Staff Support Hub / Grants for wellbeing of staff and volunteers/ 30th Sept

The Staff Wellbeing Grants, for Social Care (e.g. domiciliary care and nursing home teams), third sector organisations involved in the provision of health or social care, and Primary Care Teams (that are registered with the Enhanced Occupational Health Pilot), are aimed to provide staff and volunteers with the opportunity to fund an initiative to show appreciation, improve staff morale and wellbeing. The grants must be used towards a wellbeing activity of choice.

There will be a maximum of £20,000 for each sector. That is £500 per applicant, but there are conditions!

Applicants should submit their application using the application form and should:

  1. Show what the proposed use of the grant will be.
  2. How it will improve the morale and wellbeing of the staff team.
  3. How many members of staff/volunteers will benefit from the grant.
  4. That staff support the application.

Please ask for detailed terms and conditions. The closing date for all applications is September. 

Detailed terms and conditions can be found here.

So far, they have been so well received and we are still receiving applications, but there is still room for more! The closing date is NOW 30TH SEPTEMBER 2022 (OR WHEN THE SECTOR POT IS FULLY ALLOCATED)!

What are the next steps?

A document called a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is the next vital step in writing an agreement between the ICS and the Statutory, Voluntary and Community sectors on how they plan to co-operate and facilitate the strategic aims of the ICS.

The MOU is a requirement from NHS England to recognise the VCSE in ICS. It will be co-produced with ICS and VCSE members to bring together their joint aims.  

The MoU will not be a stand-alone document; once it has been approved, it will sit alongside the VCSE Strategy, which outlines all our goals, ambitions, and indicators of success. 

What are the fundamental principles of the MoU? 

All members that sign up for the MoU will respect and recognise the independence and values of other members and will allow every partner the courtesy of being listened to and heard.   It will ensure that all partners are solution focused and bold in the decision-making and that all conflicts or potential conflicts are declared and resolved accordingly.   

The MoU recognises that both Statutory organisations and the VCSE have different forms of accountability and are answerable to other stakeholders. However, the need for integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, leadership and inclusivity is common. 

All communication will be transparent and remain committed to the vital principle of co-production.  All partners will use plain English and consider potential accessibility issues.  If needed, partners can participate, taking into account different working patterns, existing organisational commitments and capacity restrictions. During times of pressure or crisis at work, all partners will work together to determine the best approach for all partners. 

Ultimately, the MoU will become the foundation for partners to build trust and treat each other respectfully.  

 Why is it needed? 

The MoU is needed to ensure effective collaboration with the ICS. It is designed to support the development of Voluntary and Community sector capacity to increase and improve the sector’s impact for the benefit of local people. 

 Only by recognising the VCSE independence, skills and professionalism of the Statutory Organisations can shared aspirations be achieved. Local people will feel empowered and receive better services if both sectors work well together.  

 What are the aims & goals of the MoU? 

The MoU aims to champion and share knowledge of the agreement through each partner organisation. It will consider the need for: 

  1. Greater proportionality 
  2. Clearer targeting & consistency 
  3. Transparency in frameworks 
  4. Promote strategic resource focus 
  5. Enhance the capacity of VCSE organisations 

It will also recognise the importance of infrastructure to the voluntary sector and volunteering and, where appropriate, supports its development at a county and place level.  It will consider the specific needs, interests and contributions of those VCSE bodes representing excluded people. 

All partners’ goals will be to consult and ensure shared decision-making is carried out with the voluntary sector, subject to considerations of urgency, sensitivity or confidentiality.  The MoU will promote effective working relationships, consistency of approach and good practice between partners. Finally, respect and accountability to the law, and in the case of charities, observe the appropriate guidance from the Charity Commission. 


Share your views on proposed changes to your Annual Return process

Are you interested in sharing your views on potential changes to your Annual Return process? Charities, their trustees and the public are invited to comment on a new approach to the Annual Return process via the Charity Commission public consultation.

The Commission welcomes responses on revisions to the Annual Return 2023-25, applying to charities’ financial years starting on or after 1 January 2023. Have your say by responding to the consultation by 1 September 2022.

The National Lottery Community Fund’s Climate Action Fund

The National Lottery Community Fund’s 3rd round of Climate Action Funding is now open with up to £8 million available to community projects across the UK that are focusing on the link between nature and climate.

The funding is aimed at both local partnerships and UK-wide partnerships which are delivered across at least two UK countries (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales).

They’re looking to fund partnerships that are made up of a mix of organisations from different sectors. They can fund both new partnerships and partnerships that have already been set up.

Full details here.

We encourage you to attend one of the monthly information sessions to explain more about the programme’s criteria and approach.

Information sessions will be held on 26 July, 23 August and 27 September at 12-1pm.

Mental Health & Learning Disabilities Expression of Interest

NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care System (ICS) are working with Hunts Forum to appoint a Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector partner to manage a two-year programme, with a total budget of £750,000, to support people with mental health needs (including those with a learning disability who also have mental health needs).

The deadline to submit your completed submissions is midday, 29th July 2022 and should be emailed to

For more information, click here.


Thomas Pocklington Trust: Funding to Support Blind and Partially Sighted People

The Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) is offering grants to registered charities to support projects and activities that deliver positive outcomes for blind and partially sighted people across the UK.

TPT will support new and innovative projects that aim to make a positive impact in at least one of their four priority areas:

    1. Education: Enabling opportunities for blind and partially sighted children and young people in and entering education;
    2. Employment: Creating employment opportunities for blind and partially sighted people;
    3. Engagement: Facilitating the voice and encouraging self-determination of blind and partially sighted people;
    4. Collaboration and Sustainability: Promoting positive change to improve the capacity and sustainability of the sight loss sector and organisations which work with blind and partially sighted people.

Funding will also be considered for applications in the following areas:

  • Infrastructure and impact – including developing technological capabilities, restructuring reviews, Theory of Change, feasibility studies, partnership working (including resource sharing) and integrations and mergers.
  • Insights and research – including gaps in data and evidence that can improve knowledge across the sector.
  • Innovation Seed Fund – initial funding for ideas and projects which can have a transformative benefit to the lives of blind and partially sighted people.

Funding can be used to cover costs such as new staff posts, professional fees, paid training, resource development, or capital items. Most grants will be around £10,000 or less, but larger amounts will be considered in exceptional circumstances.

The deadline for applications is 5 February 2023, however the programme may close early depending on demand.

For more information and to apply via the TPT grants portal click here

Funding to Support Tree Planting Projects Across the UK

The International Tree Foundation (ITF) is offering grants for community groups and voluntary organisations to support community-based projects that conserve, restore, and protect indigenous trees, woodlands, and associated biodiversity, whilst supporting community engagement in tree planting, social cohesion and inclusion, and promoting the importance of trees and forests to environmental and human well-being.

Any tree-planting activities must meet the following criteria:

  1. Plant trees in sites that are readily accessible to the public, including schools, parks, rights of way, and sites managed by community groups.
  2. Plant indigenous tree species, this may include traditional fruit trees and ‘honorary’ natives where appropriate.
  3. Engage community members in tree-planting and enjoying the benefits of woodlands.
  4. Have clear plans for maintenance and sustainability of the trees.

Projects must also meet one or more of the following nine criteria set out by the ITF:

  1. Engage children and young adults in tree planting and learning about trees.
  2. Engage vulnerable groups and groups with low access to woodlands.
  3. Conserve existing ancient trees and indigenous woodlands as well as new planting.
  4. Create biodiversity habitats.
  5. Conserve soil and water.
  6. Demonstrate new approaches such as agroforestry.
  7. Support rewilding and natural regeneration.
  8. Support work or research on tree pest and disease resistance and climate change. adaptation.
  9. Support urban tree planting.

Grants of up to £1,000 are available for smaller projects of up to one year. Larger grants are available for projects of between 1,000 and 10,000 trees with a maximum price equivalent to £1.50 per tree (inclusive of tree protection).

The deadline for applications is 16 December 2022.

For more information and to download the application pack see the ITF website: UK Community Tree Planting Grants — International Tree Foundation

Household Support Fund for older residents; Can your organisation help?

In March this year, the Government announced that councils would be provided with funding to continue operating the Household Support Fund due to the impact of the rising costs of living.

Cambridgeshire has been allocated £3.58million, of which £1.2m will be used to support households that include a person who has reached state pension age (66) by 30 September 2022 and are experiencing financial hardship. This funding is only available for a short period, so Support Cambridgeshire is trying to get as many community groups and organisations to identify and support individuals to access this funding while it is still available.

What is the Household Support Fund?

A pot of money set aside by the Department for Work and Pensions which is provided to local authorities to support the local population in times of financial hardship. Awards of £100 will be given to those eligible, which does not have to be repaid.

What can it be used for?

To support purchasing:

  • Food and essential supplies
  • Paying for gas, electricity, oil or water in your home
  • Other essential supplies, such as repairs to your boiler to help keep you and your family warm


  • You were born on or before 30 September 1956
  • You live in Cambridgeshire
  • You are experiencing financial hardship
  • No one under the age of 19 (born after the 30 September 2003), lives with you
  • You earn less than £17,940 per year or are in receipt of one of the following:
    • Income Support
    • Income-based Job Seekers Allowance
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    • Pension Credit
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit

How to access this support?

Go direct

Individuals can access this funding by applying through Age UK Cambridgshire and Peterborough;

  • 01223 221929 for Cambridgeshire area
  • 01733 565032 for Peterborough area,
  • or email

Trusted Partners

There are also a number of ‘Trusted Partners’ groups which can give this funding out, which can be found HERE.

Become a Trusted Partner

If you represent a local community group and would like to be considered to issue Household Support Fund direct awards, please email


What else can my organisation do?

Along with support to make sure this funding gets to those in need, we ask that this message is also cascaded out through your own marketing and communication channels. Click HRE to download the social media pack. Please note these images and pack have been provided by Cambridgeshire County Council.


Where can I find out more information?

Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough website, has a range of information regarding this fund.

Household Support Fund (

Cambridgeshire County Council Website

Household Support Fund – Cambridgeshire County Council

Is calling for the Mileage Allowance increase sufficient

Keith Johnson Senior Development Worker at Hunts Forum

The latest call from charities asking for government action on the rising prices that are affecting our sector specifically is to seek an increase in the approved mileage allowance payment (AMAP). This has made me think about how our sector is inclined to approach government and how we, as a society, are rather too compliant to authority.

Many vital services rely on volunteers getting to a place of volunteering. Covering their milage expenses is central to many being able to continue with their volunteering. The situation, as the press release makes clear is heightened when those volunteers are using their own vehicles to transport service users.

It is essential that we see a rise in AMAP.  Join us in signing the petition here for a rise to 60p. Personally, I would have liked it to state ‘at least 60p’.

However, for me, an interesting aspect is how we, as a society, accept that certain parts of the economy can increase prices, but not all. We are seeing energy producers- gas, oil and electricity making extortionate profits from the prices they are choosing to demand. Shareholders, institutional and private, are raking it in. Where is the call for restraint from government towards extortionate profit and obscene shareholder dividend? Very quickly, we are told that those of us reliant on a wage for our income must not add to inflation by raising the cost of our labour. Why?

Families, older people, single people, everyone who doesn’t have wealth and investments providing an income is struggling in the face of these rises. Increasing numbers are turning to food banks, indeed, many hospitals are opening food banks for staff, often without daring to admit to themselves that this means hospital staff are paid poverty wages. Debt advice services are rises in demand. With many disabled people reliant on equipment that devours energy, disability charities are working hard to do their best to help people access all the financial support that they can. The list of the work of charities trying to do their best to help people has no end. But one thing we rarely do is stop and ask why are our services necessary? Why does it have to be this way? And then shout and scream for change.

I was please to read in Civil Society that Polly Neate, the CEO of Shelter, recently called for charities to challenge systemic failures that cause social injustice. All too often, our sector merely steps up and does its best to mitigate these failures, often failures of leadership, empathy, compassion and ideology as much as being systemic.  We help some, and miss many, but we do make a difference. The only problem is that we then do it all over again and again and again like Sisyphus pushing his big lump of rock up the hill.

Perhaps the charity sector should be more challenging and not simply place the begging bowl in front of government ministers and instead ask that, ‘Why?’. Perhaps then, we can begin to change society and not merely smooth the edges of societal dysfunctionality.

I’ll leave this with the words of Polly Neate from the Civil society article.

“I actually think it is as basic a question as that. If we are not here to change things, then we are complicit in systems that cause people’s lives to fall apart.”

We need more Charity CEOs, particularly from national charities with a high profile, to say the same thing.

Blog Notes 

This was a response to the article Charities Call on New Chancellor to Tackle Fuel Cost Crisis   

If you would like to sign the petition to call for an increase in volunteer expenses click HERE 

Charities Call On New Chancellor To Tackle Fuel Costs Crisis

A coalition of eleven charities is calling on the new Chancellor of the Exchequer to tackle the spiralling fuel costs crisis which is damaging the voluntary sector across the UK.

The campaign is led by the Community Transport Association (CTA) – which represents over 1,200 local charities and community groups across the UK who provide accessible, inclusive transport services – and highlights the impact of record petrol and diesel prices on organisations and volunteers.

The letter asks Nadhim Zahawi MP, newly appointed as Chancellor on Wednesday 6 July, to increase the Approved Mileage Allowance Payment (AMAP) – which is the maximum level at which volunteer drivers can be reimbursed without any impact on their tax obligations or benefit entitlements – to reflect inflation in his Autumn Budget this October.

The AMAP rate of 45p per mile was last reviewed in 2012. Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the cost of motoring had already increased by 25% since then, according to research by the RAC.

CTA has now joined forces with ten charities from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – Communities 1st, Volunteer Now, the National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), Volunteer Scotland, the Scottish Volunteering Forum, the Royal Voluntary Service, Volunteering Matters, Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) and the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) – to call for an immediate review of the AMAP rate.

The coalition’s letter states that the current AMAP rate ‘no longer fully covers volunteer expenses’ and is disincentivising volunteering at a time when, as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and face a cost of living crisis, it is needed more than ever to – for example, to transport older and disabled people to GP, hospital and vaccination appointments. It asks the new Chancellor to ‘safeguard the future of the charities and organisations who rely on volunteer drivers to deliver lifeline services’.


David Kelly, CTA’s Director for Scotland, said: “We congratulate Nadhim Zahawi MP on his appointment as Chancellor and look forward to working with him to tackle inflation, which is hitting all parts of the voluntary sector hard, especially the Community Transport sector. With fuel prices at record highs and the cost of living crisis worsening, it’s increasingly difficult for local charities or community groups to make ends meet.

“Some amazing projects and essential services are under threat. If some Community Transport schemes can’t continue, it’ll mean fewer older and disabled people getting out and about for shopping, hospital appointments or visits to family and friends; fewer younger people and deprived households getting to school, college, university or work; and more transport poverty across the UK.

He added: “We need Nadhim Zahawi to act in the Autumn Budget so that volunteers can continue to do what they love and the voluntary sector can truly thrive, not just survive until the next crisis.”

 Maddy Desforges OBE, CEO of NAVCA, said: “NAVCA members report people stopping volunteering due to the cost of living crisis. We call on the Chancellor to increase the AMAP rate to reflect additional costs and enable people from all backgrounds to volunteer – an important part of levelling up disadvantaged communities.”

Noeleen Lynch, CTA’s Director for Northern Ireland, said: “We hear reports from our members every single day of drivers who can no longer afford to volunteer as the current AMAP rate no longer covers their expenses. The fuel costs crisis is having a serious knock-on impact on our members’ ability to recruit and retain volunteers and to deliver essential services.

She added: “Given the cost of living pressures we’re facing, volunteering can be an added expense many cannot absorb. We strongly believe that volunteering should be affordable for everyone and that volunteers should not experience any out-of-pocket expenses.”

Jen Reston, Chair of the Scottish Volunteering Forum, said: “Our members are reporting that volunteers are leaving their roles due to the cost of living crisis and soaring fuel costs. This is making volunteering unaffordable for people which is not acceptable. It then impacts on the ability to deliver services, meet commitments and support those in need of services.

“No volunteer should be out of pocket for volunteering. Volunteering cannot be an activity that can only be accessible for those who can afford it. This will further exacerbate inequalities in our communities. Volunteering has to be accessible for all and the mileage rate reviewed and increased, to ensure that vital services can continue.”

Sarah Vibert, CEO for NCVO, said: “Rising petrol costs are making it increasingly difficult for volunteers and charity staff to drive as part of their roles. This is having a negative impact on charities at a time when their support for communities is needed more than ever.

“That’s why we’re calling on the government to review the mileage rate to help with transport costs related to volunteering. This will ensure that charities get the crucial voluntary support they need.

“We also want to see the government working alongside charities to explore ways we can meet these rising costs so their vital work can continue.”

Judith Stone, Assistant Director of Volunteering at WCVA, said: “At a time of great hardship for many, we are deeply concerned seeing outdated AMAP rates creating a barrier to volunteering.

“Volunteer drivers offer their time and skill for free, often creating a lifeline for the most vulnerable, especially in geographically isolated and rural communities. Rising fuel costs should be covered by a revised AMAP rate which ensures volunteers are not out of pocket.”

Alan Stevenson, CEO of Volunteer Scotland, said: “Volunteer Scotland exists to ensure that more people can volunteer; enjoyably, safely and regularly. The cost of living crisis is adding significant financial pressure to individuals across Scotland, and creating unwelcome barriers for people who wish to volunteer.

“12% of formal Scottish volunteers gave help to transport people or things in 2018. This is the equivalent of 140,763 Scottish adults giving 12.5 million hours of help with an economic value of £187.8 million. Increasing the AMAP rate will help ensure that more volunteers are able to continue using their own car to provide vital help in their local communities.”


Support Cambridgeshire supports this and asked that you sign the petition by clicking the button below

yellow dot with sign the petition written in it.

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