The Budget 2017 – What does it mean for Charities?

The recent spring budget was the last, as 2017 will see the start of a new Autumn cycle for future UK Budgets.

As such, there were few major announcements for the voluntary sector, with the word “charities” appearing in just three places in the main Budget document.

The coincidence of Budget Day falling on the same date as International Women’s Day did, however, provide a platform for a handful of themed announcements.

Tackling domestic violence and abuse:
Charities working to support those affected by domestic violence and abuse should watch out for additional funding of £20m before 2020.

Womens Charities:

£12m for women’s charities is expected through the next round of funding. A list of charities from across the UK who are likely to benefit from this will be published by the end of March 2017.

Marking the centenary of voting rights for women (1918-2018):

A new £5m fund was announced to support projects which mark the centenary of the extension of voting rights to women.

Air quality:

For charities with a focus on the causes of, and health consequences of, air pollution, the budget announcement on this subject was particularly relevant. As well as a draft plan expected in the Spring to set out how the UK’s air quality goals will be met, the government is continuing to explore the “appropriate tax treatment for diesel vehicles.”

It has signalled this tax may change at Autumn Budget 2017.
Some charities are already considering how to reflect these kinds of concerns in their investment portfolio, where this is in line with their charitable purposes.

Inheritance tax update:

The forecast announced for annual inheritance tax receipts has increased, up to £6.2bn in 2021-22.  This is double the level seen in 2012-13.  With many charities looking to diversify their sources of income, encouraging donors to consider leaving an inheritance tax-free legacy to a charity in their Will makes even more sense.

Social care in England:

The budget announced £2bn of additional funding for social care in England between 2017-18 and 2019-20.  This is intended to alleviate some of the pressures on the NHS, funding care packages to enable adult patients to leave hospital with support.  At a more strategic level, a forthcoming green paper is also due to look at how the social care system can be put on a more secure and sustainable long-term footing. Charities active in this sector will no doubt look ahead at the opportunity to engage as government policy develops in this area.

Source: Standard Life March 2017

What can we do for you?

Support Cambridgeshire is a partnership of three trusted community based organisations within Cambridgeshire.

As such, we are committed to supporting, advising and guiding any voluntary or community based organisation that works or operates across the 5 county districts.

Development workers within the partnership can advise on a range of support needs which include:

  • Finding relevant and appropriate funding geared to your needs or goals
  • Acting as a critical friend through the reviewing and commenting on potential funding applications
  • Advising on constitutions, governing documents, policies, protocols, DBS check processes and procedures
  • Providing information and support on establishing a community group, or running and managing a community facility such as a village hall or community centre.

Support Cambridgeshire partners are also committed to providing 12 free training courses between now and September 2017, 4 of which are volunteering related (how to recruit, retain and manage volunteers). Visit our training pages to see what’s on offer. These pages are regularly updated as the programme changes and develops.

Support Cambridgeshire will also be providing 10 free Network events between now and September 2017 on a wide range of different and topical subjects. Visit our latest events page here.

In addition, Support Cambridgeshire will be delivering 2 funding fairs between now and September 2017. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet potential funding organisations directly and pose your questions. Keep checking the latest events page for dates and locations.

Support Cambridgeshire now has a designated jobs and opportunities page, so if you want to advertise volunteer or paid staff roles then contact Support cambridgeshire.

Support Cambridgeshire posts news items regularly. If you have something to say about your organisation and what it does, we will happily post this on your behalf.

There is even a business offer. Visit our knowledge and skills exchange page and help spread the word.

What makes a good charity?

New Philanthropy Capital have just released their latest findings on what makes a good charity?

The report framework focuses on four main areas.


  • Does the charity’s vision and mission answer a need?
  • Does the charity have a good strategy for achieving its goals?
  • Do the charity’s activities reflect the strategy?
  • Does the charity achieve results?

Impact and practice

  • Does the charity use information to learn and improve?
  • Does the charity know what it is achieving?
  • Does the charity have the right approach to evaluation?
  • Is the charity open about its findings?


  • Does the charity have good leadership?
  • Does the charity recruit good people and manage them well?
  • How good is the charity’s governance?
  • Do people using the charity help to shape its work?
  • Does the charity have a healthy organisational culture?

Finance and operations

  • Is the charity financially secure?
  • Does the charity have good financial management?
  • Does the charity have good operational management?
  • Does the charity make efficient use of all its resources?

The full report can be read here

If you are a Cambridgeshire-based organisation that requires any support, advice or guidance on constitutions, mission statements, volunteer management, operational development or finance then please contact Support Cambridgeshire.

Improving lives and communities

Cambridgeshire Community Foundation provide grants and other support to groups and individuals on the key issues of improving lives and communities.

Their next funding deadline is the 1st May 2017, and there are a wide range of funding programmes open for application. These include:

 A14 Community Fund 

Highways England has been given approval for the construction of the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement scheme.

As part of a commitment to the local community, Highways England is looking to support activities with a focus on bringing communities closer together. The A14 scheme will have a lasting impact on the communities along its length and the A14 Community Fund is therefore looking to support projects which consider and respond to these changes.

ARM Cambridge Fund

ARM Cambridge Fund makes small grants to support charitable projects across Cambridgeshire and is keen to support projects working within the Foundations priorites of Community Development and Engagement, Children, Young People, and Adults Facing Life Crisis.

Cambridgeshire Technology Fund 

The Cambridgeshire Technology Fund makes small grants to support charitable projects across Cambridgeshire and in Peterborough where the application of technology enables and improves people’s lives.

Examples include the application of voice or sight interactivity with computers for the physically challenged, the use of smartphone apps to help blind and low vision people to find their way around and smart technology to assist the elderly to live more safely at home.

The use of new, creative and innovative technology solutions to enhance people’s life experience are especially of interest to the Fund.

Grassroots Endowed Fund for Cambridgeshire 

The Grassroots Endowed Fund For Cambridgeshire has been built from donations large and small from donors who are keen to enable the trustees to target support towards unmet needs.

The Fund offers small grants to local community or charitable groups who are working to tackle disadvantage in the communities of Cambridgeshire.

Ridgeons Community Fund 

The Ridgeons Community Fund offers grants of between £250 and £750 to support small, local voluntary and community groups and organisations undertaking charitable work. The focus for the Fund is on projects aimed at improving health, and those working with children, young people and families.

Please note that while the Ridgeons Community Fund are keen to support projects which aim to improve access to sport and healthy living for disadvantaged people, contributions towards sports equipment or club running costs will not take priority or be considered. General running costs for an organisation will also not be considered.

Applications should be made for a specific, charitable project.

Groups are eligible to apply if they are based within a 10 miles radius of the Ridgeons branches in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire and Hertfordshire. In addition groups must:

  • Have a management committee
  • Have a governing document that has as a minimum the name, aim/purpose, objects, a dissolution clause for the organisation, a list of Trustees/Committee members, and Trustees/Committee member signatures
  • Perform DBS checks if you work with children or adults at risk
  • Have an Equality Policy
  • Have a bank account requires 2 independent cheque signatories.

For more information on these and a range of other funding programmes administered by Cambridge Community Foundation click here.


What is social action?

Social action has many different definitions. Perhaps the best and most topical is – social action is about people coming together to help improve their lives and solve the problems that are important in their communities. It involves people giving their time and other resources for the common good, in a range of forms – from volunteering and community-owned services to community organising or simple neighbourly acts.

Whilst many of these activities occur without the support of the public sector (in which case the role of public servants is to ensure that the right conditions are in place for social action to thrive), some require more specific support from the public sector.

The New Economics Foundation recently held an enabling Social Action Conference (in conjunction with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport) and with it their latest online resource centre on all matters relating to Social action: What it is, what conditions does it need to thrive, what are the barriers and challenges, and how can stakeholders commission services better within communities. These can all be seen at

In addition, the Department of Culture, Media and Sports Community Organiser Programme (COP) is being expanded to include:

  • Embedding community organising in 20 areas across England by setting up Social Action Hubs in each area to lead on the training, recruitment and development of Community Organising. Social Action Hubs will be locally rooted organisations and supported by an Experienced Community Organiser. Through training local leaders and volunteers at a neighbourhood level they will strengthen the networks of community organisers and be catalysts for resident led social action.
  • Setting up the National Academy for Community Organising to be the home of the “Foundations of Community Organising” qualification. The academy will be made up of a network of local and regional organisations delivering accredited training in community organising. The Academy will also develop new online training courses and programmes.
  • Building new partnerships and alliances to expand the community organising network. COLtd will work with a range of partners from the statutory and third sector to increase the reach of community organising. Partners will include the National Citizens Service, Step Up To Serve and Local Trust as well as Staffordshire County Council and other local authority bodies.
  • Engaging a network of Member Support Organisers to strengthen the network of Community Organisers. 10 Member Support Organisers (MSOs) will be recruited across England to support the growth of the community organising network. MSOs will bring Community Organisers together from across neighbourhoods and will support them to take collective action around their aspirations for the future of their communities.

Grants are going to be made available, download the full briefing papers to find out more.

Support Cambridgeshire are looking at various forms of social action, and more particularly how the voluntary or community sector can better demonstrate its impact, a subject which is becoming ever more important as funding regimes reduce and competition increases. If any community organisations are interested in coming together as part of a network forum to discuss the challenges and opportunities then please contact Russell Rolph on 01480 420603 directly. If there is enough interest an initial meeting will be convened at a date and time that suits participants.

Funding to tackle inactivity

From April 2017 Sport England will be accepting applications for the second round of its inactivity fund. The £3 million Tackling Inactivity and Economic Disadvantage fund will be available for projects which use sport and physical activity to improve lives and communities.

Research has shown that 32% of people in semi-routine and routine occupations, such as shop assistants and waitresses, are inactive. That compares to 17% of people in managerial and professional occupations. The Tackling Inactivity and Economic Disadvantage fund will support inactive people who have little income and are therefore economically disadvantaged. This group make up a third of the population in England aged 16 to 74 (14.6 million people).

Applications will be accepted from a wide range of community organisations, including non-sport organisations.

Two pots of funding will be available:

  • Pot one – A £2 million fund which will support larger projects with funding of up to £500,000. This funding will be given to projects which target those who have little disposable income. Beneficiaries will likely live very ordered lives but find it hard to find time for physical activity or feel that being active is just not for them.
  • Pot two – A £1 million fund for projects seeking funding of between £10,000 and £100,000. This funding will focus on those who are far less likely to have a steady income, or any income at all, living more chaotic lives with additional challenges. For example, they may have an offending background, be dealing with alcohol or drug misuse, or facing mental health issues.

Sport England says it knows that sport and physical activity can be extremely powerful in supporting positive social change for communities and individuals, that could mean using sport to improve someone’s mental wellbeing, help drive down crime rates in an area, or reduce social isolation in rural communities.

Applications are expected to open in mid-April 2017, for information is available at

Connecting with older people

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Charities and Volunteering hears that older people are often keen to volunteer but struggle to get information on how to do so.

Charities need better ways of connecting older people to volunteering opportunities and providing information about volunteering opportunities in retirement.

Parliamentarians heard that although older people were often keen to give something back to their communities, many were unsure where they could get information about volunteering opportunities.

Dan Jones, director of innovation and change at The Centre for Ageing Better, told the meeting he wanted to see charities “think much harder about who volunteers are and how they involve them” in their work.

He also urged charities to focus to a greater extent on the skills older volunteers could bring rather than what the charity needed people to do.

Jones said the sector should be more creative, especially digitally, in how it connected people with volunteering opportunities, noting how effective the dating app Tinder was at connecting people.

But he warned that both digital and real-world solutions were needed to connect older people with volunteering opportunities, noting that a sizeable portion of working-age people were not using digital technology and there was a “big drop off” in digital inclusion after people left work.

Katy Owen, head of the Centre for Social Action and Evaluation at the Office for Civil Society, warned that although digital solutions could help increase volunteering among older people, the sector needed to be “a bit cautious about thinking digitisation is the answer”, noting that many older people were “not digital at all”.

Jones said that although older people were an asset for charities, he warned against them being a “substitute for the state in things the state is supposed to do”, saying there was a “policy graveyard” of initiatives trying to achieve this.

He warned that although up to 70 per cent of people volunteered once a year, there was a section of society that would not, regardless of the opportunities available for them to do so.

“Of the 30 per cent that don’t volunteer, I guess there’s a good 20 per cent that don’t want to,” he said. “You’re not going to change that – you’re not going to change who they are as people, and certainly not change who they are as people at 60.”


Volunteering and Sport England

Sport England have just released a number of funding streams to develop volunteers and volunteering opportunities across the UK, not necessarily focussed upon the typical sports experience.

As they state:

“We’re looking to strike a balance between investing in existing, proven ways of delivery and finding new and innovative ideas. Our aim is to find solutions capable of delivering game changing results. Remember, we are not necessarily looking for a typical ‘sporty’ experience. While sport and physical activity should be involved, it doesn’t have to be the sole focus. For instance, projects could look to engage young people to share their IT skills with the local sports club, improving its overall efficiency and management. Or maybe you want to organise a regular fun run to raise money for the local hospice – aside from the running, there are plenty of opportunities for volunteers to develop skills in marketing, photography, logistics, catering… We’re open to any ideas which can use sport or physical activity to engage people in volunteering or social action. Simply put, we’re looking for brilliant ideas”.

“We want to invest in projects that provide meaningful volunteering opportunities, offering individuals engaging, rewarding and enjoyable experiences. Of course, what this looks like will vary from person to person, so we’re looking for projects that consider people’s individual needs and aspirations and ensure they have the right support to get the most from the experience. We also want projects to demonstrate a double benefit; a positive impact on the wider community. That might mean anything from projects that help to achieve cleaner parks and river banks, to improved community relations as a result of an inter-generational project, or the re-integration of ex-offenders into the community”.

Projects will need to demonstrate the dual benefit of volunteering, for the individual and for their community, by improving:

  • mental well being
  • individual development, or
  • social and community development.

For more information on the range and type of  volunteer funding from Sport England click here.

Time-bankers bid to end loneliness in Cambridgeshire

On Monday 27 March the Cambridgeshire Timebanking Partnership will be launching a crowdfunder to raise funds to fight loneliness.

Loneliness can affect anyone at any stage of their life whether you have moved to a new area, are a new mum or are a pensioner who has outlived their friends.

Cambridgeshire Timebanks want to raise £3,000 in order to reach more people in their communities in need of companionship, social interaction and support and they are reaching out to Cambridgeshire business who share their beliefs and would love their support through:

  • donations to the crowd-funder
  • promoting the campaign within Cambridgeshire business, and
  • taking part in work-place events to raise money to fight loneliness and social exclusion.
Sponsor or part-sponsor the launch event by contacting Gerry Cano if you require more information.


Coffee with a teaspoon of advice

Cambridgeshire ACRE are running a series of advice sessions for village hall trustees, and any other community organisations that are interested in running, managing or owning a hall or community facility.

The latest advice session was held in Abbottsley, St Neots and was well attended.

Abbottsley village hall is a  wonderful old building and is being lovingly restored by the trustees.  They have already battled with the cold and damp in the hall, refurbished the kitchen area, replaced several floors and installed double glazed windows to match the historic original design.

Trustees had the opportunity to network, share best practice, and discuss potential challenges and opportunities over coffee and cake.

The teaspoon of advice came through two discussion topics:

Governance and incorporation

PAT Testing and the current requirements for village halls

Cambridgeshire ACRE will be running several more of these coffee style mornings throughout 2017.

Trustees have commented how valuable it is to see what other halls have achieved, and how they have managed and funded projects.  Trustees have regularly told ACRE that they usually leave these events with a list of new ideas to take away and implement in their own halls.

If you are an existing village hall trustee, or if you are taking your first steps into thinking about managing a hall, then why not come to one of these events. For dates, venue location and times, or to simply book a place contact Lisa Chambers at Cambridgeshire ACRE.

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