Celebrate with Big Lottery funding. The Big Lottery Fund is calling on local groups and organisations of all shapes and sizes to apply for funding, between £300 and £10,000, to hold events or activities that will bring people together and celebrate what makes their local community special.

This opportunity comes as a survey* by the Big Lottery Fund found that given the chance, more than 40 per cent would like to celebrate their local history, and more than two fifths (43 per cent) of those aged 16 to 24 would celebrate their local culture, art or music. The research also revealed that more than half (63 per cent) of people asked reported that they have never or cannot remember ever coming together to celebrate with their local neighbourhood.

In response to these findings the Big Lottery Fund is putting people in the lead to come up with their own ideas on what they would like to celebrate, and what kinds of events they could host to bring all corners of their community together.

The Celebrate programme is the perfect opportunity for people to showcase and enjoy something important to their community, be it an iconic building, a precious landscape, a unique service or a community hero. There will be £5 million available in total across the UK.

Peter Ainsworth, UK Chair of the Big Lottery Fund said: “Celebrate gives people the chance to come together, whether that’s to mark something important to their community like The Queen’s 90th birthday, commemorate a historic local event, or simply get to know your neighbours better. We want to celebrate what makes your local community great, so I’d encourage groups of all sizes to get in touch with us with their ideas.”

To be eligible, applicants must be part of a constituted group which has its own bank account. The Big Lottery Fund welcomes applications from voluntary or community organisations, schools and statutory bodies, particularly those who have never considered the Big Lottery Fund as a potential source of funding. Organisations are encouraged to submit their applications early to avoid disappointment as once funds have been allocated, Celebrate will close to new applications.

For more information or to apply for a Celebrate grant please visit:


The 2017-18 programme is now open for applications. This scheme is funded by Hertfordshire County Council and managed by HCF Training and Development. Voluntary and community organisations delivering adult social care can apply for up to £2,000 to fund the learning and development needs of their workforce or to develop their own capacity to deliver training.
We are initially prioritising organisations that did not receive grants in the last 2 years. Organisations wishing to apply will also benefit from meeting with one of HCF’s team of qualified advisors who will conduct an organisational needs analysis and support your application. Click here to download the guidelines so you can check your eligibility and find out how to apply.


ARISE (the Alliance to Reward Initiatives and Social Enterprise) is an alliance of local business partners who have come together to provide an annual fund of money to support initiatives and socially based activities that improve the lives of groups or individuals in Hatfield. Please download the ARISE Leaflet from here.


Workers from abroad

Updated Border Agency guidance on checking right to work in the UK are available here.

Changes to criteria for tier 1 (entrepreneurs, investors and exceptional talent) and tier 2 (skilled) visas over the past year. New tier 5 provision for permitted paid engagements allows some academics, professionals and entertainers to enter the UK and do paid work for up to one month, without formal sponsorship. A case where it was held to be race discrimination not to allow job applications from people who are not EEA nationals. To find out more on a points based system click here.

Workers registration scheme for nationals of most central and eastern European EU member states ended last year. Work authorisation rules for nationals of Bulgaria and Romania extended until 31 December 2013. Rules similar to those for Bulgaria and Romania expected to apply when Croatia joins the EU on 1 July 2013. Changes to rules for family members of European Economic Area nationals – in effect from 8 November 2012. To find out more based on family members of European Economic Area click here.

National minimum wage

Goes up for adults (21+), 18-20 year olds and apprentices, but not for 16-17 year olds who are not apprentices.  Find out the current minimum wage by clicking here.

Pension auto-enrolment

Employers with fewer than 30 employees will auto-enrol from June 2015-April 2017, and new employers who started PAYE schemes on or after 1 April 2012 will auto-enrol from May 2017-February 2018.  To find out more click here.

Payment allowed for permitted work

For people on employment and support allowance and other benefits based on incapacity for work go up from £97.50 per week to £99.50. To find out more click here.

Health and safety

Rules on no-smoking signs become more lenient – signs no longer need to be a specified size and design, and you only need to have one in each non-smoking premises (and one in each non-smoking vehicle). To find out more click here.

The Health & Safety Executive will start charging businesses/organisations a fee for inspections, investigations and the time involved in enforcement action if there is a breach of H&S law. To find out more click here.

Music venues

Entertainment licences no longer required for unamplified music and some amplified music.

IMPORTANT: The new rules apply only between 8am and 11pm – not 8am and midnight as I previously had on my website.  To find out more click here.

Late-night alcohol sales

From 31 October: rules come into effect allowing licensing authorities to restrict the supply of alcohol between midnight and 6am, and/or to charge a late-night levy. To find out more click here.

Wheel clamping

Private land owners or occupiers can no longer clamp or remove vehicles parked on their property, and warning signs are invalid. To find out more click here.

Intellectual property

New small claims track in the patent court for intellectual property disputes (copyright, trade mark etc) under £5000. To find out more click here.


Fees reduced for company registration using approved software and for filing of company annual returns; fees removed for obtaining a company appointments report. To find out more about company registration click here, and to find out more about company filing click here.

For financial years ending on or after 1 October 2012: more small companies (but not charitable companies) are exempt from statutory audit. Plus some other changes to the company accounting and audit frameworks. To fin out more click here.

Community interest companies

Community interest company directors must file a CIC report regardless of any filing exemptions for directors of other (non-CIC) companies. To find out more click here.


The provision allowing specified religious bodies with annual income over £100,000 to remain excepted from having to register with the Charity Commission is extended from 1 October 2012 to 31 March 2014. To find out more click here.


End of VAT zero rating on alterations to protected buildings.

Changes to listed places of worship grant scheme to cover VAT on alterations to listed places of worship. To find out more click here.


Age discrimination in provision of services, goods, facilities or public functions becomes unlawful, except in relation to under-18s or where an exception is allowed. To find out more click here.

Information and advice about discrimination and human rights is to be provided by the new Equality Advisory and Support Service, replacing the PagesEquality and Human Rights Commission. To find out more click here.

What is volunteering?

So many citizens volunteer on a regular basis for no other reason than that it matters. During the 2012 London  Olympics and Paralympics, a large majority of the staff were volunteers. Volunteer Centres understand what volunteering is. That should be the Olympic volunteering legacy. To find out more click here.

How higher education can advance social mobility.

This report looks at what universities need to do to address the social inequalities in who gets into university and what Government needs to do to reduce the risks that its higher education policies pose to its social mobility strategy. To find out more click here.

UK Giving 2012

This report on charitable giving has stark findings. They show in real terms a 20% fall in donations to charities during the past year. Fewer people are giving and those who do are giving less. And this is against a backdrop of spending cuts and rising demand for members’ services. Whilst the picture for individual charities varies, this overall view of the sector is concerning.

Good governance – hard evidence

This new, comprehensive report identifies the key drivers of effective governance. Leading governance consultants, Compass Partnership, working with the Centre for Charity Effectiveness at Cass Business School , have surveyed over 200 of the country’s largest charities to generate this evidence. To find out more click here.


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