Covid-19 information for our members

At Cheshire West Voluntary Action (CWVA), we are working closely with the Council on the coordinated community response, but our focus is you, our members, as you are playing such a pivotal role supporting the community and its most vulnerable residents.

If you need to speak to one of the team, please feel free to speak to your usual contacts or send us an email at enquiries@chesterva.org.uk.

Thank you for everything you are all doing to support those most in need. Stay in touch, stay well and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.


Update on Volunteering and Covid (Source: DCMS)

Coronavirus restrictions changed on 17th May at Step 3 in the Roadmap. Exemptions from restrictions remain the same for volunteering, which means:

  • People can meet in groups of any size, indoors or outdoors, while volunteering, and can meet in groups for activities necessary for their volunteering roles, for example recruitment and training activities.  
  • Volunteering which cannot be done from home can continue in a closed business or venue while it remains closed to the public.
  • Businesses, venues, community centres and libraries which are otherwise required to close or restrict their activities are permitted to open and be used, including by volunteers, for a number of specific purposes only set out on GOV.UK. These are also set out in legislation.
  • Accommodation, such as hotels and B&Bs, which is otherwise ordered to close, is permitted to open for people who need to stay for volunteering purposes.

As ever, people should follow social distancing guidance while volunteering outside the home, or COVID-secure guidance if in a workplace. While travelling to volunteer or while volunteering, people should follow the safer travel guidance on GOV.UK.

GOV.UK guidance setting out how volunteering can be done safely during coronavirus is up to date with the current restrictions. This includes guidance for volunteers and for organisations/groups which involve volunteers in their work. 

Twice-weekly testing offer

Everyone in England without symptoms can now take a free rapid coronavirus test twice a week. The expanded regular testing offer for people without symptoms is delivered through:

  • a home ordering service (which can be accessed on GOV.UK)
  • workplace testing programmes, on-site or at home
  • community testing, offered by all local authorities
  • collection at a local PCR test site during specific test collection time windows
  • testing on-site at schools and colleges
  • a new ‘Pharmacy Collect’ service where people will be able to collect a box of 7 rapid tests to use twice a week at home.

Government advice is that people who need to leave the home to work or volunteer should be tested twice a week.

Workplace testing

The deadline for organisations registering to order free rapid lateral flow tests to carry out testing of their employees/volunteers was 12 April. 

Organisations which have already registered can still order free rapid lateral flow tests until 30 June; they can order the tests to use in the workplace or for their employees/volunteers to collect and take home.

Organisations which did not register before the 12 April deadline cannot order free tests, however they can ask their employees/volunteers to check if they can get a rapid lateral flow test to do at home or at a test site or they can choose to pay an approved provider to provide tests or run a test site for them.

Fundraising

Following the changes to restrictions on 12th April, door-to-door, street and private site fundraising are now permitted to take place. The Fundraising Regulator and Chartered Institute of Fundraising have published new guidance on fundraising during the pandemic. 

Organised events guidance for local authorities

The Government has published organised events guidance for local authorities. This guidance is aimed at local authorities in England and is designed to assist them in ensuring that organised events are able to go ahead safely and in accordance with what is permitted at each step of the Roadmap. 

To note: this guidance relates to restricted organised events, and sets out which of these events are permitted to take place at each step of the Roadmap (for example, volunteer social events). Group gatherings which are necessary for the purposes of delivering voluntary services will remain exempt from coronavirus restrictions throughout the steps of the Roadmap. This means people can meet in groups of any size, indoors or outdoors, while volunteering, and while undertaking activities necessary for their volunteering roles, for example recruitment and training activities. Organisations should ensure they follow working safely guidance while involving volunteers in their work. 

Updated guidance: civil society sectors and the EU

The government has published updates to its civil society sectors and the EU guidance. This includes a link through to guidance on how people can apply for the EU settlement scheme and a link through to guidance on the Temporary Worker – Charity Worker visa (T5) which has replaced the Tier 5 visa.

ICO and ACAS guidance on testing

ACAS have published guidance on workplace testing, and the ICO have published a set of FAQs regarding data protection and testing.

General guidance

How volunteers can best be engaged and supported during the covid-19 pandemic.
Advice about running your charity at this time   
Financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Support for social enterprises
Funding for your organisation  
How to support and manage staff during covid-19 and the key government schemes available to employers.

The Live Well Cheshire West website is a really valuable resource for residents to find out more about support available across west Cheshire. It’s worthwhile CWVA members checking the website to make sure your details are correct.

The Council’s COVID-19 helpline is still available from 8am to 7pm, Monday to Friday and 9am to 12.30pm on a Saturday. Call: 0300 123 7031.

CWP Mental Health helpline 0800 145 6485. The helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is open to people of all ages – including children and young people across Cheshire and Wirral. 

Where to get support for vulnerable people in west Cheshire.

Micro volunteering and being a good neighbour were really effective ways for people to support others during the first lockdown period. To complement the brilliant work of CWVA members, many new community initiatives sprung up and people played their part in their local neighbourhoods. Advice for good neighbours

If you are delivering your services differently because of the new national guidelines and need extra support from CWVA, please get in touch: enquiries@chesterva.org.uk.

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