We entered into the second national lockdown on 5th November which meant that community centres and village halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities. Further guidance on these restrictions can be viewed on the Government website via the link. ACRE has also released a new information sheet to support community building trustees, volunteers and staff at this time, please view the ACRE website for more information or contact me directly for copies of this information.
Local authorities are now rolling out additional funding support to businesses as directed by Government. We know that some District Councils are already proactively contacting community businesses to make them aware of the funding available. We are writing to you today to confirm the types of funding and to provide links to your local authorities so you may consider making an application for these funds depending on your circumstances.
District Councils now have two additional pots of money to allocate:
A Local Restrictions Support Grant fund – This is aimed at businesses with a rateable value that have been forced to close since 5 November. There is a list setting out which businesses are required to close and community centres/buildings are on that list (apart from a very few permitted activities). The amount Community Buildings/Village Halls are eligible for will vary depending on the rateable value, as follows:
properties with a rateable value of exactly £15,000 or under on 5 November 2020 will receive a payment of £1,334 per 28-day qualifying restriction period.
properties with a rateable value over £15,000 and less than £51,000 on 5 November 2020 will receive a payment of £2,000 per 28-day qualifying restriction period.
properties with a rateable value of exactly £51,000 or above on 5 November 2020 will receive £3,000 per 28-day qualifying restriction period.
An Additional Restrictions Grant fund – Businesses that are required to close but do not have a rateable value may be eligible for a discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant. Many businesses are not required to close but are severely impacted. This grant may be of use to community buildings that do not have a rateable value or community buildings that have only partly closed due to the nature of some of their permitted activities.
We recommend that you visit your District Council’s website for more information on these funds and where possible apply for the appropriate grant for your situation. All Districts have opened for applications to their Local Restrictions Support Grant pot already, with their Additional Restrictions Grant funds expected to open for applications within the next week. The links below will take you to the appropriate web page for each District Council; we suggest you bookmark the one for the District in which your building is located:
In September 2020 Support Cambridgeshire were commissioned to carry out some quantitative research into how the sector and statutory partners had adapted and worked together during the period of lockdown as part of this we talked with:
19 groups made up from a range of countywide, small and newly formed community groups and charities;
representatives from 6 district/city hubs and the county hub.
We carried out some basic desk research into reports and research carried out by other local and national bodies, we combined these findings with our first-hand experience in working with organisations during the period March to September 2020. This included learning from networking events, from requests for support and from catch up calls with colleagues. The report forms part of a wider document that is available here.
We have witnessed thousands of individual acts of kindness, some small some big, but all important, and all…
CCVS are running an evening session aimed at community groups to look at successful online fundraising ideas and other ways of raising finance beyond grant funding. This is an opportunity to hear from other community groups about:
Running a successful crowdfunding campaign
Hosting an online community fundraiser including raffles and competitions
This event will include a speaker from the Co-Op to talk about their role in creating local forums to share resources and make things happen. We will also talk about social finance and community share schemes which some communities have been able to utilise to save crucial community assets.
The session is a chance to hear what others have done, ask questions, share your own ideas and experience and influence the content of future CCVS sessions. The session is funded by SCDC so priority will be given to groups/communities from their area but we anticipate there being space for groups from elsewhere in the County.
For more information and how to book please go directly to CCVS website –
Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) is calling on England’s 10,000 village halls to make sure policies and procedures are in place to keep everyone safe.
The charity which heads up England’s largest rural grouping of community support agencies will be raising an awareness of measures that can be taken by halls to protect individuals from harm as part of Safeguarding Adults Week 2020 which begins Monday 16 November.
Paul Dixon, ACRE’s Rural Evidence Manager said: “We want volunteers managing village halls to understand they have an important part to play in creating safe spaces for members of their community, especially when it comes to protecting younger or more vulnerable rural people. Over the campaign week we will be highlighting the importance of having safeguarding policies and procedures in place, how everyone has a responsibility to look out for others, and where to find help”
Safeguarding Adults Week 2020 is a national campaign run by Ann Craft Trust. ACRE’s involvement in this national campaign is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and has the aim of sharing resources and best practice amongst community groups.
A recent national survey conducted by ACRE showed that village halls are a vital asset for many rural communities. 60% of halls provide the only meeting space in the local area, whilst 80% of respondents knew someone whose lives had changed for the better as a result of joining activities at their local hall.
Halls can continue to improve lives through adopting effective safeguarding practices and policies, to ensure that everyone is protected in rural areas.
Expert village hall advisers, employed by members of the ACRE Network will be on hand in every county to help management committees understand information about safeguarding and put in place policies and procedures suitable for use in their hall.
The Prime Minister announced over the weekend there will be another national lockdown. I have received several emails and phone calls today asking about the impact this will have on Community Buildings and unfortunately we don’t know the answer to that until at least Wednesday 4th November when MPs vote and the guidance is updated.
A full list of the business closures will be published and set out in law in due course.
Some venues will be allowed to remain open for specific exempt activities, like childcare and support groups.
When we have further guidance we will be able to circulate this information to the network of village halls and community buildings. Please remember to view the Government website to see the latest updates via the link below:
This winter, it’s really important that we all remember that the NHS is here to help you stay well, safely.
We have been working hard to make changes to how healthcare is provided to make it safe for you during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
If you’re worried about your health, don’t delay. The sooner you get advice, the better.
Depending on your symptoms, you can get advice from your local pharmacy, GP practice or NHS 111. For minor health concerns, your local pharmacist can help. GP practices offer remote consultations online or by phone, or if you need a face-to-face appointment, they will tell you what to do.
If you need medical help fast, think you need to go to an Emergency Department (A&E) or you’re not sure what to do, use NHS 111 first – online or by phone to get clinical advice or direction to the most appropriate services for treatment for you.
You can also help us to help you. If you are over 65, have a long-term health condition or are pregnant, it is more important than ever this year to ensure you have your free flu vaccination. Just speak to your GP or pharmacist to book an appointment. You can also find more information at www.nhs.uk/fluvaccine
Be sure to also stock up your medicine cabinet with winter self-care essentials too. Many over-the-counter medicines (including paracetamol and ibuprofen) are available to help relieve symptoms of common winter illnesses and you can find further information at www.nhs.uk
To help prevent further spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) please follow current Government guidelines for the area you live in at all times. If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus it’s important you get tested as soon as possible. You can apply for a test online via www.nhs.uk/coronavirus, or by calling 119.
Power Partners has just launched its fourth round of funding for community organisations to combat fuel poverty and increase energy resilience during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
Power Partners is a £300,000 community investment fund from UK Power Networks, the company that owns and maintains electricity infrastructure in the South East, East of England and London.
Community organisations and not-for-profits can apply for grants between £2,000 and £20,000 to deliver projects which support customers who are vulnerable or living in areas with high levels of deprivation or fuel poverty. UKPN are also interested to hear from projects that will support those who are experiencing emerging vulnerabilities or entering into fuel poverty as a result of the COVID-19 impacts.
If you are part of an organisation which works with vulnerable people you and your team might benefit from some free training PECT are able to provide on Fuel Poverty.
As the nights are drawing in and our thoughts turn to winter and to how we will heat our homes this year, there is a growing concern in the energy awareness sector about the impacts of cold on the most vulnerable.
With this in mind I have some good news, PECT are now in a position to offer free training to you and your team over the coming months.
The training is delivered via video link, so it’s great for allowing people to log in from home or their workplace, it lasts for 30 minutes to an hour and can be delivered as part of an existing team meeting or as a stand-alone session.
The training covers the following topics:
What fuel poverty is, how it can effect health and how to spot it
The priority service register
Switching energy supplier or tariff
Energy efficiency advice
Advice about home improvement grants
How to apply for fuel debt relief if you live in Cambridgeshire
Condensation and damp
Local services to refer to for help
We have electronic booklets and leaflets which we share as part of the training package.