New: FREE Funding Workshop in West Berkshire. Book your place now!

In order to better support the sector two respected charities,  Volunteer Centre West Berkshire and Connecting Communities in Berkshire (CCB) have teamed up to provide a comprehensive Voluntary Sector Training Partnership. We are excited to work together  to provide  training opportunities that are right for the voluntary and community sector here in West Berkshire. 

Garry Poulson and Tim Parry

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

CCB is facilitating a FREE Funding Workshop providing information, useful tips and advice on available funding streams in West Berkshire. 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 or parish.

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.

With more TBC!

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 :

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.   

Funding News – March 2020

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?

They have £500 grants and support for creative projects anywhere in the UK where people study, work and relax. People aged 18-25 from London can also apply to join our unique exhibition.

Applicants get to try something new and bring friends along on the journey. As well as add to their CV and develop communication skills and confidence.

Every project needs a Supporting Organisation to receive the funding.Are you aged 14-25 and buzzing with project ideas?

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.

They give grants for…
Projects working with children and young people of 18 years and under experiencing disadvantage through:

  • Illness, distress, abuse or neglect
  • Any kind of disability
  • Behavioural or psychological difficulties
  • Living in poverty or situations of deprivation

Projects they fund make differences in children’s lives that help prevent or overcome the effects of the disadvantages they face. Projects achieve these differences by either working directly with children or seeking to improve their social and physical environments.

In their Small Grants programme they are looking for projects where a relatively small amount of money can make a big difference for children and young people.

The next deadline is 16 March.

Find out more about the Children In Need Small Grants Programme

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.

Trustees look to fund:

  • Projects for children aged 5 to 18 years
  • Locally based schemes lasting from 2 to 6 weeks
  • Schemes with strong volunteer support

Applications are accepted from voluntary agencies with an income of less than £150,000.Applications must be received by Friday 29 May. 

Find out more about The Hilden Charitable Fund — Summer Play Schemes Guidelines 2020

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.

All applications must relate to projects that assist individuals in their return to mainstream society.

Next deadline is 15 March.

Find out more about Help the Homeless

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. Deadline 13th March 2020
Capital Grants from the cloth workers Foundation
Large (£25,000 average) and small (less than £10,000) grants for charities, CICs, and NfP’s working with a wide range of beneficiaries including disadvantaged young people and minority communities, older people and homeless, ex-offenders, people with disabilities, or visual impairment, domestic & sexual abuse and alcohol and substance mis-use. Rolling programme so no deadlines
Thomas Wall trust – Grants for skills to aid employment
Grants up to £5,000 available towards specific projects or core activities that support literacy, numeracy, digital and additional skills for learning that are likely to assist employment prospects. Charities must have an income below £500,000 and be at least three years old.
Deadline for EOI 25th  March 2020 (2 stage process) .  See: and

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

Your application must demonstrate that your project idea will have a direct influence in changing behaviour.

We are looking to support interventions that will specifically focus on two behaviours:
• Buy what you eat (BWYE), and;
• Eat what you buy (EWYB).
Examples could be interventions that:
• Help promote a better understanding of Best Before Date vs Use-By Date
• Promote and encourage consumers to buy/shop better – buying the ‘right’ quantity for what is required. For example, shopping planners
• Educate citizens on how to store or freeze food correctly
The scheme is open to small or medium size enterprises or not-for-profit and public funded organisations (such as a local authority) in England only. The scheme will award grants between £25,000 and £100,000 for both capital and revenue project expenditure.

Find out more about Citizen Food Waste Behaviour Change Grant

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

Hilden Charitable Fund – Summer Play Schemes Grant
Grants are available to voluntary and community groups in the UK to help run summer play schemes for the benefit of disadvantaged children.
Click here to for more information

Hilden Charitable Fund
Grants for UK charities working in the areas of homelessness, penal affairs, asylum seekers and refugees, community based initiatives for disadvantaged young people (16-25), and projects in developing countries working on community development, education, and health (with particular interest in projects that address the needs and potential of girls and women).
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

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

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. Below you can view a film about the correct actions to take if you think you’ve found someone unconscious and how to check so you DON’T get a smack in the face!

Here’s Nick getting a suprise from Mick when checking to see if he’s unconsious!

In February we ran another well attended training event this time at Brimpton Village Hall. Please see some pictures below. 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!”

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.   

You can read more about the incredible impact we made in 2019.The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust was founded by Baroness Lawrence in 1998 to support young people, in honour of Stephen whose life was cruelly cut short before he could live out his dreams.   How your community can get involvedWe invite your community leaders, members and young people to come together to use the story of Stephen’s life and legacy as an opportunity to hold a day of activities or event to mark the day.   Social Action in Action We are proud to have worked across the country engaging communities and young people to design and develop youth-led social action projects to improve the lives of young people living in their local communities, challenging negative perceptions to make a real difference.  Social Action projects can include activities such as campaigning, volunteering, and fundraising – all of which have a massive impact on local communities and young people.

Download the Community Social Action Toolkit to find out how to start you can start your own project!  Small Grants Scheme The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust are welcoming a limited number of applications from individual community organisations to deliver Social Action activities focusing on identified risk factors for Serious Crime and Violence (see attachment, Serious Crime & Violence) in line with our guiding principles (see attachment, Guiding Principles).   Amount of funding available: Up to £400 for a day of activities. All activities will need to take place on or around the day – 22nd April 2020.  Please submit your completed application and relevant supporting documents to Chelsea Way on, by Friday 13th March 2019.

We look forward to hearing from you and your local community!

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.