Coronavirus / COVID - 19 update for the VCSE Organisations 9th 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

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

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

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.

Halton Faith Sector Resources For Use During Covid-19 Shutdown

Here is some faith information which may be useful - it lets people know how you can access services, worship and meditation on line:

NHS Volunteer Responders: Open To Referrals From Health Professionals

An incredible 750,000 volunteers have signed up for NHS Volunteer Responders since it was launched on 24 March. NHS England and NHS Improvement has published guidance for health professionals to explain how the programme works and how to refer patients for support. We are encouraging health and social care professionals to use the service to refer people for support who are considered to be vulnerable and at risk.

Identity checks are carried out for all volunteers, with an enhanced DBS check for those volunteering as patient transport drivers. Royal Voluntary Service, the charity delivering the volunteer effort, is completing security checks for the 750,000 applications and the scheme is now fully operational.

You can refer people who are at very high risk from coronavirus where no local support is available, for example if they have been asked to self-isolate and ‘shield’, if they are over 70 and have underlying health conditions, or if they are self-isolating and you consider them to be especially vulnerable. Please continue to make use of your local schemes where they exist and please talk to your patients if in doubt about whether they require support.

Health and social care professionals, pharmacists and local authorities can make requests by submitting details online via the NHS Volunteer Responders referrers’ portal. You can also call 0808 196 3382 to refer patients.

Social care providers can also make referrals directly if they have an or email address. Without one, they will need to await approval which may take up to 72 hours, or they can make referrals through their local authority.

Once the referral is logged, ‘on duty’ volunteers in your area pick the job they want to do that day and close the task once complete. You can use the portal to track when the patient receives support. You can also use the portal or phone number to remove someone from the scheme if they no longer need assistance.


Referrers guidance:

Further updates will be found on this page:


Adsa Shopping Card 

Asda have created the Volunteer Shopping Card, the cashless - and less stressful - way for people to help get the shopping in. Ideal for those who might be self-isolating, older or medically vulnerable, the Volunteer Shopping Card provides a contactless, safe and secure way to allow others to shop for them.

Click here for more information 

If you know anyone who is over 60 and doesn't have internet or a printer to access the service then our colleagues at Age UK MId Mersey can help call 0300 003 1992 for details 


Latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates for Companies House Customers

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we’re closely following Public Health England guidelines. We have plans in place to maintain services for our customers and to protect the welfare of our employees.

Use our online services
We're experiencing delays in processing paper forms due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). Where possible, use our online services to help us process your information as quickly as possible. For the small number of filings that do not currently have an online service - we’re urgently working on a service to upload your documents and make a payment where necessary.
We'll update you as soon as these solutions are available. 


Princes Trust Relief Fund 

The Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund is a £5million Enterprise Relief Fund which offer grants to 18 to 30-year olds across the UK who are self-employed and/or running their own business. In conjunction with cash grants, the initiative will offer one-to-one support and guidance to anyone who needs it and who may be worried about their future.

Please click on link below for more details

The Princes Trust also have a Coronavirus Support Hub click here 


Helpdesks To Open Across Cheshire For Residents Who Have No Other Way of Reporting Crime

A number of helpdesks will be open across Cheshire for residents who have no other means of reporting crime during the lockdown. 

A total of 16 police stations will open for one hour a day to offer a service for members of the public who cannot contact the Constabulary online or via the phone. 

These helpdesks will be for urgent issues where there is no other way of contacting police and social distancing measures will be adopted to ensure that everyone is kept safe 

Opening times for the helpdesks will be posted on the doors of each station every week and publicised in advance via Cheshire Constabulary’s social media accounts. 

Superintendent Peter Crowcroft said: “We recognise that not everyone can contact us online or via the telephone during these unprecedented times. 

“So we have made the decision to open the helpdesks at 16 of our stations for one hour a day so that the people who need our service but cannot contact the police via any others means can report urgent issues. 

“This is not to be used for general enquiries and in line with the advice on keeping safe, only make the journey if absolutely essential. 

“We are telling anyone who does come to the station to always keep to social distancing rules of staying 2 metres away from others. 

“We will also be ensuring that measures are in place at the stations to keep the residents of Cheshire safe. 

“Please only visit a police station if there is absolutely no alternative and the matter is urgent. In an emergency, where a crime is taking place or there is a danger to life, always dial 999.” 

For general enquiries, please visit

The following stations will be open: 

•    Blacon
•    Chester Town Hall
•    Congleton
•    Crewe
•    Ellesmere Port
•    Knutsford
•    Macclesfield
•    Nantwich
•    Northwich
•    Penketh
•    Risley
•    Runcorn 
•    Stockton Heath
•    Warrington
•    Widnes
•    Wilmslow 

DWP Update 080420

There will be some DWP staff working all four days over the Bank Holiday Weekend and customers may still receive a call from the Department to verify their details if they have made a claim to Benefits online. Please encourage your residents/members/customers to answer their phones to ‘Private Withheld’ numbers during this time to enable our DWP colleagues to process their claims quickly.


Update from ACAS - Furlough Letter Template | Updated Guidance | Webinars

Here’s a brief update on resources available to help employers during the Coronavirus pandemic. Including a new furlough letter template and an invitation to register for an upcoming Acas webinar.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme This HMRC advice page helps you find out if you’re eligible and how much you can claim to cover wages for employees on temporary leave ('furlough') due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Furlough letter template  We have produced a free-to-download template for employers to use to confirm that there is an agreement to temporarily furlough a worker or employee. Download here

Using holiday  View updated Acas guidance on using holiday, including advice on bank holidays.

Webinar recording: Coronavirus – an advisory webinar for employers 

Hosted on 7 April, this webinar provided practical advice for employers to help manage the impact of coronavirus in the workplace.   View recording

Register for our upcoming webinar  (16 April, 1pm - 2pm)


Transforming health care together virtual peer support session

Peer support webinar from Transforming healthcare Together Team for cross-sector leaders working in health and care 22nd April 2020, 2pm

We’re very aware of the demands placed on you and the systems you work in to respond to the evolving situation with Covid-19, with many of you delivering frontline services. As a programme we would like to continue to provide support for you at this time.

It’s apparent that cross sector and collaborative working is being adopted at pace to ensure systems are ready to respond to need, and we would like to continue to offer a space to support you in those relationships, to share your experiences with peers across the country and support you to share best practice as well as address any challenges you might be facing at this time, as well as support our learning on what makes cross sector relationships work.

We will be hosting regular peer support webinars, designed to respond to your needs and experiences, Helen Garforth BHP facilitator will be leading the session.  We understand that you may be facing huge stress and uncertainty, and hope that these sessions will offer a space to share experiences, dilemmas and worries.

The first of which will be held via Zoom on 22nd April at 2pm.  Please register here:

If you have any questions or unable to attend the first one, but would like to be kept informed about future dates please email or


Halton Citizens Advice Update 

Citizens Advice Halton is still "open" and advisers are on hand to help people calling helplines or emailing.  They are extremely busy, but given the current public health emergency that would not be of any surprise to you.  Click here for a flyer which outlines services and contact details.

They are in the process of developing a new online referral portal, but in the meantime if you come across anyone who needs their services (especially people struggling with debts etc) please do not hesitate to contact them.  They try to fast track referrals from partner agencies and the best way to make a referral is to email:


Warning: Council Tax Reduction Scam

Please be aware of an email scam currently circulating regarding Council tax reductions. The email claims it is from the UK Government, it is not, it is a scam.

The email states you are due hundreds of pound in a rebate and they will transfer the money to your credit or debit card. The email goes on to further state you just need to click a link in the email to begin the process.

This is a blatant attempt to try and get your debit/credit card details and also have you access a website (via the link) which could be harmful to your computer.

Simply delete this email, stay safe.


iCAN Warning: Scam phone call claiming to be from the NHS

A resident of a neighbouring town received a call yesterday claiming to be from the National Health Service in relation to her being on the vulnerable list.  The caller said that they needed details of her bank account just in case she needed anyone to go shopping for her.  This is a scam call. You will never be asked for your bank details by any health provider who contacts you to advise that you are either in the group that needs to be shielded or the high risk group. If you need support with shopping or medication delivery, and don't have friends or family that can help, phone the Council's Hotline number 0151 907 8363.
If you or somebody you know has been caught out by a scam or fraud please contact one of our specialist officers, Linda or Sue on 0151 511 8785 or 0151 511 8775, who are already working with people in Halton who have lost thousands of pounds to scams.


Metro Mayor Announces Free Travel for NHS Staff on Liverpool City Region Buses and Merseyrail

NHS staff will be able to travel for free on production of a valid NHS photo staff pass.  It will come in to effect from Friday 10 April.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region has announced that NHS staff will be able to travel for free on buses and Merseyrail trains across the city region.  The announcement, made jointly with transport operators Arriva, Stagecoach and Merseyrail, follows a request direct from the Metro Mayor to the transport operators.

Announcing the move, Mayor Rotheram said:

“We want to do everything we can to support our frontline NHS workers as they bravely battle the Coronavirus, so I’m very pleased that today Arriva, Stagecoach and Merseyrail have responded to my call and agreed to provide free transport for our NHS heroes.

“This is the latest transport measure the Combined Authority and transport operators have been able to bring forward to support use of our transport network for essential journeys, including the temporary suspension of Mersey Tunnel tolls and relaxing the rules on concessionary travel for those who absolutely have to travel for medicines and other essential items.

“The advice of course remains that people should only travel if absolutely necessary during this period of lockdown.”



Karl Wilding NCVO Chief Executive has issued a statement about the about the package of support announced by the Chancellor yesterday.  For full details click here 


Energy Suppliers support update

Click here for information regarding what assistance/support the main energy companies are offering their pre-payment customers.


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.