COVID-19 – Friday newsletter from Rob at Our Lancashire! 15/05/2020

Sum-up of VCF activity & initiatives from Our Lancashire

Good morning and welcome to my Friday newsletter.  There quite a lot this week so grab a brew, take 5 (maybe even 10!) and have a good read!

Firstly, I have sent out a few emails around the Community Foundation for Lancashire (CFL).  Later in the newsletter is some exciting information of local groups that have applied and received funding within 7 days, and their projects are already having an impact on our community!   If you do not know about it, need some help or advice around it, please get in touch with me (Contact details are at the very end).

The website for CFL is here

Next up the attachments. 

MS Teams & Tackling Poverty in Lancashire Zoom meeting

Thanks to Scott Brerton (Social investment specialist for Onward Homes) for the information about free licences for Microsoft Teams, I know a lot of people use Zoom for video conferencing but teams does have some additional functionality that is worth considering.  Also, check out the Tackling Poverty meeting which is coming soon (details on the PDF).

Violence Reduction Network Survey.

The Violence Reduction Network & Lancashire Resilience Forum have been developing a Domestic and Sexual Abuse Survey to better understand what is currently happening within service providers and, using their professional judgement, to start to plan for the post-lockdown period.

The aim for this survey is to go to as wide a range of agencies and partners as possible, and not just those who have a primary focus on domestic and sexual abuse. We are aware that there are other agencies and, in particular third sector providers, who may have picked up referrals and request for support around domestic and sexual issues almost as secondary or incidental to their main areas of work.  Contact details on where to return it are on the document, and responses are required by 22nd May.

BwD Careers Service.

The BwD Careers Service normally support anybody over the age of 19 or 18 if NEET (not in employment education or training).  In response to COVID 19 they have been extended their services to a younger age group – those in School Years 11, 12 and 13 who would like some careers advice on making their next step. 

Other updates

Sport England Funding.

A recent update from Sport England can be found here.  They have taken the decision to pause funding while they deal with existing applications and will then review their situation

Ecclesiastical Movement For Good Awards.

Gail from the Our Lancashire team (Pendle & Ribble Valley) shared that the Ecclesiastical Movement For Good have just launched their 2020 award scheme.  500 charities will each receive a £1000 grant. This is open to charities of all sizes and is essentially a prize draw of any nominated organisation. (Terms and conditions apply re eligibility.)   Nomination is quick and easy via this link and is open until Sunday 24th May. 

Lancashire Mind.

Ruth from Lancashire Mind got in contact to update that the Blackburn with Darwen and Clayton Brook Community Wellbeing Challenges have merged to one Challenge that now meets on a Thursday.

The Challengers have formed a questionnaire as part of their designing the end of course project and are asking for people to to fill in their survey  The link for the questionnaire is here.

Challengers are residents who want to make a difference to their community, and over 10 weeks are developing a project that will promote mental wellbeing.  They are being supported by Lancashire Mind to do this.

Youth Endowment Fund.

Gemma from the our Lancashire team (Preston) emailed me to make me aware that the Youth Endowment Fund have opened a new £6.5m COVID-19 grant round to support vulnerable young people at risk of youth violence.

“With access to schools restricted and the provision of youth services severely reduced, young people at risk of youth violence have lost much of the help and guidance they rely on. At the same time, they have become increasingly harder to reach.

Our new grant round will help organisations adapt and deliver activities to reach and support these vulnerable children during the COVID-19 pandemic, under social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines.  The application window will be open for four weeks from and will close midday Wednesday 3rd June 2020.”  You can visit the Youth Endowment Fund website here.

Local Group Projects benefitting from Community Foundation for Lancashire Grants

As promised at the beginning, here are some updates on exciting local projects that have been successful in receiving funding through the Community Foundation for Lancashire.  No matter how big or small your group, whether you have just started up or been running for 20 years, you can apply too!

Rummage Rescuers CIC – Free PPE

You may have received my email yesterday to let you know about this one…

Following a successful application to the Community Foundation for Lancashire, Rummage Rescuers CIC are going to purchase and distribute free PPE to charities/volunteers/frontline workers completely free of charge!  There may well be high demand so please be patient and they will respond as quickly as possible.

If this is something that your organisation can benefit from, please email with the following information:

•          Name of organisation

•          Amount of staff per week

•          Where the items can be dropped off/drop off point

•          Named contact and their email address

Jubilee Tower Credit Union

“At Jubilee Tower Credit Union we wanted to ensure that our members and people who use our additional services are able to access cash when they need it, despite us having had to curtail all our outreach provision, the grant enabled us to sign up to the Post Office PayoutNOW service. Thanks also to the speed at which the Post Office implementation team worked on our behalf we are now able to issue text message ‘vouchers’ so our members can pick up cash at their local Post Office rather than having to travel to our main office. We have already helped people who have lost their credit union debit cards to access their cash quickly and helped individuals access funds to top–up their gas and electricity prepayment meters. We have also implemented our Jubilee Tower Credit Union App, allowing members to view balances and message us securely as well as being able to sign documents electronically. This has speeded up applications and helps people avoid additional travel to visit our office.”

We don’t offer the service online, but people can visit our website (that we’ve also managed to get up and running during the last week) at or call us on 01254 776611

CB Partners Craft Buckets

CB Partners used their grant to create 200 craft buckets containing various items that can be used creatively and distributed them to local residents who requested them through their website using a promotional code.  Joanne (SAMS Project Manager) said “We feel that a productive pastime during this difficult period will be good for everyone to promote Emotional Health and Wellbeing – regardless of age or gender!”

There were 200 Craft buckets available to residents in BB1, BB2, BB3 and limited to one per household – they went within hours!!!

Blackburn Food Bank.

Blackburn Foodbank has received support from the Community Foundation for Lancashire.  Here is a link to our website.

We support people in crisis and enable them to get back on their feet.  This is mostly through providing food however, in normal circumstances, we offer other services too.  All food given out is nutritious and tailored to needs. 

180 Project.

The 180 Project help adults [18+], who are in early recovery from addiction, to become the best version of themselves. Every individual has amazing skills and abilities. We help them tap into these so they become more confident, resilient, make new friends and find their purpose in life… and we do this very differently. We use fun and challenging fitness sessions to bring people together combined with life coaching and practical skill development opportunities.

This grant will help ensure our new on-line and digital service is as exciting and engaging as possible for our existing participants. It will also help us to expand our offer to help more people who are facing pressures on the back of COVID-19. Thank you CFL!  You can visit the 180 Project website here.

Blackburn Youth Zone

Blackburn Youth Zones aim is to strengthen the community, by using our existing networks to ensure food is delivered to households that are low income and are struggling to provide nutritious food through the current pandemic.

BYZ has launched the ‘Covid-19 Whatever it takes’ project to ensure no family is going without food and social interaction during this time period. The meals we will be provided through the project will bridge the gap for families going through financial difficulty. Over 7000 members of the community have fed into the group since March 2020 and we supply over 80 meals a day to families coming from all different walks of life and situations

And finally…

The little things make my day.   When I logged in to my computer this morning and saw an email from Whitehall Park Gardening Club that said, “I had already made a start registering our club on your site. I have now submitted it and have already been contacted by one new volunteer. Brilliant!” it brought a big smile to my face. 

So, if you are a community group or organisation, charity or not for profit then make sure you register and create a group on the Our Lancashire website.  Each group (subject to t&C) can get 15 free volunteer DBS checks!

Have a great weekend everybody and send me any updates you have for the newsletter next week by Thursday please!