Cytûn’s web pages on COVID19 are being updated regularly. We do not wish to bombard you with emails and therefore I am not emailing you every time an update goes live – keep an eye on our website www.cytun.co.uk and click on COVID19. You can see in particular at the moment an ecumenical and bilingual project to encourage the public singing of Easter hymns (keeping an appropriate physical distance) on Easter morning at 10. If you are involved in webcasting a service at 10am on Sundays you may wish to include this in your Easter service.
A number of local and national church leaders have been seen in the media over recent days. I will be on Bwrw Golwg on Radio Cymru this Sunday at 12.30pm (note the new time for this programme).
I would like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to four schemes launched over the past day or two to offer support in meeting community needs during this period:
Welsh Government’s web pages Looking out for each other safely. See the details at the foot of this email. These pages are much more accessible than the Government’s policy pages and offer practical advice for individuals, communities and community organisations. They will be updated regularly.
Business in the Community – BITC has established a webpage where community organisations (including churches and faith groups) can note their needs for support and businesses can respond – https://businessresponsecovid.org.uk/
Volunteering Matters – This is a website where community organisations (including churches and faith groups) who are looking for volunteers can seek help from the employees of local businesses – https://volunteeringmatters.org.uk/charityconnect/
Your Neighbour is a scheme launched by Churches Together in England (CTE), the Evangelical Alliance and others to offer advice to church leaders and a helpline for individuals which can link them with a local church which can help – https://yourneighbour.org/ A number of the denominations and organisations which are involved in this scheme operate in Wales as well as England, and the organization has an officer based in Wales. Cytûn is working with them to ensure that information shared with those seeking help from Wales is accurate for the Welsh context.
Cytûn is also in discussion with Welsh Government and – via the Wales Council for Voluntary Action – with the UK Government about a number of matters not yet fully resolved. Amongst these are:
Arrangements for spiritual care for those who are suffering, and for funerals. The UK Government has published guidance for handling the deceased and funerals here – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-care-of-the-deceased/guidance-for-care-of-the-deceased-with-suspected-or-confirmed-coronavirus-covid-19 (WARNING: Some of the content of this page is very explicit and could cause distress to those who are vulnerable. We have not therefore put a link to this page on the Cytûn website).
Applying the Job Retention Scheme (which places staff on furlough and pays 80% of their wages for this period) to churches. A number of charities are unclear whether the scheme can apply to them, and especially whether those furloughed can receive the money and also volunteer in the community at the same time. We are seeking guidance on that matter, whether clergy can access the scheme and whether the scheme can be made more flexible to meet the needs of churches.
Financial support for charities (including churches and faith groups) as they lose income during the crisis. In a video conference today, Jonathan Hallewell, the faith advisor to the UK Government, confirmed that the UK Government is hoping to do more in that regard before too long. It is assumed that if a scheme is announced for England, that additional funding would be transferred to the Welsh Government to assist here.
We do not publish information about these discussions on our website until we receive certainty on the matter in hand, so as not to add to the half-truths and misleading information online at the moment.
We are happy to try to help with requests for specific support and guidance – although remember that Cytûn has only four members of staff so please be patient when waiting for a reply. (In particular, please note that I am not working tomorrow – Friday).
We know, the pressure and the hard work that goes on to support people across Wales during the COVID-19 crisis and we’d like to thank you for what you’re doing.
We have created a campaign Looking out for each other to support you and your community during these unprecedented times.
The aim of the campaign is to give people advice and inspiration to navigate these trying times, whether that’s through volunteering, keeping connected or staying mentally and physically active.
Here’s a film, voiced by Michael Sheen, on things people can do to look out for each other:
New web pages (English and Welsh) have a range of information on how people can look out for themselves and each other.
The WG Communities Twitter channels (English and Welsh) have been rebranded to support the campaign and a new Facebook page has been created.
We would love if you could help us out by:
Joining the community – follow the Twitter and Facebook channels
Support and share content with your audience through your channels
Share this with your internal team
If you have expert advice which can help people look after themselves or each other during the COVID-19 crisis, please get in touch with us at
. This may be an existing or planned social media post from your own channels or an idea for a piece of content we could work on together.
We would also love to hear what you are doing to help the community during COVID-19, please could you add
to your mailing or press list.
If you have any further questions, contact one of the team
Wishing you every blessing in these days
Revd Gethin Rhys