Calor Gas Invites Local Groups to Apply to its Rural Community Fund

EnergyThe Calor Rural Community Fund has been launched for a second year in a row and is inviting rural projects throughout Great Britain to apply for one of 21 grants.

The rural energy provider set up the Rural Community Fund in 2017 as a way to give something back to the community, and once again it is offering rural off-grid communities in England, Scotland and Wales the chance to win funding for projects that will improve local life.

Calor is offering three levels of funding available to suit projects of different sizes:

  • £5,000 grants will go to five projects.
  • £2,500 grants will go to six projects.
  • £1,000 grants will go to 10 projects.

The funding applied for must equate to 50% or more of the total project cost.

A wide range of projects will be considered including but not limited to community centres, village halls, sporting venues, youth clubs, scout groups, initiatives to support the elderly.

To be eligible, projects must meet the following criteria:

  • It exists for the benefit of the wider community and not of the individual.
  • It has been in existence for a minimum of six months; and is a charity or a not-for-profit organisation.
  • The funding applied for is equal to 50% or more of the total project cost.
  • The funding is being used for renovations, redecorating, equipment, or new LPG heating systems.
  • It is capable of completion within 12 months of the date of the grant if successful.
  • It is in a rural off mains gas location in the UK and is for the benefit of an off-grid rural community in England, Scotland or Wales.
  • It has a clear deliverable objective.
  • The systems are in place to ensure finances are well managed.
  • It operates on a non-discriminatory basis and is non-political.

Applications will be accepted until 21 May 2018. Public voting will take place from 25 May 2018 until 29 June 2018, with results expected to be announced on 20 July 2018.

Visit the Calor website for further details and to start an application.

The deadline for applications is 21 May 2018.

Community groups urged to bid for loan sharks’ cash

Stop Loan Sharks

Stop Loan Sharks

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) are putting proceeds of crime money to good use with grants to worthy community groups.

The national team, who investigate and prosecute loan sharks, are encouraging community groups to bid for grants of up to £5,000.

This available money, which has been confiscated from convicted loan sharks through the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002), is being used to fund local community projects which raise awareness of illegal money lending.

The IMLT will vote on which applicants will be granted the funding to support their community project. The aim of this national scheme is to see the illegal earnings convicted loan sharks have made, used wisely, to benefit key areas and reinvest the money back into local communities.

Applicants are welcome to bid for the cash to spend on any worthwhile community project which does at least one of the following:

  • Contributes to raising awareness of the dangers of using loan sharks
  • Prevents crime and disorder and publicises the Stop Loan Sharks message
  • Promotes the work of the Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) in communities
  • Encourages reporting of loan sharks

Loan sharks often trap borrowers into spiralling debt by charging astronomical rates of interest and arbitrary extra charges. In some cases, loan sharks have been known to resort to bullying tactics such as intimidation, threats and even violence to enforce repayment amongst borrowers.

Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said:

“It is fundamental that schemes like this take place, illegal money lenders are a scourge on our communities and can have a huge detrimental impact on the lives of victims living in the area.

“Through schemes such as this, we are able to put their unlawful earnings back in to the community they once targeted. This money will help fund something positive and we encourage all local groups to participate. We would also urge victims of illegal money lenders to contact us in confidence on 0300 555 2222. All calls are strictly confidential and you will be offered welfare support while we build a case against the loan shark.”

Examples of previous projects which have been funded using proceeds of crime money include:

  • Local drama production to warn residents about the dangers of loan sharks
  • Loan shark ‘takeover’ across a local radio station
  • A community sofa which was created using different fabrics and featured various loan shark warning messages
  • Stop Loan Sharks mural in a local school
  • A loan shark prevention badge created by a Girl Guides group

Groups can apply for up to a maximum of £5,000 per project idea. Applicants can submit more than one project idea.

For more information about this funding scheme and to receive an electronic application form, please contact LIAISE Manager Dave Benbow on

The closing date for applications is Saturday 30th June 2018.

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 382 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 328 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £73.7 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 28,000 people.

To report a loan shark:

Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222

Text a report to 078600 22116

Visit the website


Private message us on

14 people in rural West Berkshire training in lifesaving skills

Heartstart 2018 9

CCB’s Wendy Dacey with three volunteers from Heartstart Thatcham

Recently CCB ran a training session in partnership with Heartstart Thatcham in Woolhampton that was attended by 14 learners.

The training was funded by SSE’s Resilient Communities and Adult Community Learning West Berkshire. Most of the learners that came were from outlying rural areas and the trainers from Heartstart Thatcham felt this was really important as it is those who are more isolated that can be of highest risk for not getting lifesaving support in the early vital minutes after a heart attack / choking / injury. The course was led by Dr Nick Young who does this work as a volunteer alonHeartstart 2018 7gside two other volunteer trainers.

Some comments from the evaluation;
“I really enjoyed the course, thank you so much. It was very informative, fun, friendly and I am feeling confident to use a defibrillator and perform CPR”
“The best bit was having so much time to practice the skills and become confident”
“Very friendly, informative and patient trainers. They were clear, and answered all our questions easily”
“Great having trainers that were serious but also had a great sense of humour!”

CCB are running a repeat course in partnership with Heartstart Swallowfield in June please contact to register your interest.

Prince’s Countryside Fund: Recharging Rural research

Prince's countryside fund
The Fund and Professor Sarah Skerratt from Scotland’s Rural College are now inviting anyone living or working in rural areas of the UK to contribute to the research. They want to find out the different ways in which the challenges of ‘remote rural’ are being experienced by people and communities across the UK.

Participants are encouraged to fill in the survey regardless of their location in the countryside – whether they live and work somewhere traditionally seen as geographically remote, or places considered ‘within easy reach’ of towns and cities but that feel remote owing to a lack of connections, such as transport, broadband, or social links.

The survey is also available in Welsh and Scots Gaelic – please email if you would like a version in these languages.


Nominations are open for the 2018 West Berkshire Council Learner Achievement Awards


training 2

Now in their 16th year these annual awards celebrate the success of adult learners, teachers, volunteers and organisations who have been involved in delivering post 19 education and training across West Berkshire.

There are 10 award categories and winners are presented with a certificate and £100 (£250 for the group award). To make a nomination simply click here or download the attached form.

The deadline for nominations is 5pm on Friday, 27th April 2018.

For more information go to the community learning website at

The Learner Achievement Awards are organised by the Community Learning team on behalf of the West Berkshire Community Learning Partnership and sponsored by Newbury College, Newbury Community Resource Centre and West Berkshire Training Consortium.