We can help you find FUNDING

May 3, 2022

  1. If you are a community group, charity or community association you are eligible to apply for grant funding
  2. call us on 01733 200906 or email hello@candocommunities.co.uk and tell us what you need funding for
  3. We don’t hold funds as an organisation, however at no cost to you we can help you find  the funding you need
  4. We will identify the right funder for you and even give you guidance on the application process
  5. Call us now for an informal chat- we have helped many groups find FUNDING

Community Asset Transfer Support

March 30, 2022

Can Do Communities has been advising Local Authorities and Community Organisations for a number of years about Community Asset Transfer. In recent times we have played a support role in the transfer of a number of Community Centre’s in South Tyneside. We have found that exploring CAT for Community Orgs can be a daunting prospect, we can offer support in: Business Planning, Setting Up Charity’s, Building Condition Survey’s, Mechanical & Electrical Building Survey’s, Governance, Legally reviewing & negotiating of Heads of terms and Lease’s, Marketing and Community Consultation. We also offer a service where we act as a broker between the LA & the Community Org to ensure a smooth CAT process.

for more information email: hello@candocommunities.co.uk or call 01733 200906.


save our community buildings!

November 14, 2016

Can Do Communities join other charitable organisations in calling for major investment to save and invest in the future of vital community assets. We are involved in particular with attempting to ‘save’ local pubs and community centres, over a number of years Can Do Communities have been working with like minded organisations in assisting people with guidance, funding & capacity building support to sustain and save crucial community assets.

Pub closures are still at around 25 per month, Community Centres closures are the next ticking time bomb that will have profound damaging effects to the fabric of our communities. Some local authorities are closing ‘traditional’ community centres that host various groups for older people to meet at Luncheon Clubs and alike. Worryingly we have evidence of ‘leisure hubs being built’ by some local authorities, they typically are shiny new buildings that have a swimming pool, a franchised café and a number of commercially priced rooms for rent. Following consultation we have found that whilst ‘young mums’ for example love these places (as many fitness classes as you like on direct debit!)- many people that used to frequent their local traditional community centre have been displaced, in particular older people  that meeting up for bingo or a lunch with friends was a vital social lifeline- they have been left out of the new hubs because ‘they don’t pay enough’- if this is replicated in many of our towns and cities across the UK we could be saving up a lot of trouble (including increased health & well being costs- due to older people being increasingly isolated from their community)

National Charity Locality have produced a paper on the subject of calling for a new community asset investment plan http://locality.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Locality-Places-and-spaces-report-final.pdf

plunkett foundation lead on support to save local community pubs https://www.plunkett.co.uk/more-than-a-pub

if you would like to discuss any of these issues pls contact Marvin Symes CDC director 01733 200906save-our-centre-pic



Supporting Community Asset Transfer in Tyneside

September 3, 2016

Can Do Communities have been supporting South Tyneside Council and a number of charitable organisations that manage and run valuable Community Centres in the area with exploration of Community Asset Transfer. With deep spending cuts biting most local authorities around the UK the authority have been working hard in giving capable charitable groups the best chance of successfully taking over their community building on a long term lease agreement. CDC working with other partners have been working with the groups in question and  the LA in providing; capacity building, sourcing Capital & Revenue funding, Business Planning, Building Surveys, Organisational Health Checks, Developing new income streams, Crowdfunding & Community Consultation.

south tyneside logoIf you are a community organisation or a Local Authority that requires assistance with Community Asset Transfer then please contact us at hello@candocommunities.co.uk or call 01733 200906 

NEW Celebrate Funding available!

August 19, 2016

celebrate logoSix out of ten people surveyed say they cannot remember ever coming together to celebrate with their community. The Big Lottery Fund wants to help change this with their fantastic Celebrate! programme.

Big Lottery are offering grants of between £300 and £10,000 for groups to hold one off events or activities which celebrate their local community.

You could celebrate something from your community’s history or a local hero. Or maybe it’s a chance to bring people together to get to know their neighbours better.

Big Lottery have a total of £3.875m for projects in England. (rolling programme until money allocated)

What will you celebrate?

contacts for guidance:

Marvin Symes (Can Do Communities) 01733 200906

Big Lottery helpline 0345 410 2030




Call to save local community pubs

May 14, 2016

save the pubCAMRA launch initiative to protect 3,000 pubs as new figures show 29 being lost every week across the UK

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is launching a new initiative to protect 3,000 pubs from demolition or conversion to other uses – as new statistics released today show 29 pubs a week are being lost across the UK.

CAMRA will be mobilising its members in England to nominate their local pub as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) and offer advice and guidance to other community groups looking to do the same. Currently pubs can be demolished or converted to other uses without planning permission, whereas pubs with ACV status are given planning protection under laws introduced in April.

With 800 pubs currently nominated, the initiative aims to raise the profile of ACVs to the pub-going public and increase the number with the status to 3,000 by the end of 2016 – an ambitious target, but one which CAMRA say is essential if England’s pubs are to be properly protected.

 “Holes in the current planning system allow pubs to be sold off, demolished or converted to many other uses without planning permission or the involvement of the local community. However when a pub is nominated as an Asset of Community Value it automatically receives planning protection meaning it is no longer a soft target to would-be developers looking to quickly purchase and convert  or demolish the pub – which in some instances has literally happened overnight.*” Tom Stainer, CAMRA’s Head of Communications.

CAMRA is inviting other local community groups to work with it in gaining this vital protection and urges community groups, or individuals, to get in touch with their local CAMRA branch to highlight valued pubs.

“Nominating a pub as an ACV is a surprisingly simple process. You can either nominate as an unincorporated group of 21 local people, as a Parish Council, or in connection with another local group including a CAMRA Branch. Some towns, such as Otley in West Yorkshire, have gone as far as nominating every pub in their area for ACV status to ensure all are protected in coming years.”  Tom Stainer added.

Despite the protection afforded to pubs through the ACV system CAMRA say this doesn’t go far enough to curb the closure of pubs in the UK and that the next logical step is to extend the same protection to all pubs across England.

For more information about your local branch, visit www.camra.org.uk/camra-near-you

For more information about the ACV campaign, please visit www.camra.org.uk/list-your-local

For support and funding to save your local pub www.plunkett.co.uk/more-than-a-pub






Charities to Save Money!


in kind direct pic

‘In Kind Direct’  redistributes usable products donated by some of the UK’s best known manufacturers and retailers to charities working in the UK and abroad.

They were founded by HRH The Prince of Wales in 1996 and are one of The Prince’s Charities, which is the largest multi-cause charitable enterprise in the United Kingdom.

Since foundation in 1996, they have redistributed £140 million in value of goods from over 1,000 companies. To date 7,500 voluntary and community organisations have received products, helping millions of people in need every year.

Sometimes companies have too much stock. Sometimes they find samples, cosmetically damaged (but usable) goods, or end of line items sitting on shelves, taking up valuable warehouse space.

Those products might not seem to be worth much, but they could mean everything to a small charity or not-for-profit organisation.

So they take the items a company no longer wants and redistribute them to charities. This helps companies clear valuable space and support their corporate responsibility goals, while helping charities by giving them a convenient source of the things they need to operate.

And, as a result, those products in the warehouse get their value back.

They stop being worthless.

Because to someone, they’re priceless.

Helping charities invest in people

With every pound that charities spend on essential supplies and running costs, there’s less to spend on services.

Since 1996, In Kind Direct has redistributed hundreds of millions of pounds worth of goods. They have received product donations from over 1,000 companies and delivered them to over 7,500 organisations.

But what really matters are the charities they work with, who get everything they need to function – while saving on average over £5,000 a year.

So they can spend more of their money on support, not supplies.










Community Matters to close: the end of an era

March 15, 2016

A statement released today by respected Charity Community Matters..

Dear Community Matters Members, and Other Friends and Supporters

 cm logo

I am writing to you on behalf of the Board of Trustees to inform you that regrettably Community Matters is to be wound up after more than 70 years of support to the community sector. Members have been invited to attend an Extraordinary General Meeting on 31st March. If you are a member and haven’t received notice of the EGM please contact us urgently by email. You will I am sure be well aware of the financial challenges many organisations in our sector have faced in recent years, indeed many of you will have confronted similar challenges.  In 2011-12 we faced a more than 50% fall in our income and the new Chief Executive Graham Willmington with our Director of Enterprise Richard Bridge drew up a new 3-year business plan for 2013-16 with the aim to bring the organisation out of deficit through earned income alone. In the first two years the strategy paid off and we saw a healthy recovery of income over expenditure.  This year however the tide has turned.  The reasons are simple enough.  Aside from income from membership, which continues to hold up strongly, the bulk of income has been earned from consultancy, training and our quality tools delivered either to direct clients or under government programmes. Our most important client groups have been the local authorities who have much less to spend and of course our members who also have less money than in previous years.

The Board has monitored the finances carefully throughout this financial year and has reluctantly recognised that the organisation was no longer sustainable financially and that as Company Directors it was our responsibility to conclude that the organisation should be wound up.  This was not an easy decision and was arrived at only after careful consideration and with the benefit of professional guidance.

You may wonder why we have not entered into a merger.  We have explored this twice in recent years, but the reality is that saddled as we are with a pension deficit in excess of £330,000 it is of no surprise that no organisation has been willing to take on that liability.

In the last weeks the Chief Executive has been working on a legacy plan to find new host organisations for our key services.  Good progress has been made and we hope to make an announcement by the end of this month.   Read our recent Impact Assessment to find out why it is important to continue what we have started. I am delighted that the Bishopsgate Institute will be setting up the Community Matters Archive with our documents, newsletters, publications, films and photos dating throughout most of our 70 year history and this will be available in due course for study and research.

Finally I want to express on behalf of the Board and of our members our immense gratitude to Graham Willmington Chief Executive, to Richard Bridge Director of Enterprise, to Subita Begum our Finance and Membership Officer and we send our very best wishes to them all for the future.  It is an especially difficult time for staff faced as they are with redundancy, but they have not wavered in their commitment to ensuring the best achievable outcome.  I thank my fellow trustees Sheela Hammond, Joan Asby and Julian Hamlin who have loyally stuck with us through this difficult and challenging year.  I also want to give special thanks to our highly professional team of associates who are our front line in delivering our advice, support, training and consultancy and the outstanding quality of whose work has contributed enormously to Community Matters high reputation over recent years.


Kind regards and best wishes to you all

Fletcher Moss Press Statement RE Marcus Rashford

March 3, 2016

man u picfletcher moss picCan Do Communities are supporting Manchester Junior Club Fletcher Moss Rangers explore a Community Asset Transfer of the building at Merseybank playing fields. We are a Social Enterprise with expertise in the areas of; community consultation, business planning, asset transfer knowledge, building survey’s, architect proposals, charity set up, charity governance, organisational health checks and much more, we work throughout the UK supporting community groups and others develop their plans.

The following press release relates to Fletcher Moss Rangers and was released on 2nd March 2016, any enquiries re how we are supporting Fletcher Moss or about any of our services then please contact Marvin Symes (Co-founder) CDC 07910 276193 marvin@candocommunities.co.uk

‘In light of recent press coverage, Fletcher Moss Rangers would like to clarify its current position and outline its plans for the future. We have hit the headlines recently because of Marcus Rashford’s exploits for Manchester United Football Club. Marcus is one of a long line of young players that started their football life at our club at a young age and went on to fame with a professional football club. It has been suggested in at least one national newspaper recently that Fletcher Moss Rangers are asking Manchester United for a donation of £2 million for the development of Marcus whilst with our club– this is not the case.

Fletcher Moss Rangers are currently exploring a Community Asset Transfer of the clubhouse where we base our activities as part of a strategy to secure the club’s long terms future. To this end we are working with our advisors (Can Do Communities CIC) in carrying out a feasibility study to develop a Community Hub on Merseybank playing fields. The feasibility study will include a Business Plan, Architect Drawings, Community Consultation, Governance strengthening & Incorporation. This will enable Fletcher Moss Rangers to be in a position to manage the building on a long-term lease from Manchester City Council and potentially develop the site, leading to the long-term sustainability of the club. Should this be the case our club will be working with partners to explore all relevant channels of funding or investment’


For Fletcher moss Enquiries: David Horrocks, Development Office & Skills Coach (Fletcher Moss Rangers) 07712 450181 d.horrocks1@ntlworld.com

For Feasibility Study background Enquiries: Marvin Symes, Co- Founder (Can Do Communities CIC) 07910 276193 marvin@candocommunities.co.uk



January 22, 2016

peoples lottery pic


Many community groups are aware of Big Lottery (National Lottery) grant funding, with their excellent ‘Awards for All’ small grants programme of up to £10,000 in any one year. This month we feature a funder that not so many people are familiar with ‘People’s Postcode Lottery Funding’

People’s Postcode Lottery manages society lotteries on behalf of a range of charitable bodies. These lotteries support charities and good causes. Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised more than £99.6 Million for charity.

Players of People’s Postcode Lottery support sixteen Trusts. People’s Postcode Lottery has been operating in Great Britain since 2005. It mirrors the format of its sister lotteries in the Netherlands and Sweden.


There are three main pots that are open in the UK that we shall focus on with various eligibility and aims at different times of the calendar year

1. Peoples Postcode Lottery

The form will be open at the following times in 2016:

  • Sun 1st May – Tue 31st May 2016
  • Thu 1st Sep – Fri 30th Sep 2016


2. Postcode Community Trust

The form will be open at the following times in 2016:

  • Tue 5th Jan – Fri 29th Jan 2016
  • Sun 1st May – Tuesday 31st May 2016



3. Postcode Local Trust

The form will be open at the following times in 2016:

  • 5th Jan – 29th Jan 2016
  • 1st Sep – 30th Sep 2016

For more information on this or any general funding advice please feel free to call Can Do Communities on 01733 200906 or check this link http://www.postcodelottery.co.uk/Charities.htm

spending review- communities

November 26, 2015

cash picThe extract from George Osborne relating to communities and the confirmation of Big Lottery being safe from funding cut…. for the moment.

‘One of the best investments we can make as a nation is in our extraordinary arts, museums, heritage, media and sport.

£1 billion a year in grants adds a quarter of a trillion pounds to our economy – not a bad return. So deep cuts in the small budget of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport are a false economy.

Its core administration budget will fall by 20%, but I am increasing the cash that will go to the Arts Council, our national museums and galleries.

We’ll keep free museum entry – and look at a new tax credit to support their exhibitions and I will help UK Sport, which has been living on diminishing reserves, with a 29% increase in their budget – we’re going for gold in Rio and Tokyo.

The Right Honourable Member for Hull West and Hessle has personally asked me to support his city’s year of culture – and I am happy to do so.

The money for Hull is all part of a package for the Northern Powerhouse which includes funding the iconic new Factory Manchester and the Great Exhibition of the North. In Scotland, we will support the world famous Burrell Collection.

While here in London we’ll help the British Museum, the Science Museum, and the V&A move their collections out of storage and on display.

And we will fund the exciting plans for a major new home for the Royal College of Arts in Battersea.

And we’re increasing the funding for the BBC World Service, so British values of freedom and free expression are heard around the world.

And all of this can be achieved without raiding the Big Lottery Fund as some feared. It will continue to support the work of hundreds of small charities across Britain.

So too will our £20 million a year of new support for social impact bonds’

Lottery Relief for Communities!!!

November 25, 2015

victory picThe government will not cut funding to the Big Lottery Fund, in a move hailed as a “major win” for the voluntary sector.

Prime Minister David Cameron was the first to announce the decision during Question Time, and this was followed by George Osborne’s spending review announcement.

The Chancellor announced grants for science, sports and the arts and said: “All of this can be achieved without raiding the Big Lottery Fund as some feared. It will continue to support the work of hundreds of small charities across Britain.”

A Big Lottery Fund spokeswoman said: “After recent uncertainty we are pleased there is no change to the distribution of funds raised by the National Lottery. We look forward to continuing our work supporting thousands of projects every year across the UK.”

The Big Lottery Fund was formed in 2004 by the merger of two National Lottery distributers. Since June 2004 it has awarded more than £9bn to a community projects supporting health, education, environment and charitable purposes.

Dan Corry, chief executive of New Philanthropy Capital, said the safe-guarding of BIG represented a “major win” for the voluntary sector:

“The protection of the Big Lottery is a major win for the voluntary sector, and a welcome sign of what organisations big and small can do when working together,” he said. “As well as helping small charities who rely on money from BIG, the Chancellor has made a smart political choice.

“All those thousands of small charities have MPs to whom they can complain, many of whom would have taken it up with ministers. The Treasury may have saved itself a headache.”

Fears that the spending review would see severe cuts to the Big Lottery Fund – which could have represented cuts of £320m per year – first emerged earlier this month from an anonymous campaign group.

The group’s campaign saw both NCVO and Acevo call on the government for “urgent clarification” over the rumoured cuts.

Karl Wilding, director of public policy at NCVO said: “All the intelligence we were receiving showed that there was a real danger of cuts to Big Lottery Fund spending.

“So we want to say a big thank you to all the small charities who lobbied their local MPs to ensure this cut didn’t happen. It’s also good to see that funding for arts and sports were not cut, even though BIG wasn’t raided.”

Shadow minister for civil society Anna Turley said it was “great news” for the Big Lottery Fund.

“This is great news and down to the excellent pressure from the sector speaking against the reported cuts and the Westminster Hall debate yesterday which highlighted the good work charities are doing across the country,” she said.

“I know it will be a massive relief to many organisations who rely on Big Lottery grants to support their vital work. I am pleased the government have seen sense and promised to protect this important source of funding.”

Hands off George!- Threat to Lottery Grants

November 22, 2015

savebiglotteryWhat we know

A campaign has been launched called “Save the Big Lottery Fund” that claimed a £320m diversion of BLF funds was going to be announced in the Autumn Statement to compensate for forthcoming cuts to the arts and sports sectors.

Why it matters – the big and the small

Charities benefit from funding from all of the Lottery distributors, but the Big Lottery Fund is – as its name suggests – the biggest. It’s funding is worth around £500m a year, of which 95% goes to voluntary organisations. This makes it the single largest funder of the voluntary sector in the UK.

Despite its name, the other important thing to note is that BLF’s grants are primarily small. 90% of its grants are for less than £10k. This vital source of funds for small organisations enables people to come together in support of their communities and deliver projects that make a real difference.

The arts, heritage and sports distributors make a valuable contribution to our communities and national life. The government it is rumoured are looking to mitigate the worst impact of potential DCMS cuts. But using Lottery cash is not the right way to do this. The Additionality principle means that government should not use Lottery Funds to back fill spending cuts.

Finally, it need hardly be said, but charities are under a great deal of pressure and will be further squeezed by cuts to be announced next week. The sector currently receives £13bn in income from government grants and contracts, much of which could be at risk in the coming years.

Even bigger issues

BLF is only one of a list of potential threats to the voluntary sector. As mentioned above, cuts to frontline services, particularly local services, are likely to have a much bigger impact.

And with Chancellor’s announcement of devolving business rates to LAs, we have also been seeking confirmation that charities will continue to be exempt from paying 80% of these rates. On this, we have had slightly more reassuring sounds from HMT. The success of the sector’s 2012 “Give It Back George” campaign perhaps not so far forgotten in some quarters.

What can I do?

Call or email your local MP today and tell them how vital BLF funds are to organisations in your community. A full list can be found by searching here.

Sources: ACEVO, #savebiglottery, BBC News.

Funding support for your community building

September 14, 2015

community buildingsCan Do Communities is a Community Interest Company that has helped many charitable groups explore taking over the management or ownership of a community building from the Local Authority.

We have a wide range of experience built over many years in helping organisations build their capacity to be able to make informed decisions on the viability of their project.

We can assist you in identifying your needs and they can range from: Building Survey’s, Business Planning, Governance Issues, Financial Planning, Market Research, Community Consultation, Project Management, Organisational Away Days, Architect Option Appraisals and general hands on advice around exploring taking on your community building from the Council on a long term lease or freehold.

We understand that all of the above can cost money that charitable organisations cannot always afford, so we help if we can identify a relevant funding stream that might consider funding your requirements.

If you are exploring any of the above issues then feel free to call the Can Do Communities office to receive some no cost advice, we would love to hear from you! 01733 200906.



Arts Council England Launches Creative Local Growth Fund

August 5, 2015

arts council england 2 Arts Council England has launched the new Creative Local Growth Fund to support the cultural sector to help contribute to local economic growth.

Arts Council England is offering grants through the Creative Local Growth Fund to help put culture at the heart of local economic growth plans. It will do this by:

  • Securing long term partnership between LEPs, other local partners and the cultural sector.
  • Helping to leverage support from European Structural and Investment Funds, and potentially other funds within the LEP area, into the cultural sector.

In particular, Arts Council England wants to see this programme supporting growth of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the creative and cultural sectors. The central aims of the fund are to:

  • Secure long term partnership between LEPs, the Arts Council and other local partners to support the cultural sector.
  • Lever ERDF investment, and potentially investment from other funds within the LEP area, into the cultural sector.
  • Enable the sector to become more resilient in line with Goal 3 of the ten-year strategy: Great art and culture for everyone.
  • Deliver against at least one of our other five goals in Great art and culture for everyone.

Grants made under this strategic fund should be used as match funding for investment delivering under ERDF, or from other ESIFs, for example the European Social Fund (ESF).

Eligible applications must be collaborative, for example, with one or more arts and/or cultural organisation working with LEPs and, potentially, other public sector bodies such as local authorities, further education colleges or universities.

A total of £3,000,000 is available for the fund, with indicative budgets of £1,500,000 being available in 2015/16 and £1,500,000 in 2016/17.

Applicants can apply for grants between a minimum of £150,000 and a maximum of £500,000.

The kinds of activity funded could include:

  • Skills development, apprenticeships and paid internships
  • Innovation, research and development
  • Partnerships with other sectors (private sector, higher and/or further education, other public agencies)
  • Commercialisation of cultural products
  • Building digital capacity
  • SME and start-up business support
  • Development of specific creative industry clusters and the role of the arts sector within them.

The deadline for Round One applications is 16 October 2015 (12pm).

For more information, visit Art Council England’s website.

Source: Art Council England, 22/07/15


Women and girls fight back with £48.5 million Lottery funding

June 23, 2015

Women and girls facing or affected by substance misuse, mental ill health and other complex issues such as domestic violence, sexual exploitation, and homelessness are to be supported by a £48.5 million initiative announced today by the Big Lottery Fund.

The grant maker, which is responsible for distributing 40% of the money raised through National Lottery players, will be funding activities that will be determined by the women and girls themselves enabling them to take control of their lives.

One in four women will experience domestic violence during their lifetime* and up to 3 million women and girls across the UK experience rape, domestic violence, stalking or other violence each year**.

A Women’s Aid survey in 2013/14 found that 31% of referrals to women’s refuges were turned away due to lack of space.

The Big Lottery Fund’s multi-million pound investment will largely be used to fund tried and tested work where there is evidence of success and effectiveness. It will also raise awareness, support preventative work and share what works and lessons learnt.

Christine’s story:

Christine, 49, has been through many violent and abusive relationships, starting when she was 17.

She said: “One of the worst incidents happened when I was just 20. I was friendly with my male cousin and my boyfriend saw us chatting. That night I got a beating that went on and on – it went on for hours – he just kept hitting me through the night. I was black and blue all over with chunks of hair missing but I was too scared to go to hospital. He said he’d kill me if I did.

“I had another relationship when I was about 25 which started off fine, like they all do, but after a year things changed. He went to prison for burglary and when he came out he started controlling me and made me buy dress sizes that were too large in order to hide my figure.

“He got so bad that he locked me into the house and kept the only key. He even nailed the windows in so I couldn’t escape. He eventually put a padlock on the bedroom door, gave me a bucket and locked me inside. I only escaped him by telling police about his plans to commit a burglary and when they arrested him was able to leave him.

“It’s not just the fear which make it hard to leave these men, you become so controlled and feel so worthless that you believe that you must deserve it.”

Christine had several abusive relationships before she eventually left Sheffield to escape her past and ended up in Hull where she now volunteers at the Preston Road Women’s Centre.

“I felt so low my head was down at the floor. I was scared to go. But now I feel great. I’ve completed several courses and now after volunteering for a while, I am on a work placement 26 and a half hours a week. Now my head is held high.”

Clare Jones, CBE, WomenCentre’s national lead, said: “We welcome this fund, which will be a lifeline for so many women’s projects across the country that are currently struggling to survive. It will be a major boost to projects through which women and girls are breaking free from situations that have led to experiences of isolation, shame and fear. This is an opportunity for diverse communities of women and girls to work together to overcome difficulties and build safer, more positive futures.”

Projects that will be funded will be women and girls sector led partnerships which will run activities determined by the woman and girls themselves. These could include emotional support, advocacy, financial advice, childcare, community-based women’s centres and rape support centres, and services to meet the needs of refugees, asylum seekers and black and minority ethnic women.

Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund England Chair said: “There is so much more can be done to raise awareness and break down taboos which affect too many women and girls on a daily basis, they are our family, colleagues, friends and neighbours. Today’s £48.5 million will enable women and girls through voluntary organisations and social enterprises to be in control of their lives and help support others in similar situations.”

Women and girls organisations interested in applying for funding can find more information at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

Big Lottery new grant opens!

May 1, 2015

Criteria for Initial Grants Programme announced

Since the Power to Change was launched in late January, they have been working hard to develop programmes that will truly make a difference to community businesses. By the end of the year they aim to have provided £9 million of funding and support to businesses across England.

A majority of this funding will be awarded through their Initial Grants Programme (IGP), an initiative that has been specifically designed to help new and existing community businesses that are in a position to make a step change in their journey towards long term sustainability within the next six months.

In order to help organisations assess whether the Initial Grants Programme funding is suited to their current needs and stage of development, they have developed a set of six criteria which organisations/ projects must meet to be considered for funding through the programme. To view the criteria click here.

If you believe your organisation meets these criteria, you will be able to apply for Initial Grants Programme funding on the Power to Change website from Tuesday 12th May.

If you have previously completed the Community Enterprise Checker on the Locality website, you will automatically be considered for the programme and contacted if the funding could be appropriate to your project/ organisation. You don’t need to do anything more at this stage.

If your organisation doesn’t meet the criteria for the Initial Grants Programme, please do not be disheartened as we will be introducing a number of new funding and support programmes later this year.

Should you need any guidance, feel free to call 01733 200906 and a member of the Can Do Communities team will be pleased to help.

New Asset Transfer Funding Arrives!

February 17, 2015

The boost to the Community Rights programme will give even more people greater control and influence over what happens locally.

Up and down the country, communities are taking action – from regulars running their local pub and protecting other treasured assets to ambitious plans for new development, new jobs and better targeted services.

This new funding will mean:

  • likeminded communities will be able to network and learn from each other through the new My Community Network
  • communities will have access to tailored advice through a phone and online advice service to help them use the range of community rights and other neighbourhood approaches
  • 100 more neighbourhoods will be supported to use the Our Place approach, enabling  councils and other public sector providers, voluntary and community groups, local businesses and the community  to work together to tackle important local issues from job creation to health priorities
  • 100 communities will receive support to take the first steps in identifying important local issues and develop Community Action Plans
  • 50 communities will receive support to develop economic plans to address local economic priorities like job creation and enterprise
  • 50 local authority/community partnerships will receive advice, support and grants to support the transfer of multiple or complex publicly owned assets into community ownership

Stephen Williams also announced today the awarding of 6 new contracts to support communities in using the Community Rights in 2015 to 2016.

These contracts have been awarded to Locality, Co-operatives UK and The Community Development Foundation (CDF).

These 6 new contracts are:

  • advice service and network – Locality and the Community Development Foundation with the Local Government Association, National Association of Local Councils, National Association for Voluntary and Community Action and Anthony Collins Solicitors
  • community economic development – Co-operatives UK with New Economics Foundation, Community Development Foundation, The Community Development Finance Association and Locality
  • community ownership and management of assets – Locality with a wide range of delivery partners including The Local Government Association, National Association of Local Councils, Community Matters, Plunkett Foundation, Civic Voice, Ubele and Voice 4 Change
  • grant administration – Groundwork
  • neighbourhood planning and community Right to Build – Locality with URS-AECOM, a leading planning consultancy, and a number of other specialist sub-contractors including Design Council/CABE, the Royal Town Planning Institute and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
  • first steps and our place – Locality with a wide range of delivery partners including The Community Development Foundation, The Local Government Association and The National Association of Local Councils

The delivery partners also include Civic Voice, Ubele and Voice 4 Change and will help the Our Place programme reach into harder to reach communities.

Asset Transfer- from the inside

January 11, 2015

An article about Asset Transfer from one of Can Do Communities Co Founders.


Asset Transfer- from the inside.

I am Marvin Symes co-founder & director of social enterprise Can Do Communities. We assist charities & community groups across England with support for their organisations or projects. In recent times because of the challenging economic conditions Local Authorities have needed to cut their costs, one of the ways they have done this is by transferring Community Buildings into Community Ownership at less than market value this is known as Asset Transfer. Of course the ‘real’ reason for an asset transfer is not even better use of a public building (although this often happens) it is primarily the Community Ownership bit, IE without certain restraints that the LA might have -people living in their community know it best and can tap into all kinds of resources that an LA cannot.

The Organisation that I help run has a team of people from Business Planners, Surveyors, Community Solicitors, Governance specialists etc., that run around  the country advising people about asset transfer and what makes a sustainable community group or community building. Two years ago we were asked by Peterborough City Council to consider taking on one of their former play community centres, now this was an interesting proposal, we have been advising on Asset Transfer but had never physically been through the process of exploring  ownership of a building ourselves as an organisation.

Fast forward 18 months and we have experienced first-hand what ‘our groups’ have experienced, trying to navigate through an asset Transfer ‘exploration’ ,and it’s important to note that it should be an ‘exploration’ not a quick and dirty deal because taking on a building on a peppercorn just  seemed attractive at the time. First thing to say is that myself and other fellow co-founder probably ended up spending half of our working week for 18 months  running the community centre. We tried to put the place on a solid footing realising that we needed to bring in £27,000 just to keep the place running per annum. We luckily found 2 core tenants to occupy parts of the building- a family gymnastics club and a start-up day nursery. The income from these 2 organisations should have covered the running costs, but then unexpected things happen like; tenants don’t pay on time, the heating stops working, there’s a guy wandering round on site without permission amongst the nursery children!, and I’m not making this up there are birds nesting in the gymnastics hall roof making a mess and because of nesting regulations – you can’t move them for 3 months!

I haven’t even mentioned the daily phone calls and emails made to the Council about this and that, all the time our core business needed our time and running the centre kept dragging us away, all of this work for the centre was on a voluntary basis. Two years on and we hope we have the left the building in good shape and a new organisation has taken over the management of the centre.

There is a very long list of things to consider when exploring Asset Transfer, here are just a few; Get a Building Survey early on to see the state of the building, Obtain the running costs from the LA asap, ideally obtain a grant to carry out every part of a pre-feasibility check on the necessary due diligence for asset transfer, construct a robust  Business Plan asap (this is the major task that the LA will want to see carried out), make sure your organisation is fit for purpose IE governance etc., ensure you have a good community solicitor in your corner when negotiating a lease or freehold, if you have core tenants then make sure proper contracts around tenancy arrangements are properly drawn up and agreed, ensure you have a good contact at the Local Authority that leads on asset transfer and stick with them as a single point of contact.

Make sure the community around the building have been consulted; listen and provide the stuff that they need! – Most of all think Business, community Business.

More information around the support that Can Do Communities can provide around Asset Transfer can be found at www.candommunitites.co.uk or by calling the helpdesk on 01733 200906

Locality Conference 14 Live!

November 17, 2014

Over 600 people here in Cardiff for the 2014 annual Locality conference. Locality is the leading nationwide network of development trusts, community enterprises, settlements and social action centres http://locality.org.uk/about/ 

Can Do Communities are here to learn, network and do some Community Business!, highlights of day 1 ;

* Meet the Funders Workshop, see these latest funds;





Workshop on Community Rights http://mycommunityrights.org.uk/, the big news here is that following on from the successful Community Ownership funding programme, there is likely to be a similar funding programme available in the new financial year for community groups that need funding to build their capacity and explore some of the Community Rights born out of the Localism Bill.


Can Do Networked with a good range of people from ; Nat West Third Sector team to Anthony Collins Solicitors- all trying to add their bit of support to the Third Sector support jigsaw.


We will be tweeitng live from day 2 tomorrow @candocom1 or follow the live feed @ #locality14 on Twitter.



October 23, 2014

Can DO Communities are Asset Transfer specialists having assisted in multiple transfers of ownership or management of community land & buildings across England.

Whether you work for a local authority or are involved in a community group/ charitable organisation we can offer you a FREE consultancy session to discuss your asset transfer requirements.

Call Marvin Symes on 07910 276193 for details.

Major Funding for Community Enterprise

August 20, 2014

Can Do Communities notices the biggest ever community grant pot is soon to be open for applications……. this is the copy of the announcement made 9 months ago that many people are still not aware of…….keep an eye out for the introductory workshops kicking off this Autumn..

The Big Lottery Fund today (Friday 6 December, 2013) announces Power to Change, a Trinity Mirror plc (publisher of the Daily Mirror), and National Lottery backed scheme that is set to invest £150 million in community-led enterprises across England.

Community enterprise champions from all across England are gathering in Manchester to show the range of this community-led movement, from a fan-owned football club to a charity which brings empty homes back into use, to a mobile greengrocer delivering fresh fruit and veg to local people who have limited access to fresh food.

Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund England ChairOpens in new window said: “The new fund will provide communities feeling the impact of tough economic times with the opportunity to make real people powered change in their local areas. It will support people to get things done and sort out problems with enterprising new solutions. It will be open to applications from next autumn.

“Power to Change enables everyone to have a stake in their local community; its future growth and to take pride in restoring and revitalising community spirit at a time of uncertainty and upheaval.”

Dan Thompson, Director of Revolutionary Arts and organiser of #riotscleanup, the Twitter movement which saw people gathering together to clean up their streets after the 2011 riots, said: “More and more communities are rallying together to find grassroots, DIY ways to tackle local problems, from the floorboards up not from the boardrooms down. They are reinventing the high street and reclaiming local spaces for local people, testing and learning what works and driving forward improvements to their local areas.

“It is great to hear that of the Big Lottery Fund’s intentions to encourage many more people to make a difference.”

The announcement of Power to Change has been welcomed by community enterprises already making a difference in their local area.

GiroscopeGoes to different websiteOpens in new window, an award-winning housing charity based in Hull, buys and renovates empty and unused property, bringing it back to life as homes or workspace. The organisation, which has received Big Lottery Fund support in the past, provides training and experience for the long-term unemployed, ex-offenders and other people disadvantaged in the employment market.

Caroline Gore-Booth, Project Manager of GiroscopeGoes to different websiteOpens in new window said: “Everyone is entitled to have somewhere they can call home and access to meaningful work. We’ve been working hard to breathe life back into empty properties in deprived areas of Hull and provide vital opportunities to help people into training and work. Since the start of this year we’ve worked with over 60 volunteers, giving them real hands-on experience in the building industry and have brought back into use 14 long-term empty properties, providing new homes where they are desperately needed. This new initiative from the Big Lottery Fund will provide vital support to communities tackling issues like housing and unemployment in their local areas.”

Another project attending today’s event is FC United of ManchesterGoes to different websiteOpens in new window, a community owned and run football club set up in 2005. The club is not for profit, member-owned, democratically run and has received support from Sport England to build their new stadium.

Robin Pye, Community and Education Manager at FC United, said: “We are a fan-owned and run community football club striving to develop an alternative model of football club ownership. We’ve now been established for over eight years and are on the verge of building our own ground in Moston, north Manchester. The new facility will include community spaces as well as sports facilities and will demonstrate what can be achieved when like-minded and determined people pool their resources.”

Supportive quotes from stakeholders:

Steve Wyler, CEO of Locality, the leading nationwide network of development trusts, community enterprises, settlements and social action centres, said: “Locality and our network of community groups are more determined than ever to build vibrant enterprising communities and the Big Lottery Fund’s Power to Change initiative really chimes with this. Locality’s work is rooted in local change driven by the people who live there. Many community groups we’ve supported are shining examples of community enterprise in practice – taking over empty shops for community use, building affordable housing, launching business spaces for start-ups and running diverse services. The new Power to Change initiative is a game-changer – it could help empower many people to make a real difference in a great many neighbourhoods.”

UnLtd’s chief executive Cliff Prior said: “At UnLtd we believe passionately in the power of people as social entrepreneurs in their communities. We’ve made great strides in finding, funding and supporting individuals to become ‘community entrepreneurs’ – people with the potential and creativity needed to change the places in which they live for the better. Through our Big Lottery Fund backed Star People programme, for example, we and our partners have made awards to more than 400 inspirational people to help them start or scale up a social venture to address a local social need. Community-level ventures have a vital role to play in addressing some of the tough social challenges facing our country today and we welcome the announcement of Power to Change which will boost the number and impact of people responding to local need and opportunity.”

Grants from the Big Lottery Fund will be available for community enterprises to apply for from next autumn following the establishment of a Power to Change Trust.

For anyone interested in setting up their own community enterprise, sharing best practice or finding out more, visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/powertochange (link available from Friday 6 December) for more information and resources.

You can follow news from the event @BiglfCommunity #PowerToChange. An interactive panel discussion will take place on Twitter at 12.50pm.

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888 Out of hours media contact: 07867 500 572

If you have a hearing or speech impairment you can contact us using Text Relay at 18001 plus 0191 376 1776

Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk Ask BIG a question here: http://ask.biglotteryfund.org.ukGoes to different website Follow BIG on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BigLotteryFundGoes to different website #BIGlf Find BIG on facebook: www.facebook.com/BigLotteryFundGoes to different website

Notes to editors

  • The Big Lottery Fund, the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
  • The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since its inception in 2004 BIG has awarded close to £6bn.
  • The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £30 billion has now been raised and more than 400,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health,

Asset Transfer Benefits Evaluation Report

July 4, 2014

Can Do Communities working with Local Authorities will be producing an Asset Transfer benefit evaluation report shortly that will showcase some of the successful work that has been happening across England.


With Local Authorities having to cut budgets further year on year the process of Asset Transfer and more importantly the due diligence before any community organisation jumping into an Asset Transfer is not going away anytime soon.


Can Do Communities as an organisation has been working with many Community Groups across England building their capacity through delivering support such as; Building Survey’s, Business Planning, Legal Guidance, Governance & Asset Management training, Inspirational Visit’s to successful projects, Finance training, Organisational Health Checks, Funding Bid Writing & Community Consultation.


Our Asset Transfer benefit evaluation report will highlight the following;




Manchester Asset Transfer

April 26, 2014

Manchester City Council have been working in partnership with Can Do Communities since 2013 working on the smooth implementation of their Asset Transfer Strategy. MCC devised an initial priority list of Assets that could be assessed under the Asset transfer process. CDC is taking around 20 Manchester based charitable groups through a capacity building process which includes the  organisations receiving a combination of the following; Legal Advice, Building Survey’s, Organisational Health Check, Benchmarking Visits, Governance & Assets Workshops, Finance Training, Community Consultation, Policies & Procedures & Funding Guidance.

The charitable organisations have been applying to the Community Rights Funding programme that is funding from DCLG with the aim of building their internal capacity and exploring the viability of Asset transfer. CDC are taking through an increasing number of groups through this process, whilst utilising the excellent Community Rights funding programme and working with valuable local associates – for more information call 01733 200906

Considering Asset Transfer?

February 8, 2014

Can Do Communities are assisting charitable groups or organisations around the country to explore the potential of Asset Transfer, we assist in finding funding to build their capacity and to check whether the project is viable. Asset Transfer is the transfer of the management or ownership of Council owned land or buildings to a charitable group on a freehold or leasehold basis for less than market value.This shift in ownership of land and buildings from public bodies to communities is Localism in action, giving greater powers to:

  • community and voluntary sector organisations
  • individuals looking to form a not-for-private-profit group to benefit their neighbourhood

We support charitable groups by assisting them with Business Plans, Building Surveys, Legal Advice, Benchmarking  Visits, Governance & Building Management Training, Community Consultation, Organisational Health Checks and Finance Training.

Can Do Communities are currently working with Community Groups and Councils in the exploration of Asset Transfer in the following areas; Bury St Edmunds, Manchester, Peterborough, Sunderland, Wigan, Haverhill and Grays. This programme is available to any charitable group wherever you are in the country, so if you would like to find out how we can assist you please call Marvin Symes ( Co Founder- CDC) on 01733 200906 or 07910 276193)


Peterborough Asset Transfer Strategy Approved!

November 8, 2013

The Leader of Peterborough City Council Marco Cereste attended an Asset Transfer meeting hosted by Can Do Communities 7/11/13 and calmed  any fears that the council might not be fully committed to their recently approved Asset Transfer Strategy. Whilst admitting their was not a great deal of funding available to the council to invest in the 6 former play centres Mr Cereste did make it clear that PCC are committed to carrying on working with Can Do Communities and the groups in question exploring the feasibility of taking over the centres from the council mostly on long term leases.

Currently CDC have assisted 5 Community groups in Peterborough in gaining much needed pre feasibility funding of up to 10k each to help them write Business Plans and explore income generation opportunities for the centres.

Can Do Communities as a company have an experienced team of Community Development professionals, Surveyors, Charity Solicitors based around the UK that are paid through the Government funding scheme ‘Community Ownership’ a 30 Million Pounds scheme running through to end of 2015


If any community group would like free assistance from Can Do Communities in exploring taking over a former local authority owned building then please call 01733 200906 with any enquiries.


Asset Transfer in Peterborough

July 7, 2013

Early 2013 Peterborough City Council made the difficult decision to cut play provision for young children due to a budget deficit. Can Do Communities worked with PCC to explore the next best ‘plan B’ for communities and attempt to keep at least some of the eight play centre venues open and available for Community use. CDC were commissioned to run Asset Transfer Workshops in each of the neighbourhoods affected by the cuts, these workshops were used to create awareness of the opportunities for charitable groups to explore Asset Transfer and the resource and plans needed to carry out such a building management project.

Latest Update 7/7/13, eight Asset Transfer Workshops delivered, seven charitable organisations are working towards exploring the chance of taking on the building affected in their neighbourhood. CDC are assisting the orgs to access government funding to be used in the Pre Feasibility part of these projects, if successful the orgs will be able to fund all of the crucial components needed to explore Asset Transfer to see if the projects are workable financially and sustainable IE Business Planning, Health Checks, Benchmarking Visits, Incorporation, Legal Advice, Building Condition Survey’s etc.

Update 26/4/14, 4 Organisations are in a position to negotiate and consider long term leases with Peterborough City Council.

Successful Org Health Check

June 25, 2013

CDC facilitated our 160th Organisational Health Check last night in Peterborough with a NEW CIO Charity called Operation Can DO ( no relation!). They are a recently formed Charity that aim to improve the life chances for local people in a multicultural area of the City.

We discussed who they are, what they do ,how they do it and marketing, people, skills, ambitions, plans, finance and just about everything else in 2 hours of lively discussion.


Some feedback from the attendees:

great session, really helped us reflect & evaluate where we are and where we want to be in the future’

‘great presentation, clear, concise & simply put!’

‘presentation was good and it was interactive with the audience’

‘good content, detailed and very informative’

‘very well introduced, so we were clear about what to expect, useful double act!’




Community Rights Funding Available

June 3, 2013

 Community Right Grants: FUNDING AVAILABLE NOW!!



Support from Can DO Communities…………………

The Localism Act 2012 established new community rights, including the Community Right to

Challenge and the Community Right to Bid. These new rights aim to enable communities to

take over the running of public services, land and buildings in the local community.


In order to help make this happen the government has established a Community Right to

Support Programme providing grants direct to community organisations, managed by

Social Investment Business, in partnership with ACEVO and Locality.


This support might, for example, include a Community Organisation Health Check,  training, support and consultancy on managing community facilities, governance, policies and procedures, business planning and enterprise, incorporation, setting up a trading arm, help in demonstrating you’re social value, preparing for tendering, consortia building, lease negotiations, partnership agreements and quality standards.


We are working with Local Authorities and Charitable Groups to create awareness and offer advice on the process for communities that wish to explore these new rights. One example of how Can Do Communities  can assist is around providing FREE support for groups wishing to apply for Pre-Feasibility funds of up to 10k for internal capacity building, or for groups looking to take over the management of a community building we can help access up to 100k of Feasibility funding. (Groups that currently manage a Community building and do not hold a lease could also qualify for this support funding)

Click on this link for an overview of Community Rights funding http://mycommunityrights.org.uk/community-right-to-bid/grants/ (this funding also applies to Asset transfer)


Get in touch

If you would just like to simply have a chat about these support programmes and how local

community groups and yourselves can make the most of the opportunity then please feel

free to contact:


Marvin Symes

01733 200906 or 07910 276193



Free Organisational Health Checks

March 25, 2013

COVER HC Final Version (application form link)


I am delighted to let you know that COVER Charity Group http://www.thecovergroup.org.uk/  are offering free Organisational Health Checks for Charitable Groups based in the Eastern Region, delivered by www.candocommunities.co.uk and funded by Big Lottery ‘Awards for All’ program.


The Health Check is a 2.5 hour Business Review session that explores every part of your organisation, it always helps if you are able to include a wide range of people on the day or evening (IE. Trustees, Staff, Volunteers and even a critical friend or two). One of the main benefits of the Health Check is that it will provide an environment for the people in your group or organisation to speak openly about plans for the future.


We shall bring our big screen, projector and laptop, it is a very lively informal session conducted through group conversation, that we hope you enjoy and gain a lot of benefit from. We are free to deliver this during daytime, evenings or weekends to meet your teams availability.


If you have any questions or to book your FREE Health Check please contact Marvin Symes directly on 01733 200906 or email marvin@candocommunities.co.uk – also please see comments from previous customers that have received a Community Health Check. https://candocommunities.co.uk/what-they-say-about-our-community-health-check/


Please feel free to distribute this information to your networks


What They say… about our ‘Community Health Check’

November 8, 2012

We have delivered our Community Health Check, which is an interactive Business Organisational review over 90 times in the last year, including for all sizes of groups & orgs including: Voluntary Norfolk, Stevenage CVS, Community Action Peterborough, Cheshunt Extended Services, Stevenage Borough Council, Manchester Refugee & Asylum Charity and Community Matters contracts- please see some feedback comments below:



* Updated 17/07/2014……….. Latest Organisations that have benefited from requesting a Health Check in 2014 include: Lakenheath Peace Memorial Hall Association (Suffolk), Greater Manchester Pakistani Association, Cardea Sports Association ( Peterborough), Eastfields Residents Association (Peterborough), Tang Hall Association (York).


We commissioned Can Do Communities to facilitate Health Checks for 10 of our Community Centres. This exercise creates a space for busy organisations to stop, reflect and plan for the future. The Heath Check is a quick and fun way for community groups to focus on what is important and involves those who are key to developing the organisation.

Colleen Murphy, Neighbourhood Development Manager, Stevenage Borough Council.


“I think this was an outstanding exercise that has enabled all the staff and committee members to participate in reflecting  and planning the future of the organisation. We thoroughly enjoyed the session which was delivered in a very relaxed way. Thank you for making this possible and for your support.”

 Yasmin Ilahi, Manager, Gladstone Community Association, Peterborough.


Just to let you know that we found this a brilliant exercise – making everyone look objectively at the Scheme in considered and cohesive detail.  Well worth doing – I would recommend it to any organisation”

Faye Lloyd, Centre Manager, Stevenage Furniture Recycling Scheme.


“Sixteen of our Community Centres received a Health Check thanks to a succesful bid from us to the Awards for All fund, as a federation we can now examine the results and common areas of need have been flagged up, the Can Do team also have made recommendations and suggested solutions to the issues the groups face, we were delighted with the face to face conversational sessions, it was an enjoyable format watching the results displayed on the big screen”

Ray Baker, Chairman, Community Action Peterborough.


“At Stevenage CVS we were successful with an Awards for All grant, we commissioned ‘Can Do Communities’ to Health Check 10 of our Community Groups, it has enabled us to offer unbiased third party support and expertise to the capacity building and strategic planning locally. It has meant that a relatively small body such as ourselves can extend our reach and offer this key support at very low cost (thanks to Lottery funding) to our members”

Ann Jansz, Chief Executive, Stevenage CVS


“Excellent, I thought it was a really good process, very easy to use, very helpful guys who came and took the session, they made it very relaxed so people felt able to speak their minds”

Elaine Connolly, Irish Network.


As a result of the recommendations made after our Community Health Check we have set up sub groups to lead on Communication, Funding and Planning. Our new Communications Group then presented our Sustainability Plan to local agencies and our Planning Team are leading the collection of evidence for a Quality Mark, all as a result of the Health Check recommendations.”

Patrick Kadaware, Chair, Huntingdon Community Group.


We approached Can Do Communities to undertake a Health Check on our organisation to enable a smooth transition from voluntary group to registered charity. A number of areas were identified during the health check that needed focussed development. This process enabled us to access legal support and guidance that moved the process through very quickly.”

Mick Oliver, CARTS Youth Charity.


“The Community Health check covers all the areas that Community Matters feel are important for community groups to regularly review, and the results should help them plan their future with confidence.”

Richard Bridge, Head Of Consultancy, Community Matters- National Federation of Community Groups.


To find out more information please view the Health Check section on this Website or if you are ready to book call Marvin Symes to discuss your requirements on 01733 200906.

Finance for Commmunity Groups

October 1, 2012

Latest Grant Money Available- see our updated Funding Page

Breathing new life into a Community Cafe

August 14, 2012

Can Do Communities recently assisted Swaffham Community Centre with some fresh ideas to breathe new life into their Community Cafe by visiting the Succesful ‘Kitchen Community Cafe’ in Ramsgate.

Three members of the Swaffham Community Centre Team visited a well-known and forward thinking Community Cafe- the Kitchen on 13th of August 2012. This project was selected as it was seen as innovative and is project managed by a collaboration of charitable organisations with similar ethos to Swaffham.  The group from Swaffham had the objective of picking up some new ideas to breathe new life in to their Café and this visit it is hoped will give them the opportunity to see how another charitable group runs their Café part of the business.


When the group arrived they were given a talk by project worker Natalie who described how the project had been born and how it has evolved in the short time it has been open. The Kitchen is a relatively new, vibrant café which opened in Ramsgate in August 2011.  Inspired by the TV chef Jamie Oliver’s projects “Fifteen” and “Food Revolution”, Their aim was to create a café which serves delicious food and coffee in a fun and welcoming atmosphere, whilst creating training and employment opportunities for people to get their first steps into work.


They source food through local suppliers using local ingredients wherever possible and believe in serving tasty food and drinks at a reasonable price for everyone to enjoy.


They run a number of fun activities for the whole community to get involved with, including healthy eating classes, yoga, knitting and sewing groups, and an art and craft club for youngsters.  They also run coffee afternoons in association with Age Concern and live music sessions for up and coming musicians to showcase their talent.


You can sit with a coffee on the sofas and access the free Wi-Fi or make use of one of the computers that are available.  There is help at hand to get you started on the computer if you need it, with a whole programme of UK Online short courses for those wanting to learn how to email, Skype their friends and family, shop, or even pay their bills online!


Natalie did admit that their first year in business had presented them with a number of challenges and indeed it would not be profit making until the second financial year, this after making a number of tweaks driven by their customers including providing the right choice of foods at the right price and a tailored menu to what works locally.


Any further recommendations or next steps:


The Group from Swaffham enjoyed their visit and took away a number of recommendations to explore including:


  1. 1.    Improve Signage


  1. 2.    Be innovative with menu deals IE introduce Meal Deals


  1. 3.    Work up relationships with organisations like Age UK and offer activities at the Café


  1. 4.    Create an identifiable separate name for the Café


  1. 5.    Explore additional funding pots to deliver community activities in the Café area and drive up customer volume


  1. 6.    Develop a small Café focus group that meets every month to review performance and introduce new ideas


  1. 7.    Develop a stand-alone Marketing Strategy for  the Café



  1. 8.     Visit the following website for low price materials http://www.inkinddirect.org/

FREE Tesco Shopping Vouchers!

June 4, 2012

Peterborough Community Reporters is a project that encourages and supports  people to report their local news, using a variety of methods. See www.peterborough.communityreporters.org.uk for details of their monthy photographic competition……… 

Ok, here’s the deal, June is Jubilee month right?, well our partners at Tesco have kindly agreed to provide the project with some shopping vouchers for the winning entry of our Monthly Photo competition!, quite simply send us your photo’s of Jubilee celebrations, it could be you at home with your mum with a silly hat on, or even your street party, it can be artistic or just plain funny- we are waiting to see what you got!

 Please send to hello@candocommunties.co.uk or post to Can Do Communties, Funthams Lane, Whittlesey, PE7 2PB. – with the title Photo Competition.

 Anyone can enter (must be a resident of Peterborough), tell your friends now, all entries must be received by us no later than 24th June to be considered by the panel, the winner will be contacted (make sure you give us your details) by 4th July 2012.

Free support for community orgs in Norfolk

May 3, 2012

Can Do Communities are delighted to be delivering Community Health Checks as as part of this capacity building program on behalf of Voluntary Norfolk.

For more details please click on this link



Brilliant Charity- get health checked

March 30, 2012


The latest business review Community Health Check was facilitated by us in Stevenage with the Children Contact Centre, who assist with seperated parents having contact with their children- a brilliant group of volunteers and a fantastic charity!

Fantastic Day Care in Stevenage

March 28, 2012

Can Do Communities delivered another Community Health Check session which examines every part of the Community Organisation in a 3 hour user friendly session.


Douglas Drive are a Day Care Centre in Stevenage that provide information & activities for mainly Senior Citizens, the Health Check was delivered in parternship with Stevenage CVS & Big Lottery.


Contact our team at Can Do if you would like to find out more 01733 200906.

Stevenage Furniture Recycling Health Check

March 23, 2012

We delivered one of our 3 hour Community Health Checks the other day to a fab project http://www.stevenagefrs.org.uk/ – please support them :)


Need Finance? Check our updated funding page.

March 16, 2012

UPDATED February 2012

The Access to Elected Office Fund offers individual grants between £250 and £10,000 to disabled people who want to be selected as candidates for an election, or who are standing for election. More information is available on the Access to Elected Office Fund website

………. for more grants check out our funding page.

Peterborough Community Reporters Launched!

March 1, 2012

The new project that allows the good people of Peterborough to get their  voice heard and give their news,views & opinions has just launched check out www.peterborough.communityreporters.org.uk

make sure you spread the word and maybe even get involved yourself.

NEW! Peterborough Community Reporter Training Dates

February 17, 2012

Peterborough Community
Reporter Basic Level
Training Courses

Contact Marvin@candocommunities.co.uk 01733 200906 for more info and a booking form.

12 March 2012 l 9.30am-3.30pm
East Community Centre
Padholme Rd, PE1 5AL

13 March 2012 l 6pm-9pm
Herlington Community Centre
Orton Malborne, PE2 5PW

14 March 2012 l 6pm-9pm
Herlington Community Centre
Orton Malborne, PE2 5PW

15 March 2012 l 9.30am-3.30pm
Millenium Centre, Dickens St, PE1 5DG


 16 March 2012 l 9.30am-3.30pm
Stafford Hall, Hampton Court
Westwood, PE3 7LD


February 3, 2012

check our funding section for all the latest funding that is available like these;

 NEW: The Tesco Charity Trust Trustees also consider grant applications at their tri-annual meetings. These grants range between £4,000 and £25,000 and are to support local, national or international projects in areas where Tesco operate.

Fenland District Council Rural Capital Grants Scheme has a total funding pot of £800,000 to help pay for new projects which will benefit the community for more than 1 year and where funding requests exceed £10,000 in value. This can include funding for buildings, play equipment, vehicles, or any other projects where the group is requesting pieces of equipment. You can apply for up to £100,000. The project must show a clear need which has been identified by local residents and must be completed within 2 years of being awarded funding


Sport England has launched a £50 million fund which can help voluntary and community groups with an interest in running sporting activity. Inspired Facilities is Sport England’s programme to deliver a London 2012 legacy of increased mass participation in sport, it is investing £50 million of National Lottery funding in up to 1000 community sports projects between 2011 and 2014.



We can assist you in accessing funding for Community Health Checks – Have You signed up?

January 13, 2012



Do you know how your Community Organisation will survive in the next 2 years?, how about taking a Health Check ( business review) In these difficult financial times everyone is looking to make savings and improve their sustainability. In terms of Community Organisations its important to have a handle on just where you are in terms of the organisational set up, finances, resources, funding bids, marketing, planning and where you plan the organisation to be in 2 years time.

We can help you plan for your future by delivering a simple but effective 3 hour review at your Community Venue with your Committee.

  1. Mapping the Future – Is a simple Business tool, designed to capture on one page various aspects of the Community Organisation, i.e Business Mode, Organisational Development, Financial Return and Social Return.
  2. Organisation Review – Has been designed to identify your groups strengths and weaknesses by asking multi choice questions based around governance, systems, finance, business planning and marketing. From the answers given, we will identify where specific attention needs ot be focused and a summary development plan will be drafted.
  3. Relationship Footprint – In order for an organisation to make an impact in an area it is crucial that all relationships are mapped ie with Housing Associations, Local Authorities etc and the strength is assessed in order to enhance them for the future.
  4. SkillsAudit – We work with your committee and Local Community in recording the wealth of skills at hand and then examine where the skills can be put to good use for the benefit of your community.
  5. Summary Report – On completion of your Health Check you are furnished with a summary report which lists all your development needs and then we talk with you about how you can find the resources to address them.
  6. Assist with the production of an Organisational Development Plan
  7. Progression towards a Quality Standard – For the organisation to progress into a sustainable entity it is essential that they adopt and maintain strong practices, the best way to achieve this is to work towards a Quality Standard. We guide the management team through the processes necessary to gather the evidence to build towards an assesment. Once the assesment has been completed it will demonstrate that the organisation is well managed and therefore increase their chances of gaining funding.

This is a 3 hour session that can be delivered at your venue, you then receive a full report on your organisations ‘health’ and recommmendations for the future sustainability. (This can be delivered for all public/ private/ third sector organisations)

Please contact Marvin Symes (CDC Director) 07910 276193 to book your Health Check for 2011.

PS we can asssist in accessing funding for this purpose.

Supporting our work

January 6, 2012

Can Do Communities relies on various forms of funding to support the projects listed on these web pages, if you would like to contribute to some of the work we do then please click on the Donate button, its much appreciated and we will be updating the latest news on all our Community Projects on a regular basis.

Peterborough Community Reporters

December 15, 2011

Community Reporters LogoWe are delighted to announce that CDC have received a Big Lottery Awards for All grant to deliver Peterborough Community Reporters project.
What is it?
Community Reporters is a fun activity that allows people to tell stories about their own lives and celebrate all the positive things that happen in their Community using words, pictures video or audio.

It is about empowering communities by enabling them to take control, have their voices heard on issues that are important to them or sharing ideas or concerns with other people in person and on-line using a number of different creative methods.

This is achieved by members of the Community creating and posting articles and pictures to the Peterborough Community Reporters website and inviting other people to engage in open communication and join the conversation.

To become a Community Reporter you will receive training on everything from being able to interview people and write proper stories to using the various pieces of equipment such as digital cameras, video and voice recorders

Who is it for?

The Peterborough Community Reporters Project is for individuals who take an interest in their community and would like to develop their skills in areas such as writing a good article, Social Media, Digital Hardware and many others. It also helps if you are enthusiastic and have ideas, but don’t worry, we can help you with that!

What are the benefits for the Community Reporter?

  • Learn new communication skills
  • Learn interviewing skills
  • Learn how to use Digital Cameras and Voice Recorders
  • Build your confidence by doing things you never dreamed of before
  • Gets you out and about to meet new people

What are the benefits for the Community?

  • People sharing their stories and experiences
  • Document the History of the different areas of Peterborough
  • Celebrate the multi cultural diversity of Peterborough and the heritage that this brings.


Q. How can I get involved?

Q. Do I need any experience?

  • No, just your enthusiasm to learn and a willingness to share your thoughts and ideas are all that is needed.

Q. What will it cost me for the training?

  • Absolutely nothing as we have already the funding in place. All we ask is that you need to be available for the two day training course on the dates provided.

Q. I am not very technically minded and a bit low in confidence in these situations. Should I still apply?

  • Yes definitely. The training has been designed to be easily understood and there will be others there to support you.

Q. What sort of things will I learn on the training course?

  • Loads, including the different types of reporting, producing good content, communication and interviewing skills, Health and Safety whilst reporting, how to use the equipment and uploading the content to the Peterborough Community Reporters Website and much more.

Q. What can I report on?

  • Anything you like as long as it’s clean. It could be a film about a new local band, a report on job hunting, an article about your childhood experiences, the list is endless…

Q. How many Peterborough Community Reporters will there be?

  • We hope loads, the more the merrier in fact! We will be inviting people from each ward in Peterborough to start with, then, as word spreads we will engage with partner organisations to either directly fund the continued growth or give specialist support such as a local media outlet offering training or work experience for a budding reporter.

UPDATE 05/01/12: We are currently building the PCR Website and planning training sessions for local people to become Community Reporters, please call 01733 200906 to find out more.

Official Launch expected Mid February 2012

What we CAN DO for you

November 18, 2011

Can Do Communities are a more than profit Community Interest Company that can assist you with ‘everything Community Development’. We work with all sizes of organisations / groups around the UK including ; Local Authorities, Housing Associations, small, medium & large community groups.

Give advice and guidance on Community Development issues including the areas of: Legal company formation, Asset Transfer, Localism Bill, Governance, Financial Management, Trading Legally, Managing Staff & Volunteers, Equalities & Diversity, Managing Premises, Health & Safety, Personal Development, Community Group Development, Funding and much more.

  • Design & Deliver a wide range of training courses
  • Health Check Community Groups and assist them in preparing a Development Plan
  • ‘Hand Hold’ Community Groups through a recognised Voluntary Sector Quality mark enabling them to ensure they are compliant and in a better position to be sustainable
  • Produce Tailored Educational fun trips for Community Groups
  • Assist Community Groups in forming a legal entity (IE Charity Status or CIC’s)
  • Manage any kind of Community project
  • Signpost people to relevant providers/ support
  • Facilitate Community Reporter Projects

Cost savings available for Charitable organisations

October 27, 2011

In the six months that it has been in operation, Charity BackRoom has helped many East Anglian charities to spend time on the things that really matter to them by taking responsibility for the things that – with the best will in the world – really don’t.

Charity BackRoom

Yes, placing job ads, arranging insurance, considering employment legislation and calculating NI contributions are important – but they aren’t what the region’s groups and charities were set up to do, so every hour spent working on them is an hour that can’t be devoted to those core activities that make a real difference to the people of Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk. And with cuts in public funding impacting on local organisations, every minute and every penny is precious.

Charity BackRoom provides the essential support services which organisations must have, but find expensive and time-consuming to do themselves. It saves them money, because the expertise Charity BackRoom offers is keenly priced; it saves them time because by not having to run their own payroll, advertise their own jobs or plan their own training (for example) they are free to focus on the things that their funders, supporters and clients really value them for – and that isn’t their ability to calculate employee tax liability.

We can’t calculate precisely how much time and how much money Charity BackRoom has helped groups to channel in the right direction during these last six months, but we are convinced that it is a significant amount and that, in the long-term, Charity BackRoom will be of direct benefit both to the counties third sector organisations and to the people of the region.

Said Enterprise and Funding Development Manager Antony Parke:

“Our aim is to act as a one-stop shop for organisations of all sizes and to provide them with the services that will help them achieve their goals, while saving them time and money. Our highly regarded all inclusive HR & Employment Law contract, for example, offers unlimited amounts of advice, backed by legal specialists, in addition to contract and policy checks for as little as £800 per year. We are also able to deliver bespoke pieces of work from competitor analysis, recruitment and selection assistance through to guidance and support with expansion plans and product development, as well as ‘standard’ items such as payroll, CRB checks and jobs advertising, so it makes sense for other charities to let our specialist staff work behind the scenes on their behalf while they go out and do what they do best.”

To find out more, go to http://www.charitybackroom.org.uk/ email enquiries@charitybackroom.org.uk

or call 01603 756726.

Follow us on Twitter

April 30, 2011

You can get all the latest Voluntary sector news & views now through our tweets … follow our twitter feed box on the front page of our website. Feel free to promote your events & projects through us, email me at; symesm@hotmail.com and I will post a tweet on our front page immediately!

Our staff including latest recruit Cheryl Goodfellow ( Community & Regeneration Manager/ Can Do Communities) will be tweeting their socks off with Third Sector news from around the country.

Promote your events and projects with us by emailing the Can Do team and we will tweet your promotion on our front page.

Interview with Lord Coe

January 23, 2011

The Co Founders of CDC got lucky last week when filming at the Stratford (site of the London 2012 village) for one of the community projects they facilitate for CP LearningTrust- ‘Once in a lifetime’. (upskilling people through Sports & ArtsThey were filming some general footage of the Olympic stadium for a promotional film clip when there was a commotion and no other than Lord Coe (Chief Exec of London 2012) and his entourage appeared carrying out various media interviews right in front of them. Marvin & Graham not know for their shyness chanced their luck and asked for a quick interview, fair play to Lord Coe, the man from Chiswick he says YES!- see link to you tube interview when reading more..

Lord Coe Interview on You Tube December 2010 about the Inspire Marked ‘Once in a lifetime project’ that Can Do Communities are facilitating on behalf of CP Learning Trust.


To find out more about the excellent work of the CP Learning Trust please view: http://www.cpltrust.net/

Can Do Communities are good at facilitating community projects on your behalf please call 01733 200906 for more details.

NB )* Once in a lifetime is a project funded by EEDA, Greater Cambs Partnership & Cambs County Council, the delivering body is CP Learning Trusthttp://www.cpltrust.net/

The inspire mark shown above was awarded to the Once In A Lifetime Project. under the Volunteering Catergory

** The Once In A Lifetime Project was completed on 31/3/2011

Success in New York City!

November 1, 2010

8 lads……..9 days……..3000 miles…….1 world famous gym……. Can Do Communities in partnership with the Sutton Community Development team and Tom Hickson of East Cambs District Council have returned from an inspirational trip to New York City.

CDC have been part of a brilliant community project, assisting with developing a group of young boxers (aged 13-16 deemed at risk of offending) in East Cambridgeshire. The aim of the programme was to combine an inspirational trip to New York City with an educational programme to spur the group on to achieving their goals in life.

Can Do were invited to develop the cultural and educational part of this sporting programme. CDC’ lead trainer Victor Evelyn (Ex British Martial Arts Champion) delivered ‘Ambition Development’sessions where the group examined their goals in life, what brings happiness, how to focus the mind and achieve your goals. At the end of the trip CDC facilitated an evaluation session where the group made video diaries of the trip and checked their progress against the goals they set themselves.

It is hoped that the combination of a ‘Once in A Lifetime’ visit to world class sporting facilities and working with top coaches will inspire the group to make the most of their talent and achieve the goals in life that they set for themselves.

This trip to America was a reward for the young boxers who had been attending the Group of Boys Boxing club in Sutton (East Cambs) on a regular basis. The boys were a part of the GOBB project started in 2008, GOBB is a 10 week curricular time programme, where young people undertake specific boxing sessions along with accredited courses such as the Sports Leader Award (CSLA). The first pilot evaluations demonstrated a complete change in behaviour, and prior to the programme school attendance levels were less than 14% and are now over 80%!

For further details on this exciting programme please contact Marvin Symes 07910 276193

Circus Skills Entertainment Available for your event

October 1, 2010

Can Do Communities often use Circus Skills to engage people in communities.These include ball juggling, club swinging, poi, diabolo, plate spinning, unicycling and other circus skills.

We can supply our experienced circus entertainer simply if you just want to add a bit of fun to an event you are holding (like a local fete). Or if you would like to consult some young people in your community about what they would like to get involved in for example, CDC can tailor a session to these requirements, and we will include in the session a number of target practice exercises to obtain the answers.

We use the fun element of the circus skills to engage people of all ages in the community, call us now for more information 01733 200906.

Voluntary Sector gains a concession from Government over LEP’s!

September 3, 2010

Voluntary organisations and social enterprises can now become key players in the new local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) following a challenge to the government from the sector.

The National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (Navca) says pressure from its members has reversed the original decision, which appeared to exclude the voluntary and community sector from the new LEPs, which will replace regional development agencies.

In a letter to one of Navca’s members, communities and decentralisation minister Greg Clark said he welcomed the involvement of voluntary organisations and also made clear the government recognises the ‘considerable’ economic impact of the sector.

The challenge was mounted by Navca after business secretary Vince Cable and communities secretary Eric Pickles wrote to council chiefs in July, inviting businesses and local authorities to work together to develop LEP proposals, but did not extend the invitation to voluntary and community sector organisations.

Navca chief executive Kevin Curley said: ‘This is a victory for the voluntary and community sector and a welcome and timely recognition of the economic impact of our sector. It also shows it is important for us to be prepared to tell the government when we think they have got things wrong.’

A key issue to emerge from New Start’s recent LEP round table event was the importance of community organisations and social enterprises in making LEP activities effective in disadvantaged areas. Read more in the September edition of New Start.

Can Do Communities played their small part in campaigning for third sector involvement, we met with Shailesh Vara (MP NW Cambridgeshire) a month ago to suggest a re think. The MP admitted that it was a good point we were making and promised to take it to Communities minister Eric Pickles, we like to think we contribute in our own little way !

Big Society or Big Con?!

August 1, 2010

Can Do Communities watches with interest on just how the new coallitions plans for a community led new society shapes up in the near future. We are also more than interested in the scrapping of the Regional Development Agencies (EEDA was our regional version in the East of England) put in place by Labour to promote economic growth in the regions.

The coallition reckon that these un accountable bodies are not the way forward, so what is their masterplan?, you could argue they are still trying to find one!, they have written to all Business Leaders & Council Leaders to invite suggestions on how the new ‘Local Enterprise Partnerships’ might look like.

Forgive us for asking the obvious question but………… where is the Third Sector involvement in the request for responses?…….. answers on a postcard please!

Event Stewarding Courses

July 31, 2010

Can Do Communities in partnership with Warrior Security services are delighted to offer Event Stewarding training courses

Course Content
The course covers the following six mandatory units:

  • Role and responsibilities of a steward
  • Health and safety
  • Understanding the principles of spectator control
  • Handling conflict at events
  • Equal opportunities
  • Personal safety in the workplace

On completion of these units, candidates complete an externally set multiple-choice assessment.

Progression Opportunities

This certificate programme provides an ideal preparatory course for candidates wishing to progress on to NVQs in Spectator Safety. As this certificate programme has been mapped to the NVQ standards, it can be used as accredited prior learning for those progressing on to Level 2 NVQ in Spectator Safety. Experienced stewards may complete the qualification in less time than those new to stewarding work.

Please contact 01733 200906 for more details

CommunityBuilders Funding!

July 15, 2010

Communitybuilders is a £70m investment fund which takes forward a commitment within the Communities in Control: real people, real power White Paper to build more cohesive, empowered and active communities. Communitybuilders invests in the sustainability of multi-purpose, inclusive, community-led organisations (sometimes known as Community Anchors). These organisations can be the platform to support empowered communities by: providing a place for community activities to take place providing and running local services stimulating community involvement and enterprise generating independent sources of income Communitybuilders is a joint programme between Communities and Local Government and the Office of the Third Sector and is lead by the Adventure Capital Fund and brought to you by The Social Investment Business and The Community Alliance.

Communitybuilders is a £70m investment fund which takes forward a commitment within the Communities in Control: real people, real power White Paper to build more cohesive, empowered and active communities.

Communitybuilders invests in the sustainability of multi-purpose, inclusive, community-led organisations (sometimes known as Community Anchors). These organisations can be the platform to support empowered communities by:

  • providing a place for community activities to take place
  • providing and running local services
  • stimulating community involvement and enterprise
  • generating independent sources of income

Communitybuilders is a joint programme between Communities and Local Government and the Office of the Third Sector and is lead by the Adventure Capital Fund and brought to you by The Social Investment Business and The Community Alliance.

There are three elements to the Communitybuilders programme: Feasibility which provides grants and business support; Development which provides grants, one-to-one mentoring and business support; and Investment which provides loans and grants and business support.

Further Details: Marvin Symes 07910 276193

Opportunities in Sports & Arts

June 30, 2010

CDC are delighted to support the ‘Once in a lifetime’ Project. It is a Cambridgeshire wide initiative that uses sports and arts to engage people in volunteering and leads to skills for employment, through providing first step taster courses followed by longer accredited programmes. The training is FREE of charge to those that meet the eligibiity criteria.

Please visit www.onceproject.org.uk for fulldetails of project including FREE training that you can access if you meet the eligibility criteria (Unemployed, or with less than 5 GCSE’s at A-C level)

12th November 2009

PROJECT PROGRESS REPORT (1st July 2009- 12th November 2009)

Since starting the project in July we have concentrated on developing the programme awareness, courses, participants and partnerships.

A project identity has been designed along with a website (www.onceproject.org.uk) to raise awareness of the project. The website has links to partner’s websites and these links are reciprocated in our partners sites.

To date, we have delivered three consultation events (involving 70 people), a visit to Peterborough United by a group of 16 to 18 year-old disadvantaged youths to see “behind the scenes” at a Championship football club followed by watching the game between Peterborough and West Bromwich Albion. We followed this with a coach trip to see the Olympic Village construction site, on which we had a mixture of partners, participants and even a press presence to advertise the scheme. The latest was a Circus Skills event whereby we engaged with a group of homeless people, many with either drink or drugs problems, to increase their confidence levels and also introduce them to volunteering opportunities in Wisbech.

We have developed a programme of “Taster” courses of which we have delivered seven, (some more than once) lasting between 2 hours and two days. The most popular of these courses has proved to be the two day Event Stewarding which has given a qualification to most of the thirty seven participants. The number of qualifications would be even higher but for the fact that the minimum age for the qualification is eighteen and we had a number of seventeen year olds on one of the sessions, however, they can take the qualifying examination on reaching eighteen without having to re-sit the course. There have also been a number who have continued to complete the full SIA examination (see “Full Courses” below).

Other “Tasters” we have delivered are Pool Refereeing (this also gave a qualification to three of the participants), Film Making (giving a group some knowledge to film their locally produced pantomime and a promotional film detailing the activities that the Community Centre can offer the local residents), Confidence Building, Music Production and Introduction to Photography. We have also developed a Multi Skills course incorporating Film Making, T Shirt Design, Introduction to Photography and Music Production to enable a group of young people with learning difficulties promote and deliver a Christmas Event at Huntingdon College.

We have also facilitated Full Courses in Football Association Level 1 Coaching where three participants based in the rural village of Sutton gained their Coaching award and the Security Industry Authority (S I A) qualification which will enable the participants that gain the qualification to work within the security sector in such diverse roles such as shops, retail parks, nightclubs and night watchmen. The first of these courses was attended by sixteen participants and finished on the 12thNovember.

Currently our next courses will be a Community Sports Leaders Full course starting on the 16th November and “Tasters” in Confidence Building starting on 19thNovember and another on the 30th November along with Pool Refereeing on the 22nd November.

To summarise we have run fourteen events (twelve tasters and two full courses) to date and have had eighty-four individuals attending (sixty eight people attending tasters and sixteen attending full courses), with a few individuals attending more than one. We have also forged partnerships with organisations such as Connexions, Huntingdon College, Ormiston Trust, Nacro, Young Lives, Huntingdon F. A. Living Sport, ADEC and Team East for Skills, to name a few. We have endeavoured to reach as many participants from as many different backgrounds as possible and we have achieved this objective through relationships with projects like the Ferry Project for homeless people in Wisbech and Pathway into Employment in Huntingdon, again amongst others.

** This project was completed on 31/3/2011.

Can Do Investment Funds – Local People Power!

May 30, 2010

A Can Do Investment Fund (CDIF) is a community-held pot of money that is used to buy services and activities which the community decides will enhance where and how they live. Can Do Communities can set up and help facilitate this small grants scheme for you.

The CDIF ‘model’ begins with a small grant pot, usually a few thousand pounds over 6 months to a year, that resources small-scale, voluntarily-run projects. Decisions about which ideas and activities to fund are taken by a panel comprising people from the community itself. This can be residents, committed local development workers, councillors, workers at local businesses, service users – anyone with a stake and an interest in bringing about positive change.

The activities and projects which are funded are measured over their lifetime, using simple criteria and measurement methods agreed with each project when it receives funding. For instance, a group of local residents may decide they want to set up a stop-smoking support group for 3 months. They use their funding to pay for the hire of a local venue, motivational speakers, alternative health therapies etc. They decide to measure the success of their project on the number of cigarettes each member cuts back on over the life of the project and this is achieved by a very simple sheet of paper that each fills in to show the number of cigarettes smoked daily.

At the end of each activity, the agreed measurements are analysed and a rough cost-benefit analysis calculated. These are then collated on a regular basis (quarterly or 6-monthly) and used in negotiations with local service providers to negotiate a re-investment into the CDIF, based on the financial savings to the provider.

The CDIF should grow over time, as statutory agencies become more accustomed and supportive of the idea, and the confidence and capabilities of local service provision grows. If the legal requirements are in place, and with a bit of creativity, the CDIF could also tender for work commissioned by statutory agencies, always using the model of delivering services through small to medium scale local initiatives. This is an alternative to the reinvestment negotiation and possibly negates the need to put a financial value on work already carried out, although this is always a valuable piece of information to provide.

The Benefits

  • Provide services on a local level- crucially by local people
  • Helps fund good ideas- breeds confidence
  • Supports community engagement/ sense of community
  • Provides support to people at grass roots level
  • Easy access to scheme (easy to complete application form)
  • Quick Process/ a face to the process
  • Local Panel – making decisions on peers
  • Encourages re-investment
  • Improves local peoples skills
  • Encourages people to look at local skills available- instead of negativity


Please contact the Can Do Communities office on 01733 200906 to find out more.

CDC can help you set up a Good Neighbour Scheme in your community

October 10, 2009

Good Neighbour Schemes are run by volunteers who carry out helpful tasks for needy people in their community. The good deeds can range from befriending to driving people without access to transport to hospital appointments.

The schemes are very popular in many areas of the UK already. Although it is a simple concept, they can take alot of pro active work to set up and facilitate, contact Can Do Communities today on 01733 200906 to see how we can take the strain from you in developing a Good Neighbour scheme in your area.

Can Do Communities are working to support community development on a social housing development in Fulbourn

June 19, 2009

Can Do Communities are working to support community development on a social housing development in Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire. We are facilitating a number of community initiatives, including developing a Good Neighbour Scheme for the village where a group of volunteers are on call to help people in the village with hospital visits, befriending, household repairs and other neighbourly deeds!

Throughout 2009 we will be working with residents to improve their sense of well being and general community spirit. The objectives of the project are firstly improving integration and social cohesion in the village. With this in mind a Welcome Pack and Good Neighbour scheme are being developed. The second main objective is Wider Village inclusiveness, its crucial that the whole village is given the opportunity to take part in the various initiatives, such as local people acting as community facilitators (people organising projects, passing on knowledge to others through informal training), environmental initiatives such as a ‘cut your carbon’ scheme and a locally based small grants re-investment scheme that supports local projects for all ages.


We'd love to hear from you...so call, fax, email or pop in and visit us.