Information and Advice for the Lancaster District’s Third Sector – 14 December 2023

We are working with the local voluntary and community sector and Lancashire and District-wide partners to support VCFSE organisations and people living in our communities. We encourage you to share this page with others.

An archive of previous editions can be found here.

Click headings below to expand each section.

Swop Shop Skill Share – Impact & Evaluation Workshop
Thank you to everyone that attended our December Swop Shop Skill Share Network Workshop, which was a wonderful gathering of over 12 community organisations, uniting for a day of collaborative learning and impactful discussions at the Lancaster & Morecambe College’s Employer Hub. Expert facilitators such as Dr. Elisavet Christou, Andrew from the Multiply project, Guy Christiansen from Lancashire Youth Challenge, and Maria Thornton from the NIHR shared invaluable insights on measuring impact and gauging success. The afternoon event left everyone feeling enriched, having gained new knowledge and tools. Stay tuned for our next session!

View some snapshots from the day

Lancaster District Voluntary Sector Leaders Network
The next Voluntary Sector Leaders Network will take place online on Thursday 25 January 2023, 9.30am – 11am. This network is open to voluntary community faith and social enterprise organisations working across the Lancaster district. Be a part of a network that is working towards creating a strategy that demonstrates the strategic work the sector plays in the economic and social growth across the district. We’ll discuss collaborations with health, local authorities, and community programs. Let’s work together to strengthen our sector’s voice and influence at various levels. Register to attend the meeting or to stay informed about future meetings. For more information, contact Yak Patel on 01524 555900 or email [email protected]

Join the meeting (save this link)

FestiVOL 2023 – Thank You!
We’d like to thank everyone who came along (in the words of talented poet-in-residence Nathan Parker) “through the dreary November drizzle” to network and explore at FestiVOL 2023. The More Music building was buzzing the whole day long and they were wonderful hosts alongside The Exchange for our second annual celebration of the voluntary sector.

The event really showcased the vibrant tapestry of our district, demonstrating the power of community spirit and dedication.

Very special thanks go to the presenters and performers: East Meets West, Lancaster Mens Hub, Fighting Loneliness, The Gregson, West End Playhouse, King Street Studios, More Music, Stanleys, The Bay: A Blueprint for Recovery, CancerCare, Wise Up Workshops, Bee Adventures, Positive Futures, and Morecambe Bay Poverty Truth Commission – what a list and what an incredible group of people!

VCSE Energy Efficiency Scheme
Funding is available to help community organisations deliver more efficient services for people and communities by saving money on energy bills. The VCSE Energy Efficiency Scheme aids voluntary, community, and social enterprise organisations (VCSEs) in improving efficiency of services by saving on energy costs. It offers Independent Energy Assessments (IEAs) and capital grants for implementing energy-saving measures identified in the assessment. The scheme’s goal is to improve efficiency, cut energy bills, and enhance services for communities. Applicant organisations must be a VCSE based in England and delivering frontline services. They must be able to demonstrate that they are financially sustainable, require support around energy and are not suitable for blended finance or loan support through other schemes.

Closing date for application: 30 August 2023, 12:01am

Find out more about this scheme

Forestry Commission Launches £2.5m Tree Production Capital Grant
Forestry Commission announces re-opening of Seed Sourcing Grant and Tree Production Capital Grants. £2.8 million available to enhance domestic trees and seeds production. Eligible applicants include foresters, nurseries, and seed suppliers. These grants aim to elevate quantity, quality, and biosecurity of England’s tree and seed supply, nurturing resilient woodlands. Apply by January 30, 2024, to avail funding for innovative projects supporting tree and seed production. Visit for more details.

Find out more about this funding option

Manchester Prize: £1 Million AI Innovation Competition
The inaugural Manchester Prize, launched by the UK government, offers a £1 million grant for innovative AI solutions targeting societal challenges. Focusing on energy, environment, and infrastructure, this landmark competition aims to harness AI’s potential for positive change. Entries open until February 1, 2024, providing opportunities for UK-based innovators from diverse sectors. Explore for entry details.

Learn more about this

Funding for Projects that Promote Fine Arts and Music Across the UK
Golsonscott Foundation is offering grants typically up to £3,000 for voluntary and community sector organisations to deliver projects and activities that demonstrate and deliver excellence in the arts, whether in performance, exhibition, artistic craft, or scholarly endeavour. Priority is given to the applications from arts organisations whose main objective is the perfection of the art form itself, or performance excellence. For proposed projects involving young people, the trustees are interested in establishing long-lasting connections between them and the art, rather than a project offering little scope for further involvement.

The next deadline is 10 February 2024 for consideration at the late February 2024 trustee meeting.

Find out more about the funding

Adventures Away from Home Fund
The Adventures Away from Home Fund (AAfH) by UK Youth, partnering with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, aims to grant 8,500 disadvantaged young people with outdoor learning experiences. With a £1.5 million fund, it targets underrepresented youth, offering opportunities for personal development through nature connections.

The program includes day sessions and residential stays, and applications for organisations to apply are open until mid-December. This initiative builds on prior success, providing accessible outdoor experiences to bridge barriers and enhance young people’s well-being and skills.

Learn more about this fund

Sport England Offers Funding for Flood-Damaged Facilities in England
The Return to Play Fund by Sport England now includes emergency flood relief funding for sports clubs and non-profit organizations affected by recent floods caused by storms. Eligible areas experiencing the worst effects of flooding can apply for grants to repair flood-damaged facilities such as pitches, clubhouses, or electrical systems. Applications are open to specific regions and organizations, aiming to restore sports facilities in preparation for reopening after lockdown restrictions ease.

Find out more about this funding

The Young Gamechangers Fund
This Co-op Foundation fund prioritises support for young activists who are committed to creating communities that are prosperous, safe, diverse, equitable and inclusive, healthy, and sustainable. In particular we’re seeking to support groups and communities that prioritise youth activism and shared power.

Deadline for this is 14/19th December 2023

Find out more about this fund

Community Mental Health Transformation funding 23/24
The Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board are now ready to launch this year’s Adult and Older Adult Community Mental Health Transformation funding for the VCFSE sector. The funding program aims to improve access to community-based mental health services for adults and older adults. It involves partnership among healthcare, local authorities, and community groups. Funding is directed to the Voluntary, Community, Faith, and Social Enterprise (VCSFE) sector for wrap-around support. A non-recurring grant scheme for 2023/24 has been proposed while a longer procurement plan is developed. Spring North are assisting in the process, offering workforce development, engagement, and grant schemes for VCSFE.

Application deadline: 8th January 2024, 12pm

Learn more about the scheme and further deadlines

Fund to Support England’s Natural Environment
The Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund supports nature projects in England focused on climate change, habitat creation/restoration, and water quality enhancement. It aims to prepare these projects for private investment, establishing a pipeline for future funding models. Grants range from £10,000 to £100,000, targeting specific environmental goals across various natural asset types.

Applications from farmers, farmer-led groups, and certain organisations are accepted between December 11, 2023, and February 16, 2024, prioritising readiness proposals associated with investment.

Full details here

Refugee-led Community Integration Grant Scheme
The Lancashire Refugee Integration Team are offering grants to support projects building social bonds and community connections for refugees across Lancashire. The scheme aims to empower communities, facilitate integration, and improve well-being by encouraging refugees to develop and lead projects benefiting themselves and others. While focused on government-resettled refugees, the scheme encourages inclusion of all seeking sanctuary in Lancashire to combat segregation within local communities.

The deadline for submissions in the first round is December 31st.

Learn more about this scheme

Theatres Protection Fund Small Grants Scheme
The Theatres Trust provide small grants to theatres in need and at risk though their Theatres Protection Fund. This scheme supports small projects that make a big impact to a theatre’s resilience, sustainability, accessibility or improving the diversity of audiences.

Learn more about this fund and apply

Masonic Charitable Foundation Hospice Grants Open for Applications
A funding opportunity has arisen with the Masonic Charitable Foundation Hospice Grants 2023/24 for adult hospices in England, Wales, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man. The grants aim to improve transitional care for young people by addressing gaps in access to short break/respite care. Eligible hospices, members of Hospice UK, can apply for grants up to £40,000 for projects lasting 18 months. Applications open from December 5, 2023, with a deadline of February 5, 2024. Successful applicants will be notified by the end of March. For more details and guidance notes, visit the Hospice UK website or contact [email protected]

More information and apply

New Fund to Help VCSE Organisations Improve Energy Efficiency
A new funding scheme will soon be opening to help voluntary, community, and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations in England improve their energy efficiency. The VCSE scheme, part of a £100 million government support package, aids frontline organisations facing rising living costs. It offers energy assessments and grants for eligible groups in England, aiming to lower bills through efficiency measures. Applications open for free assessments in December 2023 and installations in January 2024. Managed by Groundwork UK, details will be on their website once live, where groups can sign up for alerts.

Learn more about this funding scheme

Three Guineas Trust Offers Grants for Legal Advice for Disabled People in the UK
The Three Guineas Trust are providing a funding scheme that aims to boost legal support for disabled people in the UK regarding benefits, debt, housing, care, personal liberty, and access to services. Non-profits meeting specific quality standards can apply for up to £50,000 per year for one to three years. Applications are open until January 12, 2024. Interested parties can request application materials via email from the Three Guineas Trust.

Find out more here

The Dulverton Trust
The Dulverton Trust is an independent grant-making charity. They support UK charities and CIOs tackling a range of social issues, protecting the natural world, and preserving heritage crafts.

Find out more and how to apply

Protective Security Funding for Mosques
The Home Office is running two protective security schemes to support places of worship in England and Wales vulnerable to hate crime. The schemes provide funding for security measures like CCTV and fencing to reduce hate crime incidents at these locations.

Applications are open until specific deadlines, with successful applicants receiving free security installations and maintenance for one year. Applicants must demonstrate vulnerability to hate crime and provide evidence of incidents. Eligible places include churches, gurdwaras, mosques, and associated faith community centres.

Learn more about this scheme

MSE Charity Announces Funding Theme for January 2024 Round
The Money Saving Expert (MSE) Charity is offering grants up to £8,000 for UK-based non-profits focused on financial skills projects for individuals dealing with long-term challenges like dementia, autism, disabilities, and mental illness. Eligible organisations with an annual income below £750,000 and unrestricted reserves less than six months of running costs can apply in January 2024. Applications, limited to the first 40 accepted, open on January 15th and close February 16th, supporting projects improving financial life skills for defined groups facing long-term challenges.

Visit the MSE Charity website for more

The Blue Spark Foundation
The Foundation supports the education and development of children and young people by providing grants for educational, cultural, sporting and other projects. [projects include: Encouraging independence, Helping enhance self-confidence, Team working skills, Promoting creativity & individuality, Encouraging creativity & individuality, Encouraging inspiration, Enhancing aspiration, Enhancing educational achievement, Widening educational horizons and helping future employability.

More details here

National Archives’ Resilience Grants Open for UK Applications
The National Archives is offering Resilience Grants of up to £20,000 for UK-based archives and heritage organisations. These grants support projects lasting one year, aiming to build adaptability, sustainability, and resilience within the sector. Eligible projects cover various areas such as organisational stability, staffing capacity, cost reduction, income increase, collection preservation (physical and digital), diversity initiatives, climate change responses, and archive network development. The upcoming deadline for applications is on January 19, 2024, providing opportunities for archives to enhance their operations and contributions to communities and the economy.

Find out more about this funding opportunity

The B & Q Foundation
The B&Q Foundation provides grants for a wide range of charities who are looking for funding to improve or develop spaces that benefit their local communities. They help charities who are supporting people in need in the UK those experiencing homelessness, in financial hardship, impacted by health, disability, or other disadvantage or distress. They are looking to fund projects to decorate, renovate, or create spaces where people can feel at home and have a sense of belonging. This can be both indoor and outdoor.

There are no deadlines for this fund

More about the B & Q Foundation

The Matthew Good Foundation – Grants for Good
Grants for Good is funded by the John Good Group and is designed to direct funding only to small and growing charities, voluntary groups or social enterprises that are making a big impact on communities, people or the environment. This programme offers unrestricted funds that can be used for any of your organisation s costs, including core running costs.

Ongoing deadlines

Learn more about this funding option

Wave 2.2 of England’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Opens for Applications
Wave 2.2 of England’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund is open for applications, offering up to £80 million in grant funding to local authorities, combined authorities, and social housing providers. The aim is to improve energy efficiency in social homes, targeting properties below Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) C standards, reducing carbon emissions, tackling fuel poverty, and enhancing the comfort and health of tenants. Eligible projects must address a minimum of 100 social housing properties below EPC band D-G per bid and allocate the grant by March 2025, with an option for project delivery until March 2026 under specific conditions.

The deadline for applications for Wave 2.2 is 19 January 2024, 23:59

Find out more about this fund

Funding to Support Youth-Led Social Action Across the UK
The Co-op Foundation, in collaboration with the #iwill Fund, is offering grants of up to £20,000 through the Young Gamechangers Fund to UK-based organisations. The fund aims to support youth-led projects committed to fostering safer, more inclusive, and sustainable communities. The initiative targets groups with an income under £250,000, encouraging long-term social change efforts led by young activists, particularly prioritising marginalised communities and emphasising shared power. Eligible applicants will go through a two-stage application process, starting with an online eligibility test before proceeding to a full application.

The deadline for applications is 19 December 2023 (noon).

Learn more about this funding opportunity

Create & Improve Green Spaces near Starbucks Stores
Grants of up to £6,000 are available to create or enhance green spaces within 5km of any Starbucks store in the UK. Eligible costs include materials, utilities, signage, staffing costs, volunteer expenses, and training.

Deadline for applications is 11 January 2024.

Find out more and apply

Ashden Awards for Climate Innovations
The Ashden Awards bring publicity, grants (up to £25,000) and connections to outstanding climate solutions. Whether powering up off-grid communities, greening cities, or regenerating the natural world, winners work to build a fairer and better zero carbon future.

This year’s award categories include energy innovation, nature based solutions, powering futures in clean energy, energising refugees and displaced people, and more. Some categories focus on the UK, and others cover work in low- and middle-income countries.

Applications close on 25 January 2024

Find out more and apply

Awards for All – Larger Grants and Longer Projects
Community organisations can now benefit from larger grants for longer projects when applying to the National Lottery Community Fund’s Awards for All programme.

Organisations can now apply for up to £20,000 per year (previously £10,000), and can get funding for up to two years, for a total of £40,000 in funding.

Find out more and apply

Kitsquad – Outdoor Gear
Kitsquad’s goal is to assist low-income people with getting out and about in the great outdoors, benefitting both their physical and mental health. 

Unfortunately, those on low incomes find it hard to find the funds to purchase the necessary gear and so Kitsquad want to change this by giving people the chance to experience nature affordably, without money being a barrier.

Find out more and apply for gear 

Additionally, the recycling aspect of this initiative also benefits the environment. If you have or know anyone who has any kit that could be donated, you can do so by post to Kitsquad, Unit 49B Atcham Business Park, Shrewsbury SY4 4UG 

The Power of Music Fund
Opened on 22 November 2023, the Power of Music Fund will be open to make grants to dementia choirs, musical activities for carers and other initiatives which support people through music. 

Music can greatly help people living with dementia and their carers by having a positive impact on mood, self-expression, creativity and reconnecting individuals with those they love. 

Multi-year grants will be available of either £1,000 or £2,000 per year depending upon the size and scope of the project. There will also be a £500,000 grant for a Centre of Excellence! 

Those who wish to apply must have an activity taking place between April 2024-December 2026 and the group must consist of 10 or more people. 

Read more and apply

Veterans’ Career Development Fund
The Veterans’ Career Development Fund is provided by the Office for Veterans’ Affairs and administered on their behalf by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust. The funding supports experienced not-for-profit organisations which can create and promote opportunities for UK veterans and their families looking to enter employment, and those already in employment who have the aspiration to progress in their careers, to acquire, or work towards acquiring, supplementary qualifications, technical training and skills.

Grants of up to £70,000 over two years are available. Apply by 8 January 2024.

Find out more and apply

Veterans’ Foundation 2024
The Foundation helps charities and other organisations that support serving and former members of the UK Armed Forces and their dependents. Examples of activities eligible for support include reducing homelessness, increasing employment, providing welfare, reducing addiction, care during old age and more.

Grants are available up to £30,000 for projects, and up to £50,000 over two years exclusively for salary costs.

Deadlines for 2024 applications have now been announced. The first is 30 January.

Find out more and apply

Austin & Hope Pilkington Trust 2024/5
Awarding grants of £1,000 to charities with income/expenditure between £100,000 and £1 million, and £5,000 to charities with income/expenditure over £1 million, the Trust has announced the following rounds:

2024 Rounds 1 & 2: Disability, specifically employment and training
2024 Rounds 3 & 4: Food poverty, focusing on providing meals, education, cooking skills, and eliminating food waste

2025 Rounds 1 & 2: Access to the Arts
2025 Rounds £ & 4: Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Find out more and apply (from 1 February 2024)

Windrush Day Grant Scheme 2023
The scheme supports groups to commemorate, celebrate and educate people about the contribution of the Windrush generation and their descendants across communities in our country. 

It is intended to fund projects which educate people about the Windrush story, foster national pride and recognition of the contributions made by the Windrush generation and their descendants, and develop the skills and entrepreneurial ambitions of young people.

Grants are available in two tiers – £5,000 – £25,000 and £25,000 – £50,000.

The deadline for applications is 17 December.

Find out more (including information about bidder workshops) and apply here

Department for Health & Social Care Accelerating Reform Fund
The Accelerating Reform Fund will focus on embedding and scaling approaches to transform care and support including for unpaid carers. This will accelerate progress towards the government’s social care vision where people have choice, control and support to live independent lives, and where care and support is of outstanding quality and is provided in a fair, accessible way.

Local authorities are invited to work in partnership with others in their integrated care systems (including community and voluntary groups) to develop proposals for local innovation projects.

Find out more on the Lancashire & South Cumbria VCFSE Alliance website

Sea-Changers Marine Conservation Social Fund
The aim of the Marine Conservation Social Fund is to support socially beneficial marine conservation approaches and solutions. Its unique emphasis is that as well as supporting marine conservation outcomes, projects will support or enhance participants’ health and well-being and / or deliver benefits for disadvantaged communities.

Grant applications for projects costing between £3,000 – £5,000 should be submitted by 22 December.

Find out more and apply

Small grants for sports groups
Cash4Clubs offers unrestricted grants for community sports clubs and community groups, funded by Flutter Entertainment, a betting, gambling and entertainment company.

Projects must include activities for adult club members (over 18s), but as these are unrestricted grants they can otherwise be used for anything that will support sporting activity.

Grant of up to £2,000 are available. Apply by 31 December – applications may close early based on the volume of applications.

Find out more and apply

Thomas Wall Trust – grants to help people find employment
The Trust accepts applications from charities which have been running for at least three years, for projects which help disadvantaged people with their communication skills, readying them for employment.

Submit an expression of interest for a grant of up to £5,000 by 8 January.

Find out more and apply

Hinrichsen Foundation – grants for contemporary music
The Foundation offers grants in support of contemporary music, including performance, commissioning of works, non-commercial recording, and publication.

Apply for small grants of between £500 and £2,500, or for larger grants (including for a series of performances) of over £2,000, by 31 December.

Find out more and apply

Lancaster District Street Aid Winter Campaign
Lancaster District Street Aid, is a collaborative effort between Lancaster District CVS, Lancaster City Council, Lancaster BID, and local homelessness support agencies, which aims to assist former rough sleepers in accessing crucial resources to rebuild their lives.

This December and January, we’re launching a campaign to help generate donations that support workers from organisations like Acorn, Let’s BeFriends, and Calico apply for and spend on behalf of the people they work with. Contributions will create a grant pot, aiding individuals in accessing life essentials and staying off the streets for good.

At a time of year when people’s thoughts turn to giving, continuing to push the Street Aid message across a variety of social media channels will help us to provide much-needed support over the coming year. Whether it’s creating awareness of our outlet donation points around the district or directing them to the online donation page, every penny counts to help support former rough sleepers move on from homelessness. 

We’ve done all the hard work for you – inside our social media kit you’ll find a selection of images, suggested text for posts, and instructions on what to include if you’d like to craft your own.

Join us in making a difference this winter.

Download our social media resources here

Learn more about Lancaster District Street Aid

Using Technology Sustainably – How Charities Can Support Digital Inclusion
Technology can have an important role in helping organisations to become more sustainable, but alongside the opportunities there are also challenges to navigate. Embracing digital tech sustainably is key for charities but balancing benefits with environmental impact is crucial. Discover how initiatives like the Tech Lending Community Fund and Design Hops are empowering communities and improving digital inclusion. Below are examples of how organisations working in, or alongside the voluntary sector, have tried to  address some of these challenges.

In partnership with Virgin Media O2, Hubbub established the Tech Lending Community Fund, which has provided laptops and data to charities who work with vulnerable groups, including survivors of domestic abuse, refugees, asylum seekers, and those at risk of homelessness. This can enable people to connect with critical services that they would otherwise struggle to access – for example medical appointments, or job applications.


The Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology (CAST) is a charity that works with non-profit organisations to help them better understand how to develop online services, and how to embed digital approaches into their strategy and governance. CAST runs a number of programmes each year, including:

  • Coffee Connections – a networking event showcasing best practice digital solutions from organisations in the voluntary sector
  • Design Hops – a free course where charities can learn step-by-step methods for designing online services.

Find out more about Design Hops and CAST’s other programmes and activities.

Integrate UK
Integrate UK is a Bristol-based charity that aims to empower young people to transform society. The charity was aware of the challenge of digital inclusivity when it transitioned from an organisation offering workshops and other communications entirely in-person to an online operation.

Digital software
A number of organisations provide free or discounted software to charities and voluntary organisations, which can help support their financial sustainability. Benchmark provides a number of free software packages for charities, including accounts and payroll, and customer relationship management. Demos of each of these pieces of software can be downloaded directly from the Benchmark website.

The Document Foundation, created by a group of free software advocates, provides LibreOffice (commonly known as OpenOffice) a package of software offering word processing, spreadsheets, slideshows and other resources.

Charity Digital has helped more than 38,000 charities to save money on software. Charity Digital partners with leading software providers to source free or discounted software, such as accounting, payroll and antivirus software.

Cost of Living Support
Help with the cost of living is at hand on Lancaster City Council’s Cost of Living site where you can read about the help and support available for residents and businesses.  For residents, there are many problems with the rising cost of living and there is plenty of information available to help you or even a relative, friend or neighbour.

There is a vast array of information, including advice about energy bills, finance support, housing support and much more. There is also a Business and Skills Support Hub for free support for local businesses. Help is available to access grants, finance and funding.

Visit the site here

Neurodiversity at Work Webinars
Red in the Spectrum will host a series of one-hour webinars in early 2024 focused on neurodiversity in the workplace. Each Sunday evening session covers different aspects, such as discrimination, legal rights, and workplace adjustments. Led by experts, these sessions aim to encourage inclusive environments and empower participants, including neurodivergent workers, job seekers, allies, and employers, to create more neuro-inclusive workplaces. Registration is open for individual webinars, encouraging donations rather than fixed fees. These interactive discussions offer insights, case studies, and opportunities for questions, aiming to drive positive change in workspaces.

For more details and to register

Appeal from The Centre @Halton
The Centre @ Halton has a vision for the future – to be: In the community, for the community, and by the community. They find themselves in a difficult position with the retirement of the Centre Manager and the pressure of increased fuel costs meaning they cannot replace the hours or role at this stage. They are calling on members of the community to come forward to ensure the well-loved groups, that are a comfort and lifeline to so many, can continue.

Please click here to read the full appeal and for ways you can help

Digital Poverty
Lancashire libraries are involved with a great initiative helping to tackle digital poverty and this will be very useful for any vulnerable families your group may support. The National Databank provides free SIM cards mobile data, minutes and text from Virgin Media O2, Vodafone and Three.

You can qualify for data from your local library if you are over 18, are from a low-income household, and

  • have no access or insufficient access to the internet at home
  • have no or insufficient access to the internet when away from home
  • cannot afford your existing monthly contract or top up

To benefit from the scheme, a recipient’s device must either be unlocked or, if locked, be locked to O2, Vodafone or Three. You will need to make an appointment at a library to collect the SIM card and you can click here to find your local library.

The Charities Tax Group on the Outlook for Charities
The Autumn Statement 2023, despite focusing on economic growth and business support, lacked significant measures to aid struggling charities, drawing disappointment from CTG Chair Richard Bray. Key announcements included reforms to Energy-Saving Materials VAT Relief, National Insurance contributions cut, an increase in the National Living Wage, adjustments in business rates, benefits increase, and various tax-related measures. While some reforms could impact charities, the absence of specific support drew concern, prompting hopes for future measures in the Spring Budget to alleviate charity pressures.

Richard Bray, the CTG Chair of the Charities Tax Group commented on the Autumn  Statement:

“While recognising that the Chancellor’s priority was to stimulate growth and support business, we had hoped that the Autumn Statement would have contained at least some measures to help charities, many of whom are struggling to maintain the services on which many depend. Along with others, CTG had argued for the introduction of some simple and inexpensive reforms, particularly in relation to goods donated by businesses to charity. Their absence and the general lack of acknowledgement of charities is a significant disappointment.

“In the longer term, we hope that the measures announced today will help to alleviate the pressures that many feel and will also ease some of the pressures that charities currently face and that the Chancellor will include measures to support charities in the Spring Budget.”

Read more of the Autumn Statement 2023 here

LGBTQIA+ People with Energy Limiting Conditions – Creative Research Workshops
LGBTQIA+ individuals in the UK living with energy limiting conditions or chronic illnesses are invited to join creative research workshops conducted by the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University, in collaboration with Chronic Illness Inclusion and Healing Justice London. These workshops aim to envision better futures for health and social care. Participants can select workshops tailored to their gender identities or energy levels, with asynchronous options available for those with low energy.

Interested individuals can find more details here

NCVO Small Charities Data
Small Charities Data brings together the latest and best available information on small charities in the UK, including data drawn from our own research. Explore data and insights that could help your small charity via this link.

Devolution Deal for Lancashire
Lancashire County Council has heralded the devolution deal for the county announced this week as “historic” and “amazing news”. If given approval, the proposed deal will transfer new money and powers from central government to a newly created Combined County Authority.

The proposed deal would give local leaders extra powers to tackle key priorities such as better public transport, boosting economic prosperity and improving employment and skills. It will not require changes to the established borough, country or district councils, an elected mayor, or power to precept over and above the normal Council Tax ask.

Read the County Council’s press release to find out more

Lancaster BID Christmas Toy Appeal
Launching this weekend, the appeal encourages the public and businesses to donate new and nearly new toys which will be distributed by CancerCare, Little Joe’s Clothes, Helping Heart for Ukraine, Unique Kidz & Co and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Drop off points include the Wagon & Horses (St George’s Quay), Travellers Choice Carnforth, Cumberland Building Society (Cheapside), Nandos (Market St), YMCA (St Nics), Lancaster Football Club, Accessplanit (Spring Garden St), and My Dentist (St Nics).

Where the Wildings Are Crowdfunder
Where the Wildings Are! transforms schools across the Lancaster district into hubs that reverse biodiversity loss, climate change and food insecurity. Using permaculture principles, the team work with staff and pupils to redesign school grounds, swapping tarmac and mown grass for tree planting, sensory wildlife gardens and organic food growing.

To help support the project, LESS are crowdfunding through the Aviva Community Fund, who will match all donations. Rewards for backers include a two-hour ‘transform your garden WTWA! style workshop’ and exclusive access to a garden designer.

Find out more and donate


NCVO Open Letter to the Chancellor
Charities are facing a Cost of Giving Crisis this winter, with many facing difficult decisions so they can continue operating.

One key challenge for charities delivering public services is underfunding, with many contracts costing more to deliver than their funding pays for. This challenge affects organisations of all sizes, so NCVO is asking the chancellor to urgently address this.

Read and sign NCVO’s open letter here

The King’s Speech
The King’s Speech contains 21 Bills that will be brought before Parliament in this session. This is highly likely to be the last parliamentary session prior to a general election and most announcements have been well trailed in the advance. The bills are divided into three themes: growing the economy, strengthening society and keeping people safe.

  • Growing the economy includes much trailed bills to allow for annual licenses to be issued for offshore gas and oil exploration, regulation of automated vehicles and international trade. It also includes a bill to protect consumer rights in digital markets tackling fake reviews and subscription traps. The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill is intended to allow businesses to protect personal data in more proportionate and practical ways than under current GDPR regulations, and to clarify and improve rules around using personal data for scientific research and the delivery of health and social care.
  • Strengthening society includes bills on banning tobacco and regulating vapes; reforming leasehold for houses [but not flats]; renters reform which will abolish no-fault evictions but strengthen landlord grounds for possession and ability to evict antisocial tenants; and a ban on public bodies imposing their own boycotts or sanctions on foreign countries.
  • Keeping people safe: The Sentencing Bill will extend sentencing powers including mandatory whole life orders in some circumstances, serving whole sentences for rape and bringing in a presumption in favour of a suspended sentence for custodial sentences of 12 months or fewer. This is accompanied by another Criminal Justice Bill to introduce mandatory reporting of concerns relating to child sexual abuse; give more powers to probation officers; address violence against women and girls and antisocial behaviour; and transfer prisoners out of England and Wales to serve sentences abroad. Martyn’s Law, The Terrorism (Protection of Premises Bill) has moved from draft stage and will require certain public venues to plan to mitigate the impact of terrorist attacks and reduce harm. This will apply to all public buildings with a capacity of over 100 people.

The two Bills of direct relevance to the sector are: The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill and Martyn’s Law, The Terrorism (Protection of Premises Bill).

Pro Bono Economics – Women and the Charity Sector Report
Pro Bono Economics uses economics to empower the social sector and to increase wellbeing across the UK.

Their latest report – created after lengthy interviews with women working in the sector – examines how charities work for women in terms of employment, volunteering, representation, power relationships, and intersections with race, disability, and sexuality. It concludes with a series of recommendations for the sector.

Find out more and read the full report

Ann Craft Trust Safeguarding Adults Week
The Trust is a national charity which exists to minimise the risk of abuse of disabled children and adults at risk.

Safeguarding Adults Week, 20 – 24 November, aims to highlight key safeguarding key issues, start conversations and raise awareness of safeguarding best practice. Free resources and training events will help other community organisations with their on safeguarding practice.

Find out more, download resources, and sign up for training activities

Lowering Energy Bills in Charities & Social Enterprises: 7 Top Tips
This blog post from Good Finance provides a timely reminder of some measures community organisations can take in the short and medium-term in order to reduce their energy costs. It includes links to useful kits and guides elsewhere.

Find out more

Global Link Hat, Scarf and Gloves Appeal
Global Link are asking people to help them share warmth this winter with individuals who have experienced forced migration.

Donations of unisex or men’s hats, scarves and gloves can be dropped off at 29 Queen Street, Lancaster on weekdays between 9am and 4pm. Please donate before 6 December.

NCVO Cost of Giving Crisis Support
Charities across the country are set to face another difficult winter. They feel that they are not just facing a cost-of-living crisis but a ‘Cost of Giving Crisis’.

Such difficulties are due to a combination of the pandemic alongside increasing costs, income falling and demand increasing. The findings of NCVO surveys show that, worryingly, 85% of charities are expecting that this winter will be as tough or even tougher than the last and as many as 27% are saying that they believe they won’t be able to meet the demand that their services strive to meet.

Unfortunately, 1 in 5 charities say they could be forced to ‘disappear’ this winter leaving people and communities dependent on them at risk.

NCVO are highlighting these issues and offering urgent support including practical help, calling for government action and appealing to the public for more of their time rather than just donations alone.

Read about the campaign and support here.


Christmas Volunteers
Every year the Volunteer Centre receives requests from members of the public about volunteering over Christmas.

We know that most organisations need volunteers all year round and this is the advice that we give to people at any time of year, but if you do have special need over the Christmas period – either because of increased need for year-round services, or because you have something specific that you’ll be doing over the Christmas period – let us know now.
We can get your Christmas needs onto our website and will be ready for anyone who contacts us about volunteering just for Christmas. We will also be able to promote the roles to anyone looking for volunteering opportunities generally.
If you need any help or advice, or would like to discuss anything with our Volunteer Centre manager, please contact Mark via email at [email protected]

Volunteer Opportunity Promotion and Recruitment
Have you registered on our website to promote your volunteer roles? By adding your opportunities to our website you will be making them available to the hundreds of people per month who check our site looking for something to do. You will also enable our team to easily and quickly signpost people to your roles, to give them the information that they need to decide whether they would like to apply.

Registering is quick and easy and you can do it here.

Once registered you will be able to add your roles. If you need any help, or have any questions, you can contact Mark by email at [email protected].

In addition to the website, the Volunteer Centre can promote your roles via our bulletins and newsletters; through attendance at in-person events such as volunteer fairs; in 121 meetings with potential volunteers; through visits to various support organisations; drop-in events at local Job Centres; by posting to our social media platforms; and through our bi-weekly column in the Lancaster Guardian.

If you would like to discuss any of this, including having space in our Lancaster Guardian column, please contact Mark.

Volunteering Opportunity Help Guide
We have produced a guide to help you when adding an opportunity to our website – It is quite detailed and covers every possible question. You don’t need to follow it but please do look at it if you get stuck or if it isn’t clear which option to choose when going through the form to add new opportunities.

You can now also add more users to your account. Once registered, log in, hover on Account at the top of the dashboard and click ‘Users’, where you can add more users. This will be useful if you would like someone else to check applicant info and contact potential volunteers.

You can also now choose which category to add your opportunity under, to help people when searching for roles. If you can’t find an appropriate category just use the ‘default’ category and let us know what categories you would like to see added.

Visit the guide here

DBS Checks
We offer a DBS check service, working in partnership with Burnley, Pendle, and Rossendale CVS. If you need DBS certificates for your staff or volunteers, please visit our website here.

Volunteering Opportunities

SAFE’s Prop Up Project Session Volunteer
An opportunity has arisen to help support young adults, aged 20-25, facing challenges related to mental health and wellbeing at SAFE’s Prop Up Project. Your role involves facilitating creative activities, encouraging participation, and encouraging social interactions among attendees. Volunteers will prepare sessions, assist during activities, and contribute ideas for engaging sessions. Training and DBS checks are provided, and adherence to SAFE’s safe working policies, including safeguarding, is required. Sessions in Morecambe occur monthly on the last Monday from 2:30pm-5:30pm.

Find out more about this opportunity

SAFE will also be running a Carnforth session on a Tuesday.

Find out more about getting involved with their Carnforth session

Administration Volunteer – MS Society
Join the Lancaster, Morecambe and District Group of the MS Society as an Administration Volunteer. In this role, you’ll support our local group’s activities by managing information circulation, ensuring data compliance, and being the initial point of contact. Offering around 2 hours a week, this flexible role helps our group run efficiently, supporting the MS community. You’ll enhance administration skills and contribute to valuable services. Apply online if you’re tech-savvy, have local understanding, and are passionate about aiding those affected by MS.

More information about this role

Wise Up Open Evening for Volunteer Opportunities
Wise Up Workshops CIC are celebrating their ten-year journey this year and are looking to strengthen the board’s areas of expertise. There are volunteer opportunities as a board member to learn and grow as part of a successful Community based organisation based in Morecambe and the surrounding areas. If you are looking for an exciting opportunity, come along to meet the team to find out more. The Board meets quarterly online and/ or in person at their offices in Morecambe, are pro-active and are involved in follow up tasks, advocacy for the organization and contributions to strategic work.

Do you have experience in?

  • The charity/ 3rd sector organisations with the community
  • In the creative arts and performing arts
  • Within finance
  • In the education sector
  • Working with people with disabilities

Call 07506295782 or email [email protected] to attend our open evening event

Chair of Governors at Lancaster & Morecambe College
The College seeks a new Chair of the Board of Governors, responsible for providing effective leadership of the Board in the discharge of its duties. This is significant voluntary role and applicants should be willing to attend monthly meetings and other College events regularly, with an average time commitment of circa 1-2 days per equivalent per month. No formal qualification is necessary.

For further information, please contact Oona Cushen, Governance Adviser on 01524 521238 or email [email protected]

Volunteer at Lancashire Police Museum
The Lancaster Police Museum are looking for volunteers with a passion for policing to assist with the day to day running of the museum. You’ll be expected to engage visitors, assist with enquiries, and explore the rich history of Lancashire policing. Experience a tour of cells, forensic advancements, and current policing. Thursdays and Fridays, 10:30 am to 4 pm. Opportunity for passionate individuals, subject to police vetting, approximately 1 to 2 days a month.

Find out more about this opportunity

Conservation Volunteer – Friends of the Lake District
An opportunity has arisen for volunteer Conservation Work Across the Lake District. There will be hands-on tasks from tree planting to walling, open to all skill levels. Enjoy the outdoors at scenic sites like Kendal’s Helm and Ambleside’s Sweden Wood. Benefits include learning new skills, meeting friends, and, of course, cake! Physical ability needed for outdoor work.

Find out more about this role


Volunteer Workshop Assistants – Lancashire Youth Challenge
Lancashire Youth Challenge are actively seeking volunteer workshop assistants to support their practitioners with delivering youth activities at schools and community centres in the Lancaster District. The volunteer workshop assistants will help to complete attendance registers, capture evidence of engagement and impact, and encourage young people to fully engage in the workshop activities.

Find out more about this opportunity

Women’s Health Hubs – Your Thoughts Needed
Lancashire and South Cumbria are developing women’s health hubs and seek input from women across the region. The aim is to understand women’s needs to optimise the use of allocated funding. Sarah O’Brien, ICB Chief Nursing Officer, emphasizes the significance of this survey in identifying barriers to accessing services. Your input will directly shape these initiatives.

ICB chief nursing officer, Sarah O’Brien, said: “It is really important that women contribute to this survey so that we know what the needs of our population are, and we can use this money to best help them. We want to know what the barriers are for women accessing services, so that we can remove them.”

Take part by contributing your thoughts and needs

LCC Get Ready for Winter Campaign 2023-24
As the winter chill sets in, it’s crucial to stay warm and keep well. Here are some top tips to navigate the season from the Lancashire County Council Health Protection team.

Keeping Safe & Well this Winter Toolkit
The NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board have circulated information outlining key winter safety tips and tools, recognising the overwhelming volume of available resources. Two versions have been shared, focusing on keeping you safe and well in the winter months. Additional detailed toolkits on various topics are available on their website, including falls prevention, primary care, and long-term conditions, each equipped with social media content and other resources for dissemination.

View their key messages here

For any enquiries or opt-out requests, contact the ICB’s engagement team at  [email protected]

The Dales Railcard
Discover the Dales Railcard with ticket savings. Do you live in Carnforth or an LA2 postcode? Get the railcard for just £10 and save 1/3rd on tickets for a whole year. Enjoy discounts for up to four accompanying children. Experience scenic travel between Settle, Carlisle, Lancaster, and more. Explore the beautiful regions and save on your journey. Find out more here

Deaf/BSL Community Project Professional Survey
Healthwatch Lancashire would like to gather information on experiences from people directly, family members/carers and professionals who work with health and social care services.

They would like to know what support is available to people who are Deaf and use BSL. Any feedback will help to know what recommendations can be shared with decision makers and the survey should take no longer than 10 minutes.

All responses are anonymous. Take part in the survey here

ICB Self-Care Winter Communications Toolkit
Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB have shared a detailed winter communications toolkit. These are to make sure you are aware of good advice and support which you can share with your family, friends and neighbours and to use with your networks, groups or connections about how people can stay well this winter.

It includes social media posts, suggested copy for your own newsletters, and a set of PowerPoint slides for digital screens.

Download the posts and copy
Download the PowerPoint slides

For further information, contact the ICB’s engagement team by email at [email protected]

LSCFT Supporting Men’s Health Month
Find out more about LSCFT’s work to support men’s mental health as part of the wider men’s health month agenda, including links to their specialist services.

Read more on the LSCFT website

Healthwatch Lancashire Waiting for Wellness Report
Healthwatch Lancashire have recently published their latest project report ‘Waiting for Wellness’ which investigates people’s experiences of mental health and the accessibility of mental health services in Lancashire.

Feedback revealed that the main barrier to accessing NHS mental health support was the long waiting lists, leaving people feeling let down and unsure when they would receive support. Third sector/charitable organisations received a substantial amount of positive feedback, with people sharing that they were able to talk about their experiences and have the opportunity to socialise and take part in activities.

Healthwatch Lancashire have formulated a series of recommendations in response to the findings of this report for the attention of a number of service providers who provide mental health support in Lancashire.

Find out more and read the full report

Somatic Dance Fitness at Stanleys
Dancing can lead to better brain health, improved core strength and flexibility, reduced stress and depression, and greater energy, stamina, cardiovascular health and coordination!

The Somatic Dancing offered at these free sessions develops connections between mind, breathing, body and emotions, and is ideal for those suffering from muscular skeletal concerns, anxiety or depression. Sessions include clinical nutritional perspective coaching.

Thursdays, 1pm – 1.45pm at Stanleys Community Centre LA3 1UT.

Download the digital flyer to find out more.

The Bay: A Blueprint for Recovery – New Heysham Session
The Bay : A Blueprint for Recovery is a free wellbeing programme for people in Morecambe Bay. In addition to larger events in the community, The Bay’s Nature and Wellbeing programme offers small-group sessions for adults, working on wellbeing, building confidence and connecting with nature over a series of 12 weekly sessions.

A new small-group session is starting in Heysham, based at Greenfingers Allotments on Smithy Lane. As well as doing activities including food growing and wildlife gardening on the allotment site, the group will explore the surrounding woodland and beach at Half Moon Bay. You can expect beach surveys, marine mindfulness, bushcraft and more! There will also be the opportunity to work towards a John Muir Discovery Award.

To join a Nature and Wellbeing session please complete the online referral form.

Once you’ve signed up, a member of the team will be in touch to talk more about your needs and answer any questions that you might have about the sessions. For more information, see the digital flyer, call 01772 872007 / 07738 102274 or email [email protected]

Adult Additional Needs Sports Sessions
Join in with the Adult Additional Needs Sports sessions at Salt Ayre Leisure Centre. They offer a variety of activities to cater for individuals with different needs and abilities. From cycling with adapted bikes to boost physical, social, and emotional well-being, to football training and multi-sports sessions that promote teamwork and enjoyment. Join in on select weekdays during term time to connect, have fun, and improve your well-being.

All sessions are pay-as-you-go, so just turn up and participate.

Find out more about the sessions

Bay Wellness Suicide Awareness Kit
The Bay Wellness Partnership, formed in collaboration with partners from the Bay area, is dedicated to improving colleague health and wellbeing across Morecambe Bay. They emphasise the importance of physical and mental fitness, especially during challenging times, and aim to empower colleagues to take ownership of their health and wellbeing.

The partnership’s recent focus has been on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, coinciding with World Suicide Prevention Day recently. They have created a Suicide Awareness Toolkit to raise awareness and encourage support for those impacted by suicide, emphasising suicide prevention. The partnership is also promoting initiatives like the Zero Suicide Alliance and the Orange Button Scheme to reduce suicides across the Bay. Together, they aim to create “Suicide Safer Communities” and spread hope through action.

Access the toolkit and further info here

E2M’s Heritage Market Festival
E2M’s will be holding their Heritage Market Festival on December 17th.  Hosted by Lancaster and Morecambe’s 11-18 year-olds, this FREE event is set to be a festive extravaganza. Enjoy live music, arts, crafts, gift stalls, and unique snacks—plus, a special coffee blend just for the occasion. Join them to celebrate their creative skills learned from local experts. See you at Market Square, Lancaster, from 10 am to 4 pm!

Find out more here

Healthwatch Lancashire Waiting for Wellness Phase 2
Healthwatch Lancashire have now launched a second phase of their Waiting for Wellness project (see report in the Health & Wellbeing section) to explore in more detail the experiences of young people’s mental health and accessing mental health support. They also want to hear from parents and/or carers about their experiences.

As well as a number of pop-up community engagement events which will be announced in due course, they would like young people and parents/carers to have their say by filling out surveys:

Young person’s survey
Parent/carer’s survey

To find out more, visit the Healthwatch Lancashire website.

We Are With You – STAR, ASDAN Peer Mentoring & RisKit
STAR (Start Together Achieve Results) is a targeted 8-week treatment programme for young people with substance misuse issues. The programme will run in small groups of 2-6 people within school in weekly 1-hour sessions. 

After an individual assessment, risk assessment and care plan, the project will cover many areas of substance misuse such as personal experiences, goal setting and the laws around drug use and possession and to help identify triggers and developing strategies for reducing and managing substance use. 

For information see the programme overview or contact With You on 01772 281495 

ASDAN Peer Mentoring
This short course provides recognition for skills in mentoring and buddying younger people. It is open to young people of all abilities ages 13 – 18. A number of activities undertaken across five challenges leads to a ten hours certificate.

Find out more in the digital flyer

RisKit is a multi-component risk reduction programme for young people who are vulnerable to risk taking behaviour including drug and alcohol use, early and unprotected sex and offending. The programme is aimed at 14-16 year olds, and although usually delivered in school can be used for anyone of this age group.

Find out more in the programme information pack

Strawberry Fields – Engage to Progress & Outreach Support Service
Engage to Progress
This initiative provides an opportunity for people aged 16 and over and who are economically inactive to actively engage with the world of education, training and employment through facilitating and enhancing their employability.

Find out more in the digital leaflet, call 01524 874246 or 07765308183, or email [email protected] or [email protected]

Outreach Support Service
This is a targeted support service for those on the verge of leaving, or having already left, Local Authority Care – helping them develop a range of skills essential to their positive transition to independent living.

Find out more in the digital leaflet or contact Scot Davidson on 01524 874246 or 07818037929

SAFE Update
Newly registered as a charity, SAFE continues to provide support for young people and adults experiencing mental health and other life challenges through their group provision across the district.

Groups have a creative focus and are intended to help people increase confidence and positively manage their mental health and wellbeing.

Professionals can make referrals using this form, returning it by email to [email protected]

Self-referral can be completed by email to [email protected] or by telephoning 07568 937988

Unlocking the Potential of Community Energy
The UK Climate Change Committee highlights the essential role of community energy in achieving net zero by 2050, stressing the significance of local engagement and fairness. A policy paper has been created which delves into the value of community energy businesses and the necessary support to expand their potential in facilitating a just transition to net zero.

It emphasizes the need for community engagement in reaching climate goals and highlights how community energy groups (CEBs) drive local action and empower individuals, providing insights into various ways these groups benefit communities and contribute to a fair, sustainable transition to net zero.

Read the full report here

Food Futures – Sustainable Food Places Award
North Lancashire has been awarded a prestigious Sustainable Food Places Silver Award! This is all thanks to the outstanding effort of individuals, organisations, businesses and community groups from across the region. 

This award recognises the work of partnerships in promoting healthy, sustainable and local food which also helps tackle some of the most common social challenges such as food poverty and diet-based ill-health and the disappearance of family farms and independent retailers.

Where The Wildlings Are! Crowdfunder
A local crowdfund has been launched to support schools across the Lancaster District in tackling climate change whilst building biodiversity and food security. The project aims to raise £50k by Christmas to launch a network of food-growing and nature-based after-school clubs. They would like to help schools by helping to fund the transformations of their playgrounds for food, wildlife and outdoor learning.

Every £1 donated will be matched by the Save Our Wild Isles programme.

Support WTWA! Crowdfunder here

FarmStart 2024 Applications
Are you interested in growing food on a commercial scale, or setting up a small-scale horticultural business?  Would you like to play an active role in setting up new food-growing enterprises around North Lancashire?

The Plot is looking for a group of committed, enthusiastic and local trainee FarmStarters to join the market-garden team at Old Holly Farm (near Garstang) and a polytunnel in White Lund (Morecambe) for a full growing season of training in 2024.

Apply here by 10 am on Tuesday 9 January 2024.

THRIVE and the future of our food
‘The future of our food’ is the winter edition’s food for thought theme. It sees a range of young people from across North Lancashire share their food stories and ideas for creating a more sustainable food system. Pick up your copy at Lancaster’s Midwinter Market on 15 December.

The Seasonal Market is all about buying from local, independent businesses and helping people repair and reuse things they already have. The Midwinter Market repair and mend stall will include Lancaster and Morecambe Makers, Lancaster Sewing Cafe, Relic Plastic and Sunflower Cycles.

Read THRIVE online

The First Episode of THRIVEpod is out on Spotify!
THRIVEpod host Caroline Robertson meets Jeni Meadows and Dusty Thomas to discuss The Cost-of-Living Crisis and explore some of the issues covered in the THRIVE winter 2022 edition. Tune in to learn about food insecurity in Lancaster District, the great work of local food banks and food clubs and gain an insight into the role supermarkets play in the decisions they make about their surplus food.

Listen to THRIVEpod

The Gift of a FoodFriends membership
FoodFriends is a fundraising scheme created to support the development of regenerative local food projects and the training of new small-scale farmers. The proceeds from the scheme currently support the Plot, (a new market garden and education centre), and is used for training new entrant farmers.

The gift of a FoodFriends membership provides the recipient with the knowledge that they are supporting the future food security of the district. Every FoodFriends member is also entered into a monthly draw where they have the chance to win one of six £30 Food Vouchers to spend with a partner business.

Interested in writing for THRIVE Magazine?
The Spring 2024 edition of THRIVE Magazine will explore the ‘faces behind our food’ alongside the usual seasonal and local recipe ideas and stories of people taking things ‘into their own hands’. 

FoodFutures is also offering citizen journalism training on 13 January 2024 10:00 – 17:00 for anyone interested in becoming a citizen journalist. The day will cover an intro to citizen journalism, finding a good story, writing well, doing interviews and writing for THRIVE. For more information and to register your interest complete this form by 31 December 2023.

Ukrainian Cooking Masterclass
Indulge in a Ukrainian culinary experience this Saturday, December 16th, for a mouthwatering cooking masterclass in Ukrainian food featuring the art of making traditional pirozhki. There will be talented chefs on hand to guide you through the process at the Lune Valley Methodist Hub, Brookhouse, starting at 2 pm. And the best part is, it’s absolutely FREE!

View the event e-leaflet here

Project Management Workshop with NFP
An introduction to the principles and issues of project management within organisations. Covers a wide area of topics from Project phases to scoping, stakeholder analysis to risk management. The course is for staff members, volunteers, trustees or board members of charities, schools, healthcare or public sector organisations who wish to manage projects within their organisation. People who provide advice to organisations are also welcome.

Dates available:

Friday 15th December 2023
Friday 26th January 2024
Friday 23 February 2024

More information on NFP workshops

Lancaster Skill-Share Workshops
From the end of January, a series of monthly workshops will be asking local people with skills in repairing, mending and maintenance to pass on their tips and techniques. The workshops are all about using resources efficiently: maintaining, preserving, and repairing to avoid throwing things away and consuming unnecessarily. Each month will have a different theme.

Find out more and sign up

Tony Cox End of Year Concert
Those music lovers in Lancaster and surrounds, who have heard and seen South African acoustic fingerstyle guitarist, Tony Cox in concert, will be pleased to know that on the 23rd December the man brings his unique Southern African-brewed music to the Gregson, just 2 days before Christmas. Taking in this man’s show is the perfect way to end the year. Expect to hear some jaw-dropping guitar playing performed on a variety of guitars. There will be songs that you know and love and others that will take you on new journeys. Considering the season, you may even hear a Christmas carol or two. The guest artist is well-known local guitarist, Charlie Bluglass who will play a short set in the first half.

Date & time: Sat 23 December 2023, 8-10pm
Venue: Gregson Community & Arts Centre

More information and booking

Basic Cookery Sessions
Join Glen on Thursdays for six weeks between December and January to learn basic cookery skills, prepare healthy meals using various ingredients, gain confidence in cooking, and receive practical tips on saving money while enjoying a free meal each session. Discover more about local community services. For more information, contact Glen at [email protected]. Sessions take place on Thursdays at Out in the Bay, 30-32 Claremont Rd, LA4 4HL, on December 7th, 14th, 21st, and January 11th, 18th, and 25th from 12 pm to 2 pm.

More info on their e-leaflet

Christmas Day Singing in the Park
Join in with a heartwarming Christmas Day singing celebration at Williamson Park in Lancaster! Meet by the butterfly house at 11am and be part of the festive cheer from 11am to 12pm. Bring your jolly spirit and sing along to your favorite carols! All are welcome.

See the event advert here

King Street Arts 7th Annual Art Fair and Festive Workshops
King Street Arts’ 7th Annual Art Fair is back from December 7th to 21st at The Storey, Lancaster, for a vibrant showcase of local artistry. Discover unique creations by over 50 talented artists including a collection of drawings, paintings, ceramics, sculptures, prints, gifts and cards. You’ll also be able to explore your own creativity in their festive fantastic seasonal workshops with activities such as paper cutting, needle felting, and collaging. Book your spot now, limited spaces available.

Find out more here

Get into the Christmas spirit by coming along to The Story and creating some festive artwork in their varied workshops.

Christmas Card Collage Workshop with Sian Peters
Let out your festive creativity and make unique collaged Christmas cards at this fantastic workshop with Sian Peters.

Time and date: Thurs 14th or Weds 20th Dec, 6-8.30pm

Needle Felting with Giorgia Peacock
Get into the festive creative swing and choose to make a robin or an X-mas pudding.

Join Georgina for more festive felting fun where you get to make your own snowman or penguin.

Time and date: Mon 18th Dec, 6:30-9pm

All workshops are held at The Storey upstairs in The Gallery, Lancaster

It is essential to book for the workshops. Tickets are subsidised and pay what you feel. £8 includes all the materials. Anyone wishing to get in contact can email [email protected] or call 07743238663 

Learn more about the workshops here

Pirates of the Panto Family Pantomime
In January, the team from Wise Up Workshops CIC are performing ‘Pirates of The Panto’, a family-fun pantomime for all ages. The swashbuckling Zac Sparrow sinks the ship of Captain Spongebag Roundpants, the meanest pirate on the high-seas and steals his treasure map.

He then sets sail to dig up the treasure, accompanied by his family & friends. They end up on the island of Discomania, which is ruled by disco-diva Queen Chaka Khan. The eventual showdown between Zac and Spongebag, takes an unusual twist! Get your tickets at The platform/ £5 per ticket

View the e-poster for this event

Festive Fun Run 
There are less than 3 weeks left to pre-enter the 4k Festive Fun Run from Lancaster & Morecambe AC clubhouse at Salt Ayre Leisure Centre on Wednesday December 27th at 11am.   A great way to run off your Christmas pud and another chance to wear festive fancy dress!

The event is great for families and fun runners as well as more regular running enthusiasts.   It’s a brilliant atmosphere, you’re provided with a super festive medal and a chance to receive lots of really great spot prizes.  Only £5 to enter in advance or £8 on the day.

Enter early – last year all their numbers were taken – Find out more and book here

The Curve Free Digital Skills Workshops
The Curve is a series of free, 90-minute workshops for third sector organisations. These online workshops aim to build knowledge around best digital practices, raise awareness of digital tools and ultimately help increase impact with digital. Workshops are open to anyone working or volunteering with a third sector organisation in the UK.

Introduction to Power Query
Power Query is Microsoft’s best kept secret, an enormous toolbox of easy to use tricks for cleaning and transforming data.

Find out more

Getting better with data
This workshop is an opportunity to learn about how organisations can get better with data.

Find out more

Excel’s newer features
There have been a huge number of changes and new functions introduced to Excel in the last few years. This session aims to provide you with the highlights of the most universally useful new features.

Find out more

Key data skills for everyone
This workshop is an opportunity to explore some of the key data skills that everyone in an organisation should have.

Find out more

Impact measurement
This workshop is about measuring impact. The session will cover ‘theory of change’ and the five key types of data organisations need.

Find out more

Lancaster & Morecambe College Net Zero & Sustainability Courses

Carbon Reduction Plans and Net Zero
Lancaster & Morecambe College are running these short and informative fully funded courses. This is a practical guide for businesses to understand topics around carbon such as understanding it, guidance on how to reduce its usage and understanding Science-Based net zero targets and loads more.

Dates and Times:
1 February 2024, 9am – 12pm
20 February 2024, 9am – 12pm

Environmental Certification for Your Business
This course will involve understanding how business can impact the environment, which environmental certification is right for your business and taking environmental action with practical ideas.

Dates and times:
1 February 2024, 1pm – 4pm
20 February 2024, 9am – 12pm

Visit site here

Lancaster & District Male Voice Choir
The Choir has upcoming performances, including from their Christmas repertoire, at:

16 December, 2:30pm, Lancaster Methodist Church
23 December, 11am, Lancaster Library

The choir is welcoming new members – to find out more call Paul Rasmussen on 07811 865556

Heysham Christmas Market
The annual Heysham Christmas Market takes place at The Royal on 9 & 10 December between 12pm and 6pm.

Attractions include local artisan stalls, Father Christmas, Thwaites’ shire horses, alpacas, live music, and a raffle. Entry £1 per adult, free for children.

Find out more

Fundraising for Beginners Course from Get Grants
During the course, a Get Grants Expert will support you to develop a strong foundational understanding of different types of fundraising and explore what options are available and what will work best for your organisation. Attendees will also consider the importance of a fundraising strategy and receive practical support to put this into practice and confidently take the first steps towards achieving their fundraising goals.

13 & 20 February, 10am – 12 noon, online
Find out more and book

An Introduction to Skills for Collaboration
Would you like to know more about how to create relationships that foster collaboration?

To collaborate well requires building relationships, finding ways to overcome challenges, and creating productive ways of working together, whether this is bringing together teams from across an organisation or building relationships with other agencies or partners.

This free online webinar, delivered for VCFSE organisations by Primary Care Commissioning CIC, will answer the question ‘what is collaboration?’, provide an overview of the interpersonal skills needed for collaborative working to thrive, and explain the benefits of working collaboratively.

Webinars take place between 1pm and 2pm on 15 December (register here), 12 January (register here), and 26 January (register here).

Aspiring Leaders Programme – Communication and Influence
The Employer Hub at Lancaster & Morecambe College have secured funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) to support local businesses, entrepreneurs, volunteers and local community with training and development in line with the local skills demand.

The college will be commencing their Aspiring Leaders Programme with a session on Communication and Influence. This will cover effective ways to communicate, share your ideas persuasively, to inspire and move people to act. This programme will be delivered in 7 half day sessions at the Employer Hub, Lancaster & Morecambe College (remote delivery available).

For further information contact [email protected] or phone 01524 521223.

Online Workshops regarding Energy and Fuel Poverty
For local organisations and community groups already planning for the winter ahead, the following workshops (provided by National Energy Action and the Centre for Sustainable Energy) may be of interest:

National Energy Action:

Energy efficiency in your community building
Thursday 18th January 2024, 11am – 12.15pm

Book online

Accommodation Finding Officer for Gateway
Gateway has an exciting opportunity to support customers in finding affordable, private accommodation and help them set up and maintain this long-term by providing casework. The role will involve building up private landlord networks to increase move on provision and give good outcomes for customers.

Also, working with landlords to avoid the risk of eviction and homelessness. Flexibility is required as the role may involve some unsociable hours which will be discussed.  If you are passionate, motivated, customer focused and resilient then this could be the ideal role for you!

Please apply by sending your interest along with any relevant skills and experience you feel you have that is relevant for the role to [email protected]   

Salary: £24, 355
Contract: 37.5 hours per week, fixed until March 31st 2024
Location: Lancaster and Morecambe
Closing Date: 10th of January 2024
Interview Date: Week commencing 15th of January 2024

Find out more about this role and apply

Trusts and Foundations Fundraiser for Better Story
Better Story’s mission is to raise funds and awareness for worthwhile causes. This role will fulfil an essential part of their sustained growth. Your role will involve serving Better Story’s clients by understanding their work in detail and collecting necessary information to write applications and writing inspiring applications to ensure results.

It is essential that you have proven experience of successfully applying to Trusts and Foundations but if you would love to work in a small, friendly team, are passionate about making a real difference to those who need it and would like the variety of serving different charities then this could be the idea role for you!

Salary: £25, 000 pro-rata
Contract: Full time 35 hours per week, Part time 21 hours per week (3 days), flexible hours
Location: Remote with optional in person meetings
Closing Date: 11th of January 2024 at 23:59 

See full job description and apply here

Evaluation Consultant for Charity Fundraising Ltd
This role is for a highly motivated and experienced Evaluation Consultant. It will include managing a portfolio of VCSE clients and providing support to their monitoring, evaluation and learning needs (MEL). The candidate must have a strong understanding of MEL methodologies, data collection techniques, report writing, stakeholder engagement and a passion for improving social outcomes through evidence-based evaluation.

Please read full job description and apply here

Salary: £34, 000-£38, 000 per year
Contract: Full or part time (28-35hours per week)
Location: Remote
Closing Date: 10th of January 2024 at 23:59

General Kitchen Assistant – Rainbow Centre
The Rainbow Centre in Morecambe are recruiting for a Kitchen Assistant to contribute to the family atmosphere of their centre and to assist the Kitchen Manager prepare and serve lunch meals for their members, staff and service meetings and groups as required. The café provides service Monday to Thursday between 10.00am and 2.30pm and will be looking to open on a Friday after the Easter break in 2024.

Salary: Circa £6,600 per annum. Pay rate review due April 2024
Contract: 17 hours per week, 44 weeks per annum / Contributory pension scheme
Location: Morecambe
Closing Date: Monday 15 January 2024, 12pm

Find out more and apply

Young Person’s Mental Health Support Worker
The West End Morecambe Big Local (WEM) seeks a Young People’s Mental Health Support Worker for a two-year part-time contract. The role involves supporting young people aged primarily from primary school to 17 years old in managing mental health challenges. It requires understanding mental health issues, facilitating workshops, and delivering interventions across various organizations. The position also involves creating individualized listening services and working closely with partner organizations in the West End of Morecambe.

Salary: Can scale up to £15,706 (21 hours)
Contract: Open to negotiation on up to 21 hours per week
Location: Lancaster & Morecambe
Closing Date: Thursday 21st December, 5pm

View the job spec for this role and how to apply

View more information on the WEM website

Committee Members for North England – The National Lottery Heritage Fund
The National Lottery Heritage Fund seeks two passionate individuals to join its North Area Committee for April 2024, ensuring strategic investment in heritage across Yorkshire, the Humber, and the North East and West of England. This four-year role, starting April 2024, involves making grant decisions and supporting heritage projects. Committee members, remunerated with an annual salary of £3,000, will champion heritage diversity and engage with communities. Applicants with expertise in landscape protection, heritage-led regeneration, community engagement, finance, or business are encouraged. The deadline for applications is December 31, 2023, with interviews scheduled for February 13, 2024. This role offers an opportunity to shape and protect their rich heritage for future generations.

Salary: Annual salary of £3000 (paid in monthly installments) + expenses
Contract: See Role Information Pack
Location: North of England
Closing Date: 31 December 2023

Find out more about this role and apply

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Charity are seeking a CEO to support and implement the strategy set out by the Board of Trustees and provide the leadership necessary to create a sustainable future for the branch. The role is required to promote a culture that reflects the organisation’s values, encourages exceptional performance, enables colleagues to fulfil their potential and promotes continuous business improvement.

Salary: Up to £35,000 per year
Contract: Full-time, permanent
Location: Poulton le Fylde, Lancashire, Hybrid
Closing date: 27 December 2023, 23:59

Find out more and apply

Project Lead at Groundwork
The Project Lead position at 3 Together Big Local (3TBL) seeks someone skilled in project management and community engagement. This role involves overseeing multi-themed plans, managing budgets, and staff to achieve the goal of enhancing the local community’s awareness and impact. Ideal for someone adept at engaging communities through diverse platforms, including social media.

Salary: Up to £29,055 per year
Contract: Full-time, permanent
Location: Cumbria
Closing date: 17 December 2023, 00:00

Find out more and apply

If your organisation needs support whether it be working with volunteers, completing accounts and payroll, finding funding, solving governance issues, or just want a listening ear, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team:

Funding and governance support, contact [email protected]

Volunteering and DBS,
contact [email protected]

Payroll, bookkeeping and independent examinations, contact [email protected]

Health and social prescribing, contact [email protected]

Children and young people, contact [email protected]

Membership queries to: [email protected]

Partnerships, networks and strategic development, contact [email protected]

Alternatively, call us on 01524 555900

To promote your events, training, jobs, and sector news, email [email protected]