Tag Archive for: fenland

Community engagement funding comes to Fenland

Following the earlier funding received by Support Cambridgeshire for their work in Fenland, the partnership is thrilled to announce an additional five-year grant from the National Lottery Community Fund. This funding will continue to support and develop voluntary and community sector groups and organisations throughout the county.

The Support Fenland project began in 2021 with funding from Lloyds Foundation Bank, initiating a one-year pilot project to assess the support needed by voluntary and community groups in Fenland for further development. The outcome highlighted the essential need for such support across the district to maximise the potential of the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS).

In response to the pivotal findings of this pilot, Support Cambridgeshire applied for funding from various sources, with successful outcomes. This initiative builds upon the groundwork laid by the pilot project, focusing on enhancing and expanding support and advisory services throughout Fenland. The project’s ethos emphasises collaborative efforts with local communities to develop resilient support systems tailored by and for the communities.


Julie Farrow, CEO of Hunts Forum and lead on Support Cambridgeshire, expressed her enthusiasm, stating, “We are excited that we can now offer the communities of Fenland the same type of support that other districts receive. This five-year funding will enable us further to enhance the voluntary and community sector’s wonderful work.”


With years of experience collaborating with staff and volunteers from various charities and community groups across the county, both partners specialise in providing guidance, training, and support. They aim to empower individuals in these organisations, equipping them with the necessary skills and confidence to secure funding, expand their outreach, and effect positive change within local communities. Furthermore, both organisations facilitate the establishment of new groups, amplify community voices, and foster knowledge sharing among groups.

While Fenland groups haven’t received bespoke support like some other districts, this new project aims to rectify that. It will begin by engaging with existing groups, local residents, and other stakeholders to determine necessary changes to support charities and communities better. Drawing on their experience, the partners will provide more training, assistance, and opportunities for collaboration.


Mark Freeman, CEO at CCVS, shared his excitement, stating, “Fenland communities are already making significant contributions, and we are thrilled to see that with this funding from the National Lottery Communities Fund, we can complement existing efforts to enhance further and develop what works within the district.”


The project is poised to ensure that Fenland’s charities and community groups consistently have the resources and support necessary to cultivate healthier, happier communities.

This project would not be possible without the funding received from The National Lottery Community Fund.

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.

Fenland Community Living Rooms – Want to be part of these new community spaces?

After being successful with a ‘Know You Neighbourhood‘ funding application, Cambridgeshire ACRE is delighted to be able to support town and parish councils, village hall committees, church communities, local charities and other community groups to establish a network of Community Living Rooms in Fenland this autumn. These must run from publicly accessible community buildings, such as community centres, village halls, churches and their halls, older peoples’ day centres, youth centres and community libraries.

They are very similar to Warm Hubs, but the name ‘Warm Hubs’ has been changed to reflect community feedback and to ensure that the diverse needs of all visitors are considered. Cambridgeshire ACRE believes visitors will largely attend their local Community Living Room for companionship and to make social connections. However, loneliness is a complex issue, and attendees elsewhere have also been found to be experiencing poor health, with many having specific vulnerabilities, frailty, disability or poor mental health.

Cambridgeshire ACRE expects Community Living Rooms to reflect the needs of each community, so some might evolve out of groups that already meet, for example, you may already be holding a community café or coffee morning or breakfast club; some might be arranged around other activities such as a playgroup or older people’s / friendship club and others might be completely new in their set-up as a Community Living Room.

To become established, they need your community to identify a team of a minimum 3 volunteers and a publicly accessible community venue that can offer a warm and safe place where local people can expect a friendly and inclusive welcome.

Cambridgeshire ACRE’s offer to help you get your Community Living Room’s doors open includes:


  • A supported volunteering programme that will help you establish and run a Community Living Room that reflects the needs of your own community. Cambs ACRE will check building suitability; provide volunteers with training; give support with safeguarding and health & safety policies; and supply materials to promote your Community Living Room and its value to your community. There will also be monthly networking events so you can share ideas and experiences with others across Fenland.
  • A grant for two years to allow for building rental, heating, refreshments and any additional specialist equipment that might be needed to make your Community Living Room successful.
  • A team of ‘Village Agents’ who will be available at a parish level to provide help, support and solutions for the health and social care needs of those who might visit your Community Living Room.
  • Being part of a UK Government-funded project which will provide learning to others regarding approaches to supporting community loneliness and volunteering across the UK.

Would you like to know more?

Cambridgeshire ACRE invite you to join us for a short online event on Thursday 14 September 2023 at 6pm where they will present more information on Community Living Rooms; the support you will receive from us if you take part; and answer any questions you might have. Please register to attend by clicking on the button below and completing the online form

Register to attend here


Expressing an interest in taking part

After the online event, they will invite you to express an interest if you wish to explore this opportunity further. You are welcome to complete an Expression of Interest form now, if you wish – please just click on the button below to access. Cambs ACRE will be in touch to discuss the establishment of a Community Living Room in your community after next Thursday’s event.

Complete Expression of Intrest Form Here


Not in Fenland? Cambridgeshire ACRE can also support Community Hubs in East and South Cambs. For more information about this or any of the above please contact Alison Brown alison.brown@cambsacre.org.uk 

Healthy Fenland Fund / Groups working in Fenland / Closing 1st August

Grants available: Up to £5,000

Applications close: 1st August 2023

Who is the funding for; Grants are available to new and existing not-for-profit organisations looking to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in Fenland.

Link: Healthy Fenland Fund



The Healthy Fenland Project is part of the Engaging and Strengthening Communities in Fenland Programme, funded by Cambridgeshire County Council. Grants are administered by the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation.

Objectives of Fund

Funding is intended for charitable projects which are looking to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in Fenland.

Value Notes

Grants of up to £5,000 are available.

Who Can Apply

New and existing organisations and not-for-profits based in Fenland can apply, including:

  • Registered, exempt, and excepted charities.
  • Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs).
  • Community Interest Companies (CICs).
  • Social Enterprises which have the Social Enterprise Mark.
  • Parish and Town Councils.
  • Village halls.
  • Parochial Church Councils.
  • Co-operatives and Community Benefit Societies (formerly Industrial and Provident Societies).
  • Schools.
  • Sports clubs that are either Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs), affiliated with a National Governing Body such as Sport England, or have an income of under £5,000.

Organisations must be legally registered if their annual income is above £5,000.



The following are not eligible for funding:

  • Individuals.
  • Private Limited Companies.
  • Sponsored events, fundraising activities, or grant-making activities or bodies.
  • Improvements to land/buildings that are not open to the general public at convenient hours.
  • Projects promoting political activities or lobbying for causes.
  • Projects promoting a religion or belief system.
  • Animal welfare projects.
  • Overseas travel.
  • Purchase of vehicles.
  • Retrospective costs.
  • Projects for which there is a statutory obligation for government funding.

Eligible Expenditure

Funding is for charitable projects looking to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in Fenland. Projects will be expected to report on their impact by measuring one or more of the following:

  • Number of activities promoting healthy lifestyles.
  • Number of people participating in activities promoting physical/mental health.
  • Number of people reporting improved physical/mental/emotional health.
  • Number of people who gain new skills as part of the project.
  • Number of new volunteer opportunities as a result of the project.
  • Number of people who participated in community activities as a result of the project.
  • Number of people accessing support services as a result of the project.

How To Apply

Applications may be submitted at any time throughout the year with quarterly deadlines of 1 February, 1 May, 1 August and 1 November each year.

An online application form is available from the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation website.

Contact Cambridgeshire Community Foundation for further information.

Support is being offered for new groups by Care Network Cambridgeshire and Support Cambridgeshire. Contact details can be found on the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation website.

DCMS Know your Neighbourhood Fund – Open to applications

Grants available: None

Applications close: 30th May 2023

Who is the funding for: None for-profit organisations working within the Fenland district

Link: https://www.cambscf.org.uk/know-your-neighbourhood-fund

Funded by the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport), grants are available to combat isolation through volunteering in Fenland.

The initial Year 1 phase of this Fund has passed. Years 2 and 3 aim to increase regular volunteering and reduce chronic loneliness in the District of Fenland. Grants can be multi-year, but all funded activity must be complete by 31st March 2025. Evaluation is a key part of this fund and costs associated with evaluation time should be built into your budget breakdown. Please read this Evaluation Info for Applicants before applying. You can also find a webinar recording for applicants here.

Awards to be communicated at the end of June 2023 so projects should start from July 2023.

Key aims of the fund

  • To build the evidence to identify scalable and sustainable place-based interventions that work in increasing regular volunteering and reducing chronic loneliness.
  • To increase the number of people in Fenland who volunteer at least once a month.
  • To reduce the number of chronically lonely people in Fenland who lack desired level of social connections.
  • To enable the local voluntary and community sector in Fenland to implement sustainable systems and processes that encourage volunteering and tackle chronic loneliness.

It is not necessary for projects to focus on all four key objectives, but this will be considered during the assessment and decision-making process to ensure a good balance across the programme.

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

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

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

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

To learn more or to book your place for the group, please email kirsty.skutela@ypcs.uk.

Day: Tuesday

Time: 1:30pm – 3pm

Location: Annabelle Davis Centre

St. Peter’s Lodge

Love Lane


PE13 1HP


Living Sport looking to enhance activity in Fenland plus offering everyone free training

Living Sport are supporting people from all backgrounds and communities to support others in their communities to be active, we are offering some FREE places on the Sport Level 1 Award in Assistant Coaching (Sport and Physical Activity)

They are also interested to hear from anyone in the Fenland area who is keen to help others in their community to be more active, or if they have ideas that could help people to get outside, be active and meet new friends.

You can find out more about the course generally  See here

To discuss the course and/or to express interest (including discussion of any special learning requirements) please contact anna.oleary@livingsport.co.uk


Sport Level 1 Award in Assistant Coaching (Sport and Physical Activity) Flyer

Funding in Fenland…what next?

One of the topics that we have talked about a lot during the Support Fenland project has been funding. We know from speaking to funders that Fenland is a priority area for their funding programmes, and we know from speaking to groups that they’re worried about where their money is coming from. So, the question we’ve been asking representatives of community groups, charities, funders, and support organisations this autumn is “how do we increase funding success for groups in Fenland?


One of the biggest issues is that groups aren’t making applications. They told us that they are put off making applications because:

  • They find funding applications complex, time consuming and there is no guarantee of success.
  • They aren’t looking to deliver something different. Instead, they want the funds to carry on doing the things that they already do
  • Finally, funders are seen as risk averse and need to have proof of success at the point of application, rather than to fund you to test out activities first. This is particularly a challenge for small and medium sized groups, who don’t have the money to deliver the activities to get that proof upfront, and so get stuck in a vicious cycle.


We heard from the funders about adjustments that they are putting in place to make their application processes more accessible to smaller groups. This includes Living Sport who have been switching to telephone calls instead of application forms so that groups can talk to a grants officer about their project, and changing their evaluation requirements to make them more proportional for smaller grants.

Funders told us that where the groups were able to apply for funding, then their applications were well received. If applications weren’t successful, it was because the groups hadn’t built a relationship with the funder, hadn’t considered the long-term sustainability of their work, or were trying to squeeze their project to try and fit the requirements of the funders.

We discussed lots of ideas about things that the funders, the groups, or support organisations like us could do differently to overcome these issues. We’ve shared the slides from our Jamboard below so that you can see all the details, but ideas that we came up with included:

  • Reviewing funding application processes to make them simpler and easier to navigate. This might include scaling the complexity of the application with the amount of funding, or changing the language on the application forms to make it easier for groups to understand what the funder is actually looking for.
  • Increasing the level of support to applicants. This might include making it easier for groups to speak to funders and build relationships before application, having a series of short videos on how to complete the application, or enabling support organisations to help groups complete the application forms.
  • Developing capability within groups to complete applications and deliver on funded projects. This might involve running and attending training course or workshops, recruiting volunteers with specific skill sets relating to fundraising, or creating and attending peer support networks.

Here at Support Cambridgeshire, we’ve been working up ideas that we can take forwards, alongside our existing offering. For example,

“Meet the Funders” events where groups can make appointments to speak to representatives from different funders about their projects. This is a great step towards relationship building, and to get an idea of whether your project will be fundable.

Training courses on funding applications that are run periodically throughout the year.

From 2021 there will also be a new Fundraising Network, where you can come along and meet others who have responsibility for raising funds, to learn and share with each other about what is going well and discuss what support you need.

You’ll be able to keep up to date with all the events as we announce them, by signing up to the CCVS and Hunts Forum newsletters.

We’re also running regular meetings between support organisations like ours and funders, where we can share insight that we are getting from groups, work out the best ways for us all to work and learn together, and understand the barriers to accessing funding and identifying changes that can be made. Building these relationships between our organisations will make a difference in the support that we can all offer to groups who are looking to apply in the future.

Cambridge CVS & Hunts Forum are on hand to help support you with finding funding opportunities for groups, and to review and help complete your applications. If you would like some one-to-one support, then contact Vic (vic@cambridgecvs.org.uk) to arrange a time for you to speak with a development worker.

What have been your experiences with funding applications? Have you managed to secure grants to support your organisation? Have you been worried about taking the first steps in an application and stalled? Whatever your experiences, we’d really like to hear from you to help shape our thinking for the future.


Wellbeing Hub comes to WISBECH

Recovery Collage East (RCE) Wellbeing Hub is excited to be expanding to Wisbech! We will be launching a new support program which has been designed to help people gain the skills and confidence they need to be able to take control of their own wellbeing and build personal action plans to help them gain momentum towards taking the next step in their lives. This could be towards work, education and training, volunteering, or even something else.


We are due to launch our first group in January and are now taking registrations. We are running some online ‘Find Out More’ sessions where you can meet some of our team and find out more about what’s involved in the program, you will also have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the wellbeing hub or the courses.


Interested…? Curious…? Then, if you are in the Wisbech area or work with anyone in the town, come along to meet us and find out more!


Sessions times are: Mon 6th Dec @ 7-8pm, Tues 7th Dec @ 3-4pm and Fri 10th Dec @ 11-12am. Please contact our co-ordinator to sign up, or, to register for the program: robert.hornett@cpft.nhs.uk


Councillors tells us their views

Back in early July, Support Fenland met with some of the Fenland District Councillors to update them on the project and hear their views on what their communities need.

By Victoria Hopkins

In this meeting we shared with them the themes that had emerged from our engagement sessions earlier in the year, which you can read about in more detail on our previous blog posts, and then we talked to them about their hopes for the voluntary sector in their areas.

We discussed what make a good community, and how it was driven by having a variety of social activities. However, it was about more than just the social aspect of the group, it was about how they become hubs within the community, where individuals can find out about other groups within their community who might be able to help with other issues. It was also important that there was physical infrastructure to allow people to have the space to come together, whether that is parish halls or a play area.

It was also important to have local groups where members of the community can support each other. This has become particularly relevant with the Covid-19 pandemic and the transport difficulties in Fenland.

The challenges the groups were facing were focused on the lack of volunteers and funding. Many groups are relying on the same volunteers to deliver activities. There can be a lot of bureaucracy involved, especially around groups which work with children, which can put other volunteers off joining activities, and there can be a large time burden. When it comes to funding, the traditional fundraising opportunities have all been cancelled due to Covid-19, whilst at the same time groups are seeing increased costs, especially relating to speakers.

We wrapped up the session with a discussion on the ways that the councillors thought that we could help.

Help groups to find new volunteers, including rethinking their volunteering offer to include more flexible, shorter terms and local activities.

Explore ways to reduce bureaucracy to make it easier for groups in Fenland to operate.

Finding a way to coordinate volunteers across different organisations, and to deliver the services needed for the communities.

Explore other barriers to volunteering and support groups to overcome those issues.

Helping businesses to understand the benefits of employee volunteering.

Encouraging groups to apply for local funding opportunities to help reduce the shortfall from traditional community fundraising activities.

A huge thank you to all of the councillors who gave up their evening to talk to us about their communities. The input that they gave has helped to further shape our proposed work in Fenland over the next 6 months.

Firstly, there will be a big focus on volunteering. We are meeting with our infrastructure colleagues in Norfolk to understand the work that they are doing on volunteering passports, and whether they help to remove bureaucracy for small groups. We will report back on this, along with the national work that is being looked at in this area. Our September Fenland Networking event is all about volunteers, and the great work that is already happening which can be built upon. In November there will a workshop for groups in Fenland on how to gain recognition within their communities, to build relationships and secure volunteers and funding in the future.  We are also discussing potential volunteer fairs for Fenland, whether they are face to face, online or hybrid events, early in the new year to tap into those who are looking to start the new year by supporting their community.

At each of our Fenland networking events we have an update on funding where we discuss upcoming funding opportunities with different grant bodies. We know that groups in Fenland aren’t making as many applications as groups in other districts, so in November we’ll be working to understand what these barriers are, and then working with both the funders and the groups to start to overcome these barriers. CCVS & Hunts Forum also regularly run workshops on different aspects of funding, including making good funding applications and crowdfunding which Fenland groups are encouraged to attend.

When it comes to businesses, Hunts Forum & Support Cambridgeshire are running events in October & November which are focusing on how groups can engage with businesses more effectively. Whether that is by securing funding or volunteers, these workshops will focus on creating a business engagement strategy and practical steps to take. Details of both events can be found on the Support Cambridgeshire website

Vic will continue to be available to any group who would like support on any aspect of running their group. Appointments can be made using an online booking system on Tuesdays & Thursdays. Vic is also available every other Thursday evening for those who need support outside of our usual working hours.

We’ll be back again with another blog post in October, where we’ll update you on our networking events so far, and our training plans for the remainder of the year. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletters to keep up to date with everything that’s happening with Support Fenland, as well as the rest of our work across Cambridgeshire.