Governance Month – Reserves Talk

As part of Governance Month, Support Cambridgeshire invited Ben Jowitt from CAF to come and speak about the role of reserves and the UK Giving Report in two separate events.

In ‘Reserves: what are they good for?’ Ben talks through the different ways to look at your organisation’s finances, how to deal with them and things to keep in mind depending on the issues your organisation encounters.

Below, you can watch the session’s recording. The video and slides will be available here. They will also be found through the ‘On Demand’ webpage in the new year so that groups can return to Ben’s advice at any point.

Should you wish to access the slides, PLEASE CLICK HERE


The second event, a general discussion, started with Ben talking through the UK Giving Survey, a CAF document which looks at how the public gives to the third sector. It highlighted the trends in how the public gives, why they give and who they continue to give to.



Outcomes from the events:

Congratulations to the winners of the Health Inequalities Challenge Prize.

On 22nd November at the Brampton Park Golf Club, statutory partners, voluntary and community groups of all sizes and supporters of the work charitable organisations can do to support the health services met to celebrate some fantastic ideas as part of the Health Inequalities Challenge Prize.

Now in its second year, the Health Inequalities Challenge Prize aims to offer local community groups and organisations the opportunity to compete for funding to help address the inequalities felt by those communities across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. This year, the focus was on personalised care – giving local people more control over, and say, in their health and care.

There were eight finalists this year, and each received £4,000 to deliver the shortlisted proposal they put forward. Then, at the award ceremony on the 22nd, those organisations that received additional investment were announced.

Hunts Community Cancer Network (HCCN) received the first prize of £20,000 of investment to help support people living with cancer and their loved ones. They plan on using this funding to expand their service, empowering those they work with to improve their quality of life through tools, information and activities, which they hope will improve their chance of recovery.

High Heritage, a charity that works with children and young people from black and ethnic minorities, received second place (£10,000). they will use this funding to develop their service around empowering young people facing grief and loss.

The final place went to Steel Bones, who help those with amputations and those around them. They received £6,000 to develop and improve their services.

Support Cambridgeshire want to thank all those who took part and applied. Julie Farrow, CEO at Hunts Forum said: ” It was an immense pleasure to be part of the award ceremony and listen to all  the finalists;  it demonstrated the huge amount of work the voluntary and community sector is doing in our community and the possibilities of future possibles of working with healthcare.” 

Highways Funding/Social Impact and Communities/ 1st Feb 24

Grants available: Between 15,000 to £20,000 (Social Value Fund) and up to £15,000 (Comunity Fund)

Applications close: 1st February 2024

Who is the funding for: Those supporting the communities around the new Caxton Gibbet and Black Cat roadworks



With this fund National Highways want to maximise the wider benefits of the A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet improvements for local communities, the environment, and the local economy.

All local not-for-profit groups can apply for the grants, including local schools, charities, community groups and environment and heritage groups.

The two funds available are the Community Fund and the Social Value Fund. For both funds, the applications will be assessed and awarded by two independent panels. This is the first of five funding windows and is open to application until 1 February 2024.

Community Fund

The £250,000 Community Fund is available for not-for-profit groups or small voluntary and community organisations, with grants of up to £15,000 being available to help support the local community. It is administered by the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation please click here.  

To be eligible for the Community Fund you must ensure your group does one of the following

  • Benefits the local economy, skills, and employment, investing in opportunities to inspire future careers in STEM
  • Supports and connects communities – supporting community safety, health and wellbeing issues
  • Enhances the environment – supporting the community to improve and enhance the natural environment

Social Value Fund

Available for all not-for-profit organisations, the Social Value Fund of £1.7 million (with grants between £15,000 and £200,000) is designed to maximise the wider benefits of the scheme.

To be successful, applicants for the Social Value Fund must be able to show that their project or initiative falls near the proposed route, and will meet one of the following criteria:

  • Economic prosperity – investing in new skills, jobs, supply chains and delivering improvements in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire
  • Improving the environment – making sustainable decisions that conserve natural resources and enhance ecosystems
  • Community wellbeing – addressing health-related issues and improving connectivity, amenities, education, and heritage programmes for communities
  • Equality, diversity, and inclusion – supporting the creation of a more equal society by increasing opportunities for under-represented groups

To apply for this funding please CLICK HERE

Cost of Giving Crisis – a view from Cambridgeshire.

“With costs climbing, funding falling and demand increasing, this is not just a cost of living crisis. For charities, this is a Cost of Giving Crisis.”

This is the introduction to the latest research from NCVO that highlights the issues facing charities and community organisations across the country[1].

Their headline results show that:

1. 85% of charities they spoke to in a recent survey said this winter will be as tough – or even tougher (54%) than it was last year.

2. If our sector doesn’t get the support it urgently needs, 1 in 5 charities could be forced to close until things improve, leaving people and communities at risk.

This is all driven by the perfect storm of costs climbing, funding falling and demand increasing.

The sad thing about this is that it does not come as a surprise to those of us here at Support Cambridgeshire. Across the county we have been seeing these trends for a while now and the findings are backed up by our most recent research[2] which was conducted over 8 months ago.

Even back in February of this year we were seeing a marked drop in optimism, with only 43% of groups believing the next year would be better than the last. (compared to 59% the previous year). We were also seeing 85% of groups reporting that a lack of funding would be a barrier to their ability to deliver.

On almost the same day that NCVO launched their campaign, we also saw the latest results from the Nottingham Trent University Barometer Survey[3]. The report entitled ‘A tale of two sectors’ shows that bigger organisations with an income over £100K are finding it easier to navigate the crisis than the smaller ones.  Those smaller organisations are faring less well financially and they also report that:

“The great volunteering decline nationally is hitting small charities hard – almost six in ten (59%) small charities report that recruiting volunteers is a major concern for them, compared to 15% of large charities.”

This mirrors our local research. We know that over 80% of Cambridgeshire registered charities have an income below £100K and that many are struggling. We also know that locally, after funding, the biggest barrier faced by charities is recruiting volunteers with 73% of organisations indicating this is an issue for them.

The barometer survey highlights real issues for the paid workforce, and whilst nationally this is growing quicker than in the private sector, we know locally many organisations are struggling to recruit. The research indicated that nationally 30% of charities were reporting increased levels of burn out and 25% were seeing higher sickness absence. This is not a surprise to us. We are seeing more groups reporting issues with recruiting staff, 54% saw this as an issue that was impacting on their work this year, up from 35% last year.

But we also had groups sharing feedback like:

“All staff are over stretched”.

“Feeling overstretched and undertrained for the job”.

“Staff [don’t have the] ability to work the hours we need”.

These findings are echoed in our day-to-day work supporting local groups. Staff at all levels, especially those that are running small organisations, are feeling stretched and burnt out, and we are seeing higher levels of turnover than ever before.

What can we do?

Support Cambridgeshire fully supports NCVO in their campaign to raise the issues facing the sector at a national level. But this is not enough. We need to be raising this locally. We will be making sure that local councillors and those across all the local statutory sectors are aware of what they will lose if there is not sufficient support for local organisations.

  1. We need to see more co-ordinated support for the sector.
  2. We need to see longer term funding to ensure the sector can plan and remain sustainable.
  3. We need there to be an understanding of what is lost every time a group closes or is unable to take on more clients.

The sector is no longer simply nice to have, it is an essential part of the safety net that individuals and communities rely on, and if the sector is unable to offer that support, more people will fall though the net and increase the demands they make on statutory and health services that are also at capacity.

Support Cambridgeshire partners are here to help.

Both Hunts Forum and CCVS are there for all groups across the county. Here is a taste of how we can help.

Help with Funding.

We can offer advice on how to diversify your income. We can help with funding applications by acting as a critical friend. You can visit Support Cambridgeshire 4 Community to find both local and national funders.

Help with volunteering.

Volunteer Cambs – visit the new website developed to help recruit and manage volunteers.

We can help you to improve how you manage and recruit volunteers through training, one to one support and networks.

General help and support.

Have a look at our extensive training offer

Come along to one of our network events to get hints and tips and learn from other organisations.

Individual support and advice. Contact us and we can help with issues and problems, even if we don’t know the answer we probably know who best to ask to get the help you need.

Sign up for our newsletter to keep up with all the latest news.

[1] Read more on the NCVO website

[2] Read more and see the reports on our website

[3] The VCSE Barometer is developed and delivered by NTU’s VCSE Data and Insights National Observatory in partnership with Pro Bono Economics.  It is supported by the major UK national VCSE infrastructure organisations and membership bodies.

Partnership project will help organisations with social purpose to grow and create more impact

Allia is leading a new project to help social impact organisations across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough so that they can build resilience, grow and create more positive change.

The project is led by Allia who will coordinate a group of partners to provide support across the region, as well as delivering its proven ‘Start Your Business’ and ‘Grow Your Business’ programmes. These deliver targeted support for those who have an idea to get a new social venture off the ground as well as those more established businesses that want to grow. Networking events, mentoring and workshops will also be available.

A consortium of partners across the region are on board and have formed ‘Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Impact’ consisting of Support Cambridgeshire (Hunts Forum and Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service (CCVS)) and Peterborough Council for Voluntary Service (PCVS) which will deliver 1-1 support, networking events and set up peer support for sustainability and growth beyond the end of the project; and Cambridgeshire ACRE (Action for Communities in Rural England) which will support rural community not-for-profit organisations that are trying to establish community-led businesses.

The project is chiefly funded by Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority as part of their Market Towns Programme, working with Social Enterprise East of England (SEEE) and Cambridge City Council with a contribution from the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The programme will support a range of impact organisations from charities and community organisations through to social enterprises and social impact businesses as well as start-ups that have a defined social purpose. Between September 2023 and March 2024, the programme will deliver to 122 or more organisations through structured programmes of business support, expert sessions and one-to-one support, plus mentoring, networking and a community of practice.

Allia’s programmes have already launched, with a range of different organisations and entrepreneurs signing up to gain coaching, advice and direction, to help them start or grow their social impact ventures.

Tom applied to Start Your Business for advice on how to develop his venture ‘The Forge’ which aims to provide a real-life work environment for young people to learn employability skills and personal development, if they’ve struggled in a school or work setting. “The idea is the café, kitchen and bar will provide a traineeship with practical work experience in every aspect of the business – helping to prevent long-term exclusion, so that young people can develop skills and find a passion early on,” reflects Tom. “Start Your Business is essential for me so that I can learn and build the foundation of what The Forge can grow into and become.”

Oxana joined the programme as she wants to start up a new charity which provides emotional support for refugees in and around the UK. As a Ukrainian refugee herself, this is something she is passionate about launching, and she hopes the programme will help her to understand how to create her business, navigating business laws and legislation, as well as accounting.

After facing the challenges of returning to work after having their children, Ingrid and Sally are launching their business to support women and help them gain the skills and confidence they need to get back into work. They will also be working with these women to develop their skills and help with progression in the workplace. The co-founders said, “Like many business owners, we are looking for support in finance and funding opportunities. But we also want to use this time to meet other business owners, network and create new connections.”

Marina Pritchard, Programme Manager at Allia said: “It has been lovely to start to get to know the people behind these inspiring social impact ideas. We’re working with new and existing social enterprises, charities and impact organisations with themes that span across community, mental health, tech for good and sustainability – and hope through the programme they can access an ecosystem of support to take steps towards reaching their visions and dreams for the future.”

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson said: “There are many talented people with the energy and inspiration to give something back to their community and society, so I’m delighted that the Combined Authority has funded this locally-driven partnership offering a package of support to help them grow their ventures.

“Social enterprises, charities, community groups and businesses with social impact in mind are absolutely crucial in making this region a better place to live, where our growth is underpinned by the values of compassion, cooperation and community.”

Cllr Alice Gilderdale, Cambridge City Council’s Executive Councillor for Community Wealth Building, said: “These are difficult times for people up and down the country – not least because of the ongoing cost of living crisis coming hot on the heels of the pandemic and Brexit. We need to address poverty and inequality in Cambridge, but we also need to work at pace to address the global climate and biodiversity emergencies. Local people are best placed to identify the challenges in their areas, and the solutions needed, and social enterprises have a vital part to play in this work.

“We’re pleased to be providing £20,000 to these schemes to help get people’s brilliant ideas off the ground and make positive lasting change. We can’t wait to see what ideas are supported to launch and grow.”

Julie Farrow, CEO at Hunts Forum said: “The Support Cambridgeshire team are excited to be part of this exciting new partnership, supporting charities and social impact organisations with 1:1 support and expert guidance in growing their visions for the future and becoming more sustainable.”

Farsh Raoufi, Communities Team Manager at Peterborough Council for Voluntary Service said: “PCVS is proud to support this partnership and we are confident this programme will have a positive life changing effect for our community and social impact organisations, providing meaningful impact towards their sustainability, social and environmental goals.”

SEEE is working with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority with the aim of strengthening the wider support system for socially minded groups and businesses whilst also developing a pipeline of future social enterprise initiatives. We’re really excited about the difference this joined-up thinking is already making and look forward to seeing the impact the different partner organisations can make for people in the region thanks to this intensive period of funding and support from the Combined Authority”, said Deb Lee, Managing Director of SEEE.

For more information about the programmes, and the range of support available to social impact organisations, please go to:

  • Allia’s Start Your Business programme, click here
  • Allia’s Grow Your Business, click here
  • For more information about the project and the support that the partner organisations are offering, please email




Allia Impact is part of Allia Ltd, a charity dedicated to helping others create a positive impact through workspace, support and finance. Allia Impact delivers free venture support programmes to help small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs at different stages of business growth. It has supported over 2,000 ventures, seen over 5,000 jobs created, and £115m in funds raised from our alumni. General emails  For press & media enquiries, please contact Laura Rose, Group Head of Marketing & Communications, Allia: 01223 781322

Cambridge City Council  Contacts: Communications Team, email:, Tel: 01223 457290

Support Cambridgeshire is a partnership between Hunts Forum and Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service that helps community groups and organisations to strengthen and grow, providing a range of advice, training and support.

Peterborough Council for Voluntary Service (PCVS) is a registered charity that supports the voluntary sector in Peterborough. With more than 500 members, it has been supporting Peterborough’s charities and volunteering groups for 40 years.

Cambridgeshire ACRE (Action for Communities in Rural England) offers support, resources and specialist advice to communities and partners across a wide range of topics areas connected to rural community life. Its services aim to uphold and empower the values of rural communities by building sustainable partnerships with them.

Social Enterprise East of England (SEEE) supports social enterprises across the East to grow, communicate and demonstrate their social impact. SEEE offers joint membership with Social Enterprise UK and its members are from diverse sectors covering Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. SEEE offers networking, events and news updates to keep members informed and also runs the Cambridgeshire Social Enterprise Place network which encourages Cambridgeshire social ventures to come together to learn from each other, support each other and help make the local social economy stronger.

Cambridge & Peterborough Combined Authority
Communications Team, contact Luke Page

UK Shared Prosperity Fund
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit

CPCA Market Towns Programme (Phase 2) – Supporting Social Enterprises in Rural Areas
In July 2020, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) allocated £13.1m capital investment to mobilise eleven market town masterplans to support interventions in each of CPCA’s main market towns and to act as a funding catalyst to securing additional investment. This £2.5m fund is a continuation of that effort to tackle the long-standing challenges surrounding market towns over the next 2 years, with a particular focus on strengthening local communities and supporting the Social Enterprise ecosystem. The Programme looks to build on the first Market towns funding but with a particular focus on targeting this capital spending on people-based initiatives – including community owned businesses, social enterprises, and educational support.


Awards For All/ Increased grant sizes /From 15 November 2023

Grants available: up to £20k

Applications close: rolling

Who is the funding for:

Awards For All can fund projects that’ll do at least one of these things:

  • bring people together to build strong relationships in and across communities
  • improve the places and spaces that matter to communities
  • help more people to reach their potential, by supporting them at the earliest possible stage
  • support people, communities and organisations facing more demands and challenges because of the cost-of-living crisis.

At midday on 15 November 2023 National Lottery Awards for All is changing. From then, you’ll be able to:

  • apply for up to £20,000
  • get your project funded for up to two years.


Link:National Lottery Awards for All England | The National Lottery Community Fund (

Who is eligible:

You can apply if your organisation is a:

  • constituted voluntary or community organisation
  • constituted group or club
  • registered charity
  • charitable incorporated organisation (CIO)
  • not-for-profit company
  • community interest company (CIC)
  • school (as long as your project benefits and involves the communities around the school)
  • statutory body (including local authorities, town, parish and community council)
  • community benefit society.


Cambridgeshire trustees’ alone are worth £545,889,600

The Works4U launched its Monetary Value of Charity Trustee report in October 2023 written by Dominic Pinkney. Here, it looked at the monetary value of Trustees in England and Wales.


Why this paper was written.

Volunteering is a deeply ingrained part of UK life and culture, yet there’s a lack of comprehensive analysis regarding its monetary and economic contributions. While those within the voluntary and community sectors appreciate the vital role of Volunteering, measuring its monetary worth may seem futile. However, outside this sector, perceptions of Volunteering vary. Decision-makers acknowledge its societal benefits but struggle to gauge its importance due to the absence of precise monetary and economic data. This lack of data is partly because calculating the economic value of Volunteering is inherently imperfect. Moreover, Volunteering may not always boost traditional economic metrics like GDP; it can even lead to reductions.

While we are in the Halloween season, I think there’s a fair analogy to make that the voluntary and community sector is like the ghost in the room. Some know it is there, and it makes things move (social care, health, etc.), but some don’t want to see it! This paper is interesting in both its methodologies and thinking. But the point it makes throughout is that the voluntary and community sector is the forgotten sector, which governments are not paying enough attention to but instead bundle in with other figures, departments, and statistics. An interesting point is how volunteering and, therefore, the voluntary and community sector are never seen in the light in which they work and, therefore, economically never measured. I feel this is because it’s too hard, so no one does it. This is partly because the way to measure volunteers’ worth can be crude and never an exact science. But also, it isn’t straightforward. Unlike manufacturing, there are no clear lines where volunteering ends, and the next sector starts, along with the monetary exchange, which does happen but is never as clear cut. Where do they measure the monetary impact of that befriender, community transport volunteer, dog walker, community meals volunteer, verbal newspaper volunteer, etc, which Joan receives along with the social care and NHS support? It all blurs into one another!


“Volunteering is the lifeblood of the voluntary and community sector. A fall in volunteering reduces the capacity of charities and community groups to support the communities they serve. This leads to an increase demand on public services for support as well as a reduction in the positive effects on volunteers themselves such as mental health, physical health and social isolation.” (Pinkney. 43)


Are Trustees priceless?

The paper states that volunteering is worth £4,746,866,087 in Cambridgeshire alone, with the value of trustees in Cambridgeshire being worth £545,889,600 of that (Pinkney. 34). Some would say a small price is paid for a considerable payback of our communities’ time and hard work. At the same time, some may look at that and think that perhaps things have been inflated. I would encourage you to read the paper first if you feel that. Personally, I feel that figure should be much higher than that; however, as someone said to me ‘when buying a house, it’s only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it’. A point which perhaps my obvious bias is leaning towards. One thing that can’t be argued is that those individuals’ impact on the day-to-day working of our communities is enormous, economically and socially.


“Volunteering is not a nice-to-have add-on, it is a huge and integral part of UK life and economy. As such, Volunteering needs to be taken much more seriously by decision makers in order for us to protect, develop, adapt and leverage Volunteering for our collective benefit. Volunteering is not the icing nor the cherry on top of the cake of UK life and economy, it is a key ingredient of the cake it self”  (Pinkney. 44)


What can this figure lead to, however?

While I am a big one to champion volunteering and the value of volunteering, I do understand that not everyone can get as excited about ‘working for free’ as I am. This, like the paper states, allows the sector and the role of volunteering to be seen as the big hitter that it is, and possibly, by some sceptics, the understanding that it is worth funding Volunteering because it does pay back economically. It’s a problematic calculation, but it has power. It didn’t come out of thin air!

I also hope that trustees and volunteers out there realise that while I hope they are getting something out of the time they spend with community groups and charities, they are also contributing to a much more significant economic impact in your society and that those hours are not ‘free’ but valued in so many ways.

Finally, it makes the case that as a trustee, there is the need to make sure that you are not only giving your time but the best of your ability. This comes with knowledge, and Support Cambridgeshire are here to support this. Governance Month is several events which allow those involved in community groups, including trustees, to broaden, refresh, and update their knowledge. Outside of this month, Support Cambridgeshire offers both on-demand and online workshops, website information, and networks anyone can tap into. Finally, if you have a question, feel free to email us.


 Read the full report here:

Clothworkers/Capital Grants/Now includes Digital Infrastructure

Grants available: up to £15k

District: UK 


Clothworkers now offer capital grants for digital infrastructure projects and will consider applications for products and software (such as websites, databases and apps)They now offer capital grants for digital infrastructure projects and will consider applications for products and software (such as websites, databases and apps). You can find full guidance on digital infrastructure applications here.

They are hosting a webinar on this topic on Thursday 7th December (10-11am) and this will include:

  • A presentation delivered by The Clothworkers’ Foundation grants team.
  • A question and answer session.

Interested  people can register to attend here

Who can apply?

UK registered charities or not-for-profits and who meet their eligibility criteria, for funding towards capital projects. The work of the organisation must fit within one or more of their specified programme areas.



An introduction to skills for collaboration

Would you like to know more about how to create relationships that foster collaboration?

To collaborate well requires building relationships, finding ways to overcome challenges, and creating productive ways of working together, whether this is bringing together teams from across an organisation or building relationships with other agencies or partners.

This free lunch time webinar delivered by PCC will explore:

  • What is collaboration?
  • An overview of the interpersonal skills needed for collaborative working to thrive.
  • The benefits of collaborative working

Book here for the 60-minute free workshop:

To join PCC mailing list and receive regular information about training and events that can help you develop the people in your organisation, sign up for the PCC third sector newsletter. You can unsubscribe or subscribe at any time in the future.

About PCC

Primary Care Commissioning Community Interest Company (PCC) is an independent, not-for-profit social enterprise that supports the development of health and care services, providing specialist advice with a focus on primary care, events, flexible expert support, and personal, team and organisational development.

You can find out more about PCC on our website

Staff Support Hub – November Newsletter 2023

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

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

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