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Organisations with great ideas for improving the lives of people in Cambridgeshire can apply for funding from the Innovate & Cultivate Fund before the next deadline on 1 November, to get their project started or to expand it further.

Since its creation in 2016, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Innovate & Cultivate Fund has supported 43 local projects, investing nearly £1m in communities across Cambridgeshire.

In the last round of funding agreed by members in July, a total of £106,460 was awarded to eight new projects that build a network of community support and help make the lives of children, families, vulnerable adults, and older people better.

Among the successful projects is an innovative pilot from the Cambridge Acorn Project CIC, designed to help reduce emotional distress in 50 vulnerable children and their families using the Tetris video game.

Matt Edge, from Cambridge Acorn Project said: “This funding will have a huge impact for us as a small charity with a significant growing demand on our very limited resources. With this funding, we will be able to expand some innovative work we have been doing using the video game Tetris to help children and young people talk about, and process, traumatic memories and distress. We have seen some initial positive outcomes with this work, but thanks to this funding we can expand its impact and reach more children experiencing distress and work to improve their wellbeing in an evidence-based way”.

Over £18,000 have also been awarded to Arthur Rank Hospice Charity to get their new befriending scheme for people with life-limiting conditions off the ground.

Isla Rowland, Grants and Trusts Manager at Arthur Rank Hospice Charity explained:

“It is common for people who have a life-limiting illness or who are reaching the end of their lives to feel very isolated and lonely, particularly if they are less active, unable to leave the house or live alone.  We often hear from patients how much they would value and benefit from visits at home so we are delighted to be able to set up a project where volunteers can be matched with, and visit patients in their own home. 

“This will connect these people with their wider communities and provide companionship and social interaction, to help them to remain independent for longer.

The Edmund Trust has also been successful in securing over £17,000 for a befriending scheme providing friendship and support to young people with a learning disability.

The money from the Innovate and Cultivate Fund will allow the trust to expand the scheme further from its base in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire, into East Cambridgeshire and Fenland, and support 50 more young people with learning disabilities and their families.

Roland, who is a volunteer at The Edmund Trust said: “As a volunteer for The Edmund Trust’s befriending scheme, I have been introduced to and made friends with a number of different people. In each case, the person benefiting from the scheme is able to form a new relationship with someone who is not a family member, a professional or a carer, but someone who they get to know as a friend. That seems to me to be something that everyone deserves.

“The very first person I was connected with through the befriending scheme is Sean. Sean is 28 and we are firm friends who share many of the same interests and hobbies. We enjoy bowling, swimming, going to the cinema and eating cheeseburgers. If you asked Sean he might also tell you that we both enjoy singing along to Olly Murs while we’re in the car, but I wouldn’t ever admit to that publicly. Sean is a kind, happy and compassionate young man. I’m proud to have him as a friend.”

The five other successful projects awarded funding in July were: a new Timebank in Sawston, a research based training programme for early year’s practitioners provided by Cambridgeshire Early Years Teaching School Alliance, a personal service to carers and older people in Gamlingay, a Good Neighbour scheme at Hemingford’s Hub and Disability Cambridgeshire’s recruitment of a specialist case worker to support vulnerable adults with financial and benefits advice.

Large and small pots of funding are available for local voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations in Cambridgeshire. Applicants can bid for funding ranging from £2,000 - £19,000 for small ‘Cultivate’ grants and up to £50,000 for larger ‘Innovate’ grants which can demonstrate how their good ideas can make a difference, and prevent the need for Council services.

The deadline for the next round of Cultivate applications is Friday 1 November 2019. A free advice session to support potential applicants to develop their project ideas and grant applications will be held on 19 September (9.30am - 12.30pm) at Ely Community Centre.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s Chairman of the Communities and Partnership Committee, Councillor Steve Criswell said: “Our Innovate & Cultivate Fund is designed to fund projects led by communities who know themselves best and have a direct impact on residents’ lives. This means we can support people to help themselves and improve outcomes at the same time.

“In addition to improving people’s lives and thanks to a rigorous Return on Investment assessment of every successful bid, we estimate that we can save over £1,160,000 back over time by preventing, reducing and delaying the need for costly council services in the longer term.”

“With the next application deadline around the corner, I encourage local groups to come forward with ideas and attend our free advice session in September to take full advantage of this funding boost.”

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


Roland and Sean became friends through the Edmund Trust's befriending scheme, a project funded by the Innovate & Cultivate Fund.

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