What does the national lockdown mean for the voluntary sector?
On 4 January 2021, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England was once again to go into lockdown – a much harder lockdown that the pre-Christmas one.
New guidance has been issued – all of which you can see here. Here are a few key points for the Voluntary, Community and Faith sector:
People should stay at home where possible. However, you can leave your home for the following reasons:
- to go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services. You may wish to revisit the volunteering guide here (provided by NAVCA). This can include working in other people’s homes where necessary – but please see the guidance on working safely in other people’s homes.
- to avoid risk of harm (for example, escaping domestic abuse).
- to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable, or to provide respite for a carer.
People who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if absolutely essential. They should not attend work. People who are CEV will receive a letter from the Government imminently.
Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue, with up to 15 participants where formally organised, to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support – but they must not take place in a private home. Where a group includes someone covered by an exception (for example, someone who is working or volunteering), they are not generally counted as part of the gatherings limit.
People can stay overnight away from their home if:
• this is required for work purposes or to provide voluntary services.
• they are homeless, seeking asylum, a vulnerable person seeking refuge, or if escaping harm (including domestic abuse).
Employers and employees should discuss working arrangements. Employers should take every possible step to facilitate employees (and volunteers) working or volunteering from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.
For financial support schemes please use the following links:
- to claim for employee wages through Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- for financial support if you’re off work because of coronavirus
Community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities:
• education and training – for schools to use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision.
• childcare purposes and supervised activities for those children eligible to attend.
• hosting blood donation sessions and food banks.
• to provide medical treatment.
Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services – for example for people who do not have it at home – and for click-and-collect services.