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South Cambs Council expands support to meet cost-of-living crisis

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A popular grant fund run by South Cambridgeshire District Council is being expanded to support projects to help residents deal with the cost-of-living crisis.

The council’s Community Chest fund provides grants to voluntary and community sector groups, charities and public sector bodies wishing to further improve quality of life locally.

The chair of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s grants advisory committee, Cllr Jose Hales, commented: “The cost of living is having a significant impact on communities across South Cambridgeshire, and amending the criteria for our Community Chest grants is one way that we can help to provide real support to residents.

“We’ll be reviewing the applications that come in for these new funds every month. I’m expecting a quick turnaround so residents will see the benefits of them really quickly.

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“Please do apply for one of these grants if you are part of a local group or parish council and looking to run a project to support the district through these challenging financial times.”

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s lead Cabinet member for resources, Cllr John Williams, said: “We’re very grateful to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care System for providing us with the funding to make these grants possible.

“We’ve declared a cost-of-living emergency and, following the recent establishment of the first Warm Hubs in South Cambridgeshire, these grants are the next stage in our plan to support residents through the winter.

“As you’d expect, we want to do all we can to help and so we’ll be outlining more ways in which we plan to provide support and assistance in the weeks ahead.”

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At the meeting of the council’s grants advisory committee, councillors unanimously recommended that the Community Chest criteria were expanded to allow bids that include contributions for any project that has a positive impact for communities related to the cost-of-living crisis.

The change also mean it will support ongoing costs, including staffing, as well as one-off purchases as it had previously. Those amendments have now been confirmed by the lead Cabinet member for resources.

Parish and town councils of any size can also now bid for Community Chest grants linked to the cost-of-living crisis. Previously, parish and town Councils were not able to bid for Community Chest funds apart from those linked to creating a community-led plan or biodiversity grants, unless they had fewer than 160 registered electors in their areas.

A ringfenced total sum of £20,000 has been made available for these new Community Chest grant applications relating to the cost-of-living crisis.

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This funding has been provided by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care System, to ensure support is co-ordinated effectively and directed at those in need locally this winter.

It is anticipated that this new grant funding could go towards projects such as the setting up or running of lunch clubs to provide low-cost meals for those in need, or establishing or building the capacity of food hubs, food banks or community fridges.

However, given the limited funds available, the scheme is not able to be used to purchase food or subsidise the cost of the food distributed.

The amended criteria for the Community Chest will be in place until April 2023. Visit www.scambs.gov.uk/communitychest for more details and to apply.

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Back in September, the Council declared a cost of living crisis. The changes to the Community Chest criteria are one of a raft of measures being developed to help support South Cambridgeshire residents.

This includes the establishment of Warm Hubs across the district.

Warm Hubs are totally free to use and provide a warm environment and welcome to all. Some venues will also offer hot drinks, activities, and other services, such as free wi-fi.

Funding for the hubs has again been provided by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care System and they are being delivered by Cambridgeshire ACRE – the charity dedicated to supporting and strengthening rural communities across Cambridgeshire.

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See www.scambs.gov.uk/warm-hubs for information about the Warm Hubs now up and running in South Cambridgeshire.

See www.scambs.gov.uk/cost-of-living-support for comprehensive guidance about cost of living assistance available locally.

 

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