Alt Sheff

The guide to Sheffield's
radical, alternative, ethical
business and groups

* * * HELP DURING THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS * * *

Updated 5th April 2020

USEFUL LINKS AND INFORMATION

If you know something useful to add, please email the Alt-Sheff organising group at contact@alt-sheff.org.uk, thanks :)
Contents:
① HEALTH
② DELIVERY SERVICES & COMMUNITY SUPPORT GROUPS
- SHEFFIELD-WIDE
- NEIGHBOURHOODS
③ NOT SURE WHERE TO VOLUNTEER?
④ WORRIED ABOUT VOLUNTEERING?
⑤ INFORMATION FOR WORKERS
⑥ INFORMATION FOR PEOPLE IN THE ASYLUM PROCESS
⑦ INFORMATION FOR ROUGH SLEEPERS
⑧ NEWS, TRAVEL & HOW TO KEEP IN TOUCH
⑨ WHERE TO FIND MEDICAL SUPPLIES, FOOD, ETC
⑩ EVENTS THAT ARE NOT CANCELLED
⑪ INFORMATION FOR EVENT & WORK ORGANISERS
⑫ HOW TO LIVE THROUGH THIS, STAYING HAPPY & HEALTHY




① HEALTH:

The NHS online Coronavirus helpline website asks you questions, checks if you have coronavirus symptoms, then tells you what to do next: www.111.nhs.uk

Government advice is:
Only use health services when it is important to do so. If you:
• are staying at home and start to feel much more ill or
• have stayed at home for 7 days and still have symptoms of Coronavirus, then:
• get advice from NHS 111 online (see above)
• if you need to speak to someone, call 111
• you should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital, as you could pass Coronavirus to others.
• only dial 999 or go to Accident and Emergency if there is an emergency.

Sheffield City Council :
In view of self-isolation, as well as targetted help for vulnerable people, the Council and voluntary organisations have set up a Contact Centre for members of the Sheffield public. Their Help Line is open 8.45am-4.45pm, Mon–Friday, on Sheff 0114 2734567. Operators will provide advice, signposting and referrals, to help callers resolve whatever issues they are facing.
Changes to services due to coronavirus are here: Sheffield City Council.
See also the Council’s Newsroom website.

Age UK is responding to coronavirus by offering help and information for everyone. Updates include how you can look after yourself and loved ones, and help older people in your family or neighbouring area. More detailed reports cover the science and research behind the Government’s coronavirus decisions and guidelines for over-70s. See the Age UK national website.
The Age UK Sheffield website: AgeUK.org.uk/Sheffield is also being daily updated, sharing the latest coronavirus information and advice, free. For help at home, they run a paid-for service which is highly recommended by customers ("At Home with Age UK Sheffield" service).

Domestic abuse support: Help is available from police and specialist services, equipped to attend even where someone is showing symptoms of coronavirus. If you need help call The Sheffield Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 808 2241 (freephone) Mon-Friday, 8am-7pm, Sat 9am-5pm, or National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. In an emergency, always call 999



② DELIVERY SERVICES & COMMUNITY SUPPORT GROUPS

Including charities, community and voluntary sector, and especially for elderly and vulnerable people. Where to volunteer and how to start or support organisations ...

SHEFFIELD-WIDE:

Sheffield Mutual Aid Facebook group has a lot of discussion and questions answered.

Sheffield City Council: Information and updates on Council services affected by Coronavirus

Voluntary Action Sheffield (VAS) Covid-19 page for updates on Voluntary and Community Sector planning and response in the city, and government advice. Phone: 0114 2536600, or email at info@vas.org.uk.
-> VAS is coordinating long term care for people who need to be quarantined and have no support. Mutual aid groups identifying such people should refer them to their local VAS community hub (listed below).
-> The VAS online Sheffield COVID Support Map shows where to find support from a network of community "hubs", and "street level" groups such as mutual aid. It’s a work in progress, you can submit details of anything not yet shown.

Citizens Advice have useful links on their website for general and coronavirus advice, consumer advice, and help to claim Universal Credit.

British Red Cross are continuing phoneline support for urgent casework: Sheff 0114 2427385.

The Sharehouse Market pay-as-you-feel store is probably still open, Monday – Sunday 13:30 – 15:00. Unit 5 Woodbourn Road, S9 3LQ. Phone: 07542 379246, email: info@thefoodworks.org.

Food banks: see this list, and information on how to donate or access emergency food supplies in Sheffield.
In Sheffield there are at least 5 foodbank organisations, covering 13 sites:
Burngreave Foodbank (with another centre at Darnall)
Sheffield S2 Foodbank (with centres at St Swithuns on Cary Road, and Salvation Army on Duke Street)
Sheffield S6 Foodbank (with additional centres at Crookes, Parson Cross, Broomhall, Sharrow & Hillsborough)
Gleadless Valley Foodbank (based on Blackstock Road)
Handsworth Foodbank (with another centre at Woodhouse)
And in the wider region:
Rotherham Foodbank (with another centre at Maltby)
Barnsley Foodbank (with ten centres in total)
Doncaster Foodbank (with another centre at Rossington)
Chesterfield Foodbank (with additional centres at Loundsley Green & Brimington)
Clay Cross Foodbank (with two centres in Clay Cross)
Sherwood Forest Foodbank (with centres at Mansfield & Mansfield Woodhouse)
South Normanton Area Foodbank (with centres at South Normanton & Alfreton)
The Dukeries and District Foodbank (based at New Ollerton, Newark)

Foodhall, 121 Eyre Street, Sheffield S1 4QW. www.foodhallproject.org
Foodhall is a visionary experiment, a volunteer-powered community hub, diner and kitchen, in the heart of Sheffield. With multiple projects and experiments always going on, the main aim is to bring people together around food. For years they have been part of the new emerging food economy, providing food and support to the public. Pay-as-you-feel arrangements apply to meals, workshops and events, and getting involved is more valued than whether you have any money. In normal times they open Wed, Thur and Fridays 10am-3pm, offering hot drinks, snacks and a communally prepared lunch for all at 12.30pm.
-> You don’t need a referral for Foodhall, unlike food banks, Foodhall isn’t a charity, it’s a mutual organisation (although it works with charities). It’s part of the National Food Service, campaigning to ensure this most basic need is met, in our fractured society.
-> During the crisis they aim to help the most at-risk, and isolated people and anyone who might not normally need essential support. Dozens of hot and cold food parcels are being taken daily to people in self isolation. There is a good interview on Sheffield Live! with Baillor Jalloh speaking to Foodhall’s Louis Pohl.
-> Foodhall’s current activities are:
-> Drop-off point for surplus food and important supplies including toiletries, PPE, and other essentials: Full list of items needed here: (Google document)
-> Community kitchen preparing meals, to be frozen, for collection
-> Pick-up point for food parcels collection (Wed, Thur, Friday 10am-2pm, address: Foodhall, 121 Eyre Street, S1 4QW)
-> Collecting donations to be redistributed (small team of trained volunteers)
-> Processing and delivering to our community and other at-risk groups (Mon-Friday 10am-4pm)
-> Coordinating with others (food surplus charities, community groups and mutual aid groups in Sheffield)
-> IMPORTANT: if you are able to donate anything, please arrive Wed, Thur, or Friday between 10am-2pm. If you are unable to make these times, volunteers may be able to collect from you. Please email foodhallhelpline@gmail.com
-> If you can donate money please see details here, or call Foodhall on Sheff 0114 3036040
-> Volunteers are needed now. Training is given. For safety, different volunteering groups don’t have sustained contact with one another, so food workers (in the 5-star food hygiene rated kitchen) are socially distanced from, say deliverers. Application form here
-> If you or someone you know is in need of access to food please call their Isolation Food Pack Hotline: Sheff 0114 3036040



NEIGHBOURHOODS:

Abbeydale Road, Bannerdale & surrounding area; St Peters & St Oswalds Church neighbourhood support: 0114 2509716 or 07952 833858.
[Abbeydale] Bannerdale & Carter Knowle Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Aston, Aughton, Swallownest Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Banner Cross/Greystones:, Facebook Also see S11, below
Batemoor & Jordanthorpe Mutual Aid: Facebook
Beauchief, see Whirlow, Beauchief & Millhouses, below.
Beighton & Sothall Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Bents Green & Parkhead Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Bradway, see S17, below.
Bramall Lane, see St. Marys,below
Broomhill, Broomhall & Sharrow Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Burngreave Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Burton Street Foundation Community Hub: burtonstreet.org.uk
Chapeltown/High Green Mutual Aid: Facebook.
City centre, see SHEFFIELD, below.
Coverdale Neighbours Community Group: Tel. 07986 680843 (Not online?)
Crookes Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Crosspool St Columba Church Community Hub: stcolumbacrosspool.org.uk
Darnall Mutual Aid: Facebook page
Dore, see S17, below.
Dronfield & S18 Mutual Aid: Facebook
Ecclesfield Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Eckington Community Needs: Facebook.
Endcliffe CV19 Support: Facebook
Endowood Road Support Group: Tel. 07989 059563 (Not online?)
Firth Park Crescent Help Group: Facebook
Fox Hill, see Wadsley Bridge & Fox Hill, below.
Foxhill Forum: foxhill-forum.co.uk
Fulwood Forum: Facebook
Greystones, see S11 Banner Cross/Greystones above, & S11 below
Greenhill Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Hartington Road COVID-19 Support Group: Tel. 07887 570762 (Not online?)
Heeley Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Heeley City Farm Community Hub: heeleyfarm.org.uk
Heeley Trust Community Hub: sheffieldonline.net
High Green, see Chapeltown/High Green, above.
High Storrs Helpers Group: Tel. 07946 620090 (Not online?)
Hillsborough Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Hillsborough & S6: (larger group) Facebook
Langdon St/Fentonville St/Grange Rd S11 Mutual Aid: Facebook
Lansdowne Mutual Aid: Tel. 07748 717402 (Not online?)
Kelham Island & Neepsend Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Lodgemoor Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Lower Walkley & Walkley Bank Mutual Aid: Facebook. see also Walkey Mutual Aid, below
Manor & Castle Development Trust Community Hub: manorandcastle.org.uk
Meersbrook Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Millhouses: Knab Farm Shop: deliveries for elderly & vulnerable, 78 Montrose Rd, S7 2EF, 0114 250 7144 or 07949 556263.
Millhouses, also see Whirlow, Beauchief & Millhouses, below.
Mosborough Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Neepsend, see Kelham Island & Neepsend above.
Nether Edge Help Network/Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Netherthorpe ZEST Community Hub: zestcommunity.co.uk
Nether Green Mutual Aid: Facebook. See also S11, below
Norfolk Park Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Norton, see Woodseats & Norton, below.
Norton Hammer (Sheffield Lakes) Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Oughtibridge, see Worrall, Wharncliffe Side & Oughtibridge, below.
Parson Cross Forum: Facebook
Pearson Place Mutual Aid: TheMightyPearson.net
Pitsmoor Adventure Playground Community Hub pitsmooradventure.org
Sharrow Community Forum Community Hub: sharrowcf.org.uk
Sharrow, see also Broomhill, Broomhall & Sharrow above.
S1 Mutual Aid: Facebook
S5 Mutual Aid: Facebook.
S11 Mutual Aid: Facebook.
S12 Mutual Aid: Facebook.
S17 Mutual Aid: Facebook.
SHEFFIELD CITY CENTRE - S1 Mutual Aid: Facebook
South Sheffield - REACH Community Hub: reachsouthsheffield.org.uk
St Mary’s Community Hub stmarys-church.co.uk
St. Timothy’s Hall Community Hub: sttims.org.uk
St Philips Road Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Swallownest, see Aston, Aughton, Swallownest, above.
Totley , see S17, above.
Wadsley Bridge & Fox Hill Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Walkey Mutual Aid: Facebook see also Lower Walkley, above
Wharncliffe, see Worrall, Wharncliffe Side & Oughtibridge, below.
Whirlow, Beauchief & Millhouses Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Whirlow & Millhouses Mutual Support Group: Facebook
Woodseats & Norton Mutual Aid: Facebook.
Woodseats and surrounding areas COVID-19 support and advice: Facebook
Worrall, Wharncliffe Side & Oughtibridge Mutual Aid: Facebook.



③ NOT SURE WHERE TO VOLUNTEER?

VOLUNTEER CENTRES AROUND SHEFFIELD AREA:

Volunteer Centre Sheffield
The Circle, 33 Rockingham Lane, Sheffield S1 4FW
Tel: 0114 2536649
Email: vc@vas.org.uk (VAS = Voluntary Action Sheffield)
Website: www.sheffieldvolunteercentre.org.uk

Volunteer Centre Rotherham
The Spectrum, Coke Hill, Rotherham S60 2HX.
Tel: 01709 829821
Email: admin@varotherham.org.uk
Website: VAR (Voluntary Action Rotherham)

Volunteer Centre Chesterfield & North East Derbyshire
38 Knifesmithgate, Chesterfield, Derbyshire S40 1RQ
Tel: 01246 276777
Email: dave@chesterfieldvc.org.uk
Website: www.chesterfieldvc.org.uk

Bassetlaw Community & Voluntary Service (BCVS)
The Old Abbey School, Priorswell Road, Worksop, Nottinghamshire S80 2BU
Tel: 01909 476118
Email: admin@bcvs.org.uk
Website: www.bcvs.org.uk

Corona Care - I’d like to help is a Google form to fill in, to be put in touch with people local to you, to act in solidarity. (It is not clear which organisation this is from?)

Sheffield’s Food Banks

The Food Works

Foodhall (Facebook page). (See details above in ② DELIVERY SERVICES & COMMUNITY SUPPORT GROUPS.)

SCCCC – Befriending Older People (Facebook page)

Age UK Sheffield (Facebook page)

Red Cross Community Reserve Volunteers



④ WORRIED ABOUT VOLUNTEERING?

What are the best ways to volunteer in the coming days? Nearly half a million people have signed up to volunteer, which is great. Remember this is a marathon not a sprint. We’re not at the peak yet, and help will be even more crucial in a few weeks’ time.
The simplest thing everyone can do right now is to look out for their neighbours; offer help with shopping and other errands if people cannot get out of the house. Also to consider if you are fit and able to help:
~ Medical staff and volunteers
~ Volunteers and staff in key worker roles
~ Supermarket staff
~ Delivery drivers
~ Etc.

Online finding volunteer work: Do-it offers a website to link up willing people with volunteering opportunities/needs. You can search within an area, or use "Advanced search" to find positions by name, skills, time available, etc.

Local voluntary organisations are working together with the Council and other organisations to co-ordinate the work needed. See the details above.



⑤ INFORMATION FOR WORKERS:

Key Worker Support Group: (doesn’t say who set up) https://www.facebook.com/groups/144642196875467

Self Employed, Sole Trader & Small Business (Sheffield) Support:
run by Space To Breathe https://www.facebook.com/groups/350495542494295

Workers’ Support Group: (doesn’t say who set up) https://www.facebook.com/groups/329192668038673



⑥ INFORMATION FOR PEOPLE IN THE ASYLUM PROCESS LIVING IN SHEFFIELD:

Vulcan House: The Home Office have said that people who are self-isolating due to coronavirus do not need to attend appointments at Vulcan House (Sheffield Home Office). But you need to call Vulcan House beforehand to tell them.

Testing for coronavirus is free to all, regardless of immigration status - see this government announcement. There is no check on immigration status for people who need to access this service.

Health information in 20 languages, produced by Doctors of the World (DOTW) is online here and here.

The Sanctuary centre, Victoria Hall drop in and Conversation Clubs are closed, but there is online and phone information about support in the asylum process in Sheffield at Asylum Journey for Sheffield.

There is an is online guide through the asylum process: The Right to Remain Toolkit.

Email help: Contact South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG) to help you find the service needed for all migrants in Sheffield: Email dignitynotdetention@yahoo.co.uk.

Sheffield City of Sanctuary can also advise on phonelines and email help available for refugees and asylum seekers



⑦ INFORMATION FOR ROUGH SLEEPERS IN SHEFFIELD:

On 19th March 2020, Sheffield City Council put online this bulletin on help for rough sleepers during the Coronavirus epidemic.
From 27th March, Sheffield City Council offers a safe place for all rough sleepers, in hotel rooms in the city, following the Government request for accommodation off the streets to assist with health and self-isolation. The offer will include individual sleeping arrangements as well as self-contained bathing facilities. Meals will also be provided directly to each person.
Contact 0800 7311 689 for support relating to homelessness over weekends/out of hours, or Sheff 0114 2736306 during office hours, or see their Housing advice & options line



⑧ NEWS, TRAVEL & HOW TO KEEP IN TOUCH

Local and other useful media, mainstream and non-mainstream; groups and other shared activities:

To stay mentally balanced, don’t watch ‘rolling news’. It’s better to limit your dose of TV/radio/online news to, say, twice a day. Enough to keep in touch, but not to let it depress you. The mainstream media seems to have started helping the nation’s mood, with more themes of humour, and “how to self-isolate and care for yourself”. Even Radio 4 has more comedy, amid its endless focus on negative things like disease, crime, and UK Conservative/capitalist politics.
To brighten up the mood, it’s best to switch on happy music, and dance!
Local radio is another life-line to the outside world; it can be comforting to know that the presenter is quite nearby. And you’ll get updates because they’re often broadcasting live.

Sheffield Live! is the local community TV and radio station, run by volunteers. They are continuing to broadcast their mix of music and talk, in English and various languages, and it can be reassuring to hear local voices. Programmes like "Communities Live" are talk-based and very useful.
Their programme timetable is here: https://web.sheffieldlive.org/radioschedule/.
Sheffield Live TV is on Freeview channel 7, the radio is online and at 93.2FM.

Foodhall Community Radio makes occasional broadcasts. On 29th March it streamed a marathon 14-hour entertainment programme, some of which is available here on Soundcloud.

Radio Sheffield is the BBC local channel for South Yorkshire. Their programme timetable is here: Schedule.
Under the title "Make a Difference" they’re sharing details of help and support from organisations and individuals in each area working to make things easier. If you’re in a position to help and have something to share, get in touch by email to radio.sheffield@bbc.co.uk, putting put "Make a Difference" into the subject line or phone: 0800 111 4949.
Radio Sheffield can be heard online, or on FM radio 88.6 or 104.1FM.

Sheffield Star. Sheffield’s lively daily newspaper.

Sheffield Telegraph. Sheffield’s weekly newspaper; by the same publisher as the Star.

Now Then magazine (Sheffield) Sheffield’s independent and ’non-corporate’ arts and culture magazine, which encourages new writing, music and local trade and activities. It’s continuing in only digital formats at the moment. Each edition features work by a different artist. (Alt-Sheff has a monthly column called "LocalCheck"). Published by Opus, which also does publicity distribution and runs Wordlife writing events, and the impressive annual Festival of Debate.

Travel and Transport

Essential journeys only are permitted, for food, medical, exercise once-a-day. Public transport services are reduced, to keep essential workers moving. Amended timetables apply on all routes until further notice. On-board refreshments are not available. In addition please consider staff and passengers by sitting suitably spaced out, not behind/aside the driver, and if possible pay by contactless means (card or app) rather than cash.

This is an updated summary from Travel South Yorkshire:
Changes to bus, tram and train services in South Yorkshire

The following operators’ websites may also be useful:

Bus and tram services:
STAGECOACH
FIRST SOUTH YORKSHIRE
TM TRAVEL

Train services:
NATIONAL RAIL "Check my journey" page
NORTHERN RAIL
TRANSPENNINE EXPRESS

Keeping in touch: The Phone Co-op is committed to helping people keep in contact through the crisis. They’re all working from home, with access to the tools they need. For charities, businesses and personal customers they can help with home working, fast broadband speeds, cheap mobile packages and cloud communications.
Their tele-conferencing service was developed specially for charities, not-for-profits and social enterprises. As a no-contract service it’s proving popular. It lets you dial into a meeting of multiple people, from a normal telephone. Older people and vulnerable groups appreciate this – The Phone Co-op supports and works closely with Age UK and RNIB. Call 0203 559 0230 for a free 30 minute demo showing how it works.



⑨ WHERE TO FIND MEDICAL SUPPLIES, FOOD, ETC.

This list under construction, please add suggestions of useful info.
Note: Health advice is at the top of this article

Sheffield Markets: The Moor Market is now closed, following the decision of many traders not to take the risk of contact with coronavirus. Crystal Peaks Market is also closed until further notice. Updates will be provided about market changes on the Sheffield Markets website and shared on the City Council’s website.

Delivery services: There can be long delays and online problems in ordering from the big "mainstream" supermarkets, even for "priority" vulnerable/elderly customers. Instead, to find out which smaller shops are doing deliveries, look at your local group discussions (see NEIGHBOURHOODS above, under ② DELIVERY SERVICES & COMMUNITY SUPPORT GROUPS).

3miles.co.uk offers local groceries from certain local shops in Sheffield. Enter your postcode, choose delivery or pickup, and order from independent retailers. Shops such as Zed’s Wholefoods are included. See the website, download the app, or call 07594 463100 for additional help and support.

Cycling: A helpful guide to find your local bike shop ("LBS") has been assembled by Simon of Cycle Sheffield, including updated information on how coronavirus has affected each one. (This may change, so contact them before travelling). There is also advice about cycling during lockdown.



⑩ EVENTS THAT ARE NOT CANCELLED

Latest: At the moment all physical events seem to be cancelled, even Sheffield Festival of the Outdoors, sadly. But online events are beginning to be organised, some featured here on the Alt-Sheff events listing. If you know of any events in the Sheffield area, please email us.

The 2020 Festival of Debate:
The "FoD" is postponed but not cancelled. The organisers (Opus) say that even in a crisis we need to discuss how we can come together to make change.  Conversation, discussion and debate are more crucial than ever. So over the coming weeks they will be exploring how to deliver a revised programme of online events, and some events will be held later in the year, hopefully. Anyone with tickets is asked to wait for a rearranged date, if possible. (Or email for a refund via Tickets For Good). This is a huge blow for Opus and the staff, so if you are able and would like to support, you can by joining the ‘Friends of Opus’. And stay tuned for news, on the Festival of Debate website or social media channels.

Household waste:
Sheffield City Council hopes to resume garden waste collections from Monday 6th April 2020, depending on the availability of Collection Crews. Check their website for updates or see Veolia’s Service Alerts website.
Quote: "If your garden waste collection is scheduled for Monday 6 April please put your green bin out on the pavement before 7am."
The Council asks us to note that we all should sanitise wheelie-bin handles, and only visit a waste disposal site if totally essential and unavoidable. Sites are open between 10am-4pm but visitors are having to patiently wait and spread out in long queues, due to social distancing guidelines.



⑪ INFORMATION FOR EVENT & WORK ORGANISERS
There are people in Sheffield urgently working on running events online, video conferencing, etc. We will put information here about Free software and instructions, soon. Everyone organising will probably need to know this, so we can also publicise contacts. If you know anyone with skills or interest in this technical stuff please let us know, or pass this request to them.
Can anyone set themselves up as a volunteer group?
Support groups can be set up by anyone, but note that forming an organisation includes legal responsibilities by default. This includes law on managing safeguarding, DBS (criminal record checks), references, etc. Most people just want to do the right thing, and we should not be too "risk-averse" that we do not look out for neighbours. But there are always people who exploit any situation, so we also need to be careful about our actions, both to protect vulnerable people, and to avoid being accused of doing wrong. Be very careful handling people’s money, or going into people’s home alone, for example.
Advice is available, we suggest starting online at Voluntary Action Sheffield. Also the NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) also offers its KnowHow guidance free for everyone to access.
On volunteer safety, consider reading Insurance and Volunteers, and Safeguarding and Vulnerable Clients.
SAFE offers expert services and online training including DBS (criminal record checks), policy creation and guidance, safeguarding, management briefings and incident support. It costs money, but profit is put back so voluntary organisations and charities can benefit for subsidised prices. They have trained thousands of staff and volunteers
Remember, volunteers may have to stop, particularly over 70s or with high risk medical conditions. Please make sure you know current government advice, and try to plan this in.
On the other hand, there may be willing volunteers if you’re planning something new, or having to increase your efforts, because some organisations have had to slow down, or even close. Maybe there are skilled people stuck at home, and willing to temporarily help. To contact any potential volunteers or partner organisations, Voluntary Action Sheffield would probably be the best people to ask.
For running support work during the Coronavirus crisis, there is a useful, readable Policy and Principles, produced by an organisation called QueerCare with the approval and oversight of qualified medical professionals, based on experience of such work. Some of it seems to repeat, but only because it is designed in sections to apply to different tasks. This can be seen in the Index which shows it covers various subjects including collecting items from someone who is potentially infected, Data Protection policy, and collecting prescriptions for others.
Thanks to NCVO and Volunteering Matters for some of the above information and suggestions.


The Coronavirus Tech Handbook is a fantastic online resource for technical help. It’s a crowdsourced library for technologists, civic organisations, public and private institutions, researchers, and specialists of kinds working on responses to the pandemic. It is a rapidly evolving resource with thousands of expert contributors. It covers a huge range, under headings like Volunteering & Mutual Aid, Tools for Volunteering & Organising, Medicine & Healthcare and much more. Well recommended. (Tip: When clicking on a section, if it seems nothing happens, click again on a pop-up box which appears.)

Video Conferencing: Zoom is being used a lot for online meetings. It’s run by a private US corporation for profit, so it’s not ’free’ software, but it is becoming widely used because it starts with a no-cost offer. There is plenty of online help, such as these short YouTube videos:
How to SET UP Zoom meetings
Breakout Rooms in Zoom
Zoom Meetings including Breakout Rooms – 33 mins
And this Extinction Rebellion Google document is another good guide

Video Conferencing: Good advice
1. Before the call, send out/read any documents that need to be shared.
2. Close other apps/programs before starting, to avoid slowing your machine.
3. Check your internet speed with a tool, like Speedtest.net. If low, move closer to the wi-fi router or connect by cable.
4. Close confidential websites and emails etc., if you will be sharing your screen.
5. Test the video and audio before you start; video conferencing tools usually have a test facility.
6. Try to use headphones or earbuds, with cable; not Bluetooth or wireless, these can be slower.
7. Try to use a lapel microphone, or position the mic close to your mouth, rather than using a built-in microphone.
8. Arrange all your documents and notes to hand before starting.
9. Sit in a bright place, ideally facing a sunny window.
10. Neutral backgrounds are best. You can blur your background on Skype, or have a virtual background on Zoom.
11. Position the camera at eye level. For a laptop with built-in camera, place it on something to raise it a little.
12. When talking, look straight into the camera, it looks less distracting .
13. Mute your own volume when not speaking, unmute only when you want to speak.
14. Pay attention when someone’s speaking, keep your eyes on the camera (it’s obvious of you don’t, it’s distracting).
15. Try to keep pets/kids away, but if interrupted, just politely excuse yourself briefly, people will understand.
(Adapted, with thanks to Khamosh Pathak)

Loomio is a useful tool for group online discussion and decision making. It was designed by co-operatives in New Zealand and became popular worldwide. It is free in most cases for smaller groups. Try Loomio for free.
See also How to get started on Loomio in less than 5 minutes – everything you need to start having purposeful discussions and making decisions with your team online.
Why do some groups succeed, while others fail? From volunteer groups to company governance, a few key factors mean success. Loomio has put together Four patterns of high-functioning groups, a 5 minute guide to ‌how successful remote teams work, and how you can copy their success right now.

For businesses:
Coronavirus support is available from Sheffield City Region’s "Growth Hub".
The Government’s Business Support Scheme includes advice for employees, and the self-employed
Government guidance for employees, employers and businesses also gives details for employers and employees, such as what to do if someone has symptoms, sick pay, grant funding, even a COVID-19 poster.

For Co-operatives:
Advice on dealing with coronavirus is provided by Co-ops UK

For Social Enterprises:
Advice on dealing with coronavirus is provided by Social Enterprise Exchange

How can organisations best support their staff working from home? Many employees who have never worked from home are having to adjusting to this. CharityJob website offers a blog with tips on how to best manage teams remotely.

Organisational resilience and guidance on pandemic planning: Zurich Insurance offers an online checklist that can be used to plan for a pandemic and minimise its impact. Organisations have a crucial role to play in managing risks to health and safety and maintaining operations. Preparing a suitable response plan can enable your organisations to respond effectively to a range of scenarios. Zurich guidance and checklist.

GDPR: Important information about Coronavirus and data protection is a live document updated March 2020 and put online to help organisations by Mark Burnett, Data Protection Practitioner at Hope & May (Hertfordshire; an NCVO trusted suppplier).

Arts Council emergency money for artists
The Arts Council has announced a £160m emergency response package to support individual artists, freelancers and cultural organisations. It will focus on sustaining livelihoods and businesses, and developing creative responses to the Covid-19 crisis, to help buoy the public for its duration.
Individual artists Emergency response support package (£2500). It also applicable to any freelance artist who has received ANY public funding - be it from NHS, Council etc. OR if you’ve been the beneficiary of the funds, not an applicant, so many people will be eligible to apply.
Organisations outside the National Portfolio get a £50m fund, and will be able to apply for grants of up to £35k. There are additional grants of up to £4m for external benevolent funds/for other cultural workers.
Guidance and a detailed timeline for the funds will be published on 30th March 2020
Resources are limited, meaning difficult choices, but they will guided by the principle of doing what’s best to support the cultural ecology of this country as a whole, ensuring that groups such as disabled artists are not unfairly disadvantaged, and as we physically distance ourselves from one another in our daily lives the role of arts and culture help to bring us all together.
www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19



⑫ HOW TO LIVE THROUGH THIS, STAYING HAPPY & HEALTHY

Some futurologists say that when the system goes down, people will support each other, and get on with making life happen. This is now our main task, along with caring for the sick, for those who are healthy. And sharing sensible, objective and non-alarmist advice on how to live under the emergency procedures, what is likely to happen next, and beyond into the future.

Looking positively to the future after Coronavirus, the crisis of climate, pollution and extinction crisis is still here. We will all need to re-grow more natural lifestyles: economise, make things, mend things, grow food, learn and teach new and old skills, etc. We can work to promote such "Alternative" things. It’s now or never.

The Green Party’s vision for an economy that works for everybody, updated during the Coronavirus crisis on 19th March 2020. (1650 words). See their homepage for details of Sheffield Green Party activities during the crisis.

If you would prefer to help through The Labour Party, contact Sheffield Central Constituency Labour Party. Website: www.labour.org.uk or email: clpsecretarylewis@gmail.com, call 0345 092 2299. They have set up various online Google forms to enable people to offer help, and co-ordinate help across the city.

The Coronavirus Sanity Guide is a free online resource base of practical ways of coping with stress and anxiety, through meditations, podcasts, blog posts, and talks.

Today is a good day for ...
- - > Gardening
- - > Collecting vinyl records, buying online
- - > Cycling, walking, even running up and down stairs
- - > Writing: autobiography, fiction, fantasy ... whether you self-publish, print, or just in private
- - > Sitting in the window to smile at passing strangers
- - > Making a tee-shirt with your face and name below it, so when you’re masked people can still recognise you.
- - > Photographing street scenes (with few cars or people!)
- - > Planning street art, making stencils/getting permission to redecorate and guerilla garden some ugly corner of urban late-capitalism
- - > Rich people: "Hot tip: Dump all stocks and invest in becoming the kind of decent human being who people will want to help in chaotic times” (

Speech bubble icon Promote Alt Sheff  |  Facebook icon Alt Sheff on Facebook  |  RSS icon RSS Feeds  |  Email icon

Webarchitects Ecological Hosting Creative Commons License