Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service (NCVS) - Responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service (NCVS) - Responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Thank you to Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service (NCVS) for the following article on their response to the coronavirus pandemic and how they are contributing to support those who experience multiple disadvantage:

"There is no doubt that those who experience multiple disadvantage are likely to be more significantly impacted by the current global crisis.

Multiple disadvantage (or multiple and complex needs) refers to people who experience a combination of two or more of the following - homelessness, mental ill health, offending and substance misuse[1]. Generally, we know that people who face these types of disadvantages tend to have a harder time accessing services and getting the support they need. It's estimated that annually around 58,000 people experience Multiple Disadvantage in England and Nottingham has the eighth highest prevalence, at over 5,000 people[2].

As an infrastructure organisation for Nottingham city's Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector, our focus is on strengthening the sector and in doing so, improving the quality of peoples' lives. We believe that staying connected as a sector is essential in reaching and supporting those who are most vulnerable in our communities and may be some of the worst affected by the pandemic. Since lockdown began, we have been working hard to reach out to Nottingham's VCSE sector to see how we can best support them with delivering their services and sharing important information/updates about what they can still provide at this unprecedented time.

Many of those key, local organisations which support people experiencing complex needs have had to adapt quickly to the global situation, making important changes to their services that still allow them to reach the vulnerable groups that rely on them. Some have been hit financially by the impact of COVID-19 whilst seeing a significant influx in service-user demand, whilst others have had to make difficult decisions and close regular pathways to their service-users, finding innovative new ways to provide the same, or similar, level of support.

Emmanuel House for example, is still providing its night shelter service to the homeless but after closing its centre's doors (temporarily), this service is now being run from a nearby hotel. Whilst self-harm and suicide prevention charity Harmless has made the decision to continue to offer support face-to-face and remotely for anyone with suicidal thoughts but is now struggling to find the space to accommodate increasing demand. The charity has made an urgent appeal to local builders to help them put up new walls.

These are just a few examples of the ways in which Nottingham's extraordinary VCSE sector is responding to the crisis and in doing so, making sure that pathways of support remain open for those experiencing multiple disadvantage.

At NCVS, we are doing all we can to connect the sector with each other and those statutory organisations who can help them, as well as the service-users who need their help.

The work of our Practice Development Unit (PDU)

Our PDU continues to provide information and learning opportunities to local services, having moved most of its work online. We are currently offering 1-hour webinars on topics related to multiple disadvantage and staying in touch with members via our email bulletin, where we provide relevant practice updates and resources, including COVID-19 specific items.

Visit our online hub to view the current online events and sign up to our email bulletin

Our volunteering response

We're working in partnership with Nottingham City Council to link potential volunteers with people who require support in Nottingham's communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have now registered over 400 Coronavirus Response Volunteers via our website, a huge thank you to all those who have signed up!

To find out more about volunteering in response to coronavirus, visit

Supporting the sector by sharing their appeals

We've compiled a list of all the urgent appeals for donations/funds from VCSE organisations which we've been made aware of locally, visit our dedicated web page for full details at

This page is updated regularly as we receive new information. If you would like to be added to this list, please email

Sharing information about changes to the sector's services

We've been receiving regular updates from VCSE sector organisations about current changes to their services and have compiled this information into a helpful list which is available to view on our website at

If anyone would like to add information to this list, we would encourage you to get in touch, email

Providing important sector updates through our communication channels

We've set up a dedicated Coronavirus Emergency Resources page on our website, which provides reliable sources of information, resources and guidance for voluntary and community groups.

Through our regular e-bulletin and social media channels, we share information with the sector about available grants, important VCSE sector updates, urgent appeals, campaigns, surveys, the latest jobs and much more.

You can sign up to receive our e-bulletins here

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @NottinghamCVS

Developing our partnership work

We're keeping in close contact with national voluntary infrastructure organisations' at this time (including NAVCA and NCVO) and are feeding into important discussions to share our knowledge of Nottingham's voluntary and community sector and ensure that the areas where help is needed the most are mapped. We are also going to start hosting our Vulnerable Adults' Providers Network (VAPN) and Children and Young People's Providers Network (CYPPN) meetings online, continuing to provide a forum for local organisations to connect, have their voices heard and collaborate.

We will continue to voice the sector's concerns, at a local and national level, and work alongside our partners to raise any issues we identify or are alerted to."

[1] People who face these disadvantages often experience other issues, including poor physical health, domestic and sexual abuse and disadvantages related to ethnicity such as community isolation.

[2] *Bramley G., Fitzpatrick S., Edwards J., Ford D., Johnsen S., Sosenko F. and Watkins D. (2015) Hard Edges: Mapping severe and multiple disadvantage, Lankelly Chase Foundation [online]; Everitt G. and Kaur K. (2019) Severe Multiple Disadvantage (Multiple Needs), [online]

Back to all news stories