Support Cambridgeshire is a three-year project, funded by Cambridgeshire County Council bringing together three partner organisations who will work together to support community groups and organisations across Cambridgeshire.

Hunts Forum of Voluntary Organisations will lead the partnership, supported by Cambridge Council for Voluntary Services and Cambridgeshire ACRE. Each of the partner organisations will serve as expert sources of advice and guidance. Support Cambridgeshire will deliver better outcomes for local organisations across the county, with the expectation of a stronger and more vibrant voluntary and community sector.

Support Cambridgeshire will harness the skills and expertise contained within the partnership, but will also use other Development partners as and when required.

Support Cambridgeshire can be contacted at

What we do

Voice and representation

We help community groups and statutory organisations with the challenges they face by championing their work and helping them to share expertise and skills.

Local town and parish councils

We help citizens and communities take charge of their local services by exploring partnerships with town and parish councils.

Information and advice

Getting the right information, advice and guidance is essential for your organisation, whether it’s face-to-face support, training or attending networking events.

Community facilities

Are you running a community building or looking to acquire a new one. We offer advice to organisations struggling with the complexities of governance, legislation and funding.

Volunteering and social action

Social action is about people and communities coming together to solve problems which affect them by volunteering and taking action.

Our partner organisations

Hunts Forum

The umbrella organisation in Huntingdonshire providing information, guidance and support to help voluntary and community organisations set up, develop and grow.

Cambridgeshire ACRE

The rural community council for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough that provides encouragement, practical help and support to local communities to enable them to plan and develop vibrant places to live, work and visit.

Cambridge Council
for Voluntary Service

An independent charity set up by local organisations as an infrastructure and networking organisation to help, develop and support local charities in Cambridge City, Fenland and South Cambridgeshire.

Our executives

Julie Farrow

Chief Executive Officer, Hunts Forum

Julie joined Hunts Forum in 2008 and is the lead partner for Support Cambridgeshire. She has over 35 years’ experience of working in local authorities, the NHS and in the voluntary sector, and brings expertise on strategic management and partnership working. In 2015 Julie was appointed as Beacon for Change Ambassador for her innovative partnership working and support for small groups. She is highly skilled in project management and community development, and has worked in areas of deprivation across the country, managing large scale programmes. She represents the sector on a number of joint partnerships within Cambridgeshire and across the Eastern Region, and chairs the Health & Wellbeing Network.

Kirsten Bennett

Chief Executive, Cambridgeshire ACRE

Kirsten has been Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire ACRE since 2001 and has led the organisation through many changes. She has a range of experience gained working for and with public and third sector organisations over the last 20 years. Her background is in community-led rural development and policy, as well as countryside management. She has extensive experience of project and team management, multi-agency working, together with possessing facilitation, problem solving and creative skills and direct engagement in policy and strategy development and implementation. She has represented the VCS at both a national and local level and is particular interested in community-owned businesses and new models for financing the VCS in the future.

Mark Freeman

Chief Executive Officer, Cambridgeshire Community and Voluntary Service

Mark joined CCVS in October 2011 from working at Skills Third Sector a national organisation promoting the importance of learning and development to charities and voluntary organisations. He has extensive experience of working in the sector at local, regional and national levels, and has been a trustee for a number of organisations both in Cambridge and nationally.

Mark has a Masters in Business Administration from the Open University.

Our management

Kathryn Shepherdson

Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Hunts Forum

Kathryn supports the running of the charity and oversees the Support Cambridgeshire contract, she meets lots of the organisations which make up the wonderful community sector across Cambridgeshire. For the past six years Kathryn has worked at North Herts CVS with two main roles in the organisation. She started as their TimeBank Manager, developing the project and looking at using it to create small community initiatives throughout North Herts, Stevenage and Buntingford. Kathryn then became the Project Manager for #TeamHerts Volunteering, overseeing the countywide service which recruits, retains and celebrates volunteering across the county. She has a keen passion for the voluntary and community sector and has volunteered since the age of 13.

Ben Pitt

Communities Officer, Hunts Forum

Ben joined Hunts Forum as Communities Officer in 2017. After a career in journalism and media production in London, he moved to St Neots in 2012 and became heavily involved in local community projects. This gave him a wealth of front-line experience in volunteer management and recruitment, fundraising, governance and events planning. Ben draws on these experiences at Hunts Forum to work with local communities to help them set up and develop community projects. He also works on the Support Cambridgeshire contract in a communications role, producing newsletters, web articles and video content.

Keith Johnson

Development Officer, Hunts Forum

Keith supports new and established community groups and charities to continue to do what they do and perhaps do it better. This includes start-up advice, planning, governance, policies and procedures, funding and fundraising, development and pretty much anything that may be an issue or opportunity for a group. He has over 10 years’ experience working in the sector in homelessness, substance misuse, employment, education and community development, for both large national and small local charities.

Alison Brown

Head of Business Services, Cambridgeshire ACRE

Alison has been Head of Business Services at Cambridgeshire ACRE since 2007. Prior to that she had a lengthy career at Barclays Bank where she worked in executive support and facilities management roles. Alison’s skill set includes project management, fundraising, charity governance, facilitation, community consultation and marketing. She is responsible for governance, HR, IT and finance for Cambridgeshire ACRE and also oversees delivery of advice and information to our members.

Lisa Chambers

Community Facilities Development Officer, Cambridgeshire ACRE

Lisa joined Cambridgeshire ACRE in 2015 to fulfil the role of village halls and community building advisor.  Over the last 15 years Lisa has gained extensive community and local government experience as a Parish, District and County Councillor in Suffolk working both at a local and regional level.  She is currently involved in several local groups as a trustee and committee member including the Sea Cadets, District Scouts and the Women’s Institute, and has previously been Chairman of her local village hall which gives her a deep understanding of the role and demands faced by other trustees.

Christine Treverrow

Development Officer, Cambridgeshire Community and Voluntary Service

Chris is a trainer and development worker at CCVS. She has spent the last 14 years working in the voluntary sector working with groups, running a charity, managing volunteers and working for a spell in grant assessment for the Big Lottery Fund.

Vic Hopkins

Development Worker (Fenland), Cambridgeshire Community and Voluntary Service

Vic has been working and volunteering for both large and small charities since 2011, although her volunteer life started at primary school whilst helping her Mum make the tea and cake for WI meetings! As a regular attendee at CCVS training sessions and the Volunteer for Cambridge conference, she is delighted to be joining the team.

Although initially trained as an accountant, Vic has always enjoyed supporting the teams she works with in a broad range of subjects including project management, people management, writing grant applications and long-term strategic planning. Seeing first-hand the importance of putting people at the heart of decision-making, she retrained as a facilitator and business coach and loves nothing more than helping people to achieve their dreams. She also has a love of technology and can often be found exploring useful pieces of software to help charities and businesses be more efficient in their day-to-day tasks. During the lockdowns of 2020 & 2021 she even turned her hand to facilitating online murder mystery parties.

As a Development worker, Vic is focused on delivering the Support Fenland project for Support Cambridgeshire, which aims to ensure that Fenland’s charities and community groups always have the resources they need to build healthier, happier communities.