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In this issue:
  • Survey findings
  • What happens next?
  • Equipping for recovery
  • National Refugee Week (15-21 June)
  • New funding resources listed on the Cornwall VSF website
  • Coast to Coast Local Action Group - new call launched
  • Funding opportunities
  • Adult social care charging consultation
  • Stay in touch
  • Resources and information to protect against scams
  • Digital Boost - free digital advice
  • Rural resilience in the face of crisis
  • New ways of organising health and care across the community during COVID-19
  • Free School Meals - and the End Hunger Cornwall campaign
  • Countrymen UK - support for 'outdoorsy' older men who cant get outside
  • Previous issues of the Voluntary and Community Sector Update
  • Important links

Voluntary and Community Sector COVID-19 Update - 19 June 2020

Dear Colleagues

A warm welcome to this week’s Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector newsletter, produced by Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum (VSF) and Cornwall Council. This week our focus is on the current state of the sector here in Cornwall, and next week we will be taking a closer look at plans for the future. 

Many of you kindly participated in the Cornwall VSF sector survey, and we have been analysing the 143 responses, and determining what this indicates, for the sector, for the people we support, and for Cornwall VSF and Cornwall Council, as organisations committed to supporting the sector.

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Survey findings

There were several themes emerging from the survey – firstly one of the adaptability of the sector to the crisis, their use of innovation, and willingness to transform services to meet the needs of their beneficiaries. We read accounts of organisations going above and beyond, dreaming up ways to support their usual beneficiaries, their local communities, and often people they’ve never met before. Materials have been placed online and goods delivered to people’s homes, alliances have been made with local businesses, faith groups, other voluntary organisations and individuals to provide support, and huge numbers of people have been helped. The VCSE Emergency Response Alliance (VERA) and our Community Response Hubs have provided a vehicle to build those alliances across the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector and with other sectors. 

Another theme is finances. Many organisations have experienced extreme cash-flow issues, with regular income sources drying up, grants being put on ice, face-to-face fundraising suspended and emergency Government support inaccessible in some cases, while expenditure has increased. The bodies which have been providing emergency funding in Cornwall have been doing a great job, but it is clear that their work hasn’t yet finished, by any means. Organisations which have not been offering emergency COVID-19 support have still seen their income drop, but have no recourse to this funding, while still having bills to pay. 

Future financial viability is a significant issue, with organisations reporting concerns over how long they will be able to continue, and also raising real worries about those whose support has had to be shelved for the moment. The VCSE sector is expressing concerns around a rise in demand for their services once lockdown comes to an end and people emerge from their homes. Forecasts show that the needs of service users will multiply and are becoming even more complex at this stage in the crisis.

Although these survey findings give a bleak forecast of the VCSE sector’s future, there continues to be a general sense of resolute determination that organisations can ‘bounce forward’ into recovery; that the sector will emerge from this crisis with a renewed sense of confidence in its ability to be resilient, steady and committed to improving the quality of life of those we serve. The sector has demonstrated its entrepreneurial spirit, its talent for innovation and its willingness to transform its approach to ensure that people’s needs are met and communities remain safe. 

You can see the full report, together with an executive summary, on the Cornwall VSF website. 

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What happens next?

The VCSE in Cornwall is an indispensable asset, but it will need the generous support from both funders and citizens alike to ‘bounce forward’ and meet the increasing demand for its services head on. Cornwall VSF will continue to forge VCSE alliances across the sector and between other sectors so that we are able to remain strong, resourceful, informed, and resilient. We are stronger and we are better when we are together. 

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Equipping for recovery

Cornwall VSF is building a recovery pack on its website, collating useful information, risk assessments, training links, funding sources and more, to help VCSE organisations not only get back to their feet, but retain the great innovations from lockdown working, and move forward stronger than ever. This will grow, as the weeks go on, and we will focus more on how we intend to build a stronger voluntary sector, in the next newsletter, as our plans develop. 

Cornwall Council has also collated a host of useful information. Use these links to find:

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National Refugee Week (15-21 June)

A community art project is being launched across Cornwall to celebrate diversity as part of National Refugee Week

The Giant Dolls’ House Project asks participants to make a dolls’ house in a shoebox, with the aim of helping Cornwall Council share stories of welcome and hope and exploring some of the challenges facing the 13 refugee families who have settled in Cornwall. 

The boxes will be displayed in a virtual gallery on the Together for Families and Cornwall Council Instagram feeds.

The Giant Dolls’ House Project raises awareness for homelessness and refugees by showing that everyone needs a space of their own to be part of a community. The project has travelled to the US, Dubai, India and has been part of the London Festival of Architecture for the last five years.

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New funding resources on the Cornwall VSF website

See the Cornwall VSF website for details of the National Lottery Emerging Futures fund for communities to rebuild, and continue good things from lockdown (short deadline – act fast), plus BBC Children in Need Next Step fund for vulnerable children, and registering this month for the Big Christmas Give. 

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Coast to Coast Local Action Group - new call launched

Community Led Local Development in Cornwall has launched a call to offer training, confidence building, and skills development to workers who were affected by COVID-19 and have lost their job or are looking to return to work after a period of unemployment. The closing date for expressions of interest is 6 July 2020.

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Funding opportunities

Transformation Cornwall has compiled a list of funding sources for foodbanks, grassroot organisations and faith based social action projects. This is renewed weekly. 

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Adult social care charging consultation

Cornwall Council has started consultation on a new draft Charging Policy, which describes how adult social care is paid for and why. The Council would like to receive input on the changes from community and voluntary sector organisations, and local people.

You can view the Draft Charging Policy and download a survey to share your thoughts. 

Alternatively, you can ask for a paper survey to be sent to you and post your feedback. Call 0300 1234 100 or email ASCConsultations@cornwall.gov.uk to be sent a paper version. 

There will also be online engagement sessions, replacing the usual in-person focus groups and presentations. To find out more about these, visit the Cornwall Council Consultation on draft Adult Social Care Charging Policy web page for full details, including how to book. Individual organisations can request bespoke online sessions, if they want them.

The consultation is open until 11 September 2020.

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Stay in touch

To keep up to date with how Cornwall is responding to the coronavirus pandemic, you can sign up to the Cornwall Council Stay In Touch resident newsletter. This is emailed every Friday and contains information, advice and signposting to services and organisations helping individuals, businesses and other groups combat the impact of coronavirus. Please share this with anyone you know who might find it helpful.

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Resources and information to protect against scams

One in three people in the South West has been targeted by a scammer during lockdown. Citizens Advice Cornwall has a report, and resources to keep people informed and protected

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Digital Boost - free digital advice

Digital Boost is a new service matching expert volunteers with small rural businesses and charities who need a hand with their online presence and marketing. Find out more on the Cornwall VSF website. 

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Rural resilience in the face of crisis

Communities Prepared and Action with Communities in Rural England have published a new guide to help rural communities become more resilient in the face of emergencies. You can download your copy from the Cornwall VSF website. 

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New way of organising health and care across the community during COVID-19

A new way of organising health and care across the community has helped people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly receive integrated, person-centred services since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Free School Meals - and the End Hunger Cornwall campaign

With changes to the Free School Meals provision announced for the summer holidays, find out about End Hunger Cornwall, and the work that still needs to be done, on the Cornwall VSF website.

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Countrymen UK - support for 'outdoorsy' older men who can't get outside

Transferable Skills Training (TST) is helping men over 55 who are used to being outdoors, for their work or hobbies, and are finding it difficult being stuck at home at the moment, due to their health and lockdown. The scheme aims to support these men, and their family carers, to connect with the outdoors, by whatever means are possible. See the Cornwall VSF website for more details, including how to refer people to the programme.

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Previous issues of the Voluntary and Community Sector Update

You can view previous issues of the Voluntary and Community Sector COVID-19 Update on Cornwall VSF’s website.

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Important links

Anyone who needs help can request a volunteer by ringing Volunteer Cornwall on 01872 266988 or emailing requestforhelp@volunteercornwall.org.uk

Community volunteers can register with Volunteer Cornwall on their website or by emailing mid@volunteercornwall.org.uk. Volunteer Cornwall will match people who ring up needing help with the community volunteers in their local area – or, if they have more complex needs, with specialist services.

Find out more about Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum, including joining as a Member (which is free), at www.cornwallvsf.org, or email office@cornwallvsf.org

Please send all coronavirus related enquiries or issues to Cornwall Council’s dedicated email address covid19@cornwall.gov.uk. This email address is monitored seven days a week and will be staffed from 9am-5pm.

There’s an information page on Cornwall Council’s website specifically for clinically vulnerable residents who are in the shielded group.

Support for those living with domestic abuse is available from Safer Futures. People can make a referral online, email saferfutures@firstlight.org.uk or ring 0300 777 4777. There is also refuge and support via the Cornwall Refuge Trust website and their 24 hour helpline 01872 225629.

Cornwall Council’s Coronavirus Funding Resources web page is a roundup of coronavirus funding resources and guidance for charities and community groups. 

Please share our newsletter with your partners, and encourage them to sign up to receive it themselves, using the link below. 

Stay in touch, stay strong, stay safe. 

With very best wishes,

Julian German
Leader of Cornwall Council
Hembrenkyas an Konsel
Helen Boardman
CEO of Cornwall Voluntary
Sector Forum

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