Covid-19 regulations for community groups

What your group is allowed to do during Covid-19, Winter 2020/21

This information sheet covers:

The government has announced a four-week national lockdown for England, from 5th November to 2nd December. Links to government guidance and the full lockdown regulations can be found at the end of this information sheet.

This information sheet was last updated on: 4th November 2020

Activities your group can organise

The new lockdown regulations mean that people are discouraged from leaving their homes and from mixing with other people. When meeting with friends or family (between 5th November and 2nd December), you are only allowed to meet with one person from outside your household or support bubble, and this can only happen outdoors, and not in a private garden.

However, some activities are still permitted, which mean that your community group can still organise some in-person activities for larger numbers of people and provide services for certain groups of people.

The exemptions are:

Voluntary or charitable services

You are permitted to leave your home to provide voluntary or charitable services, or to access these services, where they cannot reasonably be provided by people working from home.

Gatherings of more than two people are permitted for the purposes of providing voluntary or charitable services.

Support for vulnerable people

You are permitted to leave your home to buy food, run errands or provide care for someone outside your household who is defined as ‘vulnerable’ in the regulations. This includes everyone aged over 70, anyone who is pregnant and anyone with an underlying chronic health condition.

Support groups

Your community group is allowed to bring together up to 15 people to offer each other mutual aid, therapy, or any other form of support.

The guidance says:

“Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes, but is not limited to, support to victims of crime, people in drug and alcohol recovery, new parents and guardians, people with long-term illnesses, people facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, and those who have suffered bereavement, and vulnerable young people, including for them to meet youth workers.”

However, these are just examples. You are allowed to organise a support group to help your community or group members with any issues they need support with. You must follow the general rules and can not meet in a private dwelling.

Childcare, children’s activities and youth work

Your group can provide:

  • early years childcare
  • childcare that is reasonably necessary to enable parents to work
  • respite care
  • one-to-one youth work
  • support groups for parents, children and young people. Children under 5 do not count towards the limit of 15 people.

General youth clubs will have to stop running during the period of national lockdown.

Children under school age or people dependent on round-the-clock care

Children under school age and carers of people dependent on round-the-clock care are specifically exempted from the limits on numbers of people who can meet each other.

Community centres and places of worship

Community buildings can open for:

  • essential voluntary activities or urgent public support services (including the
    provision of food banks or other support for the homeless or vulnerable people, blood
    donation sessions or support in an emergency)
  • education or training
  • support groups
  • childcare provided by a person registered under Part 3 of the Childcare Act 2006
  • supervised activities for children

Covid-safe gatherings organised by charities or political bodies

Gatherings of more than 30 people are permitted, if:

  • the organiser of the event is business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution, a public body or a political body, and
  • the organiser has done a risk assessment and is using this (and government guidance) to take all reasonable measures to limit transmission of the Covid-19 virus

General rules for group activities

For every activity that your group organises, the group is responsible for ensuring:

1. Participants follow social distancing guidelines

This means that people who do not live together should:

  • keep 2 metres apart from one another;
  • avoid physical contact; and
  • avoid touching the same items or surfaces.

If people cannot stay 2 metres apart, they should stay 1 metre apart and wear face masks.

2. The activity follows ‘Covid-19 Secure’ guidelines

To make sure that the activity you are organising is as safe as possible, your group must:

  • Complete a Covid-19 risk assessment
  • Hold the activity in either a public outdoor space or an indoor venue that has ‘Covid-19 Secure’ measures in place
  • Ensure everyone washes or sanitises their hands as soon as they arrive at the activity, and regularly throughout
  • Minimise people touching the same surfaces or items e.g. cups, chairs, pens
  • Plan the activity in a way that allows people to socially distance
  • Make sure there is good ventilation
  • Take part in NHS Test and Trace
  • Not allow anyone to come to the activity who has Covid-19 symptoms

Covid-19 Secure measures

Most community centres and venues that hire out rooms are now following ‘Covid-19 Secure’ guidelines, but always check before you book. To be ‘Covid-19 Secure’, the venue must: have a Covid-19 risk assessment; clean more often; ask visitors to socially distance and wear masks; increase ventilation; take part in NHS Test and Trace; turn away anyone with Covid-19 symptoms.

3. Specified sub-groups do not mix with each other before, during or after the activity

It is the group’s legal responsibility to ensure that no one socialises with anyone outside their own household or support bubble in any breaks or at the beginning or end of the activity session.

Links to government guidance

New national lockdown restrictions from 5th November


Full regulations:

Find out the Covid alert level in your local area:

Social distancing:

Covid-19 Secure guidelines:


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