Small Charities Week – Cambridge Online and The Cherry Hinton Festival

Its Thursday and day four of Small Charities Week, a week where small but vitally important organisations across the UK receive some recognition for their work.

Here at Support Cambridgeshire we are doing the same, albeit with a distinctly Cambridgeshire flavour.

Its a double whammy today – with two organisations being profiled. As is always the case, Support Cambridgeshire may add some comments to this profile but these will be italicised to ensure clarity and ownership.

Let’s start with Cambridge Online.

Cambridge Online is a vibrant and forward-looking educational charity and social enterprise based in Cambridge taking on the challenge of digital skills for all. They help people from the Cambridgeshire area to get online by teaching those all important digital skills, and then provide a range of courses to help people make the most of being online (including searching and applying for jobs, literacy and numeracy skills, shopping online, using facebook and socialising online, contacting government and health services and leisure and healthy living).

Cambridge online specialises in helping disabled and disadvantaged people, but their services are open to all.

They provide training on personal computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.  They have a wide range of accessible hardware and software for people to try.

With generous support from Cambridge City Council and personal donors, many of their services are provided free of charge or at low cost.

Their website can be viewed here:

Cambridge Online was established in 1998 ( the year that the Furby was the number 1 best selling Children’s toy).

For most smaller organisations funding and the funding environment is difficult, and Cambridge Online is no different in that respect.

As a small independent charity, Cambridge Online has to raise £72,000 each year to pay for its basic running costs. They currently receive around £30,000 in grants, the shortfall being met through sponsorship, fees and donations. If you feel you can help visit their donations page by clicking here:

Lets leave the final word to the power of technology:

Cambridge Online Profile video:

Cambridge Online New Learners video:

Lets move onto the Cherry Hinton Festival. The Festival is moving towards Charitable status and is definitely worth a mention.

The Festival itself has a long and deep history as a time of celebration for the harvest safely gathered in and of the years work successfully completed.

It started life in the 1930’s, and continued until 1939 when the advent of World War Two interrupted proceedings. Sparked back into life by a group of active and committed volunteers in 1985 (the same year that Madonna topped the charts with Into the Groove) it has continued ever since.

For more information about the Festival click here:

Kate Jones (Event Manager) says:

We are a group of volunteers, mostly local to the area, who are working to keep the spirit of community alive in Cherry Hinton and to maintain a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. In the past, Cherry Hinton Festival was a time of celebration after harvest gathering. We believe that it is as important now as ever to provide events which bring the neighbourhood together, to enjoy spending time with friends and neighbours and to make new connections. We aim to make the Festival in it’s current form (a week of events) a really positive occasion that residents can actively participate in and our hope is that it will increase their sense of belonging to the area. We encourage as many local organisations as possible to be part of the week in order to raise awareness of activities and facilities that may benefit people throughout the year. The present committee of 12 people have been working together for 5 years but will not be able to do so indefinitely. We are increasingly focusing on ways to encourage representatives from local groups to become more involved in helping with all aspects of the work. Our hope is that the Festival will come to be seen as something which is planned by the wider community, rather than a small group, so that it can continue for many years more.

Support Cambridgeshire Commentary:

Support Cambridgeshire is always amazed by the breadth and depth of the voluntary and community sector in Cambridgeshire – and of the people that give their time freely and willingly to help communities. 

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