Support for Charities and Voluntary/ Community Groups

Information and support for VCS during the Coronavirus pandemic

Support for Charities and Voluntary/ Community Groups

As Government advice on Coronavirus continues to develop at pace, Medway Voluntary Action will continue to do their upmost to curate and share the most current information and support available for the Medway VCS (their staff, volunteers, members and service users alike).

As information changes daily, we will continue to share information and links on this page, so please visit regularly throughout the coming weeks and possibly months. Any information we add to this webpage will be date stamped so that you can assess it for relevance.


Key Public Health Advice

[25.03.20] As it is strongly recommended to stay home, here is a helpful video on how to video call family and friends:

[17.03.20] If you are able to, please will you communicate this advice widely:

The advice for anyone in any setting is to follow these main guidelines from website:

  • The most common symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of a new continuous cough and/or high temperature. If you have these symptoms, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
  • Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so. Use hand sanitiser if that's all you have access to.
  • To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don't have a tissue, and throw the tissue away immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel.
  • Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people. At the current time and based on our understanding of what is known of COVID-19 and other similar respiratory viruses, it is likely that older people and those with chronic medical conditions may be vulnerable to severe disease. As more information emerges, recommendations may change.
  • Stay at home if you have either:
  • a high temperature - you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • new, continuous cough - this means you've started coughing repeatedly
  • Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
  • Testing for Coronavirus is not needed if you're staying at home.

How long to stay at home

  • if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
  • if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms (new advice as of 16 March)
  • If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
  • If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.

[16.03.20] New guidance was introduced for self-isolation of household contacts and social distancing:

[16.03.20] For the next 4 weeks, ZombieGerm is offering a completely free download.

  • Grab a FREE download of the ZombieGerm book for a limited time only by following this link and download our FREE handwashing poster - ideal for schools, nurseries or anywhere there are kids by following this link.
Supporting diverse communities:

[01.12.20] click here to download a multilingual 'Hands-Face-Space' poster

Doctors of the World has translated advice into a number of languages They have also put together, in conjunction with British Red Cross, advice materials on google drive in the following languages: English, Albanian, Dari, French, Pashto, Portuguese, Bengali, Vietnamese, Kurdish Sorani, Mandarin, Hindi, Urdu, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish and Farsi, with Malayalam, Amharic, Tigrinya and Somali coming soon. Click here for the link to the files

Government Response:

For latest news and updates on the Government's response to the Coronavirus outbreak:

[25.03.20] A COVID-19 WhatsApp bot has been launched to communicate automated responses for key information on COVID-19:

[25.03.20] Information about the Coronavirus Bill:

Medway Updates:

Medway Council website -

[16.03.20] Latest news from Medway Council click here:

Medway CCG website -

[10.03.20] Latest news from Medway CCG click here: https://www.kentandmedwayccg.n...

Guidance for Individuals:

The NHS 111 have an easy read leaflet to help people of all abilities to make a decision about when to call the 111 service which can be accessed using this link:

[16.03.20] People who are concerned they are suffering symptoms that may be due to Coronavirus can also use the tool on the NHS 111 website in the first instance where possible (or phone 111) to check what they should do:

Guidance for Organisations

[30/04/20] Putting your audience at the centre of your COVID-19 fundraising initiatives. Charity Digital share some useful guidance on how think about your audience in Covid-19 digital fundraising.,6U3GT,OKB01M,RE8ZG,1

[21.04.20] MVA regularly provide updates on funding opportunities related to supporting people in response to Covid-19 - please register for our newsletter to receive these updates.

[21.04.20] NCVO have updated their guidance on what you need to do to prepare for the potential impacts of coronavirus on your charity's or voluntary organisation's operations and finances.

[17.04.20] Charity Digital share 5 ways Coronavirus will change the charity sector:

[08.04.20] Martin Lewis of Moneysaving has produced a concise guide on furloughing, including 12 need-to-knows. click here to find out more

[06.04.20] Social investment for charities in Covid19 crisis Read more here

[06.04.20] The Government has published Furlough guidance - sets out the process to claim for your employees' wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

[30.03.20] Kent Community Foundation is offering emergency funding of more than £360,000 to charities in need during COVID-19:

[31.03.20] CAF has launched this rapid response Fund to help smaller charitable organisations affected by the impact of Covid-19. Grants of up to £10,000 will help them to continue to deliver much needed support to our communities:

[25.03.20] The Charity Commission has released guidance to help with running your charity during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

[25.03.20] Information on supporting charities in terms of paying wages:

[25.03.20] GDPR advice during COVID-19:

[19.03.20] Martin Lewis' own Charity is offering grants to help charities deliver relief projects:

[16.03.20] Any charity that needs to file annual returns during the coronavirus outbreak can contact the Charity Commission for an extension to time limits:

Guidance for VCS offering health and care related support

We are not yet aware of any specific guidance on this issue for VCS groups and organisations.

[13.03.20] The Government have, however, released residential care, supported living and home care guidance:

Support for mental wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak:

It is recognised that the mental wellbeing of staff, volunteers, members and service users might be affected over the coming weeks. The following might provide some support to help people:

[05/05/20] Across Kent and Medway are opening 4 Safe Havens including Medway on 20th April 2020!

These are a safe place where people aged 16+ can access immediate support if they are feeling distressed, frightened, overwhelmed, feel like things are getting too much for them, perhaps feel suicidal or thoughts of hurting themselves, maybe they're isolated or are in crisis.
Medway Safe Haven
Open 6pm-11pm every day of the year | 07850 901151 | 07808 795036

[29.03.20] Public Health England have published guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19) and direct you to 'Every Mind Matters' - click here for their webpage

[13.03.20] Mind are offering a wealth of advice around how to help your wellbeing if you are required to self-isolate or worried about the Coronavirus and they also suggest a checklist to see if you are ready to stay at home for two weeks. The link for their support page is:

[30.03.20] MVA have compiled a list of free activities you can do from home - click here to explore them

[26.03.20] IEP & The Better Health Generation have delivered tips for Coping with Coronavirus Anxiety Webinar - click here to watch

[17.03.20] Useful support organisations:

NCVO advice for organisations and Coronavirus:

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations have compiled advice intended to help you decide what steps you and your organisation may need to take in light of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Good advice for small clubs, groups and organisations is to think about how they will cope if a high proportion of their staff or volunteers become ill or unavailable at the same time (remembering that people may be unable to work even if they have not become ill themselves, it could be, for example, because schools have closed and people need to stay at home to care for their children or grandchildren), and what steps you might take to avoid this happening.

[13.03.20] To see NCVO's current advice page click here:

Technology Updates

[06.04.20] As we all get used to new ways of working, video calls are the obvious solution. They're fun accessible and immediate. They can really help people feel connected.

[01.04.20] We are hearing some stories of Zoom being hacked with some unpleasant material popping up. To help minimise the threat of hackers 'gate crashing' a Zoom meeting here are five good practice tips:

  1. Always set a password for the meeting
  2. Don't share the link for the meeting on any public forum or platform
  3. Don't use a personal meeting ID- always allow zoom to create a random number for each meeting
  4. Always set screen sharing to 'host only'
  5. Disable 'file transfer', 'Join before host' and 'allow removed participants to rejoin' in your settings

[25.03.20] Announcement from Microsoft on the restrictions on office 365 services:

Reported Scams

Please let us know about any other scams/threats you are aware of so that we can share and alert other VCS organisations who may also be supporting vulnerable people, these are the ones we are aware of so far:

Mitigating the potential medium and long term impact of Coronavirus on Medway VCS:

Medway Voluntary Action are keen to maintain our support and representation role for Medway voluntary and community groups, clubs and organisations, whatever their size and sector of support, and we recognise that the sector will need to be making plans on how to mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus going forward.

In response to the rapidly changing restrictions arising from Coronavirus, we will shortly be announcing some new online support that will provide virtual communication and peer-support for the local VCS over coming weeks and months. Until then, please continue to contact us via email ( or phone (01634 812850) if you need our help.