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New Training Opportunity; Living Well in 2021 Webinar

At CCB we recently completed an online survey asking individuals in communities in Berkshire what was important to them and their local community. Thank you to the 200 people that completed this survey, the results revealed that number 1 of the top 5 list of priorites was general Health & Wellbeing (the current pandemic was listed as an alternative priority). This led us to think about how we can help individuals and community minded people that may wish to improve their health and wellbeing as well as support their neighbours, family, friends and wider community.

To begin with we though we would set up a training session that will use the ‘5 Ways of Wellbeing’ to focus on the small changes we can make in our daily lives to feel better both physically and mentally. We are working with some other great West Berkshire charities to bring people this training opportunity as well as individuals that will talk about their own personal experiences and hopefully act as inspiration to others. We know that most people are currently caught up in the hubbub of Christmas but please don’t let that delay you in booking on this interesting and informative session.

Friday 29th January (originally 15th Jan), 10.30am. For further details and to book your place please click here:

CCB Family Home Energy Education and Advice Project

Helen Dean at CCB, would like to wish a very Merry Christmas to all the frontline workers that she partners with to support low-income families to reduce their energy and water bills.

Helen states, “Please do tell all your families on low-incomes, or certain benefits, to claim the Warm Home Discount ASAP! As of 16.12.20 all the big six suppliers have their applications still open, but they could close any day soon! For more information – see or your electricity supplier’s website. I’m back for referrals for telephone advice on January 5th 2021.”

Gas Safe Charity

The Gas Safe Charity is offering a free, on line Zoom workshop aimed at front line staff and volunteers who visit or work in the homes of vulnerable people. The workshop lasts about an hour and explains the sources, signs and symptoms of high and low level carbon monoxide risks in the home and includes relevant scenarios to explain what steps to take if carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected. To find out more and book one of the 15 workshops taking place before the end of March 2021, please click on the link:

Yattendon Post Office

New evidence of Post Office role as local community “lifeline”

A major study for Post Office Ltd (POL) sets out new evidence of the vital part post offices play providing essential services and support to citizens and local economies.

More than 8 in 10 (82%) people see their post office as an essential service, with young people valuing it almost as much as older people. Small businesses also rely on their local post office – 43% say they would not survive without it. Proximity is vital for both consumers and businesses, and 67% have a branch within a 10 minute journey, and 38% within a 10 minute walk.

Of the network’s wide range of services, mail services are most commonly used – 83% of respondents using it for letters and stamps and 80% for parcels. Post offices are also frequently used for returning online orders (54%), exchanging foreign currency (54%) and picking up official forms (44%). Just over 1 in 3 (35%) have used branches to withdraw or deposit cash.

Highlighting the importance of post offices as a physical presence, 87% of respondents agreed that the Post Office is an essential service for vulnerable or lonely people. And only 47% of people aged 65+ said they would be able to find an alternative place to access pensions and benefits. POL also says post offices deliver a lifeline to struggling high streets. Visits to

post offices help drive 400 million extra visitors and £1.1 bn additional revenue to other local businesses.

POL’s report follows Citizens Advice’s recent call for increased government investment in post offices to fix the cracks in the network and allow post offices to deliver even greater social value.

Do some good this Christmas...

We saw these top tips from Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert, and we thought it was such good advice we had to share with our readers.
Christmas doesn't need to be a festival of retail. The real spirit is to make it a time of genuine giving. So rather than tit-for-tat swapping of unwanted presents with friends, why not give time and thought to others, or donate to some good causes? Here are a few ideas...

Help feed the hungry for free with just one click. Via a special site where sponsors donate on your behalf. See give with a click.
Check out charity gift catalogues - from goats to jabs. Why not agree to give to good causes in each other's name? Be it a goat to help a family, life-saving jabs for children or Christmas dinner for a homeless young person in the UK, our charity gift catalogue guide is packed with ideas.
Foodbanks need help. Charity the Trussell Trust has forecast a huge 61% increase in foodbank demand this winter, due in part to the pandemic. We've links to find your nearest, plus how to help even if you're not flush with cash. See foodbank help .
Buy a toy for a child who might not get a gift. If you can afford to, why not double up on gifts, to ensure a youngster who won't get anything can get one too... Christmas present appeal.

CCB’s Community Building Advice Service

This month Kate & Gemma successfully delivered an online training session on the Village Hall Quality Standard Hallmark Level 1 to a dozen Trustees from village halls and community buildings in West Berkshire. Hallmark Level 1 is a Quality Standard from our national body Action with Communities in Rural England, they demonstrate to your Community and stakeholders that your building meets the basic standards (Level 1) through to exceptional standards (Level 3) of quality provision.The training went well and it provided an added opportunity for Trustees to share their experiences and lessons learnt in the course of helping to run a key community asset. A learner stated “It was an excellent course, which has drawn our attention to the ways we can improve how the Memorial Hall is run.”

The next training webinar we are running specifically for Community Building & Village Halls is on the topic of Safeguarding Your Village Hall on 21st January 2021, 10.30am. For further details please click here.

Rural Isolation & Loneliness

With limits on social gatherings in place this December, more people than usual may find themselves feeling lonely during the festive period. It is the time of year when people are normally getting into the Christmas spirit. But with limits on gatherings in place across the UK and other nations, the countdown to the festive period has been somewhat muted this year.

According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, there were nine million lonely people in the UK before the pandemic – a figure that is likely to have risen significantly since restrictions came in. Fortunately, there are many ways we can connect with each other over the coming weeks. From writing to strangers to volunteering for a charity, this great article from Positive.News gives us 7 things that we can all do to avoid loneliness this Christmas:

This year Tim at CCB continues to work with rural communities in Berkshire looking at ways of supporting stakeholder groups that are interested in better understanding existing demand, current provision and unmet need in their village/parish. Tim would like to draw people’s attention to this funding opportunity: and states; “I’d be very happy to provide support to any rural community in Berkshire interested in applying to this fund for activities that reduce social isolation. Please contact me at”

Have a 'green' Christmas and a waste Free New Year!

While it may be a different Christmas and New Year for most people this year, we are expected to produce an extra 3 million tonnes of rubbish in the UK during the festive season. Have a 'greener' Christmas and follow these top tips to recycle your waste.

Get Food Savvy for Christmas

Get food savvy this Christmas - Before you go shopping make a list and check what you already have in the cupboard.

Check your dates - Did you know you can freeze food right up until it's use by date? If you aren't going to eat all the cheese you've bought, pop it in the freezer for another time.

Don't let food go to waste - Made too much gravy? Pour any left over gravy into a ice cube tray and freeze ready for your next roast dinner.

Love Food Hate Waste have lots of excellent advice to help you make the most of your food!

Wrapping up Christmas

Try alternatives to wrapping paper this year. Gift bags or boxes can be reused time and time again and off cuts of material can make presents look beautiful under the tree.

Unfortunately wrapping paper that contains foil, plastic or glitter cannot be recyclced so choose recyclable paper or use brown paper with string and plastic free tape.

To check if your wrapping paper can be recycled give it the scrunch test! If the paper unfolds back, it contains plastic or foil and sadly cannot be recycled. It the wrapping paper remains in a scrunch ball, it's good for recycling.

Recruitment: YMCA Reading

YMCA Reading, as a charity, provides 36 units of housing for young people aged 16-25 and 4 mother and baby units in purpose-built supported accommodation. They also provide a venue for community focussed activities (YMCA Sports Centre) and run a Pre-School (2-4 year olds), a Community Café and an outdoor Activity Centre. They are currently recruiting for a Chief Executive and a Reception Administrator, for further details please click here.

Nominate to Celebrate!

Do you know a Berkshire individual, charity organisation, or community group that makes a real difference to the lives of others? If so please nominate them for a High Sheriffs Award.

In such a very challenging year many groups and individuals have been extraordinary. These awards are a chance to celebrate and thank some of our Berkshire unsung heroes. All nominees will be recognised, with runners up and winners getting social media and press coverage, interviews and an Awards event in March.

Nominating is easy via

Join in and help champion our local unsung heroes.

Have your say in the Berkshire West Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy!

The Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy for Berkshire West: Reading, West Berkshire & Wokingham

What is the Joint Health and wellbeing strategy?

A Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy sets out where professionals across health and social care will work together to improve the health of the population.

This year, for the first time, the Health and Wellbeing Boards in Reading, West Berkshire and Wokingham have joined together to produce a new 10-year plan to improve the health and wellbeing of people who live across Berkshire West.

Why is this strategy important?

The new strategy will be the focus for health and social care working in partnership across all three areas to improve your health and wellbeing. It is a declaration of where we all think it is important to work together to make a difference, and so will affect decisions about where money is spent and where resources are put over the next 10 years.

How can I make a difference?

Berkshire West CCG have spoken with professionals and looked at data to see what areas they think are important to include. Through this, they have created a list of 11 possible priorities but now need your help to decide which of these should be included in the final strategy.

All 11 of these areas are important, but Berkshire West CCG think it is essential to focus on a smaller number and so make sure we can do them right, making a real difference to people’s lives. We want to understand what is important to you and where you want us to focus our time, energy, resources and commitment.

What can I do?

You can have your say by answering an online survey. The survey is open until 5pm on Friday, 29 January 2021.

Funding Opportunities in December

Please find a list of funding opportunities for volunary organisations and community groups currently available - bought to you by Berkshire’s fantastic Council for Voluntary Service’s.

Berkshire Community Foundation Co-Op Fund open for applications for work to combat food poverty

Funds allocated to Berkshire through the National Emergencies Trust and Co-Op, are available for grants to be allocated to local charities, community and voluntary groups working to combat food poverty in Berkshire. The aims of the fund:

Didymus funding for social inclusion – rolling deadline

Didymus seeks to help and encourage smaller charities who are working in the areas of social inclusion, education, the arts, equality and diversity and religious understanding.

Support to Improve Life Opportunities for Disadvantaged People

Our ‘Vision’ is that people living with a physical and/or mental disability or a long-term illness should have, as many as possible, of the same choices, quality of life opportunities and aspirations as others more fortunate than themselves. To help us achieve this goal we provide grants to other charities with a gross annual income of £5M or less and operating front line services supporting this beneficiary group.

Museum Digital Innovation & Engagement

The new fund will enable museums and galleries to kick-start, scale up, and evaluate the innovations they’ve designed to connect collections to a udiences through the Covid-19 pandemic. Deadline is 21st December:

Project Viability Fund: Transforming Places Scheme

Constituted charities, social enterprises Parish and Town Councils can apply for up to £15,000 from the Transforming Places scheme, but only if:

Working to Protect Wokingham Town’s Past, Present & Future

The Wokingham Society works for the public benefit in the area within the Wokingham Town Parish.

Persimmon Community Champions Funding Good Causes

Each of our businesses and our PLC head office are giving away up to £2000 each month to fund local community initiatives. We want to focus on organisations that support the over-70s – a vulnerable group in our society that we feel need our support at this time. Apply by 31st December 2020.:

HMRC Grant Funding

HMRC is looking for voluntary and community sector organisations to support them in helping customers they currently find hardest to reach, who cannot or will not interact directly with them or need extra support in doing so.

Arts-based Learning Fund

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation will accept applications from arts organisations that are working with schools, colleges and other formal education settings to enhance the lives, development and achievements of children and young people through high quality arts-based learning activities.

“I’ve got an idea” Fund

Individuals or small groups or organisations including groups of school children who have a novel technical idea which they want to try out and, if it worked, would deliver either an environmental or social benefit can apply for grants of between £250 and £5,000.

Small Grants Programme

The Foyle Foundation small grants programme offers funds of £10,000 to small charities (with income under £150,000) working at grass roots and local community level. Charities can be working in any field, across a wide range of activities.

Adint Charitable Trust

The Adint Charitable Trust makes grants of between £250 and £15,000 to registered charities for general charitable purposes, but has a preference for charities working in the fields of education, training, disability, sport and/or recreation.

Funding for Charities That Make a Positive Difference

The Foundation donates over £80 million annually to a broad range of charities across the UK that make a positive difference.They fund a wide range of causes and charities and the grants vary according to the size of the charity and the work being undertaken.

National Lottery Community Fund programmes re-open

Awards for All for up to £10,000, and for larger amounts, the Reaching Communities and Partnership schemes have just re-opened. They are interested in projects where people are in the lead, which:

involve people and communities from the start 

build on people’s strengths

are connected in their community.

No deadline.

Awards for All – apply for smaller amounts of funding between £300 and £10,000

Reaching Communities – larger amount of funding (over £10,000) for organisations that work with their community to help them thrive.

Partnerships – a larger amount of funding (over £10,000) for organisations that work together with a shared set of goals to help their community thrive – whether that’s a community living in the same area, or people with similar interests or life experiences.

ESFA Community Training Grants – Thames Valley Berkshire

Community Training grants between £5,000 and £20,000 are available for projects supporting people who are unemployed or economically inactive, move closer towards employment.

Deadline: 18 January 2021

Tier 3 rules

The whole of Berkshire has now just been placed in Tier 3 by the government, a reminder of the new rules can be found above. For information on the Christmas Bubble rules please click here.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Finally it’s time to wish you all a warm, healthy and happy Christmas and a lovely New Year. A tricky year for most of us, but lots of positives to come out of it too, for us at CCB it was witnessing so many communities in Berkshire coming together and supporting their neighbours and most vulnerable - we know that this community spirit will continue well into 2021.

(photo taken pre March 2020)

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