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In 2024 - 2025, Talking Together in Cambridgeshire is offering five community groups the opportunity to apply for funding to run four events for families which will help parents and carers learn more about how to support their young children (aged two to five) communication, language and literacy development. The four sessions will run at least three weeks apart between November 2024 and March 2025.

If you are interested in applying for funding, we would strongly advise you to attend one of our pre-application online Funding Information Sessions which will be held on the following dates in July 2024.

Date Time Location

Tuesday, 2 July 2024

2 pm to 3 pm

Online via Teams

Monday, 8 July 2024

6.30 pm to 7.30 pm

Online via Teams

To book a place, please complete the Talking Together in Cambridgeshire: Funding Information Sessions - July 2024 online form.

Should you wish to preview the questions prior to applying, or speak with someone about the funding process, please contact helen.wootton@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.

Early years educator and child in an outdoor setting.

The purpose of funding this work

Children growing up now have had different experiences from other cohorts of children. Our current cohorts were born in a pandemic. Children have wider access to technology, with over 78% of three-year-olds having access to a tablet for at least three hours a day. We know from looking at our data that in some areas of Cambridgeshire some children aged five need additional support with word reading and writing.

We know from research that a wide vocabulary and a range of rich early experiences support children’s early word reading and by continuing to support early communication and language skills we are supporting their early literacy skills. We now need to also focus on helping families learn more about how to support their children to develop the skills which strengthen communication and therefore underpin word reading and writing.

Last year we piloted a new way of working with our community groups. We awarded funding to cover the costs of sessions for families, with the sessions focusing on the skills mentioned above. To support our groups with this work, we offered each group two free places on our Making it REAL training course and contributed towards staffing costs, so two people from each group could attend the training. The training proved invaluable, and our partners have shared what they learned with many families across Cambridgeshire.

We now wish to offer other community groups the chance to join the one-day Introduction to Making it REAL training programme. The training is key and therefore it is mandatory for all those wishing to apply for a grant award. This training will help our community groups understand the latest evidence-based messaging on how to support young children’s early communication, language, and literacy skills so they can also share this with parents.

Funded session aims

The funded sessions will cover the four stands of literacy; environmental print, oral language, early writing, and books. Each of these strands is covered in the Introduction to Making it REAL training. We will provide a storyteller to support the session on oral language, and Cambridgeshire Skills Family Learning Team will run a Story Sacks activity to support the session on books.

Further information

The online stage one application must be completed by midday on Friday, 26 July 2024.

Further information about our funding process can be found in the guidance notes below. These notes offer important information on:

  • Geographical reach area
  • Co-production of the offer
  • Amounts available
  • Eligibility criteria for organisations wishing to bid
  • Links to the stage one application form.

Geographical reach areas

Talking Together in Cambridgeshire (TTiC) aims to maximise impact and therefore seeks to fund projects in different parts of Cambridgeshire (not including Peterborough).

Stage one

  • Applicants need to complete the stage one application form: An Introduction to Making It REAL: 2024 Funded Community Projects - Stage One Application 
  • Applicants must be available to join the Introduction to Making it REAL training on Wednesday, 18 September 2024, or have completed the two-day Making it REAL training over the last year. Please note, that those attending the training must either be delivering the funded project sessions or supporting the delivery of the sessions.
  • Applicants must be willing to run four project sessions, each a minimum of three weeks apart, of approximately one to two hours in length during term time between November 2024 and March 2025. Each project must support a minimum of 15 families of children aged from two to five. Families must be able to attend all four sessions. The sessions must focus on the evidence-based messaging from the Introduction to Making it REAL programme relating to the early literacy skills which underpin word reading and writing.
  • If an organisation has not received funding from TTiC before, they will be asked to provide the details of two referees who will be contacted if the application reaches stage two of the funding process. One reference will need to be from a service user. The other email will need to be from a representative of another organisation that knows of the work and governance structure or the organisation which is applying.
  • TTiC will hold two places per organisation on the Introduction to Making it REAL training.
  • TTiC may be able to provide funding from Cambridgeshire Skills to cover the costs of the training. This part of the award could be worth up to £221 per project. More information about funding eligibility can be found on the Making it Real page.
  • In addition, we may be able to offer a £70 bursary per person to cover staffing costs (up to two people per organisation – where staff live in Cambridgeshire and are eligible for course funding).
  • We will review all stage one application forms on Tuesday, 30 July 2024 and email applicants with further information by Friday, 2 August 2024.

Stage two

  • Applicants must complete the stage two project plan e-form, after completing the Introduction to Making it REAL training, by midday on Friday, 18 October 2024.
  • The plan will need to show how applicants intend to focus their project sessions on supporting parents and carers to learn more about the early literacy skills which underpin word reading and writing.
  • TTiC panel members will evaluate the proposals against the specified criteria as set out on our evaluation form and will score responses to the questions in the application form in a consistent manner. In doing so, the TTiC panel will also consider project plans alongside the most recent EYFS profile outcome data for Cambridgeshire to determine which areas would most benefit from the project work. The panel will then moderate all scores by consensus and choose up to five projects to move forward with. The panel will complete this process by Friday, 25 October 2024.
  • Applicants will be informed of the outcome of the moderation process by Thursday, 31 October 2024. Successful applicants will be informed of the next steps/timelines for the signing of agreements and the commencement of activity will be agreed upon. The names of successful applicants and a summary of the projects they will be funded to deliver will then be included on the TTiC website and Facebook page.
  • Applicants must also agree to join a one-hour Making it REAL network meeting per term. The network meetings bring REAL-trained staff together to share ideas, challenges and learning to improve practice with a focus on supporting all participants to become REAL Champions.
  • If the project plan is approved and award conditions are met, TTiC will award the organisation a grant worth approximately £1090. TTiC will pay for the storyteller and the Story Sacks element directly and therefore the award in monetary terms will be £700.
  • Stage two awards to cover the costs of planned activity sessions will be paid out as follows: 75% of the grant will be awarded if the panel agrees the funding. The remaining 25% will be awarded on condition that the group has attended a Making it REAL network meeting and after they have provided us with feedback from 80% of parents who have attended the sessions.
  • Feedback forms for each event must be completed by organisations within two weeks of each session running.
  • TTiC will provide support including linked Facebook posts, and other resources such as Talking Tennis activity packs and Finding Our Story activity packs.

Please note, that it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all appropriate health and safety, insurance, and safeguarding procedures are in place, including safer recruitment checks.

Who can apply?

Applications are welcome from community groups from across Cambridgeshire who fit the following criteria:

  • Any constituted charity, community, or voluntary organisation with three or more trustees and an up-to-date and current governing document
  • Sole traders provided accounts have been submitted to Companies House or have been verified by a qualified accountant
  • Schools that directly manage preschool, and early years provision as a community group, through charitable objectives or a school age range change
  • Limited company or charitable incorporated organisation.

In addition, applicants must be available to join the Introduction to Making it REAL training on Wednesday, 18 September 2024, or have completed the two-day Making it REAL training over the last year.

Introduction to Making it REAL training dates

Attendance on the one-day training course on Wednesday, 18 September 2024 is mandatory for organisations applying for funding, except for those who completed the two-day Making it REAL training over the last year. TTiC is offering each organisation two free training places. Those attending the course must either be running or supporting the delivery of the funded project sessions. Course details can be found on the Making it Real page.

How to apply

  • Those applying for funding should complete the Stage One Application. All applications should be received by no later than midday on Friday, 26 July 2024. TTiC will confirm receipt of the application within a week of submission.
  • Where applicable, applicants should also book up to two places on the Introduction to Making it REAL training course on Wednesday, 18 September 2024 via Booking and reservations for Early Years Workforce Development.

Get in touch

For all enquiries, please email community.literacy@cambridgeshire.gov.uk or telephone 07467 330 266.

Contact

Email: community.literacy@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

Telephone: 07467 330 266