Information and Advice for Aberdeen’s 3rd Sector

We currently find ourselves in an unprecedented real life situation which will impact the day to day working of 3rd Sector Organisations in Aberdeen.

Understandably you will all have questions –  so do we!

However, we have put together some useful information and advice on this page which we will be regularly updating.

If you have any information you would like to add please email martyn.walker@acvo.org.uk

NEW: If you would like to receive our weekly COVID-19 briefing you can sign up here:

Updated Tuesday 7th April at 17:00

ACVO and Volunteer Aberdeen

  • You can read an update from our Chief Executive, Maggie Hepburn, here.
  • On our sister site – Volunteer Aberdeen, you will find information on how you can help out in your local community.
  • We have been asked by our members to create an events calendar that can be used by Aberdeen 3rd Sector for planning rescheduled events.  You can find this tool here.
  • You may also find this advice from Third Force News useful too.

Aberdeen City Council

  • The latest information re school closures, building lets, housing and sheltered housing can be found here.
  • Have launched an emergency telephone hotline to prioritise support for the most vulnerable and at-risk customers.  The helpline will be able to assist with welfare and financial advice. The helpline 0800 0304 713 is open Monday to Friday 8-6pm.

Aberdeen Health & Social Care Partnership

  • Aberdeen HSCP has established a single point of COVID-19 information for providers operating in the City.  The information can be accessed here.
  • The Aberdeen City Health & Social Care Partnership (ACHSCP) have put together this handy guide for keeping our own mental health and wellbeing in check during the COVID-19 situation.

Autism Awareness

  • The National Autistic Society has released information on COVID-19.
  • Autistica has released information and guidance for employers on the impact of COVID-19 and autistic employees.

Benefits

  • Advice on Isolation Notes can be found here.
  • The government has confirmed that people who need to claim universal credit or employment and support allowance because of COVID-19 will not be required to produce a fit note or an isolation note.
  • DWP advice on attending job centres tweet from the DWP Press Office
  • Money advice on how to avoid loan sharks
  • DWP are stopping debt recovery activity as soon as possible.  This includes all benefit-related overpayments, Social Fund loans and Tax Credit debts. Many activities will cease immediately but others may take longer to implement. The suspension of recovery action is in place until further notice.What this means
    • Deductions from Universal Credit and Legacy for benefit overpayments, Social Fund loans and Tax Credit debts managed by Debt Management will be suspended. This action will commence immediately but an IT solution will need to be implemented to stop some deductions for Debt Management.
    • The recovery of Advances by deduction from Universal Credit payments will continue.
    • Local Authorities will suspend referral of Housing Benefit overpayments.
    • The transfer of Tax Credit debt from HMRC has already been suspended.
    • Recovery from estates will temporarily cease.

    For citizens who are not on benefits, DWP have directed private sector debt collection agencies to stop their activity for Debt Management customers and we are suspending voluntary debt repayments and recovery by Direct Earnings Attachments.  Please note the part that recovery of Advances will continue.

  • The Scottish Government have provided an update on Social Security.
  • HMRC announces that parents of new-borns can claim child benefit without registering child’s birthNew measure introduced to ensure that people are able to claim while General Register Offices are closed due to coronavirus outbreakHMRC has announced that parents of new-borns can claim child benefit without registering the child’s birth while General Register Offices are closed in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.Setting out the new measure today, HMRC says that first time parents will need to fill in Child Benefit Claim form CH2 and send it to the Child Benefit Office, and that they should add a note to the claim if they have been unable to register the birth because of COVID-19.HMRC also advises that, if people are already in receipt of child benefit, they can complete the form or add their new-born’s details over the phone on 0300 200 3100.Commenting on the easement, Director General for Customer Services at HMRC Angela MacDonald said -It’s really important that new parents remember to register for child benefit, even during these unprecedented times.The increase in child benefit is a boost for family budgets but there’s more to claiming than the payments. We’re encouraging people to claim so they don’t miss out on national insurance credits that help protect their state pension. It also helps children to get their national insurance number automatically at 16.’Fore more information, see Don’t miss out, claim Child Benefit by phone or post, HMRC tells new parents from gov.uk

British Deaf Association

  • The BDA release daily information bulletins in BSL which can be viewed here.

Care homes

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): clinical guidance for nursing home and residential care residents.
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): clinical guidance for the management of clients accessing care at home, housing support and sheltered housing:
  • Health Protection Scotland also published their updated guidance

Carers

  • The Scottish Government has released an information guide for Unpaid Carers.
  • The VSA Carer Support Service continues to offer support, advice and signposting to anyone who is in an unpaid caring role and who lives (or cares for someone) within Aberdeen City. Please contact 01224 358631 or email carers.info@vsa.org.uk

Children & Young People

  • The ThinkUKnow campaign offers guidance and advice on keeping children & young people safe online.
  • Barnardo’s have released a guide on talking to children about COVID-19.
  • Disclosure Scotland have provided an update on their services.
  • The UK Government has released an information guide for parents and carers on looking after children’s mental health and wellbeing throughout the outbreak.

Community Justice Forum

  • An update from Families Outside
  • SPS have published information for families and visitors on using their new online service to transfer money to those in their care here.
  • The SPS have released a FAQ for visitors.
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Disability

  • Visit Disability Rights UK for up to date information on COVID-19.
  • Aberdeen Action on Disability are offering to fix/service laptops, mobiles etc. free of charge in order to enable the most vulnerable to stay connected. For more information please call 01224 641355 or email office@aad-online.com. 

Dementia

  • Alzheimer Scotland as released guidance for those living with dementia and carers.
  • Alzheimer Scotland operate a 24 Hour Freephone Dementia Helpline  0808 808 3000.  This free 24 hour Freephone Dementia Helpline provides information, signposting and emotional support to people living with dementia, their families, friends and professionals.
  • The British Deaf Association have released a Dementia toolkit.

Domestic Abuse

  • With the current advice to stay at home, many people experiencing abuse can feel anxious, unsafe or at greater risk.  We’ve put together the below list of organisations that can offer you support and advice which can be found here.
  • You may also find this information and advice from SafeLives important too!
  • Emergency support is available from Aberdeen Cyrenians through 0808 1964422
    • Domestic Abuse Support and Accommodation Project (DASAP) supporting women, men and families who are experiencing domestic abuse.  Ensuring that people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness due to domestic abuse can access specialist support and safe accommodation. Contact: dasap@weareac.org
    • Violence Against Women (VAW) project offers support to women who have experienced or are currently experiencing violence and abuse.  Contact vaw@weareac.org
  • For those who were abused or neglected while children living in care in Scotland, Future Pathways remains ready to help you.

Energy

  • Hillcrest Homes have produced an information guide for those seeking advice on energy during this time.
  • Energy Saving Trust have put together FAQs on the Home Energy Scotland scheme.
  • This can be a worrying time for many reasons and staying at home means that your energy bills could rise. You may also be worried about a friend, relative or neighbour and how they can manage their bills.Home Energy Scotland can help with lots of free and impartial advice. We can help with information on saving money and energy, advice on switching suppliers, information on pre-payment meters and can also give you a free home energy check.Call us free on 0808 808 2282 or find out more at www.homeenergyscotland.org

Employment 

  • ACAS and COVID-19 advice
  • If you need advice on employability or help to sharpen your CV in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, GREC’s resident expert Myshele is on hand to help- please direct any enquiries to mhaywood@grec.co.ukIf you have lost your job, been forced to reduce your hours, or your workplace has closed because of Coronavirus – you can apply for Universal Credit online or by telephone, and you can get the first month’s payment upfront. For more information click here.  If you need help with applying for Universal Credit, please get in touch with GREC’s casework service: casework@grec.co.uk or 07857180175. If you have a job, and become ill with Covid-19 – you are entitled to your regular sick pay. You can get a doctor’s note online, by visiting the NHS 111 website:

    If you are self-isolating because a family member is ill, or because you are in a high-risk category – you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (£94.25 per week), and may be entitled to full pay, depending on your contract. You can get a doctor’s note by visiting the NHS 111 website (above).

Ethnic Minorities

Finance

Foodbanks

  • A directory of Food services within the city can be found here.
  • Please be aware that C-Fine have temporarily closed their premises.  More information can be found here.
  • Aberdeen Cyrenians hasve developed AC2U in response to Covid-19 delivering food parcels, prepared food, toiletries, baby items, sanitary items, clothing and more to vulnerable people.  They will assess your needs as best they can and prioritise the support that they are able to provide to:
    • their current Service Users
    • those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness
    • people with multiple complex needs who are at higher risk
    • the elderly and people who have a disability or a chronic medical condition
    • those with babies and young children.

    call 0808 1964422 .

  • The Salvation Army Aberdeen Citadel on the Castlegate is still offering food parcels and toiletries on a ‘collect only’ basis with social distancing rules followed. They can be obtained from the Citadel front door from 10am-12 noon, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  They are closed on Wednesdays.  On Friday lunchtimes from 12 noon -1pm. The Salvation Army is offering a free hot soup and savoury takeaway service from our front door for vulnerable people who are struggling to self-cater. Once again it is a ‘collect only’ service; food parcels or toiletries (including sanitary products) are also available.
  • Somebody Cares is ready to help with emergency food responses.  Read more here.
  • Social Bite have released a video on the work they have been doing!

Funding

Grampian Coronavirus (COVID-19) Assistance Hub

  • A new resource for anyone affected by COVID-19 in the Grampian region, click here to access.

GREC

  • Casework (Advice, Support & Employability).  Caseworkers are available by phone or email. All current clients can continue meeting with their caseworkers remotely via video call. Any new clients are encouraged to direct enquiries to casework@grec.co.uk.   GREC are looking into how to facilitate our Wednesday afternoon drop-in  sessions online- updates to follow.
  • In-Trans (Interpreting & Translation GREC continue to offer interpreting and translation services.  They  are now offering phone interpreting wherever possible.  Face-to-face interpreting is naturally a little bit more complicated when the country is essentially in lockdown, however we will continue to provide “face-to-face” interpreters to our casework and counselling clients via Zoom conference calls or other video calling software.  Please direct any enquiries to in-trans@grec.co.uk.
  • English Classes & Language Cafes.  All ESOL courses currently running will be completed online, and they are planning to start a new block of online classes very soon.   GREC will be hosting the very first Virtual Language Cafe this Thursday 26/3/20 from 10.30am- please see the Learning English in Aberdeen page and join the Language Cafe Group on Facebook for more information & to keep up to date.   Please direct any enquiries to language-cafe@grec.co.uk.
  • Counselling Services.  All current clients can continue seeing their counsellors remotely via video call. Any new clients are encouraged to direct enquiries to mthomson@grec.co.uk

Gypsy/ Traveller Community

  • A COVID-19 Facebook page for the Gypsy/Traveller Community has been created here.

Health & Wellbeing

  • Visiting is now suspended at NHS Grampian hospitals.  More information can be found here.
  • NHS Grampian have created a new website on COVID-19 and can be accessed here.
  • You may find that local GP practices have established the NHS Near Me scheme.  You can find more information here and here.
  • Health Protection Scotland have published information and guidance for non-healthcare settings which you can find here.
  • Please keep following the advice from NHS Inform and Health Protection Scotland
  • Full Facts have released information on busting the myths around COVID-19.
  • Aberdeen H&SCP have put together this information pack on drugs and alcohol misuse.
  • Scottish Ballet have launched digital health classes online through Facebook Live every morning at 11:30.  Find out more here.
  • Voluntary Health Scotland are looking for feedback on how they can influence two new Scottish Government funds.
  • Paths For All have put together some handy information on keeping active at hometips on working from home and walking & social distancing.
  • The Asthma and Allergy Foundation offer information and advice for those living with asthma who are worried about COVID-19.
  • The UK Government has released this guidance on the use of PPE by health and social care staff.
  • Diabetes UK have put together this information page.
  • List of resources you may find useful here.

Helplines

  • A list of helpline numbers can be found here.

Housing & Homelessness

(Information from the Homeless Network Scotland)

  • Excellent, easy-read leaflets to download, that speak directly to people sleeping rough and staying in different types of homeless accommodation. From Groundswell, designed alongside people with lived experience.
  • Homelessness Services and COVID-19. Practical webinar with information, Q&A for people managing homelessness services from Homeless Link in England.
  • Aberdeen Cyrenians run numerous projects to support those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Direct Access continues to run offering:
    • Advice on homelessness issues, housing and benefits
    • Assistance with formal appeals
    • Guidance on job applications
    • Advocacy and support
    • Referrals to other agencies
    • Referrals to our Street Alternatives service, providing hot meals and access to shower and laundry facilities – currently takeaway only
    • Food parcels and access to clothing and toiletries
    • Access to computers, the internet and printing – currently unavailable
    • Support to access furniture
    • Mailbox service for those with no fixed address

    Face-to-face appointments will be available for emergencies only. Alternative support to anyone who is homeless, threatened with homelessness, or experiencing hardship, will be offered by telephone call 0808 1964422  or email directaccess@weareac.org

  • The First Minister recently announced the Coronavirus Food Fund
  • Stopping Evictions (Information from the Homeless Network)
    The Emergency Bill passed by the Scottish Parliament on 1 April extends the notice period for evictions from Scottish Secure Tenancies from four weeks to six months in most cases for the next few months. Evictions for anti-social behaviour or making false claims will be subject to a three-month notice period and the four-week notice period remains in place when a tenant is not living in the property.For Private Residential Tenancies the Bill makes previously mandatory grounds for eviction discretionary, granting the Tribunal more flexibility in reaching a decision about granting evictions.  The Bill also extends the notice period from 28 days (except if the tenant is not living in the property) to six months in most cases, including rent arrears, and three months for circumstances including the landlord or their family intending to move into the property and anti-social behaviour.
  • Scottish Government FAQs for Private Landlords and Letting Agents during COVID-19, developed in partnership with Scottish Association for Landlords.

Learning Disabilities

  • SCLD have collated resources for general and easy to read information on COVID-19 here.

Mental Health

Older People

  • Age Scotland – Scotland’s national charity for older people, offers a free, confidential service for older people, their carers and families in Scotland.  The helpline is free to call Monday to Friday 9-5pm on 0800 12 44 222.
  • Food Buddies have put together some practical tips on preparing food for your neighbour/friend during this period.

Organisation Development

  • Our Development Officer, Sandy Mathers, has written a short blog on the current guidance which you can read here.
  • You can visit the OSCR website here.
  • Sandy has written a short piece on the recent Companies House deadline extension here.
  • OSCR have updated their guidance on submitting annual information during the COVID-19 period.

Scams

  • The National Trading Standards project – Friends Against Scams has released this infographic on protecting yourself from scams.

Scottish Fire & Rescue Service

  • SFRS have put together this checklist to keep yourself safe at home.

Scottish Government

  • The latest information from the Scottish Government can be found here.
  • The Scottish Government have announced measures they are taking to help Scotland’s 3rd Sector.
  • The Scottish Government has launched ReadyScotland to keep citizens up to date.

SCVO

  • With the backing of the Scottish Government, SCVO have created the COVID-19 Information Hub full of resources that you may find useful.

Skills Development Scotland

  • SDS have put together a FAQ on the impact of COVID-19 on individuals and businesses.

Social Enterprise Sustainability

Translated Materials

  • Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, French, Gujarati, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Urdu and Welsh translated guidance has been made available by the UK Government on self-isolation and social distancing. For guidance on households with possible infection click here.
  • Doctors of the World have also provided  guidance on COVID-19 in a variety of languages which will be regularly updated- click here to view.
  • NHS Inform have released Translated posters and a communications toolkit about COVID-19 and information available in an Easy Read format.

Volunteering

  • Visit Volunteer Aberdeen for more information on volunteering in your community.
  • Scotland Cares: ACVO encourage everyone to register as a volunteer as part of the national and local volunteer response to Covid–19 at Scotland Cares. This will link you to a range of ways you can assist with all help provided through Scotland Cares making a real difference and greatly appreciated.
  • A Facebook group – Aberdeen Helping Hands – has been set up by the local community to provide information about how they can help in their area. If you would to get in touch with them you can do so by emailing aberdeenhelpinghands@yahoo.co.uk.
  • Advice for Volunteer engaging organisations from Third Force News.
  • The Befriending Network have published information and guidance on befriending during COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Resilience Aberdeen
  • Aberdeen City Mutual Aid has been set up to support vulnerable people/those in self-isolation in Aberdeen. Help includes support with delivering mail, getting/dropping off groceries/urgent supplies and calling people for a chat to prevent/reduce loneliness. All volunteer help is welcome. Get in touch by email aberdeenmutualaid@outlook.com or call 01224 515513. For more information visit the Facebook group here or find them on Twitter . For details of Mutual Aid Groups in communities across the country please visit https://covidmutualaid.org/
  • Riverside COVID-19 Response
  • Inchgarth Community Centre – collection of shopping and medication.
  • Age Scotland have released 10 top tips you can follow.
  • Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland are organising a range of help with great volunteer support – includes Kindness Callers, Community Kindness Supporters, Kindness Drivers and Digital Kindness Supporters. More details and how to sign up if you wish are available at https://www.chss.org.uk/coronavirus/volunteering-opportunities/
  • University of Aberdeen Shared Planet and Becycle group are organising food deliveries to reach the most vulnerable-all help greatly appreciated.
  • If you are interested in setting up and organising community support volunteering you might find the Coronavirus Tech Handbook guide handy.

Working from home

  • Working from home comes with its own challenges for organisations.  Sandy, our Development Officer has put together a short blog on virtual meeting options you may find useful.
  • The City of London Police have released a series of short videos on Cyber Security whilst working from home.  Watch them here.
  • Free advice from SCDC on how community groups can work digitally