Updated 15 September 2020
Ensuring your premises are COVID-secure prior to reopening
URGENT UPDATE: New Covid19 measures commencing 14 September mean that you must not meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than 6 people.
This change in guidance does not change the stricter local guidance in place across Greater Manchester. Links to this guidance for Oldham, Rochdale and Tameside are here
- Oldham - https://www.oldham.gov.uk/coronavirus
- Rochdale - http://www.rochdale.gov.uk/coronavirus
- Tameside - https://www.tameside.gov.uk/coronavirus
For VCFSE groups and organisations there are exceptions where groups can be larger than 6 people, please refer to the following: Coronavirus (Covid-19): Meeting with other safely (social distancing)
For further guidance on re-opening community facilities please visit: Covid-19: Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facillities Please read the guidance carefully in its entirety to enable you to decide how this affects your building and the activities being carried out in it, but in particular please note the following parts of this guidance updated on 14 September:
2a: Social distancing and capacity
- It is against the law for people to gather in a group of more than six, whether indoors or outdoors, unless covered by an exemption. This limit does not apply to meetings of a single household group or support bubble which is more than 6 people.
- Community facilities following COVID-19 Secure guidance can host more than 6 people in total, but no one should visit or socialise in a group of greater than 6. Further information on social contact rules, social distancing and the exemptions that exist can be found on the guidance on meeting with others safely. These rules does not apply to workplaces or education settings, alongside other exemptions. See more details on what has changed.
- Informal or formal adult social groups, clubs and activities can gather in groups no greater than 6 in adherence to social distancing rules. However, for activities where there is a significant likelihood of groups of six interacting, and therefore breaking the law, should not take place in a community facility. Further details is set out in section 3c: Recreation, leisure and social gatherings
- Support groups ( such as victim support and mental health groups) can take place in gatherings of any number (subject to capacity) in a COVID-19 secure community facility if organised by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support to its members or those who attend its meetings.
3c: Recreation, leisure and social gatherings
Managers and providers in community facilities are not permitted to organise or hold informal or formal social groups, clubs and activities unless limited to groups of six people following social distancing rules.
However, for activities and social groups where there is a significant likelihood of groups mixing and socialising ( and where it will be difficult to prevent mingling and therefore breaking the law) should not take place in a community facility. These may include but are not limited to:
- formal or informal clubs and hobby clubs (e.g. women’s institute, veteran’s associations, freemasons, sewing clubs, book clubs, crafts clubs, reading groups)
- amateur choirs and orchestras
- informally organised sport activities on facilities grounds (professionally organised sport activities are exempt)
Community facilities following COVID-19 secure guidelines can run children groups and other youth activities, subject to their own capacity limits. See section 3a: Early years and youth provision for links to relevant guidance. It is, however, important for people to maintain social distancing and good hand hygiene when visiting these spaces.
People meeting in a club or group context at a community centre should be encouraged to socially distance from anyone they do not live with or who is not in their support bubble.
Please note any local restrictions and guidance take precedence in areas with enhanced measures, please check the area you operate in: North of England: local restrictions
The latest up to date advice on the safe use / reopening of multi-purpose community facilities. We will update this page regularly and contact our members with further information.
As the UK Government continues to vary lock-down restrictions, the immediate reaction of many charities and voluntary organisations will be to reopen their services as quickly as possible. However, it is highly likely that your workplace environment for the coming months will be anything but 'business as usual' – not just for your organisation but also your employees, volunteers, fundraisers, key suppliers and service users. It is likely that many of the COVID-19 restrictions put in place during the crisis will remain in place for some time, or may only be partially lifted e.g. social distancing requirements, etc.
This pandemic has had an impact on every organisation in many different ways, meaning that service plans and standard working practices prior to COVID-19 are unlikely to be sufficient now in ensuring the safety of everyone involved. This is particularly true if you are providing services for more vulnerable members of the community including older people, those with underlying health conditions or members of the black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities. Lessons need to be learned and community organisations will need to adapt and change their operating procedures, policies, and practices. Therefore, it will be prudent to reflect on your options before you consider reopening; we understand that you will be keen to reopen as quickly as possible but you need to carefully consider a wide range of relevant factors before you do so. We recommend not rushing to reopen before you are fully prepared.
Action Together is working together with other partners to identify best practice guidance for voluntary, community and faith sector groups on reopening premises and restoring services. In the meantime we have produced a checklist which includes links to guidance and information and will help you to start to think about the things you will need to consider before reopening. We will continue to update this page with other useful resources and information on a regular basis.
- Click here to download the checklist
We will be holding a series of short online information sessions followed by weekly drop in sessions and we would welcome your thoughts and questions at these.
- View a recording of Action Together's information session about the reopening of community centres and other community based facilities that took place on 8 July 2020
- Click here for reopening your organisation - Q&A Sessions
- Sign up to our a weekly training bulletin with details of our own training, and training provided by other organisations that you can access
- Safer Community Centres: a visual guide to helping community centres and village halls reopen safely - IF_DO / Acre
- Click here to download the Information Sheet Reopening Village and Community Halls post COVID-19 closure
- Oldham Council resources:
- Click here to find some useful resources from Tameside Council
- Ensuring your organisation is Covid Secure - Community Matters
- Flowchart to aid reopening decision making - Community Matters
- Example of comms to share about reopening - Community Matters
- Re-opening safely:A guide for Charity Trustees - ICSA
The following resources marked * were created by 4CT and MACC for North Manchester Together and were shared with their kind permission:
- Checklist and Risk Assessment *
- Risk Assessment Example 1 *
- Risk Assessment Example 2 *
- Risk Assessment Example 3 *
- HSE Risk Assessment Template *
- Example Site Operating Procedures *
- Community Matters - Risk assessment
- Self assessment template for individuals
- Individual Risk assessment for staff and volunteers in community settings
- Workforce risk assessment checklist
Contact Tracing - protecting customer and visitor details
- 2m distance *
- Face masks on public transport *
- How to get a test *
- Staying Covid-19 Secure in 2020
- Protect Yourself (social distancing) - Community Matters
- Covid 19 Syptoms - Community Matters
- Wash your hands - Community Matters
- Keep surfaces clean - Community Matters
- View webinar by 4CT and MACC for North Manchester Together *
FAQ produced by 4CT and MACC for North Manchester Together
- COVID-19: Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities
- Oldham: Local restrictions
- North of England: local restrictions
- Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace
- Guidance for people who provide close contact services
- Reporting outbreaks of coronavirus
- Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do
- COVID-19: guidance for the safe use of places of worship
There is a wealth of very detailed and constantly changing guidance available. Different buildings and activities will need different considerations and adaptations to allow them to reopen and continue to operate safely. This information is a starting point only and will be regularly updated. If you would like support for your voluntary, community, faith, social enterprise (VCFSE) organisation, please contact us on 0161 339 2345 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss how we can support you during this confusing and difficult time.
Click here for dedicated coronavirus information and advice for residents, charities, and community and voluntary groups in Oldham, Rochdale, and Tameside.