The services and activities community groups deliver are important to local people, but there is a lot for you to consider to get back up and running as safely as possible whilst covid-19 is still circulating.
The primary source of information about coronavirus and what we need to do or can do is GOV.UK, but we have included some additional guidance and links tailored to the voluntary and community sector to support you to assess and manage the risks of reopening premises and restarting services. We will update the links to external guidance information as quickly and often as we can.
Community First Yorkshire (CFY)
Community First Yorkshire (CFY) are available to support you with information and guidance. They have brought together a lot of helpful information to guide voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations and groups back into resuming operations.
On this page you can find links to guidance about re-opening a village hall or other community building; delivering community transport; data collection to support test and trace; re-opening playgrounds and more. Community First Yorkshire will keep this information up to date.
Risk assessing whether, when, and how to re-open or resume activities
The risk assessment process will help you decide whether you can manage the risks associated with coronavirus well enough re-open or resume your services. You will already have risk assessments in place which you re-visit when anything changes so this will be a familiar process.
How can you reasonably remove or reduce the risks introduced by coronavirus for your volunteers, staff and service users when they deliver services or come to your venue or take part in an activity? What risks are there if you don’t resume activities? This is a balancing act. Can you adapt your working model by running more sessions but with fewer people attending each session? Do you need to keep delivering remotely for all or some?
The CFY guidance includes support for undertaking the risk assessment process but you can use your existing system for this process if you are confident that it is sufficiently robust. If you want some additional guidance The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have produced detailed information. Obviously guidance from bodies like HSE is directed at a huge range of businesses and workplaces and as with all guidance you will need to adapt it for your situation.
Government guidance for re-opening multi use community facilities
This guidance will help those managing village halls and other community buildings and will be useful for organisations who rely on venues like these. The owners or managers of community buildings will need to ensure that they are covid-secure before allowing groups back in to run activities. Groups using a community building will need to co-operate with requirements laid down by the hall management. If your group depends on the venue can you help them to re-open by e.g. offering to help with cleaning after your activity? Groups running activities or holding meetings will be responsible for running the activity in a covid secure way.
Talk to your insurers
Make sure that you keep your insurers updated about your activities and any temporary closure or changes. Contact them to discuss your plans to restart your service and activities to ensure that they are happy to maintain your cover.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
As part of your risk assessment you will need to consider whether your staff or volunteers need to wear PPE. However, current government guidance is that for most workers outside health and social care settings there is very little scientific evidence of widespread benefit from PPE. Using social distancing, face coverings and practising good hand hygiene are crucial to reducing the risk of infection.
Supporting the NHS Test and Trace Service
Many services are required to keep records of those using their services or attending their premises. In line with GDPR, records should record the minimum information to achieve the purpose – so date, name, contact number and ideally time in and out. Records should be kept securely, only shared if requested with the NHS Test and Trace and destroyed after 21 days. Venues owned by local authorities and religious groups need to record details of venue users so groups using those venues will need to support this. It is good practice for groups using other venues to keep records in the same way to support the Test and trace system.
NHS test and trace helps to make sure that anyone who develops symptoms of Covid-19 can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus.
It also helps to trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and, if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home.
By playing your part you will help protect people in North Yorkshire and contain the virus in your community by reducing its spread.
Find more information about test and trace and how we can all help to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including a link to communications packs with posters you can display in your venue.
You can find information about outbreak management, including reporting an outbreak.
Providing services for adults
If you are providing a service which North Yorkshire County Council has commissioned from your organisation, your commissioning manager will discuss re-starting delivery with you. The Department of Health and Social Care has produced guidance for day care managers, social workers, commissioners and providers with a focus on community-based day services, day centres (with and without personal care), including specialised day centre environments, and those with outdoor spaces.
Our Health and Adult Services have put together communication packs about staying safe through covid-19 and using the Test and Trace system which might help you pass on clear messages to your service users.
Providing activities for children
The National Youth Agency, the Professional Statutory and Regulatory Body for youth work in England has worked with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive to provide youth sector specific advice and guidance.
The Early Years Alliance has provided information to support early years providers with links to government guidance.
The CFY website also has helpful information from ACRE about re-opening nurseries and preschools in village halls or other community venues.
Supporting your service users to stay safe
You might also want to keep your service users up to date on government guidance for individuals about:
Support for voluntary and community groups from North Yorkshire County Council’s Stronger Communities Programme
Your Stronger Communities Delivery Manager will be happy to talk with you about your plans and direct you to other help or guidance where necessary. Read more information about Stronger Communities.
The Stronger Communities Programme is making Covid-19 Community Grants available to community groups and organisations to support the costs of reopening premises or resuming activities. These grants are currently capped at £1000. For more information contact your local Stronger Communities Delivery Manager or email Stronger.email@example.com
Reporting an outbreak
An outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 among individuals associated with a specific setting with onset dates within 14 days.
To answer any questions our partners may have about the measures and actions we are taking to prevent and manage outbreaks across North Yorkshire, we have set up a public health email account firstname.lastname@example.org. The email account for queries from partners is monitored Monday to Friday and a member of the Public Health team will reply to emails as soon as possible.