Covid-19 is obviously having a massive impact on our country’s society and economy and not surprisingly the Community Resources within that. These are challenging times and CRNS has two main roles – the first is to support our members and the second is to represent our sector.

Supporting our members

We are running a fortnightly Covid-19 virtual forum where the key challenges facing our members are discussed along with potential solutions. We also seek to highlight the main areas of help and support that are available. So far these have been very well attended and a vital source of knowledge and idea sharing. Lastly these provide an opportunity to support the leaders in our sector during these challenging times.

We are promoting the SCVO Covid-19 hub as the best one-stop-shop for information relating to Covid-19 and the third sector. The following funding and support offerings are of particular relevance to our members and therefore we are signposting these regularly:

Reliance Funding and Support

  • Third Sector Resilience Fund – a £20 million fund to help third sector organisations experiencing financial difficulties as a result of Covid-19.
  • Small Business Grant Scheme – managed by local authorities and offering grants of £10k and £25k to small businesses with 75% grants available on subsequent properties.
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – paying 80% of salaries up to £2500 per month of staff who cannot do their job because of Covid-19 and have been placed on furlough.

Covid-19 response funding

This funding is to support organisations responding to those in difficulty because of Covid-19

Practical Support

  • Just Enterprise – is offering organisations free consultancy support to work through their financial and cashflow needs and apply for resilience funding.
  • Social Enterprise Academy – is offering CRNS members free one to one coaching to tackle challenging issues along with access to free world class e-learning.
  • SCVO hub provides help with a wide range of practical issues such as Employment Law and Cyber Resilience.

Representing our sector

In the first few weeks of the lockdown we conducted a survey of our members which identified significant challenges which were being faced. We published the results of this in The Impact of Covid-19 on the Community Resources sector.

For example, 86% of those surveyed had ceased trading activities and 91% were experiencing a significant impact on their finances.

We sent this report to key policy makers calling for additional support for our sector. Along with many others we also called for some specific changes to the support being offered and were pleased to see changes made to both the Covid-19 Business Interruption Loan scheme and the Small Business Grant Scheme. We are working with Zero Waste Scotland to closely monitor the impact Covid-19 is having on our sector, and CRNS will continue to call additional help as required.

A positive note to end on

We started and ended our recent Covid-19 forum sharing positive news in the middle of these challenging times. I was struck by the amazing number of organisations who are responding to these challenging times and to the needs of their communities. For example:

  • Move On has expanded their food bank work with FareShare to ensure the vulnerable and isolated have access to food.
  • Stella’s Voice has furnished 10 houses for those suffering with homelessness in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council and our own Reuse Consortium.
  • Recyke-a-bike in Stirling is classed as an essential service and therefore remains open for business. It is providing a healthy form of transport to many essential workers including those working for the NHS.

At CRNS we will continue working hard to support our sector to do more excellent work like this in the months and years ahead.

Michael Cook