Could you be the catalyst for the creation of decent, affordable homes in your community?

Community led housing is a growing movement led by ordinary people who are passionate about creating high quality, affordable housing in their communities. These community-led schemes involve extensive consultation to understand local housing need and lead to assets that are owned and/or managed by the community. The homes created can be for occupation by specific groups of people or to meet general affordable housing need in the community and are protected as affordable housing in perpetuity.

There are different models of community-led housing and the definitions can be found on the Collaborative Housing Website. Community Led Homes, a partnership between the Confederation of Co-operative housing, Locality, the National Community Land Trust Network and UK Cohousing, share examples of housing schemes on their website.

The benefits of community led housing are many. This list is taken from the website of the Communities Housing Trust that supports the creation of community-led housing in Scotland:

  • It provides additional supply of homes that would not be available through mainstream housing delivery;
  • Generates community support for new homes;
  • Helps diversify the house building types and tenure options in communities;
  • Assists the local economy and trades provision;
  • Empowers and builds capacity within community groups and sets a positive example to others;
  • Helps to attract financial investment to communities;
  • Improves spaces and the built environment;
  • Provides choice for older people needing age appropriate housing;
  • Gives younger people an opportunity to realise their housing ambitions;
  • Supports sustainable and economically vibrant communities;
  • Helps people afford to rent, buy or build their own homes;
  • Supports an innovative approach to partnership working and to providing solutions;
  • It can support social and economic growth in the community.

In September 2022, CCB will be holding a training event to share examples of community-led housing schemes and to answer your questions about where to start. The event will be of interest to town and parish councils, neighbourhood planning groups and anyone with an interest in affordable housing for their community. To register your interest, please contact Tim Parry at CCB.  

Keeping energy prices cool this summer

We all know that winter is the time when we usually have to look at our energy consumption the most but, as our summer warms up* in the UK due to climate change, we need to stop and think about how we can be energy efficient in the summer too.

This week has seen our first red alert for a heatwave triggered and no doubt most of us have been trying to think of ways to keep a cool head at home. The Centre of Sustainable Energy informs us that it helps us to focus on the things that we use the most, and so costs you the most money. Every electrical appliance has a power rating which tells you how much electricity it needs to work. This is usually given in watts (W) or kilowatts (kW) (1000W = 1KW). Of course, the amount of electricity it uses depends non how long it’s on and this is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Below is a handy table produced by CSE of the biggest drain on energies in your households although unfortunately, it doesn’t show fans and air conditioning units.

ApplianceAverage power rating (Watts)Cost to use per hour (pence)*Cost to use per 10 mins (pence)*
Electric shower7000–10500175-26229–44
Immersion heater30007512.5
Tumble Dryer2000-300050–758.0–12.5
Electric fire2000–300050–758.0–12.5
Oil-filled radiator1500-250037–626–10
Washing machine1200-300030–755.0–12.5
Electric drill900-100022.5–25.03.7–4.0 
Electric mower500-180012.5–45.02.1–7.5
Vacuum cleaner500-120012.5–30.02.0–5.0
Plasma TV 280-4507.0–11.01.2–1.8
Towel rail250-5006.0–12.51.0–2.2
Heating blanket130-2003–50.5–0.8
LCD TV125-2003–50.5–0.8
Desktop computer80-2002–50.3–0.8
Games console45-1901–50.2–0.8
Fridge40-1201–3~ 0.3
TV box30-400.7–1.0~ 0.1
Laptop20-650.5–1.6~ 0.1
Video/DVD/CD20-600.5–1.6~ 0.1
Tablet (charge)100.2<0.1
Broadband router7-100.2<0.1
Extractor fan5-360.2–0.9<0.1
Smart phone (charge)2.5-5.0<0.2<0.1

*All calculations are based on an assumed unit rate of £0.25p per kWh (at the upper-end of normal range in Jan 2022) and rounded up or down to the nearest 0.5p or 0.1p as appropriate

There is no doubt that air conditioning and multiple fans running are a drain on your home energy and can cause your bills to shoot up. We found a few tops tips from EDF Energy that we can all do in our homes to keep cool and save energy;

  • Open windows throughout your home and get a draught going (if there is one!)
  • Close windows that are open on the sunny side and leave them open on the shady side if that’s possible, opening windows in the evening if safe to do so can also help.
  • Close curtains and blinds when the sun is out to stop rooms heating up
  • Don’t unintentionally heat up your home – avoid using the oven (try raw salads that need no heat to prepare or use the microwave) and turn off lights when they’re not in use

You can also save energy by:

  • Unplugging electronics
  • Keeping the fridge closed – in warm temperatures your fridge can heat quickly and it takes energy for it to cool back down
  • Doing laundry in cold water and then hang it up outside on a washing line

Some top tips to save water can be found here from Thames Water:

You may also find this article from Energy Saving Trust useful:

If you believe you are at risk of, or currently experiencing fuel poverty we can help. Get in touch with for further information and support.

  • A recent study from the MET Office stated; ‘The chances of seeing 40°C days in the UK could be as much as 10 times more likely in the current climate than under a natural climate unaffected by human influence. The likelihood of exceeding 40°C anywhere in the UK in a given year has also been rapidly increasing.”

Spotlight: Increasing digital inclusion and social connectedness in rural areas

The 38 Rural Community Council charities across England, along with our national body, Action with Communities in Rural England, work towards helping communities to identify connectivity challenges and establish community broadband and other solutions. We also aim to tackle digital exclusion and help stimulate digital inclusion initiatives.

During the last year, CCB met with the DiG Digital Infrastructure Programme Manager to discuss rural broadband, especially at village halls. We described the challenges that people in rural areas face with digital connectivity and outlined some potential solutions that could involve well-connected village halls. We have identified ways we can collaborate to support rural communities that need services more quickly than the commercial roll-out of Gigabit broadband will provide.

Over in Cambridgeshire, the Cambridgeshire ACRE has also been liaising between the partnership ‘Connecting Cambridgeshire’ and the network of village halls. This activity has resulted in Wi-Fi connectivity being rolled out to another 26 village halls during the year. More than three-quarters of halls in the county are now able to offer Wi-Fi to their users.

Down in Dorset a series of webinars were delivered by Dorset Community Action on digital skills issues, aimed at voluntary and community sector groups. Their webinar offering has enabled learners to be more aware of common scams, improve their online & social media marketing, and use IT to better budget/fundraise.

Up in Humberside, Humber and Wolds Rural Action has been seeking to improve access to online consultations with local GP practices and the area’s acute hospital. They worked with GP practices to identify people who would benefit from digital skills training, so they could order prescriptions and book health appointments online.

In Cornwall the Cornwall Rural Community Charity has built a free telephone service that advises people how to get online and helps them use electronic devices. They have also provided digital skills home visits and group IT sessions.

We are very proud of the services we are able to offer as a network, tailored to meet our specific county residents’ needs and take inspiration from our counterparts in other parts of England.

In 2021 we held a small focus group with representatives from rural communities in Berkshire to find out where the need we can help improve digital inclusion. The event identified three key barriers that people can face in benefitting from the online world in rural areas: access to affordable devices, access to a reliable and affordable connection and the skills and confidence to use online services.

Out of this, it is our ambition to hold some workshops in village halls in rural areas where we use loaned tablets/hardware to help people with things that some of us find easy but many don’t, such as online banking, shopping, communications and access to health apps. We would like to deliver this in partnership with other agencies and are making inroads with setting this up. If you are able to provide support with gifting hardware or providing skilled volunteers, or would like to share your ideas with us we would love to hear from you. Please contact

BOB VCSE Health Alliance – find out more about us!

In January 2020 a partnership of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) support and development organisations (often known as ‘local infrastructure’) from across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West came together to enable the VCSE sector to play a full role as a strategic partner in the new regional health and care system. We secured funding from the NHS England/NHS Improvement VCSE Leadership Programme, which aims to enable better partnership working between the regional Integrated Care System and the VCSE sector and enhance the role of the sector in strategy development and the design and delivery of the health system transformation.

Our vision is to work together to enable and facilitate new opportunities for the collective voice of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector to positively impact the design and delivery of health and care services in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West, achieving change by facilitating inclusive representation and collaboration.

If you’d like to learn more about us and our work take a look at our Summer newsletter by clicking here or visit our website by clicking here.

Funding Opportunities for Community Groups in Berkshire in July

Grants For Heritage Projects
Heritage can be anything from the past that you value and want to pass on to future generations. National Lottery Grants for Heritage fund a broad range of projects that connect people and communities to the national, regional, and local heritage of the UK. In 2021-22, National Lottery Heritage fund is prioritising heritage projects that will meet the following outcomes as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants range from £250,000 to £5 million. The next deadline for applications is 11th August. Click here for more details.

Community Ownership Fund
The £150 million Community Ownership Fund is for communities across the United Kingdom. It has been set up to help communities take ownership of assets at risk of closure. Voluntary and community organisations can bid for match funding. Funding may support the purchase and/or renovation costs of community assets. Up to £250,000 match funded capital will be available for all eligible types of assets. In exceptional cases, bidders will be able to make the case for up to £1 million match funding for assets related to sports facilities. Next deadline is 19th August. Click here for more info.

Barchester’s Community Foundation
Our funding focus is about connecting or re-connecting people with others in their local community. We support applications that combat loneliness and enable people
to be active and engaged. We help individuals, but please note that all applications for name individuals must be completed by a third party who knows the individual in a professional or community-based capacity. We help individuals with mobility equipment, activities, vocational courses, UK based holidays or special days out. We also help small community groups and small local charities with activity projects, equipment/materials used by members, transport, day trips, outings, and/or group holidays. Our grants range from
£100 up to £5,000, with the average grant in 2021 being £725. Click here for more info

Tesco Community Grants
This fund helps thousands of local projects across the country. These are open to charities and community organisations to apply for a grant of up to £1,500. Every three months, three local good causes are selected to be in the blue token customer vote in Tesco stores throughout the UK. The scheme aims to make a positive difference, because where our communities thrive, our business and our colleagues thrive too. Click here to learn more.

Empowering Local Communities
This is an Asda Foundation grant for local groups aimed at supporting a broad range of activities which contribute towards transforming communities and improving lives.
We know the rising cost of living is having a big impact on communities and this grant is open to groups helping to address this issue. Groups supporting refugees arriving
to the UK are also welcome to apply under this grant. Groups may apply for one Empowering Local Communities grant per year to a max value of £1500 and min value
of £500. Applications should be submitted at least 6 weeks before your activity to give enough processing time. Next deadline is 19th August. Click here to learn more.

Starting Life Well Fund
This fund is open to organisations looking to support young people aged 5-18 in becoming physically active. From a community centre looking to deliver physical activity in their youth sessions to grassroots sports clubs looking to target inactive young people in their community, we are looking for a wide range of applications! The next deadline is 16th August. Click here for further details.

The Greenham Trust

As part of their 25th Anniversary celebrations, the Greenham Trust is offering 5:1 matched funding to three local charitable organisations in the Autumn. The applicant will need to raise £5k in one day to receive £25k of matched funding. Applicants need to submit an application and a fundraising plan via

Deadline for applications is 15 July

Read more

The Wakenham Trust

We have been established since 1975, and in 2020 we are still supporting many of the same sorts of micro-scale community projects we helped back then, though we have added education (in its broadest sense) to our list of priorities. Our core goal is to help small groups of people who are getting together to make a difference in their communities. On the whole, we don’t support big or established charities. We are especially interested in helping groups that are starting up and need a little seed money to help them get going. We are privately funded, so we can take risks (and support unpopular causes) in ways that big charities and government bodies find hard to do.  We are entirely run by volunteers, so our costs are low. We usually make very small grants to very small projects because they often find it hard to appeal to larger and more formal funding bodies.

Deadline for applications is 19 August

Read more

McCarthy Stone Foundation

Our vision is a society where every older person has an opportunity to live a life that is fulfilling, connected and independent.  Where older people enjoy better health and wellbeing and do not suffer from isolation and loneliness.  We will achieve this through generations working together to ensure older people are included and valued, local charities are better resourced to deliver services, and  community spaces can become hubs for intergenerational activity that bring a sense of belonging, independence, and connection.

The McCarthy Stone Foundation awards one-off grants to grassroots and volunteer-led charities and community organisations, CICs and social enterprises that support the wellbeing of older people, the educational needs of young people and the urban regeneration of communities across the UK. Through the Small Grants Programme, the Foundation provides grants of up to £5,000 for projects that will make a difference to those who need it most in local communities, particularly those recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Read more

Do you support individuals in need within the West Berkshire area?

Opportunity to meet local funders
Wednesday 20th July 2022, 11.30am – 2.30pm

Location : Meeting Room G9, Ground Floor, Broadway House
4-8 The Broadway, Newbury RG14 1BA

Ideal for professionals, agencies and voluntary groups who encounter individuals in West Berkshire who need financial support.

Drop in at a time to suit you and meet representatives of the charities to find out more about the small grants we have available for local people in need, including details of criteria and the referral processes.

For further information contact: or

Nearest Parking:
Pelican Lane, Newbury, RG14 1NX

Click here to read the more information

Music for All – Community Project Funding

Grants are available to UK-based community groups that aim to bring musical projects to their local communities.
Application deadline: 26 August 2022

Magic Little Grants – deadline 31 October 2022

Localgiving is the UK’s leading independent non-profit online fundraising platform for charities and community groups. They are incredibly excited to announce that Magic Little Grants 2022 is going to be even bigger and better than ever before.

This fund gives local charities and community groups the chance to apply for grants to deliver projects across Great Britain that encourage people to be physically active. For further details please click here.

Veolia Sustainability Grants

Berkshire groups can apply to Veolia Sustainability grants of £200 to £1000 for eco, waste reduction or materials-reuse projects. Deadline 4 Nov.

Grants For Heritage Projects
Heritage can be anything from the past that you value and want to pass on to future generations. National Lottery Grants for Heritage fund a broad range of projects that connect people and communities to the national, regional, and local heritage of the UK. In 2021-22, National Lottery Heritage fund is prioritising heritage projects that will meet the following outcomes as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants range from £250,000 to £5 million. The next deadline for applications is 11th August. Click here for more details.

Equine Welfare & Elderly Support Grants
In 1979 Mrs Elise Pilkington set up this Charitable Trust to help fund her two passions. Equine welfare grants are normally only considered from charities that are members of the National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC) or charities that are proactively working towards membership of NEWC. Membership of NEWC ensures equine charities are working to improve equine welfare standards and adopting industry best practice. Applications are also welcomed from charities supporting older people, or from hospices that are able to show they provide equitable care to older people. We welcome applications from all qualifying charities, no matter whether small or large. In order to put forward an application you should download the relevant application form which also has further guidelines
and terms and conditions of any grant being made. Next deadline is 26th August. Click here to learn more.

giffgaff emergency fund

Grants up to £1,000 through The Neighbourly Foundation for causes that will support those most affected by the rising cost of living. Read more

Thank you to the Berkshire CVS’s that provided the information contained in this article – Wokingham & Bracknell InVOLve, Volunteer Centre West Berkshire and Slough CVS.