News from Reading Voluntary Action
We have taken a closer look at the government’s recovery strategy and this article highlights some key things for your organisation to think about when planning your services for the coming months and links to some useful resources to help you assess risk.
A phased recovery
The government’s recovery strategy includes a phased approach to returning to life as close to normal as possible. As part of this strategy, the government is currently adopting a ‘stay alert’ approach, which means that social contact is still limited. The strategy sets out three phases for recovery but this is very much subject to the rate of infection decreasing, therefore the timeline is flexible and restrictions may increase again if the rate of infection increases. This infographic from the Institute for Government helpfully sets out the three phases of recovery. We are currently in Phase 2 ‘Smarter Controls’.
This is a cautious road map. Some key dates, however, are as follows:
-For the foreseeable future, individuals should continue to work from home where possible. This includes those working or volunteering for charities and community groups.
-The earliest schools will re-open is 1 June and there is additional guidance for educational settings. This should also be considered by charities working in an educational setting.
-Charity shops fit into non-essential retail, therefore the earliest they may re-open is 1 June.
-Cafes (including those run by charities) fit into the hospitality sector and the earliest they may re-open is 4 July.
All of the above is subject to change, and if after lifting some restrictions the government sees an increase in the rate of infections it may increase restrictions again. Therefore charities should include alternative scenarios in their planning.
Protecting those who are more vulnerable
The government has outlined groups of people who should take additional care as they are more at risk from coronavirus.
The first group are those who are more clinically vulnerable to coronavirus and should therefore take care to minimise contact with others outside their households, however, they do not necessarily need to be shielded. These individuals include: those aged over 70, those with specific chronic pre-existing conditions and pregnant women.
The second group of people are those in the clinically extremely vulnerable group, who are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact with those outside their households, this is know as ‘shielding’.
Charities and community groups providing adapted services to individuals in these categories may be able to access funding to combat loneliness and isolation. One way of doing this may be through video conferencing or other remote methods. If you need assistance or advice on how to do this, do get in touch with us at RVA.
Many charities and voluntary groups have adapted their services to protect those most vulnerable. See here for an update on services and contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to provide updates on your services.
Thinking ahead and risk assessing
You may be using this time to plan ahead and assess the risk for when you may be able to re-open your premises. This is a legal duty that organisations have towards their employees and volunteers to keep them safe and below are some useful resources to help you.
Resource 1: The Health and Safety Executive have produced this guidance to help you consult with your workers and staff about re-opening premises. It covers the six areas below and there are helpful questions to help you think through any adjustments you may need to consult with your staff and volunteers on and then adopt, to make your premises Covid-19 secure: Social distancing, organising your workplace, cleaning and sanitising, information and guidance, wellbeing and support, and helpful resources.
Resource 2: The government has produced these eight sector specific guidelines. In particular, the following may be helpful to voluntary and community groups:
–Guidance for offices and contact centres. Useful for charities who normally operate from a physical premises and have an office or somewhere where they deliver services.
–Guidance for those who work within, deliver or visit people in their homes. This may be useful if your normal services include visiting service users in their own home.
–Guidance for those who work from vehicles. This could be useful if your normal services include driving service users.
–Guidance for restaurants offering take away or delivery. This could be useful if your normal services involve serving food and drink, such as lunch clubs, cafes, or food for the homeless or vulnerable families.
We would recommend reviewing your plans regularly and in line with any further updates from the government. If you need assistance with this, please do get in touch with us.
Further resources and support
If you would like advice and support on any of the points in this article, do get in touch at email@example.com.