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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Click here to read information on the status of Community Action Norfolk's Services. As well as links to other information and advice
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Updated: 5th January 2021

This is part of our Covid-19 guidance. To view the main guidance page please click here. This page is being regularly updated however the situation continues to change and in all cases please defer to official government guidance. 

Government Guidance

As of 5th January England has re-entered lockdown.  This means that:

  • Non-essential retail is closed.
  • People are advised to work and / or volunteer from home wherever possible.
  • People who are paricularly vulnerable will be contacted and requested to shield again. 
  • Schools will shut except for vulnerable children and the children of key workers. 

Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce

Norfolk Police and Trading Standards have again confirmed an overall policy of Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce in-relation to lock-down restrictions, using enforcement only as a last resort. Where an individual or organisation are trying to do the right thing but maybe haven't quite implemented guidance correctly or are working in areas where permitted activities are less clearly defined, officials will seek to engage and explain, responding in a fair, sensible and proportionate manner. Blatant breaking of the rules will lead to more rapid enforcement.

VCSE Services

The government guidance provides a number of situations where VCSE activity is permitted to continue.

“You can leave home for work purposes, or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where you cannot do this from home.” This includes  “work in other people’s homes where necessary” and “to provide care for vulnerable people, to provide emergency assistance, attend a support group (of up to 15 people), or receive respite care.”

The focus, however, is on leaving your home only where necessary. What constitutes a support group is an area that we know a number of organisations have been discussing.  Within the guidance support group is defined quite broadly;

“Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes, but is not limited to, support to victims of crime, people in drug and alcohol recovery, new parents and guardians, people with long-term illnesses, people facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, and those who have suffered bereavement, and vulnerable young people, including for them to meet young workers.”

The purpose of a lockdown is to limit contact to the minimum possible – this should be your starting point. However, where you view your activity as essential you should maintain a focus on your end beneficiaries. In making a decision as to whether you continue to operate running your group it will be important to balance the risk of the likely harm caused by the suspension of the support group (and the inability to deliver a reasonable alternative for example online) versus the risk posed by the virus. This, therefore, may mean that you decide that similar types of support group activity with people at lower risk to the virus continue but those targeting individuals at higher risk to the virus close.

In all situations where you continue to operate an assessment of the risks posed to your employees, volunteers and clients and the steps you have taken to reduce these will be important.

How this affects volunteering

Decision making around volunteer flow diagram, click here for a large format version

Revised guidance on volunteering is due to be produced but currently it is understood that:

  • Where possible, people should volunteer from home. If they cannot do so, they can volunteer outside their home if they follow the social distancing guidance and no one in their household has symptoms of coronavirus or has tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Volunteer-involving organisations must ensure their workplaces meet coronavirus safety standards.
  • People over the age of 60 and those who are clinically vulnerable do not face any specific restrictions on volunteering and should follow the same guidelines as above. However, as this group could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus, they may need additional support to follow social distancing rules and minimise contact with others.
  • People who are defined on medical grounds as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) to coronavirus are advised not to volunteer outside the home. The government will be writing to CEV people to provide detailed advice about the new restrictions.

All organisations are reminded that they should only hold face-to-face services where it not practical to offer services by other means.  If they are currently face-to-face can you deliver them differently? By phone? Online? Can they wait? If you choose to continue face-to-face services you must fully risk assess them and they should only take place if absolutely necessary to safeguard lives.

Guides for specific organisations

The following guides are available for specific organisations:

Guides for Individuals

The following guides are available for individuals and those caring for them:

  • Guidance for those shielding and protecting those who, on medical grounds, are extremely vulnerable.  Please click here.  
  • Covid Vaccination Guidance for those pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy.  Please click here
  • Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant.  Please click here
  • Covid Vaccination Myth-Busting Information Sheet.  Please click here.