The Government first announced plans for a shared ownership right to buy in October 2019. At the time the sector raised concerns about the impact the plans would have on housing associations ability to borrow. An election and a pandemic later the Government announced, during the CIH Housing Festival last week, the return of the right to shared ownership as part of its Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
As the weeks go on, we are all continuing to find new ways to keep connected and celebrate holidays and festivals together, such as Easter and Ramadan.
Charities are leading the way with some great fundraising ideas in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown. Last week saw Guide Dogs host a virtual tea party on National Tea Day, in an effort to make a Guinness World Record for the world’s biggest virtual tea party. Cancer Research UK has also launched a virtual version of Race For Life, its annual racing event, which last year raised £33 million. And last but not least, 41 of our ACS staff donned their trainers on Sunday morning to run the equivalent of nine-and-a-half London marathons to raise money for the UK Sepsis Trust!
Catch up with the latest charity news and updates in this week’s round-up.
- The Charity Commission has warned that charities are at increased financial risk during the coronavirus crisis and may be targeted by fraudsters, as the police report increases in coronavirus-related scams. In response, the Commission has published new guidance to help charities work through coronavirus-related financial difficulties. It emphasised the importance of trustees always considering the best interests of the charity and of communication with staff, volunteers and users. Click here to see the Commission’s latest guidance. We are on hand to help if your charity needs advice on using restricted funds and permanent endowment or cancelling and varying contracts.
- The Fundraising Regulator has also published new guidance for the public on what to consider when setting up a fundraising appeal. The guidance sets out a few key issues for fundraisers to consider – for example, working with existing charities where possible.
- Also this week, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Office for the Civil Society published a new webpage that put lots of helpful links to guidance for voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations in one place.
For practical advice on the issues charities are facing, see our charities e-briefing, which contains a link to our guidance note.
Coronavirus-related funding for charities
Following the Government’s announcement of its £750 million package for charities, Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has told a parliamentary committee that emergency grants could be distributed to charities as early as this week. The £350 million package for smaller charities (handled by the National Lottery Community Fund) would likely be staggered whilst the criteria for grants are fine-tuned. It is yet to be confirmed when the scheme for small charities will open though, and the Government has been criticised for “not moving swiftly enough” on coronavirus funds.
Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has called for the Government to use “radical ideas” to make £1 billion available for charities during the coronavirus crisis. This could include measures such as making Gift Aid automatic, nationalising the National Fund and the use of “living legacies" so that people can bring forward gifts to charities in their wills.
The National Emergencies Trust has distributed another £5 million of its coronavirus related funds. Distribution criteria include factors such as “levels of deprivation and demographics in each region”. Rather than applying directly to the National Emergencies Trust (NET), charities should apply to their local foundation for funding. Find your local Community Foundation here.
Businesses are also providing financial help and support to charities. Supermarkets have been donating millions to the Trussell Trust and FareShare. Aviva has donated £10 million to the British Red Cross, whilst HSBC has donated £1 million to the NET. Businesses have also teamed up to support charities and communities by launching new initiatives to get resources delivered to the right places.
The Chancellor has announced that the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended to last until the end of June, meaning that charities can continue to furlough staff until that time. Meanwhile, we are continuing to hear of charities using the scheme as much as they can. Girlguiding is to furlough more than half of its staff and the British Heart Foundation has furloughed around 80% of its staff, the majority of whom work in its charity shops. Christian Aid is also planning to furlough 20% of its UK staff whilst all other staff will work a four-day week.
See our employment e-briefing for more information about furloughing and who is eligible.
If you would like more details about anything in this newsletter please contact Sarah Tomlinson or your usual ACS contact.
Sarah is an Associate in the Charities and Social business team, with over 15 years’ experience and specialises in charity governance, regulatory issues and mergers. Out of the office (and when not in lockdown!), Sarah enjoys going to the theatre, is a school governor and does a lot of running around after her four children!
Two final pieces of the possession jigsaw have been published on 15 September 2020. Mr Justice Knowles’ working group on possession proceedings has issued its guidance on the “overall arrangements” for possession proceedings.
One change proposed by the Building Safety Bill is the introduction of a duty holder regime, which will see statutory responsibility for the safety of higher risk buildings placed on key individuals
Throughout this pandemic, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been publishing various “Statements on Coronavirus” (Statements) which provide guidance on consumer rights during this time.
A recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the UK means new measures are being put in place in an effort to reduce the risk of a second wave. Whilst the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt, it is important to remain focused on the sector’s road to recovery.
Sometimes half an hour at a conference gives you the reality that has been staring you in the face all along. That was my experience watching “Change is on the Horizon”
Following our recent e-briefing on Possession Notices, Helen Tucker and Emilie Pownall from our housing litigation team discuss the impact of the changes on social landlords.
Not only has the possession stay been extended until 20 September, the notice periods to be given to tenants has been extended in certain circumstances with some important exceptions.
The Court has confirmed that a party cannot withhold its consent in order to re-write the original bargain.
Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, building safety continues to be a key concern for social housing providers and their residents.
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