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April 2020

Chain Newsletter Issue 78

Hi Everyone,
Hope you are all safe and well. Lots of info in this weeks news update so please go through carefully and share as appropriate with staff, volunteers, contacts and others.
We sent out an extra notice this week highlighting some recent cyber attack activity locally where charities had been targeted. Having continued to look into this for you all, this type of attack is usually known as phishing or ‘spear phishing’, there is only so much that can be done from inside the organisation, the key thing is to make all users aware of this type of attack, what they look like, and how they should react and then check the validity of any such requests.
Using a very good email filtering system will protect you against most types of this sort of attack, but your last line of defence is your users – it is important that users are educated to question suspicious emails, making them aware of internal procedures regarding payments and how requests would be raised, and then remind them of these processes on a regular basis. Here is a good explanation to start with: If we find more tools that are helpful and relevant, we will share them to help you.
There is a lot more helpful and useful info and updates in this weeks news so please read on and do make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get regular news:       and

Also, please make sure you are considering the impact Covid-19 may have on their charity or group going forward, and let us know your thoughts & opinions via our survey:
Stay safe everyone,

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

Coronavirus & Voluntary Sector News

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.
UK COVID-19 Rules Relaxed for People with Autism & Learning Disabilities
The government has amended guidance relating to people with learning disabilities or autism leaving the house for exercise, stating they can now do this more than once a day and can travel outside of their local area under current lockdown measures.
The change comes after two law firms raised serious concerns on behalf of two families they were acting for, arguing that the “inflexible policy” relating to social distancing and lockdown measures were “unlawful and discriminatory”.
You can read more about on this from The Guardian
and you can read the updated guidance here.
FAQs from Carers UK
The coronavirus outbreak is a difficult and uncertain time, particularly if you are responsible for the welfare of others.
Carers UK has brought together the questions they have most frequently been asked by carers, to help address the main concerns and help put carers' minds at rest, reassuring them that they’re not alone and guiding them to what support there is to help.
Please share this resource:
The Vital Signs Survey is back!
We are excited to announce that our Vital Signs Survey for 2020 is open! The results of this survey are vital as they impact the focus of our grant-making for the next year. 
PLUS you could win a grant of £1,000 for the charity of your choice! To complete the survey for this year and enter the prize draw, just click here:
Hospital joins major Covid study
The Royal Berkshire Hospital has joined the world’s largest clinical trial of drug therapy for patients with Covid-19 – the RECOVERY Study.
Patients with suspected or proven Covid-19 who are admitted to the hospital will be offered the chance to participate in the research, which is taking place at hospitals across the UK and currently has 6,000 patients recruited from 169 different sites.
The RBH has 41 patients involved at the moment. The findings will help determine the most effective ways of treating Covid-19 with medications that are already available and in use for other conditions.
Take Five to Stop Fraud 
Take Five is a national campaign that offers straight-forward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud.  This includes email deception and phone-based scams as well as online fraud – particularly where criminals impersonate trusted organisations.   
At Home With Home-Start Campaign
With the Coronavirus changing our lives with home-working and home-schooling here at Home-Start Bracknell Forest we have been running a series of Facebook posts with ideas of what to do with children and also maintain routine at home.  #athomewithhomestart was an initiative originally set up by Home-Start UK and is being tailored for local branches & the families they support:
E-learning from The Frimley Collaborative
Understanding anxiety, depression, and CBT:
Free 5 week course (can join at any time) currently being run by University
of Reading (UoR) via Future Learn. It's an educational resource & NOT intended as a self-help treatment-
Mind Ed for Professionals & Volunteers:
Offers a range of e-learning modules on the mental health of children & young people applicable across the health, social care, education, criminal justice & community settings. There are a range of materials extending from the general level to more specialised levels. 
Emerging Minds & Mental Elf Offering Free Webinars:
All aimed at parents/carers & those supporting children, young people & families
(including professionals who are non-clinical) e.g Youth Work, Family Support Workers etc.
ReadiBus Transport Services for People With Restricted Mobility
The ReadiBus service (for people with restricted mobility) is still operating should it be helpful to be able to refer any enquiries for essential travel. 
If you receive enquiries or requests for essential travel from people (not shielding) with restricted mobility, such as elderly or disabled people, they can contact us. Restrictions apply of course in terms of anyone displaying symptoms or living in a household where someone is displaying symptoms not being allowed to travel. We are also maintaining ‘social distancing’ on the buses for journeys and we have intensive cleaning regimes and procedures in place with a view to making the travelling environment as safe as possible.  Contact details for essential journeys:
T: 0118-931-0000 E: W:
RBH Emergency Department Update
Health chiefs are reassuring seriously unwell people that the Royal Berkshire Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) is still a safe option for medical care, despite the Coronavirus outbreak.
Medics fear some people may be nervous about attending ED leading to serious medical issues, like strokes and heart attacks, slipping through the net. This can seriously reduce recovery rates and even prove fatal.
The RBH has reconfigured its layout and is now operating a ‘hot ‘ and ‘cold’ ED system so people brought in with suspected coronavirus symptoms are taken through the hot ED route leaving cold ED to operate as usual and deal with other serious medical cases. Read the full article:

Support for The Charity Sector

Changes to Local Charity Services
A Community Directory has being established to capture what local charities and groups are currently offering, how their services have changed as well as what else they may be able to offer. If you haven't added or updated your details on this document for a while, please make sure you keep it up to date so that everyone can stay in the loop with whats going on with your charity:
This directory as it is being shared and used others to help use resources as best as possible as well as get people to the right place for help or support.
COVID-19 Emergency Charity Funding Part 4
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:
COVID-19 Charity Contingency Planning
NCVO have put together a list of useful information focusing on what you need to do to prepare for the potential impacts of coronavirus on your charity’s or voluntary organisation’s operations and finances, regarding contingency planning and financial implications. Contents include:
1.   Developing a contingency plan and how your insurance will be impacted
2.   Immediate actions to manage your finances
3.   Coronavirus job retention scheme (furloughing)
4.   What to expect from funders
5.   Charity funding from the government 

6.   Other funding opportunities for charities
7.   How your investments will be impacted
8.   Other financial implications
9.   Further resources
  Fraud and Scams Advice – April 2020
  The COVID-19 pandemic is being increasingly exploited by malicious
  cyber criminals.  Example scams include the targeting of people
  looking to buy medical supplies, those looking for health advice, and
  encouraging people to donate money to fake charities. Criminals are
  experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police.  Click
  here to read our recent mail-out to charities regarding these crimes...
Communicating in a crisis: guides from Lloyds Bank Foundation
Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales (LBFEW) has a free Communications, Press and Influencing toolkit available online to help small charities communicate their stories and important information during a crisis, as well as during more ‘normal’ times!
This includes webinars that specifically refer to the COVID-19 outbreak and downloadable guides about social media, building your brand, creating video content, influencing and much more. You can find the toolkit here.
Corona virus resources hub for finance teams
Charity Tax Group has collated guidance and announcements to inform charities on the latest news, guidance and advice for tax and finance during the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic.
View it here.  There's a lot of valuable information around gift aid and how you can claim it during these different times. Plus they update it almost daily so its good to check back to keep up to date.
Fundraising During Turbulent Times - 30th April, 11am
Sign--up for our webinar and discover how you can continue to engage your school community during Coronavirus with Virtual Fundraising Events! As in-person fundraising events are put on hold, many development offices are turning to virtual fundraising.  In partnership with IDPE and our colleagues at JustGiving, we'll demonstrate help your development office can maintain it's fundraising momentum during this turbulent time:
Working from Home
Most of our small charities are now having to face the challenge of working from home. The NCSC have information on preparing your organisation and staff for an increase in home working. Read more on their website.

Helping the Community & Yourself

#Coping - Family Life During Lockdown
Over the past few weeks, the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has brought a lot of sudden changes for families with children. Parenting can be very rewarding. However, in these uncertain and challenging times you may be feeling stressed as you try to balance work, childcare and self-care while dealing with worries – both your children’s and your own. In recognition of this, we have put together some of the best reliable and free sources of information and advice to help you and your family to cope under lockdown. Click here to keep reading....
Safe & Well Home Visits
A Safe and Well Visit is a free service that we provide to eligible residents. Safe and Well visits are tailored to individual needs, relating to health and wellbeing, as well as fire risk reduction.  A Safe and Well visit will take place in the home and can be arranged at a convenient time. Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service is limiting non-essential contact with the public to help control the spread of Coronavirus and ensure our teams continue to be available to respond to emergencies.
We are also taking responsible steps to protect our communities and staff from unnecessary risk by suspending Safe and Well Visits, with the exception to individuals considered to be of the highest risk from fire. 
Find out if you or a someone you know qualifies for a free Safe and Well visit.
Berkshire Cancer Centre
Letters have been sent to all the people using the Centre offering advice on living with cancer during the coronavirus outbreak. The advice covers carers & support workers visiting people’s homes, planned GP and hospital appointments, looking after mental health wellbeing & support with daily living. A number of changes have been made at the Centre. Chemotherapy is now being provided for patients at the Bracknell Healthspace. Radiotherapy treatment is continuing at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, & cancer outpatient appointments are being carried out virtually where possible.
This FAQ document contains the latest guidance from cancer charities on staying safe and accessing treatment/diagnosis.
involve's Cancer Champions scheme is also still operating offering support and buddying to those affected by Cancer. This service is accessible to anyone from Wokingham Borough or Bracknell Forest.
More info is available here:
National Careers Service
The redeployment service offer is:
-    Operating across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, and the
     South West to create a Regional Redeployment Service.
-    Aims to match those recently made redundant with new work in sectors
     experiencing a surge in employment demand such as food retail, care and distribution.
It will engage with employers needing to make redundancies to ensure a smooth transition for employees into new work. This information is for all businesses and employers across the above regions, who are having to make changes to their workforce as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Our free services can support individuals to:

•   Build confidence
•    Complete a skills assessment

•   Review/update their CV
•   Develop online interview skills
•   Identify online training opportunities
•   Get new qualifications
•   Plan the next steps of their career
The National Careers Service is completely free of charge, & accessible to anyone aged 13+ and living in England. To access the service, call 0800 100 900 or visit
Support for Parents of Children with Additional Needs
Helpline support line hours have been extended:
0118 9863532 or
Available Mon–Thurs, 10am – 2.30pm.
Helpline support for key workers with children/young people with special needs. Sleep consultations via telephone, email, videochat.
New Facebook Page, “Sleep by Parenting Special Children” set up for parents, providing strategies re sleep during this time-
 Set up a new series for families who are experiencing challenging behaviour, "Understanding & supporting our children's behaviour during the COVID-19 lockdown”.
Autism Berkshire are still supporting families through supportive phone calls and via their helpline e.g benefit advice, sleep difficulties.
Video support is also available, also been advising health
and social care professionals who are supporting families remotely. or 01189 594 594
Be active, stay well and support a friend
During the current crisis it's never been more important for everyone to stay physically active, mentally well & to support our friends. Three weeks ago, Mayathon launched their wellbeing app to help people find a virtual #mayathonbuddy & support each other to do 26mins of exercise every day. Guess what? Mayathoners who buddied up are 3x more likely to stick with an exercise routine than those going solo.Click here to read their recent thread...
Important Safeguarding Message Video
A new film has been made to help support people and families facing domestic abuse, neglect and violence during the coronavirus lockdown. The film, ‘Be Brave, Speak Up’,  comes amid concerns that referrals into many services that support vulnerable families have dwindled since the lockdown, whilst others like Domestic Abuse services have seen a rise, as couples and families are forced together for very long periods of time either self isolating or staying at home to stop the spread of the virus. This is exacerbated by the fact that many of the agencies and staff trained to spot cases of abuse are operating differently during the lock down, and are not having their usual close contact with vulnerable people. This includes schools, day care centres, children’s centres.
The video features Liz Stead, Head of Safeguarding Children at Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). It’s been made in partnership with the Berkshire West Safeguarding Children Partnership.
The key message is to urge neighbours, friends and other people within communities to keep an eye and an ear out for possible cases of abuse. And if they’re not sure if what they’ve seen or heard is abuse, then to err on the side of caution and report it.
These are the links to the ‘Be Brave, speak up’ film:
You tube:
Social Media Hashtags, Campaigns & Resources
These are difficult times to live in… Staying home all day in order to isolate yourself from people can have a big impact on your physical and mental health. If you seem to be spending all of your time these days on social media, scrolling through a seemingly endless stream of Coronavirus news articles, crazy conspiracy theories and repetitive jokes and memes, you’re probably getting a bit fed up of reading the same things being said over and over.
Why not try making the most of the time you’re spending online? We’ve complied a list of recently created hashtags that follow recent trends on COVID-19 news and events, and ways to stay happy and healthy. Make sure to follow these trending hashtags and the pages they originated from to stay in the know:
Towards Recovery Virtual Meet-Ups
Our virtual recovery cafe is safe space for people in recovery from addiction or supporting others. We offer the opportunity to connect with others in recovery during lockdown via our virtual community.
-   Each session includes a short talk, Q&A, time for reflection and an open mic.
-   Plenty of laughs and virtual cake, we look forward to welcoming anyone who would benefit from some time with others in an informal setting.
-   No sign up or commitment required, just dial in to our fortnightly cafe and please share with anyone who would benefit from a supportive virtual community, offering a safe space for people to join together & seek peer support.
Upcoming dates – Friday 24 April | Friday 8 May | Friday 22 May, 7.30pm – 8.30pm
Join via Zoom:
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involve Community Services, The Court House, Broadway,
Town Square, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 1AE

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involve Community Services · The Courthouse · Town Centre · Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 1AE · United Kingdom

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