COVID-19

Spark Somerset COVID-19 Update

Updated 2nd April 2020

We know this is a challenging time time for everyone, and in light of government guidelines we have taken the decision to postpone all of our scheduled networking and training events for now. Rest assured, they will be back as soon as possible.

The team will also be avoiding all non-essential contact and travel - this means that Spark HQ is closed temporarily, and we will be unable to attend meetings in person. 

We are, however, still very much available to support our communities, and if you need any support, please give us a call on 01460 202970 or email support@sparksomerset.org.uk.

We'll use this page to share the latest information, guidance and resources.

We are aware that some COVID-19 support groups are concerned about whether they can continue to operate under the latest measures. Volunteers can continue to support vulnerable people in their communities, but must ensure they follow the latest government guidance, and minimise the time they spend outdoors. It is also important to know that if a person you are helping is at risk and requires support beyond the scope of the group, or is especially vulnerable, you should contact Somerset Direct on 0300 123 2224 to ensure they receive the right care and support. We have updated our guidance for groups accordingly, and are working with the Public Health Team at Somerset County Council to make sure we can bring you the latest information.

News:

We're hosting a FREE webinar for COVID-19 support group coordinators in Somerset. Whether you're coordinating a large-scale operation, a small group of residents on your street, or anything in between, our webinar will include lots of useful information to support you in your role. Join us at 1pm on Thursday 2nd April. Register here.

We've launched Corona Helpers, a free online platform on which COVID-19 support groups can recruit and manage volunteers, and individuals can pledge their support.

The Somerset Mental Health Alliance has expanded its services to support adults and older people who may be struggling with their mental health as the county responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out more here.

Are you coordinating a COVID19 support group? Rally Round is a FREE online tool to help you to support people in your community. Everyone in your network can use it to share and discuss tasks and volunteer to help out. Click here.

Independent Safeguarding Service CIC are offering free online Safeguarding training for COVID-19 support group volunteers. Click here.

Disclosure & Barring Service update - temporary changes to ID checking process. Click here.

Funding:

For advice for fundraisers and information on how funders are responding to the COVID-19 crisis, click here. Below are links to current funding opportunities.

Charities Aid Foundation Coronavirus Emergency Fund - grants of up to £10k available to help with core costs, staffing, volunteer costs, supplies and equipment, communications or other critical charitable areas. CAF will aim for grants to be paid to selected organisation within 14 days of application.

Lloyds Bank Foundation has adapted their Enhance Programme to meet identified needs in response to COVID-19.

Grants Online have produced a list of funding available to support groups responding to COVID-19. It's free to access, click here.

Neighbourly UK has launched it's Community Fund. Grants will be awarded to existing members of Neighbourly in the UK and Ireland whose work will involve supporting members of the community suffering economically, socially or from ill health as a result of the outbreak.

Somerset Community Foundation has launched the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal to get vital funding to local charities and community organisations that are helping the most vulnerable people during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Resources:

Guidance for COVID-19 support groups

COVID-19 guidance for the charity sector by the Charity Commission

DBS Guidance for COVID-19 support groups

NCVO Guidance for VCSE groups

Public Health Guidance for non-clinical settings

COVID-19 FAQs by Mutual Aid

We'll keep this list updated, so check back regularly.