Connecting Communities 2021

Our three-day conference explored the big questions of volunteer management in a post-lockdown world.

Connecting Communities 2020 is also available to view here.

Between National Volunteers Week and Small Charities Week, Hunts Forum and Support Cambridgeshire partners presented their annual Connecting Communities 2021 conference. As always, it centred around volunteer management, but this year, while not being directly around COVID, it was influenced by those issues facing volunteer-centric organisations. Each of the three events looked at one key theme: recruitment, retention, and finally, accessibility. We welcomed speakers from national charities such as British Red Cross through to volunteer consultants and grassroots local charities.

The three-day event presented fresh ideas, new perspectives and even more good practice to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, giving those working with volunteers the confidence to face the challenges following the pandemic.

Day 1: Redesigning Recruitment

Redesigning Recruitment

The first day revolved around Redesigning Recruitment, looking at how organisations have taken the traditional format and mixed it up a little. Our guest speakers were Chris Reed, Director of Volunteer Mobilisation at The British Red Cross, Hannah Touhey, Volunteer Manager at Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, and Vic Hopkins, Volunteer Project Leader, FoodCycle Cambridge. You can watch their discussion in full below. Chris Reed’s presentation is available as a PDF here.


Day 2: Reviewing Retention

Reviewing Retention

Rob Jackson joined us again this year, talking around the title Back to business as usual? – Expectations, strategies, and changes to reengaging volunteers. Rob is a well-respected expert on volunteer management and engages widely in discussions and debates about the future of volunteering, along with the impact of the pandemic. He shares his views and key observations with us. Rob Jackson’s presentation is also available as a PDF here.



Following Rob’s presentation, attendees were invited to participate in breakout room discussions to consider some of Rob’s key ideas. These comments were captured on the following boards (click to enlarge if necessary):

Day 3: Re-examining Volunteering

Re-examining Volunteering

Our final event was s panel hot topic discussion. We welcomed Laura Hamilton, a Volunteer Management Consultant, who chaired a panel of local voluntary and third sector speakers, discussing the topic, Can we make volunteering a realistic option for everyone?

On the panel were:

  • Sam Davies , Chair of Queen Edith’s Community Forum
  • Anna Bradley-Dorman, Communications and Grant Manager at Ramsey Neighbourhoods Trust
  • Stewart Howe, Director at Social Echo North Huntingdonshire CIC
  • Wendy Lansdown, Place Coordinator, Cambridge County Council
  • Katie Bristow, Director, People and Animals UK CIC



Connecting Communities 2021 was produced by Hunts Forum and CCVS on behalf of Support Cambridgeshire and funded by Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council. Many thanks to all of our guest speakers – Chris Reed, Hannah Touhey, Vic Hopkins, Rob Jackson, Laura Hamilton, Sam Davies, Anna Bradley-Dorman, Stewart Howe, Wendy Lansdown and Katie Bristow – plus everyone at Hunts Forum and CCVS who contributed to the festival.

Connecting Communities 2020 is also available to view here.

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