Peacocks Meadow Secures Funding as it Provides a Safe Space for Local Residents

Some downtime during lockdown – plus Support Cambridgeshire’s Funding Alert emails – gave this community garden the impetus to go on a fundraising blitz.

Family Learning at Peacocks Meadow community garden

A local family in the Peacocks Pop-up Library

We recently received a lovely email from Deborah Curtis, in which she wrote, “I thought you might like to know that here in the Peacocks Meadow community garden in Littleport, we have achieved £18,000 in grant funding in three months, using your wonderful monthly funding lead newsletter! The funds will enable us to create a sensory garden and woodland play area for our diverse residents.” We were delighted and intrigued, so we got in touch with Deborah to find out more.

Peacocks Meadow is a community garden, tucked away beyond the car park on Limes Close in the centre of Littleport, East Cambridgeshire. It was originally farmland owned by the Peacock family, which was donated as allotments in the 1930s. It is currently owned by Sanctuary Housing, leased to Littleport Parish Council and managed by a community group called Friends of The Woodland Garden (Peacocks Meadow).

In 2017 they received a Facilities Improvement Grant from East Cambs District Council to turn it from a neglected space into a community garden. It’s been well used and looked after since then, but when COVID-19 hit, everything stopped. Funding opportunities dried up as funders raced to support pandemic relief projects.

That left committee member Deborah Curtis with some time on her hands to think about the garden’s future. She is on the mailing list to receive Support Cambridgeshire’s Funding Alert emails, which provide a round-up of the latest funding news plus on-going funders arranged by theme such as Education, Environment and Small Grants.

A weekend of inter-generational nature-based learning, thanks to a Family Learning Grant from Cambridgeshire Skills

This inspired Deb to fire off some funding applications in early 2021, hoping that some of them might be successful. The timing turned out to be fortunate. At the beginning of the pandemic, funders had focused on responding to people’s basic needs, but by 2021, there was much more of a focus on recovery.

“We’ve been astounded at how successful we’ve been,” said Deb, “because the target for many funders now is children – getting them outside, getting them active – and our garden is ideal for that.”

In just three months, she has had seven successful applications. They received £3,000 from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Youth and Community Fund to engage young people in the creation of a sensory garden area for the benefit of adults and children with learning disabilities. There was £500 from East Cambs District Council’s Covid Recovery Fund for ground clearance and rubbish removal, £500 from Littleport Rotary for skip hire and ground clearance, £9,975 from Awards for All for the creation of a woodland play area, £1,000 from Persimmon Homes Community Champions fund for timber play equipment, £400 from Warburtons Family Grants for balance stones and a mini picnic table, and £900 from Sanctuary Housing for a living willow den. The latter included a certified landscape tutor, incorporating community learning in willow construction. Most recently, Deb secured £1,800 from Cambridgeshire Skills for nature-themed family learning workshops.

Funding has been secured for a sensory garden area, which should be ready to open in September

This impressive list is a testament to Deb’s hard work, but it also goes to show that funders often like to see an organisation or project that has a healthy amount of co-funding, along with a clear vision for how the funding will benefit local people.

Their socially distanced community event at Easter was a great success. Organised by The Port, a local youth club, it welcomed 250 people to the garden in a single day.

Deb sees the pandemic as a time when Peacocks Meadow really found its purpose. “In those months of lockdown, the visitors and volunteer engagement improved astronomically and people really took it to their hearts. We’ve created a safe space for people – people with disabilities, people with young children, older people. That discovery of the garden and the pleasure in it has continued as lockdown has eased.”

Deb has just been awarded Citizen of the Year by Littleport Parish Council – a fitting way to thank her for bringing so much happiness to the residents in her village.

Find out more about Peacock Meadow via the Facebook page.

Sign up for Funding Alert emails here.

New dates for Innovate and Cultivate Fund – Feb 2021

Cambridgeshire County Council is pleased to announce that the next deadline for Innovate & Cultivate Fund applications is 1st February 2021. One-to-one pre-application advice will be offered on 10th 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.


The 1st February 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 advise organisations to seek pre-application advice on their project ideas before submitting an application.  Bookings are now open for telephone advice appointments on Thursday 10th December between 9:30am-12:00pm and 1:00pm – 3:00pm. These 15 minute 1-1 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 3 new Cultivate project ideas – Mobile Warden Schemes, Community Youth Worker and Digital Inclusion Projects – that can help people to remain independent and active within their community, encourage volunteering and complement more costly Council services. We also continue to invite applications for Timebanks, Good Neighbour Schemes, Dementia-Friendly Communities and Men’s Sheds. You can find guidance on how to apply for a start-up grant for each of these projects here.

Digital Inclusion Project Cultivate Model- guidance


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


Cambridgeshire Community Foundation Recovery Fund


CCF has launched the Recovery phase of its Cambridgeshire Coronavirus Fund. Grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 are to help secure the finances of key organisations that have lost income due to the crisis and are directly supporting vulnerable people experiencing hardship as a result of the crisis. Funding will also support key organisations to adapt their operations, services and working practices.

Please note: for larger grants – £15,000 – £25,000 there is a two stage process.
The deadline for the Expression of Interest is next week – 19 August.

Recovery grants are available in two categories:

  • £10,000-14,999
  • £15,000-25,000

The fund will focus on funding organisations that can demonstrate that they are reaching the most vulnerable. This might be geographic communities or communities of identity. Understanding which communities are most vulnerable is an emerging picture and there is no definitive understanding. Your application should demonstrate and evidence how your work is helping those who are worst affected, in the longer-term. You should explain how you understand these needs through consultation with the communities you serve. The fund aims to build upon existing community assets and empower communities from the ground up.

If you are applying for core costs

You can apply for funding towards keeping your current services or activities going, whilst you adjust to the impact of the pandemic on your organisation. Grants may be awarded, wholly or in part, towards your core running costs (including salaries and overheads), operations or capital costs. If you are seeking this type of financial support you must have a good case for support. That means being able to explain what you will do with the grant and how you will return to financial stability within a short period (up to 6 months). You should also show who will benefit and how you know the work will make a difference to vulnerable communities, impacted by Coronavirus.
Your case for such funding should be supported by:

  • an organisational budget
  • latest management accounts
  • a brief business plan (where appropriate) to set out your strategy
  • a cashflow forecast might be useful to demonstrate your finance plan.

Applications will be favoured that can demonstrate a clear, thought-out plan backed up with figures.

Recovery Grant of £10,000 – £14,999

The deadline for Round 1 is 9 September 2020.
Outcomes will be received by the end of October.

Recovery Grant of £15,000 – £25,000

The deadline for Round 1 Expression of Interest Forms is 19 August 2020.
If you are then invited to submit a full application you should consider submitting a cash flow and a business plan to support your application.

The deadline for Round 1 Full Applications is 9 September 2020
Outcomes will be received by the end of October.

Go to the Cambridgeshire Community Fund website to find all the information about this fund, including full details on eligibility criteria and how to apply.

If your organisation needs any help with your application and any assistance with the supporting information you need to supply – such as a cashflow forecast or business plan – then please contact either CCVS or HuntsForum

Meet the Funders Webinar

In these testing times funding bodies are adapting application processes, monitoring and evaluation to increase flexibility and response times to get the funds needed in our communities.

On 18 June 2020, Support Cambridgeshire hosted Fiona Brice from the National Lottery Community Fund, and Bridget Mailley and Michael O’Toole from Cambridgeshire Community Foundation talking about the changing face of funding in the Covid and post-Covid world. Each provided information and tips on applying for their funds. You can watch a recording of this webinar below.

We’d like to thank Fiona, Bridget and Michael for their time and for providing such valuable insights and information.


Please note: questions submitted by attendees prior to the webinar were addressed by the presenters within their presentations. No public questions were submitted during the webinar.

Feedback from the event:

We have found the Webinar organised by Hunts Forum to provide help with applications for emergency funding due to COVID-19 incredibly useful. Following the webinar, we chose to apply to the Cambridge Community Foundation, and were delighted to receive a grant within a few days. This grant will pay for six months of weekly Zoom sessions provided by Riverport Singers, St Ives Dementia Friendly Choir.
The newly formed Choir, that is supported by the St Ives Dementia Friendly Community Steering Group, enjoyed only three rehearsals before the pandemic has put our activities on hold. In May we started weekly singing sessions on Zoom. These online sessions are holding the group together until the Choir is allowed to safely recommence their rehearsals in person, providing stimulation and social engagement to our members. The grant also enables us to provide extended sessions from September onwards. We are incredibly grateful for the grant, and for Hunts Forum, to provide us with the necessary information and support.
Agi Peach, St Ives Dementia Friendly Community Steering Group

Zero Carbon Communities Grant from South Cambs District Council

What is the Zero Carbon Communities Grant?

The Zero Carbon Communities Grant supports voluntary and community sector groups, charities and parish councils seeking to deliver bold, ambitious projects that engage communities and support the aim of zero carbon emissions by 2050.

If you are interested in applying please come to a networking and information event on Wednesday 4 September from 6pm to 8pm in the Council Chamber at South Cambs Hall.

Applications are invited for grants of between £1,000 and £15,000 for projects which are intended to achieve:

  • community engagement around climate change and the environment, and
  • one or more of the following:
    • reduction in carbon emissions
    • reduction in energy use
    • generation of renewable energy or heat
    • promotion of sustainable travel
    • reduction in use of resources
    • increased recycling and/or waste reduction

Grant funding can be used for capital items and/or for project costs including staff time.

Applications will be assessed according to the following headings:

  • The extent proposals align with the aims of the scheme as listed above
  • Value for money
  • The extent to which organisational capacity, resources and timescales for the delivery of proposals are considered realistic
  • How bold, ambitious and imaginative the proposal is

We wish to encourage communities of all sizes and levels of experience in running community projects to apply for these grants.  Where a proposal would benefit an area of the district not otherwise reached, this will also be taken into account.

The Zero Carbon Communities Grant will open for applications on Monday 05 August 2019.

The application deadline is 5pm on Thursday 31 October 2019.


Match funding

There is no requirement that proposals are match funded.  However, if, as expected, the fund is oversubscribed, proposals with match or top-up funding from other sources will be looked at favourably.  Match funding can be of monetary and/or in-kind value.

Who can apply?

Applicants must:

  • Be a non-profit group or organisation based in South Cambridgeshire or benefiting South Cambridgeshire residents, OR a South Cambridgeshire parish council.

Applications from partnerships are encouraged provided that the lead applicant is an eligible organisation as listed above.  Partnerships could include parish councils, informal and constituted groups, established voluntary sector organisations, schools, local businesses and/or community interest companies.

Where a proposal anticipates financial savings or income, the applicant will need to show this will be for the benefit of the community.

  • Have a written constitution or mission statement
  • Have an elected committee or representative steering group
  • Have a bank account
  • Be able to provide an up to date copy of their accounts and any relevant protection policies.   Parish councils can signpost us to relevant online documentation and do not need to submit hard copies.

If you have questions about these requirements please contact us on or 01954 713070

If your organisation does not have a written constitution, mission statement and/or relevant protection policies please contact Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service for advice in meeting these requirements.  Please call 01223 464696 or email


Examples of what can be funded

  • Community initiatives and events that promote sustainable lifestyle choices For example, circular economy (A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life. Initiatives such as repair cafes, sustainable fashion and food projects, waste reduction and community allotments.)
  • Energy saving improvements to community buildings For example external wall insulation, cavity wall insulation, loft/roof insulation, secondary glazing, replacement windows/doors, replacement energy efficient lighting, replacement energy efficient boiler/ heating system, battery storage for solar panel or other low carbon energy generation measures. Buildings could include village halls, scout huts, libraries, shops, social clubs, leisure centres, schools or church buildings, so long as they are available for use by the wider community.
  • Community energy projects such as solar arrays or community wind turbines or community hydroelectric projects, which provide economic and social benefits to the community. Applicants for funding such projects will be expected to have explored the possibility of funding through the Rural Community Energy Fund which provides support of up to £40,000 for feasibility studies for a renewable energy project. Applications for funding to cover development costs not covered through this scheme are welcome.
  • Electric vehicle charging points for community use For example installation of an electric car charging point in a village hall car park, tourist destination or area that attracts lots of visitors. Applicants for funding for EV charging points are asked to contact before submitting their application as it may be possible to secure up to £7,500 of government funding through OLEV towards their project.
  • Purchase of electric vehicle for community use For example community car club schemes, transport for disabled people, community minibuses, electric bike hire.
  • Community tree planting for absorption of carbon and increasing biodiversity Applicants for funding such projects will be expected to have explored the possibility of funding through the  who contribute up to 75% of the costs if you plant the trees yourself.
  • Projects that tackle fuel poverty For example providing advice and guidance
  • Cycling infrastructure For example improvement of existing cycle paths or installation of cycle racks. Other examples could include projects to raise awareness of local cycle routes, refurbish old bikes for re-sale, provide specialist bikes for use by disabled people, provide bike maintenance sessions for young people or set up a cycling club to encourage older people to take up cycling.


All proposals must demonstrate an element of community engagement.  This could include community participation in decision making or information sharing.

This list is not exhaustive.  Applications are encouraged for projects not listed which meet the criteria.


What cannot be funded?

Grant funding cannot be awarded for/to:

  • Renewable energy installations where it is intended to claim Renewable Heat Incentive payments or any other payments where the use of public grants renders the installation ineligible for such payments.
  • Projects that replace funding by other public sector bodies (although it can be used to top up funding from other public sector bodies) For example, projects or services that would otherwise be provided by other public sector bodies
  • Items that would only benefit individuals rather than community groups
  • Kitchen appliances such as cookers and fridges (these may be fundable through the Community Chest)


How much can be applied for?

Applications are invited for a minimum of £1,000 and up to £15,000 per organisation.


When can groups apply?

Applications for Zero Carbon Communities Grant will be open 5 August 2019 until 5pm 31 October 2019.


What supporting documentation is required?

  • A copy of your organisation’s constitution or mission statement (except parish councils)
  • A copy of your latest accounts (audited if available)
  • A quote for the project


In addition, the following will be required if relevant to the project:

  • Public Rights of Way consent from landowner
  • A copy of your organisation’s Safeguarding policy (see
  • Any other material you feel would support this application (this may include a professional energy survey or audit if you have had one completed).


How will the grant be paid?

A funding agreement will be prepared for all successful applicants. This will include arrangements for payment of the grant, staged where appropriate.


Please click here for more information and to apply.