Could you host a Big Lunch of Great Get Together to bring your community together?

Article provided by Cambridgeshire County Council

As part of the Campaign to End Loneliness, we are encouraging communities across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to host a Big Lunch or a Great Get Together in June 2019. This is part of our #50000reasons campaign that was launched over Christmas to encourage people to reach out to isolated people in their community who may be experiencing loneliness. 

The Big Lunch will be taking place on 1-2 June and The Great Get Together will be taking place on 21-23 June. Both national events provide a great opportunity to bring your neighbours together, including those who might be more isolated, to share food, have fun and get to know each other better. We simply want to see as many community events as possible across our area.

Cambridgeshire County Council will be holding an information session for those who would like to find out more about hosting a Big Lunch or Great Get Together, with tips on ‘how to make it happen’ as well as examples of successful events. The event will be held at on 26th March 2019 from 11:00 to 13:00 at The Assembly Room, Huntingdon Town Hall, Market Hill, Huntingdon PE29 3PJ

If you would like to attend this event, please email Alex Parr on to confirm your attendance, as places will be reserved on a first come, first served basis.

If you’re interested in hosting or supporting a community to host either a Big Lunch or Great Get Together or would like further information, please let Alex know, as we would really like to map all events that take place across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in June to celebrate kindness, respect and all we have in common.

New Funding Rounds for Innovate & Cultivate Fund announced

Article produced by Cambridgeshire County Council

We’re pleased to announce new funding rounds for Cambridgeshire County Council’s Innovate & Cultivate Fund. 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 include adult social care and children & families services.

The Innovate & Cultivate Fund has two streams: a ‘Cultivate’ fund for smaller projects that build community support networks and an ‘Innovate’ fund for bigger, bolder and more innovative initiatives.

Cultivate News!
We’ve made big changes to the Cultivate fund! We’ve increased the maximum Cultivate grant from £10k to £19k and we’ve developed new guidance on starting Cultivate ‘Seed’ Fund Projects that can help people to remain independent and active within their community, encourage volunteering and complement more costly Council services. Projects include Timebanks, Good Neighbour Schemes, Dementia-Friendly Communities and Men’s Sheds. See our webpages for details.

So how do you apply?
The fund is open to voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations based in and outside of Cambridgeshire, and public sector organisations in Cambridgeshire, including Parish Councils.

Application deadlines are:
1 May – Cultivate grants (£2,000 – £19,000)
1 August – Innovate grants (£19,001 – £50,000)

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

Book a pre-application advice session
Do you want to talk through your ideas before you submit your application? Bookings are now open for our Innovate and Cultivate Fund Advice Session on Monday 25 March, 1pm-4pm at March Community Centre for applicants planning to apply for a Cultivate grant on 1 May. Please book here.

An advice session will be held in June for applicants planning to apply for an Innovate grant on 1 August (bookings not yet available – please email to be added to the circulation list).

If you have any queries about the application advice sessions please email Cambridgeshire Community Foundation can answer questions about applying for the Fund

Bus services set to continue across the county

Cambridgeshire County Council have informed us that bus services across the county are to be discussed at the Economy and Environment Committee meeting this week (7 February).

Whilst the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority’s bus review continues and options are worked on, it’s important existing bus services are protected.

From April, it is proposed all Cambridgeshire County Council funded bus services will continue after the county council and the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority agree funding for the next year.

The Combined Authority has asked Cambridgeshire County Council to continue providing bus service policy and delivery on its behalf for one more year while opportunities for radical reform of the network are explored.

You can read more here.

Finding funding for your community projects

Support Cambridgeshire 4 Community is a free self-service portal which enables voluntary and community organisations, including local councils, to browse, search and apply for grants to support their work. It contains details of grants, loans, venture capital, awards and other funding suitable for community-based projects. You can access the portal here:

We would encourage all local councils to register, visit and use the site as much as possible and please mention to any local groups in your community that are looking for funding too.

Views sought on County Council Business Planning

Cambridgeshire County Council are gathering views about local communities, council services and proposed changes to council tax. The views of parish councils and parish councillors matter. Sharing your views will help the County Council better understand what is important to your community and what they should take into consideration when setting council tax rates.

To support this initiative please respond to the County Council’s online survey  (available until the end of January).

Why is Cambridgeshire County Council asking for your views?

As the fastest growing county in the UK, demand for council services is growing and the Council is having to continually adapt what it does.

More people need improved roads and public transport services, new schools (or increased places in them), opportunities for lifelong learning; increasing amounts of waste needs to be dealt with, more need to register births or deaths or get married; more children need help to stay safe or live fulfilling lives, and as people age they need support to remain independent and have the support they need.

The County Council continually looks to transform what it does and be innovative to meet this growing demand. They also want to support places in most need and improve people’s lives; making sure people get the services they need as close to home as possible. What is known is that government funding for Councils is reducing and Cambridgeshire doesn’t currently get a fair funding deal from Government – this is the message we are giving the county’s MPs so they can take our concerns to Government through our FairDeal4Cambridgeshire Campaign.

#50000reasons to help an older person who is lonely this Christmas

Cambridgeshire County Council’s #50000reasons campaign is encouraging people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to help the 50000 older people at risk from loneliness. Christmas can be a difficult time when older people reflect on what they have lost from their life making feelings of loneliness worse.

These 12 simple gestures could make a big difference to a lonely older person’s life this Christmas.

Start with a “Hello” or a “Good morning”
Or a simple wave as your drive or walk by. It’s a great way to start.

Start a conversation with your neighbour – small talk can make a big difference
If you’ve never really spoken with your neighbours the festive season can provide the ideal opportunity to do so. Starting a conversation shouldn’t be scary. Everyone has a story and something interesting to say, so try and be open to having a chat. Make eye contact. Smile. Talk about the street,how long they’ve lived in their house, the neighbours, the weather…. or all four. For some people who are isolated, this might be the only conversation they’ve had in weeks.

Send a Christmas card
This Christmas why not make an extra effort and send a Christmas card to an older person living on your street? Be sure to write clearly and it would be extra-special if you make an offer to help or give assistance should then need it – write your phone number in the card. Even if the gesture is not taken up, it’s reassuring for somebody who may be experiencing loneliness to know that there is someone there if they are needed.

When you drop the card off, you have an opportunity to start a conversation. Mention the offer that’s in the card. And try to build upon this.

‘Mince pie moments’
This Christmas why not join with a couple of neighbours and share a ‘mince pie moment’ together? Host a small, informal gathering on a Saturday or Sunday morning and invite your older neighbours to come along? You could put the invitation in their Christmas card…

Should they decide not to attend, call by with a mince pie and tell them they were missed.

Offer to help write someone’s Christmas cards and deliver them
Help older people who are housebound or living alone by offering to write and deliver their Christmas cards to loved ones and friends.

Making a connection with older neighbours
Understandably, there can be many barriers to older people opening their doors to strangers. A good way to reassure them is to get another neighbour to introduce you.
Alternatively, drop a note through their door introducing yourself and telling them you will be calling just to say “Hello” at a given date/time (always in daylight). Going along with your children or pets can also be reassuring.

One step at a time
If you call on a neighbour, make your first call short. Give them the opportunity to see who you are, that you are genuine and show interest in them.

Check on an older person living alone if the weather becomes cold or wintry
If the weather becomes cold, please check on neighbours to see that they are keeping warm and well. Read our tips about how to stay well this winter. (

Phone a friend, or go and visit…
Take 10 minutes each week to phone a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while. Better still, go and visit them or arrange to meet up for a pint, a coffee or a cup of tea.

Write a letter
How many people are there in your life who’ve made a massive difference to you? It could be a teacher, a parent or an old friend, but it’s rare that we get a chance to say thank you. In the hustle and bustle of the modern world writing a letter might seem a bit old fashioned. But whoever is on the receiving end will appreciate the time and extra effort you’ve taken.

Encourage the kids
To say “Hello” or at least wave when they see an older neighbour. For many of us, our friends tend to be a similar age to us. But that means we’re missing out on perspectives and stories that might change our life. Whether you’re eight or 86 we all have things in common, and we can all learn and gain from each other. Children often find it easier to start a conversation.

Offer to clear someone’s leaves or snow
This can help older folk to get out and about to do shopping, see friends and family or go to community activities.

Further information
For more information on loneliness and how you help go to

Amey Community Fund


The Amey Community Fund offers grants of £5,000 to £50,000 for the provision, maintenance or improvement of a public park or other public amenity; the conservation of a specific species or a specific habitat where it naturally occurs or the repair, maintenance or restoration of a Place of Worship or a Place of Architectural Importance.

Projects must:

  • Be ready to start (i.e. have secured the majority of funding, have planning permission, etc) within 3 months of the next expression of interest deadline.
  • Be in Cambridgeshire (the Fund does not cover Peterborough).
  • Be within 10 miles (as crow flies) of any licensed landfill site – click here to find your local landfill sites.
  • Be able to contribute 11% of the value of the grant you are seeking.


Applicants can be not for profit organisations and Parish Councils.

The next application deadlines are 17 September 2018 and then 10 December 2018.More details can be found here.