Tag Archive for: Success story

Impact of our Funding Portal

Support Cambridgeshire is proud to host the Support4Communtites funding portal on our site; it’s free to use and houses many local and larger grants and foundations. Try it today HERE

We were recently sent the below case study of how one organisation was about to access £1,4000 from the Cultivate Fund and funding also from the Evelyn Fund to support their work using the portal.

Sew Positive was awarded Cultivate Cambs funding to roll out a wider programme of Social Prescribing using creative sewing to people aged over 65 who are facing social isolation. This funding was in addition to funding for a Pilot Study funded by The Evelyn Trust’s new Mental Health Fund. We also applied to the Evelyn Trust through the portal, so it’s helped our charity build on smaller funding success. The searchable portal is a vital tool to spotting upcoming funding opportunities and deadlines for a small charity, thank you!

Milissa, CEO and Founder of Sew Positive

We love hearing from groups who have had successes using our portal, so please drop us an email if you want to share your stories – info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk 

Support Cambridgeshire to continue to be provided by Hunts Forum and CCVS

It gives us great pleasure to announce the award of the Voluntary and Community Sector Support and Development Services contract was awarded back to the Support Cambridgeshire partnership for a further three years.

From December 2021, the new contract will be delivered, with the partnership looking slightly different. Due to contractual requirements and a change in outcomes, the new collaboration will no longer include Cambridgeshire ACRE.

Both Hunts Forum and CCVS would like to thank the staff and trustees at Cambridgeshire ACRE for their work over the past five years and look forward to working in partnership in other ways in the future.

There will be a review of services, training, events and the look of Support Cambridgeshire in the coming months to identify the direction of the work of the partnership in the new contract.

Julie Farrow of Hunts Forum, Support Cambridgeshire lead, said, ‘we are excited to have been awarded this contract, to continue supporting the thriving communities of Cambridgeshire. However, we all know the challenges the future will hold following Brexit, COVID and budget restraints. Therefore the work of our VCSE is needed more than ever, and our support is vital in these testing times.’

Peacocks Meadow Secures Funding as it Provides a Safe Space for Local Residents

Some downtime during lockdown – plus Support Cambridgeshire’s Funding Alert emails – gave this community garden the impetus to go on a fundraising blitz.

Family Learning at Peacocks Meadow community garden

A local family in the Peacocks Pop-up Library

We recently received a lovely email from Deborah Curtis, in which she wrote, “I thought you might like to know that here in the Peacocks Meadow community garden in Littleport, we have achieved £18,000 in grant funding in three months, using your wonderful monthly funding lead newsletter! The funds will enable us to create a sensory garden and woodland play area for our diverse residents.” We were delighted and intrigued, so we got in touch with Deborah to find out more.

Peacocks Meadow is a community garden, tucked away beyond the car park on Limes Close in the centre of Littleport, East Cambridgeshire. It was originally farmland owned by the Peacock family, which was donated as allotments in the 1930s. It is currently owned by Sanctuary Housing, leased to Littleport Parish Council and managed by a community group called Friends of The Woodland Garden (Peacocks Meadow).

In 2017 they received a Facilities Improvement Grant from East Cambs District Council to turn it from a neglected space into a community garden. It’s been well used and looked after since then, but when COVID-19 hit, everything stopped. Funding opportunities dried up as funders raced to support pandemic relief projects.

That left committee member Deborah Curtis with some time on her hands to think about the garden’s future. She is on the mailing list to receive Support Cambridgeshire’s Funding Alert emails, which provide a round-up of the latest funding news plus on-going funders arranged by theme such as Education, Environment and Small Grants.

A weekend of inter-generational nature-based learning, thanks to a Family Learning Grant from Cambridgeshire Skills

This inspired Deb to fire off some funding applications in early 2021, hoping that some of them might be successful. The timing turned out to be fortunate. At the beginning of the pandemic, funders had focused on responding to people’s basic needs, but by 2021, there was much more of a focus on recovery.

“We’ve been astounded at how successful we’ve been,” said Deb, “because the target for many funders now is children – getting them outside, getting them active – and our garden is ideal for that.”

In just three months, she has had seven successful applications. They received £3,000 from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Youth and Community Fund to engage young people in the creation of a sensory garden area for the benefit of adults and children with learning disabilities. There was £500 from East Cambs District Council’s Covid Recovery Fund for ground clearance and rubbish removal, £500 from Littleport Rotary for skip hire and ground clearance, £9,975 from Awards for All for the creation of a woodland play area, £1,000 from Persimmon Homes Community Champions fund for timber play equipment, £400 from Warburtons Family Grants for balance stones and a mini picnic table, and £900 from Sanctuary Housing for a living willow den. The latter included a certified landscape tutor, incorporating community learning in willow construction. Most recently, Deb secured £1,800 from Cambridgeshire Skills for nature-themed family learning workshops.

Funding has been secured for a sensory garden area, which should be ready to open in September

This impressive list is a testament to Deb’s hard work, but it also goes to show that funders often like to see an organisation or project that has a healthy amount of co-funding, along with a clear vision for how the funding will benefit local people.

Their socially distanced community event at Easter was a great success. Organised by The Port, a local youth club, it welcomed 250 people to the garden in a single day.

Deb sees the pandemic as a time when Peacocks Meadow really found its purpose. “In those months of lockdown, the visitors and volunteer engagement improved astronomically and people really took it to their hearts. We’ve created a safe space for people – people with disabilities, people with young children, older people. That discovery of the garden and the pleasure in it has continued as lockdown has eased.”

Deb has just been awarded Citizen of the Year by Littleport Parish Council – a fitting way to thank her for bringing so much happiness to the residents in her village.

Find out more about Peacock Meadow via the Facebook page.

Sign up for Funding Alert emails here.

Lloyds Bank Foundation Funding Confirmed

Support Cambridgeshire is delighted to announce that two of its partner organisations, CCVS and Hunts Forum, have been award £30,000 to deliver a year-long project across Fenland.

This funding has been awarded as part of the infrastructure grant scheme, which gives 15 local infrastructure charities funding to review and support their service during and after COVID. Infrastructure has been the backbone to the voluntary and community response during the pandemic. It is worth noting that these organisations are charities in themselves, with their own challenges.

Lloyds Bank Foundation hopes this money will allow infrastructure organisations to have the space to reflect on their delivery and services moving forward, ensuring that they can continue to respond to the changing demands of the sector.

Paul Streets, Chief Executive of the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, said: “Infrastructure charities have played a vital role to ensure that the response to the pandemic has been effective and locally rooted. These locally embedded organisations know the complex challenges facing their communities and are helping small charities to adapt to the challenges they’ve faced over the last ten months……Crucially, these organisations are also helping to raise the importance of small charities that provide local services.

Hunts Forum and CCVS are thrilled to have been granted this funding. It will allow for a scoping exercise and support program responding to the needs of the voluntary and community sector in Fenland. It will also give the capacity to both organisations to review what infrastructure support looks like across the five districts of Cambridgeshire.

Julie Farrow, CEO at Hunts Forum and the lead organisation in the Support Cambridgeshire partnership, said: “We are really excited to have been given this funding. It will provide us with the space to be able to review what support groups in Fenland need now and coming out of COVID, and ensure the Support Cambridgeshire partners are equipped and ready to meet that need.”


Support and Advice for Village Halls

We all know that Village halls in our local communities do not run themselves: Village halls need dedicated volunteers and by default those volunteers need support and advice to ensure that their Village hall grows and thrives. Support Cambridgeshire is lucky to have Cambridgeshire ACRE as part of its Partnership.

The support, advice, guidance and information provided by Cambridgeshire ACRE ensures that Cambridgeshire village halls are getting the best service possible, all within the constraints of the current Support Cambridgeshire contract.

And to prove the point here’s a list of testimonials:

The Arkenstall Centre in Haddenham has been a centre of village activities for over 40 years: Converted from school buildings into a (then) modern village hall comprising a main auditorium with a permanent stage, two meeting rooms, a kitchen and other ancillary facilities, the Centre has evolved so it still provides essential entertainment and meeting spaces for the local community. The Centre has always had a good relationship with Cambridgeshire ACRE, seeking advice and support on occasions.  However, as time has progressed, the statutory requirements relating to the management of village halls have become more complex, and the needs of the community have changed, so the demands on the expertise of Trustees have become greater and more varied.  This has meant that the guidance and resources which ACRE professionals have been able to offer directly, as well as through the networking and training events which they organise, have become not just ‘nice to have’, but essential to the Centre’s management.

John Shippey (Trustee).

The work of Cambridgeshire ACRE is very important in many aspects, not least by provision of informative and updating communications, which serve as a stimulating reminder to community members and charitable trustees alike of the importance of their community efforts. Cambridgeshire ACRE’s role as co-ordinators results in networking and interaction between different community groups at meetings where a wide variety of ideas and experiences are discussed, shared and developed. Invariably such meetings incorporate specialist advice, case studies and sometimes commercially based expertise on insurances, legal statuses, financing, management expertise to name a few. These opportunities I view as extremely valuable based on the fact that it is easy as a trustee to lose touch with the realities of trustees’ responsibilities because so many of us lead busy working lives, meet quite infrequently and easily become out of touch. The services, information and meetings play a very important role in serving existing trustees, stimulating and updating new trustees as well as providing an opportunity for charitable employees to meet with groups of trustees and other managers to exchange experiences, develop skills and improve their expertise, all of which contribute to better understanding of their roles, enhance their often very low paid employment, but most importantly contribute to the efficiency of the community services that many small groups provide, ultimately to the benefit of the communities they serve.

Roy Swain (Chair for the Board of Trustees).

Little Downham Village Hall has been a member of ACRE for many years now and the Trustees have always found information and support from ACRE invaluable. We have achieved Hallmark 2 now and will be working towards Hallmark 3 early in 2020. ACRE appreciates the diversity of village halls, their usage, management and need to raise funds.  Our hall was originally built as the workhouse in 1779 so is a Grade 11 listed building.  We do not have the luxury of an all singing, dancing hall but we have managed to raise £160.00 towards the refurbishment of parts of the hall, such as a new roof, new kitchen, refurbished the toilets, flooring and new stage extensions, lighting and sound which has greatly enhanced theatre style productions. We seek ACRE’s advice on many matters (employment law, planning, insurances, fire safety and sourcing relevant funding). The networking sessions and visits to other halls have been most helpful for us plus training that is often offered at these sessions has made us take a closer look at all our policies and procedures.

Avril Hayter-Smith (Treasurer and Fundraising Officer).

If you are a Village hall in Cambridgeshire and require help and support (no matter how small or large) then please contact the Support Cambridgeshire Partnership by contacting Lisa Chambers at lisa.chambers@cambsacre.org.uk.


Reviewing the Community Plan

Wilburton is a small village in East Cambridgeshire which comprises 550 houses (and over 1,000 inhabitants), sitting 6 miles south west of Ely.

It is well known for its fundraising events (The Wilburton Beer Festival and the Wilburton Fireworks Night being prime examples) and has an active Parish Council.

The Parish Council adopted its local Community Led Plan in March 2016. The plan can be viewed here:

Being a Parish Council, Wilburton naturally looked towards Support Cambridgeshire partner Cambridgeshire ACRE for support and advice in refreshing their plan and making it even more fit for purpose.

Cambridgeshire ACRE were happy to help, providing a Good Practice Guidance Document which allows Wilburton Parish Council to take a staged approach to reviewing their plan.

Cambridgeshire ACRE also commented on the draft community survey, with suggestions on how it could be improved. Armed with this, the Council feel they are in an excellent position to obtain better survey data sets and review their plan.

We look forward to seeing it..!!

Return of the Portal

Support Cambridgeshire 4 Communities (our self-funding Portal) has just helped Magpas Air Ambulance achieve £20,000 pounds worth of Funding from the Postcode Community Trust.

This will enable Magpas Air Ambulance to deliver their brand new training ‘Hearts Matter: Community CPR’.

There are approximately 30,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests attended to by medical professionals every year, of which only 40% of victims receive bystander CPR. For each minute that goes by without defibrillation, the chances of surviving an out of hospital cardiac arrest decreases by 10%. The current survival rate of cardiac arrests in the UK is 7-8%.

Recognising a cardiac arrest, calling 999 and administering CPR are crucial elements of the chain of survival. Bystander CPR has been shown to double a person’s chances of survival, while defibrillation within 3-5 minutes can increase survival rates to 50% – 70%.

Magpas Air Ambulance believe hearts matter, and the charity wants everyone to have the confidence and knowledge to intervene when someone is suffering a cardiac arrest, to provide them with CPR and to deploy a defibrillator in the vital minutes before the emergency services arrive.

To make this reality, with the help of the incredible grant from the Postcode Community Trust, they are launching their own community training session. Hearts Matter: Community CPR is available to schools, businesses and community groups across Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire – for free.

To find out more, or book a session, email heartsmatter@magpas.org.uk  

Magpas Air Ambulance are looking to train over 1,000 individuals by January 2020.

A bit more about Magpas:

Magpas Air Ambulance is a charity which brings crucial lifesaving care by land and air to patients in life-threatening emergencies in the East of England and beyond, 24/7. Based in Cambridgeshire, Magpas have treated over 60,000 patients in the last 48 years and rely on generous donations from the public to continue saving lives.

The oldest emergency medical charity of its kind in the UK, Magpas Air Ambulance started life as a voluntary service in 1971 when two GPs took action to help victims of road accidents. Now, the Magpas Air Ambulance specialist medical team can offer procedures and treatments at the scene, like general anaesthetic, which are usually only available in hospital. This means the frontline care the team delivers doesn’t just save lives, it helps seriously ill and injured people return to a good quality of life.

In 2018, Magpas responded to 1,512 emergency calls, flew for 330 hours in total, performed 91 surgical procedures at the scene of life-threatening emergencies and brought critical care to 80 children.

Their website can be seen here: www.magpas.org.uk

A bit more about Support Cambridgeshire 4 Communities:

The self – funding portal sits at https://www.idoxopen4community.co.uk/supportcambs

Organisations can register and search for available funds, for Free and for an unlimited period. The portal holds 2,400 funds it total which are regularly updated and includes National, Regional and Local funding opportunities. Over 77,000 has been raised from organisations using the portal to date.

Sarah Green of Magpas said:

I always look through the funding alerts we receive from Support Cambridgeshire, and regularly check the self-funding portal. This fund was a match made in heaven, and I would advise any organisation to regularly trawl and browse the site as you never know what funds are available.

Its a One stop shop

The work of Support Cambridgeshire partner Cambridge CVS ( or CCVS for short) is about far more than giving groups the confidence and skills to flourish or providing training. One of their key roles is to bring people together, and one of the most popular types is when they introduce groups to funders.

CCVS runs events throughout the year in various locations across the county creating opportunities for groups to meet with potential funders.

One of their regular events put three very different groups in contact with a well-known high street name.

The funder:

John Lewis & Partners shops run a charitable giving scheme called Community Matters located in their shops’ restaurants. Over the last year CCVS has developed increasingly close ties with Christine Shaw, community liaison coordinator at the John Lewis and Partners shop in Cambridge. CCVS has invited Christine to participate in events with other funders across the county. The funders we work with not only donate funds, but are hugely generous with their time coming out to venues across the region both daytime and evening.

As a result of one of these events two of their members, Steel Bones and the Cambridge Hard of Hearing Club have been selected for the funding scheme. As Christine explains,

I had a fantastic chance meeting with CCVS at a volunteers’ week event last year and we have worked together ever since to get the word out to local groups that John Lewis and Partners have funds and skills that we want to use to help our local communities. CCVS have created the opportunity for us to meet groups we didn’t know existed and who knew nothing about what we had to offer. As a result of the CCVS ‘Meeting the funders’ event in December I’ve identified 3 groups: Steel Bones, Cambridge Hard of Hearing Club and Cornerstone to feature in our Community Matters Scheme in our Cambridge store.

Every three months we select three community groups who will be awarded a share of £3000, the percentage received is dependent on the number of tokens each group is awarded by customers. In addition to the token scheme I’m in discussion with the groups to see how else our partners can get involved to help.”

Cambridge Hard of Hearing Club:

The Club is a well-established community group for people with hearing loss. The group arranges speech to text facilities so that the members can read dialogue on a big screen in real time and take part in live talks and debates, something their hearing impairment normally prevents. Hearing Club members are mostly people whose hearing has become impaired in later life so that they are unable to lip read or understand sign language and can struggle with hearing aids. Hearing loss can be hugely isolating and can impact on people’s mental well-being.

Club chair Peter Teich said:

We heard about the Meeting the funders event through the monthly newsletter we receive from CCVS and they suggested I talk to John Lewis. I filled in the Community Matters form immediately and we’re now participating in their scheme this February to April. The funding will go a long way to paying for the equipment we need and will make a huge difference to our members.

Steel Bones:

Steel Bones is a more recently established charity set up to support individuals and their families across the region and beyond, who have become amputees in a non-military context. Steel Bones provides one to one advice, social events, signposting, and lobbies on behalf of families who are often left traumatised by their experiences. They help families address a sense of isolation and the emotional and economic hardship that can follow this life changing event.

 Emma Joy-Staines Co-Founder of Steel Bones:

CCVS enable the smallest of charities, like ourselves to feel confident in approaching the big name funders thorough their training and one to one support. CCVS made sure I felt confident to attend their Funders event and was ready to ask the right questions to help us get the best support.

We met several funders at the event including John Lewis, who are offering funding through their Community Matters scheme. John Lewis are also looking to collaborate with us on a styling event for our amputees and their families which will boost our families’ morale and self-esteem no end and there are a number of other ideas in the pipeline. It simply would not have been possible without CCVS.

CCVS have been hugely helpful supporting us with our funding strategy in general and with their support we made applications to several other funders, fingers crossed!”

Cornerstone Pregnancy Advice Centre:

Cornerstone Pregnancy Advice Centre offer support to women in Huntingdonshire facing unplanned pregnancies to give them the time, space and non-directive information so they can fully informed choices. Cornerstone offer on-going support whatever decision women make. The women Cornerstone support are often anxious, distressed and confused and the charity works to offer support to find the right outcome for them.

Helen Turley Centre Manager said:

Thanks to CCVS we able to build a relationship with John Lewis which will make a real difference to the women we work with. As well as the Community Matters Scheme John Lewis are looking to support us with other fundraising events later in the year.”

The complete package of support:

CCVS know how difficult it can be to make the right connections, and how crucial this can be. The old adage “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is true in all forms of fundraising.

CCVS and other partners under the Support Cambridgeshire umbrella run events that enable funders and groups to meet up, to speak together in person, and to better understand one another.

Its a form of One stop shop.

The Power of the Portal

Over the past 12 months, the Support Cambridgeshire Funding portal has been visited by over 300 new and registered organisations.

Over £57,000 has been achieved in funding by organisations using the portal as a first step in making an application.

The portal has over 2,400 funds available to browse or search every week.

Simply click here to register and start your search – who know’s where it will lead.

If you want to see the portal in action join us at our Funding Master Class on the 27th February in South Cambridgeshire.

Simply book your space by contacting russell@huntsforum.org.uk

Cambridgeshire Timebanks receive a boost

Cambridgeshire housing association and social enterprise, CHS Group, are delighted to have made a successful application to the Big Lottery Building Communities fund.

Gerry Cano, Timebank Project Manager said:

Timebanking provides a way for local people to come together to help others and help themselves at the same time. Participants ‘deposit’ their time in the bank by giving practical help and support to others and are able to ‘withdraw’ their time when they need something done themselves. So, one hour of time given gains you one hour of ‘credit’.  We are very grateful to HM Government and to National Lottery players for this award.

Over the past 5 years our Timebanks in Cambourne and Littleport & Ely have been tapping into the resources in their communities and harnessing hidden skills and talents for the benefit of all involved. These monies will enable us to continue running our Timebanks and will help us increase our impact by allowing us to increase the number of older people involved, strengthen our befriending scheme, increase the number of volunteer hours in both communities and provide support to 3 more communities wanting to develop Timebanks”.

Here’s a simple example of how Timebanks bring people together:

Rasha Lulua got in touch with Cambourne Timebank to ask if we could arrange a visitor to spend time with her mother. Mariam has dementia and mobility problems and rarely leaves the house. She has carers to help her get up in the morning and her husband and daughter care for her the rest of the time but she was getting lonely when they were working and she wanted someone to talk to. Renata Dory has been visiting Mariam for an hour once every 2 weeks since October for a chat. Mariam is very happy to see Renata and welcomes her in her native Arabic saying ‘you are the light of my eyes’.  Rasha is pleased that her mother is having company and variety in her routine. They talk about Mariam’s children and grandchildren, music and how she used to teach Arabic.

Renata said “Working with the Timebank in order to help people who genuinely need support, is one of the most enjoyable things I can imagine spending my free time doing. Visiting Mariam for just a bit of chit chat lights up her day and that lights up mine too.  I’m fortunate to have a community that is engaged with such a compassionate volunteer base.”

About the CHS Group:

CHS Group is a charitable housing association, established in 1927, providing high quality and good value affordable housing together with support, care and community services.

CHS is there to support people to achieve a better quality of life.  They offer good value services that all of us would be proud to use.

They are all about the 7,000 people living in our affordable homes and the 2,000 people who choose to rely on their care, support and community investment services.

Our 90 years of experience means that the Group can take both the long-term view and a fresh look at issues which cut across traditional boundaries.