Your Briefing 13 May 2020


Your Briefing – 13 May 2020
Supporting you through this current crisis – this week including:
It’s all about the money – Funding news, opportunities and updates 
Visionary Latest – Online support and training sessions for you and your staff

Visionary logo

This week
Visionary latest – how Visionary can support you
Covid-19: A sector-wide approach – How the sector is working together
It’s all about the money – Funding news, opportunities and updates
HR Matters – HR advice and sources of information

Sharing the love – great ideas, successes and stuff that works
In the know – Latest Covid-19 Updates, news and resources
Visionary Latest

Welcome to your weekly briefing. This week we are launching more new online support sessions than ever before on the subjects that you have told us matter to you. With the latest Government Guidance making it clear that these uncertain times are set to continue, we are acutely aware of the intense work you will all be undertaking to adapt and evolve to the current landscape.

With the next two weeks seeing us facilitating sessions on employee wellbeing and how to diversify your fundraising strategy post COVID-19, a reminder that most of our sessions are open to your staff – not just CEOs. Please do share details of these sessions with your teams.

Advice and support
We can provide immediate advice and support via our Telephone Helpdesk on 020 8090 9264 or 

Online support sessions
Friday 15 May at 12 midday
Employee Wellbeing & Home Working during COVID-19 
To join click here or call 0203 481 5240 – Webinar ID: 826 1643 9012
Alison Smith, Director at Roots HR CIC will talk about the importance of employee wellbeing and building resilience. She will introduce practical tips and tools that can be used to help manage both your own wellbeing and offer an opportunity to discuss the impacts of home/remote working.

Tuesday 19 May at 10am (and every Tuesday at 10am!!)
CEO weekly support session
To join, click here or use the dial in details below.
Our regular session for CEOs – no agenda, just an opportunity to share experiences, talk about what is working and find some peer support with what isn’t working so well

Thursday 21 May at 11am
Introduction to small bid writing 
To join, click here or use the dial in details below
Hosted by Tim Atkinson from TPT, join this session for tips on writing small funding applications. Please note that this session will share basic bid writing skills so is aimed at staff with little or no bid writing experience who want to submit small bids to deliver activities.

Friday 22 May at 12 midday
Managing and supporting those who are home/remote working
To join click here or call 0131 460 1196. Webinar ID: 818 4218 6577
Alison Smith, Director and Lead Consultant at Roots HR CIC will talk about the approaches to and challenges involved in managing individuals and teams who are home/remote working. There will also be the opportunity to explore your own approaches to home/remote working.

Tuesday 26 May at 2pm
Fundraising Master Class – The Post COVID-19 Fight Back
To join, click here or use the dial in details below
Hosted by Fiona Ashcroft, CEO of Alder Hey Charity and Chair Institute of Fundraising North West. Join this session for ideas on developing your fundraising strategy for post COVID-19 and for an opportunity to join a Q&A on your fundraising challenges and issues. Please note this session is for experienced fundraising staff who want to develop strategy.

Wednesday 27 May at 10am
Sustaining a Low Vision Service during COVID-19 
To join, click here or use the dial in details below
Hosted by Carole Theobald, CEO of iSightCornwall – join this session to hear how iSightCornwall have adapted their low vision service in response to COVID-19 to deliver it remotely so that people can still get the information, aids and equipment they need.

Friday 29 May 2020 at 10am
Delivering Children and Young People Services
To join, click here or use the dial in details below
Join Clare Sweeney who leads the Children and Young People Services for Visibility to share ideas on how you have been keeping the children, young people and families that you support connected. This session would be useful for any organisation delivering children and young people services or wanting to start!

To join any sessions by phone (apart from the Roots HR sessions – see specific joining details above) call:
(Toll Free): 0800 169 0432
Access Code: 780-863-517

If you missed any of our previous sessions
CEO Support Session – 12 May 2020
9 CEO’s joined the regular Tuesday morning session. Following on from last week, we talked more about preparing to return to front line service delivery for those who had stopped and the issues which workers may face. Visionary will be looking for (if any) guidance is available and will make the information available to you. We talked about what services ophthalmology clinics were doing or would be doing as lockdown eases and again, we will try and gather some information on this and share it through this briefing.

We also talked about sources of government funding. Visionary will again ensure that we share any relevant information on the government relief funds as it is confirmed. The group also discussed cyber security and it’s increased importance now that many staff are working from home. We have shared details of this really useful recorded webinar below and Visionary are currently developing a template enhanced cyber security policy which will will share with you all in the next couple of weeks.

Trustee recruitment is something often touched on and everyone shared some hints and tips. It is so good to see how helpful everyone is. Finally, we talked about collaboration and how important it is to work together to offer choice and opportunity to visually impaired people. Please join us at the next session – it would be great to have you!

Free 1 hour online mental health training*
Accredited mental health training is available free of charge through Champion Health for all staff and volunteers of Visionary members. Mental health problems are expected to soar over the next few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and this 1 hour mental health training course provides participants with the tools to optimise their own mental wellbeing and spot signs of mental health issues in others. Please contact us to get your registration code. All of your staff and volunteers will be able to use this code to access the training.

*We are working with Champion Health to make the course more accessible as some of the graphics cause issues for Jaw software, however, we have tested this with a number of Visually impaired people have successfully completed the training.

Befriending training
Yesterday, Fiona shared news with CEOs of some upcoming training on telephone befriending that Visionary have organised. Places were strictly limited and were snapped up within hours so this session is now sadly full. We are now operating a waiting list for this session so if you would like to be added to the waiting list or be interested in us organising a further session then please email us to express your interest and we will endeavor to make it happen!

Visionary Annual Conference cancellation
I am sorry to share with you that yesterday we made the (very sad) decision to cancel the 2020 Visionary Annual Conference scheduled for 18 to 20 November 2020. Our decision has been based on a number of factors, including the continued unknowns around social distancing and its long term impact and wanting to ensure that we only offer events for our members that feel appropriate and safe.

Please do continue to hold these dates as we will be taking the conference online and carrying over the spirit of sharing, connecting and developing your organisations together through a range of online events and workshops. We will so miss seeing you all but rest assured, Visionary will be working on initiatives to bring you all together as soon as we can do so in a safe and inclusive manner.

Covid-19: A sector-wide approach

Thomas Pocklington Trust leading cross-sector work to ensure accessibility of Access to Work
The DWP have now shared new guidance about Access to Work during COVID-19. This new guidance provides advice for those making claims remotely and the challenge of having to send physical claim forms. The guidance says “If you cannot leave home or ask someone else to post your claim, contact your Access to Work adviser and ask if you can send your claim by email. They will tell you what you need to do. You can also send the email from your employer of your support worker by email.”  Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) have confirmed with the DWP that there is an option to email all parts of the claim form. However, this must first be agreed with the adviser and be classed as a reasonable adjustment.

In the longer term, work is underway to develop an online portal for Access to Work customers. While there is no date currently set for the release of the online portal, Thomas Pocklington Trust have been working with Visionary and other members of the sector response group to ensure accessibility of the system for all.

RNIB Connect Radio
Starting on Monday 18 May, RNIB Connect Radio will be broadcasting a series of interviews about how to keep you and your family safe from fraud. Every weekday on the Daily Connect (10am to 12 noon) you will hear from a variety of organisations including banks, the police and charities who will all be giving advice about how to prevent fraud and keep your finances safe. Tune in to RNIB Connect Radio, Monday to Friday for their Anti-Fraud Week on Freeview 730 or on the RNIB Connect website.

Food for Vulnerable People – Accessing Alternative Commercial Delivery Options
Following the joint influencing work undertaken by the sector response group (which Visionary is a part of), DEFRA have now shared this live document that lists food delivery options for vulnerable people – please do share this with your teams and use to support those struggling to get access to priority delivery slots with supermarkets. The commercial options listed include telephone ordering, food box delivery, prepared meal delivery and other non-supermarket food delivery providers. DEFRA will be updating the document daily.

MCG Meeting – 13 May 2020
This morning Visionary hosted our fortnightly MCG meeting involving our member regional reps along with representatives from Guide Dogs, RNIB, Blind Veterans UK and TPT. The following issues were raised by organisations across the UK both locally and nationally – these will form the basis for discussion at future meetings:

  • Funding
  • Access to PPE as we start to look at returning to frontline work
  • Managing expectations amongst those service users now used to regular calls
  • HR issues re furlough and engagement of staff
  • What will service delivery look like in the new world post COVID-19
  • How we can we work with service users to raise confidence and resilience to get out and about again after this prolonged period of lockdown and the increased need for emotional support
  • Missed eye health appointments and the potential longer term impacts of this
  • Opportunities created by the increase of virtual service delivery

RNIB confirmed that they are looking at issues around isolation and loneliness and what they can do to address the need to build peoples’ resilience and provide emotional support. RNIB also confirmed that their Talk and Support service still has capacity – so please do refer anyone who may benefit by calling RNIB’s Helpline: 0303 123 9999 or emailing them.

Guide Dogs shared that they are looking at how they can improve signposting to local orgs from their Helpline. They are grateful to local societies for all the information shared and are working to ensure that signposting is a standard part of helpline calls where appropriate.

It’s all about the money

New Bounce Back Loans  – open to charities
Britain’s small businesses will be able to apply for quick and easy-to access loans of up to £50,000. Read more here.

National Lottery Awards for All England open for COVID-19 funding applications
The National Lottery has adapted their ‘Awards for All’ programme to focus on funding projects by organisations that support their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Organisations can apply for grants of between £300 and £10,000 to fund their work supporting people at high risk from COVID-19, or people who have faced an increase in challenges as a result of it. You can find full details here.

Top-up to local business grant funds scheme – open to charities 
A discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses and charities previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme. Read more here.

Third Sector Fundraising Conference 2020: 20-21 May
Booking now reopened – Click here to secure your free place
The annual Third Sector Fundraising Conference will take place online on 20-21 May and is now free for any registered charity to attend. There is a really exciting programme of events that you can dip in and out of.

COVID-19 financial reporting issues for charities – Free webinar on 18 May 
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted most charities and the immediate issue for many has been keeping people safe, remaining viable and managing uncertainty. At the same time charities are having to think about more mundane issues such as their annual accounts and Trustees’ reports. This free webinar from Crowe UK will explain how to apply the current accounting rules in a way that makes sense for your charity. The session will cover practical solutions and how charities are having to rethink what they say and how they say it.

Innovation in isolation: how charities are rethinking campaigns for the lockdown era 
With staff and supporters stuck at home, fundraisers have been getting creative with reinventing events. Get inspired and find out more here.

What it’s like being a furloughed fundraiser
Emma Russ is one of many fundraisers who have been furloughed, here she explains how it feels and how she’s coping.

Buying and selling property in a challenging market
Many charities have been seeking to sell properties in recent months, seeking to release funds to invest in their charitable mission or to meet ever increasing core costs. In this joint webinar speakers from Russell-Cooke and Gerald Eve will consider the key legal and property issues facing charities looking to buy and sell land and buildings in the current times. Thursday 21st May 2020 11am – join here.

Using a fundraising web based platform
JustGiving, GoFundMe and Virgin Money are the well known ones, with JustGiving getting some bad press recently, details here. If you use a “giving site” – ensure you are aware of their fees and that your messaging addresses that.

£25m loan scheme for charities and social enterprises opens
Charities and social enterprises can now apply to a £25m emergency loan fund for financial support during the coronavirus crisis. Read more here.

HR Matters

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended
The Chancellor has announced plans to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme through to October this year. Further details are expected to come later this month but no changes are anticipated in the scheme until the end of July. The Chancellor has also said that from August employers will be expected to contribute to the cost of the furlough scheme. No details yet, we’re watching and will work with Roots HR to provide details/support.

CIPD urge businesses to meet three tests before bringing people back to the workplace
Is it essential, safe and mutually agreed? In advance of detailed government guidance for employers, the CIPD urges businesses to ensure they can meet three key tests before bringing people back to the workplace. Read more here.

What if you need to go in someone’s home to support them?
This government guidance outlines how to work safely during COVID-19 if you need to enter someone’s house, it also shared advice on PPE.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: step by step guide for employers
This guide has been updated and contains a revised version of the that is clearer and includes recent additions to the process.

Sharing the love

COVID-19 and charity fraud: what to watch out for and stay safe 
This free recorded webinar highlights some of the common ways that charities may be affected by fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic. It covers how to spot fake emails and the key financial risks associated with a remote workforce and how to overcome them. It may be useful to share this with your staff too to support their learning and awareness. Visionary are currently developing a template enhanced cyber security policy which will will share with you all in the next couple of weeks. The below guidance will also be useful.

COVID-19: increased risk of fraud and Cyber Crime against charities
This guidance provides information and advice for charities about COVID-19 related fraud and Cyber Crime – recent additions include information about a COVID-19 fraud webinar for charities and links added to ‘Scam emails (‘phishing’)’ and ‘Protect your devices’ sections.

Rehab Workers Professional Network Guidance (RWPN) – Restarting Rehab services and access to PPE
The RWPN’s last week issued this guidance on how vision rehabilitation services might start to be reintroduced. The guidance contains the over-arching principles that might be applied – they are not detailed recommendations for every area of practice. In putting this guidance together, they have consulted government guidance and also guidance from other professional bodies with similar practice considerations. They hope that this guidance provides a constructive starting point for how organisations can serve their clients and keep themselves safe and well.

ACEVO Recovery Self Assessment Toolkit
Thanks to Nik Demetriades at 4Sight Vision Support for sharing this toolkit produced by the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations. We know that many of you are now thinking about how you plan for the new future as we emerge from this current crisis and this toolkit provides a good starting point for pulling together your learning from the adapted services you have been delivering and developing a plan for the future.

Repurposing Android phones as a simple one button video call service
Reason Digital are able to repurpose Android phones as a simple ‘one-button video call service’. They call it #HelpinHand. Could it benefit your service users? For more information email them.

In the know

Resuming face to face front line delivery
With the governments encouragement to see people back to work we are well aware that people are keen to resume face to face services as soon as possible, but most importantly, as safely as possible. Different areas of practice involve different types of risk and we are working with partners across the sector and Visionary members to produce guidance which we will share in the near future.

New guidance launched to help get Brits safely back to work
The Government has published this guidance for employers to help them get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating safely.

Working safely during COVID-19 – How to be “Covid Secure”
The Government’s recent announcements talked about supporting employers to be “covid secure”. Read the Covid secure guidance here.

How can we support the most vulnerable people as our country recovers?
As lockdown begins to lift, this short article looks at the challenges that lie ahead. You can read a more detailed analysis from Civil Society here.

New guidance on spending time outdoors
Following announcements on Sunday and throughout this week, a range of outdoor activities will be allowed in England from today (13 May 2020) subject to social distancing rules. Full details here. Key sections are:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for people receiving direct payments
Many people who are visually impaired buy care and support through a direct payment, this guidance has been updated to reflect recent announcements – including a new FAQ section and guidance on PPE.

Charity regulators urge vigilance over ‘incorrect’ coronavirus spending
UK charity regulators have warned independent examiners to be vigilant for charities misusing funds during the coronavirus pandemic. Independent examiners can review charity accounts instead of auditors, where a charity has an income of £250,000 a year or less. Read more here and also refer to the Charity Commissions guidance.

If you have had this briefing forwarded to you then please sign up here to get future briefings and information from Visionary direct to your inbox.

If this format does not suit you, please let us know via email and we will be happy to provide it in another format.


Font Resize
Change contrast