News from our Fundraising Manager

A quick glance through the news headlines can feel really bleak. Loneliness epidemics, our struggling NHS and Social Care system, pubs and other important community facilities closing.


But then I read the feedback from people Care Network has supported – the very real difference that time, kindness and understanding makes, and I can’t help but feel excited for the future.


In April this year I was brought in to make sure we have the funds to continue to be here when people need us.  One of the first things I did was to see what was in place,  then I made sure that it was easy for people who wanted to support us to do so.


I am really pleased to say we have now made it even easier to make a donation by texting CARENETWORK to 70085 to donate £5*  or you can donate here through


Over the next year I will be looking to our supporters, volunteers and staff to help make our fundraising successful. I would love to hear from you if you have any ideas, or would like to get involved. Call me on 01954 211919, or email

* Each text costs your donation amount plus one standard rate message.


Wellbeing is at the heart of everything we do at Care Network and as organisation we aim to improve the wellbeing of all clients, volunteers and staff.

Cate Winters and I continue to work across Cambridgeshire to provide wellbeing support to clients who are experiencing feelings of stress, low mood, mild to moderate anxiety and/or depression. We provide strengths-based interventions to help clients identify what they need and would like to do and support and encourage them to achieve their goals. Sometimes we are able to draw on some amazing additional support from volunteers; this really can make a huge difference to a client’s progress – in two recent instances very isolated individuals have been supported to get out and about and both now routinely access community based support and activities, which has really helped improve their lives and how they feel. We are hoping to boost the number of people who volunteer with the Wellbeing Team, so if you are interested in finding out more about this please let me or Azanda Sithole, our Volunteer Lead, know.

Cate will be piloting a fortnightly Wellbeing Booster Group for 6 sessions in March town from September to November, with the support of our excellent volunteer, Charlotte. For more information on the group please contact Cate or myself.  We will hopefully be running something similar in the South of the county in due course.

The staff Wellbeing Working Group is busy hatching plans for staff to engage in some wellbeing related activities in our planned Wellbeing Week in September and Azanda is also planning to restart the popular volunteer and staff wellbeing walks in the different districts soon.

Kate Blackwell, Senior Coordinator, Wellbeing.  01954 774 802

Meet our Trustees – Peter

I work internationally but have always lived in Cambridgeshire as have multiple generations of my family.  I live in Caldecote with my wife and two teenage sons.

My background is product management and business strategy in the information technology, telecommunications, television and Internet markets.  I work for Nokia’s IP and Optical networks business.  We design and build multi-terabit network equipment that powers the internet. The “bits” that made up the page you are reading now probably traversed some of Nokia’s equipment as the largest provider in Europe for Carrier Routers and Metro Optical networks.

In previous roles I have worked on video delivery systems and applications for delivering TV services into people’s homes all over the world, helping Nokia and predecessors win two Emmys.

I have worked on and with a number of business leadership teams from small startups to multi-national telecom companies, preparing materials and data for board and share holder meetings. I bring vast experience from a technology background which is supplementary to the healthcare and business backgrounds of our other board members.

In my spare time I enjoy road cycling, I’m not quite a middle age man in lycra, but I’m probably not far away. I also enjoy cooking with a sous vide and smoker.


Open Arms – bringing people together

The Open Arms Project has expanded into new areas and reached over 1000 people. Through workshops and visits, around 50 community groups are delivering inputs and sharing simple strategies that help them to build connections.

Early findings and feedback show that providing activities in this way helps people gain confidence to take action and reach out to the vulnerable in their communities by giving and sharing which in turn boosts happiness in the community.


In June Open Arms teamed up with a Play park in Wisbech. The idea was to hold a Big Lunch to build relationships with the local community due to some antisocial behaviour around the play park. Despite it being a wet day a small group of local people were welcomed into the play park for a cuppa and bite to eat in a space that normally a hive of activity for children of all ages


An elderly neighbour attended the event and highlighted that they didn’t get out and was feeling lonely a lot of the time. As a result of a conversation it was decided to hold a regular coffee morning at the play park every two weeks. On the first occasion 3 people attended, the group grew to 11 and the next one brought 30 people together from the community!  Open Arms got the PTA at the local school involved with the coffee morning providing more links for people in the community.


This week it was noticed that the elderly neighbour was not present. This resulted in a visit to their home, they were found to have become ill so others from the group arranged a doctor’s appointment and transport, got some shopping in and one offered to take food round and keep an eye out for this person.

Volunteer news from Azanda Sithole

I can’t believe it’s been seven weeks since I joined the Care-Network team. I suppose it’s true when people say ‘time flies when you’re having fun’. My first day was the 3rd of June and it happened to coincide with Volunteer Week (1-7th of June 2019) which was the week for our volunteer celebration event, talk about timing! I’m a pretty hands on person, plus I used to work in events so I absolutely loved getting involved. Most of the hard work had already been completed by the team so it was plain sailing. The best thing about the volunteer celebration event was meeting some of the volunteers,  including those who had been with us for five or ten years. How lucky are we that we have people who have given their time to support our clients for a whole decade, it’s really inspiring. I’m looking forward to meeting more volunteers and continuing to learn more about Care-Network, we do so much and every day I learn something new about the services we provide. Whether it’s Healthy Fenland, Help at Home, Community Navigators and Community Development, there is so much that goes in to providing a bespoke service to clients and the communities throughout Cambridgeshire.

Our picture shows Susie presenting Roger Carr with a certificate for volunteering for us for 10 years,  Graham Austin also received his 10 year certificate at the event.

Sources Of Funding For Community Groups – Sarah Bellow

So, you’ve a great idea and need a bit of funding to get started but don’t know where to look?

Depending on the amount you need, your local Parish Council would be a good first contact. There are many small local charities that have funding for individual villages or areas.

For larger sums, try your District Council.

For example, in South Cambs there are Community Chest Grants available to voluntary and community groups wishing to improve the quality of life, you can find out more on their website under the community chest grants page.

Meanwhile East Cambridgeshire District Council have a range of grants available for community projects,  there’s more information on the website which you can view by following this link.

Cambridgeshire County Council welcomes applications to the Innovate & Cultivate Fund to set up community projects find out more by visiting their website here.

Here at Care Network we are always happy to help you find funds for your group or idea, do give us a call.

Community Car Schemes – May Update – Care Network Cambridgeshire

This year Sue Beel, Sarah Bellow and Mirella Teague are undertaking an evidence based research project to identify sustainability threats and support needs for community car schemes (CCSs) to ensure those who depend on them can continue to access this vital transport service. Many CCSs were established over thirty years ago, by village residents who wanted to provide lifts, to get to social events and the local GP, for example, to others living in their community.

Over the last few years, the annual survey completed by the CCSs has recorded an increase in demand in general, along with more requests for hospital journeys sometimes at the detriment of social journeys. By undertaking the research, we have the opportunity to evidence the service provided and over the next two years, we can put measures in place to ensure the continuation and sustainability of their valuable work. We will also be sharing our findings with Community Care Schemes to support them in fundraising activities, campaigning messages for recognition from District and County Council’s as well as developing further umbrella support from Care Network.

We have just sent out a questionnaire that we are asking coordinators to respond to, the data from this will be used to design the interview schedule for the forthcoming focus groups that we would like to arrange. If you have any questions please contact Sarah Bellow directly.

Community Navigators – May Update – Care Network Cambridgeshire

Our dedicated admin volunteers continue to support our Community Navigator Coordinators with district mapping exercises and updating local information and resources.  Several have now embarked on outreach and promotional activities at key community venues and events, including Volunteer for Cambridge, Golden Age Fairs and the LGSS Carers Training launch.

If you’d like to get involved, please get in touch with your coordinator!

Next quarter we are looking to work with local groups to support them to share information in their communities. Do you know someone who might be interested in information-sharing training and ongoing support from our Community Navigator team?

We would like your help to recruit more volunteers to support our work.

Do you have a friend you think would enjoy volunteering?

Perhaps they are approaching retirement and considering options, or have a little free time they’d like to use to make an impact in their community?

If you can “Refer A Friend” please get in touch.

We can arrange an informal chat about current opportunities at Care Network.


Volunteer Update – May 2019 – Care Network Cambridgeshire

We have just appointed Azanda Sithole as our new volunteer lead following Christina’s departure. Azanda will be  joining us early in June. In the interim, if you have any queries then please do not hesitate to contact Cheryl or Isobel via email or phone.

Lorraine and Corrina will be contacting volunteers who are due refresher training, which will be held at our Chatteris office on Thursday 4th July. If you would like to attend please feel free to contact them directly via email. You can email Lorraine here and Corrina here.

On the 6th June, Care Network  will be recognising, thanking and celebrating you and the amazing difference you make to the lives of local people during Volunteers’ Week. We will behaving tea and a talk from one of the rangers  at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Hundred Foot Bank, Welney, Nr. Wisbech, PE14 9TN.   The event will run from 2pm to 4pm.

If you would like to join us please let us know  or call  01954 211919

Membership of Care Network Cambridgeshire – With Cheryl Lowe

At our Annual General Meeting in October 2018 Care Network Cambridgeshire formalised the terms of membership of the organisation.

There are now 4 classes of membership:

1. Volunteers who are active and have provided services for a minimum of 6 months
2. Transport groups e.g. community car schemes
3. Social groups – any social group active within their community that is providing activities for or support to local people
4. Home support e.g. good neighbour schemes or community wardens that support people in their own homes

Care Network Cambridgeshire will provide the following to our members:

• Free or ‘at cost’ training
• Support and advice
• Advice on funding applications
• 4 newsletters a year updating on the charity’s activities
• Email updates
• Use of the meeting room at the Hardwick Head Office – at a rate of £5 per hour
•  Low cost photocopying, current charges are:  2p a sheet for black and white,  5p a sheet for colour
•  Invitations to social and networking events

In order to provide you with relevant support and advice, our only request is that our members complete our annual survey and attend one training or support event per year.

If you are not currently a member of CNC and would like to become one, please contact: