Covid-19 has led to more and more significant changes to the way we live and work, as well as affecting the health and wellbeing of those within and outside the community energy sector, we are working hard to support our members and the sector as a whole. Lives and livelihoods are being disrupted with many people involved in community energy working from home, balancing with childcare and other caring responsibilities, and getting involved in community responses to the pandemic while also trying to ensure their community energy organisations are meeting legal and regulatory requirements, looking after staff and volunteers, and continuing the valuable work they do in communities. We have gathered resources covering these and other areas with the intention of helping members and others in the sector find the information, tools and ideas they need to persevere through this unprecedented situation.

As the membership body for community energy in England and the voice of the sector, we are paying close attention to how the sector is being affected by the current circumstances and working hard to gather evidence, make representations to the government and regulators and speak up about the sector's challenges, for example over installations halted due to the lockdown; our advocacy efforts were central in securing an extension for affected FiTs projects. We also have an eye on the future and will be thinking hard about how community energy can regroup and forge a new path once the extent of the crisis is known and the country begins to move out of the peak of the crisis.

If you have any sector-specific issues you need our support with, resources to share or would like to tell us about how your community energy organisation is responding to COVID-19, please contact us at members@communityenergyengland.org.

As the pandemic continues, we will keep members updated with any energy industry news through our newsletter and news page of our website. We host a regularly updated list of opportunities on our funding page. We also encourage our practitioner members to make use of our online practitioner-only discussion forum to connect with others in the sector; please request to join here.

Governance resources

  • Co-operatives UK has produced HR and governance advice pages with guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority, including how to deal with AGMs - they have also explained here societies will be given greater flexibility in how and when they hold AGMs this year and have also that the FCA will not take any action before 31 October 2020 to follow-up on any delayed submission of annual returns and accounts
  • Wrigleys Solicitors have put together a set of articles around risk mitigation, maintaining good governance, funding and more
  • UK government has produced this guide to safe working during the COVID-19 outbreak, including outdoor work, offices and visiting homes. Any business that cannot work from home should:
    • Read the guide linked above
    • Complete a risk assessment with COVID-19 implications and mitigation measures
    • Publish your risk assessment online (if you have more than 50 employees)
    • Display a notice confirming that your organisation is following safe working environment guidance.

Business & enterprise resources

  • NCVO have various webinar recordings available on their website or YouTube, including 'Easing of lockdown – practical considerations for managing and supporting staff' and about supporting board leadership as voluntary organisations emerge from the immediate crisis of Covid-19
  • Power to Change and Locality ran a webinar on managing your community business during the COVID-19 crisis
  • The Impact Investing Institute ran a webinar at on COVID-19 emergency funding for small businesses, social enterprises & charities, with Cliff Prior, CEO of Big Society Capital and Nick Temple who leads Social Investment Business
  • School for Social Entrepreneurs has gathered lots of advice on how small and social enterprises can prepare for COVID-19
  • NCVO have also prepared lots of advice for organisations in the social sector
  • Social Enterprise UK has collated COVID-19 help and support here
  • Plunkett Foundation has a community business COVID-19 business continuity planning tool and has collected other resources for community businesses 
  • The Community Business Mutual Aid Group is run by and for community-led businesses.  It is about solidarity, inspiration and practical peer support during COVID-19 and beyond
  • CIPD has a range of free resources including template policies, letters and a checklist, to assist organisations with their response COVID-19
  • The Information Commissioner's Office has a hub for data protection and coronavirus information for community groups
  • Good Finance has a hub for social enterprises during COVID-19
  • ACAS has a page of COVID-19 advice for employers and employees
  • Volunteering will be crucial in the response to coronavirus - the government has issued guidance on what you can and cannot do at the moment (section 7 in particular)
  • Some key government guidance pages:
    • Guidance on working safely/returning to the workplace during COVID-19
    • Guidance on Test and Trace for employers, businesses and workers
    • A procurement policy note to clarify how contracting bodies should support contractors

Working from home & wellbeing resources

  • Alister Scott, Chair of Cuckmere Community Solar (a CEE member) and co-founder of the One Leadership Project, and his team have developed a 10 minute, 5 step approach for building resilience for teams during the current crisis
  • Action Planning have a blog on establishing an environment in which colleagues feel secure enough to open up about their problems during lockdown
  • Andy Brown, Head of Sustainability for Anglian Water Group, has written a blog about managing wellbeing, anxiety and mental health in the lockdown
  • The Climate Coalition shared advice for facilitating online meetings and training
  • Mental Health Foundation have advice on looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
  • An experienced home worker has written about realistic expectations when working at home with children
  • Social Enterprise UK have shared a recording of a webinar on mental health and working from home
  • Protecture have recorded a webinar on GDPR and dealing with personal data while working from home