This blog provides a summary of the guidance and support available for voluntary organisations following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in Wales.
On 7 August 2021 Wales moved into COVID-19 alert level 0. This means that most restrictions on social contact are no longer in place and all businesses can re-open. This significant change brings with it a number of challenges. Below you will find an overview of the information, guidance and support available to help voluntary organisations to navigate this change.
Now that staff, volunteers, and service users can return to face-to-face activities and shared working spaces, it is essential that organisations complete a detailed risk assessment.
Here HSE provide details on what steps to take and a templates for completing risk assessments.
HR AND EMPLOYEE WELFARE
There are many considerations for employers when it comes to protecting staff, whether they continue to work from home or return to shared working spaces.
ACAS provides advice and guidance for employers on a range of topics from self-isolation and sick pay to employee mental health. Their COVID-19 guidance is available here as well as their helpline.
Welsh Government has guidance on volunteering during the pandemic which was last updated on 2 September 2021. This guidance is available here.
The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that lots of usual fundraising activities such as physical challenges, bake sales, auctions and many more have not been possible. For many organisations the lifting of restrictions will be a welcomed step towards resuming vital fundraising. However, considerations must be made for how to run activities safely and how willing staff, volunteers and service users are to return to face-to-face activities.
The Institute of Fundraising (IoF) and the Fundraising Regulator have produced guidance on supporting safe and responsible fundraising. Please note that previous guidance produced by IoF and the Fundraising Regulator will remain live for nations where any formal restrictions such as the wearing of masks here in Wales.
THE ROLE OF TRUSTEES IN ENSURING SAFE PRACTICE
Trustees play a vital role in ensuring the safe running of organisations; therefore, it is important that trustees keep up to date with the latest guidance. The Charity Commission provides regular updates to guidance on how to run your organisation safely.
GUIDANCE FOR COMMUNITY CENTRES
All places of business in Wales can now re-open, however guidance on wearing masks indoors remains for all public places except for hospitality. Here WCVA provides an overview of how to operate community centres safety.
WCVA as part of Third Sector Support Wales (TSSW) are working hard to identify the key challenges facing the sector following the lifting of restrictions and provide support.
TSSW have conducted a survey to find out more about what challenges the sector faces following the lifting of restrictions and what further support is needed. On 15 September we hosted a virtual event to provide an overview of the survey findings and provide organisations with the opportunity to share experiences and ideas. We will be analysing the feedback from the event and will be working with partners to address key challenges identified by the sector. Our newsletter will provide updates on this work, click here to join the mailing list.
MORE USEFUL READING
Below is a list of further reading materials that may help guide your organisation:
- Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF)- What the latest Covid developments mean for foundations.
- The latest Charity Commission guidance.
- Bevan Commission- Distance Aware Initiative
- Welsh Government guidance for the workplace.
We will continue to review the support needs of the sector and will update this blog with information on new guidance and support available. If you have any specific needs for support or guidance, please get in touch.