Cambridgeshire Communities Innovation Fund
Through the Cambridgeshire Communities Innovation Fund, Cambridgeshire County Council is investing in ideas and expertise that will help keep people safe, independent and well in their community and reduce demand for Council services.
• Reduce the need for people to use Council services
• Demonstrate the social value of the actions undertaken, and the impact on outcomes for the most vulnerable people in our communities.
Applications are invited from the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors, based in and outside of Cambridgeshire. We will also accept proposals from public sector organisations in Cambridgeshire.
Please see a short video about the Council’s responsibilities and spending
Grants of £2,000 and above can be requested from the Cambridgeshire Communities Innovation Fund
• Reducing or delaying the need for home care or residential care
• Reducing social isolation amongst older people
• Increasing the capacity of communities to support their more vulnerable residents
• Ensuring young people with learning disabilities or autism are well prepared for adulthood
These listed above represent some of the areas the County Council spends the greatest proportion of its budget, and where external organisations are likely to be best placed to make an impact. Direct project deliverables could be, for example:
• people with personal budgets planning together
• increased volunteers and mentors working with vulnerable groups
• increased opportunities for older people to take part in group activities
• better support for carers
• help for young people with learning disabilities to become more independent
• local level practical support for older people, including personal care
It is hoped that the Fund will encourage new and innovative thinking, and any proposals which have a significant positive impact will be encouraged. Applications may propose the delivery of a product, for example, a website, or a piece of equipment, or the delivery of an activity, for example, a time bank, or a lunch club for older people. The Fund is open to applications for ideas which are new or innovative, or which replicate innovative ideas which have already been tested elsewhere. The Fund does not aim to support existing projects whose existing sources of funding are ending. Success of projects will be judged by predicted outcomes, and social and economic benefit.
It is expected that most applications will focus on delivering a product or a service which prevents or reduces the need for local people to access more costly interventions. However, some applications may propose the delivery of a service which replaces at a lower cost something that the County Council currently does itself – for example, delivering a local library service. In either case, applications will be excluded if there is no clear correlation between funding provided and resulting reduced local expenditure.
The application process is a two-stage process.
Stage 1 - Project Proposals are to be submitted by applicants using the online Project Proposal Form accessed on this webpage ( see left hand column)
Stage 2 – Chosen proposals (as selected by a Project Proposal Panel) will be invited to complete a full online application form – the link to the form will be sent to selected groups. A Selection Panel meets quarterly to consider the full applications submitted and to make awards to successful applicants.
No, the Innovation Fund is for projects which are new to the area. Existing projects or programmes who wish to expand into new areas, or work in new ways with new groups of people, are welcome to apply.
Project proposals (Stage 1) can be submitted at any stage. Groups invited to fill in full applications (Stage 2) will be given deadlines for completion to coincide with quarterly selection panel meetings.
A collection of data sets to support those looking to propose a bid for funding that can make a positive impact on peoples lives and reduce the need for council services can be found on
• support the development of local social capital
• form new connections within communities
• are successful in attracting participants from socially excluded groups
• attract people who would not normally get involved in traditional volunteering
• reduce social isolation and improve health and wellbeing
• Learn new skills
• Gain confidence and improved sense of self-worth
• Become less isolated, building social networks
• Access support they could not otherwise secure
• Feel that underlying problems such as alcoholism and mental ill-health are helped
• Provide support to others who need it, thus providing sources of local community support.
• One-to-one support offered face-to-face or by telephone
• Online forums, particularly for improving knowledge and anxiety
• Support offered regularly (such as weekly) for three to six months
- groups for parents of children with additional needs
- recovery champions within drug and alcohol programmes
- people with particular health conditions including those with low to moderate mental health needs.
User-led organisations (ULOs) are also a form of peer support – they are organisations made up of service users. ULOs can bring together group of service users to jointly plan their care and support package, making plans and spending their budgets together. This could lead to economies of scale and a better, more coherent, local set of support services for people who need them.
Brokerage services for Personal Assistants – Help for people receiving personal budgets to source the best support solutions available to achieve maximum independence. The service could help to identify local personal assistants and ensure that people with the right skills are matched with people who need their services.
Activities which help young people with learning disabilities or autism to become more independent, so that they are less reliant on care and support services as they reach adulthood.
Local delivery of care and support for vulnerable housebound people, so that care can be coordinated locally, delivered locally, and prevent the need for carers to travel long distances between visits.