#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. (https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/be-well/resources-and-campaigns/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 http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/50000-reasons

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.

Update on Innovate and Cultivate Fund

Parish and Town Councils are encouraged to apply to the County Council’s Innovate & Cultivate Fund, either on their own or in partnership with local community groups. The fund supports initiatives that strengthen our communities and reduce pressure on County Council services, thereby giving a return on investment. It’s open to voluntary and community groups, social enterprises, and public sector organisations including Parish Councils, and invests in projects that help to deliver the council’s priorities for children and families, vulnerable adults, and older people.


The next funding deadlines are:

  • 1 August 2018 – Small ‘Cultivate’ grants (£2,000-£10,000)
  • 1 November 2018 – Small ‘Cultivate’ grants and large ‘Innovate’ grants (£10,000-£50,000)


If you’d like to talk through your project idea, please join us for an advice session on 24 September, 9:45am-12pm at March Community Centre. Book your free place on Eventbrite.

Further information and on-line application forms are available on the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation website.

Parish and Town Council Newsletter Survey

Cambridgeshire County Council would like your help.

They’ve put together a survey to find out what you think about Cambridgeshire Matters – their bi-monthly parish and town council newsletter.

They’d like to know how you receive it, when you receive it, what you like about it and what you’d like to see more or less of each issue.

Take part in the survey here.


What is Cambridgeshire Matters?

The aim of the newsletter is to keep parish and town councils across the county informed of all the latest news and updates for county council services. This survey will help the County Council identify how they can best continue to communicate their news to you and your council. Click here to view the July edition of Cambridgeshire Matters

They’re keen to hear the thoughts of your parish and town council colleagues too, so please forward this to anyone you think will have a view on receiving the newsletter.


The survey results

The results from this survey will be shared only with Cambridgeshire County Council staff responsible for compiling the Cambridgeshire Matters newsletter, and those staff involved with the analysis of the data collected.

If you have any queries, or would like further information about the Cambridgeshire Matters newsletter or the survey, please contact the Council by emailing communications@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.

Busting the myths around Rural Affordable Housing

On 3 July, Cambridgeshire ACRE and its partners in the Cambridgeshire Rural Affordable Housing Partnership embarked on a ‘Mythbuster Tour’ of rural affordable housing developments in South Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire.

Accompanying us were 21 local councillors from parish, town and district councils interested in learning more about rural exception sites.

As organisers, we felt it was a very successful event and feedback from attendees reflects this, with many  expressing the sentiment that myths had been well and truly busted. One attendee noted: “I feel I now have a better understanding of the affordable / social housing situation in Cambridgeshire. The tour really broadened my knowledge as a relatively new parish councillor and was well worth attending.

For anyone unable to attend, the programme from the event is available to download here and you can see a gallery of images from the different sites below.

If your local council would be interested in exploring the idea of a rural affordable housing development in your village, please get in touch with you via the Contact page.

Parish Profile – Great Staughton

As part of our ongoing series of parish profiles, we recently spoke to Bob Jewell, Chair of Great Staughton Parish Council. You can read our interview with Bob by clicking on the download link below:

Interview with Bob Jewell

Great Staughton is in Huntingdonshire, about 8 miles from Huntingdon. Around 1,000 people live in the village. The village has good facilities, making it a great place to live, including a church, a GP surgery, a butcher’s shop, two hairdressers, two pubs, a primary school including a pre-school, a village hall, a playing field with its own pavilion and a children’s play area complete with a skate ramp. The parish council lead, or are involved in, many of the community projects that take place there.

The idea of these profiles is to help clerks and councillors understand more about how other local councils operate, what their successes have been and what their ambitions are for the future. We believe that by encouraging this type of social learning, all councils will benefit.

If you’d like us to profile your parish or town council so that you can share your knowledge and experiences with others, just like you, then please get in touch.

New Summer and Autumn funding rounds for Cambridgeshire County Council’s Innovate & Cultivate Fund announced

New funding rounds for Cambridgeshire County Council’s Innovate & Cultivate Fund have just been announced. The aim of the fund is to support initiatives that strengthen communities and reduce pressure on County Council services, thereby giving a return on investment. Council services that are inviting applications include adult social care, children and families services, and the waste service.

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 including Parish Councils, in Cambridgeshire.

The Innovate and Cultivate Fund has two funding streams: a ‘Cultivate’ stream for small grants of £2,000-£10,000 and an ‘Innovate’ stream for larger grants of up to £50,000.

Application deadlines are:

  • 1 August – small ‘cultivate’ grants
  • 1 November – large ‘innovate’ grants and small ‘cultivate’ grants

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

Book an Innovate and Cultivate Fund application advice session

Do you want to talk through your ideas before you submit your application? If so, bookings are now open for our Innovate and Cultivate Fund Advice Session on Wednesday 27 June, 9:30am-11:30am at Shire Hall, Cambridge for applicants planning to submit on 1 August. Please book here.

Another advice session will be held on Monday 24 September, 9:45am-12pm at March Community Centre for applicants planning to submit on 1 November (bookings not yet available – please email lianne.parrett@cambridgeshire.gov.uk to be added to the circulation list).

If you have any queries about the application advice sessions please email lianne.parrett@cambridgeshire.gov.uk. Cambridgeshire Community Foundation can answer questions about applying for the Fund info@cambscf.org.uk.