Time Well Spent report is released

If you attended the Connecting Communities conference, you would have heard several speakers referencing two reports that have come out recently looking at volunteering trends. The first is the Community Life Survey which was made public earlier this year. The other was the NCVO Time Well Spent report, which was released on the 27th of June.

NCVO released some snippets of the report earlier in the year; however, the full report was launched along with some interesting findings. Below are just a few which sprung out to us.

Read the full report HERE.

  • Volunteers did not increase in COVID, but it declined further, and we have not yet seen a bounce back.
  • Groups are asking for too much from volunteers and risk losing them. Many volunteers feel pressured into giving more time than they would like.
  • Motivations for volunteering have declined; however, wanting to help people is still one of the top reasons people get involved.
  • Two main reasons people don’t want to give time to volunteering are; a lack of interest in ongoing commitment and wanting to do ‘other things with their spare time.’
  • People need expenses paid, and while they may not ask, it needs to be offered regularly as it is a barrier in a ‘cost of living crisis
  • More young people want to get involved, but with a cause which means something to them, and on a short-term basis.

The Support Cambridgeshire team will take these findings along with those of the Community Life Survey and look at training and support for groups in the coming year. If you need any support or advice around volunteer recruitment or retention, please feel free to get in contact at info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk . If you would like to see training in a particular topic area, get involved, and we are always interested to hear from groups.

Do you know an organisation to put forward for the King’s Award For Voluntary Service?

The King’s Award for Voluntary Service (KAVS) formally the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Queen’s Coronation. As part of this, we would like Cambridgeshire and Peterborough groups to celebrate the fantastic work they contribute to our communities. 

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough tend to receive less nominations than other parts of the country, so we would like to build awareness of this prestigious award among our volunteer-led groups. Over the past few years, we have seen a great surge in communities coming forward to support each other and stand together to create opportunities, support and impact within their communities. 

Who can be nominated?

Key eligibility requirements are:

  1. The group must have 3 or more volunteers. 
  2. It must be based in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man. 
  3. It must have been operating for a minimum of 3 years. 
  4. It must provide a specific local benefit (KAVS are not intended for national organisations, although a branch can be nominated). 
  5. KAVS are looking for evidence that volunteers are initiating and driving the group’s work. It may have some paid staff, but they expect at least half of the people who work in the group to be volunteers.
  6. Groups operating solely for the benefit of animals are not eligible.
  7. The impact of the volunteers is truly amazing.

To read the full criteria, CLICK HERE 

Please note this is not an award for volunteer managers to thank their team of volunteers, but for groups of volunteers who are driving social action in their community. This is not to say an organisation can’t be nominated but it needs to be clear that the volunteers are going above and beyhond.

How are you nominated

The group can only be nominated by three individuals with no direct link to the group. This means they can’t be working or volunteering for the group, including those who sit on the committee or trustee board. 

There needs to be one primary nominator who fills the form out and then two individuals who are happy to supply a short supporting letter.

The Process 

The process is pretty easy once the three individuals have submitted their nominations. The organisation will be contacted. There will be a visit by someone from the Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire who will ensure your organisation has essential health and safety, safeguarding and finance procedures and policies in place.  


Want to know more? 

The online guidance notes and application form can be found HERE 

Support Cambridgeshire will be holding one-hour workshops that will cover the basics of the award a little more. 

Introduction to the King’s Award of Voluntary Service Workshop: Thursday 20th July – 5:00 – 6:00 pm 

Click HERE to book on the workshop

Everyone and anyone is welcome to attend the workshop. Please also feel free to ask questions by emailing info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk , we will try and answer your question if not forward to the national KAVS team.


Connecting Communities 2023 – Round up and slides

In a flash June is over, along with Volunteers Week, Small Charities Week and Connecting Communities 2023 conference.

Connecting Communities, the annual conference around volunteer management took place between the 20th and 22nd of June 2023. With speakers from national charities such as Scouting, small local groups and then a selection of experts in the field, there was much discussion and talk about how volunteer management must change in the coming years.

One thing reflected throughout all three days was that recruiting volunteers is getting more complicated; this was shown in stories told by those attending and in lots of the data. In the final session, it was highlighted that this is not just a UK issue. However, this doesn’t help those on the frontline in developing services for our communities.

The other key areas of discussion in all three talks were; diversifying your pool of volunteers through different marketing techniques, people, not roles – promote your group, not your roles, and finally, that change needs to come from the top. Trustees and senior leaders must understand that change needs to happen in how we recruit volunteers and where we put our volunteers, and encourage further strategies to reflect that.

The events received positive feedback from all that attended. More information on this will follow. Below are the slides from the speakers for reference, and if you couldn’t attend and have some feedback on what you would like to see next year, please do get in contact info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk

Slides from the events

Day One – Two sides of the same story: How we motivate and why volunteers return 
Alan Bennett, Scouts  : HERE
Ramsey Neighbourhood Trust: HERE
Day Two – Putting Theory into Practice: Exploring reflective volunteer involvement 
Jurgen Grotz: HERE
Day Three – All around the globe: What we can learn from volunteer engagement across the globe   
Rob Jackson & Martin Cowley: HERE

Funding portal gets an upgrade

For those who have signed up to the Support Cambridgeshire funding portal. You may have received an email from IDOX, who owns the portal, saying it will be updated on the 29th of June.

Please note that this update mainly updates the site’s format, and the information saved on the website will be transferred to the new platform. The Support Cambridgeshire team have seen this new look portal and feels it will be easier now to navigate, and it allows groups to conduct more in-depth funding searches.

The IDOX team will be running a workshop to show you how to get the most from this new portal on the 7th of July at noon, and anyone is welcome to join. Copy the details below. Please note the workshop will be run over Microsoft Teams and Support Cambridgeshire partners will not be in attendance.

Click here to join the meeting.
Meeting ID: 389 415 125 432
Passcode: fh3V6D
Download Teams | Join on the web

Any issues or questions can be sent to info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk

Health Alliance Update – June Meeting

Sandie Smith, Health Alliance Director

Julie (CEO of Hunts Forum) welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked POSH for letting us use their venue. Julie explained that a Health Alliance Director had been appointed and they would be taking the reins from today- Sandie Smith was introduced.

Many of you may already know Sandie- Sandie was previously the CEO of Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough so had been part of the first discussions with the ICS and has a great knowledge of the Health and Care system. Sandie started on the 1st of June and has a one-year part-time contract. She will be working to further the Health Alliance’s involvement with the ICS and to promote the good work that has already been achieved. She will continue to be supported by Debbie and will be chairing the meeting going forward.

Sandie plans to meet with many of the Health Alliance members, particularly those who have been involved as reps or as part of the task and finish groups. If you would like to discuss anything with Sandie please email her sandie@huntsforum.org.uk or Debbie debbie@huntsforum.org.uk

Andrea Grobois, Assistant Director of Community Strategic Partnerships, was introduced- Andrea has been in post for 8 weeks. Andrea will be attending the Health Alliance meetings going forward and will be ensuring the voluntary sector have an equitable voice in the ICS and will help address challenges. Andrea is contactable via email a.grobois@nhs.net

The action log was reviewed, and there were some updates.

The governance review had taken place, and 2 of the boards that the Alliance have reps attending have been merged with no notice to those involved. For the Alliance, this could mean over-representation. Andrea and Sandie will discuss this. It was also noted that this meeting came with 600+ pages of papers which is a massive ask. (action 34)

A safeguarding task and finish group have met, the meeting went well, and members discussed safeguarding training in the sector. It has been agreed that Sandie will draft a safeguarding action plan. (action 35)

There is willingness from North and South place partnership for a joint meeting with the voluntary sector to discuss the Hewitt report. The next steps would be to co ordinate this. (action 43)

Andrea Grobois, Assistant Director of Community Strategic Partnerships

Jenna Lusk from POSH talked about the charitable foundation’s involvement in the community and the aim to help people stay healthy and as mobile as possible. Jenna explained that the projects they run are wide ranging and funding is sought from various areas. Some projects include Yoga, Chair based exercise, walking football, healthy goals sessions, and a time out social group. Many activities take place at the football ground but there are opportunities to take some projects into the community which they do. The team often link with other organisations to enable projects to happen and have good links into Cambridge United’s foundation too.

Debbie gave feedback from the Health Inequalities task and finish group. The 3 projects that were undertaken have now been completed. Debbie had used the projects as an opportunity to speak to attendees about the ICS priorities- what did people feel about them? What do they feel is needed to achieve them? What is missing?

Debbie reported that the project that had been undertaken on the Oxmoor with families had sparked interest from other areas in the county.


The meeting then went on to look at some of the goals from the voluntary sector strategy. Sandie will be focussing on some of these going forward and Andrea will support if there needs to be ICS input.

Under Goal 1 the group discussed the funding available for the VCSE sector. The Healthier Futures Fund is the monies that are available at present and organisations will need to get their bids in for August. There have been a few questions raised.

  • How are the bids being evaluated? Initially they will be looked at by Cambridge Community Foundation, districts are being asked if they would like to review. Where is the voluntary sector voice on this?
  • It was felt more needs to be done to make it accessible to smaller groups.
  • It was felt that the “new project” approach will stop some organisations as many need funding to continue the service they already offer. Where is the money for this?
  • How can the impacts from these projects influence future commissioning.

Organisations are being encouraged to sign up to the JOY app but there is some hesitation on this. Organisations are already reporting that some have been overwhelmed by the number of new referrals they are receiving and more complex cases (no finance to support) The social prescribers often make a referral without understanding what an organisation can offer.

The Alliance members agreed that it would be good to find out who has signed up to the JOY app and if they had any implications they could share. Maybe the impact is not as expected. Debbie will ask all on mailing list for feedback on this.

The Health and Wellbeing Network have hosted a few “Meet Your Social Prescriber” events which have been popular and there is another one on 4th July 1pm on line (see link below)


Social prescribing will be added to next agenda.


Sharon Allen shared: She is part of a small advisory group working with Alessandro Bosco (ab2984@medschl.cam.ac.uk) who is part of a small research team supported by colleagues from Eastern Academic Health Science Network and ARHC. The focus of Alessandro’s work is investigating health inequalities for people needing to access medication for palliative and end of life care, particularly out of hours.

It will be really helpful to engage in dialogue with people who have had this experience, particularly those from marginalised communities and are particularly keen to engage with people in Peterborough and Fenland.

They want to share a leaflet on anticipatory medicine currently in use. The leaflet provides guidance on anticipatory medication in the community and should target end of life care.  The idea would be to explore with members of the public their ideas and views on the leaflet.

Any member organisations who think they could facilitate a focus group that Alessandro can attend and hear people’s experiences and ideas for how we can improve things. If any Health Alliance members think they could support with bringing a group together or have other information or ideas that could support with this work please contact Alessandro direct.


The Next Health Alliance meeting is July 12th 9.30 on Zoom – contact debbie@huntsforum.org.uk

To learn more about the Health Alliance and the health agenda CLICK HERE

Charities gain new powers as more legislative changes come into force

On Wednesday 14th June 2023, the latest set of changes being introduced by the Charities Act 2022 come into force.

The Charity Commission has updated its existing guidance to reflect these changes, which includes flexibility for trustees when seeking to dispose of charity land and new powers around the use of permanent endowment.

Changes now in place include simplified legal requirements that charities must comply with before selling, transferring or leasing land, and new statutory powers to enable:

  • charities to spend, in certain circumstances, a proportion or all of their permanent endowment fund where the market value of the fund is (£25,000 or less) without Commission authorisation.
  • charities to borrow, in certain circumstances, up to 25% of the value of their permanent endowment fund without Commission authorisation.
  • charities that have opted into a total return approach to investment to use permanent endowment to make social investments with a negative or uncertain financial return, provided any losses are offset by other gains.
  • the Commission to direct a charity to stop using a working name if it is too similar to another charity’s name or is offensive or misleading.
  • the Commission to delay registration of a charity with an unsuitable name or delay entry of a new unsuitable name onto the Register of Charities. Working with the principal regulator, the Commission can also use these naming powers on exempt charities.

“The latest changes introduced by the Charities Act 2022 give the charities we regulate more flexibility and greater powers. These are positive changes that will impact a significant number of charities, so it is important all organisations, big or small, take the time to check what this means for them. This is especially important if they are looking, for example, to dispose of land. We have updated our guidance to help trustees understand the changes, and our contact centre is open to those who need further support.”

The regulator’s updated guidance now reflects several changes to the legal requirements when disposing of land (selling, transferring or leasing charity land), which are aimed at making the process easier for charities. For example, the category of designated advisers who can provide charities with advice on certain disposals has been widened. A trustee, officer or employee can provide advice on a disposal if they meet the relevant requirements.

Additionally, trustees now have discretion to decide how to advertise a proposed disposal of charity land and charities are no longer required to get Commission authority to grant a residential lease to a charity employee for a short periodic or fixed term tenancy.

The regulator’s updated guidance on permanent endowment sets out the powers available to spend or borrow from permanent endowment. The guidance now also includes some examples to help trustees understand the requirements.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)’s implementation plan sets out how provisions of the Charities Act 2022 are gradually being introduced. The Commission continues to support the department and the sector as these changes come into effect.


Please note the above can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/charities-gain-new-powers-as-more-legislative-changes-come-into-force

Notes to editors:

  1. The Charities Act 2022 gained Royal Assent on 24th February 2022.
  2. The full Charities Act 2022 can be found on legislation.gov.uk
  3. Explanation of the Charities Act 2022 implementation plan is available on gov.uk
  4. Previous changes can be found on the Commission’s information page on phase 1 changes
  5. The Charity Commission is the independent, non-ministerial government department that registers and regulates charities in England and Wales.

Email pressenquiries@charitycommission.gov.uk

Out of hours press office contact number: 07976 942355

Watch this space, NEW volunteer portal coming to Cambridgeshire

Support Cambridgeshire partners (Hunts Forum of Voluntary Organisations and Cambridge CVS) are excited to announce they have received funding from system partners to set up a countywide Volunteer Portal in Cambridgeshire.

There has been a gap in volunteer recruitment for some time now for both groups and the public. Groups have been expected to promote themselves, often only recruiting within the same circles, which has recently meant that many groups have struggled. At the same time, the public has faced barriers to finding roles which suit their skills, time and passions, with each group promoting in different ways and not always giving the information the public desire.

Recently NCVO released its Time Well Spent research paper highlighting what many groups are finding in practice; that volunteer numbers are down from 2021/22 by 16%.

With such a fall of volunteers engaging with groups, any barriers to individuals wanting to give their time to a cause or groups must be challenged. When the reported asked those who had considered volunteering why they didn’t see it through, they reported common barriers being;

  • thinking it involved more time than they could commit (21%)
  • it wasn’t flexible (14%)
  • the opportunities didn’t match their skills, interests or experience (14%).

Partners at Support Cambridgeshire feel that these barriers can be partly addressed locally by a Volunteer Portal, which allows groups to promote roles in a formatted way in one place. It should answer the question people want to know and be utterly upfront and easy to understand around the role’s time commitment and flexibility, plus the skills/interest needed to get the most from the role.

We also hope this platform will support groups to experiment with new volunteer practices, such as rotas, to change how volunteers are used within an organisation and open volunteering up to a broader pool of possible volunteers. Allowing our Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) to become even more diverse than it already is and empowering groups to gain the expertise of various backgrounds, skills, and interests make our sector even more impactful when supporting our communities.

The stat that “1 in 5 (19%) of people who hadn’t volunteered in the last 12 months said it was because they’ve never been asked” highlights to Support Cambridgeshire that this portal is overdue in Cambridgeshire. This website, along with the sector’s work to promote it, will allow all groups to use it to reach out to the public more effectively.

Support Cambridgeshire can reveal that the portal will be designed by Deedmob, who created the Get InVOLed Norfolk and GoVolHerts portals used by neighbouring counties. The team hope to bring you more information later in 2023, so watch this space.

New local data on mental health needs of residents

Would you like to better understand mental health need in your area?

Do you have to show why your work is needed to get funding?

Do you need to know which groups of people are most in need of mental health support?

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust are working with the Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council to build a picture of mental health need across the area.


Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mental Health Needs Assessment

A mental health needs assessment is being created locally. This is a way of understanding the mental health needs of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough residents across their lives.

Local data, evidence reviews, expert advisors and the voices of people with lived experience have been brought together to understand local mental health need and identify local priorities.


Cambridgeshire Website

Sometimes page after page of health information can be challenging. Therefore, all the results of the needs assessment are freely available on the Cambridgeshire Insights website. This includes infographics, which provide a fast summary of some of our findings.

There are three chapters already online. Chapter 1 covers how mental health is affected by the environment we live in, such as poverty, housing, and crime. Chapter 2 looks at how mental health differs depending on ethnicity, sexuality, and disability status, for example. Chapter 3 focuses on perinatal mental health and its impact on parents, infants, and the wider family.

Another 6 chapters will be added to the website in the months to coming. They focus on children and young people, work-age adults, living well in later years and neurodiversity.


How you can use it

The needs assessment shows which groups of people are most in need of mental health support. This could be used to tailor or target services to those people most in need.

It also clearly shows why looking after mental health, and tackling the causes of poor mental health, are important. This could provide local, relevant evidence for funding bids, showing why your work is important.


To find out more about the mental health needs assessment, please visit the Cambridgeshire Insights website


The National Lottery Community Fund released new strategy

We have been waiting for the launch of The National Lottery Community Funds’ new strategy for a little while now and here it is.

Things which Support Cambridgeshire have noticed:

  • Awards for all will be rising from 10K to 20K
  • They are looking at the place, but both physically and virtually
  • The environment is a big part of this
  • Along with voice and the engagement of younger audiences
  • Finally, health and wellbeing is another area which they will be looking to build on
  • Grant scale is diverse, from short-term £300 grants to larger, longer-term grants


Today we’re sharing our bold new strategy to 2030 – It starts with community.

As the UK’s largest community funder, we’ve listened to 18,000 people and organisations to understand where our funding can make the biggest impact.

We will distribute at least £4 billion of #NationalLottery funding by 2030 to tackle some of the big issues facing the UK today and focus our funding, learning and efforts on four community-led missions. 

We will support communities to: come together; be environmentally sustainable; help children and young people to thrive; and enable people to live healthier lives. 

As part of today’s announcement, we are doubling down on our commitment to grassroots projects through our flagship small grants programme, National Lottery Awards for All, by doubling the size and term of the funding available. 

We will also make funding available for new ideas that support our missions this year – £15 million for a new programme to connect communities, opening later this summer, and a £9 million boost to our Climate Action Fund, taking the total investment in Climate Action to £35 million this year.  

The next chapter starts today and #ItStartsWithCommunity  

Explore the strategy here https://bit.ly/43CB6e6


Source: The National Lottery Community Fund official Linkedin posted on the 7th June 2023 

Staff Support Hub – June Newsletter 2023

The latest newsletter from ICS Staff Support is here! Please click on this link to learn more about Volunteers Week, Financial wellbeing support, and more.

To learn more about the Staff Support Hub, check out our page: https://supportcambridgeshire.org.uk/new/staff-support-hub/ 

Help us improve our website