Advice and Guidance for Community Groups during COVID

Updated 20 January 2022

The government has announced that the measures put in place under Plan B in England will be lifted.

This means:

  • From 20 January, you are no longer asked to work from home if you can.
  • From 27 January, you will not be required to wear a face covering, including in communal areas of schools, but the government suggests you continue to wear one in crowded and indoor spaces where you may come into contact with people you do not normally meet. You’ll no longer need to show your NHS COVID Pass at venues and events by law.

COVID-19 remains a risk. Infection rates remain high in Oldham, Rochdale, and Tameside, and we ask that groups and organisations do all they can to help prevent the spread. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result should stay at home and self-isolate immediately. Find out what you must do to help prevent the spread on the government website. 

We are continuing to review our guidance and working arrangements in line with new restrictions. Our teams are not currently based in community venues and Action Together meetings, training and events remain online. We will update this page with information when this changes.

We are working with local partners to identify best practice and make recommendations to help you decide how to proceed with your group’s activities. These are recommendations only, and different buildings and activities will need different considerations and adaptations to operate safely. Please contact us if you need further advice: development@actiontogether.org.uk, or 0161 339 2345.

Our Recommendations:

  • 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 a face covering in indoor settings 
  • Maintain social distancing in indoor settings and minimise the number and duration of social contacts 
  • Retain signage, eg one-way systems, social distancing
  • Let fresh air in if you meet indoors. Meeting outdoors is safer
  • Ensure staff and volunteers that are unwell do not attend activites 
  • Get tested and isolate if you are positive 
  • Get vaccinated when you are offered it, and encourage others to do so as well. It is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated, and you should continue to follow safety recommendations

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. 

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

 

Jump to a section: 

 

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:  

 

Testing  

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

Do not attend a testing centre if you are showing symptoms. If you have symptoms, please book a PCR test at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119 

Testing Information for VCFSE Organisations 

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 and NHS Guidance about maintaining records to support with this, and resources to enable you to create a QR Code Poster if needed:  

 

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 

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 development@actiontogether.org.uk 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 open and continue to operate safely. This information is a starting point only and will be regularly updated.