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Welcome to Connecting Communities in Berkshire monthly e-bulletin full of community training opportunities, funding and Berkshire based news.
New Webinar for West Berkshire: Keeping Village Halls safe and informed about Covid-19 Rules & Regulations
Wednesday 21st October, 10.30am - 12.00pm
Connecting Communities in Berkshire have organised this webinar for Trustees/Volunteers that run Community Buildings/Village Halls in West Berkshire. Places are limited and booked on a first come, first saved basis with priority being given to halls operating within West Berkshire. To book your place please click on link:

This training will cover:

• Management Committee concerns about the safety of activities that regular hirers want to start providing

• Hygiene requirements

• Shared responsibly & working with Hirers

• Flexibility through the expected ‘phases’ and ‘changes’ during the Pandemic

• Latest government updates regarding hirers and what is/isn’t allowed in community buildings

• Facilitate Frequently Asked Questions session and a chance for volunteers/trustees to share knowledge and experiences

Free to CBAS members, £15 to CCB members and £25 to non members. Thanks to support from West Berkshire Adult Community Learning team for this learning opportunity.
Join the Countryside Clean up 19-20th September.

The Countryside Alliance is delighted to announce that the annual Countryside Clean-up has been rescheduled and will take place on 19 and 20 September, following its earlier postponement due to the coronavirus.

Building on from the success of this initiative over the past two years, the Countryside Alliance is urging all members and supporters to engage with this community event by taking part in dedicated litter-picking sessions across the country over the two-day period. Whether this be conducted on your own, with your family or in a socially-distanced manner with
a larger group, we are encouraging everybody who respects the countryside to take part in this initiative to clean up the countryside.

Fly-tipping and littering in the countryside became one of the many negative side-effects of the pandemic, particularly when local waste recycling centres were shut, so the
Countryside Clean-up is more important than ever. “There are few things that annoy those living in rural areas as much as mindless littering and our supporters have always been keen to take practical steps to clean up their part of the countryside,” explained Tim Bonner, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance.

“Relying on one part of the community to clear up after another is not a satisfactory solution to littering and flytipping, however in previous years our supporters have cleaned up miles of roadside verges, footpaths and open spaces and I am sure the same will be true again this September.”

To register your litter-pick or for more information please visit
News on Energy: Green Homes Grant Scheme going live at end of Sept – support for low-income households 

The new government Green Homes Grant Scheme is due to go live at the end of September. £500M will go directly to low-income households, for home improvements, through a voucher scheme.

The eligibility for the low income portion is based on being in receipt of certain benefits. The vouchers will be available to owner occupiers, private landlords, social landlords and park home owners
Households will need to install at least one of the primary measures below to qualify for funding. These include:
Insulation (solid wall, cavity wall, under floor etc)
Low carbon heat (heat pumps, solar thermal)
For low those who qualify as low income, there will be a maximum of £10k in voucher value, with no household contribution
See for more information
New Training Opportunity for Practitioners in West Berkshire: Stop Loan Sharks Webinar – enhancing community safety, promoting safeguarding and ensuring financial well-being

Tuesday 13th October, Zoom, 11am. FREE. To book a place please click here:

About this Event
The purpose of loan shark training is to provide information and knowledge about the issue, how it relates to your work in West Berkshire (& beyond) and how we can help those who have borrowed from illegal lenders. The session will include key things to look out for as a sign that a friend, client or colleague may be involved with a loan shark and will show the impact that illegal lenders have on victims and communities and how we can work together to stop people falling into the clutches of criminals. Further information about Stop Loan Sharks from the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) can be found here.

Facilitated by CCB this webinar is for you if you work with clients that may be at risk of loan sharks or in a voluntary position that works with vulnerable community groups or individuals. Places are limited and will be booked on a first come, first served basis with priority for those working/living within the West Berkshire area.

Quotes from those that have taken part in this training session:

“Now I’m better equipped to talk, help and advice people”

“The most informative training session we’ve had for ages”

“A real eye opener – I’m now fascinated by the subject”

“An amazing training session”

Free Online Training from Get Berkshire Active – Supporting the people around us to stay active through the crisis and beyond

Being active and supporting others to be active has never been more important, for both our physical health and mental wellbeing.

Get Berkshire Active are offering free online training sessions (1 hour) for community volunteers e.g. befrienders, helpers, navigators, etc. and volunteer co-ordinators, to enable and encourage others to be physically active through our everyday conversations. They cover the benefits of physical activity, guidelines, tips, key free resources, and positive conversation skills. Plus offer a digital resource pack following the session.

“I’ll take away how important conversations around keeping active are and the wider impact that can have. I will definitely be more conscious of having more open conversations with my clients.” – feedback from webinar attendee (Slough, 4th August).

To arrange a free session for your team contact
Update from our Community Buildings Advisor – Keeping Halls in Berkshire Safe and Well with the ‘rule of 6’

From 14 September, whether indoors or outdoors people from different households must not meet in groups of more than 6. This limit does not apply to meetings of a single household group or support bubble which is more than 6 people. Community facilities following COVID-19 secure guidelines can host more than 6 people in total, but no one should visit or socialise in a group of greater than 6. Further information on social contact rules, social distancing and the exemptions that exist can be found on the guidance on meeting with others safely. These rules will not apply to workplaces or education settings, alongside other exemptions.

Rules in other venues and activities
Venues following COVID-19 secure guidelines will be able to continue to host more people in total – such as religious services in places of worship – but no one should visit in a group of greater than 6. When you visit one of these places, such as a pub, shop, leisure venue, restaurant or place of worship you should:
  • follow the limits on the number of other people you should meet with as a group – no more than six people unless you all live together (or are in the same support bubble)
  • avoid social interaction with anyone outside the group you are with, even if you see other people you kn
  • provide your contact details to the organiser so that you can be contacted if needed by the NHS Test and Trace programme
Some useful guidance:

Safe use of multi-purpose community facilities

If you are involved with running a Community Building and would like to receive regular updates and support from Kate please contact to learn more about our CBAS membership service.

 Village Hall Safeguarding Week 2020 - 5th - 10th October 2020 Follow us on social media for further news, support and advice
Supply of affordable homes in the countryside threatened
By Philip Vincent, ACRE

Over two thirds of rural communities in England may not be able to secure any new affordable houses in the future, a coalition of organisations, led by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), has warned.

We are deeply concerned that the government is looking to water down requirements to provide affordable housing – a change that will disproportionately disadvantage many living in the countryside.

For many years, affordable homes could be built in rural communities using two planning policies – as a requirement on open market developments and rural exception sites. However, these mechanisms could be lost because of changes proposed to the current planning system. Such a move would be catastrophic for smaller villages where property prices are already well beyond the reach of many households.

The change is in contradiction to the Prime Minister’s pledge to ‘give the people of this country the homes we need in the places we want to live, at prices we can afford’ as expressed in the Planning White Paper.

ACRE’s Chair, David Emerson CBE said, “We are deeply concerned the government is looking to water down requirements to provide affordable housing – a change that will disproportionately disadvantage many living in the countryside. For communities already struggling to retain the employees and owners of local businesses this is a body blow, quite apart from its impact on the customers and providers of local services and the volunteers who provide the social support for vulnerable residents”.

Rural communities in England already suffer a chronic and acute shortage of affordable homes to buy and rent. Someone living in the countryside on low earnings needs to spend nine times their income to buy a home in the lower end of the market. Only 8% of the housing stock is social housing, compared with 19% in urban areas. And last year, fewer than 6,000 new affordable homes were built in smaller rural communities – equivalent to less than one new affordable home in each village. To read the rest of this article from ACRE please click here.
Dates for you diary;

Wednesday, September 23rd, 10am - Greenham Trust and The Good Exchange’s next Community Forum - Matched Funding and Fundraising 
To register please click here:

- Matched Funding – What is Matched Funding & Greenham Trust’s Matched Funding Grants
- Double Matched Day Review & Case Studies
- Top tips for writing appealing grant applications
- How to allow The Good Exchange to claim Gift Aid on your behalf
- Using The Good Exchange for Fundraising Activities
- Fundraising Case Studies
- Supporting Charities in West Berkshire through the Volunteer Centre
- Fundraising for the Berkshire Youth Waterside Centre Appeal
- The Good Exchange – Resources and Support
- Q&A

Thursday 5th November, 11am - Connecting Communities in Berkshire AGM and free training event for members. This year our AGM will be held online. Further details regarding this and the free training opportunity will be circulated shortly.
Available Funding Opportunities for Community Groups and Voluntary Organisations in Berkshire, September 2020

Tesco’s Bags of Help Covid-19 Communities Fund
The fund is open till the 18th September 2020 to registered charities, & community organisations, schools, health bodies, Parish, Town and community councils, social enterprises, social housing organisations across the UK. Grants of £500 are available to organisations that support vulnerable groups whose demand for services has been increased or disrupted, or which need to put new services in place.

COVID-19 Support
Grants are available to UK registered charities and organisations with charitable status that are working to make a difference to the lives of disabled children and their families in the UK. The grant helps organisations to adapt their services to the new situation and to continue or resume supporting families safely. Please refer to the new guidelines
& apply online. Deadline: 21st September 2020.

Individual & Community Project Funding
Many projects and initiatives take place throughout the UK that all aim to bring music to their community. Most would benefit from a “helping hand” to fulfil their potential in
becoming truly sustainable music programmes. Grants are available of up to £500 for individuals & £2500 for communities. Deadline Nov 1st 2020:

Asda Foundation COVID-19 Grants
Grants are available for care homes, hospices, hospitals and homeless shelters supporting residents/patients in facilities in the UK, who are struggling and unable to provide their own toiletries either through lack of funds or access to family support as a result of the current restrictions. Maximum Value: £500

The ASDA Foundation’s grants programmes aim to support grassroots charitable organisations working at the heart of its stores’ communities. Registered charities, community groups, voluntary organisations and other not-for-profit organisations in the UK can apply for support with initiatives that will make a real long-term difference, benefiting the wider community.

Hardship Fund
The British Red Cross Hardship Fund aims to address acute hardship and suffering to the those who are vulnerable, providing a short-term financial safety net for people most impacted by the pandemic. The fund aims to support up to 13,000 of the most vulnerable over a three-month period. Hardship Fund Info here

Magic Little Grants 2020
The fund will be awarding grants of £500 to community projects to support and inspire people to participate in sports or exercise. The primary aim is improving the physical health of participants. Groups must have an income below £250,000 or be less than one year old.
They are happy to support projects that support people to stay active during social distancing, such as online fitness classes delivered via video conferencing software or Youtube.
Applications will receive any funding within two months of submitting a complete application. The deadline for applications will be 31st October 2020.
Read more

Comic Relief Covid-19 Community Grant – open until end of December 2020
Grants of up to £4,000 are available for local grassroots organisations with ‘lived experience’ to respond to the current local need as a response to the Covid-19 emergency, and it may also assist charities through short term organisational recovery.

Who can apply?
Your organisation must be a grass roots, not for profit voluntary or community organisations (including registered charities/companies) with an annual turnover of under £250,000 and include members with lived experience. Please note that they are particularly interested in receiving applications from charities who support BAME and LGBTQ communities, who have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 crisis. For further information please click here.

More than a Pub: The Community Pub Business Support Programme
Want to take ownership of your local pub and run it for the benefit of the community? Need help getting it into community hands? The More than a Pub programme provides business development support to enable the community control of pubs in both rural and urban communities across England. For further details please click here.

Allen Lane Foundation
Grants are available to small registered charities, voluntary groups and charitable organisations in the UK for work that makes a difference to people’s lives as opposed to simply alleviating the symptoms or current problems and should aim to reduce isolation, stigma and discrimination. For further information please click here.

The KFC Foundation Community Grants
The KFC Foundation is funding applications for £200-£2000 from organisations which:
• Benefit young people aged 11-25 years old.
• Supports those in a position of social disadvantage (i.e. care leavers, those experiencing homelessness, young carers, young parents, young people at risk of or with experience of the criminal justice system).
• Empower young people by providing spaces that allow young people to feel safe and secure, helping them to unlock talent, build life skills, provide mentoring and improve their chances to gain meaningful employment.
• Are local to a KFC restaurant? (Find Your Local KFC)
• Will demonstrate positive results from their project within 12 months of our funding being received.
Expressions of interest must be submitted via a two-minute video and a short application form by the 25th September 2020. See

The Rag Doll Foundation – Cultural sector work with children and young people
Rag Doll Foundation supports quality arts engagement projects where the concerns of childhood can be heard. A variety of art forms can include: dance, drama, ceramics, creative play, film, music, puppetry and storytelling. Eligible projects need to support equality of opportunity, can include families. Preference for projects committed to listening to children and allowing the perceptions and feelings of children to be better understood. The main interest is in applications involving early years, those for older children (up to 18 years) will also be considered. Next deadline to apply for small grants to £1,500 by 30 October 2020. . See

Masonic Charitable Foundation
Children and Young People grant
Open to charities helping disadvantaged children and young people to overcome the barriers they face. For large grants (£10,000 to 60,000 for one – three years) apply by 31 October 2020. Next deadline for small grants (£1,000 to £15,000 for one- three years) 23 December 2020.

Later Life grant
Open to charities working to reduce loneliness and isolation in later life
For large grants (£10,000 to 60,000 for one – three years) apply by 31 October 2020l. Next deadline for small grants (£1,000 to £15,000 for one- three years) 23 December 2020.

Bracknell Town Council Annual Community Grants
Grants up to £6000 available to local organisations involved in delivering valued services to the Bracknell community. Apply by 1st October 2020. Find details, guidance and application form on

Church’s Preventative Maintenance Micro-Grant
Listed & unlisted churches and meeting houses can apply for grants of up to £500 (excl. VAT) towards the cost of building’s maintenance services. The grant covers up to 50% of the cost of works. To be eligible Churchs can book one of the following services through the MaintenanceBooker website for:
• Rainwater goods maintenance;
• Lightning protection system repairs;
• Asbestos removal;
• Masonry repairs and high level maintenance.
Rolling programme see
Latest Newsletter from Neighbourhood Watch  

This month we have a look at how one group has tackled crime and disorder in Hackney, we introduce to you CrimeStoppers Domestic Abuse campaign #YouAreNotPowerless which launched on the 1st September, and Action Fraud's anti-phishing campaign #MulletOver, which also launched on the 1st September.

In partnership with Avast we look at ways Cyberhood Watch is protecting our community. To read the full newsletter please click here
Online shopping continues to rise by Citizens Advice  
1 in 3 people (33%) say they are shopping more online now than they did during lockdown, according to research from ecommerce software company Scurri. Nearly 2 in 5 (38%) are shopping online as much as they did during lockdown. Royal Mail also reports that online shopping increased as lockdown has eased. Royal Mail figures show consumers shopped even more frequently in June and spending increased compared with May. On average online shoppers spent £226 on purchasing goods online in June. Royal Mail says the type of goods being bought are changing. The volume of DIY equipment and gardening product sales is starting to return to normal, whilst spend on clothing, food and drink continues to grow.

Please remember to use easyfundraising every time you shop online! Over 4,000 shops and sites will donate, so you can raise FREE donations for CCB no matter what you’re buying. These donations really help us out, so please sign up if you haven’t yet. It’s easy and FREE! You can get started at
Could you or someone you know become a firefighter?
RBFRS is committed to supporting and making a positive difference to the communities we serve. We aim to identify, understand and eliminate all barriers that prevent access to services, information and employment, through promoting a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion throughout our work. We are currently running a recruitment campaign #OneTeamForBerkshire. During the campaign we will be sharing the stories of our staff and what it's like serving the people of Royal Berkshire.  

As part of this, we are looking to provide individuals who may not have previously considered a career as a firefighter with a range of online material, resources and access to virtual events over the coming months to enable anyone interested to learn more about the role of a firefighter and the opportunities provided by a career with RBFRS. Should circumstances allow, we may also seek to facilitate face-to-face events. Please note, this is part of a programme of work being conducted prior to firefighter recruitment, which we anticipate will take place in January 2021. We would therefore primarily encourage those individuals who may wish to join this recruitment process, and will be age-eligible to do so, to take part.
 Any interested individuals should submit their name and email address to by 10th October 2020 to register their interest and join the mailing list for access to these resources and events. 
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Latest update from Berkshire Healthcare NHS Trust. 
We want to reassure you that we have plans in place to manage the situation and keep you and our staff safe. We are regularly updating this page, and our dedicated COVID-19 section on our website with new information about symptoms, appointments and services. 

Symptoms of COVID-19
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature), OR
new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual), OR
loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms. For further information please click here.
Job Opportunity to join our counterparts in Oxfordshire – Community Planning Officer

Community First Oxfordshire (CFO) requires a qualified Town Planner with a range of skills, a flexible approach and a creative mind. This is a busy, varied, and challenging role. The Community Planning Officer will: 1- manage CFO’s portfolio of Neighbourhood Planning commissions and actively seek new opportunities; and 2- research, develop and assist in the delivery of new, community-focused planning services.

2 year fixed term position. 28hrs per week £32-35,000 per annum pro rata. Deadline for application: 30 September 2020. For more information on the post and details on how to apply please visit:
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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