Eastern Community Homes Launch Event and Offer to Communities

Eastern Community Homes, the new community-led housing hub in the East of England, have recently opened booking for their launch event, ‘Eastern Community Homes: We Do Housing Differently’.

They are holding 5 free, online sessions from 16th-18th March 2021 including:

  • Community-Led Housing and Local Authorities
  • Community-Led Housing and Housing Associations
  • An Introduction to Community-Led Housing
  • Case Studies in the East of England
  • Expert Q&A Panel

Click to find out more details about the individual events, including speakers, and to book onto the sessions.

All sessions are also being recorded and will be made freely available on the Eastern Community Homes website once the events have concluded.

As well as the event, Eastern Community Homes have also in February launched their Communities Offer. This outlines how Eastern Community Homes can provide advice, support, and practical resources for local community groups to help them achieve their housing ambitions. The support they can offer includes aiding groups to build networks (including strengthening relationships with local authorities) 1:1 group support, and access to the Eastern Community Homes Small Grants Fund.

Read the Communities Offer.

In Cambridgeshire, Eastern Community Homes are working in partnership with the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority. Read the Cambridgeshire Communities Offer.

If you are a community group requiring support from Eastern Community Homes please contact them at enquiries@easterncommunityhomes.com or fill out this form.

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.”

 

New dates for Innovate and Cultivate Fund – Feb 2021

Cambridgeshire County Council is pleased to announce that the next deadline for Innovate & Cultivate Fund applications is 1st February 2021. One-to-one pre-application advice will be offered on 10th December (details below).

 

The aim of the fund is to support initiatives that strengthen our communities and reduce pressure on County Council services, thereby giving a return on investment. Council services that are inviting applications are adult social care and children’s services.

 

The fund is open to voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations based in and outside of Cambridgeshire, and public sector organisations in Cambridgeshire. Please note that projects serving Peterborough residents are not eligible.

 

The 1st February funding round is for ‘Cultivate’ grant applications (£2,000-£15,000) for projects that build community support networks for vulnerable people.

 

Pre-application advice

We strongly advise organisations to seek pre-application advice on their project ideas before submitting an application.  Bookings are now open for telephone advice appointments on Thursday 10th December between 9:30am-12:00pm and 1:00pm – 3:00pm. These 15 minute 1-1 appointments must be pre-booked and are available on a first come first served basis. Please book here.

 

Cultivate Project Ideas

Do you want to do something for your community but need some inspiration to start a project? We’ve developed application guidance for 3 new Cultivate project ideas – Mobile Warden Schemes, Community Youth Worker and Digital Inclusion Projects – that can help people to remain independent and active within their community, encourage volunteering and complement more costly Council services. We also continue to invite applications for Timebanks, Good Neighbour Schemes, Dementia-Friendly Communities and Men’s Sheds. You can find guidance on how to apply for a start-up grant for each of these projects here.

Digital Inclusion Project Cultivate Model- guidance

 

Applications and further information about fund priorities and criteria may be found on the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation (CCF) website.

 

Lessons from the Pandemic – report

In September 2020 Support Cambridgeshire was commissioned to carry out some research into how the voluntary sector and statutory partners have responded to Covid-19. As part of this we talked with:

  • 19 groups made up from a range of county-wide, small and newly formed community groups and charities;
  • representatives from six district/city Covid-response hubs and the county hub.

The resulting report paints a picture of an exceptional response to this extraordinary time. There has been innovation and collaboration on unprecedented scales, and also a need to tailor responses to local needs.

Read the report here.

Trustee Vacancies at Cambridgeshire Community Foundation

Cambridgeshire Community Foundation (CCF) is the local funding body for our county, administering grants for a range of organisations from Cambridgeshire County Council’s Innovate and Cultivate fund and Amey Community Fund to the  Microsoft Research Limited Fund. Its mission is to

  • Actively inspire philanthropy and increase permanent resources for the county of Cambridgeshire
  • Invest in important community programmes through grants
  • Provide leadership and a forum for dialogue on critical community issue

The Foundation is currently recruiting trustees, including a chair of trustees; there will be a handover period with the existing chair. Please click here for more information and Recruitment Packs.

Updated Guidance on Volunteering, Shielding and Furlough

Everything is moving fast since the announcement of the lockdown that came into force on 5 November 2020, and community organisations may be struggling to keep up. This quick primer should bring you up to speed on the key facts.

This article was published on 6 November 2020. We will strive to update it as new information becomes available.

Jump to:

The growing numbers of Covid-19 cases has lead to the reintroduction of tighter lockdown restrictions across England. The advice now is to stay at home and avoid meeting people you do not live with, except for specific purposes. Various businesses and venues are also closed.

Volunteering

One of the “specific purposes” where people are permitted to leave their home is for “work purposes, or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where you cannot do this from home.” (link here)

Elsewhere on the Gov.uk website (here) it gives more information about volunteering:

“While volunteering, you can meet in groups of any size from different households, indoors or outdoors. When meeting people from outside your household or support bubble, you should follow social distancing guidelines.”

The guidance goes to say that people can travel to volunteer or while volunteering, and restates rules about face coverings. It also lists ways to volunteer, with just four examples given:

  • shop for food and medicine (online, or in person)
  • deliver food and medicine
  • help with food banks and homeless services
  • work on a telephone support helpline

From this guidance, it is unclear whether this is an exhaustive list or just examples. Crucially, the guidance doesn’t state whether contact with other people while volunteering for other causes is currently permitted. However, the links to general volunteering opportunities such as Reach Volunteering imply that any form of formal volunteering meets the criteria.

Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) people

During the first lockdown in March-July 2020, people who are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) were instructed to shield. These are the people who are at the highest risk of become very unwell if they were to catch Covid-19 – the list of medical conditions can be found here. During March to July, shielding meant no contact with anyone outside of their own home, except for medical reasons.

This time (from 5 November), the rules aren’t quite as strict. CEV people who live alone can continue to be part of a support bubble with another household. However the government is still advising that they “stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors for exercise or to attend essential health appointments.” On that basis, demand for community shopping services is likely to increase for this group.

The guidance for CEV people goes on to say, “You may wish to meet up with one other person from outside your household or support bubble, for example, to exercise in an outdoor public place, but we suggest that you always try to do so as safely as possible.” This is the same rule as for the general public. However, it’s a different story for CEV people and work: “You are strongly advised to work from home. If you cannot work from home, you should not attend work for this period of restrictions.” People in this situation may be eligible for furlough (see below).

While these restrictions for CEV people aren’t as tough as in the first lockdown, it’s important to realise that the risks to their health are just as high. Community support groups may wish to consider how they can encourage these people to stay safe while still maintaining some kind of social contact.

Extension of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough)

On 30 October 2020, the day before the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS, also known as Furlough) was due to be replaced by the less generous Job Support Scheme, it was announced that CJRS would be extended through November for this latest lockdown period. On 5 November, there was a further announcement that CJRS would be extended to 31 March 2021.

The latest guidance is yet to be published, but as of 31 October, the guidance is that employees can be placed on full-time or part-time furlough, with the government paying a grant to the employer to cover 80% of salaries for the hours not worked, up to a monthly cap of £2,500. Employers have the option to top up salaries.

Previously CJRS was only available to people who had already been placed on furlough before 1 July 2020. The government’s CJRS page still states this rule, although BBC News reports that employees “must have been on the payroll by 30 October 2020. They do not need to have been furloughed before.” This is backed up by the guidance on this government page. We will update this page when the change to the rules is confirmed.

Measuring the Impact

As Covid-19 raced around the globe and overwhelmed our communities, the three organisations that form the Support Cambridgeshire partnership – like so many others – have had to make some big adjustments to respond to changing needs and practices. Our face-to-face events were all cancelled but people and organisations in the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector still needed our support.

Each partner has seen an increase in demand, as new organisations were set up in response to the pandemic, and existing ones needed additional support as their remit grew. The demand from the local communities they serve had shot up at the same time as many income streams dwindled or disappeared completely.

This infographic highlights the impact the Support Cambridgeshire partnership has made across the county. It looks at our six themes – Parish & Town Councils, Training, Voice and Representation, Community Building Support, Volunteering and Social Action, and Communication and Funding – and draws out some of the facts and figures of our work during the first six months of the pandemic (March to August 2020).

Local Infrastructure Support: the Beating Heart of the Voluntary Sector

#HeartOfOurCommunity campaign highlights the work of Support Cambridgeshire and its peers across the UK.

The Support Cambridgeshire partnership and other local infrastructure organisations like us support voluntary and community organisations in all the good work they do. We provide training and advice, make introductions, campaign on their behalf and do whatever it takes to help our member organisations thrive. It’s often during the more challenging times that community groups turn to us for help, and this has certainly been true during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been our privilege to serve the voluntary and community organisations – and the people – of Cambridgeshire throughout these challenging times.

We’re very grateful to our national body NAVCA for inviting us to participate in this video that celebrates the work of infrastructure organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to find out more, or help spread the word via the #HeartOfOurCommunity campaign on Twitter.

Festival of Ideas: Watch Again

In June 2020, Hunts Forum and Support Cambridgeshire took their annual Connecting Communities Conference online with a Festival of Ideas. Four one-hour online events throughout the week explored volunteer retention during and after COVID-19.

These events are now available to watch here.


The festival was produced by Hunts Forum on behalf of Support Cambridgeshire and funded by Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council. Many thanks to Rob Jackson, Benita Matofska, Kelly Holliday, Chris Trevorrow at CCVS and everyone else who contributed to the festival.

Meet the Funders Webinar

In these testing times funding bodies are adapting application processes, monitoring and evaluation to increase flexibility and response times to get the funds needed in our communities.

On 18 June 2020, Support Cambridgeshire hosted Fiona Brice from the National Lottery Community Fund, and Bridget Mailley and Michael O’Toole from Cambridgeshire Community Foundation talking about the changing face of funding in the Covid and post-Covid world. Each provided information and tips on applying for their funds. You can watch a recording of this webinar below.

We’d like to thank Fiona, Bridget and Michael for their time and for providing such valuable insights and information.

 

Please note: questions submitted by attendees prior to the webinar were addressed by the presenters within their presentations. No public questions were submitted during the webinar.


Feedback from the event:

We have found the Webinar organised by Hunts Forum to provide help with applications for emergency funding due to COVID-19 incredibly useful. Following the webinar, we chose to apply to the Cambridge Community Foundation, and were delighted to receive a grant within a few days. This grant will pay for six months of weekly Zoom sessions provided by Riverport Singers, St Ives Dementia Friendly Choir.
The newly formed Choir, that is supported by the St Ives Dementia Friendly Community Steering Group, enjoyed only three rehearsals before the pandemic has put our activities on hold. In May we started weekly singing sessions on Zoom. These online sessions are holding the group together until the Choir is allowed to safely recommence their rehearsals in person, providing stimulation and social engagement to our members. The grant also enables us to provide extended sessions from September onwards. We are incredibly grateful for the grant, and for Hunts Forum, to provide us with the necessary information and support.
Agi Peach, St Ives Dementia Friendly Community Steering Group

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