ABOUT
Realife is a community development agency with a particular interest in working in partnership with people who are isolated or marginalised which means in practice that anyone can come through the door or call us up and we'll work on solving any issues they may be facing or create new projects with them if it's more about ideas than problems!  

We started out in 1996 by being like lots of other voluntary agencies , taking on contracts, working on two year funded projects, building up staff and generally becoming overweight and tied up with running  those contracts for Local Authorities rather than doing what local people actually needed.

So - in 2007 we made a big decision to stop running things like everyone else does, hive off all of our projects that would be better off being independent and go back to being a charity run by and for local people. For us, that means no salaries, no contracts, no short term projects and never, if we can help it, saying 'no' to people if we can possibly avoid it. 

Since 2007 we have been able to develop more new community projects than we did in the previous 10 years and it's all down to listening to local people, working in partnership and the pursuit of sustainability. If that all sounds a bit confusing , take a look below at our current projects and partners and you'll see what we mean.
    Here's what we do.....
National Brokerage Network
 
Realife acts as the Eastern Region Co-ordinator for the Support Brokerage Network, providing the level 2 accredited Support Brokerage trtaining and a full range of information, advice and guidance services to disabled people, family carers and anyone else who wants our support. More information at www.nbneast.org or www.nationalbrokeragenetwork.org.uk
Community Connections
 
Realife is part of the Lottery/ESF funded  'Building Better Opportunities' Community Connections programme, enabling us to support 20 unemployed people back into work over the next 3 years - so more community and social enterprises are on the way!
Inclusion East
 
Set up by Vicki Raphael and Jo Hough, Inclusion East is a family carer led consultancy and advocacy network undertaking a wide range of work at regional and national level. Realife is currently working with Inclusion East on a large number of Care and Treatment reviews for people with a learning disability or autism in secure residential settings for NHS England. Find out more at www.inclusioneast.co.uk
Reception Direct
 
We run the reception service at the Orwell House Enterprise Centre for Cambridge City Council, enabling us to provide our co-working space and meeting facilities for local voluntary agencies. Find out more at www.orwellhouse.org.uk
The Funky Flamingo Club
 
Run by and for people with a learning disability led by John Hutchison, Amy Forgacs and the Six Pack DJ crew. Running 4 times a year plus adduitional special events, these high-energy club culture events were originally set up by Inspire in 2001 and transfered to Realife in 2012. Find our more at www.funkyflamingo.club
Greenstages
 
We designed these lovely outside shelters back in 2001 for the National Trust and they are now used by all sorts of festival organisers and community events. Find our more at www.greenstage.org.uk
Best Buddies UK
 
Realife hosts the national office of Best Buddies UK, the GB branch of the international friendship, leadershipship and employment programme set up by Best Buddies International in 1990. Locally, we run Best Buddies Cambridge too. Find out more at www.bestbuddiesuk.org
Libra Theatre
 
Established in 1985, Libra is the regions oldest integrated theatre company. Realife was asked to host the company in 2015. Find our more at www.libratheatre.org.uk
A Bit of Everything
 
...is the name chosen by three of the group members from our new pilot project on peer mentoring for people with Aspergers and other autistic related conditions, funded by Essex C|ounty Council in West Essex. It's early days but it looks like this may become a viable social enterprise with national implications.
www.abitofeverything.co.uk is the new website address
The UK PIE PARTY
 
Pie Party Leader Nicky Vere-Compton's amazing Pie in the Face comedy extravaganza raising money for cancer charities with Pie in the Face humour. Our newest and possibly weirdest community interest company start-up yet! Find our more at www.ukpieparty.com
Paws-Ability
 
Professional dog trainer Philippa's new social enterprise supporting disabled people to live more independently by teaching a range of skills to your pet dog. As a wheelchair use herself, Philippa has a unique blend of professional skills and lived experience.
Find out more at www.paws-ability.co.uk
Cambridge Acorn Project
 
Set up by Matt Edge, www.cambridgeacornproject.org.uk t he Cambridge Acorn Project is committed to developing services, in whatever form, to support both adults and children vulnerable to some form of emotional harm. Realife and Acorn are working in partnership for mutual support to increase the effectiveness of both organisations in this crucial area. Find out more at www.cambridgeacornproject.org.uk
Menelik Education
 
Set up by Theodore Mfuni Menelik, the charity works on  wide range of education, healthcare and education projects in the Congo. Realife and Menelik work in partnership running the Ubuntu World Music Club and other community development initiatives. Theodore is also a key member of the Realife core team. Find out more about menelik Education at www.menelikeducation.info
Strummers
 
Realife works in Partnership with Strummers and Red Velvet to promote live music, festivals and gigs and to run the annual Red velvet 27 hour non-stop Music Marathon to raise over £5000 a year for local cancer charities. Find out more at www.strummers.org
Casarabonela - our little place in Spain
 
Gifted to Realife by our good friend Bob Rhodes of Lives through Friends , this little white-washed haven sleeps 4 and is perfect for anyone needing a break, time to think, write a novel, record an album, drink wine and generally re-charge the batteries. Casarabonela is a 30 minute drive from Malaga airport and the beaches of the Costa Del Sol but our preference is to hang around the local shops and bars in the village and explore the beautiful Siera des Nieves National Park. Watch our litttle home movie here to find out more 
The Virtual Academy
 
Our major project for 2017 is our partnership with Chris Bullen and colleagues from Visit Ltd to create the International Community Development Department at Vist's Virtual Academy. Check out the link below for a taste of the potential of this extraordinary initiative

Plough and Fleece Community Pub
 
Our other home from home i Horningsea near Cambridge. Realife led the community buy out from Greene King with a £60 share issue - raising over £200,00 as well as securing a £50,000 grant from the Big Lottery.  Several voluntary groups including Inclusion East became investors, using the pub to hold their regional meetings. Find us there every Thursday night at the acoustic music session!

Find out more at www.ploughandfleece.com
Disability Cambridgeshire
 
Disability Cambridgeshire is an advice and information service for disabled people, older people, their families and carers. They serve people of all ages in South and East Cambridgeshire, Fenland and Cambridge City. Realife and Disability Cambridgeshire have been working together for years and have been sharing offices at Orwell House for the past 18 months. Partnership in action!

Find out more at www.disability-cambridgeshire.org.uk
Rebecca and ADDapt Ability
 
Rebecca Champ is an Integrative Contemporary Psychotherapist and Coach, and the Executive Director of ADDapt Ability. Her passion is to help individuals with ADHD discover how to design lives they love to live. Combining her training as a coach, counsellor and psychotherapist with her personal experience and understanding of ADHD, Rebecca has developed a process and programmes to connect with your core self, discover your natural talents, and build tools specifically designed to create the life you imagine

Find out more at www.rebeccachamp.co.uk