Whats a Men’s Shed……

Men’s sheds or community sheds are non-profit organisations that originated in Australia, set up to advise to and improve upon the overall health of all men.

However,  some sheds have expanded their remit to include anyone regardless of age or gender.

They normally operate on a local level in the community, promoting social interaction, reducing isolation and increasing levels of health and well-being.

In Australia there are currently over 900 sheds in existence, but the movement is also growing across the UK.

The UK Men’s Shed Association produced a report on the impacts of Men’s Sheds on people and communities and this report can be read here:

Men’s Sheds are now beginning to develop across Cambridgeshire and funding is available through the Innovate and Cultivate Fund if you wish to establish and develop a shed.

Fore more information on the Innovate and Cultivate Fund click here: 

If you want to learn more about the shed concept why not sign up for our FREE Connecting Communities Conference in 2019.

Kate Gordon, Shed Development Officer for UK Men’s Shed Association will be the keynote speaker at this event and will be on hand to answer any questions or queries you may have.


Charity Fundraising

We all know that Charity Fundraising is a big issue even for smaller community based organisations in Cambridgeshire.

Last year our State of the Sector Survey informed us that more organisations are looking towards individual or corporate donors to supplement their grants and contract work.

However, Fundraising is one of the largest regulated areas within the voluntary sector and many larger charities have fallen foul of regulation and law in recent months.

So if you are fundraising as an organisation make sure you seek advice on any aspect of fundraising you are unclear of – our fact-sheet might help so click here:

Failing that, book a 1-1 review session with one of our Development Workers: Simply contact russell@huntsforum.org.uk in the first instance.

In addition, why not book a FREE space at our next two training sessions on Crowdfunding or events fundraising:

For Crowdfunding click here:

For events fundraising click here:

You can also seek advice from the Fundraising Regulator by clicking here:

Our latest Training Offer

Support Cambridgeshire run a series of formal training events and informal network sessions throughout the year.

In addition, Support Cambridgeshire advertises useful or informative training from other organisations, some of which may or may not be chargeable.

Our latest Training and events flyer can be viewed here:

More information on each course or event (and whether a fee applies) can be viewed here:

Hunts Forum or Cambridge CVS members can generally access all courses or events Free of charge by virtue of their membership (unless otherwise indicated).

Organisations which do not have a membership can access Support Cambridgeshire courses Free of Charge (look for our multi coloured stem cell logo) or information contained within each listing.

If you wish to discuss any aspect of our training please feel free to contact us on 01480 420601.

Innovate and Cultivate Seed Projects

Do you want to do something for your community but need some inspiration to start a project?

Cambridge County Council have compiled some ideas that can help people to remain independent and active within their community, encourage volunteering and complement more costly Council services.

Cambridgeshire County Council particularly welcomes applications to the Innovate & Cultivate Fund to set up any of the following ‘Cultivate’ projects:

Time-banks: Time-banks offer a way for people to help each other by exchanging skills. For example, a member can spend an hour helping an older person to the shops and in return spend that hour on help from other members, such as gardening or IT support. Co-ordinators match people’s skills, arrange exchanges and keep a record of all the members’ “banked” hours. Time-banks are open to everyone and work hard to engage more vulnerable members of the community which helps people make new connections. Further guidance on applying to start a Time-bank can be found here, and you can watch this video.

Men’s Sheds: A ‘Shed’ is a place where people come together to make and mend whilst sharing skills and friendship. They typically attract older men, but many have younger members and women too and some are called Community Sheds. Sheds often get involved in community projects such as restoring village features, helping maintain green spaces and building things for schools, libraries and individuals in need. Sheds can help people gain a renewed sense of purpose and belonging, reduce feelings of isolation and help people remain independent. Further guidance on applying to start a Men’s Shed can be found here, and you can watch this video.

Good Neighbour Schemes: This is a group of local volunteers offering support to people in their community who may need a helping hand such as older people, people with disabilities, single parents and young mothers, or anyone who is ill or isolated. Volunteers help with simple tasks such as transport for appointments, running errands, household tasks and visiting people. Schemes encourage both participants and volunteers to play an active role in their community. Further guidance on applying to start a Good Neighbour Scheme can be found here.

Dementia-Friendly Communities: This is a place where people with dementia enjoy living, feel part of, are understood, respected and supported. Setting one up involves raising awareness through promotion and Dementia Friends training, and encouraging local organisations and businesses to take simple actions as part of their commitment to become more dementia-friendly, such as introducing rest benches or staff training to help everyone understand dementia, so that people with dementia can continue to live in the community they choose. Further guidance on applying for a grant to help you develop your dementia-friendly community can be found here, and you can watch this video.


Before you apply for funding, the County Council recommend that you:

Talk to other members of your community to understand what already exists and which project is right for you and your community. If you have another idea, the fund is also open to any projects that reduce pressure on County Council services or offer direct savings for the council. You can also learn more about your community from the County Council’s Parish Profiles.

Read the guidance for applicants that you can find here.

Talk to the following support organisations:

There is more information on data sets which will help to inform your ideas and examine potential costs. These can be found here:

Information on these schemes can also be sound at the Cambridge Community Foundation website: Simply click here:





14 attend the Funding Masterclass

Support Cambridgeshire is committed to running a number of small network sessions which focus on themes of importance to community based groups.

The latest took place in Over on the 27th February 2019 on the subject of Funding.

We all know that finding funding is consistently a challenge for community organisations within the voluntary sector, and this event looked at the challenge in making applications and the tools and resources which might help.

First up was Alan Turner, the Development worker for Cambridge CVS who spoke about Funding applications, what research is required, how best to present your facts and how to avoid making common mistakes which can lead to an application being rejected.

It’s a sad fact of life that 71% of applications submitted are rejected, so any competitive advantage an organisation can gain is important.

Alan’s presentation can be found here.

Equally important are the tools and resources which help organisations gain intelligent data to support their applications. All Funders bar none love evidence, and Jack Ossel from Cambridgeshire County Council gave a live demonstration of Cambridgeshire Insights, a platform which provides a huge range of vital information on health, housing and deprivation at Ward level and below.

Jack’s presentation can be found here:

Russell Rolph gave a short demonstration of SC4C – the self funding portal which organisations can register and use for free. Packed with over 2,400 potential funds, its a must for any organisation looking to deliver activities or projects. The portal has already delivered 57,000 in funding over the past 12 months. To visit the portal click here:

Last up was Keith Johnson, the Development Worker at Hunts Forum. Keith spoke about the importance of 1-1 Development sessions with Development Workers, not just for funding but for any issues surrounding Governance, Training, Advice or Support.

Keith’s presentation notes can be viewed here:

Contact info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk or russell@huntsforum.org.uk if you wish to book a 1-1 Development session.

Photo caption: Alan in full swing at the Funding Masterclass.

Campaign to end loneliness

As part of the Campaign to End Loneliness, Cambridgeshire County Council are working together with partners to encourage communities across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to host a Big Lunch https://www.edenprojectcommunities.com/stuff-to-do/organise-big-lunch  or a Great Get Together https://www.greatgettogether.org/ in June 2019.

This is part of their #50000reasons campaign that was launched over Christmas to encourage people to reach out to isolated people in their community who may be experiencing loneliness.

The Big Lunch will be taking place on 1-2 June and The Great Get Together will be taking place on 21-23 June. Both national events provide a great opportunity to bring your neighbours together, including those who might be more isolated, to share food, have fun and get to know each other better.

The County will be holding an information session for those who would like to find out more about hosting a Big Lunch or Great Get Together, with tips on ‘how to make it happen’ as well as examples of successful events. The event will be held at on 26th March 2019 from 11:00 to 13:00 at:

The Assembly Room

Huntingdon Town Hall

Market Hill


PE29 3PJ

If you would like to attend this event, please email Alex Parr on alex.parr@cambridgeshire.gov.uk to confirm your attendance, as places will be reserved on a first come, first serve basis.

If you’re interested in hosting or supporting a community to host either a Big Lunch or Great Get Together or would like further information, please let Alex know, as they would really like to map all events that take place across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in June to celebrate kindness, respect and all we have in common.

Talking of all things loneliness, why not book an advanced space on our Connecting Communities Conference for the 20th June 2019 in St Ives. This event will investigate how volunteering can help in the fight against loneliness. The keynote speaker is Kate Gordon from the UK Men’s Sheds Association, and 4 interactive workshop sessions have been planned.

Book an advanced space by contacting russell@hunstforum.org.uk.


Nellie the Tuk Tuk

The Neighbourhood Cares Team in Soham are asking potential donors to support their #Nellie4Soham campaign.

Nellie is a Tuk Tuk who currently lives in Ely.  Neighbourhood Cares are working with community partners to run a Crowdfunding campaign to bring her to Soham – click here!

The idea is that Nellie will provide volunteer-fuelled Community Transport to help people get out and about in the town.

Neighbourhood Cares are leading the campaign, Viva will own and look after Nellie and Soham Men’s Shed will recruit and organise volunteer drivers to help people get out and about in Soham.

Theye need to raise £4000 in 30 days (14 Feb – 16 March).

To succeed they need your support to make the campaign fly.  Please could you help by:

  1. Donating: Encourage others to visit #Nellie4Soham Crowdpatch page
  2. Spreading the Word: Tell everyone you know about the campaign, especially anyone you know who has links to Soham: Like their Neighbourhood Cares Soham Facebook (@NCSoham) and follow them on Twitter @CaresSoham. Please share all of their posts and tweets!
  3. Helping to recruit Volunteers: Soham needs volunteer fuel. They have a Lend-a-Hand board next to their Nellie-o-meter in the local library with a range of opportunities. They will also use social media to feature these volunteering possibilities.

There is also a film pitch (our film pitch) which can be accessed via the link.

Have your say………………

Do you work in Wisbech?

If so, what do you love about the town and what would you do to improve it?

Those are the questions being asked in a new I Heart Wisbech campaign to gather people’s views and use them to help develop future services and projects in the town.

The campaign has been launched by the I Heart Wisbech* team, which is made up of a number of local community organisations along with Cambridgeshire County Council, Fenland District Council and Wisbech Town Council.

There are 3 simple questions to complete which should only take 5 minutes of your time.

The survey is available at https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/JLTXO/ and is expected to run until 1st March 2019.

Russell Rolph of Support Cambridgeshire (who is managing the project on behalf of the I Heart Wisbech team) said:

Those who live, work and invest in an area are the best people to ask on what’s right about where they live, and what could be improved.

The feedback will be used to develop key themes in community development and to hopefully uncover the next generation of social action champions in the town. So if you have a great idea on how to improve Wisbech we would love to hear from you.

The campaign links to the ongoing Wisbech 2020 Vision and its work to tackle local issues and deliver future health, economy and infrastructure improvements.


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Phyllis – One woman’s story

Phyllis tells the story of one woman and her family’s attempt to navigate the complex system of older people’s care.

Phyllis, 80, was managing at home with the help of her family. On one of her daily trips to the shops, she falls and ends up in hospital.

The play documents Phyllis’ decline and her family’s struggle to navigate health and social care systems. It was developed from research with patients, family members, health and social care professionals, the play highlights the challenges many face.

It was commissioned by Birmingham and Solihull Sustainability and Transformation Partnership to help them look at how they could create better care for older people.

Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are able to bring the production here with thanks to funding from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group.

The performance lasts approximately 50 minutes and is followed by a post-show discussion.

This may be of particular interest to people who make decisions about local health and care services, as well as members of the public to watch the performance and join the conversation.

here will be an opportunity for people to share their own experiences of older people’s services.

Tickets are free but only a limited number are available due to space at the Medway Centre (Huntingdon) and these must be booked in advance please.


Equality and Human Rights Toolkit.

Find out how the new Equality and Human Rights Toolkit could help your group.

The Equality and Diversity Forum is heading to Cambridge to introduce its Equality and Human Rights Toolkit.

Do join them there..!!

This new resource aims to help organisations ( larger charities as well as smaller community groups)  to consider equality and diversity issues in all aspects of their work.

Date:               11 February and 4 March 2019.

Location:       Cambridge CVS, 16-18 Arbury Court, Cambridge CB4 2JQ

Cost:               Free with a £25 refundable deposit.

The Toolkit follows a step by step approach in looking at:

  • Providing services.
  • Working with volunteers.
  • Campaigning and advocacy.
  • Employing people.
  • Fundraising.

The workshops will help groups to understand the legislation underpinning equality and human rights issues as well as exploring the practical aspects of using the toolkit in everyday work.

There will also be opportunities to exchange experiences and network with other participants.

Read the case studies from some of the groups (large and small)  that have benefited from using this approach in developing their work.

Read more about the workshops and sign up here 

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