The Portal hits 190K

The Support Cambridgeshire self-funding portal has seen an increase in usage over the past 6 months, and with it organisations reporting funding success.

Since November 2018, 190K has been raised by local organisations who first started their funding search using Support Cambridgeshire 4 Communities (or SC4C).

The portal has over 2,400 funds to view, all of which are updated on a regular basis.

People and organisations can search for Free, and can use the portal an unlimited amount of times without being penalised.

So register today by clicking here:

If you wish to receive our monthly electronic and thematic funding alert, jam packed full of funding opportunities please contact

If you have identified a fund but require some support in developing your application, or require assistance with supporting documents then we have Development Workers who can assist. If you operate in Cambridge City, South Cambridgeshire or Fenland contact

If you operate in Huntingdonshire or East Cambridgeshire contact


The 6 top challenges for Charities

The CAF Charity Landscape report of 2019 has identified the top 6 challenges for CEO’s and the Charitable sector across the UK.

The most pressing challenge at number 1 is that of Income Generation, particularly at a time where demand for services is growing and financial restrictions continue to dominate the headlines.

Digital technology is number 2, seen as a double edged sword by many Charity leaders. Whilst embracing new digital technology will provide opportunities for Charities, it comes at a cost and may well change the nature of the problems currently faced.

Number 3 on the list is Brexit. Most leaders feel that Brexit will have a very negative impact on the Charitable sector and the beneficiaries for whom they serve.

Fourth up is Government. Few Charitable leaders think that the Government will continue to support the sector, with many thinking that the Government will see them as a nuisance for criticising policy decisions made in Westminster.

At number 5 its public trust. Many Charity leaders believe that media negativity surrounding Charities makes it harder to build levels of public trust, and that many members of the public have no understanding of the importance of Charities and the work they do.

Number 6 is a mixed bag: Many Charity leaders are more confident about the future of their own organisation than they are for the sector as a whole.

Fore more detailed information on the CAF Landscape Report, and how Charities can rise to the challenges click here:



What’s the CEO Network?

Well its a network for CEO’s obviously but it goes beyond that.

We all recognise that sometimes the CEO role can be an isolated and lonely place to be, so the opportunity to meet other CEO’s and share organisational issues, concerns or opportunities in a safe and confidential space is probably valuable.

But its also about the start of one voice for the voluntary sector in Cambridgeshire. There are often issues arising out of Commissioner requirements or changes in District and County strategy which needs consulting on,  or requires a view, challenge or some support from the voluntary Sector. The CEO Network might be the best place to make this happen.

The first CEO Network has already taken place with 13 CEO’s in attendance. A second is planned for May 2019.

What arose from our first session?

CEO’s found the opportunity to discuss issues with peer colleagues invaluable.

We need to grow the CEO Network to a size reflective of the depth and diversity of our sector.

The network requires a series of Operating Principles which will be brought to the next meeting for discussion.

CEO’s need a digital safe space where they can post ideas, innovation, issues and concerns (or simple requests for information from other CEO’s). A proposed platform will be brought to the next meeting for discussion.

A Logo has been produced will can be used by all CEO’s who form part of the network. If you are already part of the CEO Network and would like the Logo for your E-Mail Footer or Headed Paper please contact 

Next Steps?

Further meetings where the CEO agenda can be broadened and contextualised.

Communications through the Combined Authority, County and District Councils advocating the use of the CEO network for one voice responses to concerns, priorities or changing strategies.

CEO representation at County and District Partnerships.

For more information on the CEO Network in general please contact

If you wish to be part of the Network please contact

If you require the CEO Network Logo please contact



Reviewing the Community Plan

Wilburton is a small village in East Cambridgeshire which comprises 550 houses (and over 1,000 inhabitants), sitting 6 miles south west of Ely.

It is well known for its fundraising events (The Wilburton Beer Festival and the Wilburton Fireworks Night being prime examples) and has an active Parish Council.

The Parish Council adopted its local Community Led Plan in March 2016. The plan can be viewed here:

Being a Parish Council, Wilburton naturally looked towards Support Cambridgeshire partner Cambridgeshire ACRE for support and advice in refreshing their plan and making it even more fit for purpose.

Cambridgeshire ACRE were happy to help, providing a Good Practice Guidance Document which allows Wilburton Parish Council to take a staged approach to reviewing their plan.

Cambridgeshire ACRE also commented on the draft community survey, with suggestions on how it could be improved. Armed with this, the Council feel they are in an excellent position to obtain better survey data sets and review their plan.

We look forward to seeing it..!!

Soham Sparks: The Results Are In

Communities Officer Ben Pitt has been working in Soham since September 2018, supporting local residents to enrich community life in their town. It’s been a busy seven months, culminating in the launch of Soham Community Association on 4 April. This group has responded to the need for a new organisation to look after the finances of the local community newsletter. They also recognised a wider need to bring the residents, organisations and businesses of Soham together for the benefit of the town. Their mission statement speaks volumes about their ambition to make Soham a happier, more caring and more connected community.

The launch of SCA on 4 April was the perfect opportunity for Ben to share the findings of the Soham Community Survey. This asked residents what they like, dislike and want to change about their town. The subsequent report aims to establish patterns in the responses, ready to inform and shape future community projects in the town. Read more about Ben’s work on the Soham Sparks Blog.

Government provides support for Village Halls

Charities are being invited to apply to a £3m government fund for improving village halls.

The Village Halls Improvement Grant Fund will issue awards for up to 20 per cent of improvement costs, with a minimum grant of £10,000 and a maximum grant of £75,000 available.

This means that overall scheme costs could be between £50,000 and £375,000.

For more information click here:

The fund is being managed by ACRE on behalf of DEFRA and with the support of the local ACRE network.

For more information on costs, guidelines and possible timelines click here:

If you require information or advice on any aspect of this fund please contact Cambridgeshire ACRE at

Commissioning Forum – The view from the North

14 Delegates attended the second Commissioning Forum held at the South Fens Business Centre in Chatteris.

The Forums have been established by Support Cambridgeshire to ensure the right level of dialogue and problem solving exists between the Commissioners of local services, and those organisations that provide projects and activities. The first Commissioning Forum was held in the South of Cambridgeshire in October 2018.

This latest session in the North of Cambridgeshire was facilitated by Julie Farrow and Russell Rolph from lead Support Cambridgeshire partner Hunts Forum, with Fiona Davies representing the Commissioners. A mix of organisations attended, some from Peterborough and some from Cambridgeshire, and whilst their experiences of commissioning were slightly different a common mix of concerns were raised about how commissioning is currently being conducted. Amongst these were:

  • How Commissioning was interpreted and enacted across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and how different rules appeared to apply depending upon location or Commissioner.
  • What value are Commissioners placing on local organisations, as this appears to require clarity?
  • How is added value being interpreted by the Commissioning Unit, and how do they evaluate contracts already in place?
  • Can the Commissioners provide a timeline of contracts up for revision or re-commissioning as this would help community based organisations in their preparation and possible partnerships with others.

Some of the these questions need to be answered directly by the Commissioning Unit as a whole, and will be sent by Julie Farrow for direct responses.

Feedback from the event was very positive:

It was great to get an update from Cambridgeshire County Council and have an opportunity to talk to other providers.

I enjoyed talking to other voluntary sector organisations and getting a better understanding of what the Commissioning Unit does and is.

I think the delivery of this event was spot – on. It was an opportunity to hear directly from a Commissioner and understand the issues and challenges they face.

I did not know that much about the Commissioning process before I came, so it was fantastic to get an overview of the issues that all parties face.

I loved this event and support the idea of regular get- together’s between the Commissioners and the sector.

Next Steps: 

Whilst it is clear that the Commissioners are working to some pressured financial constraints, the voluntary sector within Cambridgeshire as a whole now needs to respond. Two further forums will be advertised to do exactly that, and will take discussions further hopefully to a fruitful conclusion.

If you wish to book an advanced space for these two events (probably late May or early June) please contact

The Power of Pro-activity

The Stapleford Village Hall Fund was set up after the sale of Stapleford Village Hall: The decision was taken locally not to build a new village hall and this charity was set up with the proceeds (£15,000) from the sale of the old village hall to the Local Education Authority. The charity may provide financial support to organisations in the area of benefit who apply to them for a grant. This charity came to Support Cambridgeshire partner Cambridgeshire ACRE’s attention after a search on the Charity Commission website which identified organisations are overdue with their annual returns.  Cambridgeshire ACRE contacted the trustees to see if they could offer any support to bring their organisational records up to date.

It was clear from initial telephone conversations and a subsequent meeting that this charity has not been running in accordance with the governing document for some time.

Cambridgeshire ACRE are now working with the charity to get legal advice and support from the Charity Commission. This case is ongoing as the charity trustees now have two options on a route forward.

These are to run the charity in accordance with their governing document and seek an exemption from the annual return as their annual income and expenditure is low OR formally close the charity and distribute the funds with the assistance and permission of the Charity Commission.

Support Cambridgeshire partners pride themselves on a level of pro-activity. Stapleford Village Hall would never have come into contact with the support and advice offer provided to Village Halls if Cambridgeshire ACRE had not reviewed the Charity Commission website to remind Village Hall charities to complete their annual returns.

If you require any information, support or advice as a Village Hall Trustee then please contact

Village Hall Trustees can attend any Support Cambridgeshire training or networking event free of charge (of which there are 22 in each year).

For more information visit our Training and Events page on the Support Cambridgeshire website.

Return of the Portal

Support Cambridgeshire 4 Communities (our self-funding Portal) has just helped Magpas Air Ambulance achieve £20,000 pounds worth of Funding from the Postcode Community Trust.

This will enable Magpas Air Ambulance to deliver their brand new training ‘Hearts Matter: Community CPR’.

There are approximately 30,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests attended to by medical professionals every year, of which only 40% of victims receive bystander CPR. For each minute that goes by without defibrillation, the chances of surviving an out of hospital cardiac arrest decreases by 10%. The current survival rate of cardiac arrests in the UK is 7-8%.

Recognising a cardiac arrest, calling 999 and administering CPR are crucial elements of the chain of survival. Bystander CPR has been shown to double a person’s chances of survival, while defibrillation within 3-5 minutes can increase survival rates to 50% – 70%.

Magpas Air Ambulance believe hearts matter, and the charity wants everyone to have the confidence and knowledge to intervene when someone is suffering a cardiac arrest, to provide them with CPR and to deploy a defibrillator in the vital minutes before the emergency services arrive.

To make this reality, with the help of the incredible grant from the Postcode Community Trust, they are launching their own community training session. Hearts Matter: Community CPR is available to schools, businesses and community groups across Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire – for free.

To find out more, or book a session, email  

Magpas Air Ambulance are looking to train over 1,000 individuals by January 2020.

A bit more about Magpas:

Magpas Air Ambulance is a charity which brings crucial lifesaving care by land and air to patients in life-threatening emergencies in the East of England and beyond, 24/7. Based in Cambridgeshire, Magpas have treated over 60,000 patients in the last 48 years and rely on generous donations from the public to continue saving lives.

The oldest emergency medical charity of its kind in the UK, Magpas Air Ambulance started life as a voluntary service in 1971 when two GPs took action to help victims of road accidents. Now, the Magpas Air Ambulance specialist medical team can offer procedures and treatments at the scene, like general anaesthetic, which are usually only available in hospital. This means the frontline care the team delivers doesn’t just save lives, it helps seriously ill and injured people return to a good quality of life.

In 2018, Magpas responded to 1,512 emergency calls, flew for 330 hours in total, performed 91 surgical procedures at the scene of life-threatening emergencies and brought critical care to 80 children.

Their website can be seen here:

A bit more about Support Cambridgeshire 4 Communities:

The self – funding portal sits at

Organisations can register and search for available funds, for Free and for an unlimited period. The portal holds 2,400 funds it total which are regularly updated and includes National, Regional and Local funding opportunities. Over 77,000 has been raised from organisations using the portal to date.

Sarah Green of Magpas said:

I always look through the funding alerts we receive from Support Cambridgeshire, and regularly check the self-funding portal. This fund was a match made in heaven, and I would advise any organisation to regularly trawl and browse the site as you never know what funds are available.

Council takes CVS in-house

Umbrella body NAVCA has expressed concern over the independence of Waltham Forest’s community and voluntary service (CVS) after it was taken back in-house by the council.

Community Waltham Forest (or CWF for short) was set up as an independent organisation but had been run by fellow CVS Community Southwark since 2016.

This month the London Borough of Waltham Forest announced that the contract with Community Southwark had been cut short and that the council itself would run CWF and employ its three part-time members of staff.

The council will incorporate CWF into its newly-established Connecting Communities team and it said the change would be as seamless as possible.

For more information on this story click here:



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