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Huntingdonshire District Council has awarded five Community Chest grants to aid the continuation of community spaces (previously named warm spaces) across Huntingdonshire. This takes the total available to 37.

The Coneygear Centre, Huntingdon, has been awarded £500 and will use the money to pay for vital staff training to ensure its volunteers can continue to support their residents in their local area. The space offers a place for residents to speak to someone face-to-face in a safe and relaxed environment. The thriving community centre offers help and support for vulnerable residents across the Oxmoor area.

Hilton Warm Hub has been awarded £500 to allow its residents to visit a place to combat isolation for those living alone. It takes place once a week and offers quizzes, chess, Scrabble and dominoes. It's situated next to the Hilton Turf Maze, which is one of only 8 surviving mazes in the country and was made in 1660.

Ramsey Neighbourhood Trust has been awarded £500 and will be using the money to provide light refreshments such as hot drinks and soup with a roll at its weekly group called 'Social Fridays'. Situated in Ramsey library, staff are on hand to provide information to other community-led activities and services from Ramsey and surrounding villages.

St Ives Dementia Friendly Community Group has been awarded £1,000 to put towards its monthly games sessions for people living with dementia and their carers. The games are designed to stimulate the mind, exercise the body and increase general well-being in a friendly group setting.

DSM Dance with Lynne's Free Broadway Boogie Encore has been awarded £500 to put towards her low impact, dance fit class. It’s aimed at bringing people together during the winter months and help them make new friends. It’s designed for older adults, but everyone is welcome to attend.

DSM's creator Lynne Otto, said: "We are so grateful to be given a grant to run our community spaces dance fitness class again this year for 3 months. Everyone will receive a big, warm welcome and can join in a "Broadway Boogie Encore" session. It's inspired by musical theatre and movies and our easy routines will get you moving (and singing along!), then we can all have a cuppa afterwards.

We will be dancing on Mondays at the Priory Centre in St Neots at 9.30am, until the end of March. No class half term or 11 March.

We know it's harder to get out and about in winter so come and join us for a community fitness class that makes you feel part of a Broadway Show. Just turn up - bring water, trainers or similar and prepare to ditch the jumper!"

Val Fendley, Development Manager at Ramsey Neighbourhood Trust, said: "Ramsey Neighbourhoods Trust is thrilled to have received a Community Chest grant, which is allowing us to offer a 'warm welcome' this winter. By working with Cambridgeshire Libraries, we are able to open Ramsey Library on days that it wouldn't ordinarily be open.

The funding is also allowing us to offer a light lunch for all on Fridays. It's so important to have places where people can make connections, share positive experiences, as well as gain emotional support."

St Ives Dementia Friendly Group Secretary Agi Peach, said: "We are very grateful for the grant that enables us to buy a bunch of fun equipment such as nets, bats, various balls, quoits, target and parachute games. This will allow us to run our own monthly games sessions for people living with dementia and their carers.

These sessions will be held at the Burleigh Hill Community Centre on every first Tuesday of the month from 2pm to 6pm, starting on 6 February. The afternoon will start with refreshments and table top games (cards, dominoes and puzzles) followed by mostly seated team games that help to keep our attendees physically active, as well as fill the hall with hearty laughter.

These sessions complement the wide range of activities already provided by our group, including Dementia Cafe, Singing Cafe, Reminiscing Sessions, Love to Move classes, Friendship Lunches and the Riverport Singers, our dementia friendly community choir. We welcome everyone to our sessions in St Ives, from our neighbouring towns and villages. For further information on the Games Session or any of our other activities for people living with dementia, please email”

Coneygear Centre Manager Shilpa Desai-Sakaldip, said: "This funding will enable us to help provide additional training for our volunteers to support vulnerable residents in our local area. They can come here to the Coneygear and be safe, warm and have some company.

We have lots on offer from our community cafes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am till 12pm, through to supporting older people on Wednesdays from 10am to 1pm. There are always activities, as well as opportunities to meet external organisations for extra help through drop-in sessions and a chance to make new friends.

This community centre is so vital for so many and we hope it can continue to do this for as long as possible."

Hilton Warm Hub said: "This community venture has kindly been funded via the Community Chest at Huntingdonshire District Council. The aim is to provide a warm, welcoming venue for members of Hilton village and its surrounding communities. This follows on from a similar initiative last winter in the village, which proved extremely popular with a wide range of people, and early reactions to publicity via our village Facebook pages suggests that its return this year is hugely welcomed.

We endeavour to help lessen the isolation of those living alone - isolation is exacerbated during the winter when the opportunities to be out and about meeting people are more limited. We will provide hot drinks, snacks and hot soup and bread at lunchtime.

This is a social occasion which we hope provides the enjoyment of being in a social group, enjoying quizzing playing tabletop games (Scrabble, dominoes, chess).

Our Warm Hub is held in Hilton Village Hall, each Wednesday morning from 10.30am until 12.30pm, from 10 January until 27 March 2024.”

Executive Councillor for Community and Health, Cllr Ben Pitt, said: "In this current cost of living crisis, it's a privilege to be able to see how our communities are supporting each other.

The continued support of community spaces is really inspiring. I'm thrilled that we can once again continue to support these groups with Community Chest grant funding.

Residents have had to make difficult decisions throughout 2023 and into the beginning of 2024. These spaces offer valuable support for our communities and truly show the value of community spirit."

Find out more about Community Spaces in Huntingdonshire.