Covid-19: Help for not-for-profits

Covid-19: New lockdown measures and guidance for not-for-profits

This page was last updated on 5 January 2021


Contents of this page: 

National lockdown: Stay at Home rules from the government
1. Leaving home
2. Meeting others
3. Businesses and venues which must close

Financial help for organisations
1. New grants for businesses and ongoing business rates grants from local authorities
2. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, also known as ‘furlough’.
3. Dudley Council Community Forums
4. Funders for Covid-19

Governance and managing your not-for-profit
1. Charities
2. Companies
3. CICs
4. Other useful guidance which is still relevant

Taking on and supporting volunteers during the pandemic

Preparing to reopen once restrictions ease

Health and Care

Local information

National lockdown: Stay at Home rules from the government

You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

1. Leaving home

You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare – for those eligible

Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early Years settings remain open.

Higher Education provision will remain online until mid February for all except future critical worker courses.

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work.

2. Meeting others

You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).

You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.

You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.

Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.

To access the full government guidance, visit:

3. Businesses and venues which must close

To reduce social contact, the regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. The full list of businesses required to close can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:

  • non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods. These venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services.
  • hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery.
  • accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
  • leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts,fitness and dance studios, riding arenas at riding centres, climbing walls, and golf courses.
  • entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks
  • animal attractions (such as zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife reserves)
  • indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open for outdoor exercise.
  • personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes
  • community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services – for example for people who do not have it at home – and for click-and-collect services

Some of these businesses and places will also be permitted to be open for a small number of exempt activities. A full list of exemptions can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:

  • education and training – for schools to use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision
  • childcare purposes and supervised activities for those children eligible to attend
  • hosting blood donation sessions and food banks
  • to provide medical treatment
  • for elite sports persons to train and compete (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), and professional dancers and choreographers to work (in fitness and dance studios)
  • for training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls)
  • for the purposes of film and TV filming

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Financial help for organisations

1. New grants for businesses and ongoing business rates grants from local authorities

Government measures announced to support small businesses also apply to charities and other not-for-profits working in certain sectors.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP has today (5 January 2021) announced that organisations in the leisure, hospitality and retail sectors will be able to apply for grants of up to £9,000 to help them stay afloat until spring. This money will be made available by local authorities.

Business rates grants are still available through the local authority. To view these grants, visit:

2. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, also known as ‘furlough’.

Currently, you can Claim for 80% of your employees’ wages for hours they do not work plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions, if you have put them on furlough because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is capped at £2,500 per month per employee and you can choose to top up payments to 100%.

This scheme will continue in its current form until the end of April 2021.

To apply for please visit the government webpage.

3. Dudley Council Community Forums

Grants of up to £5,000 for local activities (at ward level) are still available.

The guidelines and application forms are available on the Dudley Council website.

4. We are constantly updating a list of funders supporting not-for-profits during the Coronavirus pandemic.

5. Raise money online through JustGiving – 0% platform fee.

6. Raise money and support online through Crowdfunder, which has announced it has dropped its platform fees.

7. Charity Finance Group general information.

8. Institute of Fundraising information.

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Governance and managing your not-for-profit

1. Charities

The Charity Commission has published Covid-19 guidance for the charity sector, including paying staff, using charity reserves, holding remote meetings and postponing AGMs.

In terms of AGMs, different rules apply depending on the legal structure of your charity. CIOs and charities that are limited companies will be covered by the law to allow them to hold members’ meetings online. Unincorporated charities will have to follow any clauses in their governing documents, but many will be able to choose to postpone their AGM.

Dudley CVS has supported organisations to consider whether they can postpone their AGM or hold an AGM virtually. Please get in touch with us if you would like some help with this.

2. Companies

On 20 May the Government published the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill 2020. This is to help give flexibility to incorporated organisations like CIOs, charitable companies and mutuals that need to hold members meetings in lockdown. This might include the ability to hold virtual meetings even if there is no provision in the governing document. The Bill will be in place until the end of March 2021, unless it is extended. Bates Wells has produced guidance on this.

Dudley CVS has supported organisations to consider whether they can postpone their AGM or hold an AGM virtually. Please get in touch with us if you would like some help with this.

3. CICs

The CIC Regulator has published Covid-19 guidance for CICs. It recognises that CICs may have to suspend their activities temporarily, which may mean they are not delivering community benefit. This can be reported in your annual CIC report.

4. Other useful guidance which is still relevant

  • NCVO coronavirus support page such as sick leave, protecting staff and volunteers, holding events, supporting beneficiaries, finance and business continuity. The page is regularly updated.
  • NCVO has also produced a blog explaining what trustees should be thinking about in relation to Covid-19 and their operations. This includes scenario planning and assessing risks, exploring lines of authority and how quick decisions can be legitimately made and recorded, prioritising essential work, exploring with funders any flexibility in terms of funded projects, their scope, delivery and reporting, exploring the use of technology for meetings and some work, the impact of the crisis on an organisation’s ability to meet its reporting requirements.
  • NAVCA is regularly updating its list of useful links and resources for managing your organisation across a variety of topics:
  • Acas employment advice:
  • HR specialists Croner are offering unlimited free access to its HR and employment law helpline to all voluntary sector organisations.
  • Business continuity planning for charities and voluntary organisations from the Charity Finance Group:
  • Eventbrite has produced guidance on holding, postponing and cancelling events

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Taking on and supporting volunteers during the pandemic

The latest government guidance on volunteering during the pandemic is available here. Please be advised that this government guidance has not been updated since 23 December 2020, so the national lockdown stay at home guidance should take precedence.

We have put together some downloadable resources to help not-for-profits manage and support their volunteers:

Beacon Centre has shared some of its guidance for telephone befrienders, which might be useful for your group

Our friends at VODA have made a video with some hints and tips for supporting volunteers

The Covid Mutual Aid website provides some useful information for informal volunteers / volunteering groups:

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Preparing to reopen once restrictions ease

Please be advised that the guidance in this section was written for the easing of restrictions after the national lockdown of March-July 2020. We presume that the guidance for reopening after the current lockdown will be similar and we will update this guidance as and when we learn of any changes to it.

One of the most useful things that organisations can do is to think about how their organisation will cope if a high proportion of their staff or volunteers become ill or unavailable at the same time, and what steps you might take to avoid this happening. Many of these steps involve reducing the time people spend together in order to reduce the chances of Coronavirus spreading between them (and affecting a lot of the people you work with at the same time).

Remember that people may be unable to work even if they have not become ill themselves – it could be, for example, because schools have closed and people need to stay at home to care for their children or grandchildren.

Voluntary organisations and community groups may find useful information on the government’s guidance for businesses and voluntary sector organisations. It includes information on when employees should stay away from work, how to respond to employees who need to take time off work, and how to clean premises after someone develops Coronavirus. It also includes 8 different guides for different types of workplace, ranging from offices to shops.

1. Safe workplace guidelines

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) – Guidance -GOV.UK

Safe workplace guidelines include the 5 steps to working safely

  • Develop a Covid-19 risk assessment in line with HSE guidance
  • Develop clearing, handwashing and hygiene procedures
  • Help people to work from home
  • Maintain 2m social distancing where possible
  • Where 2m distance isn’t possible manage the risk of transmission (should the activity happen, length of time, screens / barriers / back to back work, staggering arrival / departure times, fixed teams (bubbles)

The safe workplace guidelines also include helpful guidance for different types of industry, work environment.

2. Reopening community centres and the activities that take place in them

Dudley CVS wrote a guidance note to help community centres and multi-use community venues reopen safely.

This note was updated in July 2020 and is a summary of various government guidance that may apply to community venues and the activities that take place in them. This document signposts to the appropriate government guidance which may change frequently. This note cannot be a substitute for the official government guidance which we recommend referring to before planning your activities or your centre’s reopening.

This guidance note will be useful for:

  • Managers, committees and trustees that govern community centres and other multi-use community facilities
  • Community groups that hire community facilities to run their activities

3. Dudley Council’s guidance for community groups and venues

Dudley Council has a dedicated webpage to help not-for-profits restart their activities. Please be advised that this webpage only covers guidance for up to Tier 3 restrictions, so the national lockdown stay at home guidance will take precedence. Some of the tools may be helpful for you to think about reopening when you are allowed to do so.

4. Other helpful websites, tools and resources

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Health and Care

The full list of government guidance can be found here:

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Local information

Information from Dudley Council including council statements, useful videos and travel advice con be found here:

Latest updates from Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust:

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Further support

Dudley CVS group support staff will still be on hand for email and remote conversations to offer support. If you need to get in touch, please email and your email will be directed to the most appropriate member of staff. We ask that you bear with us at this time.

USEFUL Resources for non-profits

Subscribe to our e-bulletin for latest Covid-19 updates


Looking to help with local COVID-19 efforts?

Could you as an individual or your group/organisation help to support local vulnerable people?


Co-ordinating community response to COVID-19 in Dudley borough.


The symptoms of COVID-19 and how to keep yourself and those around you healthy and safe.