Action for All Monthly E-bulletin

Don’t forget your pencil!

Today polling stations will open across England for local elections. Many of these will be taking place in your local village or community hall so a big thanks go to all those involved with reopening today so we can safely cast our votes.

The '“you have no authority here Jackie Weaver” Zoom call that went viral from a Cheshire Parish Council this year may have helped put the behind-the-scenes work of local councils in the general publics' minds. The video itself might not completely show local council life in a positive light but our Parish and Town councils should always be at the heart of local communities and operate well at grassroots level of local government so do ensure, if you haven’t already, you get out there and cast your vote!

Here are 5 important decisions that your local council makes on your behalf. There's plenty more.

  • Providing care for the elderly and disabled

  • Fixing potholes on some roads

  • Collecting rubbish

  • Providing libraries

  • Planning applications

Why do elections matter?

It will be a bit of a welcome day out for some of us voting today in Berkshire. Voters are asked to bring their own pen or pencil (and facemask), to keep the process as hygienic as possible.

CCB’s Community Building Advice Service

Your Village Hall can open again from 17th May. Whoopee!

The latest advice to allow safe re-opening from our national body ACRE and an array of supporting documents can be found on our CBAS web page by clicking here.

Broadly the highlights of rules post-May 17th can be found below:

  • Controlled indoor events can take place with up to 50% capacity.

  • Hospitality settings will be able to open in accordance with the “rule of 6”, so community cafes, coffee mornings and social clubs can take place.

  • Film shows, plays, concerts and sports matches can take place, subject to social distancing.

  • Indoor sports activities, including exercise classes, table tennis, badminton can take place.

  • Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions, and wakes. More than 30 are permitted at a funeral (organizer to determine what is safe). Baptisms and bar mitzvahs will be allowed.

  • Organised outdoor entertainment can take place.

  • The "rule of six" will be abolished for outdoor gatherings, replaced with a limit of 30 people.

  • The “rule of 6” will apply to indoor events. Guidance on social contact between friends and family will be reviewed.

What training for village halls would you like us to deliver next year?

If you are involved with running your local village hall or community building please email and let us know what training you would be interested in next year?

Some ideas for 2021 include; Online booking systems; low carbon energy efficient heating systems (air/ground source heating, wood pellet burners, photo-voltaic etc.); attracting new trustees

So far in 2021 we have already delivered;

  • Safeguarding policy training to 41 village halls

  • Covid Safe food hygiene to 50 organisations who will offer food/refreshments in your Halls when government restrictions lift

This academic year we have delivered;

Hallmark 1 Quality Standard training to 14 Village Halls

Thanks go to West Berkshire Council and Wokingham Borough Council Adult Community Learning teams for supporting these training events.

CCB Family Home Energy Education and Advice Project

Do you work with families who could do with some help to cut the costs of their gas, electricity and water bills?

Helen continues to give telephone advice to low-income families, so please refer them by emailing Helen at

This is feedback from Natalie, who has had numerous telephone consultations from Helen, in her own words:

“I can't thank you enough for all the help you have given me regarding the problems I was having with my extortionate gas bill and also how to get some help from Thames Water to reduce my bill. The information you provided me with over the telephone, the regular contact, and the links you sent me via email were extremely helpful to getting these issues resolved.”

Collaorative Housing Hub

We are thrilled to announce that Collaborative Housing is holding a Thames-Valley Community-Led Housing Festival from the 10 to 14 May 2021.

The festival will be held from the 10th to the 14th of May and will comprise a week-long series of online events covering topics such as affordable housing, building partnerships, sustainable building, retrofitting, diversity in community-led housing, and the impact of the pandemic on how we live in our homes and neighbourhoods. Open to people from Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, the festival offers a different session each day of the week. Hear from:

  • New and established groups talking about their projects and sharing what they have learnt to get their community-led housing schemes off the ground

  • Local designers, architects and developers in conversation to share experiences on how sustainability can be achieved in new-build housing schemes as well as retro-fit properties

  • Local authorities and registered providers talking about the role of self-build and the impact of the pandemic on community-led housing solutions

Sessions are free-of-charge but must be booked in advance. Please find booking details here:

Have you joined Community Organisers yet?

Community organising is the work of bringing people together to take action around their common concerns and overcome social injustice. Community organisers reach out and listen, connect and motivate people to build their collective power.

CCB has been working with Community Organisers Ltd for the last 3 years, bringing their training to Berkshire and helping active citizens improve their skills in community engagement, empowering them to bring about positive changes within their communities.

Membership of Community Organisers Ltd is free and brings with it access to an incredible network of like-minded people from across England. See for details on how to join.

Joining Community Organisers will also connect you with local people working to improve life within Berkshire. Community Organisers Berkshire, a CCB initiative, provides support to anyone needing information and advice with progressing their own community-led project.

Members of Community Organisers can now take advantage of a new benefit: Peer Learning Circles. People often find that the best way to learn new skills is through doing something, and then reflecting on this with others. The Peer Learning Circles will help you apply the skills that you are developing as community organisers, to the work you are involved with on the ground.

Members can sign up to join a Peer Learning Circle and be matched with people either from the local area or members from farther afield but with similar interests or working on similar projects.

If you'd like to hear more about Peer Learning Circles or find out about Community Organisers Berkshire, please contact Tim Parry at CCB.

Funding Information for Communities & Voluntary Groups in Berkshire - May 2021

Thanks goes to Berkshire’s brilliant CVS’s for the content in this news item, namely Wokingham & Bracknell InVOLve, Reading Voluntary Action, Volunteer Centre West Berkshire and Slough CVS.

Give a Child a Chance

This fund by Berkshire Community Foundation is now open. Grants can be made to individual children and groups that work with children up to and including the age of 18 (and up to the age of 25 with Special Educational Needs (SEN)).

People’s Postcode Lottery Society Trust Funds

The aim of the Trust is to support small charities and good causes in the South of England to make a difference to their community for the benefit of people and planet.

Lord Barnby’s Foundation

Lord Barnby’s Foundation offers grants to charitable organisations in England and Wales for general charitable purposes, the advancement of health or saving of lives, disability, the prevention or relief of poverty, environment, conservation and heritage.

Grants to Repair, Build and Maintain Facilities

Grants of up to £5,000 are available for all kinds of projects, from repairing buildings and improving facilities in deprived areas, to decorating the homes of people living with sickness and disabilities.

2021 Stop Loan Sharks Community Fund

Deadline: 30 June 2021Grants are available for local charities, community and voluntary groups, schools and statutory agencies in England for projects that target illegal money lending.

Toy Trust

Deadline:30 June 2021 Grants are available for registered charities undertaking projects to support disadvantaged and disabled children who are under 13 years of age within the UK and abroad.

Music for All – Community Project FundingDeadline: 1 July 2021Grants are available to UK-based community groups that aim to bring musical projects to their local communities

Magic Little Grants Fund 2021 Deadline: 31 October 2021Small one-off grants are available to small local charities and community groups for community projects in Great Britain that address themes set out by the funders.

Charity & Community Group Covid Hardship Fund

From 1st March 2021 to 31st May 2021, the Arnold Clark Community Fund will be open to all UK registered charities and local community groups who need financial assistance due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the end of each month, 500 applications can receive grants of up to £1000.

Supporting people affected or suffering from breast cancer

The Pink Ribbon Foundation makes grants to £5000 to charities and constituted organisations which relieve the needs of people who are suffering from, or have been affected by breast cancer, or for organisations working in its early detection and treatment.

Shape the future of your area

The Neighbourhood Planning Grant Scheme, enables local communities to apply for grants totalling £10,000 to help shape the future of their local area through the development of neighbourhood plans or neighbourhood development orders.

Funding for Allotment Gardens

The Trust awards funding of between £250 to £2,000 to allotment gardens that meets the following criteria:

The Bringing People Together Fund

The National Lottery Community Fund has launched their Bringing People Together Fund which will support projects that will build stronger connections across communities, and improve the infrastructure and conditions that are needed to strengthen these connections.

The School Holiday Activity Fund

This fund is designed to enable organisations to deliver fun and accessible activities for children and young people during the school holidays through our School Holiday Activity Fund.

Tesco Community Grants These grants are always open for applications from charities and community organisations to bid for up to £1,500. Three projects in 575 local communities are voted on by customers in Tesco stores throughout the UK, with projects changing every three months.

Clubs in Crisis: Sport for Development Thanks to national charity Made By Sport, the #ClubsInCrisis fund supports small grassroots sports clubs and organisations working in the sport for development sector in need of funds due to the impact of COVID. Grants up to £2021 are available through the Berkshire Community Foundation. Click here for information and to apply. Apply by 17th May.

Greenham Trust Double Matched Day

There’s still time apply for Summer Double Matched Day (applications close at 5pm on Friday 14th May).Following the huge success of last year's Double Matched Days, we are repeating the event in 2021 but this time you can fundraise for 48 hours on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th June 2021!

Apply now and you could be one of 5 local charitable organisations selected to take part. Every £1 donated to your fundraising project via The Good Exchange for 48 hours on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th June will be matched with £2 by Greenham Trust (to a maximum of £10,000).

To find out more please click here.

5 reasons to start your application now!

1. It’s a really fast way to raise £15,000 in one day

2. Every £1 donated on the day becomes £3

3. Free PR, marketing and fundraising training

4. Free radio interview

5. It really works:

Watch the video to find out more about match funding and to hear what East Ilsley Parish Council, The Watermill Theatre and Newbury Cancer Care had to say about their participation in our Double Matched Day held last summer.


Action with Communities in Rural England

Did you know ACRE head up a group of 38 charities called the ACRE Network?

The ACRE Network exists to provide a voice for rural communities, and help them achieve great things locally. CCB is proud to be the voice for Berkshire

Last year ACRE surveyed our members and asked them to rank the top social outcomes of their work. This is what they said...

Find out more:

Enjoy the great Berkshire countryside safely

Enjoy the fresh, spring air safely by following these top tips when out and about in the beautiful Berkshire countryside.

With more people enjoying the outdoors than ever before, Natural England have refreshed the Countryside Code , it has been revised to help people enjoy the countryside in a safe and respectful way. Here’s what you need to know:


  • Please respect those living in, working in and enjoying the countryside. Be sure to be nice, say hello and share the space.

  • Make sure you keep to the footpaths to help protect crops and wildlife.

  • Leave gates and property as you find them.

  • Slow down or stop for horses, walkers and farm animals and give them plenty of room.

  • Don’t block gateways, driveways or paths with your vehicle.

  • If you’re on your bike, give way to walkers and horse-riders on bridleways.

  • Keep away from machinery and farm animals.

  • If you’re worried about something, try to alert the farmer.

  • Although you might think you are being kind, feeding animals can cause them harm. Please do not feed livestock, horses or wild animals.

To read the rest of this article please click here

Rural Broadband: Gigabit Voucher Scheme

The government is committed to delivering lightning-fast, reliable gigabit-capable broadband to everyone in the UK as soon as possible, working hard with broadband providers to accelerate their commercial development plans.

For hard to reach areas where broadband is more costly to build, the government is investing £5 billion to ensure places are not left behind. Up to £210m worth of voucher funding as immediate help for people experiencing slow broadband speeds in rural areas

The rollout to hard to reach areas of the UK will be subsidised by government contracts, awarded to broadband providers over the next few years, until the whole of the UK is connected. The rollout has already begun and you can find out more about it here.

If you and your community are not included in any commercial rollout plans and you do not want to wait for your area to be connected through the Project Gigabit rollout, you can apply for UK Gigabit Vouchers through this scheme.

Vouchers worth up to £1,500 for homes and £3,500 for businesses help to cover the costs of installing gigabit broadband to people’s doorsteps.

To apply, you must go through a registered supplier. The checker on this page will direct you to suppliers you can speak to about making an application.

You can find out more about the process on this page.

For local information about improvements to digital connectivity, please visit the Superfast Berkshire website. Details of the Gigabit Voucher Scheme can be found in the News section of the website.


Mental Health Awareness Week takes place on 10th-16th May and this year's theme is nature. Spending time in and around nature can reduce stress, help increase feelings of positivity and is good for our mental health. To support this, a guide called Thriving in Nature has been put together and Wokingham Borough Council are also running a fun competition! Entering is simple; You just need to be a resident of Wokingham Borough and you need to submit either a drawing, painting or sketch of anything in nature, or a poem about your experiences in nature. Use this creative exercise to recognise and grow your connection with nature, reflecting on how it has supported your mental health. This could be as simple as tending to a house plant, listening to or watching birds through a window, smelling flowers or spending time in your favouritenature spot.

The competition will be split into the age categories 4-11 year olds, 12-16 year olds, and adults aged 17+. The closing date for the competition is 4th June. Winning entries will be printed and displayed at Dinton Pastures and posted onto WBC's social media channels, as well as other platforms. Please send your artwork or poem to or post to Nicola Owens, Public Health Team, Wokingham Borough Council, Shute End, Wokingham RG40 1BN, giving your name, age and contact email or phone number.

Relieving Stress & Transforming Lives in Berkshire

We know that it has been a particularly challenging year for many residents, and if you are struggling please reach out to TalkingTherapies. Talking Therapies is a free, confidential NHS counselling service for those aged 17 and over living in Berkshire.To get in touch you can call 0300 365 2000 on visit the Talking Therapies website for more information.

Active Slough Outdoor Offline Programme

Reading Community Energy Society – Community Grants 2021–22

Reading Voluntary Action is delighted to partner with Reading Community Energy Society in their 2021–22 Community Grants scheme. RVA will be promoting and managing the scheme on behalf of Reading Community Energy Society which aims to accelerate the uptake of community-owned renewable energy in Reading and the surrounding area.

Reading Community Energy Society comprises members from the local community, Reading Council and Energy 4 All, all of whom are passionate about increasing the amount of renewable energy in Reading. An important strand of their work is their Community Grants Programme. As a Community Benefit Society, they are committed to supporting sustainability locally, and offer grant funding between £100 and £5,000 to organisations to support a wide range of initiatives that deliver this aim. To read the rest of this article please click here.

Lifelong Learning Survey

West Berkshire Council is inviting communities to take part in a new survey to help develop a wide and varied lifelong learning service that supports people at every stage of their lives. Please share this link to the survey with colleagues and contacts:

The survey is aimed at adults over 19, and young people aged between 16-18, who live, work or volunteer in West Berkshire and is open until 31st May.

Lifelong learning is about providing good quality learning opportunities for people of all ages to help them develop their lives, work, family and community. The results of the survey will contribute to the design and development of future course programmes across the Council and community learning partners.

In addition to the survey respondents will have the opportunity to enter a free draw to win £200 of shopping vouchers.

Women of Alana House publish book of recipes and hope

"It is a wonderful thing to see the transformation of a woman, not just in cooking skills, but in attitude, in outlook, in spirit." - PRUE LEITH

AN INSPIRATIONAL book of recipes, photography and poetry has been published by women from a Berkshire-based community project.

Love, Trust, Hope – Cooking To build and strengthen a community has been created during the Covid-19 pandemic by the women of Alana House in Reading with the support of volunteers and staff. Cookery writer and The Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith has written the foreword.

Proceeds from the sale of the book will contribute to the running costs of Alana House and its community café project.

Alana House is a community project run by Parents And Children Together (PACT) which uses a holistic approach to support women facing multiple disadvantages. It empowers women to take control of their lives, make informed decisions and improve their life chances.

One of the women involved in creating the book said: “Alana House gives me purpose to go out the house and try new things.

“I feel it’s a blessing for me to be able to share a part of me in the book, I hope it helps and inspires other people. I feel very grateful to be able to take part in this project.”

The book can be purchased for £12.99 at

To read more about Alana House please click here:

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