Covid-19 Pandemic


** This page will be updated as new information becomes available **

Last updated 28 October 2020


Bishop calls for support for charities through the pandemic

Rt Rev Terence P Drainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough and Chair of Caritas Social Action Network, has called for continuing support for charities through the additional pressures they face today. Read the full statement (24 March 2020).


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: please click here.

Thank you and God bless.


Caritas network steps up to new challenges

In association with CSAN, The Tablet newspaper has run a series of articles, by the journalist Ellen Teague, on how member charities in the Caritas network have responded to new and deeper poverty for many people in England and Wales arising from the pandemic. We have posted highlights of these stories on our news pages.


Special appeals by charities in the Caritas network in England and Wales

Some charities in our network have made an emergency appeal for donations to continue work through the pandemic. Here are direct web links to these appeals:

Brentwood Catholic Children’s Society

Cardinal Hume Centre, London

Caritas Anchor House, London

Caritas Diocese of Salford

Caritas Westminster (Archdiocese of Westminster)

Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds)

Father Hudson’s Care (Archdiocese of Birmingham)

Jesuit Refugee Service UK

Marriage Care

The Medaille Trust

Nugent (Archdiocese of Liverpool)

The Passage, London

Prison Advice and Care Trust

St Elizabeth’s Centre, Hertfordshire

St Joseph’s Hospice, London

St Vincent de Paul Society (England and Wales)


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 (pdf) 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 (Microsoft Word)

Toolkit for Catholic parishes, groups and diocesan agencies – added to site 23 April 2020



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.


Reaching out to older people

The UK Government’s advisers have reported that older people are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. Outside London, many areas in England and Wales have an ageing population. This change is reflected in the make-up of many Catholic parishes too.

In December 2019, CSAN published “Reaching Out”, 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. We encourage parishioners and pastoral workers to take the opportunity to start engaging with this resource, in considering local activities after the pandemic and for the longer-term.

During the lockdown, there are still practical steps many people can take to connect with older people. Age UK has highlighted some of these:

1. Keeping in touch – Phone your older relatives and friends, have a chat, and ask if they need anything. Let them know if they do, you can help out. You could set up a rota with other family and friends to make sure someone is regularly giving them a ring to see if they’re OK.

2. Lending a hand – If you’re feeling well, could you offer to pick up shopping for an older neighbour or relative who might not be able to, or is too worried to go to the shops? If you are helping someone who is self-isolating, make sure you leave the shopping on their front doorstep, knock on their door and step back while you ensure they safely receive it. Make sure you stand 2 metres away from them at all times.

3. Showing you care – You might want to consider making homemade cards, send a postcard, even post small gifts to keep people’s spirits up, or write a letter to an older friend or relative.


Domestic abuse

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference has published guidance on how Catholic parishes can support victims of domestic abuse during the pandemic.



The Covid-19 pandemic has led to the temporary suspension of all refugee resettlement to the UK, including families arriving under the Community Sponsorship Scheme. Meanwhile, newer groups continue to move forward with their applications and secure Home Office approval, in readiness to welcome families once flights resume.

Community sponsorship projects with families already here have shown extraordinary resilience and creativity in response to the pandemic, with resettlement advice and support, and even home ESOL, continuing via video conferencing.


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.

The Pontifical Academy for Life has offered a short reflection on theological and social implications of the pandemic, entitled, ‘A Note on Pandemic and Universal Brotherhood‘.

The Pope’s prayers and homilies on the pandemic have been collated into a booklet available to download. In the summer of 2020, Pope Francis gave a series of short talks considering the pandemic through the perspective of Catholic social thought – these talks are available as a free booklet for individual and group reflection.

Cardinal Nichols reflected on the pandemic in a 15-minute interview (Youtube) with the Woolf Institute in May 2020.


Emergency funding

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