Health Alliance Meeting – 18th October 2023

Chaired by Sandie Smith (Programme Director) 


Sandie welcomed everyone to the meeting and talked through the updates to the action log.


Programme Director update 

Sandie updated the group on some support that is being offered to Cambs and Peterborough through NAVCA to support the Health Alliance development. We will get six days of support from Amie Cole (who came in the early stages of the Alliance to help set it up). Many of you will have met her previously.  

Andrea Grosbois explained that there have been some other monies available which they hope to tie up together and use to help produce a Quality Development Tool as part of its use. The aim is to include backfill costs to allow Alliance members to participate. 

Sandie explained that as part of the development, we are keen to get the branding for the Health Alliance right. There will be a survey going out to all organisations from PVCS, Hunt’s Forum and CCVS to collect opinions. Please take time to complete. 

Sandie will collate the replies and there will be a workshop in late November to take this further. Once the date is set we will give a call out for interested parties. 

Sandie and Julie Farrow fed back on the Outcomes Framework workshops they had attended. In the first session, four people from the Health Alliance attended and 10 voluntary sector groups attended the second one.  

All that attended felt the meetings were of value. Health is moving from Health to Health inequalities and the voluntary sector is in a good position to report on this. They felt it was good to take a step into the NHS world for a change and with the minimal presence of social care the voluntary sector was able to fill in some of the gaps. 



Miriam Martin fed back on the Improvement and Reform, Commissioning and Investment Committee. This meeting is now a merger of two meetings so is four hours long. She reported that often the papers for the meeting arrive the Friday afternoon a week before the meeting. As they are often 400 pages or more wading through what is relevant and where she can make comments is difficult. 

However, Miriam reported she has enjoyed being at this meeting and has learnt a lot. She is able to make sure the voluntary sector is considered and it’s good to know what is coming up. 

She feels it might be difficult to add an item to their agenda. 

Sharon Allen fed back on the People Board- Sharon and a colleague attend some of the various subgroups of this committee. These include EQDI, Retainment and Recruitment, Education, and Accommodation. They attend where it’s possible and relevant. 

There has been a big focus on “One Workforce” however this is difficult due to the variation in terms and conditions. Sharon plans to meet with a new person who will be looking at staff benefits. 

A question was raised about accessibility of meetings- How do people access the decision makers and raise what the barriers to engagement are? 

Andrea has a list of questions to take back to the ICB and will raise this too. 

Julie Farrow said previously she had done a governance review and had raised the issue around the length of papers, and lateness of them arriving, and had suggested that somewhere it could be highlighted what the essential read for the meeting was.  

Hunts Forum and CCVS have received funding from ICB. Hunts Forum is leading on the influencing and has a training programme available to people who would like to be a rep in the future but want a bit of training/support. This is free and open to all. Please let Sandie, Debbie or Julie know if you are interested. 

It was asked how we let users of services know what is happening. The monthly bulletin that Sandie produces is something that could be shared widely. The ICS also produce a slide deck with information and updates. 

Next year there are plans to have a participation summit. It would be useful too to have an ‘insight bank’ for people when report writing. There is a commitment to get the service user voices heard and Health Alliance members are in a good position to collect these. 



Michael and Rachel from Cambs CAB earlier in the year worked with Healthwatch to test what could be done with collated data. Within the voluntary sector, different data is collected but there could be some common ground. If this could be matched to some of the data statutory bodies use, particularly health this would be useful for planning. 

Michael is now keen to hear from organisations that have data they are willing to share and is looking for people to be part of a working group to develop this. 

Contact Michael directly if you are interested 

A question was asked about how organisations could showcase the pieces of work they have been doing with health. There could be an opportunity for stories to be shared in the ICB newsletters/updates. 

The group were asked if they had any health-related stories they would like to share they could share with Sandie or Debbie. 



Julie talked about the changes that will be coming in around procurement for services. The papers are going to parliament in early Spring however those for Health are coming into effect in December. There is bound to be some overlap with new contracts so organisations may find they may get extensions to contracts as well as having to work to old and new rules. Further detail here: 



Support Cambridgeshire have launched a volunteer portal Volunteer Cambs. 

Organisations are being offered the opportunity to add their volunteering opportunities to the site. The site will be launched to the public next year however they can use it too at the moment. Visit the site  Volunteer Cambs 

There is plenty of support being offered to organisations/ groups to get their details on the site and there will be a workshop on 31st October too. If you are interested in a workshop sign up here. 

Sharon mentioned the Above Difference culture change programme (something the Local People Board have been working on) 


The first Cohort is aimed at CEOs and Chief Officers, the voluntary sector has three places allocated, and there have been two expressions of interest so anyone interested, please let Sharon Allen know ASAP. There will be two further cohorts so there are other opportunities for the voluntary sector to engage. 

Sharon also mentioned the Springboard. Springboard is an award-winning personal development programme for women who want to take control over their lives, become more assertive, increase their confidence and build themselves a more positive attitude in both their work and home lives. 

The sessions are held in St Ives- there is a cost to the programme and you will be expected to attend all dates- for more info and booking:- 


 Next Meetings 

6th December 1-3 pm on Zoom 

17th January 1-3 March Library 

VCSE Health Alliance – Update Bulletin – November 2023

November 2023

 The Future of the Health Alliance

We are delighted to be receiving some support from NAVCA (the national voluntary sector support organisation) to help us develop to the next stage of our partnership. Some of you may remember Aimie Cole who helped shape the first stages of the Alliance. We now have six more days of Aimie’s time to help us think about and plan our future. This will be supported by a small amount of funding from NHS England and Assura, a national grant-making Trust.

Our Partnership Development Group are planning how this will progress. If you are interested in shaping our future please do step forward and join this group. Contact Sandie to find out more. There will be more opportunities to get involved as the work moves on.


A new name and a new brand

You will have received a survey asking for your views on the Health Alliance and how this could look in the future. The findings from this engagement exercise will influence a new name and a new brand for our partnership. Please take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to complete it. The information will also be used as a basis for our development plans. The survey is here.


Volunteering opportunities online

Volunteers are the lifeblood of all community groups and charities but recruiting them is increasingly challenging. That’s why the Support Cambridgeshire partnership has just launched Volunteer Cambs, a website that offers features beyond just promoting volunteer opportunities. They are currently looking for groups to sign up and start promoting their opportunities so that there is content for the more prominent promotion campaign to the public in early 2024. Support Cambridgeshire is also offering a range of support and workshops to groups for them to get the most from their experience of the site. Read more here.


Explaining the Integrated Care System

The Integrated Care System and all the supporting structures and names are incredibly confusing. We have recorded a presentation given by Kit Connick, from the ICB, explaining how it all works. Click here to watch the video


Integrated Care Board publicity

Do you have an ICB-funded project or service that you would like to showcase? The ICB are keen to include more voluntary sector work in their newsletter. Please contact Sandie if you would like to take up this offer. You will need to provide a summary of the work, the difference it makes and preferably a weblink, a quote and/or photo or two.


Household Support

Colleagues at Cambridgeshire County Council are keen to hear from voluntary sector groups and organisations about their views on the Household Support Fund. It takes a few minutes and will increase understanding of the support needed by local people. The closing date is Friday 3 November 2023. The survey is here.


Adults safeguarding conference

This year’s Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board Conference is on 21st November and will focus on partnership. The voluntary sector are particularly welcome to attend. You can find out more and register by following this link:

Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board Conference 2023 | Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Safeguarding Partnership Board (


Health Alliance meetings

Here are the dates of our future meetings, please do put them in your diary. If you would like to suggest a theme please contact We are also keen to get members to Co-Chair meetings on their theme of interest.

  • 6th December 1-3pm Health inequalities               Zoom
  • 17th January 1-3 Health Alliance business     March Library
  • 28th February 9.30-11.30 Theme to confirm               Zoom
  • 17th April 1-3 Health Alliance business    Peterborough
  • 22nd May 10-12 Theme to confirm               St Ives Corn Exchange

See here for more information about the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Health Alliance. You can also find the notes from the October Health Alliance meeting on this page.


Spread the word!

Last but not least, please pass this newsletter on to your team and other groups and organisations who may not yet be Health Alliance members. Anyone wishing to join should email Debbie


Board and Trustee Health Alliance Briefing- with Kit Connick

The Health Alliance held an information session for several trustees/board members from Hunts Forum, PVCS, CCVS and Cambs ACRE. Kit Connick from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care Board gave a presentation to explain what the Integrated Care Board (ICB) and Integrated Care System (ICS) are and what progress has been made so far since its launch on July 22.

At the session, Kit reiterated the ICB’s commitment to actively involve the Voluntary Sector in decision-making at all levels. The Health Alliance which meets monthly gives the Voluntary Sector the opportunity to have a voice and several Health Alliance members sit on some of the ICB boards and committees.

To see the video from the event click here:

Summary of Voluntary Sector Representation from Boards/ Committees (June – Aug 2023)


23rd June- Rachel Talbot

There has been an increase in referrals to paediatric services for preschool children along with an increase in need for children with complex needs. As well as this there are long waiting lists for speech and language therapy.

There is still concern about the number of inappropriate out-of-area mental health placements with work being done to reduce these.

The dementia tour bus that visited care homes across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough earlier in the year was a great success.

27th July- Rachel Talbot

There has been a reduction in turnover of staff since the beginning of the year. Mental Health nursing however had seen an increase in turnover.

A discussion took place about the Learning Disability Health Needs assessment. There was a list of recommendations however with lack of funding these may be difficult to implement.

Ambulance handover time has improved and is being sustained and is now the best in the region.


12 July -Education and Development workshop ARCH representation

The Oliver McGowan training the ability to recruit the right amount of staff and the cost of training were discussed.

Background-the- The Health and Care Act 2022 introduced a requirement that regulated service providers must ensure their staff receive Learning Disability and Autism training appropriate to their role. The suggested training is the Oliver McGowan training.

17 July- Leadership and OD subgroup- Sharon Allen

There is a shift in focus from NHS from Serious Incident Review to Patient Safety Incident Reporting Framework (PSIRF). Understanding what within the organisational system led to an adverse outcome. All NHS and commissioned organisations have to introduce PSIRF and Arthur Rank are doing this.

Sharon had taken part in the System Change Consulting Programme (a Health Education England-funded programme) and she fed back at the meeting. The programme had several modules and they are now available online.

The Leading Beyond Boundaries training had 78 nominations including several from Health Alliance members and all have been offered a place.

If organisations undertake staff feedback and are willing to share results and action plans contact Sharon Allen or Anita Pisani


18TH August – Michael Firek

Someone to Talk To- Young people’s Mental Health Service the ICB has agreed to continue to fund this service until June 26. It is a jointly commissioned piece of work with Cambridgeshire County Council and supports young people 13-25 with complex mental health needs. The service is currently delivered by Centre 33.

Continuing healthcare efficiency plan- A plan has been received and approved to reimplement clinical tier rates for nursing care beds. A revised and simplified set of rates has been discussed with providers to manage costs and be more reflective of the client’s needs.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough ICS Outcomes Framework- work is continuing on this. The intention of the framework is to encompass patient and user experience as well as workforce, culture and leadership elements alongside clinical, care and service outcomes.

PA Consulting- These were engaged on Feb 23 to develop a resource model informed by population health, outcomes and the health economic value of change. Work is currently under way to develop logic models that will help the system to assess the economic benefits of different interventions.

Mental Health Investment Standard (MHIS) Review- more than £183m of funding goes into Mental Health and Learning Disability and Autism services. The ICB has done a deep dive review of expenditure for 22/23 to understand the activity, quality, experience, performance and value for money of the services provided for the local population. Several learning points were identified.

Continuing funding for 23/24 was agreed upon. There was a recommendation to pursue 3-year contracts with Voluntary and Community Sector Organisations who were delivering services funded by the Mental Health Investment Standard (MHIS) or the Service Development Fund.

UK Civil Society Almanac 2023

Last week marked the launch of the NCVO Almanac 2023. For those who may not be familiar with the NCVO Almanac, it serves as the national dataset that assesses the state of our sector across the entire country. Alongside the State of the Sector survey by Support Cambridgeshire, which looks just as the county of Cambridgeshire. The Almanac offers an enlightening and valuable resource. It can be used to advocate for funding and provide insights into how your organisation is faring in the broader context.

This year, the report delved into the condition of the charity sector throughout the UK, examining the number of charities, their financial status, workforce, volunteering, and impact. Each of these areas is explored in detail, offering intriguing information. It’s fascinating to watch the webinar that accompanied the launch, but do keep in mind that the document itself contains a wealth of data beyond what was covered in the webinar.

Read the full report HERE

Following this report, NCVO will be running a national launch of their volunteer-based report – Time Well Spent 2023: Volunteering among the Global Majority. which is launched on the 28th of November. You can book on this free event HERE


Staff Support Hub – October Newsletter 2023

The latest newsletter from ICS Staff Support is here! Please click on this link to learn more about their newest monthly feature, wellbeing, and more.

To learn more about the Staff Support Hub, check out our page:

Hunts DC/Prevent frailty and cardiovascular disease/ Contact HDC

Grants available: funding or support

District: Huntingdonshire


Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC)  are looking to work with partners to develop sustainable activity that willprevent, or delay, frailty or cardiovascular health issues for Huntingdonshire residents.

This programme aims to PREVENT these conditions by getting the inactive, active.

Any proposals must address one or more of the following using the principle of Do – Enable – Influence, in
line with the 2023-28 HDC Corporate Plan:

-Physical Activity – Frailty

– Physical Activity – Cardiovascular Disease Prevention

HDC  want to hear your ideas first before you apply. 

Before contacting us please consider:
-What are you proposing to do?
-Where are you proposing to hold your activity?
-When will you be ready to start and for how long, including sustainability?
-How are you going to measure the impact of your activity?
-Who is your activity targeted at and how will you identify and connect with them?

Link:Keeping Healthier and Stronger for Longer –


Who can apply?

Organisations that can satisfy the minimum requirements as per Keeping Healthier and Stronger for Longer – information sheet.


Volunteer Cambs is here!

After extensive planning, discussions, and research, we are thrilled to introduce Volunteer Cambs to Cambridgeshire’s voluntary and community sector. This new website allows voluntary organisations to showcase their volunteering roles, tasks, and one-off requests.

Volunteer Cambs enables members of the public to explore the different ways they can contribute to their community, providing a unified platform for non-profit groups to promote their initiatives and engage those around them.

We are delighted to join the ranks of Hertfordshire, Norfolk, and Peterborough in creating our community engagement website. This endeavour is especially significant in light of recent reports, such as NCVO’s ‘Time Well Spent Report‘ highlighting declining volunteer numbers and increasing barriers to volunteering. We aspire to make Cambridgeshire the top destination for volunteering.


Mark Freeman, CEO at Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service (CCVS), one of the organisations behind the development of this site, said :

“We’re excited to be working with Hunts Forum and Deedmob to bring you Volunteer Cambs. It is an exciting opportunity for the voluntary and community sector to communicate with those who want to be part of making things happen in their community. This website allows groups to recruit and manage volunteers and we are sure this will help them deliver even more in the communities where they operate. At the same time we hope it will encourage more people to find volunteering opportunities that fit with the time, skills and passion they have to offer.”

We encourage all non-profit groups to set up a profile and upload their volunteer roles to the site in the lead-up and during Christmas, ensuring they are ready for our exciting public launch in early 2024. Adding your organisation and roles is straightforward, and you can find helpful videos and guides here. Additionally, our Support Cambridgeshire partners are available to assist you in crafting compelling role descriptions.

Our choice of this portal over other volunteer recruitment websites is driven by its user-friendly layout, the ability to communicate with interested individuals, and the convenience of managing the entire recruitment process through your organisation profile. You can also share your roles over social media and access engaging tools for both groups and the public, including a volunteer pool, elements of gamification, and personalisation. There are also opportunities to view data and analytics so you can see everything to do with your volunteer recruitment process in one place. Further details about these tools will be discussed in workshops scheduled for the new year.

Those of you involved with Peterborough may already be aware of the new portal that PCVS will be launching – GoVip. This initiative collaborates with Volunteer Cambs, allowing you to upload roles on either site and promote opportunities within either authority. We aim to eliminate unnecessary boundaries and facilitate seamless connections.

We invite you to join us in early 2024 to promote this website to the people of Cambridgeshire. Stay tuned for more information!

So, what are you waiting for? Start uploading your roles today on Volunteer Cambs! Let’s make Cambridgeshire the ultimate destination for volunteering!

Support Cambridgeshire will be running several workshops looking at how to make the most of your community organisation profile. These can be found in the What’s On pages.

New grant scheme launched to support culture and creativity across Fenland

The first round of the new Fenland Culture Fund is now open for local creatives and community arts organisations to apply for grants of up to £2,000.

Fenland Culture Fund graphic


The grant scheme is aimed at supporting the district’s diverse creative sector while providing more opportunities for people to access and experience arts and culture in Fenland.

Cllr Chris Seaton, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder responsible for heritage and culture, said: “I am delighted that we can today announce new funding that will help build on our district’s incredible heritage and culture.

“These small but vital grants will give local creatives and arts organisations the tools to develop talent and put on more cultural activities that will engage and enrich the lives of people who live and work in Fenland. This is a fantastic opportunity to access valuable funding, so I would urge anybody interested to take advantage.”

Activities funded by the Fenland Culture Fund could include workshops, events, performances, festivals, exhibitions, skills development and much, much more.

Funding should benefit communities or artists in the district and meet at least one of four outcomes that align with the Fenland Creativity and Culture Strategy – Building New Relationships; Reaching More People; Improving the Quality of Your Work and Supporting Artistic Ambition.

The grant scheme has been funded by the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund and Arts Council England and is a partnership project with Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy.

Alongside the first round of the Fenland Culture Fund, the Council will also be establishing a Giving Circle with Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy to further boost the growth and sustainability of arts, culture, and heritage in Fenland.

Hazel Edwards, South-East Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “We’re thrilled to see the Fenland Culture Fund gearing up to welcome its first applications, and to have supported the small grants programme with £25,000 of our own Strategic Investment Funding.

“Fenland is one of Arts Council England’s 54 Priority Places from across the country, where we are working extremely hard with local authorities and partnerships to increase access to creativity and culture. We can’t wait to see what interesting activity and development this programme can kickstart.”

Local MP Steve Barclay said: “We have some great examples of culture and heritage in the constituency, but there is scope to increase further cultural engagement across Fenland and strengthen support for local residents to access high-quality cultural experiences.

“I’m delighted the Fenland Culture Fund will be available to arts organisations to progress creativity and cultural offerings to new audiences, driving increased involvement and building on the existing talent we have.”

Applications for the first round of the Fenland Culture Fund must be submitted by 5pm on Monday, 20 November. Successful applications will be announced later this year.

Apply for the Fenland Culture Fund

For more information and to apply online, visit the Fenland Culture Fund webpage.

Anyone who needs help to complete an application can email or phone 07563 375911.


This article was taken from New grant scheme launched to support culture and creativity across the district – Fenland District Council 

Fenland District Council / Culture and creativity/ 20th November

Grants available: Up to £2,000

Applications close: Monday 20th November

Who is the funding for; Individuals and organisations working in Fenland. Priority will be given to those with a Fenland postcode.

Link: Fenland Culture Fund – Fenland District Council


This funding programme is designed to support Fenland’s Cultural Strategy (PDF) [1MB] . The Fenland Culture Fund is part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, supported using public funding by Arts Council England and is a partnership project with Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy.

Grants of up to £2000 are available for a range of activities that involve culture or heritage in Fenland.

The 2023/24 year is a pilot programme with plans to make it a long-term fund. There will be two funding rounds per year. The budget available for the first round is £23,000 and the next deadline for applications is Monday 20th November.

Alongside the first round of the Fenland Culture Fund small grants, we will also be establishing a Giving Circle as a partnership project with Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy. Through the Giving Circle programme, the Fenland Cultural Strategy will look to create longevity, and a feeling of continuous, demonstrably beneficial impact where to date, there has been a lack of joined up investment across the district and its established networks. The Giving Circle programme will provide an opportunity for local businesses and individuals to support their local creative and cultural economy in an accessible way, encouraging the growth and sustainability of arts, culture, and heritage in Fenland.

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