COVID-19 UNDERSTANDING THE NEW GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE FOR COMMUNITY BUILDINGS

23rd Sep 2020

Another day and another announcement!

We very much understand that in a world where new announcements overwrite previous guidance on a daily basis it is really hard to keep up with what is exactly the right thing to do about the community and voluntary service operating within your community buildings.

Over the past week we have fielded many questions from colleagues about ‘the rule of six’ and latterly the new local restrictions. Trustees once again face some tough decisions about how best to respond.

The local restrictions state that residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble. This has caused some concern and left some people confused about how the new guidance will impact on the delivery of services in community buildings. The Prime Ministers statement last night reinforced the requirements for all citizens to adhere to the regulations on social distancing and this will again raise questions as to how best to ensure people do not ’socialise or mingle together’ in community buildings.

There are three clear simple actions we must all do to keep on protecting each other

  • Wash hands - keep washing your hands regularly
  • Cover face - wear a face covering in enclosed spaces
  • Make space - stay at least 2 metres apart - or 1 metre with a face covering or other precautions

Building on the basic public health messages, from what we have seen so far about the local restrictions, they are focused on social and leisure activities and so in principle the latest government guidance for multi-purpose facilities should still apply

However, Trustees do need to carefully consider the particular circumstances of their building and the nature of their user groups and activities when reflecting on the usage of community buildings in order to ensure maintenance of the local measures. 

It is widely recognised that community activities are very important for the wellbeing of individuals, particularly those who have been isolated over the last six months. The emphasis of the latest government guidance was to ensure activities are delivered safely and not to prevent them.

Where ‘COVID security measures’ are clearly in place, meet government guidance for specific activities and enable households to maintain the local measures, we don’t expect any further impact on voluntary and community services. However, this may change, and we would recommend Trustees once again reflect on their service offer by undertaking careful risk assessments of all activity in the light of the local measures.

When making decisions about the impact on the delivery of your services, here are a few more things to consider…

  • Do people who use your building understand the changes?
  • How are you supporting users to maintain the measures?
  • Do you have any activities that can no longer be delivered safely?
  • Have you had any cancellations because of the changes and is this due to people not fully understanding the new rules?
  • Do you need to adjust the rooms in which you locate service delivery or have different seating arrangements for permitted activities?
  • Do you need to reduce your capacity to accommodate the new restrictions?
  • Have you reviewed your cashflow and considered the further impact the new measures may have on your income?
  • Have you explored all the grant funding opportunities available to support your adapted and impacted activity?

The local guidance can be found here with information from Durham County Council found here

Our ACRE information sheets were updated again on 18th September and include the latest government guidance on social distancing, together with a revised risk assessment, hire agreement and advice on assisting with the track and trace scheme. They can be found here under the section 'Our Work with ACRE.' These information sheets reflect the government guidance as it stood prior to the Prime Ministers announcement on 22nd September and so, once again, we are seeking further clarification. 

As we learn more or should the situation change, we will update our information pages so please keep an eye on our social media channels and our website.

In the meantime our staff team are available to help you understand what the changes may mean for your community building and to provide you with information, advice and support with any queries or concerns you may have. If you have already been in contact with one of our Community Support Team, contact them directly or email info@durhamcommunityaction.org.uk.

< Back to posts

© 2018 DURHAM COMMUNITY ACTION LIMITED