Coronavirus / COVID - 19 update for the VCSE Organisations 31 March 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

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

If you want to find out what is happening with local services take a look on our homepage 


Statement from Dawn Austwick, CEO, The National Lottery Community Fund: Our funding approach in response to COVID-19

At this extraordinarily difficult time, we are all being challenged and moved in ways that seemed unimaginable just weeks ago.

Here at The National Lottery Community Fund, our first priority is to support people and communities through our funding in the best way we can, recognising that we cannot help everyone.

As many of you know, we have been talking to grant holders and partners to understand the nature of their response to COVID-19 and to see what we can do to support them.

So far, we have of course honoured our existing commitments to grant holders and offered them flexibility so that they can focus on supporting their communities.

We have now made two additional decisions. Firstly, all the funding decisions we make for the next six months (up to £300m of National Lottery funding) will be devoted to addressing the current crisis. In addition, we will accelerate the cash part of this funding as much as we can, so that we can get money to where it needs to be. This is not new money, but it will be faster money and we know that we must act quickly and with confidence.

In deciding how to implement this approach we have to make some tough choices about how we get that money out quickly to those communities and organisations that need it most. We will do our best to be fair and true to our principles and to you.

To reach those groups best placed to support their communities at this vital time, we will prioritise the following faster payments for existing grant holders and applicants using the following criteria:

  • Activities specifically geared to supporting communities through this crisis
  • Helping organisations overcome any liquidity issues caused by COVID-19.

We are doing this because we know it is critical right now to work harder as a funder to get cash out of the door and hope that by acting quickly we can help organisations at the fore-front of the current crisis, when support is needed most.

Should we get through this initial tranche of support with some funding left or circumstances change, we will move to set new priorities. We know that this means some groups will not be able to access our funding over the coming months and we will endeavour to return to our broader support as soon as we can.

Things are moving at pace and we will keep our approach under constant review. We are also going to continue our exploration of how this crisis is changing how we live as communities and how civil society itself is changed.

Keep talking to us, keep sharing your stories, and keep telling us what we can do differently to help. If we can, we will.


Dawn Austwick
CEO, The National Lottery Community Fund

For all the latest updates, please visit our dedicated COVID-19 page.


Message From Healthiness Ltd - Online Classes and Important Coronavirus Update

Following the lockdown, we are no longer able to offer face-to-face exercise classes. However, we also understand the huge health implications of older and vulnerable people being isolated and confined to their homes for possibly months on end.

With that in mind we have flipped our service and are delivering online exercise classes instead.

We are streaming classes live on Facebook at Healthiness Ltd and are also posting shorter, 30 minute exercise videos on the website at

These sessions can be followed by participants in their own homes with no equipment necessary to enable them to keep active and connected.

We are offering a timetable of classes each day including Chair-based Exercises, Better Balance, Postural Stability, Functional Fitness and many more. Once broadcast at their scheduled time (see below for timetable), the classes are available for viewing on demand on Facebook.

We hope to engage with as many people as possible and would like our networks, partner organisations and friends to help us to spread the word and keep people connected, healthy and stimulated throughout this period.

The full details are below and we hope this brings a little light in all the gloom and we're sure like us you appreciate life will go on and we'll all find a way.

Thanks again everyone for your time, take care and stay safe.

Healthy Regards and Best Wishes,
The Healthiness Team

Live Online Class Timetable


10.00am - Boxercise & Toning
1.00pm - Escape-Pain
2.00pm - Memory Fit


10.00am - Toning
11.00am - Chair-Based Fitness
2.00pm - Functional Fitness


10.00am - Boxercise
1.00pm - Escape-Pain
2.00pm - Better Balance


10.00am - Chair-Based Fitness
1.00pm - Active Bingo
2.00pm - Functional Fitness


10.00am - Dance & Tone
11.00am - Pure Tone
12.00pm - Core & Stretch

ACAS - Coronavirus Guidance | Carrying Over Paid Holiday has updated guidance and information for employers and businesses it includes:

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Self-employment Income Support Scheme

View guidance on

Carrying over paid holiday

The government has introduced a temporary new law to deal with Coronavirus disruption.
Employees and workers can carry over up to 4 weeks’ paid holiday over a 2-year period, if they cannot take holiday due to Coronavirus
View further details and Acas guidance

Lay-offs and short-time working
If an employer does not have enough work for their employees, they may need to consider:
- lay-offs (sending employees home temporarily)
- short-time working (reducing employees' working hours)
These options may help avoid redundancies. But this should be a last resort for employers. View Acas guidance

If employers can no longer provide employees with work during Coronavirus, they can access government financial support for furloughed workers
Acas Coronavirus advice
Coronavirus - an Acas advisory webinar for employers - A recording is available of the latest online event which covered:

  • steps that can help reduce the spread of the virus
  • effective ways of communicating with employees
  • self-isolating, time off, sickness certification and sick pay
  • altering working hours, shift patterns and working arrangements
  • remote working and the use of technology

Visit our webpage to access recording and to view details of upcoming events
Live Twitter Q&A sessions
If you have questions or concerns about time off work, pay, remote working and what steps you can take to reduce the spread of the virus, you can join Acas experts on live Twitter chats which are being run each Friday over the coming weeks.

Send your questions in advance to @acasorguk #AskAcas.


DBS checks update

If you have any queries with regards to DBS checks during this time click here to find out the latest news from the Disclosure and Barring Service..


BBC Radio Merseyside

If you're making a difference in your local community let us know and we can let everyone else know too.

If you have a community group Facebook page, Twitter account, or if your charity, organisation or club has any information or maybe needs some help we can get the message out there to help you.

We'll have special Make a Difference updates at a quarter past and a quarter to every hour till 6pm.  We'll do this every day, so you are right up to date with where you can get help locally.

Phone:  0800 731 93 33    Email:



DWP Update 30 March 2020

For the latest information from the DWP with information on benefits, housing, employment and business guidance click here 


If you have volunteering requirements please register them here 

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

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.