Coronavirus / COVID - 19 update for the VCSE Organisations 27th 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 


Covid 19 testing arrangements for front line VCSE staff in Halton

VCA have been contacted by Julia Rosser from Halton Borough Council who is currently involved in ensuring that front line staff in Halton Borough Council and partner organisations are able to access testing for Covid 19.  They are aware that voluntary sector organisations work directly with the public and there may be staff that would benefit from the testing.  There is a criteria that must be met for testing so that they are ensuring that they are prioritising front line staff that work with vulnerable people. The test only works for people who are currently unwell, with symptoms of Covid 19. The aim of the test is to enable staff who are well enough to work but are self-isolating due to possible Covid 19 to return to work if they get a negative response.  

They are aware that the testing arrangements are changing daily and that you may have been offered testing for staff through an alternative route? If this is the case please email Sally on we also want to hear from you if you do not have arrangements for testing so that we can forward updates to managers with instructions for how to arrange testing by email.  As soon as we hear about the arrangements in St Helens we will share the information.  


Coronavirus (COVID-19): How has your group, organisation or service responded?

We are asking that if you are delivering services and interventions in direct response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic then we would welcome you to share your data on a weekly basis so we can bring it all together to demonstrate the work of the sector to our local partners and decision makers.

“Individually we are ONE DROP. Together, we are an OCEAN”

This quote from the Japanese writer Ryunosuke Satoro means that individually we can solve problems or work by ourselves. As a group however, we can accomplish great things. 

As an infrastructure support organisation for the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector across both Halton and St Helens we are immensely aware of how the pressure in this current situation has had an impact and how the sector is responding.

This is the FIRST of two research and data gathering exercises that we want to facilitate during the current COVID-19 pandemic which will enable us to see the bigger picture of what services our incredible sector is delivering during these unprecedented times.

For organisations which choose to contribute we will also provide you each week with your own infographic which you can share with your beneficiaries, volunteers and funders.

This survey is made up of tick-box questions, and the occasional free text question. The survey should take 10 minutes to complete each week.

Halton Data Collection Survey

St Helens Data Collection Survey

No information specific to your organisation will be published however the collective data will be published and shared each week through our website.  If you have any questions please contact Sally Yeoman on 01744 457100 ext 4.  Stay safe and thank you for all that you are doing to support our local people and communities.


Doctors of the World

Doctors of the World have now translated essential Covid-19 guidance based on NHS and Government health advice and information in 48 languages available in written format. Video format of this guidance is available in 10 languages, and audio format with easy share button will be online soon. Please find them here:


Latest update for Trustees from NCVO 

Click here for latest update 


Domestic Abuse during Covid-19 

Thanks to our colleagues at Asylum Refugee and Migration Service (ARMS) for sharing the following information on resources for victims of Dometic Abuse.  You may have seen the news this week that Domestic Abuse helplines have had a 700% increase in calls since the start of COVID-19 measures.  This morning the government have announced a £600,000 boost for charities working with victims of domestic and sexual abuse. With that in mind they have pulled together some resources that may be useful for workers supporting families where there is a risk of, or suspected Domestic Abuse. This information is to be used in addition to following your normal domestic abuse procedure.

Click here for details of support available


Update on Small Business Grants Fund & Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Grant from NAVCA

There are two different funds, the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF)  and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Fund (RHLF).  Somewhat unhelpfully the guidance for both is in one document which I think has led to some of the confusion. 

The guidance says “Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) eligible businesses in England in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for a cash grants of £10,000 or £25,000 per property.”  And the guidance explicitly includes charities that meet this eligibility criteria.  So if you or any of your members qualify, you should be getting this grant.  As examples: sports clubs or grounds, public halls, museums and art galleries are all included – and importantly, there’s an element of discretion on the Local Authoritie's part, which may mean that not all parts of the country get treated the same way. 

HOWEVER:   the SBGF, which gives grants of £10,000 to eligible businesses, is only available to business in receipt of either Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rates Relief.  Any organisation claiming Charitable Rates Relief, even if you would be eligible for one of the other reliefs, is explicitly and definitively excluded.  And there is no discretion available to the LAs to interpret that.


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.