Community Projects

Over the years, Viva has built on its foundation and has branched out into other projects that would benefit the community


A community-fuelled transport scheme – with a difference! Nellie the bright pink Tuk Tuk is run by Viva to help people get around Soham.

Meet Nellie. She is a motorised Tuk Tuk vehicle and the funds to buy her were raised and crowdfunded by the local Soham community in 2019. Nellie is a unique form of community transport set up to help combat rural isolation and provide access to services. Nellie the Tuk Tuk is a volunteer fuelled, unique and fun community transport solution. Nellie has also helped people access their Covid-19 vaccination appointments and is now getting ready for flu jab season!

Generously supported by:

National Lottery Community Fund Logo
Cambridgeshire Community Foundation logo

Cambridgeshire’s Village Colleges

A Viva community project celebrating pioneers of lifelong learning at the heart of rural communities through archival research, interviews and film.

This community project looked at how Cambridgeshire’s Village Colleges, truly ground-breaking and unique institutions, have, for decades, touched tens of thousands of lives to become central features of our communities. Research began with visits to each of the Village Colleges to explore any archives preserved within. An abundance of assets was quickly unearthed and the process of cataloguing and curating began. Meanwhile, project volunteers interviewed over 30 people whose lives had been impacted by the arrival of the Village College in their locality. These people included former pupils, teachers and Adult Education users.

When COVID-19 caused the shutdown of all activities, the project was reshaped for the safety and accessibility for the volunteers and audiences alike. The planned travelling exhibition was reformed into an online archive, which has the benefit of being an ever-lasting, permanent resource for ‘all things Village Colleges.’ The project booklet was also revamped into an A4 landscape brochure designed to display much of the wonderful imagery from our archive and include quotes from our oral histories. The project documentary film was produced in the pandemic and many Viva volunteers helped by recording voice-overs from their homes.

Funded by:

National Lottery Heritage Fund Logo
Henry Morris Memorial Trust logo

Street Life 1939-1945

A bridge to the local people of Soham, Ely, Chatteris and Littleport to discover who lived and worked in their towns (possibly even their own house) during the War from 1939-1945.

The project focused on the towns of Chatteris, Ely, Littleport and Soham during the Second World War to encourage people to look more closely at their built environment, to discover great stories and to connect with people from the past. We discovered how daily and family life continued as the community coped with rationing and the impact of the war as well as how local buildings have changed use over time or disappeared entirely. The project captured memories, stories and information that otherwise might have been lost as well as giving local people an understanding of their local heritage and what the community used to be like over 70 years ago.

The StreetLife pop-up tour visited many local schools and these learning resources are an important part of the project’s legacy. The resources were developed so that some of its themes and stories could be used to support cross-curricular learning at Primary level. The resources were developed in consultation with local teachers and have been presented in a user friendly way to make it as easy as possible to use them with students.

Funded by:

National Lottery Heritage Fund Logo

Rich Soil Rich Heritage

Telling the story, from the 17th Century, of the people who came to East Cambridgeshire to work.

Rich Soil Rich Heritage was a two-year community heritage project in 2012-2014 that involved many local people in many different ways. Volunteers carried out research, oral history interviews, photography, fieldwork, acting, presenting and filmmaking to record important aspects of three and a half centuries of East Cambridgeshire’s history.

The project looked at the story of some of the many different groups of people who came to the area. From the 17th Century to the present day, they came to East Cambridgeshire for very different reason but all were connected by one common activity…work. Their work ranged from back breaking construction of massive drainage channels to flying fighter aircraft in defence of liberty. Once the land was drained, it was perfect for farming and then later provided the flat expanses needed for wartime airfields. Nature may have given the area its distinctive rich soil, but it was the people who helped shape the area we see today. They gave East Cambridgeshire its rich heritage.

Funded by:

National Lottery Heritage Fund Logo

From the East End to East Cambs

A research and education project focusing on the evacuation of pupils and staff from the London Jews Free School to Ely in 1939.

The project tells the story of how the evacuation in 1939 has shaped the heritage and culture of the city of Ely, the surrounding area and the people who live there. 4,910 adults and children were evacuated at the start of the Second World War. The residents of these communities were involved in homing the evacuees and making arrangements for their stay. This event prompted changes and developments to be made within the Ely area, including the establishment of the Ely Jewish Boys’ Home.

The project gave the community of Ely the opportunity to learn about their heritage whilst taking part in various activities including research, arts workshops and a multimedia theatre production titled ‘Out of the East End’, written especially for the project by local historian and playwright, Mike Rouse. The play was performed by some of our own Viva Members sharing with the community this otherwise lost heritage.

Funded by:

National Lottery Heritage Fund Logo

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