Social impact organisations across Cambridgeshire & Peterborough supported by new Allia-led project

Allia social impact project - children learning and men smiling

Partnership project will help organisations with social purpose to grow and create more impact.

Allia is leading a new project to help social impact organisations across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough so that they can build resilience, grow and create more positive change.

The project is led by Allia who will coordinate a group of partners to provide support across the region, as well as delivering its proven ‘Start Your Business’ and ‘Grow Your Business’ programmes. These deliver targeted support for those who have an idea to get a new social venture off the ground as well as those more established businesses that want to grow. Networking events, mentoring and workshops will also be available.

A consortium of partners across the region are on board and have formed ‘Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Impact’ consisting of Support Cambridgeshire (Hunts Forum and Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service (CCVS)) and Peterborough Council for Voluntary Service (PCVS) which will deliver 1-1 support, networking events and set up peer support for sustainability and growth beyond the end of the project; and Cambridgeshire ACRE (Action for Communities in Rural England) which will support rural community not-for-profit organisations that are trying to establish community-led businesses.

The project is chiefly funded by Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority as part of their Market Towns Programme, working with Social Enterprise East of England (SEEE) and Cambridge City Council with a contribution from the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The programme will support a range of impact organisations from charities and community organisations through to social enterprises and social impact businesses as well as start-ups that have a defined social purpose. Between September 2023 and March 2024, the programme will deliver to 122 or more organisations through structured programmes of business support, expert sessions and one-to-one support, plus mentoring, networking and a community of practice.

Allia’s programmes have already launched, with a range of different organisations and entrepreneurs signing up to gain coaching, advice and direction, to help them start or grow their social impact ventures.

Tom applied to Start Your Business for advice on how to develop his venture ‘The Forge’ which aims to provide a real-life work environment for young people to learn employability skills and personal development, if they’ve struggled in a school or work setting. “The idea is the café, kitchen and bar will provide a traineeship with practical work experience in every aspect of the business – helping to prevent long-term exclusion, so that young people can develop skills and find a passion early on,” reflects Tom. “Start Your Business is essential for me so that I can learn and build the foundation of what The Forge can grow into and become.”

Oksana joined the programme as she wants to start up a new charity which provides emotional support for refugees in and around the UK. As a Ukrainian refugee herself, this is something she is passionate about launching, and she hopes the programme will help her to understand how to create her business, navigating business laws and legislation, as well as accounting.

After facing the challenges of returning to work after having their children, Ingrid and Sally are launching their business to support women and help them gain the skills and confidence they need to get back into work. They will also be working with these women to develop their skills and help with progression in the workplace. The co-founders said, “Like many business owners, we are looking for support in finance and funding opportunities. But we also want to use this time to meet other business owners, network and create new connections.”

It has been lovely to start to get to know the people behind these inspiring social impact ideas. We’re working with new and existing social enterprises, charities and impact organisations with themes that span across community, mental health, tech for good and sustainability – and hope through the programme they can access an ecosystem of support to take steps towards reaching their visions and dreams for the future.”

Marina Pritchard. Programme Manager at Allia

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson said: “There are many talented people with the energy and inspiration to give something back to their community and society, so I’m delighted that the Combined Authority has funded this locally-driven partnership offering a package of support to help them grow their ventures.

“Social enterprises, charities, community groups and businesses with social impact in mind are absolutely crucial in making this region a better place to live, where our growth is underpinned by the values of compassion, cooperation and community.”

Cllr Alice Gilderdale, Cambridge City Council’s Executive Councillor for Community Wealth Building, said: “These are difficult times for people up and down the country – not least because of the ongoing cost of living crisis coming hot on the heels of the pandemic and Brexit. We need to address poverty and inequality in Cambridge, but we also need to work at pace to address the global climate and biodiversity emergencies. Local people are best placed to identify the challenges in their areas, and the solutions needed, and social enterprises have a vital part to play in this work.

“We’re pleased to be providing £20,000 to these schemes to help get people’s brilliant ideas off the ground and make positive lasting change. We can’t wait to see what ideas are supported to launch and grow.”

Julie Farrow, CEO at Hunts Forum said: “The Support Cambridgeshire team are excited to be part of this exciting new partnership, supporting charities and social impact organisations with 1:1 support and expert guidance in growing their visions for the future and becoming more sustainable.”

Farsh Raoufi, Communities Team Manager at Peterborough Council for Voluntary Service said: “PCVS is proud to support this partnership and we are confident this programme will have a positive life changing effect for our community and social impact organisations, providing meaningful impact towards their sustainability, social and environmental goals.”

SEEE is working with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority with the aim of strengthening the wider support system for socially minded groups and businesses whilst also developing a pipeline of future social enterprise initiatives. We’re really excited about the difference this joined-up thinking is already making and look forward to seeing the impact the different partner organisations can make for people in the region thanks to this intensive period of funding and support from the Combined Authority”, said Deb Lee, Managing Director of SEEE.

  • For more information about the programmes, and the range of support available to social impact organisations, please go to:

    • Allia’s Start Your Business programme, click here
    • Alli’s Grow Your Business programme, click here


  • Allia Impact is part of Allia Ltd, a charity dedicated to helping others create positive impact through workspace, support and finance. Allia Impact delivers free venture support programmes to help small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs at different stages of business growth. It has supported over 2,000 ventures, seen over 5,000 jobs created, and £115m in funds raised from our alumni. |
  • For press & media enquiries, please contact Laura Rose, Group Head of Marketing & Communications, Allia: 01223 781322
  • Cambridge City Council
    Contacts: Communications Team, email:, Tel: 01223 457290
  • Support Cambridgeshire is a partnership between Hunts Forum and Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service that helps community groups and organisations to strengthen and grow, providing a range of advice, training and support.
  • Peterborough Council for Voluntary Service (PCVS) is a registered charity that supports the voluntary sector in Peterborough. With more than 500 members, it has been supporting Peterborough’s charities and volunteering groups for 40 years.
  • Cambridgeshire ACRE (Action for Communities in Rural England) offers support, resources and specialist advice to communities and partners across a wide range of topics areas connected to rural community life. Its services aim to uphold and empower the values of rural communities by building sustainable partnerships with them.
  • Social Enterprise East of England (SEEE) supports social enterprises across the East to grow, communicate and demonstrate their social impact. SEEE offers joint membership with Social Enterprise UK and its members are from diverse sectors covering Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. SEEE offers networking, events and news updates to keep members informed and also runs the Cambridgeshire Social Enterprise Place network which encourages Cambridgeshire social ventures to come together to learn from each other, support each other and help make the local social economy stronger.
  • Cambridge & Peterborough Combined Authority
    Communications Team, contact Luke Page
  • UK Shared Prosperity Fund
    The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit
  • CPCA Market Towns Programme (Phase 2) – Supporting Social Enterprises in Rural Areas. In July 2020, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) allocated £13.1m capital investment to mobilise eleven market town masterplans to support interventions in each of CPCA’s main market towns and to act as a funding catalyst to securing additional investment. This £2.5m fund is a continuation of that effort to tackle the long-standing challenges surrounding market towns over the next 2 years, with a particular focus on strengthening local communities and supporting the Social Enterprise ecosystem. The Programme looks to build on the first Market towns funding but with a particular focus on targeting this capital spending on people-based initiatives – including community owned businesses, social enterprises, and educational support.