand-picked compositions in the "Lunchtime Lockdown Recital" from 12 to 1pm, which the Social Club hopes will provide listeners with a moment of relief during a testing time. 

Anyone interested in participating can email quoting "Free Cellist Concert" before 5pm on Monday 11 May, providing their name, organisation and email address. 

15:30: #iwill campaign letter urges a Covid-19 conference for young people

The letter is supported by 80 charity organisations, includes the Scouts, the Duke of Edinburgh's Award and Unicef

It says: “We must recognise and respect their contribution. From Norway to New Zealand to Scotland, other countries are already leading the way forward in engaging with young people directly on these issues and more. The UK government should do the same."

For more information, click here.

15:25: Christian Aid using e-envelopes for UK's longest-running charity week

With Christian Aid Week starting on Sunday, the traditional red envelopes that are posted through letterboxes are to be replaced by digital envelopes that can be customised with images or video clips. 

The annual fundraising week brings together thousands of volunteers and 12,000 churches to fundraise and help some of the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities.

Like other charities, the Christian organisation's fundraising activities have been hit by the lockdown, hence the e-envelope and initiatives such as daily quizzes and live-streamed religious services.

For more information click here.

13:10: Enable Scotland works to ensure disabled people can exercise outside more than once a day

The disability charity has made availabl a digital image that outlines the right of people who have learning disabilities to exercise outside more than once a day when they need to and references Scottish government guidance. 

Versions of the image have been designed for iPhone and Android devices and can be downloaded free of charge from the charity's online coronavirus information hub. People can save it on their smartphones and can even use it as their lock screen so they can show it easily to anyone who might challenge them.

12:55: Gaming charity publishes guidance on behaviour during lockdown for parents

The guidance from the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust covers topics ranging from controlling in-app purchases to signs of gambling and healthy gaming behaviour.

Read more on the YGAM charity website.

11:35: Shelter warns of 'tsunami' of evictions once the lockdown ends

According to The Independent, the housing and homelessness charity says many of the two million people applying for universal credit, which includes the local housing allowance, are still struggling to meet the costs of rent, which is leading to mounting debt and rent arrears.

It is asking for the government to increase housing benefit to match 50 per cent of the average rent in the area. “Our services are already hearing from families in homes they could comfortably afford under normal circumstances who are now in serious financial difficulty," Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, told the newspaper.

11:30: Northern Ireland minister announces £15m charity fund

Communities minister Deirdre Hargey said that a charity fund was in the pipeline and she was waiting on the funding arrangements, application process and approval by the Northern Ireland executive before a public announcement would be made. 
“My officials are urgently developing a Covid-19 Charities Fund to assist charities to deal with the impacts of this emergency. I recognise the impact this emergency has had on traditional fundraising activities and that this is a worrying time for many in the sector.

"The sector is made up of diverse groups, doing fantastic work in our communities. Given that this is a limited fund, it is important that the scheme is carefully considered and ensures the best possible use of the resources available to support and prioritise needs within the sector."

11:25: Seven-year-old raises money for hospital charity through Pebbles for Pennies

Betsy Morrison, from Surrey, is selling her collection of pebbles to her friends as they go out on their once-daily exercise. 
Betsy has raised £52.93, with the help of a hand-washing station and a pot for the pennies. All proceeds will be donated to Royal Surrey County Hospital Charity’s Covid-19 emergency appeal. 
For more information, click here.

11:00: 'Stay Home Heroes' message to support the NHS

A new charity called Heroes has worked with the creative agency Iris to drive a "Stay Home Heroes" message and raise money for NHS staff in the fight against the coronavirus.

The campaign asks people to join the #StayHomeHeroes social media challenge by taking a heroic picture of a friend or family member and tagging the Heroes charity @helpthemhelpus_, then nominating a friend to do the same.

The campaign is about turning the message from shaming people who appear to not be following UK lockdown rules to a celebration of those who are following the rules, said Ross Taylor, creative director at Iris. 

10:35: Kent hospice refused government support

The Friends of the Wisdom Hospice, which is supported financially largely by the NHS, has been refused funding from the government's £200m emergency hospice fund, according to Kent Online.

The hospice, which looks after patients with life-limiting illnesses, has been told that it has been rejected on the grounds that it does not fund itself. 

The chief executive, Martyn Reeves, told Kent Online he was determined to find a way to battle on.

10:15: £13m available from Ofgem to support vulnerable energy consumers

The Ofgem Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme opens its latest funding round for applications today to charities that support vulnerable energy consumers, including a new Covid-19 Crisis Fund.

There are four separate funds. The first three are: the Main Fund, which contains £2.1m and is aimed at projects seeking grants of between £50,000 and £500,000; the Small Grants Fund, which contains £450,000 and is aimed at projects seeking grants of between £20,000 and £49,999; and the Innovation Fund, which contains £450,000 and is aimed at projects seeking grants of between £50,000 and £450,000.

The deadline for applications to the above three funds is 5pm on 28 May.

The fourth fund is the new Covid-19 Crisis Fund, which contains up to £10m and is open to charities that support vulnerable households. The fund can award grants of between £20,000 and £300,000. The initial closing date for applications is 5pm on 21 May.

Further information, click here.

09:40: £9.5m boost for grass-roots football clubs throughout England and Wales

The Premier League, the FA, the government and Sport England have come together through their Football Foundation to launch a new Pitch Preparation Fund in support of the game.

The fund provides almost £10m of financial support to those struggling to maintain their football pitches across the country. The move will help to get clubs in a position to start playing football again when it is safe to do so and it is estimated it will benefit up to 4,000 grass-roots clubs and organisations.

A total of £9.56m has been allocated to the fund, which is open to football clubs and voluntary organisations that maintain their own natural grass pitches and have at least 12 months’ security of tenure. Clubs with suitable tenure for a 3G artificial grass pitch are also eligible to apply.

Grass-roots football clubs and organisations, FA National League System Clubs from Step 1 to 6, Welsh Cymru Premier League clubs and clubs in the FA Women’s Pyramid (tier 1-5) that maintain their own natural grass and third generation artificial grass pitches are among those eligible to apply for funding.

To apply by the 25 May deadline, click here.

09:30: Actor Andy Serkis to give live, 12-hour reading of The Hobbit for charity

According to the Wiltshire Times, the actor, who played Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films, will read the whole book from start to finish and with no breaks.

Money raised by his venture will be split equally between NHS Charities Together and Best Beginnings, says the newspaper. Serkis has been an ambassador for Best Beginnings, which works to support babies, toddlers, pregnant families and new parents and aims to reduce inequality, for more than six years.

The livestream will start at 10am on Friday with the link posted on the GoFundMe page on Friday morning. It is estimated that the reading, starting at 10am on Friday, will take between 10 and 12 hours. To donate, click here.

09:20: Sane warns of 'mental illness timebomb' as calls to helpline increase by 200 per cent

Marjorie Wallace, founder of the mental health charity, told ITV News: "In the last month the levels of distress, the acute anxiety and the feelings of helplessness have reached a new threshold.

In data shared by Sane with ITV News, the charity says that 85 per cent of the people who have contacted its helpline during the lockdown are new callers.

The charity adds that a lot of callers have told them that they are not accessing primary care services because they don’t want to "bother" GPs at such a busy time for the NHS, says ITV News.

09:15: New donor sign-ups fell by more than a half in April compared with last year

Figures from the charity payments company Rapidata show that the volume of new sign-ups to give to charity in April was 54 per cent lower than in the same month in 2019.

But it said that charitable direct debit cancellations had returned to a more normal level after March recorded the highest month-on-month rise since the company began collecting the data in 2003.

Read the full story here

09:10: 40% of international development charities 'could fold in the next six months

A survey of 116 Bond members found that 50 (43 per cent) believed they would not survive the next six months without urgent additional support as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bond has previously warned that international development charities could lose almost £1.3bn of income because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read the full story here

6 May

17:25: the live blog is signing off for today. It will resume in the morning

15:55: Mel C and KT Tunstall sing from the loo and ask people to spend a penny for WaterAid

Nadia Rose and Jessie Ware are also involved in a unique series of sets streamed from their bathrooms to raise money for the international hygiend charity WaterAid.

They will be joined virtually by a host of other artists, including Eliza, Lilla Vargan and Sarah Close, on Thursday and Friday to form an all-female line-up for the launch of five Bathroom Sessions streamed from musicians’ homes. The public can watch the performances for free on Clash Magazine’s social channels.

Together, they are encouraging donations for WaterAid’s life-saving work and showing their support for the women and girls around the world who spend hours each day walking to collect water for their families.

For more information, click here.

14:55: Age UK urges people to dress up and raise money for older people

The charity’s new fundraising campaign is hoping to see the nation put on their fanciest outfits and donate to its appeal. Once you've done so, it would like you to text to donate £5, then nominate three people to join you in the #overdress challenge.

Money raised from #overdress will go towards Age UK’s Coronavirus Emergency Appeal which is helping to fund its advice line and friendship services, both of which have seen big increases in demand. The appeal will also support local Age UKs so they can provide practical help in their communities.

To get involved:

1. Get overdressed in your outfit of choice.

2. Text DRESS to 70800 to donate £5, then take a screenshot of your text and the reply from Age UK.

3. Snap a selfie in your overdressed outfit and share it on social media with the photo of your donation. Tell people it’s the "#Overdress for @Age_UK Coronavirus Emergency Appeal – Text DRESS to 70800".

4. Tag three friends in your post and ask them to do the same.

For more information, click here.

12:35: £250k boost for Cornwall inclusive arts charity

According to The Packet, the Shallal Dance Theatre has secured £250,000 from the National Lottery Reaching Communities fund to support its work over the next three years.

The newspaper says the charity started more than 30 years ago and now runs community groups across Cornwall, specialist sessions and a main dance theatre company based in St Erth.

The Packet says Shallal has been able to continue supporting group members remotely, from online to telephone and post. For more information, click here.

11:30: Legal update source Lexology provides Q&A on job-retention scheme for charities

The comprehensive source of analysis and insights says it is addressing the difficult employment issues that might arise when there is a significant reduction in work for staff because of the pandemic.

It explains how the government's job-retention scheme works and who is eligible, and answers the many questions charities and staff might have.

The Q&A is available here.

11:15: Norwich charity plans to increase food deliveries to 30,000 meals a week

The Norwich Evening News reports that the Soul Foundation, which was delivering 1,000 meals a week in late March and 13,000 by the end of April, has improved its output and is set to send out more than half a million meals in the next six months.

The newspaper says the food is going to those who are vulnerable and in need through partnerships with local schools and families, other charities and organisations, and people who have been referred or have self-referred.

It adds that the foundation has been given grants by the Lind Trust, the Norwich Freemen’s Charity and the Norfolk Community Foundation, as well as food donations from the food charity FareShare, HisChurch and local businesses.

To volunteer or donate, click here.

11:00: Seven-year-old cycles 100 miles in 19 days to raise money for NHS trust charity

According to Shropshire Live, Lilah Hitchin was inspired by the fundraising efforts of Captain Tom Moore to pledge to cycle 100 miles around Shrewsbury over 20 days for the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust Charity.

In the event, she and her mum Katie, a student nurse, broke the 100-mile barrier in just 19 days and, at time of writing, had raised £749, having targeted £100.

Lilah told the news source: “It’s been great fun, although I have a few bruises after falling off my bike. But I know the money raised will help a lot of people in the NHS.”

To donate, click here.

10:50: Young people need to be seen and heard in Covid-19 discussion, says British Youth Council chair

In a blog, Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson says she has become increasingly frustrated with the lack of public discussion or focus on how the pandemic will affect young people, and says it is "woeful" that the generation that will have to endure the economic and social consequences for the longest have not been consulted or focused on in any top-level conversations.

Chetwynd-Cowieson says three simple steps could change this situation. First, the appointment of a minister for youth. Second, removing the barriers that restrict young people's voices, such as restricting questions at daily briefings to those over 18. And third, building the priorities of the under-30s into the fabric of the post-Covid society.

To read the full blog, click here.

10:30: Survey by CPRE and WI finds surge in appreciation of green spaces

A poll commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the National Federation of Women's Institutes has found that nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of respondents said they thought protecting and enhancing green spaces should be a higher priority after the lockdown.

In addition, only 11 per cent of respondents said they felt less connected to the community during lockdown, whereas 40 per cent said they felt more connected and one in three (33 per cent) of 18 to 34-year-olds reported having made new intergenerational connections.

The majority (53 per cent) of respondents said they appreciated local green spaces more since the country adopted social distancing measures. More than half (57 per cent) said the lockdown had made them more aware of the importance of local green spaces for their mental health and wellbeing. And one in three people (35 per cent) reported visiting green spaces more since the start of the lockdown.

Crispin Truman, chief executive of the CPRE, said: “Going back to business as usual is not an option. The government must use the forthcoming planning reforms to protect these precious spaces and also go further by investing in their enhancement."

10:20: York domestic abuse charity voices concern over allocation of emergency funding

The Press reports that IDAS, the largest specialist charity in Yorkshire supporting anyone experiencing or affected by domestic abuse or sexual violence, has yet to receive any money from the emergency funding.

10:15: AFC Bournemouth helps Hampshire autism charity with fundraising auction

According to the Hampshire Chronicle, Autism Wessex is working with the Premier League club and its ambassador Harry Redknapp, a former manager of Bournemouth, to run the online sale.

It says the items available include a signed football and football shirt from the team and a signed copy of Redknapp’s book It Shouldn’t Happen to a Manager.

Money raised will help the charity support young adults through Covid-19 and beyond, providing them with life and employment skills, and helping to prepare them for their futures.

The online auction can be found here.

10:00: Trust in charities has risen since January, report says

The Trust Barometer Spring Update from the PR firm Edelman says public trust in NGOs has risen by six percentage points since January.

It says that when the people in the UK were asked to rate how much they trusted NGOs, the average score at the end of April was 54 per cent, up from 48 per cent in January.

Read the full story here

5 May

17:40: We're clocking off for today and will return in the morning

17:00: Big Give match-funding campaign to support NET ends at midnight tonight

The organisation is doubling any donations made to the National Emergencies Trust's Covid-19 Emergency Appeal, but the offer ends tonight. At time of writing, match funds remaining were just over £50,000, with £1.24m raised in total including Gift Aid.

To donate, click here.

16:40: NCVO adds more information to its coronavirus advice pages

The umbrella body's website now contains advice for charities on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, bounce-back loans and funds from Barclays and the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes.

15:45: Family Meals produces 5,000 meals for NHS staff in just two weeks of production

Founded by chef Christopher Evans-Gordon and co-founder Aidan Christofferson, alongside a team of friends and a group of volunteers, the organisation is distributing more than 600 meals a day in London for NHS staff, essential workers and vulnerable people.

It is working with the charities the Felix Project and Food4Heroes, as well as supporting the London Ambulance Service and other institutions directly. In those two weeks, the group has raised more than £20,000.

For more information, click here.

15:30: Dobbies Garden Centre gifts £73,000 to Teenage Cancer Trust

The TCT is the retailer's national charity partner, Dobbies having donated more than £750,000 in the past five years. The pair announced a formal partnership in 2019, having worked on a number of projects since 2015.

This donation has been made with funds collected from all 68 stores before the centres closed temporarily in March because of the pandemic. The fundraising efforts were led by people at each of the stores from paper carrier bag purchases, the sale of the dedicated TCT rose and contributions made in the soft play areas.

To donate, click here.

15:10: Masonic Charitable Foundation donates £250,000 to Age UK emergency appeal

According to the charity of the freemasons, the gift builds on previous work between the two organisations, which joined forces in 2018 on a three-year, £1m programme, funded by the MCF, to help older people feel less lonely and get the most out of life.

The MCF agreed that resources from this programme could be repurposed to support older people through the pandemic. The new £250,000 grant will provide extra resources for this work. As well as the financial support, the MCF will be encouraging freemasons to give their time to their local Age UK charities.

12:15: Common Goal movement signs up its 150th person

According to The Guardian, the Manchester City and Scotland winger Caroline Weir has become the 150th person to lend their name to the organisation, founded by the Manchester United and Spain attacker Juan Mata in 2017.

Common Goal asks those involved in football to commit 1 per cent of their income to sporting charities. Mata told the newspaper: “At this time of crisis, the need for teamwork is clear. Collaboration is the best shot we have of ending Covid-19 and tackling the other challenges we face. It gives great hope to see so many diverse players stepping forward to work together on providing immediate solutions.”

The Guardian says that Weir’s contribution will be channelled through the new Common Goal Covid-19 Response Fund, which will invest it into community organisations that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

12:05: British Red Cross sets up coronavirus support line

The free helpline is to support people facing a range of issues because of the coronavirus and the associated lockdown.

The BRC says members of it psychosocial and mental health team will provide practical and emotional support for anything from accessing food or medicines to dealing with loneliness.

The number is 0808 196 3651 and is open daily from 10am to 6pm.  The service is free and completely confidential.

12:00: Military charity chief questions distribution of Chancellor's emergency funding package

Ed Parker, chief executive of Walking With the Wounded, says the £370m going to the National Lottery Community Fund and the £200m ring-fenced for hospices, though both worthy causes, leaves a lot less than expected for organisations such as his.

In particular, he says he understands £15m is going to zoos, whereas somewhere between £3m and £5m will go to veterans causes. He asks: "Are zoos three times more important to those who served their country?"

Nevertheless, says Parker, "during these uncertain times, we will continue to work closely with our principal partner, the NHS, and will ensure we continue to provide the resources necessary to ensure veterans in need of care are supported".

11:35: Association of Charitable Organisations launches guide to grant-making in pandemic

The ACO says it features the key considerations for anyone thinking about establishing a new fund because of the coronavirus and shares insights into how its member charities are responding to the crisis and adapting their processes.

The guide also addresses how common grant-making requirements have changed in light of Covid-19, sharing how charities are adapting their usual procedures and the importance of being flexible in order to continue to support people effectively.

To find out more and to download the guide, click here.

11:05: NPC offers concept of strategy triangle to help charities focus on recovery

A blog by the think tank's children and young people lead, Charlotte Lamb, says charities should be focusing on their core purposes and adapting their work to changes in the external environment, but in line with their resources and capabilities, helping to anchor them in a time of uncertainty.

She examines whether core purposes need to be adapted, looks at opportunities in the external environment and how resources can be maximised, concluding that strategy development is key.

To read the blog, click here.

10:55: Canal & River Trust launches appeal

The trust says this initiative is to help support the hundreds of small waterway-based charities in local communities and ensure their survival during and after the pandemic.

All the funds raised by this appeal will be distributed by the trust in small grants to local waterway-based community charities, to ensure they can continue to operate in the months and years ahead.

To donate, click here.

10:50: Nesta blog assesses the lessons learned from global reactions to the pandemic

In what it says will be a series of essays on the lessons of coronavirus and the potential futures, the innovation foundation begins with a blog on the emerging trends.

The essay draws on the various relatively successful responses around the world, such as Singapore, Germany, South Korea and New Zealand, asking why they have coped better than most others. It examines the levels of preparedness and political responses, as well as systems and solidarity, and asks what kind of innovation will help the world to recover.

To read the first blog, click here.

09:40: Wheelchair racer completes marathon distance by going four times round village

The Shropshire Star reports that Sam Eardley, an international wheelchair basketball player, had been due to compete in the London Marathon on 26 April, but it was postponed until October because of the coronavirus.

So, it says, he wheeled himself around the village of Stoke on Tern four times, completing the 26.2 miles in four hours, 22 minutes, 37 seconds, beating his target of four and a half hours. In doing so, he has raised £1,000 for Scope, still short of his target of £2,000.

He told the newspaper: "Only three blisters, and I only nearly got run over once! I did however have to dive into a hedge to avoid the Tesco delivery van and cut my finger open, which was great fun for the remaining 30 kilometres."

To donate, click here.

09:30: London Marathon invites views on controversial 'bond' system

Organisers of the London Marathon are calling on charities to take part in a survey about its controversial bond scheme, which gives organisations access to guaranteed places in the race each year.

London Marathon Events, which organises the annual race, said it wanted feedback from charities that had places in the event and those that did not as part of a “full review” of the allocation of guaranteed charity places.

Read the full story here

09:25: Charities invited to apply for donations totalling £100k through Barclays community relief package

The bank’s 100x100 COVID-19 UK Community Relief Programme, which opened for applications yesterday, will award 100 donations of £100,000 to charities supporting vulnerable communities through the coronavirus pandemic.

The programme represents an initial investment of £10m from Barclays’ £100m Community Aid Package, which was launched in early April.

Read the full story here

4 May

17:30: We're shutting up shop for the evening. The live blog will resume in the morning

17:00: Charity coalition National Voices collecting first-person accounts of life under Covid-19

In partnership with the social enterprise PPL, the tech-for-good firm Ayup and the community interest company Social Spider, NV is looking for more people with physical and mental disabilities to share their experiences during the pandemic.

National Voices is a coalition of 150 charities supporting people with physical and mental health problems and disabilities, and those who are facing inequality or discrimination. On the website you can browse other people's experiences and leave your own.

To get involved, click here.

16:50: Renowned photographers join print sale to raise money for Refuge

Catherine Hyland and Ian Howorth are among the well-known snappers taking part in a print sale, running until 13 May, to raise funds for the domestic abuse charity, hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Known as the Print Assembly, the initiative has curated what it calls an unprecedented collection of exceptional contemporary images, such as this one by Dougie Wallace, that will become prized possessions for their new owners.

The prints have been donated by a network of 102 emerging, commercial and award-winning photographers across the UK photographic community, including names such as Sophie Ebrard, Polly Penrose, Sarah M Lee, Simon Roberts, Dougie Wallace and Nick Meek.

Each image is available for sale as an A3 print at, where they can be purchased for £50.

16:20: Business in the Community toolkit on an inclusive approach to remote working

BITC says it has identified four key areas for employers:

  • How to take an informed and people-centered approach to the crisis;
  • How to ensure the basics are in place;
  • Suggestions on how to adjust communication styles to reflect new working practices;
  • How to help carers care.

The toolkit can be found here.

16:10: Northern Irish organisations launch initiative to match business skills with charities

Skills Match is a new online platform that will match business people with projects tackling social challenges during the pandemic and beyond. It is joint project by the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action and Business in the Community NI, and is supported by the Department for Communities.

It matches the skills and expertise of business volunteers with local community, voluntary and social enterprise organisations in areas where they are looking for specialist and professional input but do not have the resources to pay for it.

A series of webinars has been planned to help the sector. If you would like to offer your skills and expertise, please visit

16:00: Camfed releases briefing note covering impact of pandemic on education for girls

The Campaign for Female Education writes that, with schools in nearly 98 per cent of countries closed, girls are likely to be the hardest hit: the least likely to return to school, the most likely to drop out altogether and facing increased risks of early marriage and adolescent pregnancy.

This publication explains how the pandemic is affecting girls and women in the communities where the charity operates and outlines its approach to mitigating the impact.

To download the report, click here.

15:40: Scottish regulator hosts webinar on charities and coronavirus this Thursday

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator says its head of engagement, Judith Turbyne, will provide a short presentation on its most recent guidance and information relating to the Covid-19 pandemic. This will be followed by some questions and answers.

The event will start at 12:30pm and end at 1:15pm. Attendees will need to register before the start time to be issued with a link that will allows them to participate. To register, click here.

15:15: A reminder that it's Giving Tuesday Now tomorrow

Giving Tuesday, which usually occurs later in the year, has set up Giving Tuesday Now in response to the extraordinary situation of the pandemic and the financial effects it is having on the sector.

The organisation's website has a number of useful resources for anyone to use, including toolkits, ideas for businesses and families, logos and maps.

For more information, click here.

14:45: Nearly 1,000 people volunteer in Wrexham

The Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham says there have been so many, in fact, that it is accepting no more applications to volunteer at this time.

Avow says there are volunteers available in every ward for help such as telephone befriending and dog walking, many with DBS certificates. If anyone  needs help or support, or would benefit from a friendly chat, please email or telephone 01978 312556, seven days a week.

12:55: Online hub What Can We Do? launches Covid-19 Acts of Kindness challenge

The challenge encourages people to undertake acts of kindness while adhering to social distancing guidelines, such as making someone a cup of tea, delivering someone's shopping, sending someone a card, signing a petition or making a donation to a charity.

People are encouraged to then share pictures of their acts of kindness on social media using #COVAKchallenge, and nominate three or more friends to do the same. The #COVAKchallenge web page has a number of different suggestions for people to browse.

More information about the #COVAKchallenge can be found here.

12:45: Insurers 'hold secret talks' on £100m fund to help charities

Sky News claims that the chairs of major insurance companies including Aviva, Hiscox and RSA have floated the idea during discussions in recent weeks, and the Association of British Insurers, the industry body, has been involved.

According to the broadcaster, the objective of the new fund would be to donate sums to smaller charities that have been brought to the brink of collapse by the pandemic, "according to a person close to the situation". Its sources warned, however, that talks about the fund were at a tentative stage.

12:25: Zurich Community Trust announces £2m coronavirus charity support package

The charitable arm of the financial services group says the funds will be used to support Zurich's national and local charity partners, including: Dementia UK, Alzheimer's UK, the Soup Kitchen (London) and the Wiltshire Community Foundation.

Zurich UK is also giving 14,000 of its small charity customers a three-month payment holiday from their insurance premiums, and has launched a fundraising appeal among its employees to make donations to the National Emergencies Trust

12:15: National Trust needs 'urgent, practical support' from government, says director general

In a column for the Telegraph over the weekend, Hilary McGrady warned that the charity stands to lose up to £200m of its income this year because of the pandemic.

The trust, which had an income of £634.3m in the year to the end of February 2019, announced last month that it planned to furlough about 11,200 staff – 80 per cent of its workforce – because of the coronavirus.

Read the full story here

12:10: Nine out of 10 small BAME charities could close within months, report warns

A report from the Ubele Initiative says small BAME charities will not survive if Covid-19 crisis extends into June.

The report, Impact of Covid-19 on the BAME Community and Voluntary Sectoranalyses the results of two sector surveys carried out by the Ubele Initiative at the end of March and early April.

Read the full story here

11:45: Army officer cycling 2,000 miles in garage in imitation of cancelled Giro d'Italia

Thomas Yaxley, 30, from Tidworth in Wiltshire, will cycle just under 2,000km on a turbo trainer to recreate the race, raising money for Above and Beyond, the Bristol city centre hospitals charity, Poole Hospital Charity and Hywel Dda Health Charities.

iNews reports that he will begin the challenge on 9 May and is hoping to complete it by 21 May. The aim is to raise £2,100 in the process, £100 for each stage of the race.

The newspaper says he has close connections with the NHS: his wife Lucy is a nurse in the Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corps and his mother-in-law Tracy Mills is a community nurse in Poole.

To donate, click here.

11:15: Economic worth of sector is 'chronically undervalued', report concludes

The UK charity sector contributes a mammoth £200bn in economic value each year, almost 12 times the official estimate, new figures show.

A report from the charity Pro Bono Economics shows a “chronic undervaluation” of the economic contribution of the UK charity sector, which is officially valued at £17bn a year.

It says the undervaluation of the sector has led to “policy neglect and a dramatic underestimation of its true economic contribution” and resulted in the government offering “insufficient support” in the form of its £750m emergency funding package.

Read the full story here

11:10: Charity feeding Oxford's rough sleepers appeals for financial help

The Oxford Mail reports that the Porch day centre, which in normal times runs a cafe from its hub in the east of the city, was forced to refocus its work and is now offering a mobile and takeaway service that feeds more than 100 vulnerable people every day.

But now the charity needs donations urgently to keep providing the same service. It has set a target of £20,000, of which it has already raised £14,000. In order to adapt the day centre to provide outreach services through the coming months, says the newspaper, management has to invest in additional personal protective equipment, guidance and training, first-aid kits, disposable catering containers, flasks and utensils, thermal bags and items for the Porch's "dignity packs" for women.

To donate, click here.

11:00: New Top Trumps pack hails charity staff and other key workers

Available in the shops today, the game highlights essential workers, "from doctors and nurses to less high-profile professions such as pest controllers, midwives and sea merchants". Perhaps more controversially, it includes politicians, represented by Boris Johnson, and journalists.

One of the four scoring sections in the new game is "Unsung Heroes", in which the partners of key workers who come out top.

10:30: Charity chair apologises for saying virus is 'nature's way of cleansing the planet'

According to The Sun, the statement was made in a newsletter sent out by the Poultry Club of Great Britain. The newspaper claims that the charity's chair, Louise Carpenter, who is also the head teacher of a primary school in Nottinghamshire, said she was trying to find "reasoning" behind the pandemic.

Trustees later issued an apology, The Sun says, for "unintentionally" causing distress to members of the club and the public in general.

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