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In this issue:
  • The Cornwall We Want
  • Funding opportunities and data sources
  • Opportunity for organisations which work with children and young people
  • Cash for communities to kickstart low carbon projects
  • Changes for those shielding from coronavirus
  • Social prescribing
  • Wellbeing and mental health
  • New tool to support young people online
  • Debt collection for utilities and bills
  • Village halls reopening
  • Guidance around face masks and people with disabilities
  • Previous issues of the Voluntary and Community Sector Update
  • Important links

Voluntary and Community Sector COVID-19 Update - 26 June 2020

Dear Colleagues

Welcome to this week’s Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector newsletter, prepared jointly by Cornwall Council and Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum (VSF). 

As promised, this week, we are focusing on moving forward, looking at resources to help voluntary organisations adapt to the ‘new normal’, funding streams and background information, and clarification on the Government announcements on distancing. It’s a difficult time for us all, and determining how to operate in accordance with the new rules while running a viable business and providing the service that is needed by our communities is a tough balancing act. 

At both Cornwall VSF and the Council, we will endeavour to provide you with the information and resources you need to do that, and support you by lobbying for greater recognition, finances and infrastructure, wherever we can. With these ambitions in mind you will find information in this week’s newsletter about how you can open up safely, business grants and other funding streams and stay safe. 

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The Cornwall We Want

Cornwall Council is sharing the findings of a new survey of residents as it launches its biggest ever listening project, The Cornwall We Want, in the hope that as many residents as possible will join in to help shape our collective future. You can view the survey results and join the conversation on Let’s Talk Cornwall.

The survey shows how our communities pulled together during lockdown – and are calling for change.

Five hundred residents of all ages and walks of life took part in the survey. They were asked about the impact of the pandemic on their lives and livelihoods, and about their hopes and fears for the future of Cornwall.

They show that only one in ten of Cornwall’s residents want things to go back to the way they were before the Coronavirus pandemic.

Over half of residents said that they had helped others, and 21 percent said they would like to continue to do so in the future.

A further 73 percent agreed that local communities had pulled together during the crisis, underlining the strength and depth of community response in Cornwall. 

Looking to the future, when asked what one thing residents would like to see changed once the pandemic is over, the top four choices were a cleaner environment, closer communities, reduced traffic and more use of walking and cycling, and a greater appreciation of family.

The residents survey is just the start of the conversation, as the Council works to understand how the pandemic has affected our communities and to ask for your views on the future, so that we can together build a more sustainable, healthy, safe, vibrant and inclusive future for one and all.

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Funding opportunities and data sources

Cornwall VSF has collected some more funding resources for organisations, looking specifically at the data required to put together a properly justified funding bid, or future planning document. Information sources include: 

  • The Office for National Statistics – data around local impact, and risk factors
  • The Institute for Fiscal Studies – the impact of the virus on health, jobs and families, broken down by geographical areas
  • The Resolution Foundation – data around the effect of poverty on families’ resilience
  • The Joseph Rowntree Foundation – looking at the increase of poverty
  • Carers UK – looking at the increase in the number of unpaid carers, and the impact this has had on them
  • The Childhood Trust – investigating serious mental health conditions in children

More funding opportunities are also available including for COVID-19-related welfare support (with short deadlines), and others around welfare, support for vulnerable groups, and heritage preservation. Plus there’s the Future for Nature competition. 

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Opportunity for organisations which work with children and young people

Barnardo's and the Department for Education are delivering a programme to reach at risk children and young people who have been impacted by COVID-19. Expressions of interest are sought from local partnersdeadline 30 June.

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Cash for communities to kickstart low carbon projects

Community groups can apply for up to £100,000 to fund projects to boost greener living as Cornwall Council launches a new scheme to support low carbon investments. 

Cornwall Council is making available £500,000 from its Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) scheme to not-for-profit organisations and constituted community groups, including local councils, who can all bid for funds to pay for infrastructure projects which encourage greener and healthier lifestyles.

The new CIL Fund will be launched on Wednesday 1 July and will hand out grants of £20,000 to £100,000 through a competitive application process. 

Infrastructure projects that will help communities recover from the impact of COVID-19 will also be welcomed.

The application form and guidance will be available at www.cornwall.gov.uk/cil from Wednesday 1 July. The deadline for applications is 19 October 2020. 

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Changes for those shielding from coronavirus

From Monday 6 July, those shielding from coronavirus can gather in groups of up to six people outdoors and form a ‘support bubble’ with another household. The Government shielding support package will remain in place until the end of July when people will no longer be advised to shield. From 1 August, those who need to work and cannot do so from home will be able to return to work (if they have no symptoms) as long as their workplace is COVID secure, adhering to the guidance available. For more details, see the Government’s guidance on shielding.

The Government will be sending letters explaining the new advice to everyone who has been asked to self-isolate for the last 12 weeks due to having a health condition which makes them clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.

The food parcels sent by the Government to those shielding will stop as of 1 August, as individuals are advised they can visit shops and pharmacies.

However, other forms of support – such as priority supermarket delivery slots, help from Cornwall Council, Volunteer Cornwall and the NHS Volunteers Scheme – will continue. 

Cornwall Council and Volunteer Cornwall will continue supporting shielded and other vulnerable residents if they need support with food shopping or collections, getting priority supermarket delivery slots, prescriptions, befriending and getting online for help. 

If anyone needs extra support they should contact Cornwall Council on 0300 1233334 or email covid19@cornwall.gov.uk or contact Volunteer Cornwall on 01872 266988 or email requestforhelp@volunteercornwall.org.uk

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Social prescribing

Social prescribing is still taking place, for shielding patients, and others, to help improve their quality of life. To find out more, see the Social Prescribing Cornwall website. 

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Wellbeing and mental health

More resources are available for wellbeing, to help people maintain their mental health as we are leaving lockdown. We know that, for some, leaving their home and mixing with others, will bring an increase in anxiety, so the fact that we’re allowed out doesn’t mean that things will be fine. 

Adam Pearson at CornWELL has written for Cornwall VSF around wellbeing, and kindness, and you can read his article, with more links to resources around mental health.

There’s also mental health information and advice on Cornwall Council’s Mental health web pages.

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New tool to support young people online

The new HeadStart Online Resilience Tool is a practical way to help professionals assess young people’s online behaviour and help them make decisions about whether that behaviour represents risk of harm.

Behaviours are organised by age group and divided into ‘Not harmful’, ‘Potentially harmful’ and ‘Harmful’. Advice is given on where a behaviour represents real concern, or whether the professional needs a conversation with the young person about their behaviour. 

The Online Resilience Tool is available to download for free.

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Debt collection for utilities and bills

Ofgem, the energy regulator, has given energy companies the go-ahead to collect unpaid energy bills, after a payment-holiday was introduced during the lockdown.

Cornwall Council has paused formal recovery of council tax and business rates debts, and will reassess this shortly with regard to July, while continuing to be mindful of the people who have difficulties in paying. Anyone in arrears is urged to contact the Council to discuss their account, as it may be possible to agree an alternative payment plan. See Cornwall Council’s Council tax support during Coronavirus Pandemic web page for details of help with council tax.

For more information on debt collection for utilities and bills, see the Cornwall VSF website. 

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Village halls reopening

Cornwall Rural Community Charity (CRCC) has been working with Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) and has issued guidance around reopening village halls. For more details, see the Cornwall VSF website. 

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Guidance around face mask and people with disabilities

There is new guidance around exceptions to the rules for wearing masks on public transport – people with learning disabilities, certain physical disabilities, or those travelling with a lip-reading companion, are among those who do not need to wear them. Find out more on the Cornwall VSF website. 

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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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