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Top 10 tips for groups during Covid-19

Advice and Guidance for Community Groups during COVID-19 in relation to the new National Restrictions from 5th November 

The information contained on this page is for general information only. You will need to adapt them to your setting and sector. Your organisation and more specifically your Directors or Trustees are ultimately responsible for managing risks.

Our Ten Top tips

We have collated the most common questions from Oxfordshire groups and produced the information below.

The guidance on this page is written to support local Oxfordshire-based ‘not for profits’ groups to make informed choices about their organisation, group or activity during this current crisis. However, please note that this information is based on the best information that we have and is not intended to replace any statutory or legal advice.

Are you thinking about how you safely operate?

In the first instance check restrictions; https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november.

Where and when you can meet in larger groups

Where and when you can you meet in larger groups (see section 3)

There are still circumstances in which you are allowed to meet others from outside your household or support bubble in larger groups, but this should not be for socialising.

Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes, but is not limited to, support to victims of crime, people in drug and alcohol recovery, new parents and guardians, people with long-term illnesses, people facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, and those who have suffered bereavement, and vulnerable young people, including for them to meet young workers.

The guidance above states ‘Support groups that have to be delivered in person’. If you deliver a support group as described in the guidance, we would strongly recommend that you carefully consider the decision to continue to operate a support group. If you would like any support to think about whether your group and/or activity falls within this definition and your decision to continue operating, please contact us at vol@ocva.org.uk for a call back

Guidance for running activities in person

If you are permitted to open under the latest guidance you may find the guidance below useful.

Guidance for other settings

Sector specific gov.uk guidance that you may find useful are:  (Please Note- Although the guidance below refers to businesses, the information is equally applicable to ‘not for profits’ and charities)  

  1. Offices and contact centres–Guidance for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments.
  2. Heritage locations– Guidance for people who work or volunteer in heritage locations.
  3. Community Cafe Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services -Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes or takeaways.
  4. Shops and branches -Guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.
  5. Working in or delivering to other people’s homes– Guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to other people’s homes.
  6. Working in or from vehicles– Guidance for people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar.
  7. Performing arts
  8. Grassroots sports and gym / leisure facilities
  9. Shops
  10. Out of school settings e.g. holiday and after school clubs
  11. Early years
  12. Outdoor activities
  13. Places of worship
  14. Close contact services
  15. The visitor economy– Guidance for people who work in hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, and business events and consumer shows.

How to report outbreaks of coronavirus

How to report outbreaks of coronavirus

COVID-19 early outbreak management information has been created to make sure that people who run charities, businesses or other types of organisations:

  • Know how to recognise and report an incident of coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Are aware of measures local health protection teams may advise in order to contain it.

This information is contained within ‘action cards’ that have been designed for specific situations where an outbreak could occur. This could be a restaurant or office, a construction site or a place of worship.

The action cards are designed to be downloaded or printed and kept on hand in your business or organisation.

The current guidance states that these premises must close:

Community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services – for example for people who do not have it at home – and for click-and-collect.

Places of worship, apart from for the purposes of independent prayer, for funerals or funeral commemorative events, to broadcast an act of worship, to provide essential voluntary services or urgent public support services, for registered childcare, and to host permitted gatherings.

These businesses and places will also be permitted to be open for a small number of activities, including:

  • Education and training (including for schools to use sports and leisure facilities where that it part of their normal provision)
  • Childcare purposes and supervised activities for children
  • Blood donation and food banks
  • To provide medical treatment
  • For elite sports persons (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), professional dancers and choreographers (in fitness and dance studios).
  • For training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls).
  • For the purposes of professional film and TV filming.

Many not-for-profit sector organisations have adopted distance working and working-from-home arrangements, or moved their activities online. There are a number of digital tools to support organisations responding to Covid-19. A few that might be helpful for you include:

  • Zoom is also being widely used for people to video conference over the internet. Find out more about how to use Zoom here.
  • Microsoft Teams is being widely used by public services. It includes video-conferencing facilities, the ability to share files, and instant messaging tools (like SMS messages, but on a computer). Microsoft are now making a free version of Teams available to anyone. This might help you to engage more effectively with public sector organisations in your area. Find out more on the Microsoft Teams site.
  • Dropbox is a service for sharing files remotely. It is offering free business accounts for three months to charities and non-profits working on Covid-19 response. Sign up here.

We should all be wary of the increased risk from fraudulent emails at this time.  Here are some simple tips to protect yourself and your organisation from e-mail scammers

Organisational Risk Assessments

An organisational risk assessment will help you to balance the risk, and to assess if the risk of not opening outweighs the risk of opening.

It is essential that you carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment before reopening your premises – a risk assessment should be carried out in line with HSE guidance.

We have specific guidance and templates for organisations. Please email vol@ocva.org.uk for guidance and templates.

Individual risk assessment

Salford CVS has created the following Risk Assessment Toolkit for individuals, which you may find useful:

Test and Trace

Use this service to create a QR code for display in your venue. Get visitors to scan the QR code when they arrive, using the NHS COVID-19 app. This is to help trace and stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Below is the Government Guidance about maintaining records to support with this?, and resources to enable you to create a QR Code Poster:

Governance and Decision Making

Coronavirus has impacted every organisation in different ways. It is crucial to ensure that any decisions that are taken by your Board are made in line with the procedures laid out in your governing document.

Business Continuity Planning: You should think about business continuity planning (planning to keep your group and your key activities going). NVCO have produced a document on Organisational Resilience which can help you think this through. Download NCVO’s Organisational Resilience checklist here.

Funding related to COVID-19

Further information about funding sources during the pandemic.

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