In January 2020, Lloyds Foundation Bank funding Support Cambridgeshire Partnership to develop and deliver a CVS support project for the VCSE organisations of Fenland.
At the time, and it is still the case, there was no official infrastructure support for Fenland groups, unlike other districts like Huntingdonshire, City or South Cambridgeshire. The Lloyds Bank Foundation grant aimed to showcase how this type of support can develop communities to grow from within and be a worthwhile financial decision by funders.
The project started with a range of conversations with existing groups, local people and other interested parties to find out what people would like to see the change in the way charities and communities are supported. This information and the experience both partners have in delivering work in the district developed a tailored offer for VCS in Fenland. It also has given both teams the time and ability to learn more about what Fenland groups need to thrive.
Mark Freeman, CEO at CCVS, stated ‘Support Fenland has allowed us to get some time to understand better and clarify what we already knew about the wonderful communities of Fenland. We hope that the Support Cambridgeshire partnership can continue to work within the district, and we will be able to find further funding to give the level of service Fenland groups deserve.’
Julie Farrow, CEO at Hunts Forum, said ‘ The Support Fenland project has been exciting. It has allowed both charities to develop links and partnerships, which we hope with further funding will allow us to deliver more in Fenland. The report, I feel, demonstrates this need very well and comes from the communities themselves.’
In March 2021, the project funding ended, but some work continues through the Cambridgeshire County Council, Support Cambridgeshire contract. Both Hunts Forum and CCVS are keen to fund further funding to allow the work that has been completed to be built on and developed further.
In the meantime, the team has written a report looking at what they discovered.