Advice and Guidance for Community Groups during COVID

Updated 24 September 2021 

The government has published its ‘COVID-19 Response - Autumn and Winter Plan 2021’ setting out plans for autumn and winter 2021/22 in England.

Find out how to stay safe and help prevent the spread on the government website. 

It is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated. We are working with local partners to identify best practice and make recommendations to assist you in deciding how to proceed with your group’s activities. These are recommendations only, and different buildings and activities will need different considerations and adaptations to open and continue to operate safely. 

Our current recommendations are: 

  • Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment. As COVID-19 remains a Health and Safety risk, its risk to your staff and volunteers should be assessed and controls put in place to reduce that risk so you comply with Health and Safety law. We have Building and Organisation Risk Assessments on this page.
  • Make hand washing and hand sanitisation facilities available in indoor settings 
  • Wear face masks in crowded indoor settings 
  • Maintain social distancing in indoor settings and minimise the number and duration of social contacts 
  • Retain signage, eg QR codes, one-way systems, social distancing 
  • Ensure adequate ventilation and hold activities outside where possible 
  • Ensure staff and volunteers that are unwell do not attend activites 
  • Get tested and isolate if you are positive 
  • Get both doses of the vaccine when you are offered it, and encourage others to do so as well 

We have collected resources on this page to help your organisation assess the risk of opening buildings and running in-person activities. This information is a starting point only and will be regularly updated. 

We hold regular online drop-in sessions to share the latest updates and answer your questions on COVID-19 restrictions. Book onto a Advice and guidance for community groups during Covid 19 - Q&A Session on our Event page. 

If you are looking for funding support and advice, visit our Find Funding page


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Building / Organisation Risk Assessments  

Before opening it is important to balance the risk, and to ask whether the risk of not opening outweighs the risk of opening.  

It is essential that you carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment before reopening your premises – a risk assessment should be carried out in line with HSE guidance.   

Please watch our #WednesdaysWeekly session on why, how and when to undertake a risk assessment.

You will find some useful templates and examples below:  

The resources marked * were created by 4CT and MACC for North Manchester Together and are shared with their kind permission  


Involving Staff and Volunteers Safely  

The government have produced guidance on Enabling safe and effective volunteering during coronavirus (COVID-19). This guidance aims to help organisations and groups understand how to safely and effectively involve volunteers during the pandemic.  

This guidance complements other GOV.UK guidance on volunteering and helping others safely during the pandemic, which are aimed at potential and existing volunteers. 

The government have guidance on the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities. Please make sure you’re consulting the most up to date guidance. 

Salford CVS has created a Risk Assessment Toolkit which we have shared with their kind permission:  


Test and Trace  

Test and Trace is a key part of the response to COVID-19. Below are links to local council information on how to access a free test. 

Do not attend a testing centre if you are showing symptoms. If you have symptoms, please book a PCR test at or call 119 

Test and Trace Information for VCFSE Organisations 

Test and trace means testing people for coronavirus and then tracing the people an infected person has come into contact with. The key role for organisations is to ensure that they follow government guidance including ensuring conducting risk assessments and acting on them to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Below is the Government Guidance about maintaining records to support with this, and resources to enable you to create a QR Code Poster:  


Governance and Decision Making  

Coronavirus has impacted every organisation in different ways. It is crucial to ensure that any decisions that are taken by your Board are made in line with the procedures laid out in your governing document.  

Business Continuity Planning  

Some continuity issues to think about may include:  

  • The emergency contact details for your team and members  
  • Having processes in place to allow home working should the need arise. If your building is closed or your team have to isolate themselves how will you continue to operate?  
  • How you support members / beneficiaries by phone rather than face to face   
  • What difficulties and issues will arise if your team are off sick, and how will you manage them?  
  • How you will manage expectations of members, beneficiaries, and stakeholders including commissioners?  


Support for Community Businesses and Jobs: 


Other Useful Resources  

Supporting materials (including posters)  


Stay up to date 

Book on to one of our regular Advice and guidance for community groups during Covid 19 - Q&A Sessions for our latest advice. These are online drop-in sessions where you will have the chance to ask questions and discuss COVID issues with other organisations  

Stay up to date and sign up to our fortnightly training ebulletin, with details of our training and training provided by other organisations. 

Please contact us on 0161 339 2345 or email if you would like further support for your organisation. We can discuss your situation and support you in doing what's right for your group. 

Our COVID-19 page includes general information and advice for residents. 

There is lots of very detailed and regularly changing guidance available. Different buildings and activities will need different considerations and adaptations to reopen and continue to operate safely. This information is a starting point only and will be regularly updated.