COVID-19 message to Interlink members
We find ourselves in unprecedented and extremely challenging times.
Firstly and foremost we hope that you and your families stay well through this crisis. None of us will be escaping the stress and anxiety as we approach Pesach very differently this year. We wish each one of you strength, calm and the Eibishter’s protection.
Some of us have found ourselves thrust into crisis management mode. In particular, those working with schools, shuls and other communal institutions are being sorely tested. The way you have risen to the challenge, and your sheer commitment, is unbelievable.
During these exceptional times, not all members of the Interlink team are able to work. However, those of us who are active will be doing everything we can to support you. We will be sharing key information relevant to the charity sector as well as keeping you updated in general on government support available during this time.
We highlight below some key points for your attention, introduced to reduce the impact of COVID-19.
- Worker’s Support Package
In an effort to keep the economy moving and safeguard UK jobs, the government announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This scheme is part of a package of measures to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on businesses across the UK. The scheme will enable businesses to recover 80% of wage costs for employees on ‘furlough leave’ – which is an entirely new concept and is a new class of indefinite leave where the government will reimburse the employer for wage costs.
This has been introduced as an alternative for employers who might have otherwise implemented redundancies, lay-off, unpaid leave or other measures for their employees.
All UK businesses in the country- small or large, charitable or non-profit will be eligible to claim under the scheme. It seems that employees will be covered, but not other workers (such as casual staff or contractors) or the self-employed.
The government has announced that the scheme is available for at least three months from 1 March 2020 and will be extended if necessary.
A Q&A which provides a summary of the scheme and how it works and a sample “furlough letter” (which employers will need to give their employees prior to claiming under the scheme) can also be found on our website.
- Coronavirus Funding Opportunities
There will be a number of funding opportunities opening to support charities and community organisations respond to this pandemic. Some of these have opened, been inundated, and have since closed.
The London Fund is currently open – https://londonfunders.org.uk/our-blog/new-emergency-support-fund-announced-help-community-and-voluntary-organisations. Check it out.
The Waitrose Community Support Fund is due to open shortly- we have no further details at this time.
Please note that all opportunities relating to response-support for COVID-19 tend to be inundated with applications immediately so you’re advised to respond as quickly as you can.
You are likely to find that your existing funders want to be helpful at this difficult time, and will be flexible about how you use your grant even if your usual activities are not happening. Do communicate with them!
- Childcare providers and schools
For those members who offer childcare provision or operate schools, we have a huge amount of information available at www.chinuchukforum.org. This includes information about how schools can retain their viability at this time.
- Support from government
The government is spending billions to minimise the economic impact of the virus, and to help people get through without falling into desperate need.
The measures are neatly summarised in the Factsheet from Mesila. This can be found on our website.
Charities are generally eligible for support that is being made to businesses and employers. Up-to-date advice can be had from www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Wishing you all courage, strength and בטחון.