Connecting Communities 2019

Date: 20 June 2019
Time: 00:00 - 00:00
Location: St Ives Corn Exchange, the Pavement, St Ives, Cambridge PE27 5AD
Training & Events



Connecting Communities 2019

Tackling loneliness: a community response


This event is FREE to attend for any community group that works or operates in Cambridgeshire. Please book your space by clicking here:

Join us to Care, Dare and Share as we create a community response to tackling loneliness and isolation in our communities.

Loneliness is a growing problem in our society, and it’s increasingly recognised as being closely linked to physical and mental health issues. The government is starting to take this matter seriously, but the voluntary sector can play a key role too. We often have better local knowledge than statutory agencies; we know our communities because we are a part of them.

People who are trapped in unwanted social isolation might be seen by community organisations as a complex challenge and a big drain on the organisation’s resources, particularly where health issues are involved. Our conference aims to turn this around. Lonely people’s health issues are often the result of social isolation rather than the cause. Think of them as volunteers rather than beneficiaries, and everyone can benefit. Rather than being a drain on resources, they can become assets.

By playing an active role in reaching out to the lonely, we can increase our ability to deliver the services we exist for. But first we have to:

CARE to make a difference and help tackle loneliness;
DARE to reach out and welcome;
SHARE the positives, share the benefits and share best practice.

To find out more, please join us at the Connecting Communities conference at the Corn Exchange, St Ives on Thursday 20th June.

Through a series of workshops and speakers we will:

  • Discover how to identify and reach out to volunteers who are lonely and isolated
  • Discover how to engage with potential volunteers and connect people (using the Care Network Open Arms Project) as an example
  • Learn ways in which to support and nurture volunteers (some of whom may have been previously isolated)
  • Demonstrate the Importance of Volunteering and how to assess its Impact
  • Talk to funders in our Game of Funds workshop (which funds are specific towards isolation and loneliness).

Join us to Care, Dare, Share.

UPDATE: We are delighted to announce our keynote speaker, Kate Gordon

Kate Gordon is the National Shed Development Manager for the UK’s Men’s Shed Association. Her current role involves developing programmes with the support of the extensive volunteer network based around the 470 community led sheds which now exist in the UK.

Kate has many years’ experience in the Charitable sector. From 2011 to 2017 she worked for a national conservation charity, the Woodland Trust where she was responsible for fundraising and delivering high-profile projects to improve the natural landscape and create woodlands which promote health and well-being. Recruiting, developing and working closely with volunteers was at the heart of all the projects she has managed – from planting 6 million trees across the UK for the Queen’s Jubilee to organising a series of large scale community events, each attended by over 2000 people.

In her personal time, she is a Director of a Community Interest Company taking forward a grass roots community project to transform a piece of derelict land left in her Nana’s will. The Ruby’s Yard project is working closely with individuals and teams of volunteers to turn an old boat yard (along Coventry canal) into a community venue for local people to socialise, learn new skills, prevent loneliness and improve physical health and mental well-being.

UPDATE: Ailbhe Kirwan from the Peoples Postcode Lottery joins our Game of Funds Workshop.

Based in their Edinburgh headquarters, Ailbhe is a member of the Community Programmes team who distribute funds raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery through 3 trusts – People’s Postcode Trust, Postcode Community Trust and Postcode Local Trust. Her role involves overseeing criteria, assessments, monitoring and evaluation of the 600+ projects they fund around GB every year while also managing PPL’s partnership grants programme with The Fore. She is a trustee for The Alma Project, a small Scottish charity who provide arts and recreation programmes for people with enduring mental health conditions.

UPDATE: Cambridgeshire County Council take a seat at our Game of Funds Workshop.

The County Council will be talking about their Innovate and Cultivate Seed Project funding, which includes funding for Good Neighbour, Befriending and Men’s Shed concepts.

UPDATE: Cambridge Community Arts lead the workshop on Supporting and Nurturing.

In this seminar Cambridge Community Arts will explore how to successfully engage with people who are at risk of social exclusion (primarily due to experience of mental ill-health) and provide them with appropriate support that empowers them to take on a role successfully.

Cambridge Community Arts (CCA) improves mental health with creativity.  They provide creative courses in all art-forms, in the community for adults at risk of social exclusion.Their work has proven to improve people’s sense of well-being, increase confidence and leads them to positive progression routes including volunteering, further learning and employment.  Courses are taught by practising artists who are supported by volunteers with art-form experience. CCA run year-long accredited courses that lead to a Level 2 qualification, short 8-week courses and run a ‘Next Steps’ service for Learners that includes one to one coaching and support to set up independent creative clubs.  CCA was founded in 2014 and has worked with over 500 people in Cambridgeshire and the surrounding area.  Courses are run in Cambridge and in Fenland (March and Wisbech) under Fenland Community Arts. The CCA facilitators are:

Jane Rich, CEO & Founder

Following a career in Arts and Charity Management, Jane set up CCA to make a real difference to people’s lives with the arts. Jane graduated from the School for Social Entrepreneurs in 2019 and is the current Co-Chair of the Cambridge Mental Health Network.

Beth McCabe, CCA Community Learning Manager

Beth manages the CCA programme of courses including a team of over 15 Volunteers and 15 Creative Tutors. Beth is committed to social inclusion and previously worked at Cambridgeshire Alliance for Independent Living enabling the representation of disabled people, older people and carers in Cambridgeshire.

UPDATE: Adam Fraser of Care Network leads the Engagement workshop.

Having started work in the Outback as a jackaroo,  Adam now works for Care-Network  on the Open Arms Project . He also works for a well known, soap opera set in the Yorkshire dales (delegates can find out the answer on the day).

UPDATE: Louise Rackham leads the Impact and value workshop.

This seminar will include a review of the evaluation the Wildlife Trust undertook on their Heritage Lottery Fund Great Fen project, specifically looking at how they measured the way they encouraged people to take positive action and how they tackled social isolation. 

Louise Rackham is Head of Communities and Wildlife for The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire (BCN).

Louise has worked for the Wildlife Trust BCN for the past ten years including overseeing the Education and Community team on the most amazing Great Fen project. She has also worked in Kings Park and Botanic Gardens in Western Australia and as a Chief Ranger for the Forestry Commission at Thetford Forest. What Louise loves most about her role is about inspiring people of all ages and from all walks of life to get excited about wildlife and nature and to take positive action.

Connecting Communities 2019 is delivered by Support Cambridgeshire and funded by Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.


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