Improving the NHS for people with autism and learning disabilities

Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has produced an Easy Read version of its report  on what people think about local NHS services.

People with autism and learning disabilities say they need much more support and help to live full, healthy and productive lives, reveals a new report from Healthwatch.

Healthwatch asked people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, including those with autism and learning disabilities, how they would spend extra money on the NHS to improve services. And the findings in the What would you do? report published a few weeks ago, highlight problems ranging from getting a diagnosis, treatment and support to not enough appropriate services and problems accessing services that are there – particularly mental health.

People with autism and learning disabilities told Healthwatch they would like:

  • Care from familiar nurses and GPs
  • Services and care closer to home
  • Better communication
  • Easy-to-understand information using simple words and pictures

One carer, in their late 60s, said: “There is no other help at all. Nothing proactive. Need to fight, remind, explain all the time. We three feel utterly abandoned now.”

Another carer said her sons had amazing minds and if they had support to deal with anxiety and sensory difficulties they could “maybe live productive lives.”

Give your views

Like to give your views or need information about local NHS services? Healthwatch, the independent champion for people using health and social care services, wants to hear from you.

Get in touch via the website, call on 0330 355 1285 (local call number) or email

Read more

Read the full What would you do? report

Read our Easy Read version of the main findings

Read a summary of the report


State of the Sector Survey 2019

Support Cambridgeshire’s annual State of the Sector Survey for 2019 is now available to view here.

The survey informs infrastructure organisations such as Support Cambridgeshire, local authorities, funders and others of the challenges, trends and patterns taking place across the voluntary sector in Cambridgeshire.

So, what are the headlines for 2019?

  • A lack of funding is a major concern for voluntary organisations of all sizes, closely followed by the ability to recruit volunteers.
  • Most of the groups we work with are small, with 50% having a turnover of less than £50,000 and 66% with five or fewer staff.
  • There is an appetite for training in project development and management and strategic planning.
  • There is an appetite for networking opportunities, particularly in groups of people working in a similar field.
  • 89% of respondents feel it is important or very important that Support Cambridgeshire is there to represent the sector.

The full report can be viewed here.

Zero Carbon Communities Grant from South Cambs District Council

What is the Zero Carbon Communities Grant?

The Zero Carbon Communities Grant supports voluntary and community sector groups, charities and parish councils seeking to deliver bold, ambitious projects that engage communities and support the aim of zero carbon emissions by 2050.

If you are interested in applying please come to a networking and information event on Wednesday 4 September from 6pm to 8pm in the Council Chamber at South Cambs Hall.

Applications are invited for grants of between £1,000 and £15,000 for projects which are intended to achieve:

  • community engagement around climate change and the environment, and
  • one or more of the following:
    • reduction in carbon emissions
    • reduction in energy use
    • generation of renewable energy or heat
    • promotion of sustainable travel
    • reduction in use of resources
    • increased recycling and/or waste reduction

Grant funding can be used for capital items and/or for project costs including staff time.

Applications will be assessed according to the following headings:

  • The extent proposals align with the aims of the scheme as listed above
  • Value for money
  • The extent to which organisational capacity, resources and timescales for the delivery of proposals are considered realistic
  • How bold, ambitious and imaginative the proposal is

We wish to encourage communities of all sizes and levels of experience in running community projects to apply for these grants.  Where a proposal would benefit an area of the district not otherwise reached, this will also be taken into account.

The Zero Carbon Communities Grant will open for applications on Monday 05 August 2019.

The application deadline is 5pm on Thursday 31 October 2019.


Match funding

There is no requirement that proposals are match funded.  However, if, as expected, the fund is oversubscribed, proposals with match or top-up funding from other sources will be looked at favourably.  Match funding can be of monetary and/or in-kind value.

Who can apply?

Applicants must:

  • Be a non-profit group or organisation based in South Cambridgeshire or benefiting South Cambridgeshire residents, OR a South Cambridgeshire parish council.

Applications from partnerships are encouraged provided that the lead applicant is an eligible organisation as listed above.  Partnerships could include parish councils, informal and constituted groups, established voluntary sector organisations, schools, local businesses and/or community interest companies.

Where a proposal anticipates financial savings or income, the applicant will need to show this will be for the benefit of the community.

  • Have a written constitution or mission statement
  • Have an elected committee or representative steering group
  • Have a bank account
  • Be able to provide an up to date copy of their accounts and any relevant protection policies.   Parish councils can signpost us to relevant online documentation and do not need to submit hard copies.

If you have questions about these requirements please contact us on or 01954 713070

If your organisation does not have a written constitution, mission statement and/or relevant protection policies please contact Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service for advice in meeting these requirements.  Please call 01223 464696 or email


Examples of what can be funded

  • Community initiatives and events that promote sustainable lifestyle choices For example, circular economy (A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life. Initiatives such as repair cafes, sustainable fashion and food projects, waste reduction and community allotments.)
  • Energy saving improvements to community buildings For example external wall insulation, cavity wall insulation, loft/roof insulation, secondary glazing, replacement windows/doors, replacement energy efficient lighting, replacement energy efficient boiler/ heating system, battery storage for solar panel or other low carbon energy generation measures. Buildings could include village halls, scout huts, libraries, shops, social clubs, leisure centres, schools or church buildings, so long as they are available for use by the wider community.
  • Community energy projects such as solar arrays or community wind turbines or community hydroelectric projects, which provide economic and social benefits to the community. Applicants for funding such projects will be expected to have explored the possibility of funding through the Rural Community Energy Fund which provides support of up to £40,000 for feasibility studies for a renewable energy project. Applications for funding to cover development costs not covered through this scheme are welcome.
  • Electric vehicle charging points for community use For example installation of an electric car charging point in a village hall car park, tourist destination or area that attracts lots of visitors. Applicants for funding for EV charging points are asked to contact before submitting their application as it may be possible to secure up to £7,500 of government funding through OLEV towards their project.
  • Purchase of electric vehicle for community use For example community car club schemes, transport for disabled people, community minibuses, electric bike hire.
  • Community tree planting for absorption of carbon and increasing biodiversity Applicants for funding such projects will be expected to have explored the possibility of funding through the  who contribute up to 75% of the costs if you plant the trees yourself.
  • Projects that tackle fuel poverty For example providing advice and guidance
  • Cycling infrastructure For example improvement of existing cycle paths or installation of cycle racks. Other examples could include projects to raise awareness of local cycle routes, refurbish old bikes for re-sale, provide specialist bikes for use by disabled people, provide bike maintenance sessions for young people or set up a cycling club to encourage older people to take up cycling.


All proposals must demonstrate an element of community engagement.  This could include community participation in decision making or information sharing.

This list is not exhaustive.  Applications are encouraged for projects not listed which meet the criteria.


What cannot be funded?

Grant funding cannot be awarded for/to:

  • Renewable energy installations where it is intended to claim Renewable Heat Incentive payments or any other payments where the use of public grants renders the installation ineligible for such payments.
  • Projects that replace funding by other public sector bodies (although it can be used to top up funding from other public sector bodies) For example, projects or services that would otherwise be provided by other public sector bodies
  • Items that would only benefit individuals rather than community groups
  • Kitchen appliances such as cookers and fridges (these may be fundable through the Community Chest)


How much can be applied for?

Applications are invited for a minimum of £1,000 and up to £15,000 per organisation.


When can groups apply?

Applications for Zero Carbon Communities Grant will be open 5 August 2019 until 5pm 31 October 2019.


What supporting documentation is required?

  • A copy of your organisation’s constitution or mission statement (except parish councils)
  • A copy of your latest accounts (audited if available)
  • A quote for the project


In addition, the following will be required if relevant to the project:

  • Public Rights of Way consent from landowner
  • A copy of your organisation’s Safeguarding policy (see
  • Any other material you feel would support this application (this may include a professional energy survey or audit if you have had one completed).


How will the grant be paid?

A funding agreement will be prepared for all successful applicants. This will include arrangements for payment of the grant, staged where appropriate.


Please click here for more information and to apply.

Innovate and Cultivate Funding – new rounds

Cambridgeshire County Council is pleased to announce that the next deadline for Innovate & Cultivate Fund applications is 1st November. 2019.

A pre-application advice session will be held on 19th September  2019 – and details are provided below.

The aim of the fund is to support initiatives that strengthen Cambridgeshire communities and reduce pressure on County Council services, thereby giving a return on investment.

Council services that are inviting applications are adult social care and children & families services. 

The fund is open to voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations based in and outside of Cambridgeshire, and public sector organisations in Cambridgeshire.

There are two funding streams: a ‘Cultivate’ fund for smaller projects that build community support networks and an ‘Innovate’ fund for bigger, bolder and more innovative initiatives.

New Cultivate ‘Seed’ Fund Projects

The County has developed guidance on starting Cultivate Seed Fund Projects that can help people to remain independent and active within their community, encourage volunteering and complement more costly Council services.  Projects include Time-banks, Good Neighbour Schemes, Dementia-Friendly Communities and Men’s Sheds.

See their webpages for details.

Quarterly application deadlines

1st November 2019 – Cultivate grants only (£2,000 – £19,000)

1st February 2020 – Cultivate grants (£2,000 – £19,000) and Innovate grants (£19,001 – £50,000)

1st May 2020 – Cultivate grants only (£2,000 – £19,000)

Pre-application advice session

If you want to talk through your ideas before you submit your application, bookings are now open for their Innovate & Cultivate Fund Advice Session on Thursday 19 September 2019 between 9:30am and 12:30pm at Ely Community Centre (also known as Larkfield Day Centre). Please book here.

Applications and further information about fund priorities and criteria may be found on the website.

Cambridgeshire Community Foundation can answer questions about applying for the Fund

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