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An additional £1M has been agreed for the Innovate and Cultivate Fund to continue to help amazing people, do amazing things, for others in their communities.

Today at General Purposes Committee (22 January), Members agreed to inject a further £1M to the funding pot that allows innovative ideas to support local communities to get off the ground and grow.

A total of 26 community projects have been awarded Innovate and Cultivate funding since the fund was launched in 2016 for a total of £564,268.

Growing increasingly popular with large and small community groups, a further 30 applications were received for the current funding round and three new Cultivate grants have just been agreed (£21,440 in total), while six Innovate projects will proceed to the next stage.

Pots of funding are available for local community groups, and applicants can bid for blocks of funding ranging from £2,000 - £19,000 for small grants (Cultivate) and up to £50,000 for large grants (Innovate).

By funding projects led by communities who know themselves best and have a direct impact on residents’ lives, the Council can support people to help themselves and improve outcomes at the same time. Thanks to a rigorous Return on Investment assessment of every successful bid, it is estimated that the council can save over £1,160,000 over time by preventing, reducing and delaying the need for Council services in the longer term.

Projects that received funding in the past include: a group supporting parents of children with disabilities; another which provides youth clubs for autistic children; a Parish Nursing programme in rural South Cambridgeshire villages; and a centre supporting vulnerable mothers to sustain a healthy pregnancy and prepare for a healthy relationship with their babies.

The Houghton & Wyton Timebank was awarded £10,000 in February 2018 to develop their activities and connect young and old people through volunteering to reduce isolation and help frail elderly members to maintain their independence in their own home.

Mary is 95 years old and until June had been living independently at home without any support from Council services. In early June Mary had a fall, which resulted in her staying in hospital for a few days, upon her return she fell again and her family made the decision to move her to a care home locally. Mary hated this loss of independence and missed her friends. The Timebank team worked with her and her family to organise visits and ensure she could return to the various events taking place over the summer, including the afternoon tea and street party.

Vickie Graham, Houghton and Wyton Timebank Coordinator said: “At the end of August, Mary made the decision to move back to her home and her daughters contacted us for support. Initially members helped by installing grab rails at the top of the stairs and followed this with a network of visitors.

“Mary is feeling more settled at home and although the family are concerned with how long she can independently live they have been happy with the series of visitors we have been able to provide for support. Mary often feels she can’t give anything back to the Timebank so provides us with jars of coffee for our coffee mornings and donates prizes for raffles. One of her visitors donates all of her hours to Mary to ensure she has time in the bank.”

Cambridgeshire County Council’s Chairman of the Communities and Partnership Committee, Councillor Steve Criswell said, “This extra funding will enable the Council to help more innovative projects to flourish and help make a difference in our communities.

“We will also use it to develop a selection of approved cultivate project models, which we know meet the funding criteria, are sustainable in the longer term and are already being successfully delivered here and elsewhere; for example good neighbour schemes and Timebanks, which make an incredible impact on the community and help reduce demand on Council services.

“There are so many community groups and organisations out there who want to be more active and involved in enhancing the lives of residents in our communities, and we are here to help support you on your journey to making a positive impact on people’s lives.

“With the next application deadline around the corner, I would like to encourage local groups to come forward with ideas and take advantage of this funding boost.”

The deadlines for the next round of applications is Wednesday 1 May 2019.

Organisations and local groups looking for further information can see full details at the Innovate and Cultivate website: https://www.cambscf.org.uk/icf.html


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