Tag Archive for: Support Fenland

Could you be our next employee?

Support Cambridgeshire partners (CCVS and Hunts Forum) following the announcement of the partnership receiving five years of funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to operate in Fenland. They aim to fill three positions to conduct the activity throughout the district.

Support Fenland was established in 2021 when Support Cambridgeshire secured funding from Lloyds Foundation Bank to initiate a one-year trial project examining the potential structure of an infrastructure support service in Fenland. This trial yielded a report advocating for additional funding within the district to expand upon the completed work and sustain its impact. Some aspects of the pilot project have been integrated into the broader work of Support Cambridgeshire.

After several years of discussions among stakeholders and fundraising efforts, in 2024, the National Lottery Community Fund granted funding for a five-year initiative to develop and implement infrastructure support throughout Fenland.

About the roles

All roles are part-time and require individuals who are residents within the Fenland District area.

Application for the roles

We want to hear from you if you want to join our fantastic team. Please complete the Application Form Stage One to clarify which role you are applying for and return it with your CV to hr@huntsforum.org.uk by 9:00 a.m. on 24th May.

Application Form Stage One 2024

Should you be successful, you will be required to come for an in-person interview. All shortlisted candidates will be required to fill out an Application Form Stage Two form and, at this point, provide references.

Shortlisting will be done with the information provided within the application and CV, so please include everything relevant.

If you would like to talk about any of the roles, please call Kathryn Shepherdson on 07809214894 / kathryn@huntsforum.org.uk

Please note that we will not accept companies.

 

Communications Officer – Managed by CCVS

Job title:                 Fenland Communications Worker

Contract:                Fixed Term (5 years)

Hours of Work:        14 hours per week (35 full-time)

Salary:                        £26,849 to £29,832 pro rata per annum

Responsible to:        CCVS Deputy CEO / Fenland Development Officer

Location:                 Hybrid with touchdown base somewhere in Fenland. Regular travel in and around Fenland and the occasional visit to the CCVS office, 16-18 Arbury Court, Cambridge, CB4 2JQ

Full Job Description (Link)

Communities Officer – Managed by Hunts Forum

Job title:                  Fenland Communities Officer

Contract:                Fixed Term (5 years)

Hours of Work:        22.2 hours per week (37 full-time)

Salary:                        £28,657 pro rata per annum

Responsible to:        Deputy CEO at Hunts Forum

Overseen by:          Support Fenland Development Officer

Location:                    Hybrid with touchdown base somewhere in Fenland. Regular travel in and around Fenland and the occasional visit to the Hunts Forum office, Maple Centre, Huntingdon

Full Job Description (Link)

Development Officer – Managed by Hunts Forum

Job title:                  Fenland Development Officer

Contract:                Fixed Term (5 years)

Hours of Work:        22.2 hours per week  (37 full-time)

Salary:                    £31,478 pro rata per annum

Responsible to:       Deputy CEO of Hunts Forum

Responsible for:      Communities Officer and Communications Officer (oversight of the project)

Location:                 Hybrid with touchdown base somewhere in Fenland. Regular travel in and around Fenland and the occasional visit to the Hunts Forum office, Maple Centre, Huntingdon.

Full Job Description (Link)

 

The National Lottery Community Fund

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

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.

Nominate your Wisbech Unsung Heroes

It’s time to nominate your Wisbech Unsung Heroes

This autumn sees the return of Wisbech Unsung Heroes – a chance to recognise those who go the extra mile to help the town and community.

The awards are back for a third time after a two year hiatus thanks to the pandemic and so it’s time to get nominating your Wisbech Unsung Heroes as the competition is relaunched today (Wednesday).

Wisbech Town Council is running the Wisbech Unsung Heroes Awards with support from the Fenland Citizen and the aim is to recognise those townspeople who go the extra mile for their community.

The awards were initially launched in 2017 with an awards ceremony in early 2018.

This year we have seven categories: Best Neighbour (that person who goes out of the way to help those around them), Best Customer Service (could be shop, business or even medical person), Best Business (a firm that has made an outstanding contribution to the town), Wisbech Hero (someone who has done something heroic like help in an emergency), Roger Green Sports Award (someone who has made a fantastic contribution to sport in the town – participant or coach), Wisbech Community Hero (someone who has made a major contribution to help the local community), Wisbech Youth Community Hero (as per previous award for anyone under 18).

A panel of judges will choose the winners in each category from those nominated.
All those shortlisted will be invited to a presentation evening which will be held on Saturday January 28 at the Queen Mary Centre in Queens Road, Wisbech.

So, if you know someone who deserves recognition, why not nominate them – by writing all of the following details: Your name, name of the person you are nominating, contact details for both you and your hero, and a short piece explaining why you have nominated them for whichever award you have chosen, and post it to Wisbech Town Council, Town Hall, North Brink, Wisbech PE13 1JR, or email the same information to info@wisbechtowncouncil.gov.uk before Wednesday, December 14.

Coun Sam Hoy said: “These awards aim to recognise Wisbech people who have done something special for our town. We have some amazing people living here.

“We all know people who do extra things to help the community or us as individuals, so now is the time to give them recognition.”

Jeremy Ransome, Citizen editor, added: “We are proud to support these awards. It is always nice to recognise people who do things that make our community a good place to live.”

How our Community Engagement Lead rose to the challenge in Fenland

As hundreds of thousands of elderly people start to receive their autumn coronavirus booster vaccine this week, Debbie Drew, our Community Engagement Lead Fenland, talks about the challenges and barriers she faced in setting up the vaccination programme in the Fenland region.

As Debbie says, ‘I was employed to look at vaccine hesitancy and uptake in Fenland, particularly with the Eastern European Community and the Homeless. To enable this, two local organisations were engaged and funded to provide workers. Ferry project had one full-time worker, and Access Migrant support had a Latvian / Russian speaker and a Lithuanian speaker’.

‘Having these two organisations on board helped break down some of the barriers (particularly language for me) as they already had a trusted presence in the community.’

‘The project did various things over the year but included a lot of engagement with businesses. Often the workers in the businesses have the information we needed, particularly issues arising and general feelings towards a vaccine.’

‘Since March this year, we have been investigating places where we could bring a roving vaccination team to the different communities. This was either by hiring a room or bringing the vaccination vehicle to a site. Therefore, I spent time visiting all the four market towns (and some villages) to see where we might get a good response’.

‘I found a suitable venue in Chatteris, and the first pop-up we did there was during a big storm day (we nearly cancelled), but we still saw 54 people turn up for vaccination. However, booking the venue and turning up does not alone produce consistent numbers. Therefore, during the previous week, I organised for some posters and flyers to be printed and hand-delivered to shops, doctor’s surgeries, sports venues and anywhere else that will take them’.

‘Engaging directly with local businesses on the ground proved to be a great help.  Going around and speaking to everyone and sharing information, as well as answering general questions, proved extremely helpful and led to great attendance at these events. The highest turnout was 141 in Chatteris after the Spring Booster was announced. The businesses have all gotten to know me, and I have no problem asking them to share the information’.

‘The most important thing that I have learned is that although there is hesitancy around vaccines for many people, there were bigger issues facing them. The main one is limited access – if you live in a village and do not drive, getting to a mass vaccination site is difficult- local transport is not always the best. Many people also found that the opening times were not suitable or the slots at weekends were unavailable’.

‘Many people had been offered vaccinations 20 to 30 miles away, but this was too far to travel for some, especially for those who didn’t deem vaccinations or boosters’ top priority. Even now, at some of our recent pop-up sessions, we are still getting people coming for their first-time vaccination’.

‘If the public were carers (this can include parents), getting to a vaccine centre takes time and meant time away from caring for, which was not always possible. When you have several children, taking them all to a vaccination centre is not ideal either. Thus the more local approach tended to suit these people’.

‘Needle phobia was another reason people did not attend the vaccination centres.  However, at the pop-up sites, the staff were able to offer to see people in a quieter environment and gave them extra time & support’.

Debbie concluded by saying ‘Although we have had some great results this year, I cannot get complacent and will keep pressing hard and setting up pop-up sessions wherever we can.  With infections falling, health bosses are still predicting a rise in Covid and flu cases this winter, which is expected to increase the pressure on hospitals’.

The funding and project are due to finish on 18th October 2022. To find out about the vaccination programme in Fenland before then, please get in touch with Debbie on 07955440672 or email her at debbie@huntsforum.org.uk.

Cambridgeshire Skills are organising a Summer Fest of Fun Activities

Cambs Skills Learn Plan and have fun Summer Fest Summer 22

Look at WHAT’S ON at March Community Centre during June – August 2022.  Click here for more information and to download the program of events

Lots of fun activities include Escape Room, Carnival of Colour, Urban Festival, Harry Potter Day and much much more.

Also check out the themed workshops & courses for all the family.  These include:

Ready for the Playground

Green Fingers and Muddy Boots

Wicked Art and Witchy Welbeing

Keeping your Family Safe Online

What are your kids learning? English

Save Money, Save the Planet

Artwork and Colours for Beginners

Improve your maths

and much much more..

 

 

 

Councillors tell us their communities needs

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.

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.

 

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.

 

A Series of Fortunate Events

The Support Fenland project moves from discovery to delivery phase with a series of events and the offer of one-to-one support.

By Victoria Hopkins

This week I have been celebrating two months since I joined the Support Fenland team. Before I head off for a well-earned break, here is her quick update for you all.

In our last blog we updated you on the themes which had come out of your feedback. In case you missed it, here are the six themes:

  • Help us to come together to do more.
  • Help us to think about our future.
  • Help us to recruit and keep volunteers.
  • Help us to raise our voice both within and outside of Fenland.
  • Help us stay up to date with guidance that we need to know about.
  • Help us for the long term, not for 12 months.

You can read more on this blog post.

We also mentioned that our support events will be starting in July. And now, we are pleased to announce that our first events are live and available for you to book.

One-to-one Support

From 1 July charities and community groups that who would like one-to-one support can book an appointment with me. You might like help with recruiting new volunteers; the structure of your group; your business plan; or an upcoming funding bids. Whatever the reason is, I am available to help. You can book at a time which is convenient to you using an online booking system. I will be available during business hours on a Tuesday & Thursday and every other Thursday evening between 6 and 8pm.

Networking Meetings

On 21 July at 7:30pm we will be hosting the first of our new regular Fenland networking events. The events will be monthly (except for August) and we will alternate between mornings and evenings across different days of the week. There will be opportunities to talk to groups from your local area about what you are up to, what your challenges are, and how you can support each other.

The theme for the first event will be “Connecting”. We have some ideas for future themes including funding and volunteering, and we would love to hear your suggestions too. Comment on this blog post or bring them along to the networking event.

You can book your place here.

Working Together workshop

On 5 August at 10am we will be hosting a workshop on “Working Together”. As we all know there are lots of benefits in organisations working together to deliver activities and projects. You can raise awareness of your offer; learn and share new skills; increase your impact; attract new funders; and even reduce your costs – these are benefits available to very small as well as larger groups. Although the words collaboration and partnerships can appear daunting this does not have to be the case. This workshop will focus on joint working both formally and informally, as well as the key points to consider to overcome the common pitfalls.

You can book your place here: Working Together – Looking at ways of joint working – Training & Events – Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service (cambridgecvs.org.uk)

Following the workshop I will be available to talk to you about specific joint working arrangements that your group is interested in putting in place. Whether that is helping to facilitate conversations between groups or reviewing your arrangements, you can book a catch-up online here.

We are still working on the programme of events for September onwards, and we will update you on those with a future blog post

All of our Support Fenland events are hosted by CCVS & Hunts Forum and are free for any charity or community group working in Fenland.

There are other events hosted by CCVS and Hunts Forum which you might also be interested in attending, which you can find on our websites:

www.supportcambridgeshire.org.uk/training/
www.cambridgecvs.org.uk/training-events
www.huntsforum.org.uk/training-events/

Our learning and moving onto the next phase

We’ve been bit quiet on the Support Fenland blog over the past few weeks. That’s because we’ve been reading everything you shared at our listening sessions. And there was a lot to read!

We’ve also been planning our final event with Councillors, but there will be more on that at a later date.

 

As a quick reminder, during April & May we held three events for communities in Fenland to let us know what they need. We heard from over 30 organisations. They shared with us the great things about Fenland. They also shared the challenges that they’re facing that they need our help with.

 

We’ve pulled together all the feedback into one place and can now see the common themes from all the events. You can see the images below.

 

Most groups we spoke to have concerns about

  • Connecting with their communities.
  • Finding and retaining volunteers.
  • Making the most of partnership working.
  • Communicating with support organisations and other groups.
  • Finding and applying for funding.
  • Building confidence to return to face-to-face meetings.
  • Making sure they’re relevant to younger audiences.
  • Structuring their group to make sure it’s sustainable.
  • Building awareness of Fenland outside of the district.

There were a few other concerns depending on the type of group and where they’re based.

  • Transportation links within Fenland.
  • Access to physical spaces for their meetings / services.
  • Digital take up rates.
  • Falling referrals due to the pandemic.

 

The organisations also had a lot of ideas about how the Support Fenland project can help. And we’re pleased to be starting to put together a series of events based on that feedback.

 

The themes that we’ll be working on over the next few months are:

  • Help us to recruit and keep volunteers.
  • Help us to come together to do more – including help us to build and maintain our networks.
  • Help us to think about our future – including help us to find and apply for funding.
  • Help us to raise our voice both within and outside of Fenland.
  • Help us stay up to date with guidance that we need to know about.
  • Help us for the long term, not for 12 months.

 

The good news is that we already have some activities planned to help with these.

 

The CCVS and Hunts Forum newsletters are a great way to keep up to date with guidance, so why not sign up using the following links:

https://cambridgecvs.us7.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=1ea8ed1edd82a4fef7bcae7b8&id=04ebd494e8

https://www.huntsforum.org.uk/more-from-us/subscribe/

 

There’s still time to sign up to Support Cambridgeshire’s “Connecting Communities Volunteer Conference”. This year’s theme is Volunteer Management and how the voluntary and community sector can move forwards from the past year. Running from the 8th to 10th June, there are sessions on Redesigning Recruitment, Reviewing Retention and Re-examining Volunteering. Find out more and sign up using the following link: https://supportcambridgeshire.org.uk/new/cc2021/

 

In July and August, we’ll be running a series of events under the “Working Together to Do More” umbrella. There will be networking events, training courses and workshops. We’ll be in touch soon to confirm all the dates and times.

 

In September and October, we’ll shift our focus to “Thinking About the Future”.  We have some great events lined up on business planning and understanding impact. But, when it comes to funding, we would love your help. We’d like to form a small working group to design an event which will be useful to groups within Fenland. We have some ideas, but we’d love to hear yours. We have some funders signed up to help with this, as they would be happy to fund more groups in Fenland. If you’re interested in being part of this working group, then please email Vic on vic@cambridgecvs.org.uk.

 

We’ll be back with another update soon on the event that we’re running for local Councillors. So, remember to follow the blog and like us on social media to stay up to date.