Happy Christmas from all at your local rural community council – Connecting Communities in Berkshire

We would like to wish all our followers festive greetings for the season and wish you a wonderful and successful 2020.

We would also like to take this opportunity to tell you more about the work our charity, Connecting Communities in Berkshire (CCB), will be delivering this winter across our wonderful county.

As you are aware CCB is a community development charity and unusual in the fact that we support communities from across the whole county of Berkshire, with a particular focus on reaching those people in rural areas. We have been operating as a county-wide charity for over 45 years and we are proud of the diverse range of projects we have been able to deliver to a wide variety of beneficiaries over this time.

Over Christmas and into 2020 our focus continues to be on providing low income families at risk of, or in, fuel poverty advice and support through our Family Home Energy Education & Advice Project. Through this project in 2018-19 we were able to help 1158 vulnerable households from across the county, levering in an estimated £25,760 of additional income to these families by claiming the Warm Home Discount.

Over the festive period communities, particularly those in rural areas in Berkshire, will look to gather in their local village hall or community building to enjoy social gatherings, Christmas fairs, pantos, cake sales and much more. It fills us with joy to know that CCB, through our Community Buildings Advice Service, has supported these community hubs by providing advice, support, training and a wealth of information to volunteer trustees that help keep these buildings open, vibrant and ensure they remain an asset to their community.

As well as being a happy time to spend with family and friends, Christmas can also be an incredibly lonely and isolating period for some in our community. As a result of grant funding from Wokingham United Charities, the National Lottery Awards for All programme and the Pargiter Trust via the Berkshire Community Foundation, we are now working with a number of communities in Berkshire to increase the range of opportunities for social contact in rural Berkshire. The CCB Rural Loneliness & Isolation Project provides an opportunity for communities to review what takes place and how activities are publicised. Our aim is to increase the awareness of what already takes place locally, as well as to identify gaps in provision and encourage the creation of new activities to address the needs of under-represented groups. If you think this support could benefit your community, please contact Tim Parry at tim.parry@ccberks.org.uk.

In addition to the above we continue to deliver a plethora of training subjects to adults which look to help strengthen and improve our communities, we are currently funded to deliver these in Wokingham Borough and West Berkshire. Since the start of the academic year (Sept 2019) we have already delivered training on Community Led Housing, An Environmental Impact Conference for Community buildings and a Community Organising workshop focused on Listening Skills. We kick off 2020 delivering important Essential Life Saving Skills (with partners Heartstart Thatcham) to two rural communities (Hermitage & Brimpton) and have plans to deliver interesting and new training on topics such as Tacking Rural Crime and Trustee Training for Village Hall volunteers. To find out more about these as they develop please sign-up to receive our monthly e-bulletin Action for All or follow us on our social media accounts (links below).

If there is any subject you would like to hear more about please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at admin@ccberks.org.uk or call 0118 9612000. We close the office on Christmas Eve but will be back, raring to go, on the 2nd January. In the meantime we hope you have a very Happy Christmas and get out and about over the festive period enjoying all our beautiful county has to offer!

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