COVID-19 Support

News and information

Please click on the headings below to read the latest news and information regarding COVID-19. The information includes local and national updates and support for York’s voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE). Items are posted in date order with the most recent first.

CYC Ask the leaders Q&A - 16 July

14 July | CYC Ask the leaders

Ask the leaders Q&A

The council’s next Facebook live ‘Ask the Leaders’ event will take place on Thursday 16 July 5-6pm, where a panel will answer questions about York’s short and long term recovery, discussing the  Our Big Conversation consultation, and what devolution might mean for York’s future. 

Residents can interact with the session by either submitting questions in advance by emailing them to or commenting on the live video on Facebook from 5pm on Thursday 16 July, where leaders will read out questions and respond*. Questions may be answered by theme rather than individually, so that the conversation covers as many topics as possible.

More information is available in our press release.

CYC extended small and micro grant scheme now open

1 June | CYC small and micro grants

Extended small and micro grant scheme now open

You can now apply for the extended and upgraded City of York Council (CYC) grant scheme for small and micro businesses which have so far missed out on government support.

The grants will benefit small businesses including those in shared offices and flexible work spaces, science parks and incubators. Regular market traders without a business rates assessment, nurseries, B&Bs paying council tax instead of business rates, and charity properties which all missed out under previous schemes will also be eligible.

CYC are using an additional £2.2m discretionary government fund to expand the small and micros grant scheme, which has already supported over 1000 local businesses affected by the coronavirus.

Applications opened at 9am today (Monday 1 June), and will be issued on a first-come first served basis so please do not delay your application.

Apply here

Check if your organisation can claim rate relief

27 May | Rate Relief

You can check the City of York Council website to see if your organisation is eligible for one-off grants, introduced to support small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF)   
Under the SBGF businesses in England in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rates Relief (RRR) in the business rates system, will get a payment of £10,000, if they meet eligibility criteria.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG)
Under the RHLG businesses in England in receipt of Expanded Retail Discount (ERD), with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will get cash grants, if they meet eligibility criteria. The amount of grant varies based on rateable value (RV):

  •     RV up to £15,000 will get £10,000
  •     RV over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will get £25,000
  •     RV of £51,000 or over are not eligible for this scheme

Businesses which are not rate-payers in the business rates system, are not included in this scheme.

Check now

Which coronavirus roles require a DBS check?

20 May | Volunteering information

Tower Hamlets Volunteer Centre has put together a comprehensive guide to help organisations decide whether to carry out DBS checks on volunteers who are applying for common roles that are being developed in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Feedback from the DBS and NCVO has been obtained on the information set out as well as guidance taken from the Government’s safeguarding and DBS factsheet.

View information sheet

Weekly VCSE sector update

6 May | Weekly update

Weekly VCSE sector update

29 April | Weekly update

Rachael Maskell MP to hold weekly surgery for organisations

28 April | Press Release

The surgeries will create opportunities for organisations to share their experiences of the current crisis and how they will need support to continue to provide services to their communities.

Over 20 million1 people dedicate time to volunteer each year, they are the glue that hold our society together. Each volunteer is supported by one of 168,0002 different organisations without the right support many charities fear that they will not be able to survive the current crisis.

It is estimated that this 12 week period will cost the sector £4.3bn3 The Government have so far announced £750m4, of which most will go towards providing additional services at this time. Many organisations are not eligible for the Government’s financial packages and are therefore looking to Government for financial support to underpin their organisations through the lockdown period and beyond. As the same time, most organisations will not be able to participate in their normal fundraising activities, of which this season is often the most prominent for them.

Rachael Maskell said:

“No matter how large or small, all charities are facing serious challenges at this time. I want to create an opportunity for organisations across the sector to talk through the challenges that confront them, how they require support from Government and wider society and their long term aspirations, and champion their work in Parliament.”

COVID-19: Impact on York's VCSE sector

23 April | COVID-19: Impact on York’s VCSE sector

How is the pandemic impacting your organisation?
We’ve created an online survey to try to gain a wider understanding of how the pandemic is impacting York’s voluntary, community and social enterprise sector’s finances and staffing; and the potential impact this may be having on beneficiaries. The information you provide will support our direct conversations with funders and governing bodies, and will shape our services, to ensure the sector has the support it needs now and in the future.

Survey deadline: Friday 1 May

Complete survey here

Week 4 update for York's VCSE sector

22 April | Weekly update

This week’s update for York’s voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE) includes:

Read the weekly update in full

Rachael Maskell MP appointed to serve as the Shadow Minister for the voluntary sector

13 April | Press Release

Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central is delighted to have been appointed as the Shadow Minister for the Voluntary Sector. As a National Officer at Unite the Union, and formally Amicus, she led the sector for 7 years, championing the needs of the sector and all those who worked in it. Her experience of working with charities, voluntary organisations, community groups, co-operatives and social enterprises will put her in good stead as she takes to be their champion in Parliament.

York’s MP recognises the immense contribution that charities play across our society in supporting people in need, bringing vital services to people as well as giving people opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have. At this critical time in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis, Rachael will speak up for the sector who are literally providing the glue holding our society together. She recognises the financial fragility of voluntary sector organisations, which are estimated to lose £4.3bn over the next 12 weeks, while the Government have only allocated £750m to prop up parts of the sector.

Rachael Maskell says:

“The Voluntary Sector needs a voice in Parliament, now more than ever, to scrutinise the Government and ensure that it can be resilient at this very difficult time. I will be that voice and will work closely with the sector to ensure that there is a greater focus on the work that an army of dedicated volunteers donate to enhancing our society. The sector is the source of innovation, compassion, creativity and service that holds our society together. I will amplify its voice, fight for its needs and secure its future. I commence this new role by saying ‘thank you’ for your service as I seek to serve you.”

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) updates

9 April | NHS Vale of York CCG updates

Update 1: Dr Nigel Wells, Clinical Chair of NHS Vale of York CCG about the work of the CCG and partners during this time.

Update 2: Open letter to GP patients in North Yorkshire and Vale of York about the changes to primary care services

Government announce support for sector

9 April | NCVO

Yesterday evening, Chancellor of Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced a £750m emergency support package for “front-line charities” affected by the coronavirus crisis but the sector says that it’s not enough.

Karl Wilding, Chief Executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) published the following statement in response to the announcement:

With charity shops shut and fundraising events cancelled, we estimate charities stand to lose around £4bn in 12 weeks as a result of the crisis. We have been pushing for government support because we know how many people and communities rely on the services charities provide, many of which are now at risk.

Today’s announcement is an important first step, though it will not be enough to prevent good charities around the country from closing their doors. Even many that survive will look very different in a few months’ time, with a severely reduced capacity to provide the support that people rely on.

At a time of crisis, charities want and need to be able to give their all to supporting people who need it most. They cannot do that if they have to suspend their work or close altogether. We know this is not something that the government wishes to see any more than we do, so we will continue to push for the support needed so that charities can keep serving the public. We would welcome a commitment from the government to review the level of this support as the crisis continues.


Volunteer ID badges and validation letters

6 April | York CVS update

York CVS are working alongside City of York Council and North Yorkshire Police to ensure volunteers have the right identification and documentation to be able to volunteer safely. To ensure North Yorkshire Police know that your volunteers are legitimate, please could you action one of the following:

We have ID badges:
If your organisation’s volunteers have photo ID badges already or you are able to facilitate this, please send a jpg image of a sample of this ID badge to: Please also provide the name of your organisation and your contact details so that the police are aware of who to contact if there are any difficulties. Please note it is good practice for an organisation to hold a list of named volunteers that are going out into the community.

We do not have ID badges:
If you do not have photo ID badges for your organisation’s volunteers and they are going out into the community, please send the following to:

  • Jpg image of your logo
  • A photo of each of your volunteers – a passport-style photo taken on your smartphone. Please save the file as the name required on that ID badge e.g. John.Brown.jpg.
  • Your contact details

Once we have received your files, we will contact the Council to confirm that you are a recognised organisation and forward any ID requests on to Move the Masses, who are processing the ID badges. Please note that there will not be a charge to your organisation. Unfortunately, we cannot provide ID badges for staff who are not going out into the community but you can arrange this directly with Move the Masses with a charge required.

We will be periodically issuing a list to the Council and North Yorkshire Police of recognised groups and organisations that are providing a COVID-19 response and need to be out in the community. This will be accompanied by a visual catalogue of ID badges used per group/organisation. It is of course optional to be part of this process.

Healthwatch York urge local employers to help protect the most vulnerable

3 April | Healthwatch York Press Release

Healthwatch York, part of York CVS, has published a press release urging local employers to make sure they fully understand the personal circumstances of each of their employees and to take a common-sense approach where continuing in their duties puts lives at risk.

This message comes after hearing directly from people who believe they are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus but who have not received a letter or live with someone in this situation, and those who live with a vulnerable individual for whom the guidance simply isn’t possible, either due to their living arrangements or the nature of their work.

Healthwatch York is also urging the Government to extend the shielding advice to cover household members where limiting contact is not possible, and employees living with those being shielded where the nature of their work prevents social distancing.

Read the press release in full here.

York CVS' weekly update: guidance and support for the voluntary sector

1 April | York CVS

We are providing weekly updates for the voluntary sector; sharing news, information and resources which may be useful at this time. If you would like to sign-up to our mailing list, please do so at the bottom of our website. If you would like to include an update, please email: Issue 1 is available to view below:

Victim Support share advice on scammers and fraudsters

1 April | Victim Support

Victim Support has published two guides, one for individuals and one for groups, with practical tips and advice on how to be alert to scammers and fraudsters during the coronavirus pandemic. You can download both guides below:

Temporary pause in recruitment to NHS Volunteer Responders
30 March | NHS Website
Recruitment to this scheme was temporarily paused on 29 March 2020 to process the initial 750,000 applications. Further information will follow.

What is the NHS Volunteer Responders?

NHS Volunteer Responders is a new group that will carry out simple, non-medical tasks to support people in England who have been asked to shield themselves from coronavirus because of underlying health conditions. They will be used by healthcare professionals to make sure people who are highly vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19) are able to stay safe and well at home.


City of York Council announces Emergency Coronavirus Fund to support residents

26 March | City of York Council

City of York Council has today announced details of a new Emergency Fund totalling £1.25m to support residents facing hardship during the  Covid-19 pandemic.

With the funding in place, residents will now be able to receive financial support from 2 funding streams, depending on their circumstances and how much help they need. The 2 funds are:

  • Emergency Hardship Fund for residents affected by Covid-19
  • Council tax Covid-19 Hardship Fund
Government launches Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp

25 March | Government Advice

The UK Government has today launched a GOV.UK Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp.

The new free to use service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19), and will further reduce the burden on NHS services.

This will help combat the spread of coronavirus misinformation in the UK, as well as helping ensure people stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

The GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service is an automated ‘chatbot’ service which will allow the British public to get answers to the most common questions about coronavirus direct from government.

The service will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting.

The service will also allow the government to send messages to all opted-in users if required.

To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.

A set of menu options is then presented which the user can choose from and then be sent relevant guidance from GOV.UK pages as well as links to GOV.UK for further information.

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

24 March | Government Advice

The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. Please read the new rules and Government guidance below:

Easy read: Learning Disability Partnership Guide to Coronavirus

23 March | Learning Disability Partnership

The Learning Disability Partnership has shared an update for its members and an easy read document about the Coronavirus pandemic. Both documents are abailable to view below:

Council to link volunteers to those in greatest need

19 March |  City of York Council

Residents who would like to volunteer are being asked to sign up to, call 01904 551550, or go to As the health and safety of residents is a priority, this structured and safe approach to volunteering is to ensure people get the support they need in a co-ordinated and safe way.

Those vulnerable residents who do not currently have any access to support, but who need help because of the impact of COVID-19, are asked to contact CYC’s Community Support Coordinators at:

Telephone: 01904 551550

Healthwatch York: Free Post Address

19 March | Healthwatch York

Healthwatch York has a free post address and will write letters to anyone who is isolated and doesn’t use the internet but still needs to be connected!

Their Freepost address is: Healthwatch York, FREEPOST RTEG-BLES-RRYJ 15 Priory Street YO1 6ET

Please share this information.

Coronavirus Community Fund

19 March |  Coronavirus Community Fund

Two Ridings Community Foundation has established the Coronavirus Community Fund to support community groups through this unprecedented time. The focus of the fund will be to offer community organisations emergency funding to deal with emerging issues in the community as a result of the continuing threat of coronavirus.

The fund will support the following:

  • Community organisations that are preparing themselves to appropriately respond and continue their work in a difficult work environment, and to tailor their specialist services to give help to the people who need it the most
  • The development of advice and support initiatives to fill gaps for people and places where there are no current suitable services
  • Groups that provide vital community support to maintain some level of viability through these uncertain times where they are experiencing a significant loss of income as a result of the current crisis.

Visit Two Ridings Community Foundation website

CYC Public Health Briefing

17 March | PowerPoint Presentation (pdf 674 KB)

City of York Council’s (CYC) Public Health Team attended a briefing hosted by York CVS on Tuesday 17 March to provide guidance to York’s voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. You can download the presentation below:

Coronavirus: Voluntary Sector works together to support the most vulnerable in York

17 March | Press Release from York CVS

York CVS, a local social action organisation supporting York’s voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector, is developing a plan to support vulnerable people in York who will be isolated due to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The plan will involve working with a team of Social Prescribing Link Workers and General Practitioners (GPs) to identify those at risk, and will link-up with other local voluntary and community organisations across the City to provide support.

York CVS met with local charities and voluntary organisations this afternoon to explore how resources can be utilised to ensure vulnerable individuals receive the help and support that they need over the coming months.

Alison Semmence, Chief Executive, York CVS said:

“Initially, we will be working with existing volunteers from the sector who will make telephone calls to check on the welfare of individuals, to identify any specific needs that they may have. Just knowing that there is someone checking on your wellbeing can provide reassurance that individuals are not alone.”

City of York Council – Coronavirus Briefing no 1

March 13, 2020

We have received an update from City of York Council (CYC) regarding the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and we wanted to share the information with you. The Briefing no1 Information and Advice document contains guidance for communities and the voluntary sector as well as a warning about potential scams (page 8).

The briefings will be published every Friday and we will share these with you as soon as they become available.

NCVO Coronavirus and the voluntary sector: a guide for organisations

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has produced guidance for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. This information is intended to help you decide what steps you and your organisation may need to take in light of the spread of the coronavirus (covid-19).

Visit website

Email updates:

Our regular email updates provide the latest guidance, information and resources to support the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sign-up to our mailing list.


Contact us:

If your group or organisation needs support, please contact us using the form below.