Coronavirus Pandemic

** This page is under development and will be updated as new information becomes available **

Last updated 27 March 2020, 5pm

Statement from Rt Rev Terence P Drainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough and Chair of Caritas Social Action Network, 24 March 2020

Catholic MP, Sir Iain Duncan-Smith, is one of the signatories to a letter published by The Daily Telegraph on 27 March 2020, highlighting the need to support and protect charities through the impact of the pandemic:

We need your support

Caritas Social Action is an official agency of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, dedicated to aiding the poor and isolated living in these parts of the United Kingdom. Working with local Catholic organisations, we speak up for some of the most vulnerable people in our society, including people who are homeless, sick, in prison, and families unable to make ends meet.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, the need for support has increased and we are working even harder.

To support the work of Caritas Social Action in England and Wales, a donation can be made through our website. Click on the Donate button above.

Thank you and God bless.


Guidance for social action by local Catholic groups and communities

Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) and the St Vincent de Paul Society (England and Wales) have collaborated to produce free guidance for action planning in Catholic parishes and local SVP Conferences.

Letter from Dr Philip McCarthy, Chief Executive, Caritas Social Action Network, and Elizabeth Palmer, Chief Executive, St Vincent de Paul Society (England and Wales).

Action planning template

In December 2019, CSAN published “Reaching Out”. This free resource aims to make it easier for local groups, particularly Catholic parishes, to offer more social opportunities that older people feel are right for them in their neighbourhood. The guidance can also be used where reviewing and renewing community-building activities in parishes for all ages.



Guidance on offering and taking up new volunteering opportunities during the pandemic is available from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO). This page also includes links to safeguarding and insurance guidance.


Food banks

Churches throughout England and Wales are at the heart of the food bank network, particularly through the Trussell Trust. The Trust has told us that food banks are now under greater pressure through the pandemic:

  • A significant proportion of volunteers are older people, many of whom are now not able to volunteer because they are in higher risk groups.
  • Many of the people who need to use food banks have health issues and so may need to self-isolate or comply most strictly with social distancing guidelines.
  • Maintaining food stocks at a time when many people are going out less or are more urgently focused on providing for their own households.
  • Potential for increased demand where workers are being laid off or shifts reduced due to impact on businesses.

Many food banks urgently need additional support, but actual needs will vary between food banks, because each is a local community response.

Please see the Trussell Trust’s website for more information. Some of our member agencies also organise food collection and distribution, and are likely to welcome additional support at this time.


General guidance

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has produced guidance for local churches and agencies, reflecting the Government’s emerging strategy for the pandemic.

Faith Action has collated guidance from national bodies representing different religious traditions.

Doctors of the World have translated NHS advice into 20 languages.


Emergency funding

Charity Bank has compiled a list of emergency funding sources for charities and social enterprises, in response to the pandemic.