Winners Stories


Do you have a community project in need of funding? Read our winners stories for inspiration on why you should apply to the Calor Rural Community Fund, and how a grant from Calor could help to improve local life.


We’ll keep updating this page with the latest news from our winning projects. So, if you’d like to know what they’ve been up to then make sure you revisit from time to time!

Herts & Essex Community Farm

Fund applied for: £1,000

Location: Essex


Herts & Essex Community Farm has been set up to provide a community growing space for the community of Harlow and the surrounding area. Over the past four years this former derelict, overgrown and fly-tipped allotment space has been transformed into a tranquil growing space for the community to enjoy.

About the Farm
  • This not-for-profit farm is used by people of all ages. It is a space where people can learn and share knowledge about growing produce. Local school children can also visit the farm to learn about the importance of sustainable growing.
  • The fresh produce grown at this farm is supplied to a local homeless charity, a local community café and to the local community by way of a ‘free produce scheme’.
  • Various fundraising events are hosted here throughout the year and in 2017, the Herts & Essex Community Farm committee applied to the Calor Rural Community Fund in the hope of securing funding to build a safe and well run BBQ area.
  • The Herts & Essex Community Farm was revealed as one of the Calor Rural Community Fund winners and since then, the BBQ area has been developed and community events have already taken place – including a sausage sizzling Halloween party for 200 children!

Community First Responder Kit

Fund applied for: £1,000

Location: Bedfordshire


Marston Moretaine Community First Responders is a trained group of three first responder volunteers who support the East of England Ambulance Service. They attend, treat and reassure casualties on the scene of an incident until further back up arrives.

With only one life-saving kit between the four of them, they applied to the Calor Rural Community Fund in the hope of winning some much needed funds to put towards a second kit.

We’ve caught up with Katie from Marston Moretaine Community First Responders to find out how being a winner of the 2017 Calor Rural Community Fund has helped the group move forwards with their project.

Discovering the Calor Rural Community Fund
  • "I first saw an advert for the Calor Rural Community Fund on Facebook and then read more about the new initiative on the Calor website. I thought at the time that it would be a great way of getting ourselves some much needed funds."
Why we applied for funding
  • "My group, at the time, had 4 volunteers but only 1 life-saving kit. This meant we had to share our kit between us and so we weren’t optimising the amount of time we were logged on for a potential emergency."
  • "We wanted to purchase a new kit to give us the extra resource to care and support for more patients while further optimising our logged time. A life-saving kit costs £2,000, so we applied to the Calor Rural Community Fund in the hope of kick starting our fundraising!"
Securing public votes
  • "We promoted our project through social media channels in local groups. Our Community First Responder group only covers a few villages so by promoting our project it also helped to create awareness of what we do to a wider outreach of people; they now know are here and ready to help them if needed!"
  • "We also had the project placed in the EAST of England Ambulance Services ‘Need-to-know’ newsletter. The response from our local community was great and was lovely to see so many people coming forward and supporting us. It proved they how valuable our service to them is."
How we have moved forwards since receiving the grant from Calor
  • "We were lucky enough to secure a grant of £1,000 from the Calor Rural Community Fund and we are now well on our way to achieving our £2,000 goal.
    We are busy fundraising within our local community and we’ve recently teamed up with a large community group who made a very generous donation to our project. We were invited to join their celebrations of Onam, during which we demonstrated our services and advised them all on what to do in a medical emergency. We were made to feel very welcome with dancing, singing and drumming to name a few. It was an excellent day."
  • "We are busy continuing to work towards our goal but winning the money from Calor has definitely made a great step towards it."

New Kitchen for our Village Hall - Shutford

Fund applied for: £2,500

Location: Oxfordshire


The village of Shutford has a population of 450 people - all of whom are community-minded and enjoy doing things together. Shutford has no bus service or shop, which means the residents rely heavily on their village hall for community events and gatherings including bingo, book club, musical performances and theatre shows. Sadly, three years ago, Shutford’s village hall was in a state of disrepair and deemed unsafe for use. Therefore, the hall committee acted upon this and began a campaign to raise funds to build a new, fit-for-purpose village hall complete with adequate disabled access. Through this campaign, the committee successfully raised enough money for the build of their new hall, and many of Shutford’s residents volunteered to help with the DIY. All that was needed to complete their hall was funding for a new kitchen – and this is why the committee applied to the Calor Rural Community Fund.

We caught up with Rita, one of Trustees & Committee Member of Shutford Village Hall to find out more about her application to the Calor Rural Community Fund and how the awarded funds from Calor has helped improve local life for the Shutford community.

How did you discover the Calor Rural Community Fund?
  • “A local villager had seen the Calor Rural Community Fund advertised locally and told me all about it. I investigated the initiative a little further and decided to apply. The application process was very straightforward and encouraging to get involved.”
How did you secure funding from your supporters?
  • “We knew that to be successful, we had to spread the word about our Calor Rural Community Fund application. We promoted our project via the local paper, the village magazine, the village website and through the village Facebook page. We even paid to boost our activity on Facebook.
    It was a fantastic opportunity to get the community involved in voting for our project. We loved seeing the votes increase to enable us to get through to the judging phase.
    It helped us raise the profile of our project not only in Shutford but in surrounding villages with friends and families getting involved with the voting.”
How has the grant from Calor impacted your community?
  • “We now have a new kitchen for our new village hall and it’s already being used for our community lunches which happen every Thursday!”
What top tip would you give to future applicants?
  • “I never thought our community project would win, so I’d encourage anyone and everyone who has an off-grid community project to apply. You never know what will happen!”

35th South West Cheshire Scout Centre. Provision of Heating and Hot Water

Fund applied for: £5,000

Location: Cheshire


Over the past five years, 35th South West Cheshire Scout group has been busy fundraising for the build of their new and environmentally friendly Scout centre. Once complete, the centre will be available for use by not only the Scout group but the wider community too. The new centre will be built in an off-grid and so the Scout group applied to the Calor Rural Community Fund in the hope of securing funding for their new LPG heating and hot water system.

We’ve been in touch with John, the Scout Group Leader to find out more about why he chose to apply to the Calor Rural Community Fund and how this project has progressed since securing funding from Calor.

Benefitting the community
  • “The money has enabled us to provide central heating and hot water throughout the new building - once we received the award from Calor, we were able to carry out the installation within one month. It is our intention, at the end of the shake down period, to open the building to the wider community for daytime and weekend use. We have already had a number of enquiries for this and the provision of the heating/hot water facility will benefit everyone who uses the building.”
Public Voting
  • “Promotion within the group was quite straight forward - we emailed every parent (we have over 100 children in the group) and provided them with the web link.  We asked them to vote for us and to cajole their friends, relatives and work colleagues to do the same.
    This was backed up with social media. We have a closed Facebook site on which we spread the word and asked everyone else to do the same via their personal Facebook accounts.  This was ongoing throughout the voting period but we had a huge push in the last week sending out messages every day up to the closing date.”
    Many of our younger members use social media day in and day out and they proved to be a major factor in garnering votes.
    When Calor announced the winners of the fund, the ability to watch the actual results online went down really well with our members. Many of them strayed from their work to watch it live on Facebook!”
Top Tips
  • “We have made many grant applications and we have learned from each one. When we set out on the process, we put together an information pack comprising a business plan which set out what we were doing, why we were doing it and the reasons we chose the option we went with. This meant we had all the information (including the facts, figures and any other important details) in one document to support our business case. Finally, we complied a management plan detailing our proposed way forward for the next 15 years.
    I would commend a document of this nature to anyone because when it comes to submitting an application, you know you have all the relevant information to hand and you won’t forget any important information in your submission.”
Discovering the Calor Rural Community Fund
  • “Our Group Chair is an existing customer of Calor. Shortly before the fund was open for applications, she received a communication from Calor introducing the Calor Rural Community Fund. At the time, we were trying to secure funding for our new heating and hot water system - and after researching the new initiative, we thought the opportunity to get a grant to install a non mains gas system was very appealing so we decided to apply."
The application process
  • “I found the application process for the Calor Rural Community Fund quite straight forward. I have been the main person to submit grant applications for this project and I have submitted literally dozens. I think it fair to say the Calor process has been one of the easier ones!”

The Park, Kilnwick - the creation of a new park combining educational and recreational elements

Fund applied for: £1,000

Location: East Riding of Yorkshire


"The Park, Kilnwick" is a charitable project to transform a piece of agricultural land into a recreational asset for all ages within the community, enhancing health and well-being. The grant awarded by the Calor Rural Community Fund has enabled the purchase of a ‘team swing’ for The Park. This swing is an inclusive piece of play equipment with a basket seat, which allows groups of young people to play together - encouraging team work whilst developing co-ordination and balance.

We’ve caught up with Ellen at The Park, Kilnwick. Watch their video to find out more.

Your project received the highest number of votes in the 2017 Calor Rural Community Fund – well done! How did you achieve this?
  • "We have a really good following of supporters and we knew they would actively vote for our project. We publicised our project though Facebook and via emails to our members and we were really excited to watch our number of votes getting higher and higher!"
How has the funding from Calor benefitted your project so far?
  • “We intend to use the money purchasing play equipment which will encourage families and young people to use the pool. Since receiving the funding from Calor, we have been investigating equipment that is of the highest safety and quality with an aim of purchasing all equipment as quickly as possible.”
If you had to give one tip to future applicants, what would it be?
  • “Ensure you publicise the voting process as widely as possible. This way you’ll collect as many votes from your supporters as you can!”

Friends of Bude Sea Pool

Fund applied for: £5,000

Location: Cornwall


Friends of Bude Sea Pool (FoBSP) were the lucky recipients of a £5,000 grant from the 2017 Calor Rural Community Fund. They have used their to purchase new water play equipment aimed at encouraging local children to use the pool and learn to love the sea-water in a safe environment. We’ve caught up with Frances at FoBSP to find out more.

How did you discover the Calor Rural Community Fund?
  • "A colleague of mine heard about the new initiative from Calor and thought it would be a good scheme for our project to apply to. Our project not only benefits a large proportion of the local children in a fun way but it also helps to increase water safety which will inevitably save lives too!"
How did you find the application process?
  • “We found the application process very simple and it wasn’t long before we could start encouraging our supporters to vote for our project."
What’s your top tip for future applicants?
  • “Ensure you publicise the voting process as widely as possible. This way you’ll collect as many votes from your supporters as you can!”
Your project received the highest number of votes in the 2017 Calor Rural Community Fund. How did you achieve this?
  • "We have a really good following of supporters and we knew they would actively vote for our project. We publicised our project though Facebook and via emails to our members and we were really excited to watch our number of votes getting higher and higher!"
How has the funding from Calor benefitted your project so far?
  • “We will use the money to purchase play equipment to encourage families and young people to use the pool. Since receiving the funding from Calor, we have been able to start investigating equipment that is of the highest safety and quality and we aim to purchase with an aim of purchasing all equipment as quickly as possible.”

Fibre Broadband access for Lapford

Fund applied for: £2,500

Location: Devon


Lapford Parish Council wanted to improve local life by getting Lapford Village connected to superfast broadband. With the village’s major facilities all located more than 20 miles away, this project will benefit not only the local residents but the local primary school, local small businesses and the local self-employed. We’ve caught up with local Parish Councillor, Bill to find out more about this project.

Discovering the Calor Rural Community Fund
  • "I heard about the Calor Rural Community Fund through the Chair of Lapford Parish Council - who read about the Fund in a local publication."
    "I have been pursuing our village’s broadband problem for some time, and after investigating Calor’s Rural Community Fund a little more and discovering it was exactly the sort of initiative designed to assist rural communities who are ‘off the beaten track’, I decided to apply."
The application process
  • "The Calor Rural Community Fund wasn’t designed to deter the applicant, rather more to encourage them, and I found the application process very easy – unlike the multiple hurdles you have to jump over in many other grant application processes."
Securing votes
  • "We wanted to spread the word about our application and encourage as many supporters as possible to vote for us. We posted notices around the village, took advert space in our village magazine, and made sure our application was mentioned at every public event including church services. We encouraged the residents in the village to share our project amongst their friends and family, and to reach parents at the local primary school, we even placed notes in the children’s school bags!"
Our project now
  • "Three weeks after being announced a winner, Lapford Parish Council received their grant from Calor, and since then we’ve been able to put our plan of getting Lapford Village connected to superfast broadband into motion. So far we have been able to sign, seal and send our broadband contract in preparation for the installation. The survey work has started and we hope to see physical activity by the end of the year. The whole project should be complete by Spring 2018."
A tip for future applicants
  • "Make sure your project benefits the widest possible number of people - not just a single age group, activity or limited demographic. Don’t be greedy. Remember that if you can raise some monies through funds like this, you can then have a better case for ‘match funding’ from other grant giving bodies who will only ever give a percentage of your project cost. And the reverse applies, if you are able to raise a chunk elsewhere and only need a top-up - that in my view should strengthen your case as well, because it will be the Calor grant that makes the project finally happen."

Buckden Choir - New stage piano for Buckden Singers community choir

Fund applied for: £1,000

Location: North Yorkshire


Buckden Singers is a community choir based in the tiny Yorkshire Dales village of Buckden. Founded in 2007 by 12 friends, the Choir has since expanded to nearly 50 members all ranging in ages from 10 to 80 years old.

When Buckden Singers was formed, a local resident funded the purchase of a Korg stage piano, which had served them well for ten years. However, after hundreds of rehearsals and more than 80 performances in a range of venues around the Dales and beyond, this piano became increasingly unreliable and on two occasions failed during performances.

In desperate need of a new piano to continue with their rehearsals and performances, Buckden Singers applied to the Calor Rural Community Fund in the hope of winning some much needed funding.

Their application was a huge success; they rallied plenty of public votes from their supporters and scored highly with Calor’s impartial judges which made them one of the nine winners of the 2017 Calor Rural Community Fund.

Since receiving their grant from Calor, Buckden Singers has been able to purchase their new piano and continue with their regular choir rehearsals.

Diptford School - new library books for Diptford Primary School

Fund applied for: £1,000

Location: Devon


Diptford School is located in rural South Devon and hosts a small but very popular library for its pupils. The nearest public library is a 20 minute drive so this school library is readily accessible for all the children.

Pupils at Diptford School love to read but with the small selection of books available within the school library, they have set up their own ‘Book Swap’ scheme to share books they have at home.

In light of this, and to improve the reading skillset and comprehension for pupils at Diptford School through an ‘Accelerated Reading’ programme, Friends of Diptford School (FODS) applied to the Calor Rural Community Fund in the hope of purchasing new books that would refresh and expand the book stock currently available in the school library.

FODS secured enough public votes from their supporters to take them through to the finalists’ stage and Calor’s impartial judges scored the project highly for long-term community benefit.

The project was awarded £1,000 and as a result they’ve been able to purchase a total of 267 new books for the school library!