6th Nov 2020

As we begin a new national lockdown, Trustees of volunteer led community organisations and community buildings are once again challenged with a multitude of decisions to make.

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 community buildings and venues.

Over the past week we have fielded many questions from colleagues about the new national restrictions and what it means for volunteer led operations. Trustees once again face some tough decisions about how best to respond.

The new national guidelines state that when we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we reduce the spread of the infection and this has led the government to require of us to:

  • Stay at home, except for specific purposes.
  • Avoid meeting people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
  • Close certain businesses and venues.

As a member of Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) we have been working alongside our network colleagues to provide support to organisations getting to grips with the ongoing changes and new nationwide lockdown restrictions which came into force on 5th November.

Our latest ACRE information can be found here.

These new nationwide restrictions mean that all ‘halls’ are required to close their doors, except for a limited number of permitted activities where a few uses will still be allowed. This has caused some concern about how the new restrictions will impact on community buildings. Many of the voluntary committees who manage these buildings will undoubtedly be worried about the future – both in terms of their financial sustainability, but also the welfare of their community.

Access to grant funding will continue to provide a vital lifeline for many organisations and one hundred funders have signed a renewed pledge to support the charity sector during the coronavirus crisis; they pledge that they ‘are still standing with the sector’ as we move into this second lockdown.

County Durham Community Foundation continues to help locally in the midst of a global crisis and has made £1.3million in grants in 120 days across County Durham and Tees Valley.  Their work is ongoing in its efforts to help communities survive and recover; CDCF funds remain open and the friendly team welcome conversations about your funding needs, find out more here.  

For organisations employing staff, the National Coronavirus Job Retention scheme which is in place for ‘employers small or large, charitable or non-profitmaking’, may be an appropriate support and we encourage organisations to explore eligibility for Local Restriction Support Grants as further information becomes available.

As we learn more, 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 in the usual ways or email and your enquiry will be directed to a member of the team.

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