Welcome to the revamped In the Loop members’ news. This quarterly publication from us will now focus on new Hunts Forum members, so they can introduce themselves to our growing family of community organisations.
We will continue to publish news from our members in our monthly News Forum e-newsletters. Please send your contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this issue we hear from:
Peterborough Environment City Trust
Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) is an environmental charity promoting sustainable practices to help protect our environment now and to leave a legacy for future generations. It does lots of great work in Peterborough and has recently branched out into Huntingdonshire and Fenland with its Warm Homes project.
The project helps improve the lives of vulnerable households that are suffering from or are at risk of fuel poverty. If you live in Huntingdonshire or Fenland, then PECT can help you with its free energy advice service. The Warm Homes campaign supports residents who are struggling to pay their energy bills or cannot keep their home heated at a sufficient temperature.
With overwhelming evidence that inadequately heated homes can have a detrimental effect on the wellbeing of residents, PECT offers help by providing free energy advice and information packs, as well as signposting to other available resources and support.
“Ultimately we want to help cut energy costs and carbon for the benefit of people and the planet,” explains Project Officer Nikki Dekker. “People’s ability to keep their homes adequately heated has been further exacerbated by the economic, health and social challenges created by Covid-19. This is a time of great uncertainty, and we want to support people to live healthily and happily.”
Huge numbers of homeowners are unable to adequately heat their homes, and this has significant health implications and places enormous pressure on the NHS. PECT’s project seeks to tackle this growing issue by providing householders with a free helping hand to make their homes more energy efficient and to help save money on their energy bills.
The service offers help and advice on behavioural changes, choosing the best energy tariff and supplier, managing your water bills, and – where eligible – can assist you to access the national £140 Warm Home Discount, the Government Green Homes Grant (where households can get a voucher up to £5,000 to make their homes more energy efficient), and other funding opportunities.
Craft4Smiles C.I.C. is a crafting community whose members are passionate about crafting and intent on ensuring that as many people as possible have the opportunity to participate in the activities that have been of significant benefit to their own wellbeing. We specialize in paper crafting and mixed media work, offering a range of courses:
- 1 – 2 Years: From Beginner to Advanced Crafter (4 x 10 weeks per year);
- Short Courses (5 weeks);
- Pop-up/tasters (one-off events).
Established as a social enterprise to work with adults aged 18 years and over, we aim to:
- Help to improve the mental health and wellbeing of those who are excluded and/or experiencing mental health problems;
- Respond to the needs of those who are lonely/isolated and/or experiencing mental health problems arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Our craft groups offer the opportunity for the development of sustained and supportive relationships between participants and between participants and the tutor. We are developing an online Gallery where members of our community are able to display and sell the things they have made. Participants have the opportunity to train to become assistants and then craft tutors for Craft4Smiles C.I.C. and, potentially, to set up their own crafting businesses with support if needed.
Fiona and Gray Adley are the co-founders and directors of Craft4Smiles C.I.C. The organization was borne out of a two-year crafting project funded by the People’s Trust and delivered for Lifecraft by Gray as craft tutor.
When the funding ended in August 2019, Fiona and Gray decided that the activity had been so successful and enjoyable for everyone, that they would continue to run the group voluntarily while setting up a business. In November 2019 they registered with Companies House as a C.I.C. Many of the original members of the Lifecraft group have continued their involvement. Despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, they are working hard to develop the range of activities on offer, delivering courses online in real time. This allows them to continue to develop the all-important relationships with participants. They are now able to offer crafting activities across the UK!
Their website – www.craft4smiles-cic.org.uk – has recently gone live, actively promoting courses. Fiona and Gray also work with key local community organizations to identify the people who will most benefit from the funded (free) courses, following successful bids to the Co-Op Bank and Peterborough Community Voluntary Service. They are awaiting the outcome of a second bid to the latter and bids to Cambridgeshire Community Foundation and the National Lottery Awards for All Covid Response fund.
The funding already secured covers the first term of the Long Course – Beginner to Advanced crafter – to be held weekly on Thursdays from 11am to 1pm from 11 February to 29 April, for people living in Peterborough and the surrounding area. These sessions will be held online for the foreseeable future.
Some people may need help understanding how online craft sessions work, so Fiona and Gray would be very happy to talk to members/clients of other Hunts Forum member organisations about the courses – please contact them at email@example.com if you would like to arrange this.
If you know anyone who might like to participate, please refer them to the website or suggest they email firstname.lastname@example.org for information. Also, if anyone might be interested in crafting in general, tell them about the website – courses and Gallery!
Fiona and Gray are new to the community/voluntary sector in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough although not new to Mental Health services in the area, and are keen to develop strong working relationships. Please do get in touch if you can see opportunities for joint working or mutual support.
Godmanchester Baptist Church
Here at Godmanchester Baptist Church we have a plan to redevelop their Large Hall to become fit for purpose. It seats 200+ people but needs some work to modernize it; it is a single-skin brick building with a leaky tin roof. It was a former print works but we are looking to transform it into a better space for both church and community use. The rest of the premises were refurbished in 2015 and we host and run various community activities and groups in those.
We would be really interested to hear from other groups who are in need of a space to meet. If you would like to hear more, or tell us your views on our project we would be delighted to hear from you – we have a short questionnaire here and you can find out more about us at www.godmanchesterbaptist.org.
You can also get in touch by phone. Ruth Blakey is our administrator, on 01480 458565. Officer hours are Tuesday-Friday 9am-1pm.