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Feedback from the Connecting Communities Conference 2022

In June 2022, the Connecting Communities Conference took place, an annual volunteering event which aims to upskill and broaden the conversation around volunteering and volunteer management. This year it took place over three days, with one day hosting two face-to-face workshops in Huntingdon and March. The other two event formats were similar, with speakers being brought in to discuss their topic, followed by questions. Tuesday’s event focused on the Vision for Volunteering, a national concept developed by a collective of national bodies. Then on Thursday, we welcomed a speaker from Bates and Wells. They talked about Volunteering and the Law.

All events were well received, with polls at the end of Tuesday’s event showing that out of the twenty-seven who completed the poll, 81% were either satisfied or very satisfied. With the poll launched on Thursday, 100% stated they had enjoyed the event and learnt something new in that session.

Following the events, a general feedback form was sent out to all who attended one or more events. Thank you to all those who attended and completed the feedback form. Below you can see an infographic of some of the feedback received.

Moving to 2023, it is clear that a format which includes face-to-face and online presentations is required. Some highlighted more time to network, and one person wanted us to include success stories of organisations. Others stated they wanted more of the same or to ensure we continued to bring in speakers with specialities. All feedback will be taken into consideration for the next event.

If you have any topics, you would like us to cover next , please do get in contact with us via info@supportcambridgeshire.org.uk

 

Do you know an organisation to put forward for the Queens Award For Voluntary Service?

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Queen’s Coronation. As part of this, we would like Cambridgeshire and Peterborough groups to celebrate the fantastic work they contribute to our communities. 

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough tend to receive less nominations than other parts of the country, so we would like to build awareness of this prestigious award among our volunteer-led groups. Over the past few years, we have seen a great surge in communities coming forward to support each other and stand together to create opportunities, support and impact within their communities. 

Who can be nominated

Key eligibility requirements are:

  1. The group must have 3 or more members. 
  2. It must be based in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man. 
  3. It must have been operating for a minimum of 3 years. 
  4. It must provide a specific local benefit (QAVS are not intended for national organisations, although a branch can be nominated). 
  5. QAVS are looking for evidence that volunteers are initiating and driving the group’s work. It may have some paid staff, but we expect at least half of the people who work in the group to be volunteers.
  6. Groups operating solely for the benefit of animals are not eligible.

To read the full criteria, CLICK HERE 

 

How are you nominated

The group can only be nominated by three individuals with no direct link to the group. This means they can’t be working or volunteering for the group, including those who sit on the committee or trustee board. 

There needs to be one primary nominator who fills the form out and then two individuals who are happy to supply a short supporting letter.

 

The Process 

The process is pretty easy once the three individuals have submitted their nominations. The organisation will be contacted. There will be a visit by someone from the Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire who will ensure your organisation has essential health and safety, safeguarding and finance procedures and policies in place.  

All awards are announced as part of Volunteers Week which is between 1st and 7th June, through The Gazette.  Read about the winner for 2022 here

 

Want to know more? 

The online guidance notes and application form can be found HERE 

Hunts Forum will be holding some one-hour workshops that will cover the basics of the award a little more.  Introduction to the Queen’s Award of Voluntary Action Workshop: Tuesday 21st June and Thursday 21st July both at 4:30 pm to book Click HERE

 

The State of the Sector 2022 Survey – We need your help!

As we move into 2022, the past two years have hugely impacted our voluntary and community sectors.

 

In the past, our annual State of the Sector survey has been a vital source of information for funders, stakeholders along with us as infrastructure organisations.

It gives us the information on the issues and barriers you are facing and therefore allows us to plan to make sure our services are fit for purpose.

 

Therefore, we are asking as many charities, not-for-profit organisations and community groups as possible, to fill out the survey, so we can see what is happening across the county post-COVID.

 

Fill in the survey here

Closing date 21st March 2022 – for more information please contact mark@cambridgecvs.org.uk

Police Commissioner requests views

POLICE and Crime Commissioner, Darryl Preston is today (Thursday, 6th January) asking people to give their views on his proposed increase to the policing part of council tax.

As Police and Crime Commissioner, it’s my job to set the budget for the Constabulary – part of that is about determining how much people contribute through their council tax.

The public’s views are important to me, therefore in order to enable people living and working in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to tell me what matters to them when it comes to policing and crime, I am launching an online survey.

I appreciate that 2021 has been an exceptionally challenging year for all of us. Throughout the last twelve months, our police officers, volunteers and staff have worked tirelessly alongside our other emergency service workers to help keep people safe, whilst responding to the usual calls for service.

I recently launched my Police and Crime Plan for the county which responded to feedback from the public and sets policing objectives for the next three years. My Plan includes five key priorities including providing a more accessible Constabulary that responds to local issues such as rural and business crime, anti-social behaviour, drug related crimes and road safety.

Thanks to the contribution people made to policing through their council tax last year, (2021-22, £15 per year based on a Band D property), the Chief Constable has been able to invest in the following:

  • An additional 10 call handlers to help improve the 999 and 101 service;
  • A new 24/7 Digital and Social Media Contact Desk to respond to increased online communication from the public, providing quick oversight of comments written on all Force social media posts, looking for reports of crime, intelligence and safeguarding issues;
  • Early Intervention Domestic Abuse Desks with dedicated staff who provide safeguarding advice to officers at the scene of domestic incidents;
  • A new Inclusion Officer who is helping to build support and enhance trust in the force across all communities;
  • Digital Media Investigators within a newly created Cyber Crime Team to support frontline investigators and provide more support for victims;
  • Four Cyber and On-Line Fraud Prevention Officers to help reduce cybercrime and online fraud through awareness-raising and other initiatives.

For the 2022/23 financial year, as with others, it is important to clarify that police funding comes from two main sources: 56% from central government (excluding specific grants) and the remainder from the policing part of council tax.  Whilst I recognise that household costs are rising across the board, it is unfortunately no different for policing. Inflation and national insurance increases mean that there are considerable pressures on the Constabulary budget, despite savings of £5.1 million having been achieved in 2021/22.

As we plan the police budget for 2022/23, it is vital that we are able to meet rising costs and ensure the growth in new officers can be sustained so that the Constabulary’s commitment to supporting our communities, which includes local policing, is maintained.

In line with government guidance, I am therefore asking for people’s views on my proposed increase of £10 per year (83p per month based on a Band D property). This, together with an increase of £4.8m from government (excluding specific grants), would enable the Chief Constable to further maintain, invest and support in 3 core areas:

 

National Uplift Programme (Recruitment of 20,000 additional officers)

  • Recruitment and training of an additional 82 officers for 2022/23 which is on top of the Constabulary’s anticipated recruitment target to maintain workforce numbers. This brings the total number of officers in the county to 1,714 by March 2023. I must stress though that these officers and those that have recently joined need considerable support, supervision and training for them to be able to add real value to our communities.
  • Support for our police officers – as a result of the overall increase in officers, investment is needed to support and sustain the entire workforce. This includes areas such as HR, ICT, Professional Standards and incorporates both an investment in police officer and police staff roles.  Specifically, support within Occupational Health, the Recruitment Team, Operational Training, Resource Management, Call Taking and importantly ensuring an inclusive approach from a workforce that is representative of the communities it serves.

 

New Investment

  • Digital Investigative Support – to provide expert digital evidence and support to robustly enforce against those who blight our communities through county lines, serious and organised crime, drug supply and those who exploit the online space to cause serious harm – something I know people want to see.
  • Additional cyber investigators – the growing prevalence of cybercrime causes untold financial and emotional harm to businesses and individuals alike. This investment will enhance our response to the threat through specialist investigators.
  • Young Person Early Intervention Officers – supporting the Constabulary’s response to vulnerability, the continuation of this innovative pilot provides early intervention to young people following their initial missing from home episodes, engaging with those who are most vulnerable to exploitation, providing personalised interventions and preventative measures to protect them from further future harm and causing harm to others.
  • Violence against Women and Girls – increased investment in resources, such as a vulnerability analyst to identify and support the Constabulary to tackle those who perpetrate violence in our communities – a national priority for all forces as well as here. We want to ensure people feel safe on our streets.
  • Digital Innovation – following the Government’s announcement that funding is being provided to increase productivity using enhanced technology and investigative tools, we will further invest in Digital Innovation to enable such opportunities to be identified and realised.

Maintaining Business as Usual

  • Increased business costs cannot be ignored – for example, projected pay costs (pay award/increments and national insurance), utility costs and fuel expenditure, building maintenance and capital investment, ICT systems costs, inflation and uncertainty about pensions. In addition, the Constabulary’s contributions to national programmes and on-going collaborations need to be met.

I would be grateful if you could take a few moments to complete the survey which you will find on my website: The Police & Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire | Consultations & Surveys (cambridgeshire-pcc.gov.uk)

Your views will help inform my final decision on how much to raise the policing part of the council tax.

The survey runs from 0:00 on 6thJanuary until 17:00 on 20th January 2022.

New 2022 dates for the Innovate and Cultivate Fund

Cambridgeshire County Council is pleased to announce that the next deadline for Innovate & Cultivate Fund applications is 1st February 2022. Pre-application advice appointments will be offered in 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.

This 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 urge organisations to seek pre-application advice on their project ideas before submitting an application.  Telephone advice appointments for projects supporting vulnerable children, young people and families are offered on 1st and 9th December. Appointments for projects supporting vulnerable adults are offered on 14th and 16th December.  These 15-minute 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 7 Cultivate project ideas – Mobile Warden Schemes, Community Youth Worker, Digital Inclusion, Timebanks, Good Neighbour Schemes, Dementia-Friendly Communities and Men’s Sheds – that can help people to remain independent and active within their community, encourage volunteering, and complement more costly Council services. You can find guidance on how to apply for a start-up grant for each of these projects here.

 

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