Guidance for Eid 2020 during COVID-19

Friday, 22 May, 2020

This Ramadan has been a very different experience for Muslims around the world and in Birmingham due to the impact of Coronavirus and the celebration of Eid will also be different.

Since the 23 March 2020, following the UK Government’s official announcement that all places of worship should close, alongside the advice of both the Muslim Council of Britain and British Board of Scholars and Imams that Muslim communities must pray from home and not congregate together for worship, Mosques and communities across the UK have diligently and responsibly adhered to the guidance and advice which has continued for the duration of Ramadan.

Mosque leaders in Birmingham have been working extremely hard and have been instrumental in ensuring that lockdown measures are strictly adhered to in order to protect lives.
Your continued support with these difficult decisions has meant that collectively we have been able to:

  • Restrict the spread of coronavirus in Birmingham
  • We are beginning to see the benefit with deaths and new cases on the decrease

However, we are at a critical juncture where any easing of social distancing would risk another peak and undue all the hard work undertaken thus far.
Unfortunately, this means that restrictions cannot be removed foreseeable future and not before Eid this coming weekend. This means that congregational prayers within Mosques or outside in open spaces are still not possible.
Our clear guideline based on Public Health advice to continue protecting live, reduce the further spread of the coronavirus and risking a second peak is:

  • That Eid is celebrated at home
  • Not to hold congregational prayers on Eid day at Mosques, parks, open spaces or private gardens (two people from separate households constitutes a congregation)
  • Not to visit family members and neighbours
  • Adhere to the meeting of one person outside your household in open spaces rule
  • Adhere to social distancing rules when visiting the cemetery

Please utilise the plethora of social media platforms that exist to celebrate Eid virtually with your family and friends.

Chaand Raath
In recent years we have seen a cultural event of Chaand Raath (night of the moon) taking place on the night before Eid. This has involved large numbers of people congregating to celebrate and mark the end of Ramadan and the arrival of Eid. Chaand Raath is a spontaneous event that has no official organiser or sponsor and this lack of coordination and planning presents a great risk for the coronavirus spreading.

With the current COVID-19 regulations preventing more than two people (not from the same household) gathering in a public space. We, therefore, request that people do not come out and put the health and safety of themselves, their families and of others at risk; this message
is endorsed by all the main mosques in Birmingham, Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police.

  • Neighbourhood police officers and trading standards officers will be on duty to engage and explain that the event has been cancelled.
  • Any person gathering in breach of COVID-19 legislation will be encouraged to leave
  • Those who fail to take notice will be dispersed, fined up to £100 or as a last resort arrested.

Cemeteries and crematoria opening hours
All Birmingham cemeteries and crematoria grounds are now open at weekends for visitors from 12pm to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, with the exception of Lodge Hill cemetery, which will open 3pm to 6:30pm on Saturdays and 12pm to 4pm on Sundays. Sutton New
Hall cemetery and Handsworth cemetery which will both be open 5:30pm to 8:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Those wishing to visit a cemetery or crematorium grounds should visit the Birmingham City Council directory for more information on opening times for each individual site. All sites are open on weekday evenings, from 4:30pm or 6:30pm depending on when services conclude.

It is essential to continue to follow Government advice on preventing the spread by regular hand washing and social distancing and guidelines on self-isolating. Birmingham City Council appreciates and respects the hard work our Mosques in the city are doing during this challenging time.

For more information, visit:

Click here to read the letter from Councillor Mohammed Azim, Lord Mayor of Birmingham and Councillor John Cotton. 

Birmingham charity CEO among charity leaders awarded unique development opportunity

Friday, 22 May, 2020

Sport 4 Life UK CEO Tom Clarke-Forrest is one of 10 small charity leaders awarded places on a unique initiative designed to both develop their own strategic and leadership capabilities, and transform a further 10 charities.

The successful applicants to Pilotlight’s 2020 Bursary Initiative will each be matched with three other senior leaders from the public and private sectors, forming teams which will support charities who have come to Pilotlight in need of strategic input. The engagement between these teams and their charities will be facilitated and project managed by Pilotlight, requiring just three hours of their time each month.

Recipients of the bursary, now in its third year, come from frontline charities in a broad range of areas:

  • Alan Avis, CEO, Croydon Mencap (learning disability charity, based in London Borough of Croydon)
  • Tom Clarke-Forrest, founder and CEO, Sport 4 Life UK (young people’s life skills charity, based in Birmingham)
  • Carole Cumino, CEO, Worcestershire Association of Carers (supports unpaid carers, based in Worcester)
  • Gareth Dixon, CEO, Young H&F Foundation (working across the children and young people sector in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham)
  • Georgina Hoare, head of talking therapies, Wimbledon Guild (tackles social isolation in the London Borough of Merton)
  • Lindsy James, director, Active Fusion (children’s and young people’s sports charity, based in Doncaster)
  • Dan Jarman, executive director, Pact Global (UK) (UK operation of US-based international NGO)
  • Wayne Myslik, CEO, Consonant (migration and asylum charity, based in central London)
  • Steve Slack, CEO, SAYiT (an LGBT+ young people and sexual health charity, based in Sheffield)
  • Kathryn Williams, director, Rubicon Dance (community dance company, based in Cardiff)

Tom Clarke-Forrest said: "I'm delighted to receive a Pilotlight Bursary to enable my place as a Pilotlighter in a new team. I'm looking forward to supporting another charity on their exciting journey. Having benefited first hand from the Pilotlight programme, I'm a huge advocate of the approach, and I hope I can add value over the next year."

Bruce McCombie, interim CEO, Pilotlight, said: “The social change we ignite doesn’t just impact charities, it impacts the Pilotlighters who coach and mentor those charities too. That’s one of the many reasons why major businesses including Morgan Stanley, Lendlease and Sodexo sponsor their staff to become Pilotlighters.

“Pilotlight has now supported nearly 1,000 charity leaders and through the Bursary Initiative we’re enabling some of them to continue their leadership development by sharing their experience with another charity.”

Angela Smith-Morgan, CEO of Leukaemia UK and a previous Bursary Pilotlighter, said: "As a charity leader myself it has been so interesting to sit at the other side of the table, get to understand a charity in a different sector, and draw on my own experience to tease out the key issues. This is an invaluable opportunity to see the full dynamic of a charity, its governance as well as its operations - so satisfying to be able to help and support a charity whilst also learning so much myself."

The charities which will receive the support from the Bursary Pilotlighters’ teams will be matched over the next month, with engagements beginning this summer.

In the last 17 years, Pilotlight has matched more than 2,000 business leaders with nearly 1,000 charities since its inception. Pilotlight’s 2020 Impact Report shows that charities, on average, increase their reach by 36% and their income by 40% in the two years after working with the organisation.

Across all of Pilotlight’s programmes, participants report improved personal wellbeing, coaching skills, networks, career development and leadership skills.


Small Business Grant Funding

Friday, 22 May, 2020

Last month, Birmingham City Council had launched the Small Business Grant funding but some are not aware that Community Organisations may also be eligible to apply and receive £10k or £25k funding. 

More details about this can be found here:
Key information is as follows:

  • Scheme 1 £10k – if in receipt of small business rates relief (SBRR)
  • Scheme 2a £10k – if in retail, hospitality or leisure business and rateable value is below £15k
  • Scheme 2b £25k – if in retail, hospitality or leisure business and rateable value is above £15k and below £51k

There are some FAQs – one of them deals with Community Organisation eligibility and the answer is
“If a community organisation meets all the criteria for eligibility set in the guidance it is eligible for Small Business Grants Fund” e.g. Community Centres, Sports Clubs, Scouts Groups

I am aware that a number of community organisations with buildings have been successful in receiving the larger amount which is positive but groups might not be aware of their eligibility for this Fund. I’m keen to hear people’s experiences so I can feed it back. 

Karen Cheney, Head of Service – Neighbourhood Development and Support Unit (NDSU)


Community Initiatives Fund

Wednesday, 6 May, 2020

New £200,000 Community Initiatives Fund launched by West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner to community and voluntary organisations to help overcome social effects of Coronavirus isolation

Following a surge in voluntary and community activity to help vulnerable people during the COVID 19 crisis, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, has made £200,000 available over the next six months, to support active citizenship within local communities.

The new Community Initiatives Fund which comes into effect on Monday 4th May 2020, will be funded from money which has been allocated from items seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Each year, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner invites local community groups to bid for a grant from the existing Active Citizens Fund which is money which must go into community projects and cannot be spent on recruiting Police officers. The Community Initiatives Fund temporarily replaces the Active Citizens Fund.  

Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner Waheed Saleem said:

“This really is a fantastic way to support, in a practical way all those people who are rapidly responding and organising in new ways to connect with each other within their communities. This includes online, providing practical and spiritual support, and using local supply chains.

“Through local community policing, I want to encourage and support community initiatives and networks that are enterprising. I want to hear from people about how they can provide new solutions to reach the vulnerable, protect them from threats and harm and to help them thrive despite the current restrictions”.

Community organisations can bid for funding up to £5,000.

Community Testing for Essential Workers and Volunteers in Birmingham

Friday, 24 April, 2020

National government has significantly increased testing capacity to include people showing symptoms of coronavirus who come under the category of ‘essential workers’ and ‘members of their households’.

This can help essential workers with coronavirus symptoms to protect the people they are working with and their families. It will also help them to safely return to work if a test is negative. A broad range of testing methods is being rolled out to increase accessibility, including home testing kits and mobile testing. The full list of essential workers is available by clicking on this link: Essential Workers

In regards to the parts of Birmingham’s Voluntary, Community and Faith sectors that are delivering critical activity, the relevant sections are:

All NHS and social care staff, including:

    • doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other front-line health and social care staff including volunteers
    • the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector

Essential public services staff, including:

    • charities and workers delivering critical front-line services

If you have had to maintain your activity rather than furloughing staff or asking staff or volunteers to work from home, this testing is likely to be available to you and your organisation.

There are two routes to accessing testing:

  1. Self-referral

Essential workers who are self-isolating can book a test directly. You can select a regional test site drive-through appointment or a home test kit. Home test kit availability will initially be limited but more will become available. There is good availability of regional test sites, so please select this option if you can.

  1. Employer referral

The employer referral portal allows employers to refer for testing any essential workers who are self-isolating because they, or members of their household, have coronavirus symptoms. It is a secure portal where employers can upload a full list of names and contact details of self-isolating essential workers. If referred through this portal, essential workers will receive a text message with a unique invitation code to book a test for themselves (if symptomatic), or for their symptomatic household members, at a regional testing site. In order to obtain a login, employers of essential workers should email portalservicedesk[at][dot]uk with two email addresses that will primarily be used to upload essential worker contact details. Once employer details have been verified, two login credentials will be issued for the employer referral portal.

We would encourage individuals and organisations within Birmingham’s VCSFE who believe they offer something critical to the city at this time, to assume eligibility and undertake the test if needed. We know many of you are facing complex decisions about balancing your responsibilities to your families and the people you support, and this can remove some of the uncertainty. Please communicate this information to as many of your colleagues and fellow volunteers as possible.



Coronavirus Resilience Fund

Friday, 24 April, 2020

The Heart of England Community Foundation launched the Coronavirus Resilience Appeal on 18th March 2020. The appeal was opened to any individual, business or trust that would like to support grassroots organisations who are tackling emerging issues in our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The appeal has raised, as of 20/04/2020: £327,704.35

The Foundation launched the Coronavirus Resilience Fund on 23rd March 2020 and has now delivered two rounds of funding.

Applications received, as of 20/04/2020: 229 (Totalling: £514,584.49)

Unfortunately, we are receiving a large number of applications and this fund is oversubscribed, if you are able to contribute then please visit our Virgin Giving Page or contact the Foundation directly here.

Click here to see where the funding was delivered to and how it will help the organisation. 

The Heart of England Community Foundation would like to thank everyone who has supported the Coronavirus Resilience Fund.

The Matt Kendall Foundation – Open for Applications

Friday, 24 April, 2020

Covid19 Hardship Fund for young people aged 16-25 extended with support from Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Children’s Partnership

Earlier this month, the Matt Kendall Foundation launched the Covid19 Hardship fund to support young people aged 16-25 in Birmingham directly affected by the situation; getting them the financial support they urgently need. We have received over 30 applications over the past two weeks and have allocated over five thousand pounds of grants to young people.

We have now been asked by Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Children’s Partnership to support the distribution of their ‘Resilience Funding’, ensuring that financial support reaches those young people in most need.

If you are working with a young person who is facing financial hardship as a result of Covid19, you can apply on their behalf for a grant of up to £150.00. The application process is quick and easy and can be done either via our website here or by following the guidance attached here.

Please see below for further guidance on the application process.

The Matt Kendall Foundation are providing emergency support to those young people affected by this global crisis. This could be for many reasons, including;

  • their hours have been cut
  • they’ve been laid-off or contracts suspended/terminated
  • their training courses have been cancelled or suspended
  • their benefits haven’t come through yet or they are awaiting universal credit or other support measures
  • they might have no family of friends to turn to for support

We consider all circumstances that relate directly to the impact of coronavirus and are affecting young people in our core age demographic of 16-25 and resident in Birmingham.

Emergency hardship grants may be for any of the following;

  • Rent
  • Living costs such as heating, lighting, water etc
  • Food and other everyday consumables and necessities
  • Phone credit to keep you connected

Our trustees and volunteers are committed to turning around application as quickly as possible and on average are able to do this and make payment with 3-5 days of receipt

You can apply on behalf of the young person, making clear:

  • A. How they have been affected directly by the Corona Virus
  • B. What they need financial support for and how this grant will be spent
  • C. Any other information pertinent to the application, i.e. demonstrating the need and why this support is not available from elsewhere

Crisis Grants are for up to £150 and either paid directly to the applicant or via their supporter organisation/sponsor.

Who can be a sponsor?

  • Support workers, social carers, mentors, faith leaders, housing workers, youth workers and counsellors

Who can’t be a sponsor?

  • A friend, family member or person with no knowledge or professional relationship with the applicant

If you are in any doubt if you can be a sponsor, please just drop us an email to infoatMKF[at]gmail[dot]com.

We want to ensure this support gets to those who really need it. So your help is of crucial importance.

Thank you so much in advance, keep safe and well and please accept our heartfelt gratitude for all you are doing to support these young people in your work on the frontline.


Best wishes, from all at The Matt Kendall Foundation



New online support reaches out to the vulnerable

Tuesday, 14 April, 2020A new initiative launched by Witton Lodge Community Association will provide much-needed support to people who are isolated and vulnerable as a result of the current COVID19 lockdown. Weekly support sessions, delivered online, ai...

Urgent: changes to local NHS services due to COVID-19

Friday, 3 April, 2020

Due to the unprecedented demand on the NHS during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, we are temporarily relocating the Heartlands Hospital Gynaecology Assessment Unit (GAU) to Good Hope Hospital, from Thursday, April 2.

The Home Birth Service for pregnant women in the north and east of Birmingham has also been temporarily suspended with immediate effect, for the same reason. 

In light of these changes, all women who require non-life threatening, emergency gynaecology assessment and early pregnancy complications assessment support will need to attend Good Hope Hospital for these services.

If patients are worried, they are advised to:

  • Contact NHS 111 – either online ( or by phone (available 24/7 and free to call)
  • Travel to Good Hope Hospital (as directed by their GP, community midwife, NHS 111) where there is a Gynaecology Assessment Unit. The referring person will phone the GAU to let them know patient on way via 0121 424 7747
  • Dial 999 (life-threatening situations only e.g. loss of consciousness, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding or severe allergic reactions) with any subsequent ambulance journey being made to Good Hope Hospital.

If a patient is taken to Heartlands Hospital, they will be seen and treated, then asked to go to Good Hope Hospital for further assessment or discharged appropriately.


All women in the north and east of Birmingham, who would have chosen to have a home birth, will be asked to come to Good Hope or Heartlands Hospitals. They will be contacted by their community midwife, to discuss their options.

Temporary transfer of chemotherapy and supportive treatment from Good Hope to Solihull Hospital

From Thursday, April 2, we are having to temporarily close the chemotherapy and supportive treatment unit at Good Hope Hospital, for the same reasons as set out above.

All patients have been risk assessed and will be asked to receive their treatment at Solihull Hospital, until further notice. 


UHB is also having to suspend its Car-T cell therapy programme until further notice.


A University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said: “We have had to fundamentally and quickly redesign a number of our hospital services to manage the COVID-19 patients we are treating locally. This has led to the immediate redeployment of our staff to areas of most need and ensure that our clinical expertise is provided in the most appropriate setting. We would like to thank the local community for their co-operation at this extremely challenging time.”

For more information, please contact Communications at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust: communications[at]uhb.nhs[dot]uk

Mental health support offer launched for Birmingham and Solihull children, young people, adults and key workers

Friday, 3 April, 2020

NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has announced a range of mental health support for local people during this difficult time. 

For many, the current circumstances are uncertain and stressful and may make underlying mental and physical health conditions worse. New, easily accessible support, has now been made available by the local NHS, for the following groups:

  • 0-18-year-olds in Birmingham
  • 0-18-year-olds in Solihull
  • Over 18s in Birmingham and Solihull
  • Key workers.

The services, which are provided by a range of local organisations, offer emotional help, guidance and reassurance to people in Birmingham and Solihull, who may be finding the current situation we are living with overwhelming.

Dr Angela Brady, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG said: “It is important to ensure that everyone is taking measures to look after their physical health, but it is equally as important to make sure we care for our mental wellbeing too. This is such a worrying time for many people, and we recognise that we need services that are simple to access for when people most need support.

“These new mental health support services are available first and foremost through a dedicated telephone line, and can be accessed by anyone who may need them.”

For more information about how to access the support, including opening hours and contact details please visit: