A community group based in a village near Ely are the first grant recipients of a new programme made possible by a partnership between Plunkett UK and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

Haddenham Sports and Social Club will use the development and feasibility grant of £5,000 to revitalise their building so they can widen their membership and explore what additional ‘more than’ services it can offer the community.

The club is already a recognised Warm Hub which brings people from across the community together.

Derek Wakefield, Treasurer at the Club, says, “This grant will help us pay for an architectural designer to think about ways to better use the space and improve accessibility for a building that is 70 years old. It is part of changing the aesthetics of the club and futureproofing it for coming generations.”

Haddenham Sports and Social Club is a recognised warm hub. (Photo: Cambridge Independent, 14/12/2022)

The Three Tuns, Guilden Morden opening 2019. Credit: Greg Butterworth

The Combined Authority has commissioned Plunkett UK to help community groups across the region take ownership and operation of local assets, such as pubs, shops, cafés and other community buildings, that are vacant or at risk of closure.

This ambition is to protect key local services that benefit the local area.

This partnership builds upon the work and investment made to date under the Combined Authority’s Phase 1 but with a new emphasis – one of supporting communities and delivering inclusive growth.

Funding is enabling Plunkett to identify viable projects and deliver a dedicated community support package to community groups in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, with a focus of revitalising assets in market towns and rural hinterlands.

The community business model is being used to create community hubs that could include retail, cafés, meeting rooms, co-working facilities, allotments, and accessible green spaces, among others.

Post Street in Godmanchester. Credit: Billy Wilson.

Susie Middleton, Project Manager at Plunkett UK (pictured left), says: “Plunkett has promoted the community ownership model, UK-wide for over 100 years because of its track record for delivering better businesses for people, communities, the economy, and the environment.

“Having supported a network of nearly 800 businesses, with a long-term survival rate of 92% we believe that this model can create innovative, impactful, and inclusive spaces wherever they are established. The work we are doing with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority is a great opportunity to grow the community ownership movement in their area.”

Plunkett is managing the allocation of £800,000 grant funding on behalf of the Combined Authority:

  • Small grants of up to £5,000 are being awarded to community groups to cover costs of starting a new community business, including the cost of forming a Community Benefit Society, property valuations and surveys, legal fees and architect fees.
  • Follow-up bigger grants of up to £45,000 are being awarded to up to 15 groups who can demonstrate strong, feasible plans and the ability to get money from other funding agencies and community partners. This capital grant will pay for costs such as purchase and refurbishment.

Additionally, Plunkett is currently providing five groups, including Haddenham, with free support and advice from our expert advisers under the programme, looking at topics including raising funds, business planning and legal structures.

At the end of 2023, Plunkett also ran a very successful ‘Introduction to Community Business’ event at the community-owned Plough and Fleece in Horningsea. This was attended by groups from across Cambridgeshire looking at how they might save assets that are at risk, as well as representatives from the County and District Councils who were keen to understand more about the community business model and the support available.

Want more information?

For communities wanting more information about the support and grants available in the market towns and rural hinterlands of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, please call us on 01993 630 022, or email info@plunkett.co.uk

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