Category Archives: Volunteering

The application process for grants to support British Science Week in 2019 is still open.

British Science Week will next take place between 8th-17th March, 2019.

The application process involves thematic grants for school, community groups and one for the British Science Association branches. You can see the detail for each sectoral award below…

The deadline for applications is 5pm, 12 November 2018.

Kick Start Grants

This scheme offers grants for schools in challenging circumstances to organise their own events as part of British Science Week. There are three options available:

  • Kick Start grant: A grant of £300 for your school to run an activity
  • Kick Start More grant: A grant of £700 for your school to host a science event or activity which involves your students and the local community.
  • Kick Start Youth grant: A grant of £150 for your school to run an activity during British Science Week organised by students.

Community Grants

This scheme offers £500 to £1000 grants for community groups that work directly with audiences who are traditionally under-represented and currently not engaged in science activity. Our definition of groups that are underrepresented in science includes:

  • people who are Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME)
  • people with low socio-economic status (SES), including people disadvantaged in terms of education and income
  • young people facing adversity, including those not in education, employment or training (NEET)
  • people with a disability, defined as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term effect on someone’s ability to do normal daily activities (Equalities Act 2010)
  • people living in a remote and rural location, defined as settlements of less than 10,000 people
  • girls and women

BSW Grants for BSA branches

This scheme offers up to £500 of funding for British Science Association branches to take part in our national celebration by running local events during British Science Week.

This scheme is open to BSA volunteer branches only.


You can find the on-line grant application pages here.

If you do apply, the best of luck from the conversationsEAST team


 Can you help create business builders for the next generation?

Linking Education and Business – A New Approach

Continuing our thematic coverage of new ways to support young people and the education and training sector, we were very pleased to see the emerging detail of the Enterprise Adviser Network for schools in Norfolk and Suffolk. Members of the business community volunteering some time to support schools in developing their enterprise agenda.

This cross-counties initiative is supported by the national Careers and Enterprise Company and is delivered by Norfolk County Council & Suffolk County Council.

emailIcon4Contact the project in our region here:

careersEnterpriseCompanyButtonA new national programme is taking shape across Norfolk and Suffolk that aims to adopt an innovative approach to bringing business and education closer together. The New Anglia Enterprise Adviser Network aims to connects local high profile business leaders with senior leaders in local secondary schools, academies, colleges in order to helping to motivate and inspire young peoples’ career aspirations, to make a major impact on their work prospects.

Enterprise Advisers will be volunteer leaders from the Suffolk and Norfolk business community. Their role will be to provide strategic consultancy and advice to schools and colleges to improve employer engagement and careers guidance provision and thereby help bridge the gap between education and business, raise young peoples’ aspirations and enhance enterprise and employability skills.

Suffolk County Councillor Gordon Jones, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills said: “We do need to increase the interaction between the education and the business community, making sure Suffolk school children have the skill set required to find work and prove themselves valuable assets to commercial companies”.

New Anglia Local Enterprise PartnershipMark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP, commented: “If we want to compete and win on a world stage we need to deliver a higher skilled workforce for our growing economy and for the all the thousands of outstanding companies, innovators and entrepreneurs that are already based here and for the many more we want to attract. We can help do that by placing business leaders at the heart of the education system, to inspire young minds when they are seeking out their future paths and looking to match their talents and aspirations with a high value and rewarding career.”

The New Anglia Enterprise Adviser Network is supported by five Enterprise Coordinators who will provide business leaders, schools and colleges with a professional service which includes high quality training, matching Enterprise Advisers to schools and colleges and extensive, ongoing support.

The network has been created with support from the national Careers and Enterprise Company and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, working through its partners in Norfolk and Suffolk County Councils, delivering this national programme in the East.

Could you be an Enterprise Adviser?

The project is looking for enthusiastic business people across Norfolk and Suffolk to work with schools to help our young people understand the connection between their education and the world of work.

If you have the motivation and dedication to help young people find out more about the opportunities for their future career please get in touch…


Content for this article courtesy of Suffolk County Council.

Article sign off image

Cambridge Coffee Morning for JDRF

Date: Friday 2nd October

Time: 10am – 12.30pm

Venue: Girton College (The Old Kitchens)

Discvover JDRF on-line here...Come along and join us for this informal coffee morning, which will give you the chance to meet other families living with type 1 diabetes. You can find out more about the work of JDRF and the East of England Children and Young People’s Diabetes Network and to visit our our exhibitor stands.


At the event will hear about the new glycaemic targets from Matt Williams, and the role of the research nurse from Criona O’brien, diabetes research nurse at the University of Cambridge. So why not come along and join us.


emailIcon4  Email to book your place to attend.
(You can see a recent review of a JDRF Eastern Region conference here…Ed)
The team at conversations EAST are proud to support the team at JRDF…
Article sign off image

[ditty_news_ticker id=”1073″]

The Cambridgeshire Timebanking Partnership are keen to ensure the sustainability of their Timebanks by diversifying their funding.

The Partnership have  decided on a development programme to institute a major raffle and an Auction of Promises. The Partnership  are looking to develop this ambitious campaign which can be run on an annual basis.

What is needed is someone with the skills and knowledge to act as a ‘raffle’ project mentor.

Ideally, the Partnership is looking for someone who has successfully run a major raffle in the past, who has knowledge of the process, paperwork and also advice on attracting prize donations and increasing ticket sales.

To provide support to the Partnership Project Manager, with an initial meeting for key development advice, and then the sharing of documents or telephone support if required.

If you are in the Fellowship network in the East of England, do you have ‘raffle’ expertise and the time to support The Partnership in this interesting funding development project?

The short video below gives you a flavour of the activities the Timebanking Partnership have been able to facilitate…

If you can help please contact Wendy Lansdown of the Community Engagement Team of Cambridgeshire County Council – see it on-line here on 0345 045 5200.

If you do help – thank you.



This month’s conversationsEAST sponsored Coffee with My Councillor session will be held in Chelmsford. It is an opportunity for Fellows to meet and talk directly with their Fellowship Councillor in the East of England.

Tim reports that conversations he has had, so far, have fallen on stony ground in his search for female Fellows to champion a new Female Fellows group in our region.

Why not come along to the Ideas Hub, a great open and friendly venue, see below, on the 18th and explore the starting of this new group. Designed to support and promote female Fellow led research, social and community business projects or to lobby for family friendly services at our meetings, conferences and get-togethers.

He’ll also have his camera and keyboard to hand, if we can help you complete your Fellowship profile on the new RSA web pages. Read more about the rolling Coffee with my Councillor programme here.

Saturday 18th April -10.30 to 13.00 Chelmsford in Essex

The Ideas Hub, 1-4 Market Square,
High Chelmer, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1 1XF

  • The beginning of an Otrera Group, supporting female Fellows in the region
  • Working alongside the new Public Services and Communities RSA thematic initiative
  • A Fellow, a keyboard, a camera – completing your Fellowship profile on the new RSA web pages.

See the work of the Ideas Hub on-line here.


Be the Change in Cambridge are holding a community event on Saturday 14th March, 2015. This is an opportunity to help ‘…facilitate the creation of ideas and bring the city together to make Cambridge greater than the sum of its parts‘.

Anglia Ruskin University
East Road
CB1 1PT Cambridge
United Kingdom
Saturday, March 14, 2015 from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM (GMT)

This short video below helps explain their mission.

vimeoVideoButtonpic-mYou can see the original film on Vimeo here.

eventbriteButtonYou can book your free ticket on-line at Eventbrite here.


What Be the Change say about their event…


  • ‘This is a project to bring Cambridge’s many communities together to do more than just talk about our city’s future, but to decide what shared actions to take in order to shape it
  • We’re particularly encouraging young people – in particular those in further education – to take part. This is our response to research showing 18-24 year olds are least likely to vote as an age-cohort.
  • We’ll be asking everyone to commit to either a one-off small action, or a small behaviour change as a result of taking part. If dozens of us do that, our impact could be greater than the sum of our parts!’

If you are in the city on Saturday, March 14th this is a great opportunity to get along to Anglia Ruskin and contribute to the debate, to the generation of ideas and to the creation of community change.

See you there?

If you are a Fellow developing or leading a community change event or  project you can send copy, links and editorial contributions to the team at conversationsEAST.

We’ll be happy to feature your work, twitter our followers and generally spread the word.

If formally invited along, we’ll write a review and supporting article too. Tell us at editor (at) or use the drop down ‘contact us’ box on any of our web pages.



Volunteer for Cambridge

Saturday 28th February, 2015 – There is a great day of volunteering opportunities for the Fellowship in Cambridge this weekend. Visit The Guildhall and see!

Members of the regional Fellowship will be abroad, supporting 80 Cambridge based organisations who are ‘…working to create positive social and environmental change through volunteering‘.

Visit the Volunteer for Cambridge event page here...

11am to 4pm, Saturday 28th Feb. – The Guildhall, Market Square, Cambridge.

‘The aims of the fair are to get more people involved in volunteering, bring together organisations with shared aims and to break down the town/gown divide by opening the event up to students and locals alike. Anyone and everyone in Cambridge is welcome to attend!’ The Cambridge Hub

This is a great event that offers many opportunities for Fellows, anybody in fact, to seek out and engage with a broad range of organisations in Cambridge.

Volunteer and donate time and your specialist knowledge to any one of these great organisations. If you are a Fellow in Cambridge, or its hinterland, here is the event to start your journey with a new community.

phoneIconYou can book your free tickets on-line with Eventbrite here.

phoneIconFind the event on Facebook too. Visit the event page here.

By supporting The Hub, you are also helping students at Cambridge support and make a contribution to communities, helping them tackle their social and environmental issues.  Working in a collaborative and supportive way. You can see the story of The Hub here.

Image credit: Painting for the community – picture courtesy of The Cambridge Hub.


The Fellow led RSA Cambridge Network are offering their support to the Abbey People community project.

This is a call to action for new volunteers from the Fellowship in the East of England and beyond.

Abbey People is a community group working to support residents in the Abbey Ward , located in the east of Cambridge City. This is  a dynamic, energetic and committed community that are responding to a need for change in community resources, the environment and in their economic landscape too. Can you help?

This great short film, made by Hilary Cox for Abbey People, conveys the energy and enthusiasm of the community. (…and some stirring and engaging piano playing too…Ed.)

See the movie on YouTubeYou can see the original film on YouTube here.

The group are currently looking for Trustees and other support for their governance and project development…

View, print or download this information and contacts here…pdf version

“…Trustee roles
We have bi-monthly Trustee meetings, usually on a Monday evening. In addition to meetings Trustees contribute their skills to different aspects of our work e.g. events, projects, consultation.

pdfIcon4You can download a pdf copy of the original call for Trustees document here…

Treasurer – We are looking for someone with the financial skill and experience to become our Treasurer. We anticipate this role will take approx. 5 hours per month, including meetings.

Trustee – Someone who is keen to support our aims in the Abbey ward and who has skills, time and experience to contribute. We would be interested to hear from anyone with an interest in developing a particular area of work e.g. supporting Older People, Improving our Environment

Supporting roles
We are a young community group with ambition. To help us fulfil our potential we would appreciate support from people with expertise and time to offer in these areas

• Administrative support – including taking minutes, collating information

• Book-keeper ideally a volunteer, but will consider small remuneration. To maintain the accounts using Quick Books (training can be provided) ensuring payments are made, correct recording, running payroll monthly, dealing with HMRC, liaising with the Treasurer. Approx 8 hours pcm

• Marketing and Communications – including developing our communications strategy and use of social media

• Volunteer Coordination – including recruitment, development and retention…”

We support Abbey People too! Go volunteers!

You can discover Abbey People, their projects, ambitions and enthusiasm on-line here.

As a Fellow, wherever you are in the world, the power of your imagination and the internet can help you to help the people of Abbey with their project aims.

To get connected you can download the Abbey People notice above. Or you can securely send your contact details, immediately below, to conversationsEAST and we’ll speedily forward them to Stuart, Wendy or Sam.


Looking ahead to 2015
Looking ahead to 2015

During the summer of 2014 the Society sent out a survey to the Fellowship, seeking their responses on a number of issues and asking for their views and comments.

Below is a copy that analysis, garnered from the 29% of Fellows who responded, along with some thoughts from the conversationsEAST team as to how our contribution to the work of the Fellowship might be flexed, in response to the findings.

The summary findings from The House indicated the following…

“Overall responses to the survey were positive. Over two-thirds of Fellows join–at least partially–to support our mission, the quality of almost all of our outputs is seen as very high and by far the majority of Fellows are intending to renew their Fellowship. The Survey also generated a large amount of information that can be used to guide ongoing Fellowship development”.

Key findings included…

  • There is less satisfaction with local events compared to other areas of our work.
  • There are a large number of Fellows wanting to self- organise but are frustrated at being unable to do so.
  • There are a large number of Fellows wanting to self- organise but are frustrated at being unable to do so.
  • Some Fellows want to be more involved in the work we do.
  • There is a lack of knowledge about what we do. Across the seven RSA Projects included in the survey, `have not heard of it at all’ accounted for between a quarter and a half of all responses.
  • Younger people and females are less likely to recommend the Fellowship to suitable people than others
  • There are strong regional variations in how Fellows perceive the RSA.

(Key findings drawn from the RSA Fellowship summary report – Ed.)

Looking forward into 2015 we have recently published our ‘road-map’ as a journal, where we have been working with Tim, our new Fellowship Councillor in the East, to develop a series of gatherings to explore how Fellows can become more engaged with the Society.

pdfIcon4You can view, print or download a copy of the 2014 RSA Survey here

See the Survey here…

We will, as stated, pivot these, supporting Tim directly in the delivery of a series of Fellowship Councillor Surgeries across the region. This might help inform and engage the interested Fellowship directly. Offering an informal setting, with refreshments, for the survey itself to be discussed and for Tim to explain and heighten awareness of the work and input of the Fellowship Council itself. One of the findings in the survey was that many Fellows were unaware of the function of the Fellowship Council, for example.

Another way forward, we would argue, would be to foster the engagement of female Fellows, either as new Fellows, or to develop some way to engage with the Fellowship on a gender basis. We have written before in this journal and in our regional annual reports about the gender imbalances, including in the Fellowship, in our region.

(We could start an Otrera Group in every region to foster the engagement and promotion of Fellowship skills by gender, for example? -Ed.)

If this imbalance in Fellowship is ‘normalised’ across all regions, we would look to develop a campaign/project to engage by gender across adjacent regions for example. Sharing both the information in the recent survey, but garnering explicit local knowledge on gender bias as part of the project initiation work.

(Having talked so long about the matter, it seems that a short burst of positive discrimination, in terms of engagement and resources, might go a long way? -Ed.)

In our publishing activities we will develop a ‘Fellows have their say!’ web journal page. Where the Fellowship can directly contribute to the regional debate in the East. This might be particularly useful in bolstering the regional events catalogue in terms of feedback or activity recommendation. All this information will be passed directly and securely to the Eastern Region Fellowship team, of course.

We will foster and web publish a set of ‘View from the Fellowship Council’ reports. Getting Tim to write a regular review of Council activity and debate, in a generalised way, which can feed into regional meetings and, more importantly, be immediately available to the wider regional Fellowship. Helping to support and deliver a clearer understanding of its work and role.

We think the new RSA web site, arriving this month, which will enable Fellows to contact each other directly if they wish, offers an important and effective mechanism for pan regional co-operation, as well as improving inter-region project and activity development. We look forward to reviewing it on our web pages.

Also useful, we believe, will be the launch of artSUFFUSION, our sister arts focused web journal. We are refining the publication manifesto this month.

We hope that by combining the arts, crafts and making into one energy stream in the region, whilst connecting new conversationsEAST social enterprise start-up projects, we can also help convert our Society’s brilliant research papers and mission into real world examples of sustainable community business and social outcome funded projects.

We look forward to 2015, hoping that our readers will come along with us?

The conversationsEAST team.

Article image credit: David J. Thomas via photopin cc



Kingfishers Bridge Wetlands Project
Looking across the project…

A small group of Fellows were this week able to take advantage of an invitation to visit and see the work of the team at Kingfishers Bridge Wetland Project .

Situated close to Wicken Fen, this sanctuary, developed from privately held land, is both a successful conservation area and a test-bed for experimental conservation methodologies.

James Page and Andy Dunn gave fellows a guided tour through the conservation landscape, which was both informative and telling about the efficacy of landscape management of this high order. Some of the insights we gained are offered below.

The Project team manage a wide variety of habitats in a relatively small area. The topography of the site falls away from a limestone ridge, which itself is an ancient coral reef, through chalk grassland areas and peat deposits. There is a plethora of lake-side, dyke margin and reed bed coverage across the site too.

Clay banks are used to prevent site inundation, the area being part of the River Cam flood plain. There is an interesting spoil mound, with a track rising to the summit, where viewing ‘hides’ are to be found and the view from the top offers great views of both the whole of the wetlands project area, but also across the surrounding fen and river network.

This surrounding area is typical grass wetland, with some of the tree cover being recently removed, and the new development includes ponds which are linked to the agricultural drainage ditches. The whole water course development is designed to remove straight lines from the landscape. These betray the sites farmland origins, but the additional work also denies predatory birds a clear flight path to their prey.

Inquisitive buffalo…

One really interesting aspect of the grazing management is the deployment of Konic horses, the Polish primitive horse, as well as a small herd of Water Buffalo. This latter creature is adept at exploring the reed beds across the conservation site, and its dietary habits keep the reed beds appropriately cropped and seasonally refreshed…with appropriate site management control, of course.

As a closed site, water management is a key aspect of managing the rise and fall of levels across the seasons. The setting clay banks and ‘elbow pipe’ systems simply divert water which is drawn from a nearby limestone quarry, a simple system which regulates levels and flow across the reserve.

This aquatic draw down from their neighbour allows Kingfishers Bridge to draw in alkali water, which is nutrient free, stimulating the growth of the site’s invertebrate population. The entire site is surrounded by an impressive electric fence, which serves to keep predators away from the reserve areas.

Looking through the reed-beds…

It is clear that this thoughtful, well managed approach to conservation across the bio-chain is a significant constituent to the success of the reserve. This ‘sanctuarial’ approach, with a well managed predator control/exclusion programme, see herons nesting on the site and a wide variety of birds, bats and plant life proliferating to interest the invited visitor.

One wonderful example of how this management expertise can transform the landscape is the Water Germanda (Teucrium scordium L.) The Kingfishers Bridge site held the last twelve plants of the species in the East of England. Water management techniques on the site now see, it is currently estimated, over two million specimens growing in the wider landscape.

We understand the site is keen to develop their support of educational visits from schools. it was profoundly satisfying to hear that the conservation team at Kingfishers Bridge actively engage children and young people in site measurement and surveys. A process which enables children to actively contribute real data to the site management process.

To explore educational visit opportunities further you can find the Kingfishers Bridge Contact Us page here –

The adult volunteer and supporter is not left out either. Supporters of the project can gain exclusive access to project services, as well as make their own contribution to site surveys and measurements.

The Project does seek donations to keep the good work going and you can find both work party information and how to donate as a Project Supporter here –

Specific development projects are dependent upon sponsorship and the ‘Kingfishers’ team would be happy to explore their current opportunities with interested supporters.

Whether as a Fellow with a bio-science specialism, or as a passionate general supporter of eco-conservation projects, there is much to delight and do in concert with the Kingfishers Bridge team. (We really enjoyed our morning in the Fen..Ed).

Kingfishers Bridge Wetland Creation Trust,
Kingfishers Bridge, Wicken, Ely, Cambs. CB7 5XL
Charity No 1078882
Discover the project on-line –



Fellows in the East of England are able to take part in a range of events and occasions. Visit our pages regularly, subscribe to our newsfeed or bookmark our regional events programme web page here…


Image credit:

News Desk image by Markus Winkler, Creative Commons, Unsplash...