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Covid-19 Information for Village Halls and Community Buildings

Re-opening of Village Halls and Community Buildings.

With the Government announcing that village halls and community buildings are able to open from July 4th as part of phase 3, ACRE has published guidance for Village Hall Management Committees with regards to the safe re-opening of halls to ensure that they are Covid-19 secure.

The guidance documents below provide information on the safe re-opening of village halls and community buildings; making sure the hall is kept as clean as possible and that social distancing is still adhered to. By working together, this will hopefully make the future working arrangements as effective as possible with the least amount of disruption to activities.

Included is a checklist for management committees to work through, to help them re-open safely taking into consideration the various elements that will need to be addressed; as well as risk assessment templates for hall committees and hirers to complete.

We appreciate that this new way of working may seem a bit daunting for committees and hirers, but by following the guidance it should make it as seamless as possible

Protective measures for out-of-school settings during the Coronavirus outbreakOpens a external web page
Protective measures for holiday or after school clubs and other out of school settings:Opens a external web page
Guidance from Government regarding the safe use of multi-purpose community facilitiesOpens a external web page
Guidance from Government regarding managing playgrounds and outdoor gymsOpens a external web page
NALC- information for Local (Parish and Town) Councils – CoronavirusOpens a external web page
Risk assessment for play areas and outside gymsOpens a external web page
Guidance from The Church of England on their Covid-19 Advice on the conduct of public worshipOpens a external web page
Guidance from Government regarding outdoor performing arts activities permitted to resumeOpens a external web page

Annual Returns

Charities that are due to submit an annual return now or in the near future and need an extension to their deadline due to the coronavirus pandemic should contact the Charity Commission, and ask the regulator for a filing extension.

The Commission has said that during the Covid-19 pandemic, “the charity sector will face challenges of looking after its staff, volunteers and trustees who may fall ill, have to self-isolate, or have to look after loved ones”.

It added that the sector has a vital role to play in looking after its beneficiaries, many of whom will be amongst the most vulnerable during this public health emergency.

Its statement said “We want to assure charities that our approach to regulation during this period will be as flexible and supportive as possible. Charities’ primary interest, and ours, must be looking after the public and the communities that we serve”.

When contacting the Charity Commission, please include your charity name and charity registration number when you email us: filingextension@charitycommission.gov.uk

See more at: https://www.civilsociety.co.uk/news/covid-19-means-charities-can-ask-for-extensions-on-filing-annual-returns.html

MEETINGS

  • AGMs and other meetings: postponing or cancelling meetings

Coronavirus is having a major impact on charity events and the government’s health advice has lead to charities having to cancel or postpone their AGMs and other critical meetings.

As Trustees you should record this decision to cancel or postpone the meeting to demonstrate good governance of your charity. This is particularly important if it is not possible to hold your AGM, which may make it difficult for you to finalise your annual reports and accounts.

Wherever possible, we would ask you to try to get your annual reports to us on time. However, where the situation impacts on the completion of annual returns and accounts, charities with an imminent filing date can email us.

Please include your charity name and charity registration number when you email: filingextension@charitycommission.gov.uk

  • Holding meetings online or by telephone

In the current situation, it is difficult to hold face-to-face meetings. Some charities have clauses in their governing documents that allow them to meet virtually or to use telephone facilities, so we advise trustees to check their governing document and see if they can make amendments themselves to facilitate changes as to how or when meetings are held.

Where there is no such clause in your governing document and you decide to hold meetings over the phone or using digital solutions, we will understand but you should record this decision and that you have done this to demonstrate good governance of your charity.

Staff: Job Retention Scheme

The Government Job Retention Scheme was introduced due to COVID-19. This scheme allows charities and businesses to put employees who would otherwise be unemployed because of the coronavirus on ‘Furlough’. Employers have access to Government support to continue paying part of these furloughed employees’ salaries and potentially protect the employees from redundancy.

However, this scheme closes on the 31st October 2020.

Please click on the link for updated guidance related to the scheme: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

Financial Support & Funding

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) and Expanded Rate Relief.

In response to the Coronavirus, Covid-19, the Government announced there would be support for small businesses, and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. This support will take the form of two grant funding schemes, the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.  The schemes will be delivered by Local Authorities – if you are eligible, your Local Authority will be in touch with you to arrange payment.

Central Government will provide funding to Local Authorities that are responsible for business rate billing. Those Local Authorities will contact eligible businesses to arrange payment of the grants. Current guidance indicates that village halls are eligible for this grant funding and expanded rate relief.

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.  Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to and including £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000. Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

East Suffolk District Council

https://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/business/covid-19-business-grant-funding/

Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Council

https://www.midsuffolk.gov.uk/news/payment-of-covid-19-business-grants-fund/https://www.babergh.gov.uk/features/our-covid-19-response/businesses/https://www.babergh.gov.uk/communities/grants-and-funding/babergh-and-mid-suffolk-district-council-funding/

West Suffolk District Council

https://www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-support-for-business.cfmhttps://www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus/upload/WSCOVID-19BusinessSupportFundingScheme.pdf

Ipswich Borough Council

https://www.ipswich.gov.uk/businessratesgrant

Please look at the Community Action Suffolk Funding and Sustainability page for the full list of funding currently available.

As information is changing frequently, we recommend that you check the website for updates.