COVID-19 guidance for voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations

Information and advice for voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations during the coronavirus outbreak.

This guidance was withdrawn on

The information on this page has been superseded by the following guidance: Coronavirus: how to stay safe and help prevent the spread.

The voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector plays a key role across the country, positively impacting the life of many.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the sector has been mobilising across the UK providing practical and emotional support to vulnerable groups. Understandably, the financial implications to mobilising and supporting volunteers and the increased demand in services has placed pressure on the sector.

Information and advice on how the VCSE sector can safely and effectively support the country through the coronavirus pandemic can be found on this page.

Guidance for those working in these sectors

General guidance for the VCSE sector on ensuring business continuity:

NHS Coronavirus Guidance - Advice for everyone including those at high risk from COVID-19 on staying at home and looking after wellbeing.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for the charity sector - Guidance from the Charity Commission on how to run your charity in relation to registrations, permissions, reporting and other interactions related to COVID-19.

Coronavirus Guidance for Community Interest Companies (CICs) - GOV.UK

Coronavirus: Job Retention Scheme - GOV.UK

Coronavirus: Funding for the Charity Sector - GOV.UK

NCVO Coronavirus Guidance - NCVO is the umbrella body for the VCSE sector. This is its guidance and resources to support charities, voluntary organisations and volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

BDO Coronavirus Guidance - BDO is one of the UK’s largest accountancy and business advisory firms. This page brings together information and advice on business continuity and financial support.

Bates Wells Coronavirus Guidance - Bates Wells is a legal firm. This page collates their latest guidance and updates on COVID-19.

Big Society Capital COVID 19 Information for Social Investors - Big Society Capital is an independent social investment institution. This page provides guidance on effects of COVID-19 pandemic on social investment.

COVID-19 Guidance for young people, youth workers and youth organisations - The National Youth Agency, The Mix and UK Youth are a cross-section of youth sector organisations. This page signposts relevant advice, guidance, support and tools for youth workers, young people and organisations in response to COVID-19.

Good Finance - Resource hub for charities & social enterprises.

Charity Bank - Resource hub for charities & social enterprises.

Social Investment Business - Resources & information on accessing support from the government and the wider sector.

Social Enterprise UK - Coronavirus support and resources for social enterprises.

UnLtd - Supporting social entrepreneurs.

Guidance about funding and fundraising

Funding and fundraising advice from the VCSE sector during COVID-19:

UK Community Foundations - Postcode search to find local Community Foundation, to view funding opportunities during COVID-19.

The National Lottery Community Fund - List of National Lottery funding opportunities and the changes to their programmes due to COVID-19.

Charity Finance Group Guidance - CFG provides financial management advice & support to the VCSE sector. This page sets out its COVID-19 guidance to charities.

Covid-19 Funders - Page produced by London Funders, the membership body for funders and investors in London’s civil society. Page brings together advice for funders during Covid-19.

Fundraising Regulator Events Guidance - this page sets out the Fundraising Regulator’s advice on fundraising during COVID-19.

Charities Aid Foundation - Hub for the latest funding and resources to help charities and other social sector organisations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The role of volunteers

Guidance for how volunteering can be done safely:

Guidance for organisations and groups on involving volunteers safely and effectively during coronavirus - GOV.UK

Community groups and COVID-19: what you need to know about data protection - Information Commissioner’s Office

Volunteering and coronavirus: How you can help - NCVO (the umbrella body for the VCSE sector)

Coronavirus: Involving volunteers - NCVO

How to volunteer - GOV.UK

How to volunteer safely during coronavirus - GOV.UK

Guidance on digital/technical support

Specific technical guidance:

The Catalyst - The Catalyst is a charity network that provides guidance on topics ranging from funding and choosing platforms/software to data analytics and transitioning to digital service delivery models.

ICO - The Information Commissioner’s Office has created a Coronavirus Hub, which offers guidance to businesses navigating data protection legislation during this time.

NCSC - The National Cyber Security Centre provides a range of guidance to help VCSE organisations keep their processes cyber secure while transitioning to online service delivery.

ProMo-Cymru - ProMo-Cymru is a co-operative development association offering a collection of digital tools & guidance for VCSE and youth sector organisations in Wales.

Toolbox Toolbox - Toolbox Toolbox is a collection of online resources that provides a curated list of guidance on digital transformation for small organisations.

Advice from IT experts:

CAST - The Centre for Accelerating Social Technology is currently offering a free interactive Online Design Hop workshop, which gives VCSE organisations step-by-step guidance on how to redesign their service for digital access.

CovidConnectNI - CovidConnectNI is a brokerage platform to help Northern Ireland’s VCSE organisations find free or discounted offers of digital support.

Cranfield Trust - Cranfield Trust is currently running webinars on tech support issues such as data security and digital skills, as well as providing a collection of general digital guidance.

DataKind UK - DataKind UK offers a 1-hour free monthly call with data experts to any non-profit organisation based in the UK. Through Data Orchard they also offer a free data maturity assessment tool.

Digital Boost - Digital Boost is a new service helping small businesses and charities boost their digital skills. Sign up for early access to free expert advice through virtual 1-to-1 sessions and hands-on workshops. Brought to you by F4S and BCGDV.

Reason Digital - Reason Digital offers consultation sessions with a digital expert to help VCSE organisations transition to remote working practices.

Digital volunteers:

CITA - The Charity IT Association introduces charities looking to improve their technology capabilities to volunteers with appropriate IT skills and experience.

Reach - Reach is a skill-based volunteering platform that connects charities with volunteers possessing particular capabilities or backgrounds.

Access to hardware/devices:

Computer Aid - Computer Aid provides data-wiped and refurbished computers to VCSE organisations in need at steeply discounted rates.

Computer Recyclers UK - Computer Recyclers UK offers charities discounted refurbished IT hardware preloaded with Windows 10.


Charity Digital - Charity Digital offers VCSE organisations steeply discounted rates on a wide range of software.

Business offers of support

Crown Commercial Services has a catalogue of offers of support from businesses which public and VCSE sector organisations can access.

See also:

Business in the Community Business Response to COVID-19 - BITC is brokering offers of all types from businesses with organisations making requests.

Volunteering Matters - VM is mobilising professional skills to address skills gaps emerging in the VCSE sector.

Helpforce Assist - Helpforce is connecting the needs of NHS and social care organisations with voluntary offers of time and resources from businesses.

Published 21 April 2020
Last updated 7 August 2020 + show all updates
  1. Omitted the below: Public safety and protecting vulnerable people is a top priority of government. Volunteers play a vital role in supporting the most vulnerable in our society and will play a crucial role in the response to coronavirus. This is especially true in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, where many may find themselves without their usual support networks. When travelling outside your home, walk and cycle if you can. Where this is not possible, use public transport or drive. In England, face coverings are now required by law to be worn in the following settings: shops, supermarkets, indoor transport hubs, indoor shopping centres, banks, building societies, post offices and on public transport. Please be mindful that there are valid exemptions for some individuals and groups to not wear a face covering in these settings. People are also strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in any enclosed public space where there are people they do not normally meet. You can find the legislation here and the GOV.UK guidance has been updated in line with this. When disposing of face coverings and PPE, people should do so in a ‘black bag’ waste bin or litter bin. Face coverings or PPE should not be put in a recycling bin or dropped as litter. Businesses should provide extra bins for staff and customers to dispose of single-use face coverings and PPE, and should ensure that staff and customers do not use a recycling bin. Full details on how to dispose of your personal or business waste during the coronavirus pandemic can be found on GOV.UK.

  2. First published.