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May 2020

Chain Newsletter Issue 79

Hi Everyone,
I hope you are all staying safe and well. From what the government is saying, things are moving in the right direction however persevere and keep doing what you’re doing:

  Stay at home

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.  (
It is very important not only to follow the above advice, but also then take care of ourselves mentally too. MIND has lots of information, guides, resources and tips on their website:
What I would encourage you all to do is consider some of the information on this website and then print off or find ways to share it with people who aren’t online – they need help and support as much as the rest of us!
Lastly, I am pleased to say involve Community Services is recruiting. We currently have a Social Prescribing Link Worker covering the North of Wokingham borough (Woodley, Twyford, Wargrave and surrounding areas) and this role is extending to 2 full time positions. If you are interested or know someone who may be then take a look at the following link: The closing date is 13th May and we hope to virtually interview the week after.
Thanks everyone, stay safe and please read on!

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

Coronavirus & Voluntary Sector News

Helpful online information and resources
during the Coronavirus lockdown

Please find links below to web pages on the council website that contain useful information in relation to council services, signposting to local and national services offering support, information and advice.
Coronavirus: helpful information and resources web page
Coronavirus: Helpful information and resources for parents and carers
Coronavirus: Information for parents and carers with a child with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND)
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.
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:
Update from the Wokingham Community Hub
The best way to help us at the moment is via donations. There will be updated posts on our Facebook page:
with all items we require for well-being packs,
food and cleaning products. If you are able to help
with any of these please drop them in the black boxes at the front of St Crispin's Leisure Centre. Anything you are able to help with will be greatly appreciated. There is also a Just Giving page:
Public Urged To Flag Coronavirus Related
Email Scams As Online Security Campaign Launches

Cyber experts have launched measures to protect the UK from online harm as the country continues to rely more on technology while staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ, has today launched the cross-governmental ‘Cyber Aware’ campaign, which offers actionable advice for people to protect passwords, accounts and devices.
This will build on the organisation’s existing takedown services, which have already removed more than 2,000 online scams related to coronavirus in the last month, including;
 471 fake online shops selling fraudulent coronavirus related items
 555 malware distribution sites set up to cause significant damage to any visitors
-   200 phishing sites seeking personal information such as passwords or credit card details
-   832 advance-fee frauds where a sum of money is promised in return for set-up payment
 Read more:
Integrated Risk Management Plan Strategy Consultation
Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue
Service is consulting on our
Integrated Risk Management Plan.
IRMP is how we safely and effectively manage risk for the people of Royal Berkshire. With limited numbers of people and equipment, we have to make judgements on how best to deploy these resources to most effectively respond to local community risk. Integrated Risk Management Planning includes the three key areas: Prevention, Protection and Response.
Read more:
We’ll be consulting from 2 March until 11 May, and you can answer our questions, or ask some of your own, either by responding to the IRMP consultation through our Survey or you can write to us with your comments, ideas or views at: Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service, IRMP Consultation, Newsham Court, Pincents Kiln, Calcot, Reading, Berkshire, RG31 7SD.
Post Office makes access to cash products available faster to
help self-isolating individuals during coronavirus pandemic

The Post Office makes access to cash products available faster via ‘Payout Now’, a voucher based product sent by SMS text, email or post to self-isolating customer who can share it with a trusted individual to withdraw cash on their behalf
‘Fast PACE’ is a service that allows a customer to arrange for a trusted individual to collect the cheque from them, cash it at Post Office, and return with the cash.
    Customers of UKs banks, building societies, credit unions
    etc need access to cash simply and speedily during this
    national emergency.
    More here: 
    and here;
Don't Put Off Going To Your GP If It Could Be Serious
Doctors and leaders in Berkshire West have stepped up a campaign to remind non coronavirus patients that surgeries are still open and need to see people who have any serious health concerns.
The call comes the days after Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the Commons people must not put off seeing their GP because this could lead to serious issues going undetected for too long.
The coronavirus pandemic has meant GPs, along with hospital teams, have had to change the way they operate to cope with the outbreak, prevent it spreading and treat many more sick people. However, there are fears these healthcare changes have deterred some people from seeking help for things like suspected cancers, heart problems and stroke.
Read the full press release:

Support for The Charity Sector

  Tell Everyone Why Your Charity
#NeverMoreNeeded Than Now

   Let's make a significant social media noise using the hashtag 
   #NeverMoreNeeded. Share your stories, share your service users
   stories. If you'd like to download the official logo click here. For the
   Twitter logo its here and finally there is a LinkedIn one here.
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. 
COVID-19 Emergency Charity Funding Part 5
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, visit:  
Also, we've put together a document containing ll the funding opportunities from throughout April:
FAQs and resources from LawWorks
LawWorks has received many queries about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on small charities and other not-for-profits. In response, the charity has collaborated with its members to produce tailored briefs relevant specifically to small not-for-profit organisations.
These focus on key questions, from “How do I furlough an employee?” and “Can an employee we have furloughed still volunteer for us?” to “How do we hold a remote board meeting / AGM?” and “Our landlord has asked our organisation to leave the premises due to the COVID-19 outbreak. What are our rights and can we challenge this?”.                                         
            You can find the resources here.
Shadow Minister Holding Weekly Surgeries for Charities
Rachael Maskell MP has announced she will be holding weekly surgeries for voluntary organisations.
Responding to the many challenges facing the breadth of charities, voluntary and community organisations and social enterprises, Labour’s Shadow Minister will hold weekly surgeries with organisations in the sector which started on Tuesday 28 April 2020. To book an appointment please email
The surgeries will create opportunities for organisations to share their experiences of the current crisis and how they will need support to continue to provide services to their communities.  Read the full article:
Manage Financial Difficulties in Your Charity Caused by COVID-19
Many trustees are having to cope with serious financial challenges that will have a major effect on their charities and those who depend on them.
The Charity Commission has set out some guidance for trustees, especially at smaller charities, who may need help facing difficult situations or decisions. You can read it here.
Supporting Staff & Volunteers Through Traumatic Situations
NAVCA members have reported that they are receiving calls
from people who are really struggling with their mental health,
and in some cases are considering taking their own lives.
This is a very distressing situation for all involved; we know that many charities will be helping those in need during these frightening times, and that the staff and volunteers taking the calls will also need support. In a recent blog post, we have gathered together and adapted material from the BMA, Freedom from Torture, and the Helplines Partnership and we have signposted to free online training packages from the Zero Suicide Alliance.

Helping the Community & Yourself

Coronavirus Guidance for People Receiving Direct Payments
The government has published advice for people who buy care & support through direct payments, as well as local authorities, clinical commissioning groups & those who provide care & support. The guidance sets out the main messages for people & organisations that can support planning, & help slow the transmission of the coronavirus as the outbreak progresses across the country.
It’s accompanied by a Q&A, mostly aimed at direct payment holders, that responds to questions & concerns raised by direct payment holders, personal assistants, and charities and organisations that support them.
Read now...
The #HiddenHeroes campaign is an online message board dedicated to showing those working in prisons, probation services and youth justice settings how grateful the country is for their services during the Covid-19 pandemic. Anyone can post a message on the website or you can share your thanks on social media using #HiddenHeroes.
We want to give a big shout out to our friends at Clinks – the support body for VCSE organisations working in the criminal justice system – who are continuing to provide vital support to their members at this challenging time. Thank you!
New websites launched to help jobseekers & employers
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on many parts of the labour market, with some sectors reducing in size and others expanding rapidly. To help jobseekers find work in new areas and employers tap into new labour markets, we’ve launched new jobhelp and employerhelp websites. These offer labour market information for people looking
for work now, and advice for employers to help recruit them.
A new online learning platform to help boost the nation’s skills while people are staying at home, was launched on 28th April. Free courses are available through a new online platform hosted on the website, called The Skills Toolkit. The new platform gives people access to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses to help build up their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects.
Need A Safe Space?
Home isn't always a Safe Space. If you're experiencing domestic abuse and need somewhere to go to call a helpline, Boots have opened up their consultation rooms. Learn more:
Reading Mentor Volunteer Applicants Still Needed!
ABCtoRead are still very much needing to recruit new volunteers for when schools open.  We are expecting the demand for our service to increase whilst schools have been closed and children will have fallen behind with their literacy.  We are able to interview and do introductory training via web so will be taking the recruitment process as far as we can until schools open as usual.   Please get in contact if you would be interested in volunteering after the lockdown:
Covid-19 BAME Resource Hub
Spark & Co – an organisation that runs community events for women – has created a resource hub for BAME groups, which have been hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 outbreak. In it, you will find curated links to organisations and information designed to help those from BAME backgrounds.                                                 Take a look.
Virtual 'Cuppa' for carers
Mobilise is an organisation providing a daily e-support package through this crisis. It includes links to key information, updates on how other carers are finding ways of coping, and suggestions for entertainment at home. The service is completely free, and carers and those providing care services can sign up here. Mobilise is running a virtual 'Cuppa' for carers, which is proving popular.
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