Supporting charities to do what they do best during the Coronavirus pandemic
An updated statement from the Andy Barber CEO of HEY Smile Foundation
Ten days ago, HEY Smile Foundation began the process of remote working, focusing on crisis management for the sector within the East Riding of Yorkshire Council area. We have moved resources in our own team and are securing resources from partners to respond, not just for today, but for next week, next month and what is likely to be a long journey ahead for the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector.
The sector has responded like we in the sector always knew we would. Resilient, impassioned and determined to ensure the most vulnerable in the community know they are not alone, especially when self-isolating.
We have been connecting and sharing resources both on and offline which have come from official sources and are connected into leading national organisations like NCVO, the institute of fundraising and of course U.K Government.
We have also been following activity online – Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp groups – have all been utilised by the community to connect people in need with support. Together with partners, we have collectively supported many calls from groups, carers, family members and those directly in need. to which I have fielded some myself to get a flavour of the requests and the responses provided.
All this has been happening whilst the Smile team has also been developing even stronger links, connections and knowledge with our statutory partners in the background. We want to ensure we all do ‘what only we can do’ and connect people’s offers of help to the right and trusted sources of delivery.
So what is happening next and how will we connect with you?
Today we will be pushing out further the Beecan system (www.beecan.org) This platform was due to be launched in late April but we have sped up the both content and accessibility with help from Umber Creative and East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
Beecan will be the leading local platform for charities and groups to register to gain information from us, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and local and national partners. It will also be used to access initial grants funded by East Riding of Yorkshire Council to support current stepped-up delivery.
We need to know what you are doing in order to provide support to you if you require it. Please connect with us on Beecan www.beecan.org, email us via the Hive and share your good news stories and/or challenges via our social media.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council has within 48 hours of a request, transferred some emergency funding to us, we have also contacted and are keeping in regular communication with other local and national funders to communicate need in our area, whilst also being supportive of the NCVO work in lobbying to U.K Government for further support. We are also beginning the promotion of the national funding campaign, which locally is led by the Two Ridings Community Foundation to whom we are in contact.
We have also secured the commitment from East Riding of Yorkshire Council that all existing grants distributed and in process of being distributed, KPI’s and deadlines are relaxed and funds in your accounts can be used as cash flow and to transfer within your objectives to the services which require it most.
This is also the case for many national funders and we will keep updating the list of funders and commissioners who have done so, enabling you to focus on the urgent matters in hand.
We are also in contact with the councils’ grants team and are hoping to redirect other funds as they become available. (More details to follow).
We need your help. Please support us in trying wherever possible to keep vulnerable people safe. Humberside Police and many of us are concerned at highlighting those who are most vulnerable with signs in windows, and hanging items from letterboxes. Please do not do this.
With partners, we will be signposting offers of voluntary support to registered organisations across the East Riding of Yorkshire, wherever possible matching your need with volunteers from other charities as a priority. In the main are delighted with the response so far however the situation will continue for some time and more volunteers will be needed to deal with offers of support but we know this will change at pace.
*You will of also seen the government have said DBS checks will be processed at pace.
*Further safeguarding messages and information will be distributed.
We are seeing a high number of people wishing to volunteer from charitable organisations, business and also statutory partners. We have established an offer for this which will be going live on Monday enabling us to connect volunteers through the newly established CallER Collective. A detailed update on this and how to be involved will be shared tomorrow and how it connects into the existing needs and provision in each locality of the East Riding.
People Requesting Support
With the councils’ support, we will be distributing 150,000 messages to reach all residents in the East Riding In the coming days. This simple messages will highlight support is available for those who are vulnerable and in need of food, medication deliveries and also those who are struggling with social isolation.
A number and email will be provided for people to contact our collective team and then enable them to be signposted to the right support at the right time.
We therefore again request your support, if you are delivering a service in your community to register on beecan.org and if struggling with demand and the capacity of people resource and funding to contact the Smile Team on email@example.com.
I will be providing some more detail on aspects highlighted in this statement which will be further circulated. I will also be hosting a dial-in for any VCS leader to connect every Monday going forward at 10am. Details of the dial-in will be listed on our website, beecan and social media.
Finally, a discussion group for charities only will go live from 4pm today for users of Facebook. On here you can submit questions to Smile and see shared answers, also highlight agenda items you would like on the weekly dial-in.
We will, of course, be agile and evolve to the needs of the sector and our community with you.
The last few days has been testing for us all and exhausting. But I am incredibly proud as ever to lead Smile and my wonderful team, and even more proud to be in the sector responding to need at this time of crisis.
I would like to thank you all for your energy and response to date, I’d also like to specifically thank the other supporting charities in our region such as ERVAS, North Bank Forum, Hull CVS, SHORES, Humber and Wolds Rural Community Council and the Together for Goole partnership for being generous in their leadership wherever possible and for their sharing of information support and advice to groups in their areas of specialism.
At Smile our commitment is of course to continue to bring good intentions to life, and whilst doing so remain a generous leader and honest broker.
I look forward to connecting with many of you in the coming days and weeks.
CEO, HEY Smile Foundation
Key Links and contacts
Facebook group (This is a protected place for only charities and groups in the East Riding to communicate together share ideas and best practice and ask us questions.
Marketing and communications (sharing and distribution):
Sarah Shepherdson E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Beecan information and guidance:
Gareth Meyrick E: email@example.com
Tess Parker E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick Middleton E: email@example.com
Emma Kelly E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Funding requests and queries:
Ann Newlove E: email@example.com
All calls for charities and groups T:01482 590270