Recipes for Success at the Community Cafés Workshop

On 18 October Support Cambridgeshire hosted its first Practitioner Workshop, focusing on community cafés.

There was a great turn-out, with 17 people representing 10 existing and prospective community cafés from across the county. Many of them are involved in plans for a new community building, where it is hoped that a community café will be a central part of the building’s identity.

The workshop was lead by Ben Pitt, Communities Officer at Hunts Forum, who in his spare time has helped to launch a community café at his local community centre, Love’s Farm House.

The workshop started by exploring the benefits of community cafés: to bring the community together, encourage regular use of a community building, provide volunteering and training opportunities and lots more besides. The group then proceeded to discuss what key ingredients are needed to make it work: meeting the demands of the local customer base, ensuring quality produce and an appealing environment, and developing a sustainable business plan with a realistic expectation on volunteers. It also touched on food safety training, kitchen fit-outs, fundraising opportunities and modelling income.

What people said about the event:

Really helpful to hear from people with experience. Particularly please to pick up tips on modelling profit and loss.

Very good to share ideas – so much to think about… Loved the personal experience of setting up a café.

Great formula! This is vital to what we are doing right now.

Really useful, learnt a great deal. Thank you so much. Another event please!

Please keep an eye on our Training page or sign up to our newsletter for future training and workshop events.

I Heart Wisbech 27th October 2018

We all know that those who live, work and invest in an area are the best people to ask on whats right about where they live, and what could be improved.

This very notion is happening in Wisbech on the 27th October 2018 (the day of Halloween celebrations).

The I Heart Wisbech* Team will be in the Market Place engaging with residents, shoppers and passers – by  about the Town.

The team are seeking views on 3 simple questions:

What do people love about Wisbech?

How could people make it better?

What would people like to do about it?

Volunteers from the I Heart Wisbech Team will be on hand to take peoples views and thoughts, and will be encouraging them to participate in an art based project within a Gazebo.

The team will collect peoples answers and collate them into a survey response which will be used to deliver possible future services and local projects.

If you have a great idea on how to improve the Town of Wisbech come and tell us – we will be really pleased to hear from you.

The team will be on hand from approximately 9am through to 6pm, so watch out for the I Heart Wisbech Gazebo and come and say hello..!!

*The I Heart Wisbech Team is made up of representatives from local community based organisations and both the Town, District and County Councils.


18 attend the Commissioning Forum (South)

18 Delegates from across the South of the County attended the first Support Cambridgeshire Commissioning Forum which took place at the Meadows Centre on the 11th October 2018.

The session was introduced by Julie Farrow (the lead CEO of Support Cambridgeshire) and aimed to bring the Commissioning Unit and Community based organisations into a closer working relationship where mutual benefit for all (including the beneficiaries of local services and projects) is established as a key driving principle.

Oliver Hayward and Shauna Torrance of the Commissioning Unit delivered a presentation which covered such topics as the role of Commissioning, the Commissioning Agenda, key financial drivers, the Commissioning Cycle, intentions and future priorities. This presentation can be viewed here: 

The delegates were then divided into 3 groups – with 4 key questions to address:

What is working well in Commissioning?

Where are the gaps?

How can all parties work together to deliver something new or different?

What happens next?

Group responses can be seen here:

What people said about the event:

It was great to get an update from Commissioners. This needs to be regular and on-going.

This was a well presented session with high value and content.

I was happy to observe the engagement from attendees and the openness of the Commissioners.

This was a great event and its interesting to see how things are changing for the better.

Being a small charity this was a really useful event. Understanding the pressures we all face helps to overcome some of our frustrations.

Organisations in attendance:

Link to Change: Connections Bus Project: Papworth Trust: Care Network: Homestart Cambridgeshire: Carers Trust CPN: Care Rooms: Choices: Support Cambridgeshire:

Hunts Forum: CARESCO: St Neots Time-bank: Cambridge City Council: Peterborough City Council: Cambridgeshire County Council.

A Commissioning Forum for the North of the County is now being planned. Dates and times will be published in due course. If you are interested in attending please contact Russell Rolph by E-Mail at to register your interest.

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