Visionary Briefing 10 June 2020

Your Briefing – 10 June 2020
This week including:
It’s all about the money – Funding news, opportunities and updates
Visionary Latest – Online support and training sessions for you and your staff



This week
Visionary latest – how Visionary can support you
Covid-19: A sector-wide approach – How the sector is working together
It’s all about the money – Funding news, opportunities and updates
HR Matters – HR advice and sources of information
Sharing the love – great ideas, successes and stuff that works
In the know – Latest Covid-19 Updates, news and resources



Visionary Latest

Welcome to your weekly briefing. We know that we have been sharing a considerable amount of information over the past few months, including moving this briefing to weekly during the COVID-19 crisis. As we confirmed on Monday, after today, we will be moving back to sending you our in-depth briefing every fortnight.

To supplement this and to ensure that you can be confident you are up to date on support available from Visionary, we will also be sending you a quick Monday email with details of our upcoming sessions for the week along with any other urgent updates that we think might be useful for your organisation.

Support for Visionary Members

Visionary Helpdesk
We can provide immediate advice and support via our Telephone Helpdesk on 020 8090 9264 or email.

Visionary online
Connecting and developing you and your organistions through our programme of regular one-hour support sessions.

We have continued to develop a range of online sessions for this week in response to what you have told us matters to you. We have also taken some time to think about the regular sessions that would be useful for you and are pleased to share that we will now be offering two different types of support:

Sharing and connecting
Regular theme/subject focused groups for you to come together and share experiences, challenges and successes. Upcoming sessions:

Tuesday 16 June – 10am to 11am (and every Tuesday at 10am)
CEO weekly support session
To join, click here or use the dial in details below.
Our regular session for CEOs – no agenda, just an opportunity to share experiences, talk about what is working and find some peer support with what isn’t working so well.

Thursday 18 June – 10am to 11am
Member finance forum
To join, click here or use the dial in details below.
This forum is an opportunity for those interested in the management and oversight of finances and other infrastructure to meet and discuss approaches, challenges and practices in a safe and secure space. Bring specific issues or just join the discussion with colleagues from other Visionary members. If the need ever arises for more specific specialist input then Visionary will assist with this.

Thursday 18 June – 2pm to 3pm
Care home forum
A number of you operate care homes, many of which have been hit hard by COVID-19. Feedback at the first forum held last week was that it is beneficial to meet regularly to share issues with others facing the same challenges and hear about successes they have achieved.

Other groups in development/to be scheduled:

  • Children and Young Peoples’ Services
  • Small Charities
  • Trustees
  • Fundraising

If you are interested in joining any of the themed sessions above, please let us know.

Learning and developing
One off sessions to provide you information, updates and practical training on key issues you have told us matter to you.

Thursday 11 June – 10am to 11am
Overcoming obstacles to returning to the workplace post COVID-19 lockdown
As members look at re-opening offices and services with the ease of restrictions, a range of obstacles are presenting themselves. This interactive session, supported by Galloways trustee and Health and Safety expert Carl Harrison, will be a safe confidential space for Visionary members to discuss issues. Please do come with your questions, individual scenarios and barriers and be prepared to share. You can submit queries in advance here or let us know if you’d prefer us to raise issues/queries anonymously on your behalf.  This session compliments a previous session held last month. You may also find resources in our COVID-19 Knowledge Hub useful if you are considering re-opening your office and services.

Thursday 11 June at 3.30pm to 4.30pm (Please note date changed from Friday 12 June at 10am)
Cyber and Data Security
To join, click here or use the dial in details below.
With many people now working from home, accessing systems remotely and often using their own devices for work, people are rightly concerned about cyber and data security. This session, led by Roger Burgess of Scoria Tech, will help you identify your key risk areas and what steps you can take to ensure you remain secure and compliant. If you have any specific areas of concern or would like to ensure specific issues are addressed then contact us in advance here. Let us know if you’d prefer us to raise issues/queries anonymously upon your behalf.  We will keep you updated guidance and resources we are developing here.

To join any sessions by phone call:
(Toll Free): 0800 169 0432
Access Code: 780-863-517

If you missed any of our previous sessions
CEO Support session – 8 June 2020
7 CEO’s joined the weekly session where we had a really interesting discussion on returning to face to face working and how to do that. We talked about issues specific to those people who need guide communicators, sighted guiding, lip reading and sign language.

PPE came up again and Bob Hughes (Sight for Surrey) offered to share a two page guidance on how to use PPE. It can be found here. Huge thanks to Bob for sharing – and it is ok to copy! Requests were made for help and advice with suppliers of PPE – Visionary is looking into this, so watch out for more information.

Graham Findlay (NESS) talked about the difficulties of sourcing and securing future funding for existing projects which were based around face to face support – when you don’t really know how the projects will look in the future. Mike Jenkins (Camsight) talked about the fundraising opportunities presented by the changes initially made as a result of COVID-19.  Something for our fundraising sessions – so watch this space. We discussed a more permanent move to online working, touching on the advantages and disadvantages – both practical and emotional.

Helen Roseblade (Oxeyes) asked for some advice on the tech aspects of working from home and a few members on the session helped out.  Another one for Visionary to investigate and maybe organise some training and knowledge sharing. We talked about buildings – will we ever need them in the same way again? Again, watch out for a future session!

The power of Visionary members to help each other is inspirational. Next session is Tuesday 16 June at 10am – please join in!

Member Finance Forum – 5 June 2020
This was our first finance forum and was an opportunity for those involved in the management and oversight of an organisation’s finances to meet and discuss approaches, challenges and practices. We discussed what finance systems people are using, managing ICT infrastructure, financial reporting, finance committees/Board, reserves (restricted, unrestricted and designated), remote audit/independent examination and being an experienced finance professional new to the charity sector/SORP.

Attendees welcomed the opportunity to meet in a safe space with other finance focused colleagues and were keen to establish this as a regular forum which Visionary will facilitate. Please share info with your finance colleagues and do join us at our next session on 18 June.

Member care home forum – 4 June 2020
This was the first meeting of this forum following a request from members. Five members joined the session to talk about issues, ask questions and provide support for each other in a safe environment. We discussed health and safety and PPE – issues of quality, access, availability and cost and disparity between NHS sector provision/standards and the care sector. We also discussed the impact of isolation on residents and managing and supporting staff affected both professional and personally by COVID-19.

We discussed how difficult it is to stay on top of constantly changing guidance and regulations. Members were able to share their various practices; with several learning new practices they would implement. Testing is causing great frustration due to difficulties getting NHS medical professionals to provide treatment. Finally we discussed the CQC and how support from them has been very useful, with a member sharing their CQC COVID-19 emergency support framework.

It was very clear that anyone involved in care home provision had and is continuing to face considerable challenges. All attendees expressed that simply meeting and discussing with others in the same situation was an incredibly useful opportunity so please do join us at our next session on 18 June.



Covid-19: A sector-wide approach

Referring people to support for priority access to shopping in England
You can now refer blind and partially sighted people to the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 if they are having difficulty shopping. RNIB now have agreements in place which mean that their Helpline advisers can refer people living in England to Tesco or Iceland for priority online delivery slots. Their advisers can provide the latest information and can connect people to sources of local support.

Unfortunately customers will only be eligible if they live in England, would qualify to be registered as sight impaired or severely sight impaired, and have no local family or friends that can help them shop. RNIB are now working to make sure similar options are made available for blind and partially sighted people in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Please do not encourage anyone who doesn’t meet these criteria to call as we don’t want people disappointed.

If you are talking to someone you think will be eligible for the service, you can put them on hold and call the RNIB helpline. Press option 3 to get through to the advice team direct, explain the person’s circumstances and then transfer them through. RNIB will need to talk to the customer directly to be able to gather consent to share their data with the supermarkets. The supermarkets involved are keen that support is directed and personalised so please do not market this service users through mass emails and newsletters.

COVID-19 Sight Loss Sector Response Group – Please feedback!!
As most of you are aware, the Sight Loss Sector Response Group developed priority information during the coronavirus crisis and agreed that a joint mailing would be sent to blind and partially people via the sight loss registers across the UK. A project closure report is now being developed by RNIB to ensure we record the outcomes from the communication and learn from it. The scale and pace of this work was challenging and we recognise there are lessons we can learn so in the future such joint communication can be more effective.

The report would be more balanced and rounded if it includes the views of Visionary members. The learning, recommendations and how we collaborate as a sector will be critical to how we respond to future crisis and get prompt and relevant information to all blind and visually impaired people in the appropriate format. If you would like to contribute to this report, please email Campbell Chalmers by Wednesday 17 June.

Amazon Fire Tablets for visually impaired people
As a result of an established business partnership, RNIB have been approached by Amazon to support the distribution of a gift of Amazon Fire HD8 32GB Tablets (spec here) to blind and partially sighted people who would benefit most. Visionary have agreed to help with this – along with Guide Dogs, Macular Society, International Glaucoma Association, Blind Veterans UK and Scottish War Blinded.

Visionary are seeking 50 organisations to get involved based on a first come basis. If you would like to take part and know blind and partially sighted people who would benefit from this gift please contact us.

Before you say yes, we would ask that you read the text below, to ensure that you are comfy with the approach Amazon are asking for RNIB and us as partners on this to stick to:

Amazon want a personalised approach to distribution with those who may benefit being directly contacted by phone or email. This opportunity should not be promoted via newsletters, websites or social media. The person you are giving the tablet to needs to:

  • Be blind or partially sighted
  • Be a UK resident
  • Not currently be an owner of a tablet (or owns a tablet which is more than 3 years old) although they can own other devices
  • Currently have access to the internet
  • Use the tablet for connecting with friends, family, accessing services etc

If you are one of the first 50 organisations to get in touch, Visionary will issue your organisation with a fixed agreement to sign and return to RNIB Key Accounts to secure voucher codes to secure up to 10 Tablets for your organisation.

Once you have identified the eligible people you want to gift the tablet too, you can either:

  • Supply an organisational delivery address along with the voucher codes in order for you to undertake the distribution of all devices directly to the agreed recipients (there is a one off parcel delivery charge for 10 tablets of £4.95 payable by your organisation); or
  • Secure the recipients consent to share information and contact RNIB Key Accounts with the list of names, addresses and phone numbers (along with the secure voucher codes). This will give RNIB permission as a data processor to send the product out directly to the customer. Please note – all data will then be deleted. There is a parcel delivery charge of £4.95 per tablet payable by your organisation (maximum charge per organisation of £49.50 for 10 Tablets; Amazon do not want this charge passed onto the customer).

There is no warranty or returns with this gift and the device is not for resale. There is a parcel delivery charge of £4.95 per tablet payable by your organisation (maximum charge per organisation of £49.50 for 10 Tablets), Amazon do not want this charge passed onto the customer.

The Amazon Fire Tablets will be accompanied by a simple/accessible starter guide. It is important that people receive the offer of technology support so as they can make best use of the Tablet. You may have your own technology support service – let people know that and encourage them to use it.  If not, you can suggest that they access RNIB Technology for Life service via the RNIB Helpline.

Finally, we would ask you to source and share with Visionary any ‘thank you’ quotes, stories and pictures which we will collate and feedback to Amazon via RNIB.

The offer will close on Thursday 25 June.

Accessible communications campaign win!
In April, alongside colleagues from RNIB, Sense, Sign Health, TPT and Action on Hearing Loss, we wrote to the Prime Minister to raise awareness of the challenges created by a lack of accessible information. We are pleased that on 20 May the Minister for Disabled People confirmed that he had appointed an official who would lead on accessible communications and make sure that Government departments, the NHS and Public Health England would share information in a variety of accessible formats. The accessible communications group that Visionary is still part of is now working on a shopping list to put to the government lead to ensure the government provide more accessible information about COVID-19 and the rules about lockdown and social distancing.



It’s all about the money

Statutory Funding: Local Authority Discretional Grants Fund
This is a new government grant that is mainly intended for small businesses, but charity properties getting charitable business rates relief are eligible if they are not eligible for small business rates relieve or rural rate relief. Find out more here.

The National Lottery Fund: COVID-19 Community Emergency Fund 
Last week the National Lottery Community Fund finally announced it’s plans for distributing the Government’s emergency fund for small charities via the COVID-19 Community Response Fund. The application process is two stage and you can expect there to be intense competition. £200 million will be distributed in the first tranche, with the remaining £150 million being held back to review pending learning from the take up of the first tranche. Key points:

  • Grants available starting from £300
  • Organisations supporting people and communities who experience disproportionate challenge and difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 crisis
  • Organisations providing services and support for vulnerable people, for which there will be increased demand as a result of the COVID-19 crisis
  • Organisations which connect communities and support communities to work together to respond to COVID-19

Apply as soon as you can, they are assessing on a first come basis. Contact Visionary if you need any support.

20% of Scottish charities face ‘critical threat’ to financial future
Read more from the recent OSCR report here.

Reporting on your charity’s accounts
A recent review by the Charity Commission on the depth/detail of what is reported in charity’s accounts has highlighted some areas of concern. This report outlines key areas and offers advice and guidance on how and why these additional areas of information should be relayed. Areas covered include:
•    Public benefit reporting
•    Reporting reserves
•    Related party transactions
•    External scrutiny benchmark

Charity sector predicting major falls in income
It’s no surprise that income will be down for our sector this year. Think again if you’re anticipating holding postponed events later in the year – lots of people are cancelling theirs and it’ll be a very crowded market place for charity shops and fundraising events alike. Some clear examples here:
•    Age UK expects to lose a third of its income this year
•    Cancer Research UK cancels all 2020 Race for Life events
•    Pandemic hits charity investment income



HR Matters

How to treat certain expenses and benefits provided to employees during COVID-19 
COVID-19 has changed how many of us work and for some this may have had an impact upon expenses claims – in particular in realation to homeworking. Find out more here about taxable expenses and benefits when they are paid to employees and how to report them to HMRC.

NHS test and trace: workplace guidance
This guidance explains how employers and businesses can play their part in the NHS test and trace programme, developed to manage the risk of the virus re-emerging as restrictions on everyday life are eased.

Furlough – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
As anticipated, the furlough Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing – full details here. Key points to note are:

  • The final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time is 10 June – this ensures the 3-week minimum can be met before the scheme will closes for new entrants on 30 June.
  • From July, you can bring people back into work part time – paying them their usual wage for the hours they work and making a furlough claim for the hours they don’t.
  • You will have heard that employers will need to start making contributions to the cost of the scheme:
  • August – Furlough grant still pays 80% of wages (up to a cap of £2,500) – BUT employer now needs to pay ER NIC’s and pension contributions.
  • September – Furlough grant now only pays 70% of wages (up to a cap of £2,187.50) BUT employers will now pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.
  • October – Furlough grant now only pays 60% of wages (up to a cap of £1,875). BUT employers will now pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.
  • There is currently no change to the rule that employees cannot volunteer for their employer.
  • The furlough scheme is still anticipated to end completely on 30th October.
  • Currently all sectors receive the same level of furlough grant – though there is speculation some sectors may be treated differently.

Further guidance on flexible furloughing and how employers should calculate claims will be published on 12 June. We will share details as soon as practicable.



Sharing the love

Volunteering drive to help reopen charity shops
The Charity Retail Association (CRA) has launched a new initiative to match potential volunteers with charity shops when they reopen on or after 15 June. Interested members of the public can sign up online to volunteer. CRA hope that young people in particular will put themselves forward, as many older volunteers could remain shielded for some time. Charity retailers with vacancies will also be able to search a database and identify potential volunteers by location and charity interest. Find out more here.

Devon InSight – Risk Assessment Template
Devon InSight have created a really useful COVID-19 Risk Assessment which might be a useful template if you are considering how you make the return to your office environments. The document can be found here – a huge thank-you to Devon InSight for sharing this work with us and all of you! A reminder also about our health and safety online session taking place tomorrow and the useful materials on this subject our knowledge hub.

Safeguarding is everyone’s business
As you will be aware, the current lockdown restrictions mean that right now, vulnerable children and adults may be particularly isolated. This means that the family, community and professional networks they usually rely on may be unavailable or hard to access. As lock down restrictions ease and people are more easily able to mix then you may notice something is wrong or someone may try and share concerns with you. This guidance covers signs to spot and what to do if there is a concern, along with posters for displaying in the workplace.

Safeguarding resources
You can access specific safeguarding resources, policies and downloadable documents here.

Help to build better AI!
City University are looking for volunteers to use a new iPhone app to take short videos of things that are important to them. When developed, it is hoped that this app will allow thousands of people to contribute imagery to help train AI behind smartphone apps.

They are looking for blind and partially sighted adults (18 years or older) who live in the UK, speak English fluently and have an iPhone. Participation would involve filling in a background survey and using an iPhone app to take videos of things you might want your phone to recognise. Participants will receive a £50 Amazon voucher in appreciation of your time. If you are interested in participating in the study please contact Lida Theodorou. You can read more here.



In the know

Closure of Vision UK
It is with great sadness that we share that earlier this week, Vision UK confirmed that they would be closing as of 31 July 2020. You can read the full statement on closure from Vision UK here.

Reporting serious incidents due to COVID-19 to the Charity Commission/OSCR
The Charity Commission has updated its guidance for trustees on what needs to be reported as a serious incident during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is likely many Visionary members will need to make such reports. Check the guidance and make a judgement. The Commission advises that if in doubt, report!

  • Charity Commission Guidance
  • OSCR have not provided any specific COVID-19 advice but please find their usual reporting guidance here. They also have a COVID-19 informations hub here.

Potential Employers’ Liability Claims arising from COVID-19 – How to mimimise the risk to your charity
Visionary are attending this webinar and we are also seeking to develop a member session on this in the near future. Issues covered will include:
•    How claims may arise
•    Your risks and obligations as an employer
•    Likely financial impact
•    How potential claims may be investigated and defended

Disability charities say sector has been forgotten during COVID-19 
Ten disability charities (including RNIB) have criticised the Government for allowing people “to fall through the cracks” with the group saying that disabled people have been failed by the government as many key services for disabled people have failed to secure emergency funding. Read more here.

Most charities expect an increase in demand for their services 
Do you think that you will see an increase in demand when you restart face to face services? Read more here.

Government launches new portal for care homes to arrange COVID-19 testing
All care home staff and residents are now eligible for testing with priority for those in homes that look after the over-65s. Read more here.



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