Coronavirus / COVID - 19 update for the VCSE Organisations 15th April 2020

Halton and St Helens VCA

If you need a contact for our volunteering portal and volunteering during the Covid-19 response across both Boroughs it’s Claire Redford-Kerr

If you need a contact for the Covid-19 response in St Helens it’s Annie Lawrenson

If you need a contact for the Covid-19 response in Halton it’s Matthew Roberts

You can also contact Sally Yeoman our Chief Officer for issues in both Boroughs. She will also be picking up LCR work with VS6 colleagues

For comms/website and information queries contact  or

Our phones will be temporarily redirected and you will be able to contact us by using our usual numbers 01744 457100 / 01928 592405

To access all resources relating to volunteering, involving volunteers, funding or local/national news click on our homepage

Below is the latest news / updates for VCSE organisations in Halton and St Helens 


Support Services 

Sure Start to Later Life and the Halton Health Improvement Team have developed a support service document based on what services are available for Halton residents during COVID 19.  The support service document has been updated since our last mailing and can be accessed via the following web link:


Getting Ready For The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - HMRC Customer Services

If you’re eligible for the scheme, there are things that you can do now to be ready when the system is up and running later this month.

You’ll need to provide the following to make a claim:

  1. The bank account number and sort code you’d like to use 
  2. The name and phone number of the person in your business for us to call with any questions.
  3. Your Self-Assessment UTR (Unique Tax Reference), Company UTR or CRN (Company Registration Number).
  4. The name, employee number and National Insurance number for each of your furloughed employees.
  5. The total amount being claimed for all employees and the total furlough period.

If you use an agent who is authorised to act for you for PAYE purposes, they will be able to make a claim on your behalf, so please speak to them now.

However, if you use a file-only agent (files your RTI return but doesn’t act for you in other matters), they won’t be able to make a claim for you and you’ll need the information listed above from them to make the claim yourself.

For more detailed advice, please visit GOV.UK. This guidance is being regularly updated, so please review it frequently.

You may also find this recorded webinar helpful, 'Coronavirus (COVID-19) Job Retention Scheme', available on HMRC’s YouTube channel.


Kind To Your Mind

The “Kind to Your Mind” Cheshire and Merseyside partnership campaign went live on Monday 13th April

The online resources are for anyone living and working in the Cheshire and Merseyside area and include apps, courses, podcasts to support mental health and wellbeing

There is also a  24/7 support phoneline to support anyone who needs help


COIN Compressed Tuesday 14th April 2020

Volunteer mobilisation 

Support Staffordshire shared the results of their data collation around new volunteers recruited by NAVCA members to see how it compared with the NHS Volunteer Scheme. The results were:

·       37 members replied 

·       45,000 volunteers recruited and a third deployed 

Using these figures as a solid sample size, it was estimated that in total NAVCA members have recruited approximately 250,000 new volunteers and deployed 80,000 so far.  

It is noted that this does not include the number of existing volunteers already deployed and supported.  

A big thanks Garry for collating these figures! And here they are hitting the national headlines.  

Befriending Interim guidance for telephone volunteers 

Voluntary Support North Surrey shared their guide for new/interim telephone befrienders for other NAVCA members to use.  

Funding sources and other support 

Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire asked for lists of local funding sources.  

Community Action Suffolk shared their webpage outlining funding sources and the Charites Aid Foundation's website.  

CVS Cheshire East shared their LA's funding briefing.

Cambridge CVS shared a number of funding sources including: 

·       DSC 

·       Charity Excellence Framework Toolkit 

·       Charity Bank 

·       Barclays 

·       CAF 

·       Nisa 

·       Youth Music 

Macc shared their funding sources web page.  


Rushmoor VS shared their Government portal letter and How to make donations guide, which encourages and helps people to make donations to them.  

Recognition for unsung heroes 

Head to number 36 in this list of 50 unsung heroes that are keeping Essex going, and you will see Maldon and District CVS – well done to Sarah and the team! 

And finally some good news... 

CVS Cheshire East shared a news article on Joyce Goldstraw, the 97 year old from Stoke who has beaten corona virus and is now back home and in good health.  

Thanks everyone!

Lucy Straker

Policy & Communications Manager



Domestic Abuse - Information/ Awareness for Volunteers - Halton Safeguarding Unit

Halton Safeguarding Unit have produced the information below for all volunteers working within the community:

We know that this is a difficult and worrying time for everyone – but particularly so for adults and children living with domestic abuse, and the professionals working hard to support them. 

For those people experiencing domestic abuse, we want them to know that they are not alone and our local services are available and will offer help even if they are unable to leave their homes due to COVID-19.

As a volunteer working within the Community you may come into contact with victims and children who are experiencing domestic abuse or you may be concerned about the abusive behaviour of a perpetrator.

If someone reveals to you that they are experiencing domestic abuse:

  • Listen to them
  • Acknowledge and adopt a believing approach.
  • Reassure them that getting help is the first step to safety and recovery.
  • Empower them and inform about support available.
  • Give the number for the Halton Domestic Abuse Service -  0300 11 11 247

Seek consent for a referral but always make your supervisor aware of any concerns and always notify social care if there are children/vulnerable adults are living in household.

The full article can be found here:


DWP Updates 140420

People making new claims for Universal Credit will no longer need to call the Department as part of the process.

The Secretary of State has announced an update regarding the way we are handling Universal Credit claims -

 Instead, a bolstered frontline team will proactively call claimants if they need to check any of the information provided as part of the claim, as well as messaging them on their online journal to confirm details.

The move is designed to take some of the worry and frustration out of submitting a claim, while speeding it up by putting an end to long call wait times. The change is a response to the huge volume of calls to Universal Credit phone lines, which meant some people were faced with an engaged tone when calling or were left waiting for several hours.

What is UC? A new mini site has been added to GOV.UK to help people find out about coronavirus and claiming benefits. What is Universal Credit? helps the user to understand what UC means for them and how it can support them if they are on a low income or out of work.

Employment and Benefits Support Website   - New page to replace Understanding UC Coronavirus and claiming benefits page. 

These pages have additional information and will help answer lots of the questions partners are asking. Please continue to promote this site to partners. Visit the new Employment and benefits support site regularly to keep up to date with the latest guidance and messages on sick pay, existing benefit claims, new claims to benefit, self-employment, housing and more. This site covers all the changes DWP is making to respond to coronavirus – not just to UC. It also includes a Frequently Asked Questions section.

What to do if you’re already getting benefits - Guidance for people who were receiving benefits before the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been released on GOV.UK - this covers a range of benefit types.

Touch base - Touchbase is produced quarterly by DWP and is available on GOV.UK providing news and articles from across government for advisers, employers and organisations that help people find jobs. During the current Coronavirus Pandemic it is being emailed on a weekly basis with the latest roundup of announcements to anyone who has subscribed. These editions are not being published on the Touchbase website at the moment. Anyone can sign up to receive these updates - to sign up click on this link and enter your details. (Touchbase Special)

Child Benefit - Parents of new-borns will still be able to claim Child Benefit despite the outbreak of coronavirus. General Register Offices are currently operating with reduced capacity and with government guidance to social distance and stay at home, new parents are advised not to visit them. They can however still claim Child Benefit without having to register their child’s birth first to ensure that they do not miss out.


iCAN Warning: Scam Coronavirus Phone Calls

Halton Trading Standards have been made aware of residents receiving scam phone calls about the Coronavirus. The caller states you should stay in your home and then says they are going to send you two masks, hand gels and gloves. The caller then asks for your address and your bank details, as there is a charge of £29! This is a scam, never give out your bank details or address to someone who has cold called you.


Halton Carers' Virtual Coffee Group

Halton Carers Centre is introducing a virtual coffee groupfor our carers. The aim of the group is for carers to come together for a chat, a laugh and support one another in what is an unprecedented time.

What do I need to join the virtual group?

All you need is a smart phone or laptop/computer with speakers, microphone and ideally a camera.

To sign up for the virtual coffee group please email:

Halton Carers Centre at or call us on 01928 580182.

We will send you a link to join the group.

Don’t worry if you don’t have the facilities to join in with the virtual group our support workers are stiil available to provide information and emotional support.

Monday to Friday 10.00am till 4.00pm
Saturday 10.00am till 1.00pm

Telephone: 01928 580 182


Twitter: @HaltonCarers,

Instagram: @haltoncarers @halton_young_carers



If you have volunteering requirements please register them here 

and also encourage people wanting to help out to do that safely by registering here 


Service Status Updates From Our Member Organisations

We have been sent a number of service status updates from our member organisations to let us know their current working practices during Covid-19.  The link to Halton Organisations is here and the link to St Helens organisations is here. If you have a service update that you would like to tell us about, please email and we will add your organisations details to our lists.


If you'd like to sign up for your own copy of the daily update, please follow the link below and sign up for our ebulletin:

Get In Touch

Halton & St Helens VCA 

Halton Office: 01928 592 405
St Maries
Lugsdale Road

St Helens Office: 01744 457100 
2nd Floor Beacon Building
College Street
St Helens
WA10 1TF



Halton & St Helens VCA is an infrastructure organisation that provides advice, information and development support services to voluntary, community, not-for-profit and faith organisations and volunteers in the Boroughs of St Helens and Halton.