Cambridgeshire Local Councils Peer Learning and Networking Event on the Local Council Award Scheme


Your invitation to join this event

The Local Council Award Scheme (LCAS) is designed to celebrate the successes of the very best local councils and to provide a framework to support all local councils to improve and develop to meet their full potential. Take-up of the Scheme has been relatively low in Cambridgeshire and when we last surveyed local councillors and clerks, many told us that their awareness of the Scheme, what’s involved and what the benefits might be, was limited.

We are therefore bringing the National Association of Local Councils’ Head of Member Services, Charlotte Eisenhart, to Cambridgeshire to talk about what the Scheme has to offer local councils. Three Cambridgeshire parishes who’ve reached different levels within the Scheme will also speak about their experiences so you can hear at what’s involved from peers who have been through the process.

We very much hope that lots of local councils will send along a representative (clerks and councillors equally welcome) to hear more. We’ll provide tea and cake and there’ll be lots of opportunity to talk to each other and make new contacts with other councils.

To book a place
Please go to: Bookings should be made by Monday 23 March 2020 and we’ll send around a reminder with joining instructions to everyone who books one week prior to the event.

The event agenda can be downloaded by clicking the link below:

Please join us on Tuesday 31 March 2020, 1pm – 3.30pm
at the Swavesey Memorial Hall, High Street, Swavesey, Cambridge, CB24 4QU

If you have any questions regarding this event please contact Lisa Chambers at or call 01353 865048

Save the date for the East Cambs Parish Council Conference

The next East Cambridgeshire Parish Council Conference will be taking place at Littleport Leisure Centre on Monday 2nd March 2020.

This event will seek to address a wide variety of topics that have been put forward by local parish councils, there will also be a number of stalls from various organisations and council departments, providing an opportunity for one-on-one engagement.

A full list of the topics covered and details of stallholders will be circulated as soon as possible. The event will run during the morning and afternoon (exact timings to be confirmed) which will enable attendees to drop-in at a time that is convenient for them.

In the meantime please remember to save the date.

Healthwatch launches its draft strategy for next five years and invites the public to have a say

People across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are invited to help shape the priorities and work for Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Healthwatch Peterborough, the local independent champion for people using health and social care services.

The organisation has set out five big issues to work on over the next five years and is asking the public to make sure the priorities are right.

Local health and social care services are facing big challenges – including more people needing help with long-term health conditions, as well as big funding pressures. So Healthwatch wants to make sure local people’s views and needs are fully taken into account by the people developing health and care services in our area.

Its five priorities for 2020-2025 are:

  • Promoting independence and self-care
  • GPs, dentists, pharmacies and other primary care services
  • Social care and integrated support services
  • Mental health services for children, young people and adults
  • Involving local people in changing and redesigning services

Find out more

Read more about Healthwatch plans on its websites: 

Have your say

Local people have six weeks to give their views on the Healthwatch draft strategy.  You can give your views online, at public meetings in January and February, or by email or phone. The closing date for the consultation is Sunday 23 February.

Take part in the online survey at 

Come along to a community meeting:

  • Thursday 23 January, 10:00am to 12 noon at Peterborough Community Forum, Stanground Community Centre, Whittlesey Road, Peterborough, PE2 8QS
  • Wednesday 5 February, 10:00am to 12 noon at Greater Cambridge Health and Care Forum, The Orchard Community Centre, Central Avenue, Cambridge, CB4 2EZ
  • Thursday 13 February, 10:00am to 12 noon at Fenland Health and Care Forum, Queen Mary Centre, Queens Road, Wisbech PE13 2PE

You can also call Healthwatch on 0330 355 1285, email or  text 07520 635 176.

Free to attend funding workshop

Please share this information in your local communities, you can also download a poster to display in your village hall, community building or local notice board – just click the download button below.

This event provides a great opportunity to hear advice from CCVS officers as well as hearing directly from local funders.

To book your place at this event please contact CCVS directly on:

To book go to:
Or email any questions to:

Wonderful Villages Photo Competition

The ‘Wonderful Villages’ photo competition has now been running for one month, there is still plenty of time to get your entries in to stand a chance of winning £1,000 for your village hall and £500 for the photographer!

The organisers Allied Westminster have told us there has been a wonderful response so far, with villages obviously entering into the competitive spirit and submitting some lovely and often touching photos which really capture the idea of rural ‘community’.

Don’t forget that Village Halls Week could make the perfect time to capture that fantastic photo of your hall and community.

Allied Westminster designed this competition to coincide with Village Halls Week 2020 in order to underline and champion the vital contribution which Village Halls make to their local communities. They wanted to demonstrate that Village Halls and Community Buildings are indispensable to communities at a time when these venues are under increasing financial strain, and hope that this will encourage some residents to consider becoming trustees.

Another important focus for the competition is the theme – Village Life – a photo which characterises the value of community in your village, so this competition isn’t about beautiful pictures of dazzling sunsets or picturesque buildings at dawn, but rather photos which display the value of ‘community’ within rural village life. So winning photos – whether snapped spontaneously on a phone or taken at leisure with a Leica – are likely to feature recognisable people doing recognisable things that distil the essence of that village’s community spirit.

Entry is simple and completely free. Entrants have only to submit a photo and nominate a hall as beneficiary. If they win first prize, the hall gets £1000 and the photographer gets £500. They can enter here:

A really important aspect of this competition is that now entries are coming in Allied Westminster want to encourage hall members to vote for those photos they believe best illustrate the theme.

Although village hall members voting for the photos of other halls may seem like turkeys voting for Christmas, we’d like to think that the village hall community nationwide is strong enough to give support to each other. When the competition ends, public votes will be one of the criteria used for judging, so all your votes really are valuable.

Votes can be cast anonymously at this link and there is no registration necessary:

Please join in this competition and let’s see if we can get a Cambridgeshire winner!

Funding opportunities for your community

Below we have provided a list of organisations that may be able to fund projects in your community. The criteria for each fund can be found via the web links provided, if you would like any support in making funding applications please contact our office at:

ARMED FORCES DAY – Saturday 27 June 2020

Is your community planning to mark Armed Forces Day, if so, you could apply for funds to help support an event.

The Ministry of Defence offers a grant for Armed Forces Day (27 June 2020) events up to the value of £10,000, depending on the size and format of the event. This grant is match-funded and can cover up to half the total cost of the event. For example, If the total cost of the event is £10,000 and you raise £5,000, the grant could cover up to £5,000.

To apply for this grant, you must first register your event on the Armed Forces Day website.

Ministry of Defence funding can be used to pay for:

  • Road closures required to hold an event, including to allow for parades and marches
  • Decorations, flags and banners
  • Newspaper and radio advertisements to promote the event
  • Marshalling, security and first aid arrangements for the event
  • Insurance
  • PA and communications systems

For more information and to register and event click the link:

Places to Ride Programme – British Cycling

The Places to Ride programme will fund the development of new or the improvement of existing cycling facilities in communities across England.

The programme has been made possible through a new £15 million commitment from Government and will be delivered over the next three years through a partnership of British Cycling, Sport England and the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS).

The aims of the programme are as follows:

  • Encourage more people from a range of different backgrounds regardless of gender, age, ability or ethnicity to engage with cycling in all its forms. To provide more opportunities for people to enjoy riding in an accessible and inclusive environment; focusing especially on provision that responds to the needs of women and girls and people with a disability.
  • Invest in opportunities that connect local communities and address barriers to engaging with cycling. Recognise the wider benefits of riding a bike to enable societal benefits such as community cohesion, reducing social isolation and promoting health and well-being through prevention.
  • Ensure the delivery of a lasting legacy of active environments that provide high quality and affordable opportunities to engage with cycling now, that will continue to be deliverable in the future.

Applications can be made at any time and the closing date is 15 January 2021. For more information click the link:

More than a Pub: The Community Pub Business Support Programme – Plunkett Foundation

Does your community want to take ownership of your local pub and run it for the benefit of the community? Need help getting it into community hands?

The More than a Pub programme provides business development support to enable the community ownership of pubs in both rural and urban communities across England. Funded by Power to Change and delivered by Plunkett Foundation, the second round of the programme builds upon the success of the first, which saw over 450 enquiries received from communities across England and saw 28 pubs open under community ownership.

Support and funding is available to the community pub sector until September 2020.

Church Conservation Grants – William and Jane Morris Fund

Grants between £500 and £5000 are awarded to churches, chapels and other places of worship in the United Kingdom for the conservation of decorative features and monuments, but not for structural repairs.

Grants will be awarded to support smaller programmes of work concerned with the conservation of decorative or non-structural features such as:

  • stained glass windows
  • sculpture
  • furniture
  • internal monuments and tombs
  • wall paintings

The decorative feature, monument, etc must date from no later than 1896 (the year of William Morris’s death). The next deadline for applications is 31 March 2020.

Community Asset Fund – Sport England

Whether it’s the park you run through, the hall you do classes in or the pitch you play on, welcoming and accessible spaces have a big impact on a person’s experience – and likelihood of coming back.

As part of this, Sport England have produced a guide and accompanying document to explain more about the new Community Asset Fund, how and why they’re doing things differently, when they will make decisions plus tips and advice for developing your project or idea.

Sports clubs and community organisations can now apply for investment from the Community Asset Fund – Sport England’s new capital fund dedicated to enhancing the spaces in local communities that give people the opportunity to be active. This fund will have a value of £15 million per annum with the anticipated size of bids between £1000 and £150,000.

There is no deadline to apply.

Tesco Community Grants

Tesco have three local community grant schemes, where the money raised from plastic carrier bag sales is being used to fund thousands of local projects in communities right across the UK.

Projects that bring benefit to their community will get the green light – these range from improving community buildings and outdoor spaces to buying new equipment, training coaches or volunteers, and hosting community events.

There are currently three grant schemes covering different sizes of projects and parts of the country:

  • Tesco Bags of Help, which provides grants of up to £2,000 to projects in the UK
  • Tesco Bags of Help Centenary Grants, which provides funding of up to £25,000 to projects that have a significant regional impact in the UK
  • The Tesco Centenary Fund which provides grants of up to £50,000 to projects that have a significant regional impact in Northern Ireland

For more information please click the link:

Grants for War Memorials

War Memorials Trust administers a number of grants schemes which between them cover the whole of the UK. Currently programme funders include the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, Historic England, Historic Scotland and War Memorials Trust.

Grants are currently available up to 75% of eligible costs with a normal maximum grant of £30,000. War Memorials Trust seeks to help all war memorial custodians, whatever the nature and size of their war memorial by facilitating repair and conservation projects.

Annual deadlines are 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December. For more information please click the link:

Football Foundation grants

The Football Foundation provides grants for building or refurbishing grassroots facilities, such as changing rooms, 3G pitches, fencing, portable floodlights, pitch improvements and clubhouse refurbishment.

The Fund is available to football clubs, schools, councils and local sports associations and gives grants for projects that:

  • Improve facilities for football and other sport in local communities.
  • Sustain or increase participation amongst children and adults, regardless of background age, or ability.
  • Help children and adults to develop their physical, mental, social and moral capacities through regular participation in sport.

Grants are available for between £10,000 and £500,000.

Town and Parish Councils working with Village Halls

There are many instances of successful relationships between Village Halls, Community Centres and their local Town or Parish Council.  This may be through the use of a room for Council meetings or the granting of funds for a building development.

Another relationship may be where a Council acts as a Trustee for a Charity and, from comments made at a recent national training event for Village Hall Advisors, organised by ACRE, this relationship is not always understood.  Examples were given, illustrating an environment of near hostility between the respective organisations.

This article is intended to give some basic information that may help to clarify those Trustee relationships and to promote a healthy and beneficial relationship by avoiding misunderstandings.

Taking a look at the following, we consider the Town or Parish Council acting as Custodian Trustee or becoming the Sole Trustee for a Charity.  The important issues of insurance and Land Registry are also covered below.

Custodian Trustee

This is a very common arrangement where a Council uses its corporate status as a Local Authority to become the Custodian Trustee of the property title, on behalf of the Charity.

Why?  The Charity, as an unincorporated body does not have a ‘legal personality’ in law and cannot hold the title to property in its own name.  However, whilst the vast majority of Village Halls are unincorporated, a few Charities have become ‘incorporated’ as Charitable Companies and others are converting to Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIO), which does enable them to hold the title without a Custodian Trustee.

How?  The Public Trustee Act 1906, section 1, provides the power to act as Custodian Trustee and section 4, determines the limited role of the Custodian Trustee.

This does not mean that the Council owns the property.  That belongs to the Charity, which is managed by the Charity Trustees (the Committee) and is entirely independent from the Council.

From the Council’s perspective, as Custodian Trustee the Council has no obligations for the Charity, other than acting under any lawful instruction given by the Committee in the context of the property title.

If the Charity has any difficulty, the Council as Custodian Trustee is under no obligation to help.  It may, and hopefully chooses to do so, in order to maintain and support a valuable community asset.  The Committee cannot simply abandon the Charity with the assumption that the Council will ‘take over’.  That would be a fundamental ‘breach of trust’ on their part.  Importantly, the Custodian Trustee has no powers to administer the Charity under the 1906 Act or the Charity’s Governing Document and should not seek to do so.

Sadly, there are instances where the Council has misunderstood its limited role as Custodian Trustee and assumed not only an administrative role, but also a dictatorial position over the Committee on the basis that it owns the property, when in fact it does not!

In the event that the Committee does ask the Council to ‘take over’ their role of managing the charity the following section title ‘Sole Trustee’ should apply.

Sole Trustee

The terms ‘Sole Trustee’ is exactly what is implied; one trustee who undertakes all aspects of administration for a charity such as a Village Hall or Community Centre.  However, as stated above, the Council is under no obligation to become ‘Sole Trustee’, even if it is already the Custodian Trustee.

The Charity Commission regard the appointment of a Council as Sole Trustee as a last resort to overcome a failing administration.

Should the Council agree to become the Sole Trustee, in order to preserve a community asset, there are number of issues to be considered.

  • The involvement of the Charity Commission (CC) is necessary.
  • It may be necessary for the Governing Document to be amended or replaced or a Deed of Appointment written.
  • The property will still belong to the Charity and cannot become part of the Council’s asset inventory.
  • The Hall must be administered in accordance with Charity Law and Governing Document.
  • There is a requirement to administer separate meetings, minutes and accounts for the charity.
  • Monies held by the Charity cannot be transferred to the Council.
  • Reporting to the Charity Commission on an annual basis is mandatory.
  • There is no obligation to maintain the property at public expense.

Particular note should be made of the following section about insurance.


Because the Council does not own the property either as Custodian Trustee or Sole Trustee, it has no ‘insurable interest’.  Only the Charity has the ‘insurable interest’ whose principle was established under the Marine Insurance Act 1906.

Insurable interest is attained where a property owner can suffer a loss, through whatever event prevails.  Because the Council does not own the property, it has no insurable interest.

The Charity must have appropriate insurance in its own name and not be insured as part of the Councils assets.

Land Registry

Further confusion can exist with Land Registry documents where a Solicitor, without appropriate Charity Law knowledge has also misunderstood the Trustee issue and its applicable law.

Where there is a legal requirement to register the property at the Land Registry the Council’s name will appear in the ‘Proprietorship Register’.  This does not mean that the property belongs to the Council, who simply lend their legal form to hold the title as a Trustee.

To avoid confusion at a later date, which is an all too common occurrence, the wording in the Proprietorship Register should read: “[Name of Parish Council] as custodian [or Sole] trustee of the [name of village hall]”.

With this inclusion, the relationship is clarified for the future.

This article was provided by Graham Betts, Village Hall Advisor, Shropshire RCC (a member of the ACRE Network of Village Hall Advisors) If you would like to discuss the contents of this article or take advice about a local situation in Cambridgeshire please contact Lisa Chambers at or call 01353 865048