Alconbury Weald Grassroots project among innovations to get people back to work


The Grassroots partnership project, based in Huntingdon and at Alconbury Weald, has been named as one of the winners of the first ever LEP Prize Challenge. The project’s lead partner Groundworks are one of the eight voluntary and social enterprises winning £30,000 to deliver projects which help people to get back into work.

Earlier this year, the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP) earmarked £1 million of funding over the next three years to deliver this ground-breaking Prize Challenge Fund scheme, with the first £240,000 being announced this week.

The winners will receive £30,000 each to improve and develop the skills of people who are experiencing multiple challenges and struggling to access sustained employment. The most successful projects then have the chance to compete for a further £50,000 of funding to help develop their projects further.

Grahame Nix, Chief Executive of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, explains: “Here at the LEP, we understand the importance to our region of having a skilled workforce and also the importance of having a job. The Prize Challenge Fund is providing £30,000 of funding for our eight finalists to make a real difference to people within their local communities.

“In total, we aim to help 1,000 disadvantaged people to become job ready and 250 people into paid employment within our area through the Prize Challenge. By fostering innovation we are creating new approaches for the future that will help people find work and support growth in our area.”

The Grassroots project will create pathways to new employment opportunities at Alconbury Weald from the area of North Ward in Huntingdon by enabling people to gain skills and confidence by working on projects to improve parks and community spaces.

Chris Dungate from Groundwork said: “Groundwork is thrilled to have been awarded the Prize Challenge grant. We are very excited to have the opportunity to continue to build upon our successful projects that benefit the local community and those distanced from the labour market to gain new skills and progress into employment or training.”

Rebecca Britton from Alconbury Weald owners and developers Urban&Civic, said:

“This has been a real partnership approach – which has drawn on the Green Skills projects we carried out last year with Groundworks, and feedback from Huntingdon’s All Ears listening exercise - to look at local projects which can inspire and engage people to get involved in improving the area around them, while learning new skills and gaining qualifications. Grassroots will link a range of training and voluntary opportunities around Huntingdon with the some of the projects and contracts being delivered on Alconbury Weald, giving people a real chance to gain experience and employment. We’ve been working with colleagues from the Job Centre, Regional College, Huntingdonshire District and Cambridgeshire County Council teams, Project Impress and the All Ears team to work up this project with Groundworks. The whole team are so pleased we can now start to turn all the planning into delivery.”

All of the award winners filmed a video submission as a part of the application process to summarise their project concept. You can watch the videos online here:

The eight organisations selected to receive the LEP Prize Challenge award are:
1. Axiom Crossroads Care – Plan into Employment programme
2. CHS Group – Enterprise Communities project
3. Cross Keys Homes – Moving forward into work
4. Future Business – No NEET school leaver
5. Groundwork – Grassroots
6. Living Sport – Sport Future
7. Prince’s Trust – Get into machining
8. Wintercomfort – Overstream clean

The Prize Challenge Fund has been managed by Cambridgeshire Community Foundation, with the capacity-building and facilitation support of Big Society Funding CIC. Evaluation partners are Social Enterprise East of England.

To find out more about the Challenge Fund please contact Laura Welham-Halstead on 01223 967009 or via email at


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