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CCB’s Community Building Advice Service

New information to help enable Village Halls to re-open.

Our national body Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) has prepared updated information to help volunteer management committees negotiate the latest easing of Covid-19 lockdown measures.

as been a year since England’s 10,000+ village halls were forced to shut their doors for the first time. The closure of these buildings left many rural communities without a place to gather and put a stop to activities and events which help sustain village life.

Throughout the pandemic ACRE and CCB has worked with members to help hall committees make sense of Covid-19 rules and keep their community safe.

Now, with the government heralding a new ‘Roadmap to Recovery’, the charity has published a new suite of information to help village halls reopen.

The new information sheet is our best interpretation of the Government’s regulations and includes sample checklists, notices and a useful table of activities

Issue 9 of the ‘Re-opening Village and Community Halls’ Information Sheet’ sets explains what village halls can and cannot do over the next few months as Covid-19 restrictions are eased, including requirements for social distancing.

Berkshire High Sheriff Awards.

Well our lovely Kate didn’t win but last months event was SO inspiring and we thoroughly enjoyed hearing all about the positive and fantastic work the finalists had achieved. We recommend everyone watch the awards as it really is uplifting:

Kate also received these lovely comments from a Chair of a Village Hall in Berkshire: You, CCB and ACRE have helped us through some turbulent times. I do not know how often I have read government guidance and thought “how can I apply these rules to what we do?” Oh, how the joy is multiplied by the volatility of their change.

Just as we seek to support villagers, you support us. We are all in similar boats. Coordination is reassuring and the guidance that comes with it is helpful. There have been some really important bits like the business continuity insurance claims and local government grants, as well as the human touch.”

If you’d like to know more about the Community Buildings Advice Service please click here or email

CCB Family Home Energy Education and Advice Project

Surviving Winter – changing lives, Donate now

Berkshire Community Foundation is asking those receiving the Government ‘Winter Fuel Payment’, and anyone else who would like to give, to make a donation to the Surviving Winter Fund to help local vulnerable people living in fuel poverty. See for more details.

CCB received some grant funding towards last year’s CCB Family Home Energy Education and Advice Project, which:

  • advised 248 families, of which 188 were vulnerable families in fuel poverty,

  • supported over 20 partner organisations with briefings or training on supporting their low-income and vulnerable families during the pandemic

  • set up a telephone advice service for low-income families to advise on cutting the cost of their bills, and dealing with debt

Families advised said:

“I was really worried about my bills – the advice has been a great help”

“Useful advice that I can put into practice easily”

“Helen made sure I understood how to deal with the issues, and speak to the energy companies”

Comment from a Family Support Worker in Slough – “This support and advice is excellent, your service is greatly needed for children and families in Slough.”

Call out to organisations supporting low-income families!

If you would like some short bitesize training for your team meeting on discounts available to low-income families for water and electricity costs, and dealing with debt, please call or email Helen at CCB –, 07773 8887612

“I found todays training a useful given the increase in fuel poverty amongst our client group. Excellent training delivered in a very easy to understand way, thank you Helen!”

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

Return to Football Fund

Return to Football fund is an exciting new grant the Football Foundation are delivering on behalf of the FA and Sport England. The fund is to support clubs and organisations across the country where the need is greatest with the purpose of helping you return to football activity.

Berkshire Community Foundation - new funds opening soon

The next Grants round opening is April 2021 and will close May 2021. The grants will relate to Coronavirus, Sport and Older People.

The Good Exchange Community

Any registered charity or other group that operates for public benefit in the UK can use The Good Exchange to apply for fundinq and fundraise for a recognised charitable purpose, attract donations and raise funds. Click link above for further details.

Support for New Music Projects

The PRS Foundation has announced that grants of up to £10,000 are available to support new music projects led by promoters, talent development organisations, venues, festivals, curators and large performance groups.

Gerald Palmer Eling Trust

Charities with activities in West Berkshire or neighbouring counties can apply for project grants (no amount specified) to support community/education facilities, social/welfare support/therapy, medical research and/or the advancement of the Christian religion. Applications must be made in writing.

Funding for Organisations & Connecting Local Communities

The focus of the Barchester’s Charitable Foundation is about connecting or re-connecting people with others in their local community. Applications are supported that combat loneliness and enable people to be active and engaged. In particular they support older people over the age of 65, and adults with a physical or learning disability and/or mental health problems.

Cameron Grants for Innovation in Mental Health

The objectives of the Cameron Grant Memorial Trust (CGMT) are to raise awareness of suicide, to urge all who are suffering in silence to speak up and ask for help, and to support people, especially young people, who are fighting to overcome poor mental health.

Funding to Support Children & Young People

Schools, colleges and community groups can apply for funding for projects which will help team working skills and future employability of children and young people. BlueSpark values academic, vocational, artistic and sporting endeavour but only provides funding for relatively small-scale projects which might not happen at all or would only happen on a lesser scale without the support of BlueSpark.

Localgiving Magic Little Grants – deadline 31 October 2021

The Magic Little Grants 2021 programme promises to be even bigger and better than ever. This gives grants of £500 to small charities and community groups thanks to the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.

National Lottery Grants for Heritage – focusing on inclusion – rolling deadline

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is accepting applications for;grants from £3,000 to £10,000 and £10,000 to £100,000 for projects that are focused on inclusion, led by and/or engaging diverse groups typically under-represented in heritage (for example, young people, minority ethnic and LGBT+ communities, disabled people and people from lower socio-economic backgrounds).

Arnold Clark Community Fund

Grants of £1,000 are available for UK registered charities and local community groups who need financial assistance due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 Stop Loan Sharks Community Fund is now open for applications.

Community organisations, charities, private companies and social enterprises are encouraged to apply for grants of up to £5,000 from the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) for projects to help tackle loan sharks. Collaborative bids between multiple agencies are also welcome.

New Funding Stream:& Restart Youth

Restart Youth will support youth organisations through the Covid-19 crisis to give decision making power to young people, currently overlooked by mainstream services. Designed by 6 Young Advisers – the scheme welcomes applications from youth organisations in the South East of England (Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Kent, Oxfordshire, the Isle of Wight and Sussex) for specific pieces of work to give young people power and control in decisions they are making about services in response to Covid, as well as provide essential services to them.

Vital for Berkshire

The Covid Vital for Berkshire fund opens on 1 April and supports Berkshire community and voluntary groups with grants of up to £5000. To help organisations respond to people with immediate needs. To help stabilise organisations supporting those in need, To help organisations;adapt to the crisis, i.e.through service enhancement and development, or the purchase of equipment

Get Berkshire Active (GBA)

GBA have extra emergency funding to support and distribute to community organisations (charities, community groups, CIC’s or similar) working with: Individuals with a disability • Individuals with a long term health condition • Ethnically and culturally diverse communities • Low Socio-economic groups.

Yapp Charitable Trust

The Yapp Charitable Trust invites small charities to apply for grants of up to £3,000. Registered charities in England and Wales, with annual expenditure less than £40,000, can apply for funding for core costs and staffing.

Hall and Woodhouse Community Chest Grants

Hall and Woodhouse Community Chest Grants are available for voluntary and community organisations based, or working in, the south of England for projects that improve their local area such as youth work, health and social care, arts and culture, conservation and the environment.

Free digital devices and data for people with learning disabilities

Digital Lifeline funding is an emergency fund from the government open to those who support people with learning disabilities and want to distribute digital devices to their community.

Funding to support children and young people

Schools, colleges and community groups can apply for funding for projects which will helpteam working skills and future employability of children and young people.

Ocado Foundation for Good
The programme will support ‘the many rather than the few’ by providing grants up to £1,000 to charities, community organisations, community interest companies, academic institutions, and local authorities for community projects which focus their efforts on three core areas:
• skills for the future,
• natural resources
• responsible sourcing.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, for volunteering, only applications for digital volunteering will be accepted. Applications can be made at any time until the 31st December 2021. Click here for more details.

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.

RURAL NEWS: Rural charities report significant increase in demand for support

by Philip Vincent, ACRE

Research conducted by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) shows how its members were needed more than ever due to Covid-19 – putting pressure on their finances.

100 years of supporting rural community action could not have prepared the 38 county-based charities that make up the ACRE Network for the dramatic events that began this time last year.

In the space of a few weeks, staff began working from home, information and advice was hurriedly prepared and issued to groups, and services traditionally provided face to face were moved online. At the same time, there was an unprecedented increase in demand for support by groups wanting to know how to respond to lockdown restrictions and look after vulnerable residents. To read the rest of this article please click here.

BBC NEWS: Access to rural-broadband funding plagued by delays

The government has been accused of dragging its feet over a rural-broadband funding scheme that expired at the end of March but still has many open applications awaiting approval.

Changes to rural-broadband vouchers mean some areas will be ineligible for a new version of the scheme in April.

More than a million homes could be affected, industry sources say.

But the government says no areas "will miss out", because they will be covered by other broadband projects. To read full article please click here.

Healthwatch East Berkshire covers Ascot, Bracknell Forest, Maidenhead, Slough and Windsor. We exist to listen to residents’ voices when it comes to their health and social care experiences and views.

To better understand the community’s health and social care needs across East Berkshire, they have created our ‘What Matters Most’ survey. The survey will help us understand residents’ views and experiences as well as their health priorities for 2021-2022. The survey will provide us with a foundation of information to use for future work, as well as a chance to capture residents feedback (good or not so good). We take this feedback to decision makers who have the power to make positive changes happen.

Healthwatch West Berkshire: Coronavirus Hub is here to help you.

A number of organisations, including Healthwatch West Berkshire, have come together to offer help and support to residents of West Berkshire during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

West Berkshire Council has teamed up with the voluntary and charity sectors to launch a Community Support Hub where people can go for advice and information.

Organisations including Newbury Soup Kitchen, West Berkshire Foodbank, Citizens Advice West Berkshire, the Community Furniture Project, Volunteer Centre West Berkshire, Healthwatch West Berkshire, Greenham Trust and Newbury Weekly News are all involved.

A dedicated website has been set up which you view by clicking HERE and there is also a telephone number people can call if they need to – (01635) 503579.

West Berkshire Energy Switch - Sign up to see if you can save on energy bills!

Many people are paying too much for their gas and electricity and haven't changed suppliers in years, if at all, and that’s where the West Berkshire Energy Switch comes in.

Residents can sign up to the Switch and see if they can get cheaper energy tariffs.

We’ve partnered with independent experts in group buying, iChoosr UK who will manage a ‘reverse auction’ and switching process to get the best possible energy deal.

So far, over 10,000 households across West Berkshire have registered to the scheme, with those switching saving a total of £691,213 on their energy bills.

In the last scheme, residents who signed up saved an average of £270 per year against standard tariffs by switching supplier.

Taking part in the West Berkshire Energy Switch is free and without obligation.

Steve Ardagh-Walter, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for the Environment said: “This is a great opportunity to not only check your energy bills to see if you can make savings and fix for the year ahead, but also to reduce carbon by signing up for a renewable electricity tariff.

“Don’t miss out. Tell friends and family about the scheme too as more registrations help to provide a cheaper tariff.”

People can register with the West Berkshire Energy Switch scheme today to be guaranteed renewable electricity and a no obligation personal offer and to see how much money they could save by switching.

The Collective Energy Switch auctions are held each year in February, May, and October. This year’s West Berkshire Collective Energy Switch is open to your registrations from 30 March 2021. A reverse auction will later be held on 18 May 2021, where energy suppliers will compete with their best offers. Please, note that the last day for participating /showing interest in this season’s Collective Energy Switch is 29 June 2021. Starting from 31 May 2021, participants will commence receiving their personalized offers for consideration.

Register or find out more at

Participants will need to have their latest energy bill to hand, as details will be requested in the registration process.

Climate Change Berkshire

If you have a couple of seconds to answer our question on what topics you/your community would be interested to know more about regarding climate change and becoming a net zero community we would REALLY appreciate it. Please click on link:

NCSC Small Organisations Cyber Newsletter Registration

National Cyber Security Centre has created a new newsletter to help small organisations to be more cyber aware in this current ever-changing world. This newsletter aims to break down cyber related issues into bitesize pieces which can be read in your coffee break. Sign up here to receive your free copy.


Move Every Day in May challenges you to do some form of physical activity every day during the month of May in support of PACT's work.

It's completely up to you how you choose to do your 'moves', either by running, walking, cycling, yoga, weights, an indoor workout... It's your challenge, your way. Set yourself a realistic goal and choose a level that works for you: you could commit to 30 minutes of activity each day, or even just 10 minutes.

For further details please click here

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