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Welcome to Connecting Communities in Berkshire monthly e-bulletin full of community training opportunities, funding and Berkshire based news.

We hope you enjoying reading this month's edition and do get in touch with any questions. Best wishes Gemma, Tim, Helen & Kate
Support our work, become a member

Connecting Communities in Berkshire (CCB) is a membership organisation, and organisations and individuals can join CCB to support our work and benefit from our membership offers. Becoming a member of CCB is an effective and rewarding route to building connections, accessing information and support, and helping to ensure communities like yours are strong, successful and well represented.

The cost of membership for 2020 is £35 for parish/town council and voluntary or community organisations or £18 for individuals.

Please take a moment to read our 2020 Annual Review by clicking here which gives a snapshot of all that we have been able to deliver as a charity over the course of the last year. Our membership is always at the core of what we do and key benefits to our standard members can be found below:

Benefits of Membership
Specific membership benefits you can expect to receive include:
•    Free or discounted training opportunities at our range of courses that ultimately focus on strengthening communities.
•    The opportunity to become a CCB Trustee and to nominate and elect members to our Board.
•    An invitation to attend our training conference and Annual General Meeting (1 vote per membership)
•    Monthly e-bulletins and updates on our work including services, funding opportunities, events and training workshops that may be of benefit to you, your colleagues and community.
•    The opportunity to market your community events, news or local facilities via our e-bulletin and website.
•    Prompt access to the CCB team who will be available to discuss issues affecting your community.

If you would like to become a member and support a local charity please complete our membership form by clicking here.

We also offer a bespoke membership service to those volunteers and trustees involved with Village Halls and Community Buildings. To read more about this please click here. If you heat your home or business using oil you may be interested in joing our Oil Club which offers savings to members by bulk buying oil. Please click here for information on this.
Loneliness is a Rural Issue
by Phillip Vincent, Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE)

Last week was Loneliness Awareness Week. Phillip Vincent, ACRE's  PR & Communications Manager, reflects on how loneliness is a rural issue and what can be done about it.

Whilst rural communities have certain vulnerabilities to this very human condition, they also have a long history of self-reliance and social entrepreneurship that connects people with one another at a local level.

Long-term loneliness is believed to affect almost a fifth of the UK’s population. That feeling of missing or lacking quality social connections can eat away at a person’s health. It could even be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day – reducing life expectancy through increased risk of heart disease, stroke, depression and dementia.

Frustratingly, there has been very little recent research into the rural experience of loneliness – the last report commissioned by government was in 2012. However, there’s lots of anecdotal reasons to believe that loneliness is a significant rural issue. ACRE Network members know all too well how physical isolation, limited services, poor transport links and patchy broadband can sometimes combine to leave people feeling terribly lonely, especially in rural communities with aging populations.

Whilst rural communities have certain vulnerabilities to this very human condition, they also have a long history of self-reliance and social entrepreneurship that connects people with one another at a local level. Please click here to read the rest of this article.
Community Buildings Advice: Practical information to help village halls reopen published by leading rural charity

Practical information to help village halls reopen published by leading rural charity and CCB's national network Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), the national charity which champions and supports community-led projects and assets in the countryside, has today published comprehensive information that will help village and community halls reopen once government coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

"We know that up and down England village halls support close to 300 different kinds of activities across England and for a busy hall, finding the time between bookings to clean to Covid-19 requirements will be a challenge.”
On Monday 15 June the government changed the rules to permit holding indoor markets in community buildings and it has now been confirmed that village halls can re-open for some activities from 4th July.

Deborah Clarke, ACRE’s Rural Evidence and Village Halls Manager said, “Over the past couple of months we have been contacted by numerous volunteers who manage village halls wanting to know how and when they can reopen and help their community recover from Covid19. That’s why we’ve been working with relevant government departments to make sense of the emerging regulations and produce this guidance which is tailored to village halls. I encourage all village halls committees to read this information as it will allow them to put in place measures needed to make their buildings safe for use before they are given the green light to open their doors once again”.

To read the rest of this article please click here.

At CCB Kate Meads our Community Building Advisor has put together information and presentations for Village Hall Trustees on Re-opening their village halls post Covid-19 via a webinar. Both sessions are now fully booked but if you have questions concerning this and would like to know more about our Community Buildings Advice membership which offers support and advice with this and many other common enquiries please contact
Get Berkshire Active News

Third Round of Activate Funding Launched – Projects with virtual/online delivery are encouraged. For more info & application form visit:
Latest We Are Undefeatable Webinar – The campaign is relaunching on June 22 with a new TV advert:
Seated Exercise Session - 20 Minute Gentle Exercise to develop strength mobility & balance. Mainly chair-based but some standing variations:  
Supporting Mums With Physical Activity - Via Free Mums yoga sessions on Saturdays.    
GBA Physical Activity Survey Results -Asking Berkshire residents about their physical activity habits and attitudes during the Covid-19 restrictions:
Link to Sport England COVID-19 Page – includes links to sport, physical activity & facilities guidance:  
Guidance On Accessing Green Spaces Safely - New Government guidance sets out the key principles of enjoying the benefits of being outside, while protecting yourself & others. 
PHE's COVID-19: Psychological First Aid Online Course
Public Health England has launched an updated Psychological First Aid (PFA) digital training module, aimed at all frontline and essential workers and volunteers.  The course aims to increase awareness and confidence to provide psychosocial support to people affected by COVID-19.  The course is free, & no previous qualifications are required. It takes around 90 minutes to complete & is also available in three sessions for the learner to complete at their own pace. Click here for more details. 
ENERGY ADVICE IN BERKSHIRE: If your organisation supports low-income families, please get in touch with Helen on or 0773 887612 to discuss how CCB can support families to cut the cost of their bills.
Criminals are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to try and get their hands on your money and personal information. To date, Action Fraud has received reports from 2,378 victims of Coronavirus-related scams, with the total losses reaching over £7 million.

How you can protect yourself from Coronavirus-related scams:

There are some simple steps you can take that will protect you from the most common Coronavirus-related scams. Here’s what need to do:

1 - Watch out for scam messages
Your bank, or other official organisations, won’t ask you to share personal information over email or text. If you receive an email you’re not quite sure about, forward it to the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS):

2 - Shopping online
If you're making a purchase from a company or person you don't know and trust, carry out some research first, for example, by checking to see if others have used the site and what their experience was. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, other payment providers may not provide the same protection.

3 - Unsolicited calls and browser pop-ups offering tech support
Never install any software, or grant remote access to your computer, as a result of a cold call. Remember, legitimate organisations would never contact you out of the blue to ask for financial details such as your PIN or full banking password.

NHS Test and Trace scams:

The NHS Test and Trace service plays an important role in the fight against coronavirus and it’s vital the public have confidence and trust in the service. However, we understand the concerns people have about the opportunity for criminals to commit scams.

What you need to know:

Contact tracers will only call you from the number 0300 013 5000. Anyone who does not wish to talk over the phone can request the NHS Test and Trace service to send an email or text instead, inviting them to log into the web-based service.

All text or emails sent by NHS Test and Trace will ask people to sign into the contact tracing website and will provide you with a unique reference number. We would advise people to type the web address directly into their browser, followed by the unique reference number given to you, rather than clicking on any link provided in the message.

The NHS Test and Trace service will never:
  • ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to them (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
  • ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product or any kind
  • ask for any details about your bank account
  • ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
  • ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
  • ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
  • ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS
If you think you have been a victim of fraud, please report it to Action Fraud at or by calling 0300 123 2040. If you live in Scotland, please report directly to Police Scotland by calling 101.​​​​​​​

UK Mens Sheds have set the date for ShedFest 2020 on Tuesday 7 July to Thursday 9 July 2020.

They also have some useful infomation available for sheds as the lockdown lifts
Covid-19 likely to have a negative impact on the delivery of affordable rural housing

all in property prices as a consequence of Covid-19 could reduce the number of affordable homes that get built in the countryside whilst larger, more inappropriate development could get the go-ahead warns charity, Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE).

We know that many rural communities are supportive of smaller-scale housing schemes that are sensitive to the look and feel of the local area and which create homes that are affordable to local residents. But the fallout from Covid-19 could up-end the viability of such schemes.

The delivery of appropriately scaled rural housing developments which include affordable homes plays an important role in sustaining rural communities. Too often young people are priced out of the places where they grew up, whilst workers in rural businesses can find it difficult to secure accommodation. Please click here to read the rest of this article.
Rural Isolation and Loneliness in Berkshire

Over the last 6 months, CCB has been working with two fantastic volunteers to find ways of using data differently in understanding and addressing rural isolation in Berkshire.

Marine Roux is from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Adam Secret is from the Home Office. Both have the ideal mix of skills and experience in research and working with data that helps us make sense of the many indicators that, in combination, will give our project fresh insight into the scale and nature of social isolation amongst older people in Berkshire.

Marine and Adam have developed some new tools allowing us to spot key trends in the changing nature of deprivation in rural Berkshire, and to analyse demographic information in relation to the location of key community infrastructure.

Having these tools in place will greatly support the work of local people involved with broadening the range of social events, groups and activities taking place in our communities. Once the social distancing restrictions put in place to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic ease sufficiently, these tools will be introduced as part of our continuing project to promote existing activites and to encourage the creation of new ones that address unmet needs. If you would like to know more about this work please contact
Vital Signs Survey- which good causes would you chose to support in Berkshire?

Berkshire is home to just over 911,000 people. Access to safe, healthy environments in which we live, learn, work and play can powerfully affect lifelong wellbeing. But we know that in Berkshire not everyone can participate equally and Vital Signs has reported growing concern about child poverty, pressure on carers, mental health and homelessness. In 2020 we have the additional challenge of Covid-19.

Vital Signs 2020 will explore how people are affected by and can influence environments in Berkshire communities, particularly for those who are vulnerable and at a disadvantage.

Berkshire Community Foundation makes grants to local voluntary groups and charities throughout the county.

This Vital Signs survey is designed to help us understand the priorities of local people towards support for wellbeing and environments throughout Berkshire, to help BCF direct its grant making.

Imagine that within each of the five themes, listed below, you have £100 to donate to good causes, which means you can imagine giving up to £500.

Three lucky winners will each win a £1,000 grant made by BCF to a cause of their choice; to enter this prize draw you must complete at least three out of the five themes.

All the causes are based on actual community organisations active in Berkshire supported through the Community Foundation.

Please click here to complete the survey.
Funding Opportunities

Please click on the link for further information on current available funding streams. With thanks to Berkshire CVS’s – Wokingham & Bracknell Involve, West Berkshire Volunteer Centre, Slough CVS and Reading Voluntary Action for information.

Community Tree Planting funds
Schools and community groups proposing to undertake well-planned tree and hedge planting projects this winter (November 2020 – March 2021), and ideally in National Tree Week, can apply for funds from £300 to £1500. 

Co-op Foundation latest round of its #iwill Fund
They are offering grants of up to £10,000 to help young people support each other during bereavement. They expect to make about five grants to successful applicants from across the UK.

Yapp Foundation
Small grants for for running costs for small established registered charities working with the elderly, the young people, those with disabilities or educationally disadvantaged.  

Tesco community grant
Bags of Help is Tesco’s on-going local community grant scheme where Three community projects in each local area will be voted on by customers in Tesco stores throughout the UK, with projects changing every other month.

Government Grants for Front-Line Food Aid Charities 
Front-line food aid charities can apply for a grant of up to £100,000 to help provide food to the vulnerable.You can apply for funding as a group of charities to meet the criteria for applications. Deadline 6th July. 

Government £200 million Coronavirus Community Support Fund 
The Government’s new £200 million Coronavirus Community Support Fund has opened for applications. The fund which is being administered through the National Lottery Community Fund has two key objectives. To increase community support to vulnerable people affected by the COVID-19 crisis; and to reduce temporary closures of essential charities and social enterprises, ensuring services for vulnerable people impacted by COVID-19 have the financial resources to operate, and so reduce the burden on public services. Charities and not for profit organisations will be able to apply for grants of between £300 and £10,000 or for grants above £10,000. Decisions on funding will be made within weeks. Applications can be submitted at any time. See

Berkshire Community Fund – Vital for Berkshire – Coronavirus Fund 
Grants of up to £10,000 available to help organisations: 
Respond to immediate needs, for instance, as a result of restrictions to normal activity.

The Stop Loan Sharks Community Fund
The fund is open for bids up to £5,000 from charities, voluntary organisations and community groups involved in activities that have a positive impact on their communities. 

Co-op Local Community Fund
Grants are available for small, locally based voluntary and community groups to support projects which benefit local communities around Co-op food stores and funeral homes across the UK. Grants are typically around £2,000.

20-20-20 Slough – Artist brief
Slough Museum wish to contract up to five emerging Slough based artists to deliver participatory activity with residents as part of our Arts Council England and Slough Borough Council supported project.
Deadline for applications: 5pm Friday 3 July
Interviews via Zoom: Monday 13 July

Historic England – COVID-19 Emergency Heritage at Risk Response Fund
Deadline: 28th June, 2020
Emergency grants to help fund urgent maintenance, repairs and investigations at historic sites and buildings across England due to the impact of the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak.

#BeInclusive EU Sport Awards
Deadline: 30th June, 2020
Awards to recognise organisations that have successfully increased social inclusion for disadvantaged groups through sport.

Resourcing Racial Justice Fund
Deadline: 30th June, 2020
Grants are available for frontline organisations, grassroots groups and community groups across the UK that are working to redress the impact of the coronavirus/COVID-19 and systemic racism on communities of colour.

National Lottery Heritage Fund – Heritage Emergency Fund
Deadline: 30th June, 2020
Grants for heritage organisations that have received NLHF funding in the past and are either a current grantee or still under contract following a previous grant and are most in need during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Ouseley Church Music Trust
Deadline: 30th June, 2020
Emergency grants to help fund urgent maintenance, repairs and investigations at historic sites and buildings across England due to the impact of the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak.

Independent Age Grants Fund
Deadline: 2nd July, 2020
Grants are available for smaller registered charities across the UK that are working with some of the older people hardest hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

More funding opportunites can be found by clicking any of the above links;
Got feedback? We'd love to hear from you. If you have any comments or articles you would like to be included in the next edition please e-mail
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