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

Please find below a variety of funding opportunities that may be of interest to you. Please click on links for further information and don't forget, if you haven't already, to book on our Funding Training event next week! (further details below)
Greggs Local Community Fund Grants

Who can apply?
This award is open to Not for Profit organisations who have an income of less than £300,000.  Applicants should normally have a Greggs shop in their region. Find your nearest Greggs. Use shop finder
Find out more about the fund here:

Grow Wild

Grow Wild has launched new grants for nature projects.

They’re looking for creative people aged 14-25 who are buzzing with project ideas to help the environment. Do you know someone?

Apply by 30 March 2020

Find out more about Grow Wild

Children In Need Small Grants Programme

Small Grants programme is open to charities and not-for-profit organisations applying for any amount up to and including £10,000 per year for up to 3 years.

The next deadline is 16 March.

The Hilden Charitable Fund — Summer Play Schemes Guidelines 2020
The Fund has allocated a small budget to help community groups run summer play schemes for disadvantaged communities.  Some priority will be given to projects which show they are inclusive of children from refugee families and show BME involvement.

Help the Homeless
The organisation gives grants (generally up to £5,000) for capital costs to small and medium-sized registered charities only – those with a turnover of under £1m per annum.

DM Thomas Foundation Central Grants Programme
Grants of up to £30,000 are available per year for up to two years to registered charities for projects that improve education and health for young people in three key areas: Children & young people with disabilities Children & young people who are sick in hospital Children & young people who are life limited (requiring palliative care) Deadline: 5th May 2020.

Youth Music Charity funds projects
Schools as well as other not-for-profit organisations can apply for grants to fund developmental music-making projects for children and young people in challenging circumstances as well as for projects that support the development of the workforce, organisations and the wider music making sector.  Small grants fund offers £2000 to £30,000.  Deadline for applications 3rd April 2020. 

The Swimathon Foundation Community Grants Scheme
Funding of £500-£2,000 to groups and individuals who provide and promote swimming to encourage wider uptake in their local community. 13th March 2020

Citizen Food Waste Behaviour Change Grant

Closing date: 25 March – 13:00

WRAP is looking to identify new behaviour change interventions that can be tailored to food waste prevention. Applications for Stage 1 are open for registration from Thursday 30 January until Wednesday 25 March at 13.00. Please email your application to application must demonstrate that your project idea will have a direct influence in changing behaviour.

Digital Confidence Fund
Grants and mentoring available to grow the digital confidence of organisations in The National Heritage Fund’s 13 Areas of Focus.
Click here to for more information

Road Safety Trust
Grants are available to public and professional UK-based organisations for activities that will reduce the risk of death and injury for all road users.
Click here to for more information

Healthy Communities Together

What are the grants for? Healthy Communities Together is a new programme developed in partnership between The National Lottery Community Fund and The King’s Fund. The programme aims to support local areas to develop effective and sustainable partnerships between the voluntary and community sector, the NHS and local authorities to improve health and wellbeing, reduce health inequalities and empower communities. As well as providing grant funding, the programme will support the development of relationships between partners, identifying and agreeing how best to work together, to ensure the involvement of organisations working across communities, and create a plan of activities. For further information please click here.

Masonic Charitable Foundation: Later Life Inclusion

Small grants (to £15,000) are available to charities with incomes less than £500,000 working to reduce loneliness and isolation of vulnerable and disadvantaged people over 50.

It supports: Mental and physical health; improved service access e.g. transport and technology, Community based approaches, and Advocacy, social and welfare.

The deadline for small grants is 17 April 2020. The large grants programme opens on 20 March.

Find out more about Masonic Charitable Foundation: Later Life Inclusion

Masonic Charitable Foundation: Support for disadvantaged children and young people

The Early Years Opportunities scheme offer grants of £500 – £15,000 per year for up to 3 years to charities (with income <£500,000) to help disadvantaged children and young people to overcome the barriers they face to achieve the best possible start in life.

Deadline for this round: 17 April 2020.

Find out more about Masonic Charitable Foundation: Support for disadvantaged children and young people

With thanks to Slough CVS, Volunteer Centre West Berks and Wokingham Involve for information and articles

FREE Funding Training Event in West Berkshire. Book your place! 

Are you a community group, charity or voluntary organisation looking for funding in 2020?

The training is aimed at charities, community groups, parish councils and voluntary organisations who are looking for a range of funding streams to improve their community buildings, village, neighbourhood, parish or assist their charitable projects.

Date: Thursday 19th March, 10am - 12pm, Calcot Centre, RG31 4XD

We have excellent speakers currently lined up they are:

Elisha Russell, Community Liaison Officer from Berkshire Community Foundation (BCF). Berkshire Community Foundation gives charitable organisations in Berkshire the opportunity to apply for life-changing grants. Elisha will be giving an overview of current and future funding opportunities available through BCF and tips on how to improve your chances of success. She will also look at available funding from BCF that particularly focuses on overcoming loneliness and isolation.

Julian May, Head of Business Development from the Good Exchange. Julian will be explaining the criteria for the Good Exchange, a fundraising platform which allows you to access multiple funders, donors and fundraisers with a single application, how groups can register and guiding you through the process of how to get the most out of your application. He will be able to give useful examples of local fundraising successes and also give information on additional training that may support your organisation/group/event promote yourselves thus improving your fundraising ability.

Rachel Peters, Community Development Officer from Sovereign Community Funding. Sovereign is one of the largest housing associations in the country, providing 58,000 quality, affordable homes across the south of England, for people priced out of the housing market. But the organisation’s work doesn’t stop at the front door, as £3m a year is invested in its communities, helping people - and their neighbourhoods - to flourish.

Sara Hanson, Volunteer Sector Support Officer at Volunteer Centre West Berkshire. VCWB provides free impartial information advice and guidance about volunteering in West Berkshire. Sara is an experienced bid writer, evaluator and trainer. Sara will be covering general useful hints and tips to consider when preparing funding forms & applications.

Kate Meads, Community Buildings Advisor at Connecting Communities in Berkshire. Kate will provide information on funding opportunities available to those that may be responsible for managing community buildings and assets – village hall, places of worship, community pubs & shops, scout huts etc.

This workshop is free to attend but places are limited and booked on a first come, first served basis. This training is supported by West Berkshire Council Adult Community Learning. TO BOOK YOUR PLACE PLEASE CLICK ON THIS LINK :
Training opportunity in Wokingham: Building Power through Community Organising

Calling all residents in Wokingham Borough. Do you have a cause you feel passionately about? Do you want to build momentum and galvanize others to support and understand your issue? If Yes, we are running a course aimed at building and strengthening communities like yours.

On this course you will explore and develop your understanding of power, which is what drives community organising: what power means and how power can be built in communities to overcome social injustice and create change.

Using fun and thought-provoking activities, and thinking about our own lives, we will think about the different types and effect of power and look at the ways that people can build power together through community organising.

During this course you will explore:
  • your personal power and ability to act
  • how power is exercised in society
  • what it means to organise for change
  • how to begin to pinpoint the causes of social injustice
  • how to build power with others through community organising
This course is primarily for residents of Wokingham Borough Council and is supported by Wokingham BC Adult Community Learning. PLACES MUST BE BOOKED, please cick here to book your place:
Training opportunity for parents, grandparents & carers in Wokingham to learn life saving skills

Would you know what to do if your child was ill or had an accident?
Parents and carers in Wokingham have the opportunity to book on this informative and interactive two hour workshop, facilitated by local charity Connecting Communities in Berkshire, supported by the Wokingham BC Adult Community Learning team.

Babies and children cannot be wrapped in cotton wool but you can have the skills to help them if they need it. In just 2 hours, learn what to do in the vital minutes whilst you are waiting for the emergency services to arrive.

The Tutor is  a qualified first aid teacher from Ladybird First Aid. Places MUST be booked.

Tuesday 24th March, 9.30 – 11.30am at Brambles Children’s Centre. (Cost £12 per person including VAT)

These necessary skills could save your baby or child’s life.

The class covers baby and child first aid from birth to puberty (+/- 11 years old) and includes the following:

Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
Recovery Position
Burns and Scalds
Febrile Convulsions
Bumps & Head Injuries
plus lots more…
All attendees of the 2 hour class receive a certificate of attendance. Babes in arms (under 1) are welcome on classes.

National Village and Community Hall Survey

The Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) Network needs your help on a crucial census. Carried out once every ten years the survey will provide up to date information about halls and the social and economic impact they deliver for their communities.

This information is vital to secure funding for halls, funding for Network services, and to ensure our services and the information we hold adapts to the ever-changing challenges facing halls and communities.
We want responses from all community buildings; rural village halls, community centres, sports pavilions, church halls, churches providing community use, Miners Welfare Institutes or WI halls that provide meeting facilities for the community.

Please use the link below to take the survey. Deadline is 31st March 2020.
Communities Coming Together during Cornavirus Outbreak

Please see beow for some handy advice from the Neighbourhood Watch scheme encouraging people to take sensible options to reduce their risk of Cornovirus whilst also looking out for neighbours, the vulnerable and elderly.

You will all be aware of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Neighbourhood Watch exists to look out for communities across England and Wales and at a time like this we encourage you to consider ways to keep yourself, your loved ones and those in your community safe, particularly the isolated and vulnerable. We are following the advice from the government and encourage you to do the same:

10 ways you, as a Neighbourhood Watch supporter, can protect yourself, your loved ones and your community: 
1.      Meet with household members, other relatives, friends and neighbours to discuss what to do if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs in your community and what the needs of each person will be.
2.      If your neighbourhood has a website or social media page, consider joining it to maintain access to neighbours, information, and resources. Alternatively, share phone numbers and email addresses particularly with those who are isolated or vulnerable.
3.      Consider establishing a ‘buddy’ system within your community to ensure everyone stays connected to COVID-19 related news, services and can receive support safely, such as essentials deliveries.
4.      Plan ways to care for those who might be at greater risk for serious complications. 
5.      Choose a room in your home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy. 
6.      Learn how to self-isolate. Guidance can be found on the NHS website:
7.      Create a list of local organisations that you and your neighbours can contact in the event that one of you need access to information, healthcare services, support, or resources. Consider including organisations that provide mental health or counselling services, food, and other supplies.
8.      Create an emergency contact list of family, friends, neighbours, healthcare providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, and other community resources.
9.      Learn about the emergency operations plan at your child’s school or childcare facility, and your employer’s emergency operations plan.
10.     Practice everyday preventive actions including regular hand washing. 
1.      The NHS provides guidance on how to wash hands:  
2.      The World Health Organisation provides guidance on basic protective measures:
3.      The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention provides guidance on handwashing for families
Using an energy 'auto-switching' service could cost you £70 a year, warns Citizens Advice

Auto-switching sites were supposed to transform the energy market and make it easier to switch, but Citizens Advice has concerns.

Hundreds of thousands of households risk missing out on savings because they trust auto-switching services to choose their energy bills, a report has found. Citizens Advice said it was concerned households were missing out on savings of £70 a year and were shown inaccurate or unclear information when they signed up. The charity called for energy watchdog Ofgem to be given the power to regulate energy switching in the same way as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) does in financial services.

Helen Dean at CCB suggests consumers use the energy price comparison tool on the Citizens Advice website as it shows the whole market, and is easy to use to find the cheapest deals -

When choosing a supplier to switch to, consumers should be aware that 10 of the small suppliers have gone bust in the last two years – it’s worth looking into the less well-known companies before choosing them as your next energy supplier.
Helping to deliver life support skills in West Berkshire this winter

In partnership with Heartstart Thatcham we have helped to deliver two very successful Life Support Skills & Defibrillator training in West Berkshire this winter.

Both training sessions took place in rural settings, the first at Hermitage Village Hall, on a dark January evening. All delegates had very positive feedback and rated the training as excellent or good. 

In February we ran another well attended training event this time at Brimpton Village Hall. Please see some pictures below from both events. If you would like to register your interest in future training events like this please e-mail or if you have children and live in Wokingham you may be interested in a training event we are running next month. Please click here for further details.

Comments from learners included:

“This was a professional yet informal setting and ticked all my expectations.”

“Confident, professional instruction. Practical demonstrations and it was great to have the opportunity to have a go and use a defibrillator”

“Loved the postivity – you can help to save a life!”
Local Organising Group in Berkshire

CCB is working with Community Organisers Ltd to establish a Local Organising Group for Berkshire. This group will bring together people active in their communities, involved with work that improves people’s quality of life in one way or another. We hope that the group will enable people to meet up with their peers from other communities, to share problems and ideas, and to learn from each other. We also want to listen to those involved to find out what they need to be more effective in their endeavours and to provide frequent opportunities for them to develop their skills and confidence, and support each other.

Please get in touch with us if you would benefit from being involved with this group. Please tell us about your work within your community and how we can help you do it better. If you haven’t already, please take a look at the Community Organisers website and consider becoming a member:

CCB has been working with Community Organisers to bring their excellent training to Berkshire for nearly 2 years. So far, 73 people have attended one or more of these courses and there are more coming up (see above!). Please contact Tim Parry at or on 0773 888 7611.
Eggs 4 Kids – The 2020 Easter Egg Collection #WestBerkshire

From the 24th of February The Chequer’s Hotel, Newbury, will be collecting Easter Eggs for children in West Berkshire.

There are many needy children across West Berkshire, the goal is to collect 500 eggs for 500 children.

From 24th February until the 22nd March, simply bring your Easter Egg by into reception, and they will give you a free tea/coffee as a thank you.
The Easter Eggs will be given as a special treat to disadvantaged and needy children supported by Home-Start West Berkshire and the local West Berkshire authorities.

They hope to raise awareness for Homestart, a fantastic local charity that helps many families across West Berkshire (click the link below for more info) , but also give a little show of appreciation to the children and families that make up a huge part of our community. 

This project has only been possible thanks to Volunteer Centre West Berkshire who put The Chequers Hotel in touch with Homestart and the fantastic people working with families in our community. 
Please support our charity on Easyfundraising

Please remember to use easyfundraising every time you shop online. Over 4,000 shops and sites will donate to us, including all the big names like eBay, John Lewis & Partners, Argos, ASOS, Expedia, M&S, Just Eat, Uswitch and many more! This means you can raise FREE donations for us no matter what you’re buying.

If you haven’t signed up to support us yet, it’s easy and completely FREE. These donations really help us, so it would be great if you could take a moment to get started!

You can find our easyfundraising page here:

Thank you!
Inspire young people to build stronger, more collaborative communities by getting involved in Stephen Lawrence Day – 22nd April.

Stephen Lawrence day;is held annually on 22nd April, as announced by then Prime Minister Theresa May at the memorial service marking 25 years since Stephen’s death. The day serves as an opportunity for schools and communities to engage deeply in activities that strengthen and empower them to ‘Live their best life’.

The day provides an opportunity for schools, youth and community groups, charities and others to come together to deliver a range of positive activities including; school-based activities, programmes to encourage young people to reject the recent increases in serious violence, and activities ‘beyond the school gate’ to promote community integration for young people who are at risk of offending. To read more on this article please click here.
News from ACRE: Village Halls 2020 a HUGE success

On Monday 20 January Village Halls Week launched in style at The House of Commons.

The Launch event signalled the start of Village Halls Week, sponsored by Utility Aid and Allied Westminster and supported by Defra and the NRTF, we were delighted to be able to take representatives of halls and the ACRE Network along. The Event gained much media attention and was successful in raising the profile of Village Halls Week with MPs and Lords alike.

The week was featured across 18 BBC channels, 10 Broadcasters tweeted from personal accounts as well, proudly showing their badges. 18 MPs supported the week by visiting events, halls and tweeting and 22 articles appeared in local and national press including The Times, The Telegraph, Country Life Magazine, and the Daily Mail. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your hard work and support ensuring the success of the week. The increase in media attention gained substantial and positive attention for village halls all over the country. There was also a huge increase in engagement from halls themselves, having a positive impact locally, strengthening relationships between ACRE members and hall trustees.  
Agri-Food Chain Government Communications from Defra on 2nd March 2020

The future of farming policy
There is now more information available about agricultural policy in England over the next ten years. This comes as the Agriculture Bill goes through the Committee Stage in the House of Commons.
The Farming for the Future update includes information about:
•    Productivity: From 2021, new government grants will help farmers to invest in equipment and technology which will help them to increase their productivity and deliver environmental benefits.
•    Research & Development: From 2022, Defra will support research and development projects to help our farming industry benefit from innovation, enabling farmers to produce food more efficiently and sustainably with lower emissions.
•    Animal Health and Welfare: A new deal will be struck between government and farmers to promote the production of healthier, higher welfare animals.

Environmental land management: policy discussion
On Tuesday 25 February, Defra released further details about the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELM). It will transform how we support the agricultural sector by rewarding farmers with public money for public goods.
Responding to feedback from engagement so far, we are proposing a three-tier design that takes into account our diverse farming and environmental landscape in England and the range of outcomes we want to achieve.
You can read about ELM and take part in the discussion online now.
The discussion is open for 10 weeks (closing Tuesday 5 May). Defra will also be running regional events to discuss the proposals. More details on these, including dates and locations, will be released soon.

Environment Bill Passes its Second Reading
The Environment Bill is a transformative piece of legislation to help ensure that we maintain and improve our environmental protections as we leave the EU, build on the UK’s strong track record, and set out a comprehensive and world-leading vision to allow future generations to prosper.
The Bill was introduced to Parliament on Thursday 30 January and passed its Second Reading on Wednesday 26 February. The Bill will next go to the Committee Stage, a detailed line-by-line examination in Parliament. You can track the progress of the Environment Bill and read debates on all stages of the Bill’s passage on the Parliament website.
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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