Coronavirus: How social enterprises & charities can prepare

14 Mar 2020

We know many of you will be concerned about how the coronavirus (COVID-19) might affect your social enterprise, charity, community business or impact organisation.

We want to do everything we can to help you, and the people you support, weather the storm.

This blog shares links to resources you might find useful. We’ll update it as new resources become available or visible to us. Please email Sophie (our head of comms) if you spot something that is outdated, incorrect or missing: [email protected].

It’s so important that we find ways to help each other out during this time, especially in the social impact sector.

SSE students, course attendees and other people directly involved in our work

We are updating you regularly by email if we support you through one of our programmes, if you’re due to attend an SSE course or if you are directly involved in SSE’s work in another way. If you have other concerns related to SSE during this time, please contact your learning manager or your main contact at SSE.

Key links

Most useful resources we’ve found so far*

(*Other than government advice)

  • Social Enterprise UK: Regularly updating their website with the latest news and resources to help us collectively get through the coming weeks, including:
    • summaries of key government support available to social enterprises
    • series of webinars
    • info on the Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the new larger business loans scheme
    • information on self-employment support, the three month Companies House reporting extension and the ban on commercial tenant evictions until June 30th
  • NCVO guide: Your organisation and coronavirus – a comprehensive guide being updated regularly and aimed at the social sector. It includes sections on:
    • How to protect staff, volunteers and visitors
    • Whether to cancel events and activities
    • How to support beneficiaries and service users, including those who are vulnerable or facing discrimination
    • How to manage finances, planning and insurance
    • Contingency planning

Graphic of a rainbow

Sign up to SSE’s newsletter for all the latest funding and support offers, as well as inspiring stories and news from across the social enterprise sector.


Finance and funding

Government support available for your organisation


Human resources

  • SSE partner, Linklaters have a series of resources and webinars about Covid-19 employment rights, job retention schemes, annual leave entitlement and furloughing.
  • Co-operatives UK have put together a guide on HR issues answering questions such as ‘how do we treat employees who follow guidance to self isolate?’ and ‘what about parents who are off work because their child’s school has closed?’.
  • ACAS is monitoring government advice daily and updating this Covid-19 resource for employer and employees.
  • Catch up on Social Enterprise UK’s webinar on managing people through the crisis
  • Wrigleys Solicitors have put together a set of articles around risk mitigation, maintaining good governance, funding and more.
  • Bates Wells Social Enterprise Legal Advice Line – Bates Wells are extending their offering to all social enterprises (not just SEUK members), giving 20 minutes of free advice. To access the helpline, complete this online form and the Bates Wells team will respond to arrange a call.
  • SSE Midland’s board member Roots HR are offering a one hour free advice line for Covid-19 related employment law and people management support. This is a one-off offer, open to all social sector employers.
  • Populo, a social enterprise run by Sonia Wilson (SSE Fellow), helps small social enterprises and charities with their employment issues. Sonia provides free HR telephone advice every Wednesday 10:00-12:00pm to small social enterprises and charities.  If you have a people issue that would benefit from running past an HR professional and is suitable to be resolved through a phone call of around 30 minutes, e.g. queries around the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, sickness absence, managing poor performance etc, then please contact Sonia on 07584 731420 or email [email protected]

Business & continuity planning

Community businesses: try Power to Change’s resource hub

Triodos Bank have put together a list of government support and sector-specific advice for businesses, and FAQs.

Health and social care social enterprise support

SEUK has a new resource page especially for social enterprises working in health and social care. It contains the latest guidance and briefings from Government and NHS England/Improvement as well as other resources.

Over 30% of all NHS community nursing and other services are provided by social enterprises.  But social enterprise providers had been omitted until recently from the supply of PPE from the NHS Supply Chain.

Communications planning

“Crisis communications” might sound scary or extreme, but really it’s just about making sure you’re prepared for different eventualities, and that you keep people up-to-date during tricky times.

Continuing to support your clients, beneficiaries and vulnerable people you work with

  • The NCVO guide (linked to above) has useful information on this.
  • Our new series highlights how SSE fellows are adapting to the crisis and continuing to support their beneficiaries.

Working from home, supporting your team with remote working & tech

Looking after your mental health

Support for BAME-led organisations and people of colour

People of colour and people from ethnic minority backgrounds are being hit disproportionately hard by the crisis. Here are some resources and research specifically for BAME communities:

Supporting each other

More than half of social enterprises could run out of cash by June, according to Social Enterprise UK. We’ve joined forces with other sector bodies to call on government to save our social enterprises – but we need your help. Join 1,000 others and sign our letter to the Chancellor calling on more support for our sector.

We’re also thinking about how we can best support each other during this time. We’ve started using the hashtag #SocEntSolidarity on Twitter and Facebook so that, as a community, we can share tips, friendly words, positive news, cute memes – anything to brighten our days! Feel free to use #SocEntSolidarity and tag us @SchSocEnt and we can help each other through.

GIF reading #SocEntSolidarity

Supporting your community

Covid Mutual Aid UK is a group of volunteers supporting local community groups across the UK. Loads of resources, connecting people to their nearest local groups, willing volunteers and those in need.

Staying up to date with the sector

  • Pioneers Post – the magazine and news source for social enterprises and the social-impact sector – are sharing news and updates specific to our sector on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Please contact [email protected] or tweet @sophiehobson if you come across other resources we could add to this page, or if anything seems inaccurate or out of date.

Read next: How can SSE support you during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis?