Support for vital community services is most pressing issue for Berkshire

There is a growing need in Berkshire to support community services, a new report has found. 65% of respondents to the 2018 Vital Signs survey chose Communities that Work as the cause that needs the most support. They further identified funding for community groups to support cohesion as the most pressing issue facing Berkshire today.

The Vital Signs survey is run by Berkshire Community Foundation (BCF), which published its results this week. Supporting the report’s findings was the importance of a safe home, good health and secure employment to the feeling of belonging within the community. The three are interdependent and underpin wellbeing.

Homelessness within the county increased almost 5 fold since 2011, with 46% of cases in Reading. There are 3 times as many rough sleepers over the same time period. As one respondent put it, “Nobody should have to live in a shop doorway! …For their whole wellbeing, health, vulnerability and self-worth.”

Health, both physical and mental, improves from keeping active however the cost of activities can be prohibitive for those families on low incomes. Those with disabilities, unsure of what they can safely and effectively do, require specialist advice. Quality of homes effects health with 20% of the poorest fifth of the population living in ‘non-decent’ homes. Loneliness and isolation were also seen as a major factor affecting health.

“A job is the basis for stability, good self-esteem and quality of life. An important building block.” Employment rates amongst those with disabilities is lowest in Reading and Slough. Also highlighted were the risks to those in low pay employment with the effects that can have on health and housing.

As a thank you for taking part respondents were asked to nominate a local charity to be entered in to a draw to win one of three £1,000 grants. Mr Graham Barker, High Sheriff of Berkshire, drew Autism Berkshire, Interakt and Family Friends Windsor & Maidenhead as the three lucky recipients. Representatives from each organisation received their grant from BCF’s Vice President Lady Catherine Stevenson DL at the BCF Symposium on Monday 8th October (pictured).

“Once again Vital Signs shines a light on the growing and most pressing issues affecting our local community. The report serves as an important piece of research for BCF to highlight the key gaps in provision which then helps us focus our grant funding to where it is needed the most.

Mental Health will continue to be the main priority for BCF, however this year’s report goes deeper and really highlights the root causes of the current mental health crisis in Berkshire. Homelessness, in all its forms, continues to rise due to lack of accessible, safe, and affordable housing in such an expensive area to live. People with mental health problems face poverty, homelessness and unemployment due to discrimination in the workplace and the benefits system.

Our ‘Vital for Berkshire’ campaign will help to address these issues by providing financial support to charities and voluntary organisations helping people overcome these issues, and provide them with the opportunity to thrive, not just survive, as part of our local community” Jim Fyfe, Philanthropy Director, Berkshire Community Foundation

Funding Update – October

With thanks to Bruce Wright Funding Matters and Slough CVS.

Allen Lane Foundation – The Allen Lane Foundation funds small registered charities, voluntary groups, and charitable organisations.

They fund organisations which are registered charities, and also other organisations which are not charities but which seek funding for a charitable project. (Such as constituted voluntary groups or Community Interest Companies for example.)
They do not make grants to individuals.
To make sure their grants have an impact, we only fund smaller organisations. If you work across a local area such as a village, estate or town, to be eligible you will need to have an income of less than around £100,000. At the other end of the spectrum, if you work across the whole of the UK you will need to have an income of less than around £250,000.

What For?
They fund particular beneficiary groups – currently these are:
• Asylum seekers and refugees
• Gypsies and Travellers
• Migrant communities
• Offenders and ex-offenders
• Older people
• People experiencing mental health problems
• People experiencing violence or abuse

While recognising (and being willing to support) on-going, tried and tested projects, they are also particularly interested in unusual, imaginative or pioneering projects which have perhaps not yet caught the public imagination.
They make grants for general running costs, core costs, or specific project costs. They can also offer funding for start-up costs.
Examples of types of grants they make could be
• Volunteers’ or participants’ expenses
• Venue hire
• Part-time or sessional staffing costs
• Work aimed at strengthening the organisation such as trustee or staff training

Here are some examples of the kind of activities which might be suitable for funding:
• Provision of advice or information
• Advocacy
• Arts activities where the primary purpose is therapeutic or social
• Befriending or mentoring
• Mediation or conflict resolution
• Practical work, such as gardening or recycling, which benefits both the provider and the recipient
• Self-help groups
• Social activities or drop-in centres
• Strengthening the rights of particular groups and enabling their views and experiences to be heard by policy-makers
• Research and education aimed at changing public attitudes or policy
• Work aimed at combating stigma or discrimination
• Work developing practical alternatives to violence

How Much?
Over a typical year, they make around 150 grants, to a total value of between £750,000 and £800,000.
Their maximum grant is £15,000.
The average grant size is around £5,000-£6,000.

The agenda for their October meeting is now full.
All applications received now, and before the end of November, will be considered in the round leading up-to their February 2019 Trustees’ meeting.

More Information

Santander Foundation

The Santander Foundation awards grants of up to £5,000 to help disadvantaged people make the most of their future.


Grants are for UK registered charities, Community Interest Companies and credit unions with at least one year’s accounts. Applications can be made by customers, organisations and Santander staff at any time.

If your project has already benefited from a grant, you won’t be eligible to apply for another for at least a full year.

Discovery Grants support projects that improve people’s knowledge, skills or which provide innovative solutions to overcome social challenges. They can only support projects which fulfil these goals and their three priority areas – Explorer, Transformer and Changemaker.What For?

Grants can be used to support one or more of their three priorities.

  • EXPLORER Improving people’s knowledge

Such as Money Management workshops helping disadvantaged people learn how to budget.

  • TRANSFORMER Improving skills and experience

For example, training to help socially isolated people develop skills to get back into work or volunteering opportunities for disadvantaged young people.

  • CHANGEMAKER Innovative solutions to social challenges

What about a new social networking program for visually impaired young people to access the internet?

They aim to help as many organisations as possible so they don’t offer grants for longer than one year.

Funding is available:

  • for small local projects and lasts for up to 12 months
  • for complete projects, they don’t make contributions or part funding
  • to cover part-time salaries, equipment or materials but they must be specific to your project

How Much? Up to £5,000

More Information:

Heritage Lottery Fund: Sharing Heritage
Grants from £3,000 to £10,000

Explore your community’s heritage with a grant of £3,000–£10,000. Applying through this programme is straightforward, with a short application form and a quick decision.

There are no application deadlines for this programme – apply anytime. Your application will be discussed at a monthly advisory meeting at your local Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) office.

However, they will be launching our new Funding Framework early in 2019 and will therefore not be accepting applications under this programme after 18 January 2019.
Find out more about Heritage Lottery Fund: Sharing Heritage

Music for All

Making music changes lives. At Music for All we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to learn to play music.

Application deadline is 1st November for funding requirement in the following January.

Individual Grant
Not everyone is fortunate enough to have access to musical instruments and lessons. Our Grant Application process allows us to help people fulfil their musical dreams. Young, old, regardless of personal or life challenges, we truly want music to be for all.

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.

Find out more about Music for All

HMRC grant funding 2019 to 2020

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will allocate a guaranteed £1.6 million over the next year (April 2019 to 2020) to the voluntary and community sector (VCS) to support our customers who need extra help understanding and complying with their tax obligations and claiming their entitlements, including those who are currently digitally excluded. From 2020 HMRC will develop a longer term strategy, working with the VCS to provide the best support for customers who need extra help.

They are looking for VCS organisations to help customers to form or rebuild a relationship with HMRC that enables them to engage directly with us in the future.

They invite bids for funding of between £10,000 and £450,000, with a maximum threshold set at 50% of your organisation’s turnover (last audited accounts).

They will only accept one bid per organisation.

Bids should include one or more of the following activities:

1.1 Advice and support
1.2 Digital inclusion
1.3 Specialist support and referrals

Find out more about HMRC grant funding 2019 to 2020

‘Now’s the Time’ large grants programme

Now’s the Time, the second programme from the Justice and Equality Fund, has now opened for applications for up to £100,000. Similarly to the Now’s the Time small grants programme, the large grants programme aims to amplify the voices of individuals and groups who are calling for an end to sexual harassment and abuse, in their workplaces and in their communities.

They want to resource imaginative, collaborative and creative grassroots activism so we are asking organisations to partner up and apply by answering the question: What would you do towards ending sexual harassment in work places and in communities?

They want to fund:

  • Prevention work
  • Awareness raising activities
  • Imaginative and creative grassroots activism
  • Influencing work
  • Work with groups and communities who might face additional barriers to getting their voices heard, or might be at higher risk of sexual harassment and abuse to amplify those voices
  • Work that tries out new ideas
  • Work that replicates tried and tested approaches in new settings
  • Work that others can learn from

They are particularly keen to see cross-sector partnerships where the expertise of specialist voluntary sector organisations at the forefront of this work is shared with others to help drive broader change.

All applications must be submitted by Friday 14th December 2018 at 5pm.

Find out more about the ‘Now’s the Time’ large grants programme

Tampon tax fund to help women and girls in Berkshire

Grants of up to £10,000 are available for projects, which support Berkshire’s women and girls, through the Tampon Tax Community Fund. The tampon tax fund allocates monies generated from the VAT on sanitary products to projects that improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls.

The fund for disadvantaged women has been set up by UK Community Foundation (UKCF) and is being delivered locally by Berkshire Community Foundation (BCF)

BCF will be working with community groups and charities who deliver projects that support women and girls to build skills and confidence, improve their health and wellbeing, and build social networks.

Gerry Lejeune OBE, CEO of BCF, said “We are absolutely delighted to be working on this national funding programme in partnership with other community foundations. It is a real opportunity to help add value and support to tackling disadvantage for women and girls across Berkshire.”

A key focus will be funding preventative work to reduce the risk of crisis at different life stages. This may be by helping women and girls get into or back to work, raising awareness about health issues, or by creating and developing peer networks.

Shona Blakeley, Development Manager at Women’s Fund for Scotland who are working with UK Community Foundations, said: ‘Since receiving the Tampon Tax funding in 2016, we have been able to make a difference to the lives of 18,000 women in Scotland. The new funding will have a much wider reach than those it seeks to support, and will also have a positive effect on families and the wider community.’

The foundation has been allocated £43,000 for the county, applications are open until 9.00am on Friday 19th October. To apply visit BCF’s website:

Update: CCB Family Home Energy Education & Advice Project

Helen is delighted to announce that CCB has received funding for the CCB Family Home Energy Education and Advice Project from The Sackler Trust and Berkshire Community Foundation. The funding will enable Helen to deliver 39 drop-in advice sessions or talks to groups of families with young children, targeting families on low-incomes. Helen will also be able to deliver 3 talks to frontline workers who directly support low-income and vulnerable families.

Parent champions and Helen FIRST team on 19.9.18 plus Sharon Hodge Co-ordinator

Helen with two of the parent champions from the FIRST team in Slough.

Helen said ‘When this project was delivered last year 67% of families we saw said it was difficult to afford their gas and electricity bills. I’m looking forward to visiting new groups; giving families the skills and confidence to reduce their costs, for example by getting the best deal on their energy’

Helen gave a talk on reducing home energy costs to parents at the baby group at Slough Library, The Curve last week.

CCB Annual General Meeting 2018

Come and join us on Thursday 8th November at our 2018 Annual General Meeting for breakfast and a chance to find out more about our successes in 2017-18 as well as some exciting new projects taking place in 2018-19. The AGM is taking place at The Barn, Purley-on-Thames, it will commence at 9.30am prompt and will finish at 10.00am so why not come and join us for a cuppa and a catch up?

All welcome though places MUST be booked. If you would like to attend please contact

The AGM will be followed by a fantastic opportunity to receive training on Fire Safety & Risk Assessment from the Royal Berkshire Fire Service. Further details on this can be found here.