COVID-19 Update April 18th 2020

Staff at Development Trusts NI will be working from home until further notice as recommended by the Public Health Agency.

We will be responding to emails and continuing to represent the interests of our members and the wider community and voluntary sector.

We will also be video conferencing regularly.


Charlie Fisher, Programme Manager – – 07595979642

Stevie McGirr, Communications Officer – – 07793865620

Kathleen Smyth, Community Asset Transfer Project Officer – – 07450954349

Margaret Craig, Creating Resilient Local Economies Project Officer – – 07764185318

We can also be contacted on Twitter @devtrustsni


A new private DTNI Member Facebook group has been created as a forum where we can share ideas, links to resources, or just have a chat. For our part, we will keep you posted with relevant news from the sector and share the emerging practice from our sister networks in England, Scotland & Wales.

Join the DTNI Member Facebook Group

NICVA Community Hub

NICVA has set up a community information hub at the Community NI website where you can find out how to get help in every council area. The resource is intended to be a centralised source for all services across NI.

The reliability of the hub will depend on the quality of information it is populated with so it’s important that the entire community sector is aware of it and feeds into it, and we would recommend that DTNI members do likewise.

Follow the link to add your contribution. You will be able to amend any information at any time. If a particular service ceases, please remember to remove the listing from the website.

Susan Glass from NICVA has also offered to help you complete the form or, if necessary, complete it for you. You can contact Susan on 028 9087 7777 (ext 217).

Webinars & Online Meetings

Marsh: Insurance & Employers
Marsh Insurance is running a series of risk management webcasts which may be of interest to employers. The series will cover the following topics:

  1. Managing Employers’ Liability During a Crisis [20/04 – 2PM] This webcast will consider the health and safety responsibilities and liability implications associated with changes to working arrangements as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. COVID-19 Property Risk Profile Changes [24/04 – 9AM] This webcast recommends practical steps, considerations, and tips to help keep facilities safe and secure during their temporary closure.
  3. Risk Profile Changes in the New World [28/04 – 12PM] This webcast will explore the evolving risk profile changes of organisations from business interruption and risk appetite to the ever-developing cyber threat landscape.
  4. Maximising Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic [01/05 – 12PM] Decisions taken today will have a very real impact on how successful your organisation’s recovery from COVID-19 will be in the future. This webcast will provide practical guidance to help reduce or avoid the most extreme business impacts.
  5. COVID-19 First Party Claims Considerations [05/05 – 1PM] This webcast will look at cover, highlighting specific clauses that may provide cover and those that will exclude, alongside recommendations on how to best prepare and present a claim.
    For more information related to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit Marsh’s pandemic risk resource hub.

Social Investment Scotland: Leadership & Wellbeing Through Social Change
The next seriers of webinars from SIS features a lineup of social enterprise and mission-driven leaders.

You can find more information and book onto the webinar sessions here.

Funding & additional financial support

Sports Hardship Fund
The minister for communities has launched a £500,000 Hardship Fund for the sports sector. Deirdre Hargey announced that grants of up to £2000 will be made available to sports clubs that do not meet the criteria for other crisis funding.

For details of how to apply visit the Sport NI website

Live Here Love Here
The Live Here Love Here grants scheme is open to volunteer groups with a focus on environmental improvement but the scheme is also open to groups trying to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown. 
Grants range from £500 to £5000 and can be for any project that makes a positive difference to the local environment.
Apply here
The closing date for entries is 18th May 2020 at 12 noon.   

Charities Aid Foundation
This fund is for smaller charitable organisations in the UK affected by the impact of Covid-19. Grants of up to £10,000 are available.
There does not appear to be any application deadline.

Apply here CAF Coronavirus Emergency Fund

Tesco Bags of Help
Tesco has set up a new short-term fund for organisations that are supporting vulnerable individuals, with single payment awards of £500 available. A streamlined application process and payment process should make it easier to get funds distributed quickly.

This is a rolling programme and you can apply for funding at any time during the next few months.

Apply for Tesco Bags of Help here

National Lottery Heritage Fund
National Lottery for Heritage has put together a £50million fund to support the heritage sector. The UK-wide fund will address immediate pressures over the next three to six months. 

Details on how to apply here

Halifax Foundation for Northern Ireland
Halifax Foundation has put the call out for groups to apply for small and medium grants during this time. Any COVID-19-related applications will be prioritised and turned around as quickly as possible. Includes funding for core costs.

  • Small Community Grants (Up to £2,500/12 month grant/rolling programme)
  • Medium Community Grants (£2,500 – £10,000/12 month grant/rolling programme)

Apply here

Grants of up to £400 are available for charities and community groups that are existing members of the Neighbourly CSR platform. The funding is for activities that support people who are suffering economically, socially or from ill health as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Apply for the Neighbourly Covid-19 Community Fund

National Lottery
CEO Dawn Austwick has stated that all the funding decisions they make for the next six months (up to £300m of National Lottery funding) will be devoted to addressing the current crisis. This breaks down to:

  • activities specifically geared to supporting communities through this crisis;
  • helping organisations overcome any liquidity issues caused by COVID-19.

Apply for National Lottery funding here.

Information for Employers

Free Advice Service
Belfast accountancy firm Clarke & Co. is offering a free advice service for non-clients in the community & voluntary sector.

Email Tony Clarke and the team for guidance on job retention, VAT, sick pay and much more.

Download this PDF for more information.

Human Resources
The latest HR update from  BridgeHR Consultancy includes:

  • pay for care staff in the community and residential settings;
  • reduction in business & flexibility for staff with child care issues and redeploying staff to alternative roles/widening their brief;
  • shared parental leave.

If there are specific issues for you, your colleagues or board that you wish to discuss, please get in touch with DTNI and we will endeavour to support you directly.
If you need detailed HR support, we will coordinate your query and link you in with BridgeHR.

Download the April HR update here

Other Information

Facilities Management
The general advice from insurers is that keyholders should return to their businesses as regularly as they can durinig lockdown to perform checks such as HAPS (amongst others).
FM expert, and author of our popular FM training course, Beth Goodyear, says this:

This is a really interesting area because there’s lots of guidance for managing vacant buildings, but not as much (although more coming out all the time) on managing buildings during a period like the current one.  The general principal is that you can’t just shut the door and leave everything, particularly for any building in which one or two people work or attend, however infrequently.
My recommendation would be to always refer to the insurance requirements, to perhaps do a risk assessment and to focus on what needs to be done to keep the building safe.

Here are some links to useful information that may give a bit more background, particularly in relation to maintenance: