As the Government eases Lockdown it’s important we all continue to take steps to prevent the spread of the illness, and support our staff and volunteers in different ways as restrictions ease and organisations begin to re-open and resume activities.
What we're doing
Connected Voice now has a small team based in our Newcastle office whilst other staff remain working from home, but we're not yet open to the public. We will be continuing to do most of our work digitally for the time being and this is being regularly reviewed.
Our phone line is diverted so you can still speak to the team any time you want to.
We have been continuing to work with Newcastle and Gateshead Councils on their community response and the latest information and advice from the Councils can be found at the following links:
Our Events and Services
Many of the staff within our team are carrying on their work as normal, albeit remotely - particularly the Advocacy and Charity Business Services Finance teams.
Our Advocacy Services are still running with a combination of remote/homeworking and essential visits. You can find out more here: Advocacy Services during COVID-19
The Support and Development team are available for advice and support via email and telephone. Please let us know if you would like some practical support.
We have been running our events and training as Zoom sessions and will continue to do so for our Autumn programme of Skills Building Sessions. For more information about the Autumn programme and booking links visit: Skills Building Sessions.
Key advice for your organisation
We have had a high number of requests for support from organisations on how to ensure their volunteers stay safe, and they manage their community facilities safely.
The government guidance is now:
Stay Alert - We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:
- stay at home as much as possible
- work from home if you can
- limit contact with other people
- keep your distance from people not in your household (2 metres apart where possible)
- wash your hands regularly
Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
The UK Government is continuing to ease restrictions in a manner that is safe, cautious.
Full details can be found at: Coronavirus Outbreak FAQs
The government has updated its advice for people who are vulnerable and have been shielding. This includes people who:
- are over 70
- have an underlying health condition
- are pregnant
From 1 Aug the shielding advice will be paused. More details can be found at: Guidance on Shielding
Changes to DBS ID checking guidelines - guidance allows:
- ID documents to be viewed over video link
- scanned images to be used in advance of the DBS check being submitted
Read the updated guidance at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-changes-to-dbs-id-checking-guidelines
Benefits advice: Newcastle City Council now has a special webpage on Coronavirus and benefits: Newcastle City Council Benefits guidance
Charity Business Services advice: covering the job retention scheme, statutory sick pay, business loans and grants. Visit: Charity Business Services COVID information
Community buildings re-opening advice: covering risk assessment templates to ensure the safety of staff, volunteers, community members and customers as you re-open and begin to resume activities under the easement restrictions: Risk Assessments for Community Buildings
Specific information for charities: NCVO has produced detailed advice for VCSE organisations, which links to the relevant public health information. The information is changing on a daily basis so rather than replicate it here we urge you to look at the links.
Working from home: We realise that digital working is not possible for everyone. For those of you who can do it, Charity Digital has produced some useful guidance on tools for working remotely. Mark Shilcock, OurGateshead Officer, has written a useful blog on his experiences of working from home - Top Ten Tips for Working from Home
Preventing the spread of Coronavirus
Detailed guidance is available on the government website:
Supporting diverse communities
Haref continues to share information with BAME community groups across Newcastle and Gateshead.
Members of some communities are experiencing acts of racism, discrimination and verbal abuse with the outbreak of the virus. Stop Hate UK is providing anyone experiencing or witnessing such discrimination with a confidential 24-hour third-party reporting service.
Doctors of the World has translated advice into a number of languages https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/news/coronavirus-information/