Coronavirus – advice for voluntary and community sector organisations
This information is intended to help decide what steps you as an individual, your community or organisation may need to take in light of the spread of the covid-19 virus.
We’ll make every effort to keep this information up to date as possible.
Last updated 17th March 2020.
In these unprecedented times we understand these updates are daily and would like to reassure you our aim is to provide information as we receive it, but hope you understand we may not be able to do this in the time frame needed due to staffing and home working arrangements.
Currently our offices are open, this is likely to change, and we will be asking you to leave telephone messages with a short message/contact details so we can return your call with the answer to your question.
We are using digital technologies to enable us to work. Holding virtual staff meetings using Zoom, and encouraging staff, where able, to volunteer in their local communities by looking out for their neighbours or by joining one of the Covid-19 Mutual Aid groups.
What is the coronavirus?
A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. This strain, covid-19, is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in January 2020.
What are the symptoms?
The following symptoms may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has covid-19 infection:
- A cough
- A high temperature
- Shortness of breath
If you are worried about symptoms, please call NHS 111 or go to the NHS 111 coronavirus advice website. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment.
Full Fact has generated a fact check page to help dispel any false information about the virus.
What’s the best way to prevent the spread of covid-19?
- Wash your hands often with soap (or soap substitutes) and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. This is particularly important after taking public transport.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin. You can download a ’Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ poster (PDF, 940KB) for your workplace from the NHS.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Follow Government advice is to reduce social contact including working from home where possible.
Key up-to-date information from the government:
- GOV.UK: Guidance for social or community care and residential settings on COVID-19
- GOV.UK: COVID-19 guidance for educational settings
- NHS England: Coronavirus information for health professionals
- GOV.UK: Guidance on charities and risk management
- Zurich: Organisational resilience guidance on pandemic planning
- Charities Facilities Management Group: Business continuity for charities
- GOV.UK: COVID-19 travel advice
- GOV.UK: COVID-19 specified countries and areas with implications for returning travellers or visitors arriving in the UK
Support for other groups
Diabetes UK has an information page for people living with diabetes
Asthma UK has a blog post with advice for people with asthma
The British Heart Foundation has published guidance for people with health problems
The National Eczema Society has offered advice on handwashing techniques for people with eczema and other skin conditions
SignHealth has created British Sign Language (BSL) videos to help deaf BSL users either working in charities or receiving support
Carers UK has produced recommendations for those with caring responsibilities
Housing Justice has issued advice to homeless shelters
Stay up to date
Keep up to date with the latest public information and advice regarding the virus at gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public, and for more specific advice for the VCSE sector, here are some more useful resources:
The Small Charities Coalition is monitoring the situation and updates will be posted with the relevant date and time at smallcharities.org.uk/insurance-and-risk.
NCVO has also published further useful information including:
- updates on sick leave and reducing social contact in line with the government’s current recommendations
- updates on holding events, board meetings and AGMs
- additions to contingency planning and how insurance will be impacted
- a new section on what to expect from funders