This page outlines how we are working with voluntary and community during COVID-19.
You can find more information and support on the main COVID-19 page.
A message of thanks
For Kingston's volunteers and community from Cllr Caroline Kerr, Leader of Kingston Council, and Ian Thomas, CEO.
Voluntary and community organisations play a key role in Kingston. We are lucky to have a range of active and vibrant groups, and many groups have been working hard to protect and support our most vulnerable residents whilst we face the challenge of Covid 19.
There is a range of information and guidance available at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.You can also read the latest government advice for trustees and people who manage charities.
What volunteer support does your organisation need?
As a part of the Kingston Stronger Together partnership, Kingston Council, Volunteering Kingston and Kingston Voluntary Action are working together to match volunteers into roles established to support shielded, vulnerable and other residents in self-isolation.
We are seeking to understand what further volunteering support organisations require in their response to COVID-19. This can also include support to manage capacity within your organisation. If you are an voluntary organisation you can request support and we can source volunteers for you.
What we're doing to help voluntary and community groups
Working with civil society to coordinate volunteers
Kingston Council, Kingston Voluntary Action and Volunteering Kingston have launched the Kingston Stronger Together.support hub So far there have been over 1000 volunteers come forward to offer support. Find out how you can volunteer here. The Mayor of London's team have issued guidance for volunteers on how to stay safe while helping others including advice on protecting vulnerable groups, and there is also our Information for volunteers page.
Offering stability to groups we fund
All contracts with existing voluntary and community sector groups who provide services on our behalf have now been extended until September 2021. We have also joined a national pledge to offer reassurance the voluntary sector that we stand with it during this challenging time. We are committed to providing help if needed to adapt activities, discuss reporting deadlines, providing financial flexibility and generally listening to any concerns you have.
Offering security to local groups
Voluntary and community groups who lease their building from Kingston Council may be entitled to a three month rent holiday from us. Priority will be given if the headquarters of the organisation is in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames; the majority of the organisation's service users live, work or study in Kingston; the organisation holds less than 3 months' operational reserves; the organisation has not received any other major emergency funding in response to the Covid 19 crisis. You may not need to meet all criteria - please get in touch at [email protected] if you think you may be eligible.
Paying emergency funds for crucial services
We have paid all providers of Adult Social Care an immediate cash injection, totalling more than £150,000 for Voluntary and Community Sector organisations. We have also provided funds for urgent help to those in need of food, accommodation and other urgent support.
Helping all groups get the funding they need
The government and other agencies have released funds to go directly to the Voluntary and Community Sector. For example, London Funders have launched London Community Response, which provides emergency financial support for organisations across the capital. To ensure that Kingston groups access these, we are funding a new post to work in the community supporting organisations to bid for funding available. Details of other funding in place during COVID-19 (Coronavirus) can be found at Kingston Voluntary Action and a post by Charity Excellence here.
Supporting the wellbeing of staff of local VCS organisations
Kingston Council's Employee Assistance Programme is now open to staff of local voluntary organisations for next 12 months to provide advice and guidance in relation on a variety of health and wellbeing issues together with up to 6 sessions of one-to-one counselling.
If you are interested in volunteering, please view our Information for volunteers page.