The Joy Software – Presentation and Information

This month’s Health and Wellbeing Network (October 2023) invited Megan McGrath to come and talk about the Joy App and its benefits and uses for organisations, GPs and Social prescribers.

Megan shared a presentation and explained that the Joy App is public facing and is integrated into GP surgery software which makes it easier for GPs to access and refer. It is also translatable into 100 languages.

Organisations can sign up at a level that suits them- info only through to taking referrals.

Megan has shared links below for further support/ information or you can view the Powerpoint from the meeting here.

This knowledge-based article may be helpful as it tells you everything you need to know about Joy and the benefits to you!

Joy would love you to join, so to list your service simply create an account for your organisation and you can then create your service as a listing. Click here to join!

Slides and recordings of previous events

CLICK HERE to read the powerpoint presented at the Octover 2023 event

On the 17th of August 2022,  Joy presented at the Health and Wellbeing Network on how VCSE can engage with the new referral software, which is being rolled out across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

You can watch the presentation below. The slides can be viewed by clicking  HERE

Further Support 

If you need any support with this process this guide may be helpful:

How to set up your organisation on the Joy Marketplace

If you would like any further guidance on how to manage your listing this guide has some handy tips:

How to use the Marketplace

Please feel free to reach out to for any further support or information.


Volunteer guilt, do we need to do something about it?

Kathryn Shepherdson header

I sit at my desk looking at my work calendar and suddenly realise that I’m travelling to a conference on the day I said I would lead my Girlguide Rainbow session. A wave of guilt runs over me that I’ve now got to cancel another meeting.

Now, why do I share this with you?

Because volunteer guilt is real, and if I’m honest, I don’t think we acknowledge this enough as a sector. For one, I have known Volunteer Managers who use it to keep volunteers and make their lives easier, partly due to lack of numbers, partly for keeping the doors open or pushes from above. All things which need to be addressed.

Now I know my leader will say that’s fine, we’ll move things around, and no one will know anything. I’m fortunate that we have enough leaders in our pack that it doesn’t affect the girls, BUT if it did, that guilt would have been so much more, and indeed this isn’t what I signed up for. No volunteer advert promotes that feel-good factor when your turn up and deep guilt when you don’t!

As a sector, we need to acknowledge and talk about how we deal with this elephant in the room, for it has always been in the room, but we just don’t want to say hello and work out how to remove it.

Here are my thoughts on removing the elephant;

  • For one, we need to make sure we have enough volunteers. This, I know, is easy to say, but there are things we can put into place, such as rotas or buddy systems, which allow people to know they are not the reason why something isn’t happening.
  • Stop gossiping with the volunteers. Volunteer Managers keep your stresses in the paid team or board. Once your stress gets into the volunteer, they feel responsible and there not!
  • Can we please accept that there is no pool of volunteers we will be able to tap into? This means when projects are dreamt up to support our crumbling statutory sector, that we can’t help hundreds of people in the first six months of your funding. Plus, we might actually need to close the door on your referrals because we can do that to our volunteers.

Finally, this one is for funders, boards and those at the top. If you want your volunteers to feel valued, talk well of your organisation/funder and stay a volunteer for life, then please can some more money get invested in Volunteer Managers… it’s not a volunteer role!

But…then you may disagree…..I would be interested to hear your thoughts on LinkedIn

Cultivate Cambs – New dates 16 December 2022

Cambridgeshire County Council is pleased to announce that the next deadline for Cultivate Cambs grant applications is 16 December 2022. Pre-application advice appointments will be offered in November.


Cultivate Cambs awards grants of £2,000 to £15,000 for new initiatives that support adults & older people with care and support needs and children, young people & families, to live independently, safe and well in thriving and inclusive communities.


The fund is open to voluntary & community organisations and social enterprises based in and outside of Cambridgeshire, and public sector organisations in Cambridgeshire, for projects that benefit Cambridgeshire residents. Please note that projects serving Peterborough residents are not eligible.


Pre-application advice

We encourage you to seek pre-application advice on your project ideas before submitting your application.  Appointments are available on 8 & 9 November for projects supporting adults with care and support needs, 9 & 23 November for projects supporting children, young people and families, and 7 & 10 November for anti-poverty projects (e.g. enhanced community food projects). Please pre-book your 15-minute telephone or virtual advice appointment here.


Cultivate Ideas

Do you want to do something for your community but need inspiration to start a project? Cultivate Ideas offer guidance and support for setting up the following community-led initiatives – Enhanced Community Food Projects, Care Micro-enterprises, Community Warden Schemes, Community Youth Worker, Timebanks, Good Neighbour Schemes, Dementia Friendly Communities and Men’s Sheds.


Cultivate Cambs grant applications and information may be found on the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation website.

Health Alliance Update – the VCSE Strategy goes LIVE

We are pleased to officially announce that the Integrated Care Board has now rubber-stamped the VCSE Strategy and Memorandum of Understanding.

During the September ICB board meeting, both the ‘VCSE Strategy’ and ‘Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) were approved, signalling the official partnership between Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Integrated Care System (CPICS) and the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector.

The Strategy was commissioned and funded by the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough ICS and is jointly owned by the Directorate of Strategy and Partnership and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough VCSE CEO Network.

A glossy version of the Strategy is in final proof and will be uploaded shortly in pdf format.

The VCSE vision

This strategy sets out our vision and ambitions for partnership working and how we’ll achieve our goal of embedding the VCSE sector fully within the ICS.

Working side by side, the CPICS and VCSE communities can share a culture that enables a rebalancing of power, changing how decisions are made in health and care.

We believe this partnership will encourage a collective understanding of good working practices and partnership conduct for all parties.

The signing off of the Strategy has ensured a ‘diverse’ voice is now at the table. We can turn our attention to how the VCSE and health sector can improve their communications and focus our efforts on continuing to build a robust, inclusive and empowering relationship.

However, this Strategy is not set in stone.  While it does cover the short, medium and long-term goals, it will be revisited after 12 months to reflect changes as the CPICS develops or if the need to do so arises.  All the agreed goals are interdependent and will require ongoing collaborative working.

What is coming next?

The VCSE Health Alliance work will continue forward and focus on other key topics that have been identified to help support a vibrant and thriving VCSE.  We will continue to work to drive change, create tangible impacts on people and communities, and tackle health inequalities.

Look out over the next coming weeks for other successful initiatives, including the Staff Support Hub  (workshops and webinars for struggling staff) and task groups to focus mainly on the three key areas below;

  • Partnership Development task group
  • Tackling Inequalities task group
  • Funding and External Investment task group

If you are interested in joining one of these task groups or attending any future VSE Health Alliance meetings, please contact


Let’s Talk: Your health & care

In October 2022, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Integrated Care System (CPICS) launched a new campaign to hear from as many local people, communities and partners as possible.

‘Let’s Talk: Your Health & Care is the Integrated Care System’s new campaign, which is giving people who live, work or study in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough the opportunity to influence the next five years of health and wellbeing services locally.

Everyone’s view is important – which is why the CPICS are keen to hear from you, whether you’ve used health and care services recently or not.  Help to shape local health and care services by completing their questionnaire. From what would help you manage your current health and care needs to what support you think would make the most significant difference in the lives of children and young people

The questionnaire only takes a few minutes to fill in. It covers a wide range of topics, including getting appointments, the impact of the current cost of living on health and wellbeing, and what could help children and young people in the future.

So take part in Let’s Talk by filling in the questionnaire by 10 November:

October 2022 ICS Newsletter – 100 days of progress

The second newsletter from Cambridgeshire & Peterborough ICS was issued this month.  Over the last 100 days, teams in the ICS have worked together to make significant improvements.

The ICS is a partnership between voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations, local Councils, and NHS teams, working together for healthier futures for communities across the area.

Local people can now access GP appointments outside of regular working hours each week thanks to a new initiative with primary care colleagues; a brand new Green Strategy has been developed to ensure that local health and care services are environmentally fit for the future, and the ICS has worked with District Councils to create warm hubs and other health and care related services to support communities throughout winter.

ICS have worked together to put in place strategies for People and Communities and agreed on ways of working with Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector organisations in the area to ensure we work together to improve services for you.  They continue to look towards the future to ensure services meet the needs of the communities they serve.

This includes creating a brand new Health & Wellbeing Integrated Care Strategy to improve health, care and well-being services for local people. To help local communities shape this strategy, the ICS has also recently launched Let’s Talk – its exciting new flagship engagement campaign, which encourages everyone in the area to have their say on the local health and care matters that are important to them.

Commenting on the first 100 days of the Integrated Care System, Jan Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, said:

100 days on from our launch as an Integrated Care System, I want to thank our partners in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough for working hard to improve health and care in our area.

We know there’s still more to be done. As we work to deliver more improvements to health and care services, we want to encourage everyone to have their say about their local health and care through Let’s Talk. If you live or work in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, please fill in our quick Let’s Talk survey and help us shape our ICS over the next 100 days and beyond.”

Follow CPICS on socials – Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter

Read this newsletter in full here

For more information on the ICS  – visit their website.

Crowdfunder for Charities/Cost of Living Crisis campaign/rolling deadline

The cost of living is effecting every charity… it’s time to start fighting back.

We are all being faced with the same question:

“How do I encourage a population that is facing tough financial times to donate to my charity?”

Crowdfunder says:

As part of our Cost of Living Crisis campaign we’ve got over £10m in +Extra funding from our partners to donate to projects started by charities to help tackle the current crisis. Aviva’s community fund is even offering up to £50,000 to individual causes, think of it as an extra big pledge to your project or charity.

Our charity profiles are the gateway to opening your charities potential to raise more. Register or login and you will be able to…

  1. Gain more donations: By setting up a Crowdfunder charity profile, you can gain further donations from our Cost of Living and #DonateTheRebate campaigns.
  2. Access +Extra Funding: Once you’ve set up a profile, you can start your own project and look to access +Extra funding from one of our partners. Our partners are looking to back projects that are specifically targeting ideas to support those effected by the Cost of Living Crisis.
  3. Allow easy fundraisers on your behalf: With a charity profile your supporters can raise money that comes directly to your bank, with no need for them to collect the money raised and they don’t need bank details to get going.
  4. Collect Nectar points: We’re working with Nectar and can boast they we are the only platform that converts Nectar points into cash for your charity. There’s millions of unused Nectar points that could be converted to help your cause.
  5. Big donations from businesses: If you have a big business willing to make a sizeable donation to your cause, then hold up before you bank that cheque. By working with us we can use that donation to encourage more people to donate to your charity, knowing that their donation will be doubled up to the amount provided by the business. It’s a great way to encourage more donations.

Employee giving: We can work with your business partners to enable them to allow their staff to donate to your charity as they matchfund any donations made.

Get started here.

Young People’s Counselling Service Parent and Caregivers Group starts up in Wisbech

The Young People’s Counselling Service is offering a supportive group for parents and caregivers who have concerns about their child’s mood, behaviour or mental health. This may include young people who refuse or are reluctant to go to school, who seem worried, and young people with low mood or seem to feel down about themselves. The group is open to parents and caregivers of both primary and secondary school age young people.

The group is run by an experienced therapist to offer parents and caregivers a safe space to share, talk about their experiences and to connect with other families. The therapist is on-hand to offer any advice and answer any questions. We would also like to share mindfulness techniques that can be used at home to help young people – and encourage our group members to have a go during our group time to practice these techniques for themselves and have some time for relaxation.

The group will take place weekly in the cosy setting of the Annabelle Davis Centre (Wisbech) and we will have refreshments available.

To learn more or to book your place for the group, please email

Day: Tuesday

Time: 1:30pm – 3pm

Location: Annabelle Davis Centre

St. Peter’s Lodge

Love Lane


PE13 1HP


Is this the future of volunteering?

Kathryn Shepherdson header

Recently Rob Jackson had a guest author on his well-known volunteer managers blog. Laura White talked about her experiences volunteering in Berlin and how easy she found it.

Some of the things which stood out for me were that she never felt guilty about not returning to the organisation. She was doing tasks which needed to happen, not doing a role for an organisation. Because of that, she continued to do more volunteering with loads of different organisations. Taking her skills, knowledge and experiences with her. There was never that idea she was a volunteer, more that she was ‘helping where needed’ but within the time and capacity she could offer. This allowed her to want to continue to do more in the community, maximising her offer within the VCS sector in Berlin.

Could this be the future of volunteering in Cambridgeshire? I think it could, and I think it should be, for I get why groups are so protective over their volunteers. A lot of work has gone into building that relationship, but if I was to say that if you promoted your roles in activity shifts instead, and you could double your current volunteer pool, would you believe me?

Yes, this was volunteering in a capital city, plus there was infrastructure support ( we are working on this) – but the type of volunteer she was doing was something we do offer as standard here in the UK.

The way people want to give their time has changed. It once was around giving a set period of the month to an organisation regularly. That has now changed, and people want to help their communities in ways which fit in with their time. They also are not so fussy about who they help just so they can see their impact. Look at the success of ParkRun as an example.

For volunteer led groups to move to this way of working will take one significant jump of confidence and a reshuffle of how volunteers engage, it won’t work for all, but most roles could move to shift work rather than commitment. Perhaps this is the start?

Click the link below to read Laura’s blog on the Rob Jackson blog.

A Break in Berlin – what I learnt from my volunteering sabbatical – Rob Jackson Consulting Ltd (

United with Ukraine Community Grant / Cambridge City

CAMBRIDGE City Council has launched a grant for community groups to apply for up to £2,000 to support people who have fled the war in Ukraine.

To be eligible, funded activities will need to meet one or more of the following priorities:

  • Navigating life in the UK
  • Promoting community cohesion and integration
  • Delivering money advice and management
  • Supporting access to employment
  • Increasing confidence in speaking English
  • Enhancing wellbeing, including activities for children

Groups can apply on a rolling basis and applicants will be informed of the outcome within four weeks. Applications will be assessed on a first-come, first-served basis, with funding being allocated until the provisional total fund of £100,000 is exhausted.

It is possible for groups to make multiple applications, but only one activity per group will be funded at any given time (evidence will need to be submitted that one grant has been spent as agreed prior to applying for further funding). Apply online:

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