Nominations Required for the Hunts Forum Volunteer and Rural Volunteer Awards

Support Cambridgeshire partner Hunts Forum is hosting its AGM on 20th November to celebrate 25 years since the charity was formed. The event takes place at Huntingdon Town Hall from 5:30 to 7:30pm. Please email if you’re able to attend.

As in previous years, it is inviting people to nominate a volunteer/s to receive recognition for their skills and time given to local organisations and communities. There is also a Rural Volunteer Award, which was introduced following the retirement of our Treasurer, David Morgan, who asked that an award be made to volunteers working in the more rural areas of our county.

Every nomination will receive a certificate of recognition, so please bring your volunteer along to receive it personally on the night.

Nominations must be submitted by 1 November to allow time for them to be judged, certificates to be produced and prizes arranged.

Please use the links below to download the nomination forms, to be returned to

Hunts Forum Volunteer Award 2019 nomination form

Hunts Forum Rural Volunteer Award 2019 nomination form

Help Shape the Future of Huntingdonshire’s Green Spaces

Parks, play areas and open spaces are important parts of our community. They are places we can enjoy, where we can relax and have fun. They are also spaces that can help improve our health and well-being. Huntingdonshire District Council is developing a Healthy Open Spaces and Play Strategy which will protect and enhance these spaces for the benefit of the community.

Everyone who lives or works in Huntingdonshire is invited to let the District Council know what they think about parks, open spaces and play areas, whether the use them or not. If you have a few minutes please complete a survey at If you’d prefer a hard copy please contact Sarah on 01952 433211 or email her at

You have until Friday 4 October to complete the questionnaire.

Huntingdonshire – Community Chest 2019/2020

Huntingdonshire District Council are now inviting applications for their Community Chest in 2019/2020.

Details of the chest and how to apply can be viewed here:

Online applications need to be submitted before close of play on the 30th June 2019.

The eligibility criteria is as follows:

The maximum amount for any one grant award shall be £2,500 or 75% of the total cost of the project for which financial assistance is requested, whichever is the lower amount.

No precepting authorities are eligible to apply to the Community Chest fund.

Organisations must be able to confirm that, if awarded a grant, the project can be delivered in the financial year the award is made (before the 31st March 2020).

Organisations should demonstrate how the project seeking funding is able to support the Council’s objectives of:- making Huntingdonshire a better place to live, to improve health and
well-being and support people to be the best they can be; and/or making Huntingdonshire a better place to work and invest and delivering new and appropriate housing.

The authority will not accept applications from community and voluntary organisations that are currently in receipt of funding from Huntingdonshire District Council.

Applications will not be accepted either directly or indirectly on behalf of individuals or commercial organisations.

Applications will only be accepted from organisations that are independent in that they have their own constitution/rules of operation and have their own bank account.

If you require  help with any aspect of your application please contact




Ramshed – A Place of Innovation

Support Cambridgeshire partner Hunts Forum recently had the good fortune to visit and meet the inspirational members of Ramshed in Bury.

Ramshed is celebrating its second anniversary on the 17th April 2019.

Ramshed is a little different from many of the ‘Sheds’ in the Men Sheds movement because they are not a Men only Shed. From its inception Ramshed has been a shed for both men and women.

John, one of the founding members, explained to Hunts Forum how the Men Shed national organisation (Men’s  Shed Association UK) had been a great help and support in getting Ramshed established and had made the process relatively easy. The hardest part was the hiatus between setting up Ramshed and finding a space to meet. Fortunately, members had good local contacts and it was through these that the space they now use was found.

In the two years since forming they have been very active in the local community re-purposing two old phone boxes, refurbishing three village noticeboards, making an Oak Memorial bench, refurbishing parts of a sensory garden, and undertaking many personal projects in the meantime.

An amazing project that they undertook last year was creating the Ramsey Ram that now sits on the traffic island near to Tesco in Ramsey. Apparently, the Ram now has its own Facebook page.

On the day Hunts Forum arrived and stepped into the relaxed and friendly atmosphere, people were busy transforming old donated tools into lamps. The room was full of old pieces of wood, electrical wiring, tools and electrical equipment (lathes, drills and saws). Members happily help and teach each other to use the different pieces of equipment all of which had been donated.  It was simply your typical workshop.

Seeing an old hand-drill being transformed into a vibrant, shiny new and novel lamp seemed almost a too perfect metaphor for Ramshed.

A little later John displayed some more of the old tools that are donated to them. Gesturing at the mix of tools, John smiled and said this is a museum, we are not.

The men and women of Ramshed are eager to use the latest equipment, with no room for nostalgia for tools they were happy to see the back of in their working lives. These are people eager for the latest technology and with big plans if they can get their hands on some.  There was a lot of talk about lasers during our visit. Their enthusiasm for cutting-edge technology stood in stark contrast to the usual old trope of the older generation being technophobes.  Perhaps those who concentrate on helping people in their third age embrace technology should stop for a moment and consider if they are approaching the issue from the correct perspective.

In the small tea area, the tables are strewn with Catalogues (Screwfix, Tool Station, QVS, Electric Fix and others). It’s a paper repository of ambition and desire.

For many of us John explained this gets us up in the morning. It’s not just about having something to do, it’s talking with people- more than that, it’s the banter, the friendly mockery (the original phrase has been edited) that makes this so worthwhile. We do it for us and to be able to give something back to the community.

Sheds such as Ramshed demonstrate a very positive way of reducing unwanted social isolation in retirement. The members of Ramshed each have their own reason for being there and not all feel or have ever felt isolated, but to all the members the shed is a very important part of their lives. John had a great way of putting it: Being isolated doesn’t mean you don’t know how to make friends, it just means that something  has happened in our lives that has caused us to be isolated for a while: Places like Ramshed simply help bridge the social gap.

Hunts Forum would like to thank John, Chris and Richard for making us so welcome, showing us around and taking the time to tell us all about RamShed.

If you would like to know more and/or can help the inspiring people at Ramshed please contact them at

For more information about setting up a Men Shed visit

For information about possible funding from Cambridge County Council’s Innovate and Cultivate Fund go to

Nominate your Rural Volunteer Now

Support Cambridgeshire Partner Hunts Forum is proud to announce the launch of the Rural Volunteer Award in honour of David Morgan MBE.

David served as a trustee of Hunts Forum for over 9 years, taking roles as both chair and treasurer. He was a much-valued member of the board but this is just a small part of the contribution he has made to community organisations across Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.

Since joining Beds and Cambs Rural Support Group in 2002, over 1,500 farming and rural families have received support to tackle issues such as ill-health, isolation, financial hardship, redundancy and homelessness. His patience and kindness to those in trouble is legendary.

He was awarded an MBE for services to vulnerable people in The Queen’s New Years Honours list 2019.

David’s exceptional contribution to rural communities has inspired Hunts Forum to create the Rural Volunteer Award. Hunts Forum invites community organisations, councils and individuals to nominate the people in their rural communities across Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire who go out of their way to improve the lives of others. It may be to overcome the specific challenges of rural life, such as transport or isolation, or an ability to bring rural communities together.

Please click here to download a nomination form. The closing date is 20 February 2019.

Please note that nominating organisations and nominees can operate in any part of the county, and do not have to be based in Huntingdonshire.

Nominations can be returned by email to or printed and posted to Sue Prior, Hunts Forum, The Maple Centre, 6 Oak Drive, Huntingdon PE29 7HN. 

The inaugural Rural Volunteer Award winner will be announced at Hunts Forum’s Annual Conference, AGM and Awards event on 26 February 2019 at Wood Green Animal Shelter.

Please contact Sue at or call 01480 420601 if you wish to book a space.



Everyone Health Launches a Pop-up Shop

Everyone Health has opened a pop-up shop at 6 Chequers Court in Huntingdon, (the old Robert Goddard shop) to support residents’ health and well-being. It’s open until Friday 22 February; opening hours are Monday to Saturday, 9.30am to 5pm, and Sunday 10am to 4pm.

It’s all absolutely free, no catch, no ‘after a free trial you have to pay’! All of their services are led by staff qualified in their professional field – nutritionists, physical activity specialists, smoking cessation trainers, falls prevention specialists, health trainers and NHS Health Check trainers. The team is friendly, supportive, confidential and non-judgemental, dedicated to helping the community make changes that will improve their physical and mental well-being, enabling them to live longer, healthier and happier lives.

The pop-up shop is part of a commission by Cambridgeshire County Council to offer free services across the county to support residents’ health and well-being. The Everyone Health team can be found working in community centres, church halls, libraries, leisure centres and GP surgeries. People can self-refer into our services or many are referred by health professionals looking to support their patients. They take their services into businesses and schools around the county, doing ‘Be Active Be Healthy’ workshops for children, and NHS Health Checks for the staff. They deliver ‘MHFA’ (Mental Health First Aid) and ‘MECC’ (Make Every Contact Count) courses to further support understanding around Mental Health issues and to start the conversation about health and well-being.

Please call Everyone Health on 03330 050093 or email for more information.

Join us at the Commissioning Forum (North)

Following on from our first successful Commissioning Forum in the South of Cambridgeshire, a second forum will now take place covering the North of the County, being held at the South Fens Business Centre in Chatteris on the 30th January 2019 between 9.15am and 12.15pm.

If you want to hear more about the challenges that the Commissioning Unit face in a very complex and difficult funding environment, and how you can work more closely with them for the benefit of your beneficiaries and projects than book a space now by E-Mailing

This is likely to be a very popular event and spaces are limited to 20 in total.

More information on the previous Commissioning Forum held in Cambridge can be viewed here:




People Powered Conference Hits the Right Notes

48 people from across Huntingdonshire’s voluntary sector gathered at St Ives Corn Exchange on 19 April 2018 for the People Powered conference. Co-hosted by Hunts Forum and Living Sport and funded by Huntingdonshire District Council, the event was a chance for volunteer managers and community leaders to get together to explore fresh approaches to recruiting, supporting and celebrating volunteers in our communities.

Guest speaker Shaun Delaney, Volunteering Development Manager at NCVO, kicked off proceedings with a presentation on the changing volunteering landscape: who volunteers, how, when and why? How have their demographics and their expectations changed, and what can community groups do to respond to these changes? His talk drew on the NCVO report, Getting Involved: How people make a difference, which you can read here.

Attendees were then invited to participate in workshop discussions on various aspects of volunteering. Keith Smith, Founder & Director of Ferry Project, led a workshop on recruitment and marketing, looking at the various routes people might take into volunteering roles. Mark Strivens, Director of Cambridge Street Pastors, explored what organisations can do to protect volunteers – and the organisation itself – from risks, and covered how policies, procedures and processes need to work together. Susie Willis, Chief Officer at Care Network Cambridgeshire, led a workshop on rewarding volunteers and celebrating success, and reflected on how the biggest reward is to ensure that experiences live up to volunteers’ expectations. Lucy Bird, Coordinator of Somersham and Pidley Time Bank, explained the concept of Time Banking and micro-volunteering, and examined how this model might fit into existing organisations. The conference was closed by Rebecca Evans, Relationship Manager at Living Sport who spoke about how volunteers had helped her in her youth to become a gold medallist swimmer. Follow-up notes and further reading for attendees are available here.

Feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive. One commented, “Brilliant workshops with lots of ideas to use.” Another wrote, “A thoroughly enjoyable event. A great download of information and ideas in a relaxed manner. A well put together event. I went away with a spring in my step.”

Hunts Forum provides ongoing support for voluntary organisations throughout the year. Please get in touch on 01480 420601, email or visit for more information.