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May 2020

Chain Newsletter Issue 80

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to this week’s news updates. Thinking ahead: we are waiting for a big announcement on Sunday from the PM to see what happens next, what we are already know though is that things are going to be very different. Involve has been surveying charities and groups and if any of you haven’t filled in this short survey yet then please do. It won’t take long but will give us useful insight on what pressures, concerns or opportunities there may be going forward:
In case any of you haven’t come across this yet I encourage you to take a look at the following: It is a catalogue of offers from businesses offering reduced or free services to charities. You can search the grid by ‘free’ and then by what you’re looking for. We are using it ourselves and are in the process of sorting some Teams training. Take a look.
Finally on the subject of Thinking ahead, I came across
this which gets you thinking about next steps:

Stay safe everyone and please read on as there are lots
more resources, information and updates below.

Philip Cook, General Manager
Tel: 01344 304404        Email:        Website:

Coronavirus & Voluntary Sector News

Social Prescriber/ Health & Wellbeing Advisor
We are recruiting a second Social Prescriber to support patients from the Wokingham North Primary Care Network. The role will involve working together with patients to jointly agree and develop a "Social Prescription" for the patient to help the individual to achieve positive health and wellbeing outcomes, by addressing any non-medical or social issues in their life such as housing, debt or social isolation. If you are proactive, enthusiastic and person-centred, then we'd love to hear from you. Find out more:
Mental Health Awareness Week
Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week will take place from 18-24 May 2020. The theme is kindness. Mental health problems can affect anyone, at any time. Mental health is everyone’s business. So, for one week each May, we campaign around a specific theme for Mental Health Awareness Week.
One thing that we have seen all over the world is that kindness is prevailing in uncertain times. We have learnt that amid the fear, there is also community, support and hope. The added benefit of helping others is that it is good for our own mental health and wellbeing. It can help reduce stress & improve emotional wellbeing.
Hoarding Disorders 
Partner agencies are being asked to look out for anyone affected by hoarding disorders who are often socially isolated. These individuals may not be receiving support or regular home visits during this time and despite initially making good progress, this may now be deteriorating. The NHS has published a page on hoarding
Resources to Help Those with
Communication Support Needs (CSN)

Beyond Words has created 4 books, which can be used to support and communicate with people during the Coronavirus pandemic. They are free to download from their website:  
Keep Safe have put together some free cue cards,
which can be printed off, to help people with CSN to
engage in video calls:
Social Distancing for Clinically Vulnerable People
Please see below updated Staying at Home and away from others (social distancing) guidance: Staying at home and away from others (social distancing) - guidelines updated to further clarify the requirements of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020, and add information on clinically vulnerable people. This was updated on 1st May.
If you have any of the health conditions they list on their website, you are clinically vulnerable, meaning you are at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. You should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household.
Dr James Kent Appointed to Lead ICS
Dr James Kent has been appointed as the Executive
Lead of the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and
Berkshire West Integrated Care System (ICS) and Accountable Officer of the three Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) within the patch.
He will lead the ICS, working with health and care leaders from acute, community, mental health and ambulance trusts, local government and other partners, and also head up a single management team supporting the BOB CCGs – a move which was agreed by the three CCG Governing Bodies earlier this year. Read their full news article:
Keeping Acting During COVID-19
Get Berkshire Active have launched a survey targeting members of the public, to understand how to provide better opportunities for physical activity to keep everyone active now and when the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Please help us shape the present and the future of physical activity in Berkshire and fill in our short survey: 
Survey should take 5-10minutes to complete and deadline for responses is the 13th of May. For information on staying active at home, supporting your physical and mental wellbeing at this time and to find out more about Get Berkshire Active please visit our website:
Therapeutic support worker training
This is a fantastic opportunity for people to develop and learn creative therapy approaches for supporting children emotionally.
Through our experiential training you will develop the skills needed to work 1-1 with children affected by different environmental issues such as domestic abuse, family separation, bereavement, affects of drug and alcohol within the family etc.  Using play and creativity you will learn how to help children explore and express their feelings whilst providing containment and safety.  You ill also gain understanding and self-awareness to help you in this challenging yet rewarding role.  As part of the training you will be required to complete a years placement with us working with a minimum of 2 children and attending regular supervision. If you are interested or would like further information please contact us on 07720970717 or email

Support for The Charity Sector

advantage: Free HR Phone Advice
In May 2020, every Wednesday 10:00am-12:00pm, Populo will be providing free HR telephone advice to small charities and social enterprises. So if you have a people issue which would benefit from running past an HR professional and is suitable to be resolved through a brief call then you could use this service. Calls should be around 30 minutes*, and could be regarding queries around the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, sickness absence, managing poor performance etc… Read more:
  COVID-19 Emergency Charity Funding Part 6       
   Our Funding Advisor has set up yet another great list of funding
   opportunities in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
   If you are in need of funding support during this difficult time, 
   We've also put together a document containing regular funding
   opportunities, not related to COVID19:
Trustees’ talk during lockdown 
As well as trustee recruitment and training, our inTRUSTed 
programme exists to offer free support to all charity trustees in Bracknell Forest & Wokingham Borough. 
So, in these times of increased demand for charity services, much-reduced fundraising and face-to-face delivery, as a trustee you may have questions or concerns about your organisation. inTRUSTed can help you.  Simple questions about your charity’s governance and operation while under the covid-19 lockdown (and afterwards) can be answered by return email, or if you have more in-depth questions about your Committee or Board, what it can do or needs to do, you can book a longer session, maybe via phone or video. 
Email to ask your questions or request a call-back. 
Wokingham United Charities Grant Funding During COVID-19
Our existing relief in need grant programme closed on the 30th April 2020. Any applications received will be processed within previously published timescales. This programme has now been put on hold and will not reopen for further applications until further notice. We will continue to consider requests for Emergency Funding from charities providing frontline services during COVID-19. Please, in the first instance call 07598 583513 or email
An updated warning on charity fraud
Action Fraud has updated its charity fraud page to include new trends and issues to look out for. It is worth sharing this
information to ensure beneficiaries and donors know that
your charity is legitimate. See the full details here.
'Supporting the bereaved' Training Video
Big thank you to Southampton CVS who have shared their training video on how to support those who have recently been bereaved. This is an excellent resource and we are grateful to Southampton VS for (a) producing this and (b) sharing it with us all. See the video here.
COVID-19: How charity leaders can grow digital service delivery
Dingley's Promise are one of many charities in the Thames Valley who are being helped to recruit trustees by the inTRUSTed service.  So we were fascinated by the interview with Catherine McLeod, their CEO, about how they have successfully transformed their services during lockdown to continue and grow their support for parents of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, through digital delivery. Catherine explains how they've also made their online training free and are attracting national participants and growing the charity's reputation.
Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace
If an employee has a mental health issue, it’s important their employer takes it seriously. For example, it’s a good idea to talk to the employee to find out what support they might need at work. There are many types of mental health issue. An issue can happen suddenly, because of a specific event in someone’s life, or it can build up gradually over time.
Read more:
What might be the longer term impact of
COVID-19 on your charity/ community group?

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting heavily on many local charities and community groups.  Organisations continue to show innovate ways in which to reach out to their service users, positively helping to minimise the impact of social isolation. We are keen to hear your views about the longer-term implications of the Coronavirus in regards finance, staff, volunteers and more.  To help in achieving this, we have created a survey and would ask leaders of local charitable organisations and groups to take the time to complete. This will help us to understand and to communicate where appropriate any real risks to individual organisations and to the wider sector moving forward. 
As ever, we will continue to source new funding opportunities which will help local organisations to stay solvent and operational beyond this chapter.

Helping the Community & Yourself

Coronavirus: Info for Parents & Carers of Children with SEND
Wokingham Borough Council has also updated the Local Offer with information for families. Read a message from Sal Thirlway, Assistant Director, Children's Services Learning, Achievement and Partnership on COVID-19 for parents and carers of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
Click here see all the resources they have compiled:
Looking After Your Mental
Health During COVID-19

Mental Health Awareness Week is on 18th-24th May 2020, encouraging people to spread kindness during these difficult times.  For advice from BHFT about looking after your mental wellbeing during this pandemic, visit: 
Talking Therapies is also still available. There are more details on the website or you can contact them on 0300 365 2000 or
Mental health charity Mind has also provided lots of information on their website about looking after your mental wellbeing while staying at home:
Support for Victims of Abuse or Crime
A reminder that Berkshire Women’s Aid remains open (although BWA remains closed to professional referrals as was in place before) and are offering support remotely to victims of domestic abuse.  Group work remains suspended at the moment. For support in Bracknell or Wokingham call: 0118 950 4003 or visit
Kaleidoscopic UK is a charitable organisation of survivors of domestic abuse based in Berkshire.  Providing survivor-led support groups for victims of domestic abuse, Kaleidoscopic UK work to enhance prevention and recovery for families, children and adults exposed to domestic abuse. Services are still available during COVID-19 via online portals.
Victims First have recently launched on Twitter and are actively sharing updates, events, meetings, campaigns etc on there.  Victims First is committed to supporting victims throughout the Coronavirus pandemic and continue to offer free emotional and practical support to any victim or witness of crime or abuse, regardless of when the crime took place or whether the victim has chosen to report it to the police. Find out more: 
Silent Solution was set up for people who need urgent police help through the 999 service, but can’t speak:
GP Surgeries Across Berkshire West Will Be Available on the VE Bank Holiday, To Support Patients With Urgent, Non-Coronavirus, Health Issues
People who need urgent help are advised to contact their GP surgery online, or by phone, to be assessed. If it’s felt patients need face to face attention this will be arranged. Or it could be they will be directed to a nearby healthcare service for advice and treatment.
Anyone with suspected coronavirus symptoms, a constant cough and/or high temperature of 37.8, should contact the NHS 111 online service. If they don’t have access to online facilities they should ring 111. They should not attend their GP surgery.
Many local pharmacies will be open for a minimum of three hours on Friday from 2 to 5pm, some will open for longer. There will be details on pharmacy’s own websites or on the NHS website. Pharmacists can advise on a wide range of health issues including stomach bugs, eye conditions and rashes.
NHS dental practices will be providing
urgent telephone advice and triage
but people with a regular dentist are
asked to call them as a first step.
Please do not visit the practice. If
you don’t have a regular dentist and
need urgent dental advice, call NHS 111.
Do not visit the Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) for dental problems.
DWP Update: Claiming Universal Credit
DWP has experienced a huge increase in claims and our phone lines have been extremely busy as a result. We have taken urgent action to boost capacity, by moving large numbers of existing staff to help our front line colleagues, and we’re recruiting more.
New claims to Universal Credit should be done online where possible Customers do not need to call DWP to arrange an appointment and they shouldn’t attend the jobcentre. 

People making new claims for Universal Credit no longer need to call DWP as part of the process. Instead, a bolstered team are calling claimants back if they need to check any of the information provided as part of the claim. This change has been in effect since 9 April.
It should free up phone lines for those unable to claim online. 
Get Help Paying
We’re always here to support our customers who may be struggling to pay their bills. Now more than ever, we’re committed to providing options for customers who are worried about the cost of their bills, particularly in this uncertain time of the coronavirus outbreak. 
Help paying during the coronavirus outbreak - If you’ve been financially impacted by the coronavirus outbreak – we want to help. We’ve set up a 'flexible payment period' for our customers to either temporarily pause or reduce payments. If you’d to know more about how we can support you, visit our flexible payments information page.
Help with general billing enquiries - If you have a general enquiry which is unrelated to the coronavirus outbreak, we’re continuing to support you too:
Five Ways to Wellbeing #5ways5daysNHS challenge – May 2020
Children and young people can take care of their own mental wellbeing during lockdown and help to raise awareness so that other children and young people can learn simple ways to look after their mental health too.  Children and young people are being invited to take the challenge to fit the NHS’s Five Ways to Wellbeing into their week (#5ways5daysNHS) and nominate five other people on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to do the same to help spread the word. Young Health Champions have been involved in supporting this. Click here for more information
Coronavirus: How you can support people with dementia
To help volunteers understand and support a person with dementia, the Alzheimer’s Society has produced a Toolkit:  Five top tips for individuals volunteering their time in the coronavirus response:
1) Become a Dementia Friend
2) Consider how you communicate
3) Share information about their Dementia Connect support line
4) Share information about support available to carers
5) Share tips on staying busy and active at home
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