It All Counts – stay hydrated and healthy  

Staying hydrated is so important for your health and wellbeing. It can help prevent constipation, urine infections, headaches and other illnesses.  

A new NHS campaign, ‘It All Counts’, aims to raise awareness of the importance of hydration, in particular in those over the age 65 living in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.   

Staying hydrated isn’t just about drinking water. Hot drinks, fruit juices, even bowls of soup and other fluid rich foods such as yoghurts, jelly, ice lollies and some pieces of fruit can all help keep you hydrated – it all counts. 

So whether that is having a glass of juice at breakfast, extra milk on your cereal, having soup or a yoghurt with your lunch or enjoying an ice lolly whilst out in the garden – all of these drinks or fluid rich foods can help keep you hydrated throughout the day. 

The recommended minimum amount of fluid intake for an adult is between 1,600 and 2,000 mls (3-3.5 pints) which is around eight glasses or mugs of fluid per day. All fluids count apart from alcohol, which can actually cause dehydration. 

For those taking regular medicine, it’s important to take with a full glass of water to help wash them down and ensure they are absorbed as intended. Always ask your pharmacist for advice if you are unsure on how you should take your medicine. 

Find out more about the importance of good hydration online at www.cpics.org.uk/it-all-counts  

Launch of State of the Sector report 2023

Support Cambridgeshire, the partnership between Cambridge CVS and Hunts Forum of Voluntary Organisations, has repeated their annual survey to find out about the State of the voluntary sector in Cambridgeshire, and this year we have also worked with a data scientist to analyse what national data from the Charity Commission and 360 Giving tells us about local charities.

We know that local charities and community groups have continued to deliver vital support and services through the pandemic and now through the cost of living crisis. Still, this survey points to the toll this is taking on staff and volunteers. Fewer organisations were optimistic that this year would be better than 2022 compared to 12 months ago. Groups are struggling to find the funds and volunteers they need to meet the demands put on them. Across the county, the amount of money going into the sector and the number of groups available to offer support is uneven.

We can not take our local charities and community groups for granted. The work they do is still #NeverMoreNeeded. We know that many people rely on or benefit from their work.  The partners in Support Cambridgeshire will continue to offer all the help and advice they can to enable our local voluntary sector to thrive and prosper. Still, we need others to join in this effort, or we will see more groups closing and more services disappearing.

Click the banner to be taken to the full state of the sector 2023 report

 

This year we have worked with David Kane of Kane Data to analyse some of the available data from national datasets, thanks to some funding from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough ICS, through the VCSE Health Allience. The report is based on an analysis of data from the Charity Commission for England and Wales, supplemented with additional data including:

  • Geographic data, including postcode lookups, from the Office for National Statistics
  • Population data from Office for National Statistics
  • Inflation data (using the RPIX measure) from Office for National Statistics
  • Charity Classification from charityclassification.org.uk
  • Data from grantmakers was published using the 360Giving Data Standard.

We worked to exclude those charities that were mistakenly connected with the county and charities that mainly worked nationally or internationally but are based in the county. We also excluded independent schools and university colleges.

This report helps us understand the numbers and sizes of charities and how they are spread across the county. It also gives us an indication of the grants that come into the sector from those grant funders that publish their data on the 360m giving platform.

Click here to read the National Dataset Report CLICK HERE

What does AI say about its role in the charity world?

Kathryn Shepherdson header

After attending a webinar on the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the charity sector, I was interested to ask AI systems what the pros and cons of the development of it could be in our sector. With that, I booted up the most common AI system ChatGPT, following the webinar’s instructions and asked it the following question. It came back in about thirty seconds with this answer.

 

Q. Write me an article on the uses of AI in the Charity sector, the impact it could make and the challenges it will create. 

The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into various industries has transformed the way we live and work. The charity sector, driven by a relentless pursuit of social impact, is embracing AI as a powerful tool to enhance efficiency, expand outreach, and address complex challenges. This article explores the diverse uses of AI in the charity sector, the potential impact it could make, and the challenges it may create.

Uses of AI in the Charity Sector

Donor Analytics: AI-driven data analysis enables charities to gain valuable insights into donor behaviour and preferences. This helps in crafting personalized and targeted fundraising campaigns, leading to increased engagement and higher donation conversion rates.

Predictive Analytics: AI algorithms can forecast trends, allowing charities to anticipate emerging needs and allocate resources more effectively. This predictive capacity enhances disaster response, anticipates shifts in community requirements, and prepares for potential challenges.

Efficient Resource Allocation: AI optimizes resource allocation by streamlining administrative tasks, reducing overhead costs, and automating routine processes. This efficiency ensures that more funds are directed towards the core mission, maximizing the charity’s impact.

Personalized Support: AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants provide personalized support to beneficiaries, offering timely responses to inquiries and addressing their needs promptly. This 24/7 assistance enhances service delivery and fosters a sense of inclusivity.

Identifying Vulnerable Populations: AI can analyze vast datasets to identify vulnerable populations and communities requiring urgent assistance. This data-driven approach ensures that help reaches those who need it most, promoting social equity and inclusivity.

Impact of AI in the Charity Sector

Amplifying Outreach: AI empowers charities to connect with a broader audience through targeted marketing and communication strategies. This increased outreach attracts more donors and volunteers, resulting in amplified impact and visibility.

Enhanced Efficiency: By automating mundane tasks, AI frees up valuable time and resources for charitable organizations. This efficiency enables them to focus on strategic planning, program development, and fostering deeper connections with their beneficiaries

Evidence-Based Decision Making: AI-driven data analysis facilitates evidence-based decision-making, enabling charities to allocate resources based on real-time data and insights. This approach enhances transparency and accountability in the sector.

Scalability: AI-driven solutions can be easily scaled to accommodate the changing needs of the charity sector. Whether it’s processing large volumes of data or handling a surge in service requests, AI technologies adapt and grow with the organization.

Challenges of Implementing AI in the Charity Sector

Cost and Accessibility: AI implementation may require initial investments in infrastructure, software, and staff training. Smaller charities with limited resources may face challenges in accessing and utilizing advanced AI technologies.

Data Privacy and Ethics: As charities collect and analyze sensitive data, ensuring data privacy and adhering to ethical practices becomes paramount. Maintaining data security and transparency is crucial to building and maintaining trust with donors and beneficiaries.

Potential Bias: AI algorithms may inadvertently reflect the biases present in historical data, leading to unintended discrimination or skewed decision-making. Charities must rigorously test and monitor AI systems to mitigate bias and ensure fair outcomes.

Human-AI Collaboration: Striking the right balance between human expertise and AI capabilities is essential. AI should complement human efforts rather than replace them, ensuring that the human touch and empathy remain central to the charity sector’s work.

Conclusion

The growing presence of AI in the charity sector opens up a world of possibilities for enhancing efficiency, expanding outreach, and making a significant impact on social causes. By leveraging AI technologies responsibly and addressing the associated challenges, charitable organizations can propel themselves into a new era of innovation, ultimately driving positive change and advancing the greater good. As AI continues to evolve, its potential to revolutionize the charity sector offers hope for a more equitable and compassionate world.

 

This answer is two things, both factual and thought-provoking, because there are many issues currently with AI but also incredible opportunities. For one, I am very excited about the strides of automation and auto-smart ways of working AI has already had in our lives and should be taking in our sector. Just think about the annoying paperclip back in the late 90s or perhaps your spell checker on your computer. Both are AI. It can do so much more now than ask if you’re OK or correct ‘wait’ to ‘weight’, and while this could be perceived as a threat, it could also be a fantastic opportunity.

So what does the future of AI look like in the sector? One idea could be that all those annoying, boring jobs volunteers are drafted to complete are done by AI—things like answering enquiry emails, writing out instructions or taking notes. Business is already there on many things, but as AI develops, it will become more normal and cheaper to embed.

Another exciting possibility is what this could do to support volunteer-led groups, where everyone’s time is precious and given freely. Wouldn’t it be great if they didn’t need to do the boring and mundane jobs and instead supported in ways which felt meaningful? Perhaps we can get AI to answer enquiries, update websites and give essential advice.

With all of this, there are issues and challenges that AI addresses in its answer. Cost, bias and data are three of the big ones, but if we go into this with our eyes wide open, asking questions and turning off specific sharing invites. I think AI could be the start of a revolution in the charity and community sector.

Want to know more?
The Cambridgeshire Digital Partnership runs a countywide online October conference looking at this topic. There will be several exciting events, including an Introduction to AI and many more. Want to know more? Follow @cambsdigi, and don’t worry, Support Cambridgeshire will be sharing this event through our channels and platforms.

 

Aviva Community Fund / Environment & Nature Crowdfunder / until allocated

Grants available: £500 to kick-start your project. And, to boost your fundraising, £2 for every £1 you raise, to help your project reach its target quicker.*

Applications close: From 30 March 2023 until £1 million of funding has been allocated

Who is the funding for: here to help community groups across the UK to protect and restore nature in their local area.

Link: Save Our Wild Isles Community Fund 

About:

To apply for the Save Our Wild Isles Community Fund, your project needs to be focused on taking action for nature in one of the following three ways:

1. Nature restoration – activity that boosts local biodiversity, by protecting or restoring habitats, creating space for nature, connecting green spaces and/or addressing activities that directly impact biodiversity.

2. Nature connectedness and pro-environmental behaviours – action that supports greater connection to nature and promotes pro-environmental behaviours at the community level that will benefit nature.

3. Community cohesion and connection – nature positive activity that encourages collaboration in the local community, by connecting people of diverse backgrounds, generations, and abilities to nature and one another.

With £500 available to get started, and up to £15,000 in match funding per project, it’s a great chance to make a real change.

*Projects that are accepted to the Save Our Wild Isles Community Fund will receive 2:1 match funding from Aviva. From 30 March 2023 until £1 million of funding has been allocated, pledges will be matched at a rate of £2 to every £1 donated. 2:1 match funding will apply to pledges of up to £250. The maximum value of 2:1 match funding a project can receive is £15,000.

How to apply: 

Applications are open now until the funding runs out. When applying, you’ll see the eligibility criteria and terms and conditions – please read these carefully.

Healthy You – bringing FREE healthy lifestyle support

Healthy You is a free service for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough residents looking to change their lifestyles. 

Commissioned and funded by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, they are there to help with every aspect of a person’s health, fitness and well-being, with all of their  FREE programmes proven to have long-term benefits. 

So, whether a person wants help to stop smoking, lead a more active lifestyle, lose some weight, or take advantage of the NHS Health Checks they offer, Healthy You can help. They also provide free behaviour change training to professionals. 

Our services are usually delivered face-to-face in community venues however we can offer a flexible service that offers virtual or telephone-based appointments to provide support. 

If you would like to find out more about their services, or their FREE training offer they would love to meet and hear from you, please do email  zoedunstan@healthyyou.org.uk to discuss this further or you can click here below to find out more:

 

 

 

Staff Support Hub – August Newsletter 2023

The latest newsletter from ICS Staff Support is here! Please click on this link to learn more about the housing needs survey, wellbeing workshops and more.

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

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