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Local voluntary groups set for over £1million boost from city council community grants

News release from 2 March 2022

MORE THAN 50 local groups and organisations will receive over £1million in funding from Cambridge City Council’s Community Grants scheme for 2022-23. 

The Community Grant fund is aimed at voluntary, community and not-for-profit groups working on projects to reduce social or economic inequality among Cambridge residents with the highest needs.  

The recommended funding for 2022-23, which was approved at the Full Council budget meeting on 24 February, will help to provide a variety of activities and services to residents including:  

For those on low incomes: legal, welfare, debt and financial advice and support for residents; training sessions; holiday lunches; Cambridge Food Poverty Alliance support; emergency care packs for families experiencing financial crisis. 

For young people: youth groups; swimming sessions for disabled children and their families; school holiday activities for children; information, advice and support services; courses and learning opportunities; weekly Lego clubs; life and social skills for autism-disadvantaged young people. 

For families: summer trips; peer support for mothers with mental health issues; weekly drop-in sessions for families with family support and play workers; a peer support group for isolated mothers; support for families experiencing financial difficulties; toddler groups; a programme to help women recovering from domestic abuse. 

For older people: outings, newsletters, sports and fitness sessions.  

For disabled people: arts, music and drama courses targeting people at risk of social exclusion due to mental health issues; life skills; sports sessions; social sessions; work and education support; a club for people with learning disabilities; activity sessions and employability workshops for people with visual impairments; weekly home visits to housebound residents. 

Arts and cultural activities:  A Black History Month celebration event; dance and fitness classes; community projects developed with artists from under-represented groups; apprenticeships and placements at arts venue; community workshops and outreach on local history; Strawberry Fair festival in June 2022; Cambridge Pride festival in June 2022. 

Digital projects: digital skills training for organisations; a digital inclusion hub and weekly outreach sessions; skills including adaptive equipment for those with disabilities; employment training support; a personalised digital inclusion project leading to employability. 

Equalities projects: summer trips for Black and Asian people; activities supporting LGBT+ people; co-ordinating LGBT+ History Month; groups for young LGBT+ people; race equality services; human rights and equality service; Autumn festival for the Indian community; an outing and activities for older Vietnamese people; swimming for trans and non-binary people 

Community Projects: trips, Easter, summer and Christmas events; a time credits scheme; neighbourhood groups, festivals and events; open co-farming sessions 

Support for the voluntary sector: support for established and emerging local voluntary and community groups and social enterprises; volunteering opportunities, recruitment and management. 

In addition, a grant of £30,000 is being allocated to Cambridge Council for the Voluntary Sector (CCVS) for a project to build community power and resilience, following the remarkable support provided by communities in responding to the challenges of the pandemic.

This links to the council’s ‘Our Cambridge’ programme, part of which is seeking to strengthen and utilise community networks to provide services more effectively. 

The council has also allocated £100k of the Covid funding received from the government to support emergency food aid and food programmes in the city. 

The 2022-23 Community Grants programme was open for applications from August to October 2021. The council worked closely with organisations looking to apply for funding during this period, including holding workshops with Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service and 1-1 sessions. 

Applications were expected to achieve the primary outcome of reducing social and/or economic inequality for Cambridge residents with the highest needs, as well as one or more of the following outcomes: 

 - Improving health and wellbeing 

 - Enabling communities to come together and bring about change 

 - Giving more people better opportunities to gain employment 

 - Strengthening the voluntary sector in Cambridge 

Cllr Anna Smith, Leader of the Council and Executive Councillor for Communities, said: “These Community Grants will help enable a large number of groups across the city to continue doing fantastic work to support Cambridge residents with the highest need.  

“The groups due to be allocated grants are working to bring people together, boost health and wellbeing and provide some important services for residents who might not otherwise have them. We are pleased to be able to fund such a wide range of activities in the coming year as a crucial part of our ongoing work to tackle poverty and inequality in the city, and to strengthen the partnerships made – and incredible work carried out – in Cambridge since the start of the pandemic.”