Local Infrastructure Support: the Beating Heart of the Voluntary Sector

#HeartOfOurCommunity campaign highlights the work of Support Cambridgeshire and its peers across the UK.

The Support Cambridgeshire partnership and other local infrastructure organisations like us support voluntary and community organisations in all the good work they do. We provide training and advice, make introductions, campaign on their behalf and do whatever it takes to help our member organisations thrive. It’s often during the more challenging times that community groups turn to us for help, and this has certainly been true during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been our privilege to serve the voluntary and community organisations – and the people – of Cambridgeshire throughout these challenging times.

We’re very grateful to our national body NAVCA for inviting us to participate in this video that celebrates the work of infrastructure organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to find out more, or help spread the word via the #HeartOfOurCommunity campaign on Twitter.

Support Cambridgeshire Events Cancelled until May

Due to the current situation around Covid-19, the agencies that are part of Support Cambridge have agreed to cancel events until the end of April.

Within this time staff will be working from home, Please visit each organisations website to be advised the best way to make contact with the relevant staff.

Hunts Forum:



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

Small Charities Week 2019

As part of Small Charities Week (which this year falls between the 17th and the 22nd June) Support Cambridgeshire lead partner Hunts Forum will be holding an advice surgery at the Maple Centre between 10am and 2pm on the 17th June 2019 which will be open to all small charities and community groups across the County.

The Maple Centre can be found at 6 Oak Drive, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE29 7HN. 

Sessions are for up to half an hour and can be made with the Development Officer at Hunts Forum, Keith Johnson, and can be on any subject from Governance to Fundraising and any other general enquiry. Simply contact to book a space.

The Hunts Forum Finance Manager Louise Prosser will also be on hand to deal with any finance related query or concern, so please advise whether its Louise you wish to see at the time of booking.

Spaces are available on the hour and the half hour.

Hunts Forum will also circulate information about similar advice sessions happening between the 17th and the 22nd June such as: 

PEM Accountants in Cambridge.

Free, no obligation, expert advice on a variety of topics including tax, audit or governance is available.

Voluntary and Community Action for East Cambridgeshire (VCAEC).

Offering advice on funding, training, volunteering, governance, policies and much more.

On Thursday the 20th June 2019 our Connecting Communities Conference at the St Ives Corn Exchange takes place, looking at a Community Response to tackling unwanted social isolation and loneliness. This is now fully subscribed, but if you want to join our waiting list please email

Employee Volunteering:

Cantab Captial in Cambridge are looking for employee volunteering opportunities for their staff (they are more than happy to get out of Cambridge for the day) on the 4th July 2019 and 2nd September 2019 (US bank Holidays).  This would be for up to 10 staff members and they are very open to any suggestions as to what they would be asked to do. This could be for a whole or a half day. Contact  for more information if this is of interest.


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

Our latest Training Offer

Support Cambridgeshire run a series of formal training events and informal network sessions throughout the year.

In addition, Support Cambridgeshire advertises useful or informative training from other organisations, some of which may or may not be chargeable.

Our latest Training and events flyer can be viewed here:

More information on each course or event (and whether a fee applies) can be viewed here:

Hunts Forum or Cambridge CVS members can generally access all courses or events Free of charge by virtue of their membership (unless otherwise indicated).

Organisations which do not have a membership can access Support Cambridgeshire courses Free of Charge (look for our multi coloured stem cell logo) or information contained within each listing.

If you wish to discuss any aspect of our training please feel free to contact us on 01480 420601.