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Cotswold Connected Community and Food Programme


As a Council we believe it is so important our communities are supported and support each other during the current cost of living crisis and beyond.

We have set up a 12 month rolling programme, starting from 8 November 2022, to help fund initiatives within the community that tackle the root causes of local inequalities, the current cost of living crisis and to strengthen community resilience in the longer term. 

This programme will complement our already successful Crowdfund Cotswold initiative.

We are looking to improve the resilience of the community as a whole, promoting equality and diversity instead of highlighting inequalities, people caring for each other no matter their background and sharing of resources. 

Part of this programme is focussing on the development of a district-wide food network setting up a number of community fridges, pantries and larders in partnership with Feeding Gloucestershire, The Long Table and FareShare. The Council is committing £40k towards the food network.  


This programme is open to not-for-profit Voluntary and Community Sector organisations and Social Enterprises. We would also like to hear from individuals or small un-constituted groups with a great idea. 

Private businesses, sole traders or statutory organisations are not eligible.

  • Projects must demonstrate how the funding will be used to increase community resilience and enhance people’s lives in the respective area.
  • Projects must be purposeful and non-stigmatising.
  • Applicants must be able to explain how the project will be sustainable into the future, once the project period has finished or what the legacy of the project will be if it is a one-off.
  • Projects must not duplicate existing services or activities.
  • Projects must apply the ‘Asset Based Community Development’ principles: 
  • Identifies and makes visible the assets in a community such as people, buildings, parks etc.
  • Sees citizens and communities as the co-producers, rather than the recipients of services
  • Promotes community networks, relationships and friendships that can provide caring, mutual help and empowerment
  • Identifies what has the potential to improve health and wellbeing
  • Supports individuals’ wellbeing through self- esteem, coping strategies, resilience skills, relationships, friendships, knowledge and personal resources
  • Empowers communities to control their futures and create tangible resources such as services, funds and buildings

The exact approach required will vary from place to place, with some communities having a good understanding of assets and needs, whereas other areas may need to develop this work. 

In all cases, the Council’s Community Wellbeing Team will offer to work with the ‘project creators’ and those with connections in local communities to develop a comprehensive understanding of existing assets and identify potential opportunities that could increase capacity in those communities. 

Support may also be available through other local community groups/charities and projects are invited to join the ‘Cotswold Community Network’.

Examples of projects include:

  • Community Food projects such as Community Fridges/larders/pantries 
  • Community Hubs
  • Friendship/Talking Café’s
  • Intergenerational projects
  • Community Activities aiming to connect people 
  • Community transport
  • Development of Community Partnerships
  • Any initiatives aiming to support mental and physical wellbeing

Differences between a Community Fridge/Pantry and a Food Bank

It differs from the food bank in several important ways:

  • Anyone is welcome to the food no matter their circumstances
  • They are run by the local community for the local community
  • It uses good food that would otherwise go to waste and therefore reduces food waste and supports our ‘green to the core’ commitment.
  • Food banks are emergency food provision

How to apply for funding

There is a two-step application process:

  1. Complete a simple and accessible online application form: 

Applications will be assessed initially by the Community Wellbeing Team and may involve other local VCSE partners. The assessment will be based on how the project creator meets the programme criteria and how they are planning to meet their stated priorities and outcomes, using a community development approach.

The application will be assessed within 4 weeks. 

  1. Applicants are invited to an informal meeting where we will give feedback, together assess the feasibility, scope and sustainability of your project and talk about how we can work in partnership. A decision will be made shortly after this meeting. 

Once funding and project support have been agreed, a member of staff will be available for further project planning and involvement as needed or appropriate. 

Outcomes and Monitoring

Successful projects will be required to report the following information through an online form: 

  • general project updates (after set up/initiation and after 6-9 months of delivery/activity)
  • The number of people reached at point of reporting
  • Their self-reported evidence of the impact it has had on their lives
  • Case Studies for use on Cotswold District Council social channels (incl. photos/videos)
  • Project sustainability/long term plan


If you have any questions, please contact us via email: