Volunteer Awards 2020 Announced

Hunts Forum celebrates the people who have gone to incredible lengths to support our member organisations and local communities.

On 2 December 2020 Hunts Forum held its annual Volunteer of the Year awards ceremony. The pandemic meant we had to move the event online but there was still a great turnout – and the quality and number of nominations was as high as ever.

2020 has been an extraordinary year. Thankfully, the immense challenges brought about by the pandemic have been met by an incredible response by the voluntary community. That’s why it has been harder than ever to pick winners from the dozens of nominations we have received for this year’s awards. We’d like to thank everyone who submitted nominations, all those who were nominated and everyone who has given up their time this year to support their communities.

Many thanks to Ladbrook Insurance for their generation donation of £100 Amazon vouchers for our Gold award winners. Ladbrook specialise in insurance for charities and social enterprises; find out more at

Volunteer of the Year Award

Gold – Kim Laidler, Sun Network

Kim got involved with Sun Network a few years ago with a few one-off projects. Since then she has grown in confidence and commitment and is now a Non-Executive Director. She has overcome her own challenges and has a huge passion for ensuring that people experiencing mental ill health have a voice. She participates in numerous projects and meetings at strategic levels to ensure that the thoughts and feelings of service users are at the heart of the local and regional mental health policies and work streams.

Silver – Des Foster, Buckden Village Hall

Des has been treasurer of the Buckden Village Hall Trust for four years. Throughout that time he has ensured that the hall is on a sound financial footing, and has also supported tenants through their own financial challenges. During the pandemic the hall was forced to shut down but still had significant costs. Des researched every known funding for Covid-affected business, managed to maintain salaries for three staff and is actively involved in a range of projects to ensure the future prosperity of the hall.

Bronze – Sheila Goodbody and Ian Hopkins, Somersham Town Band

Ian and Sheila are the country’s oldest roadies, setting up and taking down the band’s equipment for concerts in all weather. They have also helped by driving band members and their instruments, babysitting for bandmembers so they can attend rehearsals and shaking collection boxes at concerts.

Highly Commended – Annie Thantrey: Hunts Community Cancer Network

Annie had the vision to establish an holistic drop-in centre where people with a diagnosis of cancer can come together from across the region. She has recruited a large community of volunteers to provide emotional support and activities such as massage, art therapy, yoga, line dancing and so much more. During lockdown Annie re-imagined the drop-in as a virtual community, learning the intricacies of Facebook and Zoom to keep people in contact with each other.

Highly Commended – Christopher Cole: Alzheimer’s Society

Chris has volunteered for the Alzheimer’s Society for over eight years, initially helping with admin duties and then at their Dementia Cafes in St Ives and Ramsey. During the pandemic, Chris again switched his role and become a Companion Caller, calling service users who are lonely and isolated for a regular chat.

Highly Commended – Hemingford Hub volunteer team

Hemingford Hub nominates its team of volunteers for their essential roles in building a caring and pro-active community. The Hub exploded into activity when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, growing in a matter of days to 140+ volunteers for its Good Neighbour scheme. They helped residents by shopping, collecting medication, walking dogs, organising tea parties, delivering hot meals, minor repairs and much more.

Highly Commended – Lianne Simpson: Diamond Hampers

Lianne is co-founder of Diamond Hampers and is deeply committed to helping those living in poverty and ensuring no person goes hungry. She climbed over boulders to reach the peak of Mount Snowden to raise vital funds. She prepares up to 20 food parcels each day and organises deliveries to areas in Huntingdon, Brampton, St Neots, St Ives and surrounding villages.

Highly Commended – Patrick Kadewere: Huntingdonshire Community Group

When news of the Covid-19 pandemic broke, Cllr Kadewere prepared a team of volunteers to respond to whatever needs the community presented. He registered the group as a Recognised Organisation with HDC and connected with a range of partner agencies. His presence in the heart of the community delivering food, medicine, arranging ongoing support, advice and reassurance made a huge impact on the mental health and wellbeing of a vast number of people.

Highly Commended – Gill Riley: CP Learning Trust

Gill has been shielding throughout the Covid pandemic, but rather than focusing on what she could no longer do, she decided to find ways to help others in the community. She responded to a call CP Learning Trust put out for volunteers to make face masks and other protective items for the NHS and frontline staff, and to date Gill has produced 772 items.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Susan Moore, Hunts Community Cancer Network

Susan was the founder of Hunts Community Cancer Network, and worked tirelessly to improve the wellbeing of cancer patients across the county. She had a passion to help people who had a diagnosis of cancer and, despite her own health issues, brought them together to support each other. She also managed their volunteers and programmes, coached others and was always looking for the next innovation. Sadly Susan died on 11 September 2020. She lived her life to the full, always maintaining a positive outlook and a realistic view of her own mortality.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Michael Snell, Centre 33

Michael has volunteered at Centre 33 for 10 years and has given such valuable help to them. He has offered his skills as a handyman, plumber, painter, and even office space designer. All of this has given their offices a more pleasant environment which is critical to the services they offer to young people and gives them a safe and calm place when they visit.

David Morgan Rural Volunteer of the Year Award

Gold – Christine Luckham, Huntingdonshire Children’s Charity (Dreamdrops)

Christine has been involved in the charity since its inception in 2005. She was instrumental in setting up The Collins Club to support families with autistic children, organised Christmas parties, provided training and supported families through lockdown. She is a driving force for good, and definitely someone you want on your side.

Silver – Richard Cross, Caring Together

Richard volunteers within almost every team in Caring Together, supporting Awareness sessions, young carers groups, family carers hubs and as an ambassador and trained mental health first aider for the organisation. He has continued to volunteer through the pandemic, providing support via telephone and online, and piloting the return to face-to-face support. His enthusiasm and energy is seemingly endless and he never fails to cheer up any room he enters.

Bronze – Maurice and Sue Lee, Hail Weston Parish Council

Maurice and Sue set up the Neighbourhood Café in 2016, leading a team of volunteers to provide residents with a chance to socialise over a cuppa and cake. They rarely miss a shift and have been instrumental in raising almost £7,000 for good causes.

The Nominations in Full

Congratulations to everyone who was nominated this year.

Houghton & Wyton Timebank

  • Eamonn Lillis
  • Mary Whitehand
  • Sarah Cossey
  • Stewart Bean

Diamond Hampers:

  • Allan Baillie
  • Amanda Orchard
  • Andrew Faville
  • Anna Morgan-Dutton
  • Charlotte Heritage
  • Chris Tuffin
  • Chris Dowling
  • Dian Bennett
  • Emma Britton
  • Gemma Luxford
  • Lee Simpson
  • Lorraine Saunders
  • Lucy Kennedy
  • Maureen Pickavance
  • Neil Cosbey
  • Pat Tuffin
  • Samantha Almond
  • Sarah-Jane Pearson
  • Shaz Imran
  • Sue Gee
  • Trish Tweddle

 Yaxley & Farcet Covid-19 Support Network

  • Sally Howell


  • David Whittaker
  • Doreen Rickard
  • Dot Fowler
  • Heather Bohonis
  • Jenny Measures
  • Jo Archer
  • Sharon Farrington


  • Chris Cole

Cornerstone Care in Confidence

  • Emily Laine

Kite Trust

  • Mark Ness
  • Xabier Rodriguez-Fraile

Ramsey Neighbourhoods Trust

  • Martyn Corley


Lessons from the Pandemic – report

In September 2020 Support Cambridgeshire was commissioned to carry out some research into how the voluntary sector and statutory partners have responded to Covid-19. As part of this we talked with:

  • 19 groups made up from a range of county-wide, small and newly formed community groups and charities;
  • representatives from six district/city Covid-response hubs and the county hub.

The resulting report paints a picture of an exceptional response to this extraordinary time. There has been innovation and collaboration on unprecedented scales, and also a need to tailor responses to local needs.

Read the report here.

Coronavirus Funds

The charity sector has a vital role to play in responding to the Covid-19 crisis. Below is our guide to funding projects to support people in need, plus funds to keep your organisation afloat at this difficult time.

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Funding News

[updated 26 May 2020]

Coronavirus Support Fund for Charities Now Open

The UK Government’s new £200m fund for charities responding to COVID-19 is managed by the National Lottery Community Fund, and is part of the £750m funding that was announced in April. It is aimed primarily at small to medium organisations in England, and has two key objectives:

  • To increase community support to vulnerable people affected by the COVID-19 crisis, through the work of civil society organisations.
  • To reduce temporary closures of essential charities and social enterprises, ensuring services for vulnerable people impacted by COVID-19 have the financial resources to operate, and so reduce the burden on public services.

Grants will allow organisations to meet service costs, where they are experiencing increased demand and/or short-term income disruption. Grants will also allow organisations to refocus services to address more immediate beneficiary needs in light of COVID-19. (more)

Emergency Grants for Previous Recipients of National Lottery Heritage Fund Grants

Past and current recipients of funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund can apply for emergency funding of £50,000 to £250,000 to cover essential costs for up to four months. This is in addition to previously announced applications for £3,000 to £50,000, both of which are open until 30 June 2020. (more)

Resourcing Racial Justice Fund

This new fund offers grants of £5,000 to £50,000 to organisations and individuals working to redress the impact of COVID-19 and beyond on those who identify as people of colour (POC). Among the eligible expenditure is support for people of colour led organisations that are at risk of closure because of COVID-19 and the impending recession. (more)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Food Charities Grant Fund

Front-line food aid charities (or groups of charities) in England can apply for up to £100,000 to help to continue to provide food to the vulnerable. Eligible applicants must be unable to meet an increased demand for food, have the capacity to distribute all of the food purchased under this grant by 9 August 2020 and be receiving food from the FareShare charity. Beneficiaries must be either unable to afford food or have moved into temporary accommodation as a result of COVID-19, and not to provide food for clinically vulnerable people, who are being supported separately by the government. (more)

Morrison’s COVID-19 Homeless Support Fund

This fund offers grants of up to £10,000 to registered charities working directly with homeless people during COVID-19. Applications are assessed weekly until the £0.5m fund is depleted. (more)

£750m Government Support for UK Charity Sector

On 8 April Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer, announced that the Government will provide £750 million to frontline charities across the UK so that they can continue their services to those in need during the coronavirus crisis.

£360m will be allocated directly by central government to large charities such as hospices, St Johns Ambulance, Citizens Advice and victim’s and vulnerable children’s charities. A further £370m will be directed to small- and medium-sized charities.

A transcript of the speech is available here. Read Hunts Forum’s response here.

Refocusing Lottery Funding

Prior to the Chancellor’s announcement on 8 April 2020 (see above), The National Lottery Community Fund announced that it has turned its focus to responding to the coronavirus crisis. In a press release dated 27 March, it explained that “all funding decisions for the next six months (up to £300m…) will be devoted to addressing the current crisis.” It also states that the turnaround for applications will be much faster than before. In order to do this, it will prioritise “existing grant holders and applicants using the following criteria:

Activities specifically geared to supporting communities through this crisis
Helping organisations overcome any liquidity issues caused by COVID-19.”

The press release also states, “This is not new money, but it will be faster money and we know that we must act quickly and with confidence.” As such, organisations considering applications for other purposes may want to delay their application and/or contact TNL Community Fund before submitting.

Charitable Funders “Stand with the Sector”

Hundreds of UK funders have signed a joint statement, committing to being supportive and flexible about existing funding throughout the outbreak. If your organisation is unable to deliver services for which you are being funded, need to delay or want to adapt your activities to respond to coronavirus, the statement serves as a reassurance that these funders are sympathetic. When you are ready, contact your existing funder to discuss the best way forward.

0% Commission on Crowdfunder Campaigns has waived its usual 3% commission on campaigns to fundraise via online donations. Current campaigns in Cambridgeshire include raising £24,000 for Hamerton Zoo Park, £5,000 for Soham’s South Angle Farm and £750 for Fenland Light Railway, all of which are struggling due to lost income during lockdown.


Funding for Organisations Responding to Covid-19

Cambridgeshire Coronavirus Community Fund

Grants of £1,000 to £5,000 for constituted community organisations throughout Cambridgeshire (including Peterborough), who are supporting isolated older and vulnerable people through the Covid-19 crisis. Projects must either:

  • Support ongoing needs of people, to ensure that their well-being is maintained,
  • Reduce isolation and vulnerability during any isolation period
  • Help people remain safely connected with the outside world

UPDATED: HDC Community Chest Grant Scheme 2020/21

Grants of up to £1,000 for community organisations working in Huntingdonshire to to help those who have been or have the potential to be negatively affected by Covid-19, specifically focusing on one or more of the following:

  • Vulnerable residents
  • Mental health and well-being
  • Financial hardship
  • Education and home schooling

Successful applicants will be required to work with the relevant Recognised Organisation to ensure that the project achieves the best possible outcomes

The National Lottery Community Fund

Please see the above News report regarding the refocusing of TNL Community Fund’s operations for the next six months.

UPDATED: Youth Endowment Fund – COVID-19 Grant Round

Grants of at least £25,000 (with no maximum, average expected to be £50,000) for organisations supporting young people aged 10-14 at risk of youth violence, particularly while social distancing and stay-at-home measures have seen access to schools restricted and the provision of youth services dramatically reduced. Eligible organisations must have a track record of delivery to young people through provision that is specifically designed to improve outcomes and prevent youth violence.

Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund

Grants of £5,000 to £100,000 to registered charities, CICs, CIOs and limited companies with track record of delivering services for people with, or at risk of developing, mental health problems, in order for them to respond to an anticipated increase in need as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Morrisons Foundation – COVID-19 Homeless Support Fund

Grants of up to £10,000 for registered charities working directly with homeless people during the coronavirus outbreak to ensure help gets to those who need it most. Eligible expenditure includes outreach and support for rough sleepers, provision of essentials, delivery of services in hostels and shelters, information and advice.


Rapid Action by the Fore and Trusts Fund (‘‘RAFT’’) will provide grants for high-quality, well-managed small charities and social enterprises with great leadership doing vital work in their communities. The £1m pot will be open to the first 500 applicants from 22 April until 6 May 2020.

Clothworkers’ Emergency Capital Programme

Grants of up to £5,000 for registered charities, CICs, exempt charities and special schools for the purchase of essential capital items required to adapt or increase a charity’s services in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Yorkshire Building Society – Coronavirus Response Fund

Grants of £250 to £2,000 for registered charities helping local communities (with a maximum income of £100,000) to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Grants can be used for a variety of purposes including activities for people who are self-isolating, supplies for foodbanks, small captical costs and loss of income for charities providing support for vulnerable groups.

Tesco Bags of Help COVID-19 Communities Fund

Grants of up to £500 to support a wide range of non-profit organisations who are supporting vulnerable groups during the coronavirus crisis. Due to demand some areas as closed for applications (including Cambridge as of 23 April).

Norrsken Foundation: Action Against Corona

Grants of up to €1m for projects or startups around the world helping in the fight against the coronavirus. It funds efforts supporting victims of the virus, improving the health care system or otherwise helping the “billions of people whose lives are, or will be, affected” around the world. This news story is a useful primer.

And there’s more…

There are many more new funds set up to respond to Coronavirus. Please check out the following websites for more suggestions and links:

Funding for Organisations Struggling Financially as a Result of Covid-19

Charitable Funding

National Lottery Heritage Fund – Heritage Emergency Fund

Grants of £3,000 to £50,000 to current or previous recipients of a grant directly from the Heritage Lottery, in order to support the immediate actions required to stabilise operations and manage unforeseen risks. Applications are being accepted from Wednesday 15 April 2020 to 30 June 2020.

Arts Council England

This fund, which directs National Lottery funding to arts and cultural institutions and projects, is “making £160 million of emergency funding available for those organisations and individuals who will need it during this crisis, and we have also changed the funding requirements for individuals and organisations currently in receipt of our funding, to help alleviate pressure on them as best we can.” The fund is divided into £90m for “National Portfolio Organisations”, £50m for other organisations and £20m for “creative practitioners and cultural workers”

Sport England Community Emergency Fund

Grants of £300 to £10,000 to help community sport and physical activity organisations who are experiencing short term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the coronavirus crisis. It doesn’t cover new activities or events, capital works or costs already covered by government funding. Costs must be incurred from 1 March to 31 July 2020.

Yorkshire Building Society – Coronavirus Response Fund

Grants of £250 to £2,000 for registered charities helping local communities (with a maximum income of £100,000) to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Grants can be used for a variety of purposes including loss of income for charities providing support for vulnerable groups.

Youth Music Emergency Fund

Grants of up to £10,000 for music-making organisations whose primary activity is inclusive music-making with children and young people, and who are affected by coronavirus. Funding can help with cashflow, maintaining or adapting services, and supporting children and young people through the crisis. Core and staff costs, equipment and training are all acceptable expenditure.

Government Support

Job Retention (furlough) scheme

The well-publicised furlough scheme allows employers to put certain employees on temporary leave due to coronavirus.

The government will cover salaries up to 80% and £2,500 a month.

UPDATED: It runs from 1 March 2020 and has been extended to run until October 2020. Any entity with a UK payroll can apply, including charities. It is not intended for public sector or other organisations where staff costs are covered by public funding, although the guidance does allow exceptions.

Statutory Sick Pay

The government will pay for 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for organisations that employ less than 250 staff.

COVID-19 Capital Grant Scheme

The Capital Grant Scheme provides a flexible capital subsidy to help Registered Limited Companies (including charitable companies) create or protect jobs. It is open to Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority area. Eligible projects are those which involve the outright purchase of capital equipment (up to 80% for grants from £2,000 to £49,000, up to 50% for grants from £50,000 to £150,000). Applicants must be able to demonstrate how the purchase of grant funded equipment will protect and/or generate new jobs, with one job per £25,000 of funding.

Financial support for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors (including village halls)

One-off Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grants (RHLG) are available for businesses in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector including community buildings (but not church halls or halls run by town and parish councils unless the council is the sole trustee of a charitable hall). Premises with a rateable value up to £15,000 are eligible to receive £10,000. Premises with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 can access £25,000. Contact your district council for more information and to apply.

Expanded Business Rate Relief

Most village and community halls should also be eligible for 100% business rate relief in 2020/21 through the Expanded Retail Discount, which is available to places of public assembly. All local authorities are working on issuing revised bills showing the correct relief entitlement, there is no need to make a claim.

Small business grant funding

The government will provide additional Small Business Grant Scheme funding via local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.

Eligible businesses should receive a letter from their district council. Please visit your council’s website or call them for more information.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

A loan rather than a grant – up to £5m is available to businesses with an annual turnover of up to £45 million. The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees. The scheme is delivered through commercial lenders, backed by the government-owned British Business Bank.


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Visit our Coronavirus Portal

Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Together Against Coronavirus

Cambridgeshire/Peterborough Together Against Coronavirus is helping people stay connected during self-isolation, particularly those at risk of feeling lonely. To find out more click here.

Please share your ideas and tips for how you are beating loneliness or supporting people in your community. Whether it’s offering to deliver food supplies or pick up prescriptions, or regular phone calls checking on someone’s wellbeing, there are lots of ways we can all keep an eye on people, without the need to make physical contact.

So what can you do to help?

  • Share your stories of what you are doing to help people on your social media pages using the hashtags #ReachOut #PeterboroughTogether or #CambridgeshireTogether
  • Share your tips on beating loneliness
  • Download the campaign poster and other visuals to use on your social media pages or in your window to show what you are doing to help people in your neighbourhood
  • Help us remind people about the importance of staying at home

Your stories will help us to remind people that help is at hand.

Information from Cambs County Council regarding Coronavirus

Written on Friday 13th March 2020

Dear colleagues, community leaders and volunteers

We understand that coronavirus is generating a great deal of concern. While for many people it will be a mild illness, for older people and those with underlying health conditions it can be a more serious illness and we all need to work together to protect these more vulnerable members of our communities. To help stop the spread of coronavirus we’ve created a campaign web page from which you can download a range of materials to share (posters, images, social media posts etc. including posters translated into a range of languages). These encourage people to do the most simple and effective thing that can stop the spread of the virus, which is regularly washing your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

To view the page and to download, click here

Today the Government also announced an update on its approach, asking people to stay at home for 7 days if they have either a high temperature or a new continuous cough. This update can be viewed here.

My regards

Dr Liz Robin
Director of Public Health
Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council

No Labels: Exploring the Benefits of Inclusive Volunteering

This year’s annual Connecting Communities conference will take place on 24 June at the Corn Exchange in St Ives, where we will be exploring the topic of inclusive volunteering. How can the voluntary and community sector can reach out and engage a wider and more diverse range of volunteers? How this can benefit our organisations, the sector and our communities?

We’d like to see equality of opportunity for all people to volunteer in ways that are right for them, with the support and encouragement that each person needs to make volunteering possible. To help make this possible, we’d like to to invite people from the voluntary sector to share their knowledge and experience.

We’ll be taking bookings for attendees soon, but in the meantime we’d love to hear from people who would be willing and happy to share their knowledge, experiences and solutions with others. Do you have experience working with volunteers often excluded from volunteering and from people who may have experienced exclusion or difficulty in volunteering? If so, please get in touch with Keith at or call 07809 214895.

Free Link To Our Funding Search Engine

The Self-Funding Portal provided by Hunts Forum and partners under the Support Cambridgeshire banner has passed the half-million mark in funds raised by Cambridgeshire community organisations.

Over the past 12 months, the Portal has been visited on 5,860 occasions with 506 new registered organisations using the search facility and 650 repeat visitors. The top 5 search areas continue to be Youth engagement, Older people, Education, Disability and Volunteering.

Anyone can create a free account and perform their own searches to find funders for their organisation, project type, area of work and various other criteria. Simply click here to start your journey. You can use the Portal repeatedly without cost: All we ask is that when you receive an electronic questionnaire about how good or bad the site is you provide your honest opinion. This feedback helps us to improve the site, making it easier for more groups or organisations to use the service.

Here is what some users have said this year:

SC4C is incredibly easy to navigate. Its a really useful resource for community organisations.

We raised 50K off the back of a SC4C search: Its so simple and easy to use.

I use SC4C every week when searching for funds. If you use it in conjunction with the funding alerts it really does help.

If you need some help registering then please contact and put Funding Portal in your title line.