News release from 08/12/2021

Community groups can now apply for double the funding from Council’s grants chest

Artwork displayed in the woods

Eligible South Cambridgeshire community groups which work to improve the quality of life for local residents can now apply for double the amount of grant help from the Council’s Community Chest scheme.

Not-for-profit voluntary and community sector groups, charities, small parish councils or meetings and public sector bodies can now request small grants of up to £2,000, increased from £1,000, for help in covering one-off costs relating to a project or activity.

This can be for improvements to community buildings and spaces such as village halls, pavilions or play areas; repairs to historic buildings, monuments or memorials; equipment or capital purchases or materials; or ‘Start-up’ costs such as training of staff and volunteers, hall hire and other revenue costs.

To be eligible, projects should be promoting healthy and active communities, enabling inclusive communities or helping to develop skills, enhancing the natural environment, meeting a local need and leaving a legacy for the community, and ensuring equality of access.

The Council makes over £50,000 available each year in Community Chest grants. The most recent projects to receive approval for their grant applications are:

  • Cottenham United Colts FC who applied for £1,000 towards the cost of purchasing a pair of 7x7 movable goals after an expansion in the number of teams they have to a current total of 18 boys’ teams and six girls’ teams, aged six to 18.
  • Great Chishill Bell Ringers who also applied for £1,000. They need to raise £91,700 to fully renovate the bells of St Swithuns Church and add a new sixth bell. The group has so far raised £50,000 towards its target and the work will start in February 2022 as fundraising continues.
  • Orwell Carpet Bowls Club received £452.98 towards the purchase of a two-mat windup storage handling unit for their heavy mats which members difficult to handle, carry and roll.

The Council is also putting £50,000 into a rolling fund for two years for grants for villages who want to develop a community-led plan, with the money to be earmarked for the initial development costs - such as printing, the delivery of surveys and costs involved in holding public meetings - rather than delivering the project.

The Council’s Wildlife Enhancement Scheme has also been incorporated and will be administered as part of the Community Chest grant scheme.  This ‘ringfenced’ purse of £10,000 annually will be used for Biodiversity projects which enhance the living environment around the district.

Previous successful recipients of grants from the Wildlife Enhancement Scheme include The Over and Swavesey Swift Conservation Project 2020 which received £5,000 for its work in partnership with Action For Swifts to install more than 120 nest boxes for endangered swifts under the eaves or behind the brickwork of homes, offices, a primary school and a Memorial Hall across the two villages.

A recent recipient of funding help from the Community Chest is the award-winning Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination, which brings together artists and other practitioners to encourage people of all ages to participate in creative endeavours in nature as well as indoor environments. It applied for a grant this summer towards its Forest of Imagination project and received £996.30. 

The project ran workshops for schools and residents using the People admiring artwork in the woodsoutdoors as a way of supporting nature recovery for local people and leaving a lasting legacy, with the resultant art works being displayed in exhibitions in Wandlebury Woods on November 28 (pictured left and above) and on Christ’s Pieces in Cambridge on December 5 during National Tree Week. The displays featured 50 beautiful gauze hangings created from work made by nearly 400 children and young people from across the area.

CCI director Ruth Sapsed said: “We know that children’s lives are becoming ever more stressed and screen‐focused. Even before the pandemic, we were reading research showing that the average child spends less time outside than the average prisoner. We feel hugely privileged to be able to support children in this way, and help them know that they are important citizens, with ideas people want to know about. Just this week, Millie‐Nic, age eight, reminded me “if you get outside, you can concentrate”. In many ways this work is joyously optimistic which is so important right now.”

Cllr Jose Hales, Chair of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Grants Advisory Committee (below right), said: “Community groups and parish councils have been instrumental in supporting vulnerable people throughout the pandemic and we are offering support through the Community Chest Fund for those wishing to continue with their projects and activities, particularly those focussed on health and wellbeing.Councillor Jose Hales

“In increasing the amount of money which can be applied for, from £1,000 to £2,000, we are recognising the rising cost of materials and equipment across the board and also aiming to encourage more applications by reducing the need for many groups to ‘shop around’ for their remaining funding which can be a huge challenge. Whether you are a sports or health support club, a community building, playgroup, musical group or library, if you have a project under way or want to start one, then do consider applying to the Community Chest Fund.”

The Council will advise parish councils, residents and other local groups when the Community-Led Plan funding and Biodiversity Grants become available.