The guidance below has been written to provide information and guidance to voluntary organisations to help make informed decisions about their building, groups and activities under Covid restrictions

Running a support group

In the first instance check the new restrictions here on the government website and the guidance referenced below.

Under the new restrictions there is an exemption from gatherings limits:

  • support groups of up to 15 participants – formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support, where it is necessary for these to take place in person. These cannot take place in private dwellings. Under-5s do not count towards the 15 person limit for support groups

If you would like any support to think about whether your group and/or activity falls within this definition and your decision to continue operating please email and we will call or email you a reply.

Restrictions on venues

The new restrictions set out details of venues which can remain open. In particular:

Keeping you up to date

As a member of Wigan Borough Community Partnership we will email you with details of upcoming training event, the latest news and guidance, our monthly funding bulletin and the opportunity for you to advertise and volunteer opportunities your organisation has.

Become a member – Its Free!

Guidance for running activities in person

If you are permitted to open and plan on opening under the latest restrictions you may find the guidance below useful.

  1. Offices
  2. Working in or delivering to other people’s homes
  3. Working in or from vehicles
  4. Performing arts
  5. Grassroots sports and gym / leisure facilities
  6. Shops
  7. Out of school settings e.g. holiday and after school clubs
  8. Early years
  9. Outdoor activities
  10. Places of worship
  11. Close contact services
  12. Reporting outbreaks of coronavirus

Many VCSE sector organisations have adopted distance working and working-from-home arrangements, or moved their activities online. There are a number of digital tools to support organisations responding to Covid-19. A few that might be helpful for you include:

  • Microsoft Teams is being widely used by public services. It includes video-conferencing facilities, the ability to share files, and instant messaging tools (like SMS messages, but on a computer). Microsoft are now making a free version of Teams available to anyone. This might help you to engage more effectively with public sector organisations in your area. Find out more on the Microsoft Teams site.
  • Zoom is also being widely used for people tovideo-conference over the internet. Find out more about how to use Zoom here.
  • Dropbox is a service for sharing files remotely. It is offering free Business accounts for three months to charities and non-profits working on Covid-19 response. Sign up here.
  • Mailchimp is a system for sending out email newsletter (it simplifies distribution lists, scheduling of emails etc). It is making a similar offer of free access to its paid-for service (called ‘Standard’) to Governments and charities who need to communicate with people about the disease. Sign up here.

We should all be wary of the increased risk from fraudulent emails at this time. Action Together has produced some simple tips to protect yourself and your organisation from e-mail scammers.

Building / Organisation Risk Assessments

Before reopening it is important to balance the risk, and to ask whether the risk of not opening outweighs the risk of opening.

It is essential that you carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment before reopening your premises – a risk assessment should be carried out in line with HSE guidance.

You will find some useful templates and examples below:

The resources marked * were created by 4CT and MACC for North Manchester Together and are shared with their kind permission

Involving Staff and Volunteers Safely

The government have produced guidance on Enabling safe and effective volunteering during coronavirus (COVID-19). This guidance aims to help organisations and groups understand how to safely and effectively involve volunteers during the pandemic.

This guidance complements other GOV.UK guidance on volunteering and helping others safely during the pandemic, which are aimed at potential and existing volunteers.

Salford CVS has created a Risk Assessment Toolkit which we have shared with their kind permission.

Test and Trace

Test and trace means testing people for coronavirus and then tracing the people an infected person has come into contact with. The key role for organisations is to ensure that they follow government guidance including ensuring conducting risk assessments and acting on them to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Below is the Government Guidance about maintaining records to support with this, and resources to enable you to create a QR Code Poster:

Governance and Decision Making

Coronavirus has impacted every organisation in different ways. It is crucial to ensure that any decisions that are taken by your Board are made in line with the procedures laid out in your governing document.

Business Continuity Planning 

  • You should think about business continuity planning (planning to keep your group and your key activities going). NVCO have produced a document on Organisational Resilience which can help you think this through. Download NCVO’s Organisational Resilience checklist
  • We have also produced a checklist for smaller, grassroots, volunteer-led groups. We would encourage you to review and complete the document before contacting us. We can then provide the best support for you. Download guidance for volunteer-led groups

Some continuity issues to think about may include:

  • The emergency contact details for your team and members
  • Having processes in place to allow home working should the need arise. If your building is closed or your team have to isolate themselves how will you continue to operate?
  • How you support members / beneficiaries by phone rather than face to face
  • What difficulties and issues will arise if your team are off sick, and how will you manage them?
  • How you will manage expectations of members, beneficiaries, and stakeholders including commissioners?

You can keep up to date with the latest information and updates from our website, Twitter and Facebook.

NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) have in depth guidance and resources to support charities, voluntary organisations and volunteers during the covid-19 pandemic.

NHS, Public Health and UK Government Advice


Greater Manchester Support Organisations

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

  • TogetherGM: Greater Manchester advice and information about coronavirus, including accesible easy to read materials. TogetherGM has updated its website with resources, guidance and information, clarifying what we can and cannot do under the current restrictions.
  • TogetherGMs Wellbeing Resources 

Other Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Support Organisations

GM support and services for people who find themselves homeless

GM Covid Travel Resources – Yr 7 – 8

GM Covid Travel Resources – Yr 9 – 11

Transport for Greater Manchester – for latest updates on services, timetables and safety advice, visit the TfGM coronavirus webpage.

The below is a list of the Wigan Borough Community Partnership equivalent organisations in other boroughs of Greater Manchester:

Greater Manchester:

Oldham, Rochdale and Tameside: Action Together –

Bolton: Bolton CVS –

Bury: Bury Voluntary, Community and Faith Alliance (VCFA) –

Manchester: Manchester Community Central –

Salford: Salford CVS –

Stockport: Sector 3 –

Trafford: Thrive Trafford –

Everything That You Need

Whether you are a constituted group, a new not-for-profit start-up Community Interest Company or a well-established registered charity within the Wigan Borough, we aim to support and equip you with the knowledge, skills and/ or expertise needed for your organisation to grow and prosper

We can support you with:

  • Governing & management documents
  • Policy templates
  • How to guides
  • Funding advice
  • Constitutions for small charities
  • Bank accounts

For more information and to access documents please sign in to our members area:

Sign In