Tag Archive for: support

Signposting for groups who aid current refugees & asylum seekers

Over the past few years, refugees and asylum seekers have come into Cambridgeshire from many countries, including Afganstrain and Ukraine.  A number of support systems are already in place through charities, community groups and local government.


CVS Support

Hunts Forum and CCVS are here to support groups looking for suitable funding and advice to develop current services or new ones to support those coming into Cambridgeshire. So please contact info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk, and we will forward you to the suitable CVS for your district.


Local Council Resources

Cambridgeshire County Council has information regarding Asylum Seekers and Refugees.

All councils have developed their own support services to support those from Ukraine.


Charity Sector Support

A number of local groups and charities are set up to support refugees and those currently within host families.  CCVS is keeping their website pages updated with these.

CCVS Website

Other services, such as How Are You (H.A.Y.) Cambridgeshire & Peterborough have collated activities and other information.

HAY Cambridgeshire and Peterborough


The Support Staff Hub Latest Newsletter

The NHS Staff Support Hub is open to all Voluntary and community volunteers and workers who work on the front line. They have a number of services you can access free of charge and are welcome to attend any of their events.

Below you will  find their latest newsletter.


In this issue:

*Accident & Emergency. The Front Line   *Hospital Discharge Policy Legal Judgement   *New “Working Well” Team Just For You   *Brand New Counselling Service   *Mindfulness. Join an 8-Week Course   *OH Pilot: Rebranded to Primary Care OH and HR Service   *Pre-Retirement Courses   *Wellbeing Webinars. Focus on: Staff Support Forums   *Upcoming Events! Webinars & Support Forums   *About Us & Hub On A Page   *Don’t Miss Out! Previous Newsletters

Click on the image to view the newsletter

Critical Friends – Developing a new project


COPE (Cambridgeshire Older People’s Enterprise) is a registered charity providing information/advocacy, social groups, outings and a bi-monthly newsletter to more than 2,300 registered members living in Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire. The organization was established by volunteers to ensure that older adults have a voice in their community and to highlight quality of life issues for this segment of the population. It remains volunteer driven with all programmes developed and supervised by volunteers.

The need
Following a needs assessment distributed to members in 2018, COPE created TALKING TOGETHER, a free, weekly telephone-based series of discussion groups enabling registered participants to come
together from the comfort and security of their homes to share ideas experiences and a love for life-long learning. The programme’s importance was underscored during the Covid – 19 pandemic when all face to
face groups stopped, and many COPE members started shielding. It will remain a valuable source of support as the pandemic plays out, and as restrictions on meeting in groups continue. COPE initially required a consultation to ensure it took all necessary steps in creating a new programme and in gaining insight into the network of collateral service providers in the area. Once TALKING TOGETHER was successfully established, information about appropriate funding sources was needed.

What was done
Cope found CCVS extremely helpful in the early planning stages, examining the aims of the programme, service design and plans for outreach to the older adult community. We were able to act as a critical friend and ask questions that helped COPE clarify the projects aims and how it might operate. Once the project plan had been agreed, further discussions focused on identifying funding sources and suggestions on how to best position the organisation to be successful with its grant applications.

The Impact/change
CCVS staff acted as a “sounding board”, always asked the right questions, and made very useful suggestions, assisting the organization in the challenging process of taking an idea from conception to realisation.
The outcome is a funded project that is now delivering an increasingly important service to COPE members, including a successful series of events over the summer of 2020.

“CCVS staff provided the essential information and helpful critique which contributed to the development of TALKING TOGETHER. They were, and remain, available to test ideas, consider alternatives and continue moving the programme forward. Always generous with their time, CCVS’s input has been a key factor in ensuring the creation and growth of our unique service for older adults.” Deborah Katznelson, COPE trustee


This case study can also be downloaded here

COPE critical friend sc logo

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:


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:




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.


Supporting People with Cancer in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Local community development organisation, Cambridgeshire ACRE, is working on behalf of Macmillan Cancer Support to understand the needs and experiences of community groups and organisations in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who may be called upon to support people affected by cancer.

We know that those who run local community groups and organisations are sometimes asked to provide support either to individuals affected by cancer or to their families/carers. Cambridgeshire ACRE is undertaking some research on Macmillan’s behalf to understand the type of support groups are asked to provide, where they get their support from and whether they would be interested in future training or advice from Macmillan to allow their group or organisation to better support people affected by cancer.

Please spare 10 minutes to complete this short online survey.

Thank you so much for your support with this important work. The survey will remain available to complete until the end of the March.

If you have any queries please email alison.brown@cambsacre.org.uk or call her on 01353 865029.