COVID-19 Updates for Parishes

HDC Services

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  1. HDC COVID-19 dedicated webpage:
  • Please direct people to this webpage for the latest updates on how the district council services are running, this page is being updated regularly throughout the day. The webpage can be accessed here: https://huntingdonshire.gov.uk/serviceupdate
  1. Information for local businesses:

·        There is a dedicated webpage for local businesses to access information about business rate relief, access to support and other measures that have been introduced by the government. It can all be found in one place here: https://huntingdonshire.gov.uk/investhuntssupport

·        The Council are also issuing letters imminently to every business ratepayer in the district which will contain information on how to access new guidance and support that the government has announced.

  1. Impact on waste services:

·        Due to the coronavirus outbreak and potential increases in staff sickness levels, some recycling and waste services may be impacted. This may result in general rubbish being prioritised, other services being suspended at short notice, such as organic waste, recycling or bulky waste collections.

·        Services offered and operating hours may also change at Recycling Centres. We are working hard to minimise the impact on your recycling and waste collections and we appreciate your understanding if services do change. We are monitoring the situation closely but should the situation change we will be altering the service accordingly. Currently, all collection crews are deployed so services are running as normal.

·        Any individuals asked to self-isolate, either as a precaution or because they are confirmed to have coronavirus, should follow this advice to get rid of their household waste to ensure the virus is not spread via personal waste. Individuals should place all personal waste such as used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths, securely in a plastic bag or bin liner. This plastic bag should then be placed in another plastic bag and securely tied. These bags must be stored separately to other waste for at least 72 hours before being placed in the general rubbish collection. After 72 hours outside the body, the virus is no longer viable and the double-bagged waste can be put in the general rubbish collection as normal. Only heavily contaminated waste, such as tissues that have been coughed in and disposable cleaning cloths need to be treated in this way. Regular household recycling and waste should be treated as normal. Please note, individuals who are self-isolating should not visit any recycling centre.

National Advice

  1. Key worker definition:
  1. Guidance for charitable organisations:

Other useful links


PARISH AND TOWN COUNCIL AND RESIDENT ASSOCIATION UPDATES from Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City Councils

Goodbye for now – and thanks!

This edition will be the final one of the Covid-19 Communities update for the time being. This is because the amount of relevant news we have to share with you and the contributions received from partners has reduced.

We will monitor the situation and will look to reintroduce the newsletter in the future if there is a need.

We would like to thank you all for your help in getting vital Covid-19 messages out to members of the public during the past three months.

You will still receive Highlights from the Hubs on a Friday if you have subscribed and you can keep an on eye on the latest news from both councils on Facebook, Twitter or at www.peterborough.gov.uk or www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk


Register now if you’re shielding to access priority supermarket slots

People who have been encouraged to register as shielding are being urged to do so before the 17 July deadline (this Friday), whether they need help at the moment or not. 

Although the shielding programme will be paused on 31 July, people on the shielded list who register for support with essential supplies before 17 July will still be able to access priority supermarket delivery slots from this date.  

In addition, the council will be keeping a record of everyone who is shielding, so that if there is a need for lockdown again, it has the details of everyone who might need support.  

To register on the shielded list, or to amend your preferences, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable or call 0800 028 8327.  

In addition, the Government has confirmed this week that the majority of children currently considered extremely clinical vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19) will be able to be removed from the shielded patient list from 31 July. 

Children will only be removed from the shielded patient list by their GP or specialist doctor following consultation with them and their families. Specialists and GPs will be asked to contact families to discuss this over the summer, so people do not need to take any immediate action. 

The Government has decided to take this action following independent evidence from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), working with specialists in paediatric medicine, which shows the risk of serious illness for children and young people is low and only those with the most severe conditions should now be considered clinically extremely vulnerable. 

More information is available at www.gov.uk.


Volunteers continue transporting vulnerable people and key workers

Volunteer drivers, who help transport vulnerable people and children on journeys, such as to school, have continued to give up their time and carry out the vital work during the pandemic.

The scheme, run by Cambridgeshire County Council, has continued throughout lockdown, providing an essential travel service to vulnerable people, key workers and children of key workers.

While some of the drivers have been unable to work due to coronavirus, others have still been carrying out the service, not only transporting the children they would usually, but also children whose usual volunteer is self-isolating. 

All volunteers follow government guidance and wear PPE (masks and gloves) while working. They also have hand sanitiser for their use and that of the individuals they are transporting. 


School in Peterborough produce over 10,000 visors

After becoming acutely aware of the shortage of personal protective equipment for frontline workers back in March, staff at Jack Hunt School, a specialist language and sports college in Peterborough, were keen to put their skills, experience and materials to the test.

Picking up on the growing shortage of protective visors for NHS and care workers across the country, staff from the school’s Design Technology department quickly began working up prototypes, unaware they were starting a process that would see them manufacturing over 10,000 pieces for frontline workers right across our region.

Word quickly spread, and the visors are now being used in four hospitals, including one in Nottingham, a number doctors surgeries and in 173 care homes across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Children’s Community Nurses and local ambulance crews are among other recipients of the safe and comfortable PPE.


Update to Stagecoach rules

Stagecoach has updated its rules for customers using its services, in line with government guidance. 

From today, Thursday 9 July, the travel company will be increasing the capacity on board its buses in the Eastern region. Passengers will now be able to sit one person per double seat.

Passengers must leave the seat next to and behind them empty and only sit with someone if they are in their household or bubble.

Face coverings are still compulsory when travelling with Stagecoach unless passengers are covered by the Government’s list of exemptions.

For more information visit the Stagecoach website here.


Roald Dahl reading treats available for Peterborough youngsters

Peterborough Reads has created 200 Roald Dahl packs so that children without reliable internet access can continue to develop their literacy skills during lockdown.

The packs are full of fun-filled activities including inventing a scrumptious treat for Willy Wonka’s factory, travelling the world in a giant peach, and capturing dreams for The BFG. We’ve also included a free Roald Dahl book in each pack along with tips to help families and carers get the most out of story time.

Recent research found that 60,000 children in the UK do not have any access to the internet at home, while millions of others do not have a device that can connect to the internet.

We partnered with City College Peterborough and the local council to help identify young people who will benefit from a pack and to help distribute them across the community. Some of the packs have already been given to children associated with Barnardo’s Children’s centre and the remaining packs will be distributed in the next few weeks.

Visit the Peterborough Reads website here.

Visit their Facebook page here.

The Roald Dahl activities can also be downloaded for free here.

Keep Caring for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough – residents urged to keep to the rules, as coronavirus hasn’t gone away 

Residents across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are being urged by civic and community leaders from across the county to “Keep Caring” for one another, as coronavirus hasn’t gone away.

A campaign launched yesterday (Tuesday 7 July) to reinvigorate public health messages and remind people that even though lockdown restrictions are gradually being lifted – everyone needs to continue to take action to help us all return to a more normal life.

With certain government restrictions relaxed from Saturday 4 July, including being able to meet in groups of up to two households in any location – public or private, indoors or outdoors – it remains the case that even inside someone’s home you should continue to keep a safe distance from anyone not in your household or bubble.

The two metre rule being relaxed to a ‘1 metre plus’ approach depends on the setting, and means people are being trusted to continue acting responsibly by following this and the related guidance to care for themselves and each other.

The more people we interact with, the more chance the virus has to spread. Therefore, everyone should still try to limit the number of people they see and get close to. The risk of transmission is also higher indoors, so people should take extra care, including wearing a face covering on public transport and in enclosed spaces where you can’t stay two metres apart.

The Keep Caring campaign outlines ways that people can take care of themselves and each other – for instance highlighting that:

  • Caring is keeping your distance – inside or outside
  • Caring is being responsible – staying isolated if you think you’ve got symptoms, or been close to someone who has
  • Caring is covering your face – even with no symptoms you might still spread virus
  • Caring is washing your hands – regularly, when you enter or leave a new place

It also points out that:

  • Caring is staying and buying local – to support local businesses and jobs
  • Caring is being considerate – rubbish destroys our countryside, and puts those who clear it up at risk

Vlogs from Councillor Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council and Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council have been recorded.

Comprehensive advice on current government rules is available on the gov.uk website.


Council Education Leads working to ensure the safe return of all school year groups in September

Education Leads across Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council have been reviewing updated government guidance around the re-opening of schools for all year groups in September, and are confident the necessary measures will be in place to welcome back all pupils.

The guidance, announced last week by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, sets out the steps primary, secondary (including sixth forms), infant, junior, middle, upper, school-based nurseries and boarding schools need to take to ensure all pupils can return to formal education after the summer.

Find out more on our Cambridgeshire and Peterborough websites.


Residents attending city centre pubs, bars and restaurants enjoyed themselves responsibly over the weekend in Peterborough 

Residents who visited the city centre over the weekend has been praised for enjoying themselves responsibly by both Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire Police.

With many venues taking bookings only and placing barriers outside to ensure social distancing, pubs, bars and restaurants welcomed customers back for their first ice cold draught beer or restaurant meal for over 100 days on Saturday.

A spokesperson from Cambridgeshire Constabulary said: “We can confirm the weekend went well and passed largely without incident.

“Officers on patrol were on hand to keep the public safe and remind people to stick to the social distancing guidelines.

“We would like to thank the communities of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough for enjoying themselves responsibly and encourage everyone to keep up the good work in the coming weeks.

“It’s really important that everyone takes personal responsibility for their actions to help prevent the spread of the virus and keep our communities safe from harm.”


Volunteers to continue to support villagers –

Dedicated volunteers in Isleham, who have ensured that vulnerable residents are provided with essentials and support during lockdown, have pledged to continue their efforts indefinitely.

Over the past three months, a volunteer group run by Isleham Cricket Club and supported by local suppliers, has been busy preparing and delivering weekly boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables, biscuits, potatoes and other essentials.

The group took over a phone box in the village where residents can leave non-perishable foods free for anyone in need to collect 24/7, with a volunteer visiting daily to help maintain its stock.

They have also collected and distributed over 500 medical prescriptions and completed over 400 shopping and errand requests.

Messages of thanks from residents have continued to be received on social media and through written cards and letters.


Car parking charges to be reintroduced in Peterborough on Monday (13 July)

Following a three month break during the Covid-19 lockdown, Peterborough City Council will be reintroducing parking charges across all its city centre car parks and on-street pay and display parking bays across the city on Monday (13 July).

Parking charges were suspended during lockdown, to help critical workers and keep the roads free for emergency vehicles and essential deliveries.

Now, as lockdown is gradually eased and Peterborough is opening up again, parking restrictions will go back to how they operated previously.

Although cash machines will still be operational at each car park – which will be cleaned daily, members of the public are encouraged to either use the PayByPhone app to pay for their parking charges, or by dialling the PayByPhone service number on the side of the car park machine. Both are touch-free methods of payment.

A parking scheme for NHS workers in the city has been set up through an official government recognised scheme, allowing them to apply for a free parking permit to help them carry out the vital work they are doing. Speak to your employers if you believe you qualify for access to this scheme.


County Council and British Red Cross extend their partnership through COVID-19 

When the lockdown began, the British Red Cross assisted the Countywide Hub with the distribution of food parcels. Together they have distributed 1,500 food parcels to more than 900 households and nearly 3,000 people.

But as the weeks went on it became clear that the British Red Cross could support in another important way, by helping to combat mental health issues and crucially loneliness, fear and isolation.

The British Red Cross offered to provide an additional service in the form of befriending people who were feeling vulnerable and isolated.

The County Council and British Red Cross quickly developed a virtual telephone service which not only gave a much needed communication lifeline to people and ensured they had someone to speak with, but also allowed trained BRC staff and volunteers to ask questions to ensure the person was receiving all the help they required. 

Between them they could identify any areas of concern and then refer the concerns back into the hub to be solved or referred on to other Red Cross colleagues or other charities to provide support.

Currently 700 people have been contacted by the Red Cross volunteers, with over 1,054 calls made to date and over 550 people confirming they would like regular calls from the volunteers.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough launch their new campaign ‘no place like home’ to help find more foster carers 

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council want to hear from anyone who is considering fostering in order to provide support, love and stability to children and young people.

Every day over 300 foster carers from across Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council give over 1,000 fostered children and young people a safe and loving home.

Both Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council want to encourage people to find out more about how they can inspire children and young people to reach their full potential. During Covid-19 both local authorities have been progressing enquiries over the telephone and by video call, but many more foster carers are needed to help support children over 10, teenagers and sibling groups.

If you are over 21 and have a spare bedroom in your home then you should not rule yourself out based on age, disability, ethnicity, gender identification, religion or sexual orientation. Carers can be single or in a relationship, own or rent their own home, have their own children or be child-free.

Carers receive payments and allowances to help cover their time and expenses, as well as advice and guidance so they are supported every step of the way.

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council encourage you to find out more about fostering, visit the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough websites. Alternatively, for Cambridgeshire residents, email fostering@cambridgeshire.gov.uk or call 0800 052 0078. And for Peterborough residents, email FosteringandAdoption@Peterborough.gov.uk or call 0800 328 8433.


Leader’s Vlogs 

Councillor Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council and Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council have recorded separate vlogs for residents across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Councillor Steve Count talks about pubs, bars and restaurants re-opening this Saturday and also stresses the need for residents to take notice of the ongoing safety guidance, reminding people to stay alert and continue practising social distancing. Watch his vlog.

Councillor John Holdich talks about pubs, bars and restaurants re-opening this Saturday in Peterborough, the new NHS Test and Trace app and lasting tributes to Peter Boizot and Dean Peter Peckard. Watch his vlog.


Changes for the shielded community from Today (6 July)  

From today, people who are shielding will be able to meet in groups of up to six people from outside their household, as long as they are outdoors and social distancing.

People who live alone (or are a lone adult with dependent children under 18), will also be able to form a support bubble with another household. 

At all times people should maintain social distancing and should not share items such as cups and plates. 

The changes were announced by the Government previously, along with the pausing of the shielding programme from 1 August.  The Countywide hub is here to support members of our shielded community at this time, and want to reassure that help is available to begin the initial transition from shielding starting July 6th.

The Countywide Coordination Hub is supporting members of the shielded community and is supporting people to transition out of shielding if they need it.

If you need support and you don’t have friends, family or neighbours to help you, please visit the Peterborough and Cambridgeshire websites or call 0345 045 5219.


Local Outbreak Control plan launched

As part of the Government’s national strategy to manage and control the pandemic, every area in England needs to develop its own Local Outbreak Control Plan for COVID-19. 

In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough our plan – launched last week – builds on tried and tested existing plans for controlling other infectious diseases like tuberculosis.  

It relies on working closely with our local communities to reduce the risk of people contracting the disease in the first place by following clear public health messages, but if they do, to establish systems so new cases can be identified quickly to reduce the likelihood of them spreading.

Where clusters of new COVID-19 cases arise our plan will make sure that we identify them swiftly, and working with Public Health England Health Protection Team, put measures in place to control them, so we can support the continued lifting of lockdown restrictions and the continued return to normal life.

You can see the plan and lots of other helpful information explaining the ‘test and trace’ process on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough websites.

Reopening plans will build on lockdown innovation

Cambridgeshire County Council has outlined plans to begin re-opening Libraries and Archives from 4 July – in a safe, well managed way to ensure safety of visitors and staff – but wants to build on innovation developed during lockdown. 

A report which goes to the council’s Communities and Partnerships Committee this Thursday (2 July) confirms a massive additional take-up of digital library services since the lockdown began with resources issued more than tripling to 40,000 a month, and a large increase of use in social media channels.

To support our shielded community, our library service, in partnership with Cambridgeshire Skills, City College Peterborough and Civic, designed and delivered a new website, ‘Open New Doors’, which provides a variety of activities, experiences and learning opportunities, and an expanded Libraries at Home service has also been delivering books to the doorsteps of the most vulnerable.

This experience and the tremendous uptake of the online offer means the Library service will look to expand by developing a business case for a bus sized vehicle which will take technology and assets into more isolated communities, giving  them access to more services, support and opportunities – usually only available from a library building.

From 4 July, nine libraries will begin to re-open by offering a new ‘Select and Collect’ service where books can be chosen in advance and collected at pre-booked times. To combat digital exclusion, libraries will also begin offer public access IT services based on 45-minute pre-booked appointments, with machines being cleaned between each user.

Mobile libraries won’t be able restart immediately because of problems in maintaining social distancing in such small spaces.

Archives will also begin to reopen from July on an appointments only basis to begin with, and all documents must be pre-booked to ensure safety and to minimise risk.

For more details please see the Communities and Partnerships Agenda here  


Councils and schools support Armed Forces Week

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough residents and local schoolchildren showed their appreciation for men and women who are serving, or have served, in the military, to mark Armed Forces Week (22-27 June). 

Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City Council and Cambridge City Council are among the signatories to the Armed Forces Covenant, a commitment from the public and private organisations to support the active and retired Armed Forces community.

Armed Forces Week is a chance to show support for currently serving troops, including reservists, as well as veterans, cadets and their families. Each day of Armed Forces Week saw different parts of the military highlighted, culminating in the 12th annual Armed Forces Day on Saturday, 27 June.

During the week the Armed Forces Day flag was raised ‘virtually’ across the county. Councillor Mac McGuire, Chairman of the Armed Forces Covenant Board in Cambridgeshire provided his thoughts in a video and Peterborough City Council organised a short virtual service.

Schools across the region, such as Castle Camps C of E Primary School in Cambridge, were keen to show their support for our service personnel, with several creating their own video montages, encouraging us all to #SaluteOurForces. Watch their fantastic and poignant video.

Videos were shared on the County Council’s and Peterborough City Council’s Facebook and Twitter accounts last week.

You can view Peterborough City Council’s short virtual service here.

All three councils will be organising events in August to mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day and the end of World War Two and announcements on those will be made nearer the time.


Parking enforcement in Cambridge

From this week (Monday 29 June), parking restrictions in Cambridge will return to normal. 

At the start of the lockdown in March, Cambridgeshire County Council in partnership with Cambridge City Council, worked together to suspend parking enforcement in Cambridge. By relaxing the rules, the aim was to help critical workers – largely the only ones out and about – park where ever they needed to.

Now, as lockdown is gradually eased, our town, villages and cities are opening up again. There are more people getting out and about, so all parking restrictions in Cambridge will go back to how they operated previously,  helping the city economy to recover.

This doesn’t affect the free parking permit scheme for the critical care workers who can still park their vehicles in all Resident Permit Parking Areas and on-street Pay and Display bays in Cambridge City, whilst carrying out essential duties, without having to worry about cost or time restrictions. For more information on this, visit our website.

In Peterborough, all council owned car parks remain free of charge until 13 July.


Schools invited to join safety improvement scheme

Schools in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are being invited to join a new initiative aimed at creating a safe space outside their gates which encourages pupils to use active transport and maintain social distancing.

Following government funding aimed at encouraging cycling and walking, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council have written to all schools inviting them to take part in the ‘School Streets’ scheme.

By creating a school street, schools can temporarily close a road outside their entrance, enabling it to become a pedestrian and cycle/scoot zone during the school’s opening and closing times.

This will also help to implement social distancing and encourage active travel, with the added benefit of reducing congestion and pollution at the school gates and improving safety for children on their way to and from school.

If adopted, the council will work to support school street schemes under a temporary traffic regulation order for up to 18 months.

Once a school street is in place, cones and signs will be put across the road to prevent vehicle accessing the area during school drop-off and pick-up time periods. The closure will need to be put up and taken down on a daily basis and will not apply at weekends and during school holidays. Access will be maintained for emergency vehicles.

Schools will need to put forward volunteers to help run the scheme and the council will provide full training and resources free of charge. The scheme will then be owned and operated by the school community, with support from the council.


Anglian Water joins forces with Community Foundations

In April, Anglian Water launched plans to establish a new £1 million community support fund to provide a cash boost for local communities to help fight the impacts of Coronavirus.

Over £50,000 of the cash has already been fast-tracked to front line organisations in the immediate response to battle the pandemic. Just a matter of weeks later, the company has revealed how the rest of the funding will be distributed to those who need it most. Anglian Water is working with 15 Community Foundations to allocate its £1million Positive Difference Fund. Community Foundations has extensive local expertise in getting money quickly to areas where it is most needed and has been working tirelessly in the response to the pandemic.

Half of the fund is being made available immediately, with the remaining half released later in the year to meet emerging needs from the fallout from the pandemic. Eligible organisations will be able to apply to their local Community Foundation for grants of up to £5,000.

The money will help local charitable organisations deal with emerging issues in the community as a result of the continuing threat of coronavirus. Organisations like food banks, outreach programmes and those helping the most vulnerable can ask for support from the Positive Difference Fund via the Community Foundations to help those shielding or suffering from financial hardship, homelessness, loneliness and isolation.

Other support, available from Anglian Water’s Extra Care offering, includes discounted tariffs alongside affordable payment plans. More than 300,000 customers each year are already helped this way.

The water company also helps customers identify if they may be eligible for benefits they are not claiming. Anglian Water has already signposted customers to a potential £4.5m of unclaimed aid, with the average amount that customers may be entitled to far outweighing the cost of the average water bill.

It is also adding customers to its Priority Services Register faster than ever before, meaning they will get tailored help and special assistance should they need it.

Further information, eligibility criteria and how to apply for a grant from the Positive Difference Fund can be found here.


Leader’s vlogs

Councillor Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council and Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council have recorded separate vlogs for residents across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Councillor Steve Count talks about the countywide co-ordination hubs 100-day anniversary, people who have been self-isolating will no longer need to shield from 1 August and the new lockdown measures from 4 July. Watch his vlog here

Councillor John Holdich talks about the Honours Panel, three new schools being built in the city and the 90 day notice period that Vivacity have served. Watch his vlog here

Schools step up plans to welcome back all year groups in September

Education Leads across Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City Councils are continuing their work with primary and secondary schools and academy trusts, following the government’s announcement that all year groups should be set to return in September.

The region’s schools, the majority of which are currently open to selected year groups having successfully implemented their social ‘bubbles’, will need to adapt their plans to cater for more children, now that social distancing has been downgraded from a safe distance of two metres to a minimum of one. 

Guidance from the Department of Education is expected with the next few weeks, but schools are already making plans and working through detailed risk assessments, ensuring pupils can return to environments where every aspect of their safety and wellbeing has been fully considered.


Cambridgeshire County Council prepares to welcome back visitors

The highways team at Cambridgeshire County Council has been working closely with its partners to ensure towns, cities and villages have enough pedestrian and cycle space to allow social distancing and to protect people’s safety.  

The team has been working with city and district councils across Cambridgeshire to make temporary changes to the highway to make areas Covid-19 secure – including putting down floor stencils, removing planters and other street furniture to create more space, widening footpaths and installing temporary barriers. These will guide visitors and ensure enough space to keep a 2m gap (or 1m plus, where this is not possible) from each other when pubs, bars and restaurants start to re-open from Saturday (4 July).


Cafe style culture coming to Peterborough City Centre

Early indications are that around 50 per cent of pubs, bars and restaurants will be re-opening in Peterborough city centre on Saturday, 4 July, thanks to a relaxation in Covid-19 restrictions. 

To help businesses ensure there is enough space to keep everyone safe this summer, Peterborough City Council is encouraging a café style culture to allow pubs, bars and restaurants to extend out onto the streets, such as Cathedral Square, Bridge Street and the Guild Hall where possible. 

This is expected to take place later in the summer once businesses have got used to being open and the city council is currently working with individual businesses to allow outdoor seating wherever possible.

Advice for visitors can be viewed here.

All measures are being coordinated by the Peterborough Economic Recovery Programme (PERP), a partnership comprising of Peterborough City Council, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Peterborough Positive, Opportunity Peterborough and local businesses.  

Together, the PERP has reached out to help city businesses recover from the impact of Covid-19, giving support and guidance on how to get their businesses started again. In the future, it will look to help these businesses build back stronger and to support independents in moving towards an additional e-commence model to future proof their business. 

The measures, which aim to protect both shoppers and businesses from Covid-19, have been made possible thanks to the Government’s Re-Opening High Streets Safely Fund, from which it will be possible for the city council to claim back £181,500.  

City/Town re-openings in Cambridgeshire is also handled by Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council and Huntingdonshire District Council. Please contact them for their details. 


Wedding ceremonies update

Last week, the government announced that wedding ceremonies can take place from July 4 onwards in England.

We understand that many people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough want to get married or have a civil partnership and are working to contact couples who had previously arranged ceremonies.

In Cambridgeshire, our registration services team is prioritising couples who were due to have their ceremony during lockdown, between 24 March and July 3. These couples have already been contacted by our team via email.

Bookings for ceremonies in Cambridgeshire in 2022 can be made online here.

In Peterborough, the team is contacting, in ceremony date order, those couples that need to give their notice of intention. They are also contacting couples with booked ceremonies to let them know what format their ceremony will take. Please bear with us at this exceptionally busy time.

Both teams are awaiting further clarification of exact details on ceremonies from the government. We will be updating our websites with more information as we get it. 

For more details, visit the Cambridgeshire County Council registration services webpage here and Peterborough City Council registration services here.


Library services to re-open in Cambridgeshire

Book lovers can now order titles and collect them from libraries in Cambridgeshire from next week.

Following government guidance, Cambridgeshire County Council is starting a phased re-opening of library services from Monday 6 July, in line with the latest health and safety guidelines.

The council’s nine major libraries (Cambridge Central, Huntingdon, St Ives, St Neots, Bar Hill, Cambourne, Ely, March, Wisbech) will be re-opening from next week – opening times can be viewed here.

In order to maintain a safe environment, a number of service changes have been made. Customers will be required to maintain social distancing outside library entrances and once inside the buildings, will not be able to browse titles.

To help people access the books they want, the council is introducing a new service called ‘Select and Collect’. Customers can choose titles according to their preferences (e.g. genre, fiction, non-fiction, talking books, children’s books etc.) and then collect them from libraries. 

To order a book using Select and Collect, visit here or call the Customer Service Centre on 0345 045 5225. Customers will be notified when their books are ready to collect. Reservations will be reintroduced from June 29 to allow customers to request individual titles.

The council plans opening all remaining libraries from 3 August for two days per week and will continue to review the situation.

Library meeting rooms will remain closed and events and activities will not resume until it is safe to do so. Mobile library services will also remain closed until further notice.

Public access IT facilities will be available by appointment only, with a limit of one 45 minute appointment per day per customers.

More information about library services can be viewed here; more details about the council’s archives service can be viewed here.

Peterborough City Council is working closely with Vivacity to plan for the re-opening of libraries in Peterborough following Covid-19 and will be updating members of the public as soon as possible. Online services will continue as normal. 


Re-opening of Peterborough outdoor play areas

Following the latest government advice, Peterborough City Council has begun working with Aragon to reopen parks and playground from the 4 July.

On the 23 June, the Prime Minister announced the further easing of lockdown, identifying a number of services which may re-open as of the 4 July, including playgrounds and outdoor play areas.

Peterborough City Council and Aragon are working together to create a reopening plan in line with the Government guidance released on Friday. This will see a gradual re- opening of outdoor play areas around to ensure that all play areas can be inspected and the appropriate signage installed.

Outdoor play areas in Cambridgeshire is also handled by Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council and Huntingdonshire District Council. Please contact them for their details. 

Countywide Co-ordination Hub celebrates its 100-day anniversary

Yesterday (Tuesday 23 June), the Countywide Co-ordination Hub marked its 100-day anniversary.

The hub launched in March to support residents identified as shielding and being of the highest risk to coronavirus. Currently there are 19,058 people on the shielded list for Cambridgeshire with 7,653 of these receiving regular help from the hub. 

The hub was featured on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s Drivetime show yesterday, which included an interview with Phil Carter, an adults safeguarding trainer who has been redeployed into the hub to support those on the shielded list. 

You can listen back to to the interview here at 2hrs 12min  on BBC Sounds .

To contact the countywide hub visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus   

It can also be contacted Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, and Saturdays 9am to 1pm on 0345 045 5219.


Beware of Test and Trace scams

Residents are being urged to be on their guard for a phone scam involving NHS Test and Trace.

Test and Trace has been launched to help track cases of coronavirus in our communities to limit the spread of the virus.

As part of it, contact tracers work with people who are confirmed to have the virus, to identify people they have had close contact with. Contact is then made with those people asking them to self isolate.

The council has been made aware of a scam operating which involves people being called and asked to pay for a test using their bank card. Contact tracers will never ask you to make any form of payment. They will also never:

  • Ask any details about your bank account
  •  Ask you for any passwords or PINS
  •   Ask you to download anything

Contract tracers will:

  • Call you from 0300 013 5000
  • Send you text messages from ‘NHStracing’
  • Ask you to sign into the NHS test and trace contact-tracing website
  • Ask for your full name and date of birth to confirm your identity, and postcode to offer support while self-isolating
  • Ask about the coronavirus symptoms you have been experiencing
  • Ask you to provide the name, telephone number and/or email address of anyone you have had close contact with in the 2 days prior to your symptoms starting
  • Ask if anyone you have been in contact with is under 18 or lives outside of England

A user friendly guide to Test and Trace is available on the council’s website.


Stay Active if you’re at risk

A ‘stay active’ campaign to raise awareness among people with a range of long term health conditions that regular physical activity can help decrease the likelihood of contracting coronavirus, as well as benefiting both the mind and body, has launched this week.

Many of us have found ourselves spending increased amounts of time at home and sitting down more than usual since the coronavirus pandemic started. Lockdown has made it hard for people to be as active as normal, and it’s even harder for people who don’t usually do a lot of physical exercise due to existing health conditions.

Protecting residents’ physical and mental health is one of Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council’s highest priorities since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Stay Active is reaching out to support people living with health conditions, to keep them safe and well, and encourage them to be active during this time by finding out what works for them. The campaign ties in with We Are Undefeatable – the movement developed by 15 leading health and social care charities, supported by Public Health England.

The two councils’ dedicated web pages (CCC: www.bewellcambridgeshire.co.uk/stayactive or PCC: https://www.healthypeterborough.org.uk/) have links and advice to inspire people to take steps to begin moving more – to maintain their physical activity or find new opportunities to keep moving whilst in and around the house – with tailored local support and advice.

Taking part in any form of physical activity can help to cope with having to stay at home more. Regular physical activity can help to reduce high blood pressure, manage weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and various cancers – all conditions that can increase susceptibility to COVID-19.

It is also good for our mental health. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of depression, cognitive decline and helps to lift our overall feelings. Being active also helps to give your days a routine and can be a way to stay in contact with family and friends.

As we navigate the changes to our daily routines due to the pandemic situation, it’s more important than ever to focus on the things that we can do to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. There will be ups and downs, of course – and moving more when you can is as important as accepting when you can’t. No matter what level of activity you find you can manage, it is still very much worth celebrating. 

Find out more about getting or staying active during COVID-19 on the council’s webpages: www.bewellcambridgeshire.co.uk/stayactive or  https://www.healthypeterborough.org.uk/


Find out more about NHS Test and Trace

A guide to NHS Test and Trace has been produced so that residents understand the programme and what they need to do as part of it.

You can read the guide here.

The more people that use NHS Test and Trace correctly, the more effective it will be at stopping the spread of the virus, the safer it will be for people and the quicker the lockdown measures can be lifted.

Translations are also being organised so that people who speak and read different languages can understand the Test and Test programme, how they can access help and support via the hub network and what steps they can take to limit the spread of the virus. Translations are available at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus and www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus with more languages being added all the time.

Please help us by sharing the NHS Test and Trace guide and translations with people in your communities.


Neighbouring villages join Bright Ribbon campaign after success

In conjunction with Peterborough City Council’s on-going efforts to support communities since the coronavirus outbreak, Bainton & Ashton Parish Council launched the Bright Ribbon campaign back in April.

Initially, residents in the two villages donated non-perishable food items by placing them on their doorsteps in shopping bags tied with brightly-coloured ribbon. This was then collected and delivered to the Peterborough food bank where it could be passed on to those in need. Local suppliers Plants Eggs have been generously donating a regular supply of fresh eggs into the scheme.

Since then the campaign has proved so successful that is has been rolled out to neighbouring villages Barnack and Ufford, where donation points are located in old-style red telephone boxes.

Councils back free school meals extension

Education Leads across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have shown their support for the government’s change to extend the free school meals offer to eligible families over the six week summer break.

Despite initial uncertainty, government last week decided to back the scheme, following increasing pressure from schools and public figures such as footballer Marcus Rashford.

Families already in receipt of free school meals will continue to receive provision over the summer break, a period in which they would not usually be covered.

In Peterborough, 7,635 pupils are considered eligible, with another 237 new pupils now meeting the criteria since lockdown began at the end of March.

In Cambridgeshire, 14,064 pupils are eligible, with 1,362 new additional pupils now meeting the criteria since lockdown began at the end of March.

Some families are finding they are now eligible for the first time, as their financial circumstances may have changed during the lockdown period – and the Council would encourage them to check their entitlement.

For more information on Free School Meals and eligibility criteria, visit the Cambridgeshire website or Peterborough website.


Safer Off the Streets partnership speaks out about work during Covid-19

The city’s Safer Off the Streets partnership has said Covid-19 provided its partners with a unique opportunity to engage with rough sleepers, who were previously unable to give up their life on the streets. 

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit at the end of March, Peterborough City Council was given a proportion of nationwide funding to move rough sleepers into hotel accommodation to keep them safe.  

But in Peterborough, this support went further than just a hotel room, as dozens of volunteers freely gave up their own time in the midst of the pandemic to help council officials provide around the clock care and support to these new guests. 

This included practical support, like three meals a day, laundry, GP services and art therapy. However, volunteers also provided company and a non-judgmental listening ear to allow them to spend many hours discussing the events that led to them sleeping rough and how they might break the cycle when they ‘pressed play’ on their lives again.  

And it doesn’t stop there. 

Peterborough City Council has been working with housing providers, private landlords and charities across the city to provide longer-term accommodation for those rough sleepers who want to make a fresh start. 

At its peak, 117 rough sleepers were being housed by the city council across three different hotels in the city. Now this figure is down to 70+ people, with more moving on to longer term accommodation each day, following an individual needs assessment, which determines whether they are best placed in assisted living, or a flat by themselves and which support services they need to continue following their move.   

Throughout the coming weeks, as the hotel accommodation begins to wind down, all the Safer Off the Streets partners will pull together to ensure that for those who want it – accommodation is available.  


Support for Armed Forces Day 

A virtual service and a special video will be broadcast this week in recognition of all those who are serving and have served in the Armed Forces.

Armed Forces Day is held annually to pay tribute to the sterling work of the armed forces around the globe.

Public flag raising ceremonies were due to take place on Today, 22 June, but have had to be postponed this year due to Covid-19. However, both Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council will be broadcasting online videos to promote the campaign.

A video featuring Councillor Mac MacGuire, Chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council, making an address and a collage of council staff pledging their support to the campaign will be broadcast on YouTube here from Today (22 June). 

In Peterborough, a virtual service will be recorded featuring a number of city dignitaries. Councillor Gul Nawaz, the Mayor of Peterborough, will make a welcome address, Revd Canon Ian Black will read greetings and payers and Major Tony Elsey, president of the Peterborough branch of the Royal British Legion will also make a reading. The service can be viewed here from Today (22 June).

To show our support for the campaign, both councils will be flying an Armed Forces flag from their offices – Shire Hall in Cambridge and Peterborough Town Hall – from June 22 – 29.

Residents are also urged to look out for the hashtag #saluteourforces asking staff and school pupils to record short videos that we can compile together.

For more information about Armed Forces Day visit here.


Leader’s Vlogs 

Councillor Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council and Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council have recorded separate vlogs for residents across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Watch Councillor Steve Count’s vlog here where he talks about the temporary cycling and walking measures which were approved last week at the Highways and Transport Committee meeting and test and trace.

Watch Councillor John Holdich’s vlog here where he talks about how well Peterborough city centre re-opening is going and how the City’s Safer Off the Streets partnership has helped support rough sleepers.


Dementia patient gets ‘back to being more like herself’ with the help of a robotic cat throughout the pandemic  

Cambridgeshire County Council’s robotic cats have been used to provide comfort to a dementia patient who is unable to see her daughter during the pandemic.

Local resident Doreen is currently unable to see any of her family and friends due to lockdown rules. She has a diagnosis of Vascular Dementia and requires daily support from carers within her own home. Her daughter usually supports her at home alongside the care agency but as she is currently shielding, she is unable to visit.

Doreen’s daughter became worried about her wellbeing throughout the lockdown. Using cameras set up at her mother’s home to keep an eye on her, she watched Doreen look increasingly lonely and isolated. She said she saw her take less and less interest in life and became uninterested and bored in her surroundings, spending much of her time staring out of the window and only using her right hand to touch things on her table.

She decided to speak to an occupational therapist who told her about the work done by the council’s Technology Enabled Care team (TEC).

The TEC team provides guidance, training and advice to citizens and professionals. When appropriate, they can loan assistive technology to support the independence and safety of people living in Cambridgeshire. It was felt that a trial of a robotic cat would be beneficial as Doreen used to have a cat herself.

The robotic cats are designed to reduce anxiety and stress levels in people with learning disabilities and dementia.

Doreen’s daughter has given feedback about how positive this has been for her mother. Doreen will now often sit and stroke the cat and engage in conversation around the cat with care staff. It has become Doreen’s companion and her daughters says she often ‘chatters away to it’ and it’s helped her get ‘back to being more like herself’. 

As Doreen’s dementia had been progressing, she has also been using her right arm less in daily tasks. However, Doreen can now be found using the arm to hold and stroke the cat, which will help to prevent her from losing movement in this arm. Doreen has a hearing impairment that requires regular clearing; this has not been possible during Coronavirus, so Doreen’s hearing has decreased. Although Doreen can no longer hear the cat meow at this time, she can feel the cat purr, which she finds a comfort in.

To watch the video of Doreen and the robotic cat, click here.

For more information about support the TEC team offers, visit the website here.

Booking system introduced at three household recycling centres

Visitors to three household recycling centres in Cambridgeshire will need to book a slot to access the sites from next week. This is in addition to a booking system for all sites that was recently introduced for vans and trailers requiring e-permits.

From Monday, 22 June, you will only be able to visit Bluntisham, Alconbury and Thriplow household recycling centres if you have pre-booked a slot. The booking system will open today (17 June). This measure is being introduced to reduce traffic congestion, speed up entry times and reduce the risk of collisions around the sites.

Residents should only make essential visits to Household Recycling Centres if it is not possible to store waste safely at home or dispose of it through kerbside or bulky waste collections. Further Government advice is available on GOV.UK (paragraph 1.1).

Sites are provided for the use of Cambridgeshire residents only, and all users should be prepared to show proof of address on arrival.

You can book your slot online but if you can’t access the website, you can phone 0345 045 5207 for help.

Further advice on visiting household recycling centres, including what to expect, restrictions and how the teams are keeping users safe is on the council’s website.


User friendly guide to Test and Trace launched

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council have published a user friendly guide to the way the new NHS Test and Trace system will work locally, on behalf of the Health Protection Committee.

The more people that use NHS Test and Trace correctly, the more effective it will be at stopping the spread of the virus, the safer it will be for you and your loves ones and the quicker the lockdown measures can be lifted.

The guide which will be updated regularly, can be found on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough council websites.

get tested poster

Dr Liz Robin’s vlog about support bubbles

Dr Liz Robin, Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, explains how ‘support bubbles’ work, and why these new social bubbles are designed to make it easier to reconnect with loved ones, friends and family – which is so important and can make all the difference to someone who has been living alone during lockdown. 

More information about support bubbles and some general frequently asked questions and answers on the guidelines are available online. 

Watch Dr Liz’s vlog on YouTube here.


Hola to Cambridgeshire Music’s second Online Orchestra

More than 100 young musicians contributed to Cambridgeshire Music’s second Online Orchestra challenge – La Bamba.

The organisation was absolutely bowled over by the enthusiasm of musicians across the county and beyond,  ho contributed to the toe-tapping Mexican performance, which has already been viewed 1,300 times online.   Every orchestral instrument was represented in the final performance – from harps to bassoons and from marimbas to ukuleles. Also, some great contributions on less well-known instruments – from a Chinese two-stringed erhu to a stylophone and even kazoos.

The icing on the La Bamba cake was a ‘bonus’ performance from Wyton on the Hill Primary School’s Kazoo Orchestra, which appears right at the end of the video.

Cambridgeshire Music is the county council run hub for music education and arts therapies and you can see more about its work here


Peterborough Cathedral would like to hear from you

In line with government guidance, Peterborough Cathedral took its services online and has been exploring the world of online worship ever since. 

With the country beginning to enter the recovery phase of the pandemic, the Cathedral is looking to hear feedback on its online services offered during the lockdown as it begins to consider the role of online worship services in the future.

If you have tuned into any of the online services, may that have been for VE day or Sunday services, please take a moment to share your feedback with the cathedral here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/86PKJZZ


Bundle of books up for grabs in reading contest

Youngsters in Peterborough can get creative and win a bundle of books by entering a competition based around the work of a famous author.

The latest Peterborough Reads writing challenge has been launched, aimed at helping children enjoy reading-related activities during lockdown.

The challenge is inspired by Terry Pratchett’s ‘Truckers’, which tells the story of a race of tiny people (known as Nomes) who live hidden among humans.

The Nomes live under the floorboards of a large department store where the ‘outdoors’ is long forgotten. Things like night and day, sun and rain, are just the stuff of old legends.

In the story, a devastating piece of news shatters their existence: the store, their whole world, is to be demolished. The Nomes have to come up with a mastermind escape plan to stay alive and they need two things – a place to live, and a way to get there.

Please send all entries to hannah.riley@literacytrust.org.uk by Wednesday 24 June for a chance to win a bundle of books. Remember to include the child’s name, age, and school in the email too.

For more information about the challenge click here

Peterborough City centre welcomes back shoppers

Peterborough City Centre began welcoming back shoppers from today(15 June), with an emphasis on ‘shopping local’ following a relaxation of the Government’s Covid-19 lockdown, with more open-air cafés, pubs and restaurants to follow in the summer.

From today, non-essential shops will begin to re-open their doors to try and recoup lost profits over the past 12 weeks. This follows the completion of the recommended Government Covid-19 risk assessment and putting the final touches to their stores, with one-way systems, closed changing rooms, counter screens and a raft of new measures to ensure the safety of both staff and customers.

It is expected that bars and restaurants will follow suit in July with plans to allow many to spill out onto the pavements and areas like Cathedral Square and the Guild Hall to maximise footfall while allowing social distancing to still take place.

Detailed advice for shoppers and a full list of measures that are being taken to ensure safety is available on the council’s website.

The re-opening has been coordinated by the Peterborough Economic Recovery Programme (PERP), a partnership comprising of Peterborough City Council, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Peterborough Positive, Opportunity Peterborough and large outlets like Queensgate Shopping Centre. The PERP has also consulted with Disability Peterborough and the city’s Safer Off the Streets partnership.

Together, the PERP has reached out to help city businesses recover from the impact of Covid-19, giving support and guidance on how to get their businesses started again. In the future, it will look to help these businesses build back stronger and to support independents in moving towards an additional e-commence model to future proof their business.

The measures, which aim to protect both shoppers and businesses from Covid-19, have been made possible thanks to the Government’s Re-Opening High Streets Safely Fund, from which it will be possible for the city council to claim back £181,500.

City/Town re-openings in Cambridgeshire is also handled by Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council and Huntingdonshire District Council. Please contact them for their details.


Cambridgeshire County council helps towns, cities prepare for shoppers

The highways team at Cambridgeshire County Council has been working closely with its partners to ensure towns, cities and villages have enough pedestrian and cycle space to allow social distancing and to protect people’s safety.

The team has been working with city and district councils across Cambridgeshire to make temporary changes to the highway to make shopping areas Covid-19 secure – including putting down floor stencils, removing planters and other street furniture to create more space, widening footpaths and installing temporary barriers. These will guide shoppers and ensure enough space to keep a 2m gap from each other when they return to town and city centres to use non-essential shops, some of which are opening on Monday (15 June).


Resident parking support in Cambridge

From this week, resident parking enforcement in Cambridge will revert back to how it was pre-lockdown.

At the start of the lockdown in March, Cambridgeshire County Council in partnership with Cambridge City Council, worked together to suspend parking enforcement in Cambridge. By relaxing the rules, the aim was to help critical workers, keep the roads free for emergency vehicles and essential deliveries.

However, in line with national guidance, city centres will be re-opening from today (15 June) onwards. Therefore, in order to protect residents from a potential influx of vehicles from people visiting the city centre, all resident parking schemes in Cambridge will continue to operate as they did previously.

This doesn’t affect the free parking permit scheme for the critical care workers who can still park their vehicle in all Resident Permit Parking Areas and on-street Pay and Display bays in Cambridge City, whilst carrying out essential duties, without having to worry about cost or time restrictions. For more information on this, please visit our website.

In Peterborough, all council owned car parks are currently free of charge until 13 July.

Parking in Cambridgeshire is also handled by Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council and Huntingdonshire District Council. Please contact them for their details.


Updates to Stagecoach timetables from the weekend

Further changes were made to Stagecoach timetables across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough from Sunday (14 June) onwards.

The changes come as part of a phased step-up in services, as some Park & Ride services were resumed on 31 May.

For more information visit the Stagecoach website here.


Leader’s Vlogs

Councillor Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council and Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council have recorded separate vlogs for residents across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. They both talk about shops re-opening from Monday.

Watch Councillor Steve Count’s vlog here.

Watch Councillor John Holdich’s vlog here.


Scam Awareness Fortnight

From today and for the coming two weeks, Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City councils will be supporting Scam Awareness Fortnight, which is coordinated by Citizens Advice.

Please help promote Scam Awareness Fortnight on social media using the #scamaware hashtag.

For further information on coronavirus scams, visit our website.

For free downloadable resources for coronavirus and all types of scams, visit the resources webpage of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Against Scams Partnership (CAPASP). You can follow us on Facebook @CAPASP19 or Twitter @CAPA5P.

For further advice on scams, please call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline: 0808 223 11 33.

To report a scam, please call Action Fraud: 0300 123 2040.


Council’s Coordination Hub’s work gives couple the gift of time

Aware of the additional pressure upon unpaid family carers during the coronavirus lockdown Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council have been busy calling carers across the region to make sure they have access to support.

Managed and operated by redeployed Council staff and volunteers, the ‘Countywide COVID-19 Coordination Hub’ have been supporting carers and the most vulnerable members of society, helping with access to food, deliveries and medication, signposting to professional services, arranging a friendly phone call and offering a point of contact should any needs arise – all with the aim to help people protect themselves from the risks associated with Coronavirus.

Those working and volunteering in the hub are speaking to carers young and old every day, from all walks of life, including Mr F, who was finding it increasingly difficult to care for his beloved wife during the lockdown.

Mr F, himself in his 80s and recovering from throat cancer, is a full-time carer for his wife, who is disabled and unable to leave the house. He was having to make essential trips for food and medication, meaning he was having to leave his wife alone at home for prolonged periods.

Having experienced some issues he was becoming more and more reluctant to visit the shops, but with a lack of any available online delivery slots and not being classed a priority, he was left with no choice but to continue making the trips.

Mr F was contacted by the Council and referred to the Coordination Hub, and the couple are now receiving support with food deliveries and medication.

If you provide care for someone, our partners are on hand to help: Caring Together for adult carers in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and for young carers in Peterborough; Centre 33 supports young carers in Cambridgeshire and Making Space helps carers in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who look after someone with mental ill health.

Information for carers is available on the County Council / City Council websites.

Councils raise profile of carers during National Carers Week

As part of National Carers Week, Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City Councils are highlighting the challenges faced by unpaid carers and recognising the contribution they make to families and communities in our region.

This year’s theme, #MakingCaringVisible asks people who don’t think of themselves as having caring responsibilities to identify as carers and access much-needed information, advice and support.

Being a carer can be very rewarding, but can also be very hard work. There are lots of reasons why caring for someone can leave carers needing support, particularly with the pressures of lockdown. It’s important that they think about their own mental and physical health and emotional wellbeing as well as the person that they are caring for. Support is available for anyone who cares for someone else, whether they call themselves a ‘carer’ or not. This support can help make the caring role easier and it can free up more time for carers to take care of themselves.

If you provide care for someone, our partners are on hand to help: Caring Together for adult carers in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and for young carers in Peterborough; Centre 33 supports young carers in Cambridgeshire and Making Space helps carers in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who look after someone with mental ill health.

Information for carers is available on the County Council / City Council websites.

Both Councils will be sharing information and case studies on their Facebook and Twitter channels this week.


Cambridgeshire and Peterborough bus passes

Bus passengers are being made aware that the times they can travel using concessionary passes will change from next week.

At the start of the lockdown in March, both Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council worked with operators to allow concessionary bus passes to be used before 9.30am. By relaxing the time limits, people were able to access supermarkets and the reserved shopping slots being offered to elderly residents at the time.

However, the introduction of national social distancing measures has since resulted in a reduction in capacity on public transport. To ensure that there is sufficient public transport capacity for key workers before 9.30am, it has been decided that bus operators will no longer accept concessionary passes before 9.30am from Monday 15 June onwards.

In addition, wearing face masks on public transport will become compulsory on Monday, 15 June. Further details are on the Government’s website.


Dr Liz Robin vlog  

Dr Liz Robin, Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, explains why the wearing of cloth-made face coverings is now being recommended to reduce the spread of coronavirus, why wearing one means you are thinking of others, shares some tips about wearing one, and how this advice is in addition to the other measures such as handwashing, social distancing and staying at home as much as possible. Read the Government’s advice on how to wear and make a cloth face covering. 

Click here to watch today’s video blog.


Nominations open for Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2021

Do you know a voluntary group that goes above and beyond to help people?

If so, have you considered nominating them for a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service?

You can now nominate any group of two or more people which has participated in voluntary work for more than three years for next year’s Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the prestigious award known as the MBE for volunteer groups.

March Amateur Boxing Club was one of 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to be honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for 2020. Each was chosen for their outstanding work to benefit their local communities.

Every year, nominations are sent to local assessment panels, who then decide which of these to forward to the National Award Committee. The Committee then shortlists which nominations to send to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which sends a final list to the Queen for her approval.

Recipients of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service have been announced in the London Gazette on 2 June every year since its launch in 2002 to mark the anniversary of The Queen’s coronation.

Winners get a certificate signed by the Queen and a domed glass crystal, which representatives of March Amateur Boxing Club will receive from Julie Spence, OBE QPM, Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, later this year. Groups who receive the award may also be invited to attend a royal garden party.

You can submit your nominations for the 2021 award here before 25 September 2020.

More information about the award can be found here.


From road safety education officer to reablement worker  

A video filmed by a Peterborough City Council staff member shows what her experience of being redeployed has been like so far.

To watch the video of Jenny explaining what her redeployment experience has been like, click here.

Jenny Wright usually works as a Road Safety Education Officer, but due to current restrictions around coronavirus, she is unable to carry out her normal role, as she usually works in schools and other education settings which are currently closed for most pupils.

All Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council staff who are unable to carry out their normal roles have been redeployed, and Jenny is now working as a reablement worker.

Normally, reablement is a service that provides care and support to adults living in the community. It delivers a programme of time limited, reablement intervention to enable individuals to increase their confidence and ability to live as independently as possible within their everyday environment and community network.

As part of their role, the reablement team visit vulnerable people at their home and ensure they have enough food, are hydrated and have taking any medications they may need.

During the Covid-19 outbreak, the reablement service is ensuring that they help to deliver care and support to those people who need it most.

While individuals in the “shielded” category should not generally be meeting with others face to face, all staff are working strictly in accordance with Government guidelines and wear appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) when on shift, including a face mask, gloves and pinafore apron.”

Healthwatch Survey 

Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Healthwatch Peterborough – local champions for people who use Health and Social Care services – want to hear how changes to services during Covid-19 have affected you and your loved ones. By taking part in their latest survey, you will be helping our local NHS and social care system ensure everyone gets high quality and safe support.

Many health and social care services have had to adapt in order to continue supporting people whilst keeping them safe from Covid-19, and it is important to share your experiences so that any needed improvements can be made.

Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Healthwatch Peterborough have worked with local authorities and the NHS and used the feedback of local people to develop and launch a new online survey exploring experiences during the coronavirus crisis. This survey aims to find out about people’s experiences of health, social care, and community support throughout the  pandemic in order to help local authorities and the NHS understand how people have been affected.

The survey only takes 10 minutes to complete and all respondents remain completely anonymous.

Help us by taking the survey at www.healthwatchcambridgeshire.co.uk/coronavirus-yourviews or www.healthwatchpeterborough.co.uk/coronavirus-yourviews.

If you need a paper questionnaire, please contact Healthwatch on 0330 355 1285 or text 0752 0635 176.


sensory teamSensory service finds new ways to provide supportThe Cambridgeshire County Council Sensory Service Team is continuing to provide vital support to sensory impaired people throughout the pandemic. Due to the nature of the work, staff often work in close proximity with the service users, but because of social distancing rules, they have had to make some changes.Alongside other prevention and early intervention teams, sensory services work with people with sensory impairments, such as those who are deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing, severely sight impaired and sight impaired. Normally, qualified visual impairment rehabilitation workers would visit service users in their home and help them gain skills and independence or assist them with daily tasks. This can include things such as helping them change duvets or learning cooking skills.However, because of the pandemic, staff are unable to carry out their work as they usually would. Instead, the team has been looking at new ways to complete rehab and work with people. This includes setting up calls and video calls and talking them through daily tasks.Below is one example of changes we have made, accompanied by feedback from a service user.Nic Poole, rehabilitation worker at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “I had been working with one of our service users, Sue, for many weeks, teaching her how to use a long cane in the community and building her skills within the home, when Covid-19 struck. She had continued to receive regular calls from us as she was on the vulnerable persons list, but I decided to see if we could get her using Zoom, which we managed.“This enabled me to read some of her correspondence which she had been unable to access and then discussed trying kitchen skills the following week. I set up a makeshift kitchen in my home office with good lighting and contrasting coloured equipment to enable her to use her residual vision to see a demonstration before trying herself. Sue set up the camera in her kitchen so I could clearly see what she was doing whilst she was following verbal instructions. This was a great success.”Though this method would not be suitable for many people, it worked well for Sue, who wanted to share the feedback below:“Hi Nic, thanks for continuing my training on Zoom. It was easy to access via your email and once you had gone through the options on my device, easy to navigate. Though for many reasons it doesn’t match up to having you with me in person, I was able to increase my kitchen skills and have you check them after your demonstration. It’s really helping to keep my spirits up whilst in isolation. Really appreciate that. Thanks again. ‘’

Cambridgeshire charity receives the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

March Amateur Boxing Club has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

Established 70 years ago, March Amateur Boxing Club provides boxing training, general fitness and a gym for adults and children aged eight upwards. The club achieves remarkable results with little funding, relying entirely on the goodwill of volunteers who are clearly committed to not only the club but also the success of its individual members. 

The club has 10 coach volunteers, who come from a variety of backgrounds and have gained All England Boxing coaching accreditation at their own expense. Overall it has around 250 active members, of which around 150 attend in any week.

The Cambridgeshire winners are one of 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations and awards has increased year on year since the awards were introduced in 2002, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. Winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse, and include volunteers helping people overcome mental health problems through sport, volunteers who use music and groups who help the homeless.

Representatives of March Amateur Boxing Club will receive the award from Julie Spence, OBE QPM, Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, later in the year.

More information on the Award can be found at https://www.gov.uk/queens-award-for-voluntary-service – any group of two or more people that has participated in voluntary work for more than three years can be nominated for the award. Full details on how to nominate are available at http://qavs.direct.gov.uk/ and nominations for the 2021 awards close on 25 September 2020.


Keep Active with Oaks 

Simple strength and balance exercises twice a week are proven to keep you stronger for longer, helping you to  to enjoy the great things you like doing when life begins to return to normal. 

Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council are encouraging people to keep active at home, so they’ll be able to keep doing the things they enjoy – for longer. 

Judith Maughan, 70, who lives in Bury near Ramsey and is currently waiting for a knee replacement, has been doing the Keep Active with Oaks classes every day during lockdown via Facebook.

Judith said: “I have a good laugh and I work hard. I used to go to keep-fit years ago and every class was the same, so it was boring, but with Lou every class is brilliant. 

“I use a walking stick at the moment, and can only walk so far, so exercising at home is the perfect solution for me and Lou is fantastic. She manages to cheer me up with her new routines every day. 

“If anyone is thinking about taking part, but hesitating, I say go for it. I wish I’d started doing this years ago. Go at your own pace. Listen to your body – and go for it!”  

You can join a class or find out more via the Keep Active With Oaks Facebook page

Watch Judith take on a Seated Beginners Class here: https://youtu.be/dOfbeUCTom8


police 4 squareNational Special WeekendThis weekend is #NationalSpecialsWeekend and Cambridgeshire Police is saying thank you to all those people who dedicate their spare time to helping police Cambridgeshire.Many have regular careers but still find the time to help fight crime and keep people safe in their local communities. And they have been supporting their regular colleagues on the front line since the current Covid-19 crisis began. Last month they worked 635 shifts and a total of more than 5,000 hours.Being a Special brings with it professional training and the opportunity to gain unique skills and experience that can be used in all walks of life. If you want to join them, find out more here https://www.cambs.police.uk/apply/Jobs/Job-types/Special-constable

Social workers recognised for brilliant work 

The winners of Cambridgeshire County Council’s and Peterborough City Council’s Children’s Services’ Social Work Stars 2020 have been announced. 

The awards ceremony was due to take place on 17 March which is World Social Work Day but sadly this was cancelled due to lockdown.

However, both councils wanted to make sure that colleagues know they are valued and appreciated for all their hard work, and are now thrilled to be able to announce the results today. 

Out of 33 nominations, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Social Work Stars 2020 are: 

  • Knowledge Mpofu from Children in Care South Team 2 – Knowledge was nominated for going the extra mile for young people and one nominee said he stands out as a brilliant social worker in Cambridgeshire. 
  • Emily Hogg from South Family Safeguarding Team 2 – Following Emily’s work with students at ARU, one nominee said her ‘wealth of experience, professionalism and professional leadership skills were inspiring the next generation of social workers’ 
  • Sophie Bradley from Hunts Family Safeguarding Children’s Team 1 – Sophie was recognised for her work on a case involving a young person who experienced a number of severe mental health issues throughout 2019. Sophie advocated for an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) for this young person who is now safe in a foster care placement that Sophie helped select. 

The winner of Peterborough City Council’s Social Work Stars of 2020 was Bethany Smith from Children in Care Team 2. 

Bethany was recognised as a role model for other social workers and her nominee said the service was ‘lucky to have her’. In her feedback, she was described as a ‘competent, reliable and knowledgeable social worker who is making positive changes to children’s lives on a daily basis and securing them permanency.’  


Cambridgeshire Day Centre keep their ‘virtual’ visitors up and active

Not letting the small matter of a lockdown get in their way, staff at Victoria Lodge in Wisbech have been busy flexing their creative muscles, creating a wide-ranging activity programme that’s keeping regular visitors entertained and active online.  

The pilot project, held at the Cambridgeshire County Council run day service for older people and adults with learning disabilities, initially set out to simply offer regular virtual drop-ins and check-ups for the Centre’s visitors. 

But it has since morphed into a wider-ranging interactive activity and engagement programme, with users of the day centre putting forward their ideas – even helping run some of the sessions themselves. 

Staff at the centre have been overwhelmed by the videos and photos they have been receiving back from those who would usually be attending the centre. 

The programme is proving highly successful, but while the cookery classes, gardening and creative photography have already seen some great results, the afternoon danceathon with centre manager, Hayley, is proving a massive hit without forgetting staff member Dave encouraging all the Rhinestone Cowboy’s to get involved in his karaoke. Watch the video here

With no let-up in interest of ideas, the 8-week programme has been expanded and will keep running for the foreseeable future, enabling prolonged engagement with the vulnerable adults and older people with learning disabilities who use the service. 

To see what centre have been up to, including Centre Manger Hayley’s Dance Lessons, check out this Facebook page.


Pen pal project connects the young and elderly

Children from a Cambridgeshire primary school have been writing letters to older residents in return for a letter sharing memories of VE Day and other post-war experiences.   

More than 30 children from The Shade Primary School wrote letters to residents of Soham Lodge Care Centre, as part of Soham Write and Unite, an intergenerational pen pal project. Residents of Soham Lodge then returned letters to the children, sharing their memories and experiences of VE Day and post war. 

The project was initially set up by the Connecting Communities team at Cambridgeshire County Council to support communities to feel safe, connected and able to help themselves and others in their community. 

There are other groups in the community that have taken part in the project, exchanging letter with elderly residents across the town, including Weatheralls Primary School, Little Wombatz Pre School, Soham Methodist Church, Soham Community Association and Soham Community Group. Soham Handy Helpers distributed letters to elder residents living in isolation in the town. 


Library at Home host virtual ‘bank holiday bash’

The Library at Home team supports more than 300 volunteers across the county who select, deliver and collect books and audiobooks for avid readers and listeners who are unable get to their local library.

Whilst the Library at Home service is currently on hold, the team have taken to hosting a range of virtual social events for their volunteers, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness during Covid-19.  

Each meeting hosts up to 16 guests for the sharing of stories of life in lockdown and valuable time to connect with others during this difficult period. For many volunteers, these virtual social gatherings have introduced them to video conference calls allowing them to apply these digital skills to keep in touch with other friends and family.  

The team have been welcoming new faces almost every meeting and have just hosted a successful virtual Bank Holiday bash. 

For more information about the service or the events, please contact Fay Boans, Volunteer Coordinator for Library at Home (City, South and East Cambs) and Digital at Home, or Magda Kowalska-Cheffey (Fenland and Hunts) at volunteers@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

Council leaders working with schools for pupils to return ‘when it is safe to do so’

Education leads at Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council are working with schools, Academy Trusts and the Diocese from across the region to look at bespoke plans for the safe return of pupils – based on Government scientific advice which is expected to be released on 28 May.

While the final decision on when and how to open individual schools rests with their head teachers and the governing bodies who run them, the Government has encouraged schools to consider beginning to re-open education provision from 1 June. This will mean additional Primary provision for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils and Secondary schools working with pupils from Year 10 and Year 12 to ensure they are supported for important exams next year. Special schools will also begin to welcome more pupils.  In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough council leaders have confirmed, ‘the safety of our children, their families and school staff is always our number one priority and we are supporting schools to make decisions based on their individual circumstances’.

Schools have said it will be difficult to maintain the two-metre social distance guidelines at all times, particularly very young children, leading to problems with the number of children allowed on-site. There are also concerns about staff and children who fall into the very vulnerable ‘shielded’ groups.

Clear in the knowledge that there is no ‘one size fits all solution’, council education leads have been working with schools to create bespoke plans specific to each one and their circumstance, which include revised cleaning regimes, sourcing appropriate PPE, and allowing for phased re-openings.

As part of the plans, schools which have remained continuously open since February for vulnerable children and children of key workers, may close to all pupils for next week’s half term holiday – which includes bank holiday Monday.  This is to allow staff more time to plan for a phased return, including adapting their buildings to accommodate returning pupils.

The council has confirmed that – in line with government guidance – no penalty fines will be issued to any parent or carer who doesn’t send their child to school between now and the start of the next school year.  Clarification is also being sought from Government about the extension of free school meals for eligible children whether in or out of school.

Nursery and early years settings are also being encouraged to re-open from 1 June, and have been asked to prioritise places for three and four year olds – along with vulnerable children and those of key workers.

Please visit the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough council websites for more information.


First-ever website for those shielding launched

The Countywide Coordination Hub, in collaboration with Cambridgeshire Skills, City College Peterborough and Cambridgeshire Library Service, launched a new interactive website this week to help people who are shielding to combat loneliness during isolation.

The idea for the website was borne out of the fact that one of the challenges for people who are self-isolating is being able to keep busy in their own home, and offers a set of leisure, pleasure and learning opportunities for shielded people to take part in. Additionally there are skills and courses within the site that will help users improve their skill set in their own professional environment.

This will include aligning the food deliveries from the hub to a healthy eating class, either online or via recipe cards for those that don’t have digital access. The food delivery from the hub will include all the ingredients needed to cook the meal that will be taught online or via the recipe card.

In addition, there will be sewing classes taught using instruction cards for those that have no internet access, which would be delivered with materials alongside the food deliveries.

There is a section of the website which supports families of pre-school children to help their children prepare to start school in September. Activities are aimed at creating quality family time as well as ensuring children have a good skill set ready to start school.

For those people who do not have access to a computer, information that is on the website will be sent through the post.

The councils have also made a bid for funding to set up a scheme where people can loan laptops or to supply those without digital access with tablets.

This will allow people to not only access the website, but engage with friends and family online and therefore limit feelings of loneliness with face to face contact.


Mental health helpline offers support to people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough throughout coronavirus outbreak

A mental health helpline offering support to people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has expanded its service to help more people during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Lifeline helpline, a free mental health support service, has been running for 21 years and was set up by local mental health charity Lifecraft. Due to the demand for support during the coronavirus outbreak, Lifecraft has joined forces with the local Mind charity – Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire (CPSL) Mind – and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Foundation Trust (CPFT) to offer increased availability and longer access hours.

The service is now available for all adults in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough between 9am and 11pm Monday to Friday and 2pm to 11pm weekends and Bank Holidays. A trained call handler will offer support on the phone and can also link callers directly to other organisations specialising in areas such as bereavement, financial concerns, employment, drugs & alcohol issues and more.

You can access the helpline by calling freephone 0808 808 2121.

Charities such as Cruse, Change Grow Live, Citizens Advice Bureau, Richmond Fellowship and Caring Together are among numerous organisations supporting this initiative.

Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year the theme is all about kindness. The annual campaign is taking place from 18 to 24 May this year and just so happens to coincides with the 21st anniversary since Lifeline was set up. The purpose of the campaign is to get people talking about mental health and encourage action to promote good mental health for everyone.

The Now We’re Talking campaign has been launched by Local Authorities (including Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council), NHS and charities and community organisations to get people talking and beat loneliness while self-isolating during the coronavirus outbreak. 

The campaign directs people to other services such as Qwell, an online wellbeing support and Keep Your Head, a website which bring together all mental health support available across the country.

For more information on ‘Now We’re Talking’ visit the Peterborough website here and the Cambridgeshire website here.


Dr Liz Robin vlog about new symptoms

Dr Liz Robin, Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, explains the new symptom associated with having caught the coronavirus infection and breaks down what the other two main indicators are, plus what to do if you have any of these three symptoms.

(If you have any of these three symptoms you should use the online NHS 111 coronavirus service or call NHS 111 if you cannot get help online. NHS 111 will tell you what to do.)

Click here to watch today’s Liz’s latest blog.


Senior public service figures celebrate Ramadan

Gillian Beasley, the Chief Executive of Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council took part in Iftar (breaking of the fast) at 8.58pm on Monday night along with local Muslim leaders after a day’s fasting as part of the council’s solidarity with people celebrating Ramadan.

Taking part with her were some senior figures from local public services – Director of Public Health Dr Liz Robin, Steve Cox, Executive Director of Place and Economy, Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, Pete Carpenter, interim Director of Finance at Peterborough City Council, Jonathan Lewis, Director of Education and Superintendent Andy Gipp from Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

A video of the zoom meeting where the fast is broken following a recitation of the Holy Koran, and people taking part give their reflections of taking part in the fast before. It starts from 12mins 45s.

Council’s Covid-19 Coordination Hub providing ’11 out of 10’ support

Managed and operated by redeployed council staff and volunteers, the ‘Countywide Coordination Hubs’ have already offered help to thousands of our shielded and most vulnerable members of society, supporting access to food, deliveries and medication, signposting to professional services, and offering a point of contact should any needs arise – all with an aim to help people protect themselves from the risks associated with Coronavirus.

Feedback from those receiving support has been overwhelmingly positive, with many saying they didn’t think help was out there and having the reassurance of someone on the end of a phone is giving them the confidence and positivity they need to persevere through the lockdown period.

Cambridgeshire couple Mr and Mrs Peck, who are in their 70’s and receiving support from the Hub, said it is making an untold difference to their lives.

Mr Peck, himself a diabetic and fulltime carer for his wife, was finding it increasingly difficult to make daily trips to the pharmacy or the supermarket, and was worried about having to rely upon neighbours and in turn putting them at risk.

The Hub stepped in and are supporting the couple with online delivery slots and medicine pick-ups, while also delivering food parcels in the interim.

Mr Peck said: “That initial phone call made so much of a difference for my wife and I. We instantly felt like someone cared about us, and it filled us with confidence that we would be supported.

“If I had to give the Council marks out of 10 I’d give them 11. We are so fortunate with their generosity. I cannot say thank you enough.”

Despite the sheer scale of the operation and speed at which it has come together, staff and volunteers working in the Hubs have said they are humbled by the experience, and have been only too willing to help where they can.

Phil Carter, who usually spends his day training social care staff, had the phone call with Mr Peck and has supported him and many others

Phil has been working in the Hub for a number of weeks, and has recorded a short video to express how it felt to be involved in the work –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvPLxnATAIg)


Can you help transform the lives of young people?

Foster Care Fortnight (11-24 May) is the UK’s largest foster care awareness raising campaign, delivered by The Fostering Network. This year’s campaign message is all about how the dedication and commitment of foster carer’s helps to transform lives.

Our need to provide safe, secure and loving homes for children and young people across Peterborough grows every year.

If we can keep more children local then they can attend the same school, keep in touch with their friends and get the support and guidance they deserve. 

Being a foster carer is rewarding. You need is a spare bedroom and a sense of humour! We are encouraging people from ALL walks of life to consider fostering.

We have children and young people in our care of all ages and from different backgrounds. This includes siblings who are desperate to stay together, children with disabilities and teenagers.

We offer generous allowances and 24 hour access to advice and training.

If you would like to register your interest then email FosteringandAdoption@Peterborough.gov.uk, call 0800 328 8433 or visit

www.peterborough.gov.uk/fostering


Youngsters invited to enter a competition based on a series of swashbuckling stories

Peterborough Reads has launched a second writing contest, aimed at children learning from home due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The competition is inspired by James Patterson’s award-winning ‘Treasure Hunters’ books, which are centred around the adventures of the Kidd family. Four siblings – Bick, Beck, Storm, and Tommy need to find their missing parents by hunting for treasure. Their father is a legendary treasure hunter and their mother has been kidnapped by pirates.

To enter the competition, you need to produce a treasure map and short story alongside it, imagining that Mr and Mrs Kidd have been hidden in Peterborough. 

The map should include landmarks, which can be imaginary, as well as an ‘X’ to mark the spot. Meanwhile, the story should explore the challenges the Kidd siblings must overcome and end with them finding their parents, mentioning the places on the map in your story.

The deadline to enter is Wednesday 20 May. Entries should be sent to hannahriley@literacytrust.org.uk, including name, age, and the school attended in the email. 

Youngsters can sign up to a 30-day trial of Audible and listen to ‘Treasure Hunters’ for free here. For inspiration, an animated mini-series of ‘Treasure Hunters’ can be viewed on YouTube and story starters to help with writing can be found here.

For more information about Peterborough Reads visit the website here

Peterborough and Cambridgeshire lead the way in supporting small businesses

Peterborough and Cambridgeshire are out-performing the national average for paying out grants to small businesses affected by Coronavirus.

Peterborough City Council is leading the way, having now paid out grants to more than 93% of those eligible. While the wider Peterborough and Cambridgeshire area has paid out 84.4%. The national average is 77.6%.    

Peterborough City Council continues to administer the small business grants, which provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs, and a £25,000 grant for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. 

In addition, it is implementing a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses and nurseries for the 2020/21 tax year.  

Further payments will continue to be made over the coming days. Businesses which qualify for the grants do not need to do anything, the council will pay the money directly into their accounts. 

The city council has also awarded 100 per cent business rate relief for 1,255 retail/hospitality/leisure businesses, totalling £36,255,343.42. It also has 31 nurseries eligible for relief of £337,656. 


Help us dispel fake news 

We have been asked to make people aware of fake stories which are being shared on social media about police using non-existent powers to remove children from families where there are cases of coronavirus.

Understandably these posts have caused concern in some of our communities. If you come across such posts on social media or elsewhere, or people who are concerned as a result, please let them know that these are fake stories.


Call for businesses to help shape Peterborough’s economic recovery strategy

A call has been put out for Peterborough businesses to help identify gaps in current support provision and influence the shape of future support from local and national government bodies.  

The city’s economic development company, Opportunity Peterborough, Peterborough Positive working towards a Business Improvement District (BID), and Peterborough City Council are working together to understand the impact Covid-19 has had on the city. 

They are developing their support for businesses to help jump-start the economy after lockdown and are asking for local businesses to give their feedback before Friday (15 May).

Businesses can share their feedback about how the Coronavirus pandemic has affected them by completing a short online survey   

Respondents will be asked about the impact on operations, supply chains, service delivery, financial implications, and what areas they might need support in now, and in the short, and longer term. 


Grafham Water Centre supporting the community 

Instructors from Grafham Water Centre (GWC) have been adapting their skills and joining projects set up to support essential services.

The centre’s outreach program has placed instructors in schools throughout the county providing outdoor education to those children attending school, delivering both education based and sporting activities, such as archery.

Elsewhere, instructors are using their experience working with vulnerable people at the GWC to provide much needed support for the homeless in Peterborough. From assisting with welfare checks to delivering food, the instructors are working hard as part of a Government project to ensure that some of the most vulnerable within the community are continuing to be cared for during this difficult time.

The success of both these projects highlights the importance of togetherness, particularly in this current climate, with the instructors demonstrating how the community can continue to work as a team whilst following the government guidance.


Outdoor Education Centre staff look forward to not being ‘all by themselves’ 

Usually at this time of year, Cambridgeshire Environmental Education Service in Stibbington, near Peterborough, would be buzzing with excited children taking their learning far beyond the classroom.

The environmental day centre, which also houses accommodation for residential trips, offers school children the chance to roll their sleeves up and get ‘hands on’ with the outdoor environment. It also helps pupils develop their understanding of ecology and energy, horticulture and sustainability – while indoors, lots of children (and some parents!) have had great joy taking part in a full Victorian re-enactment, including a traditional Victorian lunch and a historical tour through the local village.

Unfortunately with most children now at home, the centre is a lot quieter. Staff have certainly noticed, so much so they have created a video to say how much they are looking forward to the day they are no longer ‘all by themselves’.

Cambridgeshire Environmental Education Service Centre Manager, Helen Johnson, said: “We hope all our school children are staying safe and continuing to be inquisitive about the environment around them. We miss them here at the centre. It is certainly a lot quieter without them, but it will make it even more special for me and our staff when we are able to open our doors and welcome everyone back.”

Until we meet again… watch their video here.

More information about the Cambridgeshire Environmental Education Service can be found on their website.


Isleham Cricket Club assists the communityAlthough we have seen the suspension of team sports due to Covid-19, Isleham Cricket Club have still been working as a team to support their local community.   Last week, Isleham Cricket Club took over a phone box to provide food to those currently in need in the community. Shelves were fitted, by members of the club to hold the items donated by residents; with the lower shelves designated to gifts for children, such as books and quizzes.  Inside the phone box residents are also leaving non-perishable goods free for anyone in need to collect, with a volunteer a day visiting to maintain its stock. The phone box has allowed people to help others as well as receive anything they may need, whilst observing social distancing and keeping each other safe. Any extra items are donated to the local foodbank.  Since opening last week, the phone box has been largely popular, illustrating a great example of how communities can continue to work as a team during this time to support the wider community in safe and creative ways.  

People across the region invited to celebrate VE Day @ Home

This Friday (8 May), marks the 75th anniversary of one of the most important and historic days in modern times – Victory in Europe (VE) Day – which brought an end to the Second World War in Europe and a return to peace.

With social distancing still part of our everyday lives, and events cancelled across the country, Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City Councils were keen to ensure VE Day celebrations could still be upheld – this time in the comfort and safety of your own home.

In preparation for the event, Cllr Mac McGuire, Chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council and Armed Forces Covenant Board, shared with us his memories of serving in the Armed Forces, as well as his own personal experience of VE Day as a young boy. View his video on YouTube.

In the meantime, why not decorate your house, dress in red white and blue, or put some posters in your windows. There are plenty of ideas and resources here.

At 3pm on Friday you are invited to join a ‘virtual service’, with music, memories and speeches celebrating the occasions and paying tribute to the entire Second World War generation from British, Commonwealth and Allied Forces, to evacuees and those who served on the home front.

You will be able to watch the hour long event here, or you can listen live by tuning in to Cambridge 105 radio.

A virtual service to mark VE Day will be held by Peterborough Cathedral, led by the Dean Christopher Dalliston and Canon Ian Black, the Vicar of Peterborough.

The service will be broadcast as a live stream from 3pm on the Cathedral’s Facebook page and also as a video via the Cathedral’s website.


Virtual council meetings to begin in Peterborough

Group leaders have agreed a protocol to allow virtual formal meetings to take place at Peterborough City Council during the remainder of the Covid-19 emergency.

Council meetings will now be conducted using the Zoom software platform. They will be livestreamed on the council’s YouTube channel for members of the public and the media to watch – with the exception of confidential items – which will be discussed in private as usual.

Public questions can be submitted in written form for all Full Council meetings and will be published on the council’s website prior to the meeting taking place. Meetings will be recorded to allow people to watch them afterwards if they can’t log on during the event itself.

This protocol will allow the council to continue to conduct the vast majority of its democratic decisions remotely, while adhering to the Government’s social distancing guidelines -and follows legislation which came into force on 4 April.

A review of decisions has been prepared for the next three months and the urgency of each decision will be marked as either high, medium or low – only decisions marked as high or medium will be taken to council meetings. This document does not include monitoring or information items, as these will be circulated to councillors via email.

Training is now taking place with councillors to help them get used to the new system and the first meeting will be Cabinet at 2pm on Monday 11 May.

A similar process started at Cambridgeshire County Council at the end of last month.

Council meetings in Cambridgeshire are also handled by Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council and Huntingdonshire District Council and they will run their own system for meetings. Please contact them for their details.


Huge thanks to volunteers supporting care leavers and vulnerable young people

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council have given their thanks to volunteers who have been supporting vulnerable young people during the Coronavirus outbreak.

After an earlier appeal, the Corporate Parenting team received donations of food, toiletries, baby products, nappies, cleaning products and more. The donations have been used to make hampers filled with the relief supplies for care leavers during isolation. Since lockdown measures were introduced, the team has distributed 71 hampers and been able to supply all essential items requested.

The team has also put in place measures to:

· Ensure all children and care leavers living in privately rented accommodation are safe and can afford their rent, and have access to food parcels.

· All care leavers returning from university are living in safe and suitable accommodation, or able to continue studies where necessary.

· Identify any young people who are living in semi-independent accommodation that might be at risk of homelessness if placements close.

Lou Williams, Service Director for Children & Safeguarding for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, said: “I’d like to thank everyone that has helped our young people so far.”

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council have been given a £3,000 grant from Cambridgeshire Community Foundation to continue this service over the coming weeks. A further £5,000 grant has been handed to the two councils to provide laptops and pre-loaded memory sticks to enable young people to access technology.

Councillor Simon Bywater, Chairman of the Children and Young Peoples Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who donated and the Corporate Parenting team for everything they are doing to make life a little easier for others.”

Councillor Lynne Ayres, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education, Skills and the University at Peterborough City Council, said: “It’s fantastic to see people donating and making such a difference during this difficult time.

“The hampers are a brilliant way to provide support to care leavers and I’m very thankful to our teams who have made it happen.”


Peterborough councillor raises more than £2,100 with 26-hour music marathon

Last week Peterborough City councillor Asif Shaheed took part in the 2.6 challenge, a campaign launched to support struggling UK charities.

His DJ session has now live-streamed on Facebook and he has so far raised £2,126 for SHINE (Spina bifida, Hydrocephalus, Information, Networking, Equality) which provides specialist support for people living with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus as well as to families, carers and professional care staff.

The Covid-19 crisis has seen charities having to reduce and stop services during a time when vulnerable people need them the most as well as the cancellation of thousands of fundraising events, potentially costing UK charities billions. With the help of those like Councillor Shaheed, many charities will still be able to utilise the benefits of fundraising, allowing them to continue supporting those in need during this crisis.

If you would like to help Councillor Shaheed raise funds for SHINE, you can still donate at his Just Giving page.


Local school shows its support for hard-working NHS Staff

Staff and pupils at the Harbour School, Wilburton wanted to recognise the hard work and incredible effort being shown by staff working at the Addenbrooks Intensive Care Unit.

Keen to ensure those on the frontline could keep their spirits and energy levels up, pupils and staff in attendance at the school have donated a box of goodies with various food items and a number of hand-painted rainbows.

Lise Sudgen, headteacher at the school for boys from 5-16 years who have an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP), said: “This is a difficult time for everyone, but I’m really proud that our boys took the time to think about our incredibly hardworking NHS staff. They wanted to show that we are all thinking about them and we care. Our own staff here at Harbour have been brilliant too and were only too keen to help. We hope it cheers up their day.”


Month-long reading challenge launched in Peterborough’

Youngsters in Peterborough currently learning at home have been given a reading challenge to enjoy this month.

Peterborough Celebrates Reading has launched a 31-day reading challenge to be carried out throughout May, aiming to improve a child’s literacy skills.

Each day sees a literary based challenge; from reading under the covers with a torch to writing a book review, reading to someone you live with to writing your own story set in Peterborough.

The Peterborough Celebrates Reading initiative is a year-long celebration that began last summer, organised by Peterborough City Council, The National Literacy Trust, Vivacity and City College Peterborough.

It’s not too late to catch up, find out what you have been missing and see today’s challenge on their Facebook page or jump straight to the challenge here.


How have changes in health and care affected you?

Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, the independent champion for people using health and care services in our area, is calling for people to share how they have been affected by changes in health and care services due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Public feedback is essential as it highlights how the local NHS and care services are managing. By feeding back people’s experiences to those running the healthcare system, local people should be better protected.

Some residents have already reported difficulty getting their medication from pharmacies, which has since been fed back.

With so many temporary changes to health and care, it can seem unclear how and where to get help. However, the Healthwatch Information Service, which is free for anybody to contact, can help point people in the right direction and explain what their options are.

Call Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough on 0330 355 1285, text 0752 0635 176 or visit their website.

Sandie Smith is the Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CEO. Click here to watch her YouTube vlog.

County Council works quickly with social care partner Lifeways to create emergency accommodation and relieve pressure on the NHS

Cambridgeshire County Council and a care provider have repurposed a building in Chatteris to create a rapid response unit for vulnerable adults, after government lockdown put a hold on the building opening as independent living apartments.

The pressure to increase the rate of appropriate hospital discharge and free up NHS beds is ever present, and something that has only been heightened by the coronavirus crisis.

Lifeways, one of the UK’s market leaders in support services for adults with diverse and complex needs, was due to open Barber Gardens in Chatteris, earlier this year. But the opening of the 15 apartments and 3 bungalows, to support adults with learning disabilities and autism to live independently, had been temporarily put on hold due to the government lockdown.

Keen to do everything it could to help alleviate pressure on the system, Cambridgeshire County Council worked directly with Lifeways, and owners Triple Point and Inclusion Housing CIC, to repurpose the building as a rapid response accommodation space to safely house vulnerable adults during the crisis.

The flexible accommodation offers a lifeline for vulnerable people who otherwise might have remained in hospital occupying urgently needed hospital beds, or for anyone requiring support and currently living with their parents who are in a high risk category and need to be shielded. The individual apartments will also benefit those with a need to self-isolate.

The council has taken full responsibility for the service for an initial three-month period, to help during the peak of the pandemic, with Lifeways providing all the support, operational staff and resources for those moving in.

The first person, a young man with autism, moved in on Monday 20 April. Lifeways and the Council are working closely with social workers and NHS discharge teams to move more people in imminently.


National help: Take part in COVID-19 research

University College London is running a study into the psychological and social effects of Covid-19 in the UK.

The results are being used to understand the effects of the virus and social distancing measures on mental health and loneliness in the UK and to inform government advice and decisions.

They are looking for adults in the UK who are happy to take part and spread the word about the study. Participation involves answering a 10-minute online survey now and then answering a shorter follow-up survey once a week whilst social isolation measures are in place.

To take part, visit https://redcap.idhs.ucl.ac.uk/surveys/?s=TTXKND8JMK  


Safer Off the Streets partnership working night and day to help rough sleepers during Covid-19

Peterborough City Council and the Light Project Peterborough, supported by the city’s Safer Off the Streets partnership has delivered around-the-clock services to rough sleepers while they are housed during the Covid-19 outbreak.

In March, the Government issued advice to councils that all rough sleepers should be given temporary accommodation as they are a vulnerable group, with many suffering from ill health due to their lives on the streets.

Within 24 hours, Peterborough City Council and the Light Project Peterborough had housed a total of 25 rough sleepers and then mobilised partners who are essential for supporting them, including drug and alcohol services, mental health support, medical and prescription services.

Volunteer groups from the Safer Off the Streets partnership and the wider community have supported the city council and the Light Project Peterborough to ensure all are given three meals a day, clothes are laundered and other essential supplies.

An army of over 60 volunteers have kicked into force, to help the former rough sleepers settle into their new temporary homes and self-isolate to protect themselves from the Covid-19 virus. This includes liaising with multiple food outlets and donors to co-ordinate over 1,500 meals per week for 80 former rough sleepers who are now housed.

Update meetings are held seven days a week with key partners to coordinate this effort.

Peterborough Soup Kitchen, Salvation Army and The 3 Pillars have also been active in supporting this to provide breakfasts and lunches, and when needed the Peterborough Foodbank has helped with supplies. Aspire has been able to engage with adults with substance misuse issues to provide drug and alcohol support.

The Garden House, run by Light Project Peterborough, continues to operate emergency service for anyone finding themselves homeless 10am-2pm Monday to Friday. Citizens Advice Peterborough and the Homelessness Prevention Team continue to provide advice and assistance to clients threatened with homelessness remotely.

  • Make a donation to the Safer Off the Streets partnership online.
  • Make a donation to the Light Project Peterborough’s Coronavirus Emergency Appeal online.

The Safer Off the Streets partnership is closely following the Government’s guidance in order to provide up-to-date advice to suit the needs of those affected by Covid-19.

Homelessness in Cambridgeshire is also handled by Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council and Huntingdonshire District Council. Please contact them for their details.


Foster for us – enquire today

Can you consider fostering in support of this year’s ‘Foster Care Fortnight’, 11th – 24th May 2020?

There are around 1000 children & young people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, particularly teenagers and children over ten, who need the love and support from foster carers. Anyone who is interested can find out more about the process by phone or video call and ask any questions they may have about becoming a foster carer and what’s involved.

Foster Care Fortnight is the UK’s largest foster care awareness raising campaign. It aims to show the positive impact foster care has made on children’s and young people’s lives.

We are encouraging people from all walks of life to consider fostering – and we want to hear from anyone who is over 21, has a spare bedroom and the passion and dedication to help children and teenagers thrive.

People should not rule themselves out because they have children, are single, married or partnered, work, unemployed, live in rented accommodation or want to foster past retirement age.

If you would like to register your interest, please call 0800 052 0078 or visit:  www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/fostering or www.peterborough.gov.uk/fostering

Cambridgeshire Workplace Chaplaincy Helpline launched 

A helpline has been launched to support people who are finding life difficult at the moment.

The day-to-day adjustments that many are having to make due to a stressful job or juggling working from home, coupled with responsibilities at home, are very stressful for many of us.

Maintaining and enhancing the emotional and mental health of everyone is critical during these turbulent times. 

Therefore the Cambridgeshire Workplace Chaplaincy (CWC) has launched a free helpline for anyone in the workplace who needs help with stress and wants emotional support. 

All calls are anonymous. The service is available during the hours of 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday plus an out-of-hours voicemail if you would like a chaplain to contact you at a later point.

CWC’s multifaith chaplains are a diverse group who are happy to provide support regardless of whether you’re spiritual or religious – their aim is to listen and comfort.

Please call 0800 246 5193 if you need support.


The Library Presents … in your house

The Library Presents sadly had to postpone the planned spring programme due to COVID-19, but Cambridgeshire County Council has now launched The Library Presents… in your house to allow residents to join in online events.

There is something for all ages across a range of art forms including; music, storytelling, theatre, radio drama, visual art, magic, animation, poetry and craft. Over the coming weeks there will be a mixture of live streamed performances, live workshops, videos, downloads for families and a collaborative activity where everyone can participate.

The programme is not only for the technology savvy! Some of the activity will be using radio and postal deliveries; a number of events are inclusive and are signed or subtitled these are clearly marked on the website.

To find out more about The Library Presents… in your house programme, visit the council’s website or Facebook @TheLibraryPresents.

The timetable will be updated weekly with events from the digital programme.


Larkfields working creatively

Staff at Larkfields, a day service for adults with learning difficulties run by Cambridgeshire County Council, have been putting their skills to good use to help key workers and service users.

Staff have set up a production line to make PPE for front line workers and they’ve also sewn and supplied masks in fun fabrics to encourage service users to wear them, if needed.

Alongside this, they are supplying activity packs to service users and have created entertaining activities for them to watch on YouTube on subjects including meditation, cooking and exercise.


Innovative campaign for vulnerable people in Bainton and Ashton

In conjunction with Peterborough City Council’s on-going efforts to support communities since the coronavirus outbreak, Bainton and Ashton Parish Council recently launched the Bright Ribbon campaign.

Residents of the two villages donate non-perishable food items by placing them on their doorsteps in shopping bags tied with brightly-coloured ribbon. Within the first week of donations, 170kg of items were collected.

This was then delivered to the Peterborough Foodbank where it could be passed on to those in need. Donations are currently being directed towards parent-carer families who have been affected by the current crisis. Local suppliers, Plants Eggs, have offered a sizable donation of fresh eggs towards the scheme.


Cambridgeshire Music’s first Virtual Orchestra

Cambridgeshire Music, the county council’s music and arts hub has been inundated with rhythmic additions to its Virtual Orchestra since it launched this opportunity on 17 April.

Over 50 musicians have sent across video and audio files of themselves playing along to the theme tune of the hit US TV classic, Hawaii Five-0, which has now been turned into a musical montage online.

One participant was a former Cambridgeshire Music student getting in touch all the way from Los Angeles to play his part. Instruments ranged from saxophones and flutes to cellos and drum kits – as well as some interesting implements from a kitchen cupboard.

Plans are now in place to do it again and the team is already thinking about which musical piece to cover next. Add some sunshine to your day by watching the performance on YouTube.

Council road markings thank the NHS

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough highways team and its contractor have painted an extra special message on the roads.

All Cambridgeshire and Peterborough health key workers battling the spread of the coronavirus will see a colourful ‘Thank you NHS’ on the roads approaching each of the county’s four hospitals.

Yesterday (Monday), roads near Addenbrooke’s, Papworth, Hinchingbrooke and Peterborough City Hospitals were painted by our contractor, Skanska.

The blue and white NHS logo has also been drawn onto a colourful rainbow – the symbol of hope and gratitude adopted by many throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Crews across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough continue to carry out safety critical work and essential highways maintenance, any on-going work is being carried out in accordance with government health and safety measures, with workforces practising social distancing. Since the coronavirus outbreak, more than 8,000 potholes have been repaired in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough crews have been called out more than 460 times.

Both councils are assessing the situation and given the current low volumes of traffic, will review and work with our contractors to see if any projects can start again whilst adhering to the government guidelines.


Dr Liz Robin’s vlog about ‘Now We’re Talking’ campaign

Dr Liz Robin, Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, talks about the new mental health campaign called ‘Now We’re Talking’ with the NHS, local charities and community organisations and the importance of following the government instructions to stay at home.

Click here to watch today’s video blog.


Cambridgeshire Day Centre proves lockdown is no barrier to supporting those in need

While the government lockdown is undoubtedly a challenging time for all us of, it can prove to be particularly difficult for those with learning disabilities and complex needs.

Unable to attend services they rely on day-to-day, and with no indication as to when the lockdown will end, this period could become a time of increased isolation and anxiety.

Thankfully, care providers across the region have been thinking on their feet, and making sure the people who use their services remain central to their plans.

Not wanting to let social distancing get in the way of having meaningful interactions, Victoria Lodge in Wisbech, a Cambridgeshire County Council run day service for older people and adults with learning disabilities, have turned to Facebook to run daily activities, helping them keep in touch with the people they would usually see face to face each day.

Their eight week plan of activities, which includes things like fitness, baking, singing and crafts, has been designed by the users of the service, with each activity taking place online so no-one misses out.

Regular visitors to the centre recently received sunflower seeds in the post, to give them a head start on their gardening activities.

Find out more about what they are doing here, or visit their Facebook page to learn more about the service, and their tadpoles!


Cambridgeshire School encourages our region’s children to share their ‘Lockdown View’

Just how does your lockdown look? As we now enter our fifth week of social restrictions, most of us are becoming all too familiar with the view outside our windows. Keen to capture the scene from his own bedroom, Year 11 student Sam from Abbey College in Ramsey, used his iPad to create a digital interpretation as part of his home learning school work, capturing the subtle differences between morning and evening.

Andy Christoforou, Headteacher at Abbey College, said: “It’s good to see our students continuing to produce such great work at home. I was really struck by the images Sam has created, and think they really encapsulate the mood as we shift from day into night. Luckily we had some great weather last week, and I think he has done a great job of capturing the warm evening sky. Sam’s work got me thinking – each of us has our own unique ‘lockdown view’ at the minute, and I’d love to see our children across the region sharing theirs by taking photos or drawing a picture, and sharing it using the hashtag #MyLockdownView.


Spotlight on our communities

John and Maureen both live in Somersham and they are in their 80’s. John has Huntington’s Disease and is on the At Risk Register. Maureen cannot leave him on his own to go out shopping, she also suffers from osteoarthristis. Both their daughters live over 40 miles away so it is not practical for them to come to help with shopping.

The Somersham and Pidley Timebank have been helping John and Maureen with a weekly shop delivered to them and also collection of prescriptions. John says:

“We have friendly volunteers who have kept us supplied weekly with our day to day shopping. They always have a chat at a distance.

“I was scammed a few years ago and do not buy online, so paying for shopping to start with by cash, and now by cheque is very much appreciated. We are so fortunate to live in Somersham and have the help from the Timebank.

The Timebank is a very valuable part of the village. In normal times Maureen and I attend the weekly exercise classes held in the village and organised by the Timebank under the Changing Lives project.”

Now we’re talking – coming together in isolation

Organisations across the county have joined forces to launch a wellbeing campaign and additional mental health support for people during the coronavirus outbreak.

‘Now We’re Talking’, encourages people to get talking to combat loneliness whilst self-isolating, and to seek help if they are struggling with their mental health.

The campaign, led by the local authority, NHS and third sector also directs people to increased mental health support available including:

  • Lifeline Plus – a mental health and wellbeing helpline for people aged 18 and over living in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, is available Monday-Friday between 9am and 2pm via freephone 0808 808 2121. The line will support people to manage their wellbeing, provide self-help advice or signpost to other organisations for particular concerns.
  • 7 days a week, between 2pm and 11pm the same number is Lifeline, managed by Lifecraft who provide support for those in mental health distress: 0808 808 2121.
  • Qwell – an online wellbeing support, including educational and self-help articles and peer-to-peer support via forums. Adults are also able to receive help from qualified counsellors via drop-in or scheduled online chat sessions. www.qwell.io
  • Keep Your Head – this website brings together all the mental health support available across the county – www.keep-your-head.com/now

Search for #nowweretalking on Twitter and Facebook.


Mobile library helps distribute food to rough sleepers in Cambridge

Cambridgeshire Mobile Library staff are maintaining their strong community spirit during Covid-19 by helping with the distribution of food and other essentials to rough sleepers in Cambridge.

Thanks to their highly effective teamwork, mobile library staff are distributing around 55 meals daily along with toiletries, clothes, books, magazines and jigsaws as requested. This is part of a wider network of organisations who have risen to the challenge of providing for the homeless in the city.

The service had initially offered its helpful staff and fleet of three mobiles to support local foodbanks in their efforts to deliver food to those in need.

Staff were then approached by agencies in Cambridge to support a joint venture aiming to deliver hot meals to rough sleepers housed in temporary accommodation during the lockdown.

Meals are freshly prepared by volunteers from the Wintercomfort day centre and Sally Ann’s charity and other local church groups. They are then loaded onto the Mobile Library for delivery to three hotels providing rough sleepers with temporary accommodation.

Meals include curry and rice, baked potatoes with chilli con carne, sausage casserole as well as sausages mash and gravy. Rough sleepers also get a bag with sandwiches, crisps, chocolate, yogurt and cereal to last them the rest of the day.

Library staff are able to adhere to social distancing guidance whilst at the hotels by wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including plastic aprons, gloves and face masks. A team of volunteers remain inside the vehicle and distribute the meals from the back, while another volunteer stays outside to check the names of meal recipients, note who has received food and record any other welfare-related queries, which are then fed back daily.

For updates and information about digital services offered by your local library, visit:


School helps ensure ‘the sew’ can go on for frontline workers

Keen to play their part in supporting our critical frontline workers, staff at Queen Katherine Academy in Peterborough have been the latest to put their skills to good use by creating some much-needed PPE.

Teachers combined the old with the new, with Mr Shirley using modern machinery and technology to create face visors, while Mrs Shirley showed her handwork with a good old-fashioned sewing machine to produce cotton facemasks and scrub bags.

The pair have now produced over 80 individual masks, bags and visors, which have been distributed to palliative care nurses, a GP surgery and local pharmacy.

If you’d like to be involved in similar community projects, please contact your local hub:

To contact the countywide hub visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus   

It can also be contacted Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, and Saturdays 9am to 1pm on 0345 045 5219


You can keep up-to-date with any changes to our services on our websites:

Our advice and latest information on Coronavirus can be found on both websites – www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus and www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus 

Look out for ‘Highlights from the Hubs’

We’re getting some great feedback about the work of the Hubs, so we’re launching a new weekly e-newsletter starting tomorrow (Friday 24 April) to share positive news stories and case studies from countywide and city/district hubs.

‘Highlights from the Hubs’ will be emailed out every Friday to an extensive mailing list including Members, MPs, local councils, residents associations, and community networks, who can then share it with their own contacts.

The Parish and Town Council and Residents Association Update e-bulletin will continue to be issued daily Monday – Thursday to share key Covid-19 messages and useful information from all agencies involved. 


Numbers of vulnerable children attending our schools above national average

Education, Children, Social Care and Health services across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have been working together tirelessly with schools to ensure those children who are deemed vulnerable are able to attend a school or early years setting when this is in their best interests – with attendance across our region higher than the national average.

This week, England’s Child Commissioner, Anne Longfield told the BBC the national picture was worrying, with data showing only around 5% of children deemed vulnerable were actually attending schools – meaning they are ‘at home, potentially with a cocktail of risks.’ She went on to say; “So often these children are quite invisible at home and not in the place which is best at keeping them safe – school.”

Social Care and Education Leaders across Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City Council’s acted early, working with School Heads and Trust Leaders to identify those children who would most benefit from continuing to attend school, many of whom will have a social worker and/or have complex disabilities. Schools and other services have worked with parents to ensure attendance and schools have kept their doors open. Around 10% more schools than the national average have been open including nearly 50% of schools open on Good Friday and Easter Monday. Our proportion of vulnerable children attending during this time was around 12% higher than the national reported position.

This ongoing work has seen attendance in our region exceed the national average, with data collected over the Easter period showing more schools open across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and more vulnerable pupils present than in many other parts of the country as a relative proportion of our school population.

However, engagement with families continues, in a push to make sure those who should be attending school have a place available for them.

The Government criteria for vulnerable children is available on its website.


Dr Liz Robin vlog about mental health

Dr Liz Robin, Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, talks about how the stay at home measures have changed nearly all of our daily routines, and offers advice on where to look for help to cope with the effect this has on our mental health.

Watch today’s video blog here


PE and Physical Activity help for children – and parents!

It is so important that children stay active at this challenging time. Without the routine of regular physical activity at school, children are at a greater risk of developing poor habits which can have a detrimental effect on their physical and mental health.

Ian Roberts, our Special Adviser for PE & School Sports, has developed a PE @ Home online pack, with a range of activities and resources to support families in providing PE at home. Ian said ‘the activities involve very little equipment or kit. They are quick and easy to set up, so everyone can get up and running (in some cases literally!) and start burning off some energy quickly. You can learn in your lunchtime, and make the most of the good weather’. The Physical Education @ Home pack is available here.


Communities in Brampton and Hinchingbrooke come together to help vulnerable residents

The communities in Brampton and Hinchingbrooke have come together to support their most vulnerable residents during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Brampton Village Hub was set up in 2016 to coordinate and develop several community activities including supporting vulnerable residents in Brampton. When the Covid-19 crisis started, the Village Hub as well as a flood of new volunteers via Facebook set up the Brampton Community Support Network (BCSN), backed by parish council endorsement and funding.

The Hub run a helpdesk and are specifically aiming to aid vulnerable and elderly people that are self-isolating in Brampton and have recently expanded to cover Hinchingbrooke.

Armed with over 65 volunteers, they are working together to support vulnerable people with:

  • Food shopping
  • Prescription collections
  • Online book, jigsaw or game orders for residents with no internet access
  • Regular newsletters with the most up to date support and information
  • Or just a friendly voice on the phone

Vulnerable residents in Brampton and Hinchingbrooke can ring the helpline services on 01480 272981, Monday to Friday between 9am to 5pm.


Peterborough Islamic centre doing its bit for the community

Members of the Husaini Islamic Centre (HIC) have joined the effort to support members of the community who need help and support – including producing online sermons.

The HIC is providing crucial services with the help of a strong team of volunteers who are in regular contact with those deemed vulnerable, whether that is due to age or illness, to ensure that their needs are met.

This team of dedicated multi-lingual volunteers undertakes many activities to reach all members of the local community, from organising food shopping and prescription deliveries to those who cannot access them otherwise, offering someone to talk to for people experiencing loneliness, and delivering PPE to those who require it.

The Husaini Islamic Centre has also created a fantastic ‘broadcast team’ using state of the art technology to produce sermons, lectures and prayers to be streamed into our homes. They also host weekly quizzes for families to enjoy, keeping everyone at home entertained, as well as providing people with the appropriate technology to access these online benefits.

The Muslim festival of Ramadan starts today and will be continuing until Saturday, 23 May.

Update on distribution of Government business grants

As of Wednesday 22nd April, Peterborough City Council has paid out over 50 per cent (over £17 million to 1,456 Peterborough small businesses and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors) over the last three weeks, mainly through BACS transfers.

Further payments will continue to be made over the coming days with 90 per cent of these to take place by the end of the month.  Businesses who qualify for the grants do not need to do anything, the council will pay the money directly into their accounts through BACS payments.

Peterborough City Council has also awarded 100 per cent business rate relief for 1,255 retail/hospitality/leisure businesses, totaling £36,255,343.42. We also have 31 nurseries eligible for relief of £337,656. 

Peterborough businesses can find out more about the grants and other support that is available through the council for businesses in the city online.


Council’s continue to make home learning rewarding – and fun!

While our schools remain closed for the majority of children, many parents have been turning to online resources to help ensure their children continuing learning and developing at home.

Keen to make sure our local children don’t miss out on any areas of the curriculum, the Education Team at Cambridgeshire County Council have been working hard on creating new activities, plans and puzzles for their popular Home Learning Hub platform.

The resource, which also provides links to other trusted learning materials, aims to offer a ‘one-stop shop’ for parents who may otherwise find themselves jumping between different sites.

The team have created short recommendation videos, highlighting some of their own favourite activities, as well as ‘Study Topics’, where children can study one topic while applying lots of skills from other areas of the curriculum.

A brand new Outdoor Learning page offers lots of activities to help families make the most of their gardens and outdoor spaces as places for informal learning.

The Hub is developing regularly, and you can jump on in here.


Poetry in motion at King’s Hedges Primary

Children at King’s Hedges Primary have been keeping their creative juices flowing by writing poems.

The pupils were tasked with writing a poem that expressed how they were feeling about any topic they wanted to choose. Subjects ranged from growing up to the people in their lives and from a specific memory to the current situation.

Year 5 pupil Paige chose to write about her experiences of the current situation in a poem entitled “Express Yourself”.

Paige’s poem reflects a range of emotions most of us can relate to at the moment – such as sadness, anger, confusion, disappointment and loneliness – but most of all it reminds us all to be resilient and, overall, not to be scared.

school poem

Local ‘friendship club’ provides buddy system to vulnerable people

The Glinton Friendship Club has launched a buddy system to provide support to its vulnerable members during the coronavirus outbreak.

Now in its 19th year, the Glinton Friendship Club runs every Monday on a purely voluntary basis and was set up with money from Peterborough City Council and Age Concern, now Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (AgeUKCAP).

After the first year, the group began raising funds for itself and now has 45 members. It was the first club of its type to be set up in Peterborough and it provides members with a two course hot meal for lunch every week.

Due to government guidance to reduce the spread of coronavirus by limiting social contact, the club is currently not running as usual. Instead, the buddy scheme has been launched so volunteers can call members to check they are okay and provide support by bringing them food shopping and prescriptions.

First virtual Cambridgeshire County Council meeting to be held tomorrow

Tomorrow’s Communities and Partnerships Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council will be the first to be held virtually during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Starting at 10am, the meeting agenda includes the outcome of the Innovate & Cultivate Fund (ICF) Recommendation Panel and will recommend the approval of funding to Cambridgeshire Early Years Teaching Alliance and to Disability Huntingdonshire. Read the full agenda online.

The meeting – like all those during the Covid-19 outbreak until further notice – will be conducted using the Zoom software platform. It will be livestreamed on the council’s YouTube channel for members of the public to watch. The meetings will be recorded to allow people to watch them on YouTube afterwards if they can’t log on during the meeting itself.

The meetings have been made possible thanks to the agreement of a protocol by members, to allow the vast majority of its democratic decisions to be made remotely, while adhering to the Government’s social distancing guidelines. This follows Government legislation which came into force on 4 April.

A similar process is now being developed at Peterborough City Council.


Dr Liz Robin’s vlog about 3 further weeks at home

Dr Liz Robin, director of public health for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, talks about the further three week extension of the Stay at Home rules and why it’s so important we stick to them to keep slowing the transmission of coronavirus.

Watch today’s video blog here.


Peterborough City Council employee shares her experience of being redeployed

Jenny Morgan works in Peterborough City Council’s sensory team as a hearing impairment worker, but due to the current restrictions to reduce the spread of coronavirus, she is limited in the work she can do.

She continues to keep in touch via email and text with her client group and is able to respond to urgent needs when required to ensure that deaf people in the community are still supported.

To help the council provide extra support to vulnerable people during the coronavirus outbreak, she has also been redeployed to the reablement team. Currently, she is dividing her work time between reablement and the council’s sensory team.

Normally, reablement is a service that provides care and support to adults living in the community. It delivers a programme of activities to enable individuals to increase their confidence and ability to live as independently as possible within their home.

During the COVID 19 outbreak, the reablement service is ensuring it helps to deliver care and support to those people who need it most.

As part of the reablement team, Jenny visits vulnerable residents in their homes to check they are well and assist with providing any help they may need, such as making sure they are hydrated and have enough food.

People in the shielded category should not generally be meeting other people face to face, but staff are working in strict accordance with Government guidelines and wear appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) when on shift, including a face mask, gloves and pinafore apron.

Jenny said: “Transitioning over to support the reablement team at this time has been a great experience. I am enjoying the daily structure, learning and developing new skills. I feel much more positive knowing that I am doing my part to help adult social care and our service users during these challenging times.

“The reablement team has been very welcoming and helpful and staff are available any time I need advice or support. I am gaining a good insight into the essential role that the reablement support workers perform in the community, supporting clients to regain their independent living skills.

“Clients are always happy to see me and are very appreciative of the continued good quality service provision and relieved to see a friendly face regularly in this time of uncertainty.”


School ensures online learning is available for all

Townley Primary School and Pre-School in Christchurch, near March, has been helping ensure all its pupils have the equipment they need to learn at home.

With the help of local volunteer Nate Lansdell, the school is upgrading some of its old PCs, so that they can be offered to families who currently have no access to online learning.

Maria-Anne Higgins, headteacher at Townley Primary School and Pre-School, said: “We have a strong community spirit and we want to make sure that, as a school, we do as much as we can to make sure our students can keep on learning. With Nate’s help and expertise, we’ve been able to repurpose some of our IT equipment to enable all our students, to learn and to stay connected during this difficult times, regardless of their circumstances.”

Highways teams are key workers

Crews across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough continue to carry out safety critical work and essential highways maintenance, any on-going work is being carried out in accordance with government health and safety measures, with workforces practising social distancing.

Both councils are assessing the situation and given the current low volumes of traffic, will review and work with our contractors to see if any projects can start again whilst adhering to the government guidelines.

Highways teams are aware of concerns from members of the public around continuing work at this time and are keen to stress that any work will only be carried out where it is safe to do so.


Perkins Great Eastern Run cancelled for 2020

Peterborough City Council has made the difficult decision to cancel one of the highlights of the city’s events calendar – the Perkins Great Eastern Run – because of the ongoing disruption caused by the Coronavirus outbreak.

The launch of this year’s race was due to take place in March, around the same time the country was being asked by the Government to socially isolate.

Since then the city council has been in discussion with Vivacity, which is taking over the management of the race, and the main sponsor, Perkins Engines, about whether a race would be viable this year.

With the continued uncertainty about when the social distancing measures will be lifted, the city council has decided to cancel this year’s race, usually held in October.

Last month the council announced that it would be passing control of the management of the race across to the city’s cultural and leisure trust, Vivacity.

The council wants to be able to grow the race and attract additional sponsorship and it believes that Vivacity is best placed to do this with its links with the culture and leisure sector and knowledge.

The council will continue to support the event in a number of ways including managing the necessary road closures and leading on the public safety aspects. Perkins Engines will continue as the main sponsor in 2021. 


Schools and nurseries upload fun videos to keep the kids entertained at home

As schools and nurseries are now open only to children of key workers and vulnerable children, many parents have been searching for new ways to keep their little ones entertained, often turning to sport and activity videos to follow along with in their homes.

But Joe Wicks isn’t the only one providing fun for the kids in their living rooms, as Cambridgeshire schools and nurseries have been uploading videos for the whole family to join in with.

Staff at Rackham Primary School in Witchford put together a video on YouTube with a code for children to crack, while Buttons and Bows Pre-school in Sawtry is adding videos of staff reading books, poems and performing song and dance to their Facebook page every day.

Buttons and Bows recently received an Ofsted rating of outstanding, after the inspection showed that children felt safe and secure at the nursey and established ‘extremely strong bonds with staff and show genuine affection for them.’

The Ofsted report also said leaders are highly qualified, knowledgeable and passionate in their roles, while all children have equal opportunities to achieve their full potential.

Social distancing measures set to continue for a further three weeks

Last night the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced a further three weeks of its social distancing measures.

This follows the news from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) that the infection rate appears to be decreasing, but that any change in social distancing now could trigger a second peak, placing further pressure on the NHS and economy.

Today, our council leaders commented on the Government’s announcement and gave these messages to residents in both Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Councillor Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “The Covid-19 virus has made a huge difference to all our lives over the last few weeks, however, the social distancing guidelines do need to continue to prevent a second wave. I’m urging all Cambridgeshire residents to stay patient and continue to follow the Government’s advice.”

Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “Covid-19 is a cruel virus that has taken far too many people from us too soon. By continuing to follow the Government’s social distancing guidelines we can prevent a second wave, protecting both the NHS and the economy. I’m urging all city residents to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

Both leaders have also recorded a vlog with these messages included which is on our Peterborough and Cambridgeshire YouTube channels.


Key highlights from the Countywide Coordination Hub

Last month the Countywide Coordination Hub was launched to help those people in our communities who are at the highest risk and shielded during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The hub will help ensure that services provided by key workers, such as care for the elderly, are able to continue through the redeployment of staff and the deployment of volunteers.

It also co-ordinates the distribution of support to the most vulnerable shielded group, whether it is food, medicine or social aspects. In addition, it works closely with the district/city hubs to ensure all vulnerable people are supported.

Here are some key highlights resulting from the work of the hub this week:

Shielded list

We have so far received the details of around 13,000 people who have registered as needing to be shielded. Of those other residents whom the NHS believe need to shield, the hub has contacted them by letter encouraging them to do so. The hub has also responded to 1,700 direct requests for help and support.

To ensure we keep in contact with this ever-growing group of people, 150 redeployed staff and volunteers have been identified to make telephone contact with shielded people each week, to check they have what they need and where support needs are identified.

Access to food

As more and more shielded people successfully register, they are given access to supermarket home delivery slots or are registering to receive food parcels arranged through a national scheme. However, for many, neither option is suitable and so we are also using our volunteers to collect groceries ordered via click and collect and delivering food supplies from our warehouse to residents in emergency situations. Around 250 emergency deliveries have been made so far and these continue.

PPE delivery to pharmacies

National supplies of PPE were received at our warehouse this week. The first delivery went to 151 pharmacies across the county. The Red Cross volunteers are doing an amazing job sorting, organising and delivering supplies.

Offers of mutual aid

The hub continues to receive information about mutual aid offers right across the county. These offers of support are being added to either the Cambridgeshire Directory or the Peterborough Information Network.

Where possible, we want people to access support from these organisations or groups, or from friends, family and neighbours, to make sure help available from the countywide and district/city hubs is prioritised for those who need them most.

Find out more about our Coordination Hub on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough websites.


Virtual council meetings to begin in Cambridgeshire 

Members have agreed a protocol to allow virtual formal meetings to take place at Cambridgeshire County Council during the remainder of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Committee meetings will now be conducted using the Zoom software platform. They will be livestreamed on the council’s YouTube channel for members of the public and the media to watch – with the exception of confidential items – which will be discussed in private as usual. 

Public questions can be submitted in written form and will be published on the council’s website prior to the meeting taking place. Meetings will be recorded to allow people to watch them afterwards if they can’t log on during the event itself. 

This protocol will allow the council to continue to conduct the vast majority of its democratic decisions remotely, while adhering to the Government’s social distancing guidelines -and follows legislation which came into force on 4 April.

A list of decisions to be taken at formal meetings has been prepared for the next three months and the urgency of each decision will be marked as either high, medium or low – only decisions marked as high or medium will be taken to committee. The list does not include monitoring or information items, as these will be circulated to committees via email. 

Training is now taking place with members to help them get used to the new system and the first meeting will be Communities and Partnerships Committee on Wednesday, 22 April. 

The protocol will be reviewed after one month of meetings. For further information on the protocol, visit the council’s website.

A similar process is now being developed at Peterborough City Council.


Fire safety in the home

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service would like to remind residents to follow fire safety guidance in their homes.

As we prepare for at least 3 more weeks of isolation to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, it’s more vital than ever for us to practise sensible habits to help prevent fires.

The service has released a useful online booklet explaining good smoke alarm habits, how to avoid fires in your home, how to avoid electrical fires, how to plan an escape route and the benefits of making a bedtime checklist.

Read the full guidance here.


Help spread sunshine and joy by joining a virtual orchestra

If you fancy making your musical mark on the world from your own home, why not join Cambridgeshire’s online school orchestra?

In the first of a series of online initiatives, Cambridgeshire Music – the county’s music education hub – is inviting our county’s budding musicians to contribute to a virtual performance of the theme tune from the US TV classic, Hawaii-5-0! Jog your memory of the happy vibes here. Surfboards and shorts at the ready!

This invitation is open to everyone – regardless of ability, instrument or location. You don’t need to be an expert. Simply download your part and guidance sheet from this Dropbox link here and follow the instructions.

You can send a video file (mp4) or an audio file (mp3) via a WeTransfer link to mymusic@cambridgeshire.gov.uk. Remember, if you providing a video clip, you are giving your permission for us to edit and use your contribution in the final performance.

The closing date for submissions is Friday, 24th April, and the final masterpiece will be available on Monday, 27th April.

Help us to spread the word about our Countywide and Local Hubs

Our network of COVID-19 Coordination and Response Hubs – including the Countywide Hub and Local Hubs led by district/city councils – is busy responding to residents in need and linking up to offers of support.

Now, we need your help to spread the word by sharing infographics showing your Local Hub contact details with people living in your area – via social media/local networks. These also have details of the countywide co-ordination hub for shielded people.

The relevant infographics are being distributed to county, city and district councillors, and will also be emailed to Parish and community partners following this Update. Please email parishesCV@cambridgeshire.gov.uk if you wish to be sent the infographic for your local hub.

The Countywide Hub, led by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, supports shielded residents at highest risk, ensuring our most vulnerable residents have access to food, medicines and other important supplies as well as ensuring broader social needs are met as far as possible. These critical services across the public sector are being sustained through additional staff redeployment and volunteers. Further information is available at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus

The Local Hubs, led by District/City councils, are providing more local support for residents across their communities – including those not  being shielded – and responding to individual offers of help or requests for support. They also connect with and support mutual aid and community/parish led initiatives. Further information is available on district and city council websites.


Nearly 250 people being supported by Coronavirus support hub

Almost 250 people across Peterborough who need help and support during the Coronavirus public health emergency have been in contact with the Peterborough Local Community Resilience Group (CRG).

The support hub was set up following an instruction from the Government for every council in the country to establish local hubs to provide targeted support for those people who require it during the pandemic. The hub includes representatives from the public, private, voluntary, independent and faith sectors.

Its role is to support those who are vulnerable and in need of help and support, but are not classed as being high risk (shielded). Those who are highest risk and therefore identified as shielded are being supported by the countywide co-ordination hub.

Since its launch on 2 April, almost 250 people have been in touch asking for help, with many vulnerable people needing assistance to source food or medicine, or requiring support around benefits, or because they feel lonely. 

People who need help and support should get in touch with the Peterborough CRG by visiting the council’s website or by calling (01733 747474). The hub is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Organisations offering help city-wide can also be found on the Peterborough Information Network


Number of pupils starting their first choice school in September increases

The vast majority of pupils starting primary school in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough this September will be attending their first preference school.

In Cambridgeshire, the early opening of the Primary School application process saw a slight increase in the number of applications received before the submission deadline compared to  previous years – with a higher percentage of children being offered their first preference than was the case in 2019.

Overall, of the 6890 applications received, the Council were able to allocate 93.7% of pupils a place at their parents’ first preference school (an increase from 92.75% in 2019), with 4.2% being offered their second preference, and 0.7% offered their third. The number of children not receiving one of their top three preferences dropped from 1.96% to 1.4%.

In Peterborough, while the number of applications received was down on last year – 2727 as opposed to 2870, the percentage of pupils being offered their first preference has increased.

Of the applications received, the Council were able to allocate first preference to 93.7% of pupils (an increase from 91.5% in 2019), with 4.3% being offered their second preference, and 0.8% offered their third. The number of children not receiving one of their top three preferences dropped from 2.1% to 1.1%.

The Councils are sending letters to parents today, letting them know the result of their application, but parents who applied online can also check for themselves:  

Cambridgeshire’s online portal

Peterborough – parent portal   

What can parents do if they are not happy about the place their child(ren) has been offered?

Parents are legally entitled to appeal against the Admission Authority’s decision to refuse a place at their preferred school(s). Accepting a place at an alternative school does not affect their child’s place on the reserve list for their preferred school(s), or right of appeal. For more information see the Cambridgeshire County Council’s Appeals page and Peterborough’s Appeals page  

Parents should be aware that appeals are likely to be delayed due to the current situation. We ask that you check the appeals web page for updates.


Littleport motorbike training school offering free courier service

An award-winning motorcycle training school in East Cambridgeshire is now offering a free courier service to residents in need.

Based in Littleport, AAA Motorcycle Training School Ltd has shifted its focus from training new motorcyclists to delivering prescription medication to households who are self-isolating during the Covid-19 outbreak.

In response to government advice, the motorcycle training school first began delivering prescriptions to elderly and vulnerable residents who were struggling to collect their own medication, while also protecting pharmacy and surgery staff by reducing face-to-face contact.

As the severity of the lockdown developed, the company began contacting local pharmacies and surgeries and advertising on social media to offer their help. Their free courier service is now available to all residents with prescriptions in an effort to reduce footfall and maintain social distancing.

In their first week, the company had two riders each handling between 30 and 60 prescriptions a day. As demand increased, so did their team, which now consists of four riders, each handling between 50 and 60 prescriptions a day, with slightly fewer at weekends.

After initially covering the needs of Littleport, Ely and Soham residents, the company soon expanded their service to Duxford, Foxton, Chatteris, March, Newmarket, Downham Market and beyond.

The training school has ceased all training other than for essential workers who rely on their use of motorbikes for work.

Residents in need of this free courier service can contact AAA Motorcycle Training School Ltd on its website or by calling 07384 746025 between 8am and 8pm.

Dean Abbess and Amanda Hellmann, owners of the company, also regularly update the AAA Motorcycle Training School Ltd Facebook page with stories of their adventures.


You can keep up-to-date with any changes to our services on our websites:

Our advice and latest information on Coronavirus can be found on both websites – www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus and www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus 

School meals on wheels in Manea

Many of our local schools are coming up with new ways to support their students and wider communities at this time.

Manea Primary School has been delivering lunches to vulnerable students giving the students themselves and their families one less thing to worry about.

Staff have been picking up meals each day and delivering them to children in the local area. Observing social distancing advice, they place the lunches at the door and move back a safe distance so that they can say hello to the families as they gather the lunches from the doorstep. This provides the families with some much-needed interaction and a familiar, friendly face to talk to each day – not to mention a nutritious meal.

Nicky Froggatt, Head Teacher at Manea Community Primary School, said: “It’s even more important to make sure that people have what they need to keep them going at the present time. I’m really proud that I, and my senior leaders Frankie Lenton and Emma Revell, have been able to keep providing lunches to our children who are in receipt of free school meals via this ‘school meals on wheels’ service. It’s lovely to be able to say hello to the children and their families, and to let them know that although the school is closed to the majority of children, we’re still here to support them.”


March and Surrounding Coronavirus Facebook group

We’re delighted to have so many fantastic examples of communities supporting one another to share, as part of our ongoing Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Together campaigns.

Many council staff are doing their bit too in order to help others in their communities.

Rebecca Garry, occupational therapy team manager for Cambridgeshire County Council, recently set up a group on Facebook to offer support to vulnerable residents in March.

Since the creation of the ‘March & Surrounding Coronavirus Support’ group on 15 March, Rebecca has been joined by over 2,400 members – and the list is still growing.

Using their collective knowledge and skills, the group are carrying out many tasks including collecting residents’ prescriptions and directing them to where they can find items commonly out of stock. They are able to assist with the majority of these requests on the same day they are received.

Rebecca said: “I’m so proud of what the group are doing, it really has been invaluable for our town.”

The group has brought together the Fenland Association for Community Transport (FACT), which offers a daily shop-and-drop service, two local hubs where people can donate food and other household essentials, as well as a local pet food hub and the March Food Bank.

The group also offers support to residents of March’s surrounding villages, including Manea and Wimblington.

For more information visit the Facebook page, or on the FACT and food bank websites.


Bus companies and Aragon Direct Services help essential food workers get to work safely

Aragon Direct Services has worked with bus operators to help a Peterborough based recruitment agency to get its staff to work safely.

The recruitment company provides transport for its workers to get to and from food production factories in Chatteris and Spalding. When Covid-19 social distancing guidelines were brought in, it was finding it difficult to fully adhere to them as it didn’t have enough vehicles in its fleet.

Peterborough City Council’s trading company Aragon Direct Services, heard about this and wanted to offer its three home-to-school buses which were not being used. However, it didn’t have enough available drivers to help and also needed the permission of the company it leases the buses from for the change in use.

A solution appeared just a few days later, after Whippet Coaches agreed to lend some of its drivers and Dawsongroup bus and coach agreed to allow permission for the vehicles to be used at no extra charge.

PARISH AND TOWN COUNCIL AND RESIDENT ASSOCIATION UPDATES from Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City Councils

Urgent appeal for foster carers across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

A campaign to urgently boost the number of people fostering to support children across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough during the coronavirus crisis has been launched.

The number of people enquiring about becoming foster carers has dipped, with the immediate need being for teenagers, children with additional needs and sibling groups.

Both Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council are launching a ‘Call for Action’ urging people who can help to change the lives of children and young people to become foster carers and provide loving, supportive homes as demand for the service increases.

During COVID-19, we are taking all the necessary steps during the fostering process to follow the government advice, for example, we can conduct initial visits virtually and have made arrangements to do so. If your application progresses then we will discuss the next stages with you which will include a face to face visit as part of the assessment process, this will adhere to the social distancing rules at all times.

People who believe they can make a positive difference to a child’s life are encouraged to contact both council’s today. All carers receive training, 24 hour access to support, along with allowances. As a foster carer you need to have the time, patience and determination to support and help vulnerable children and young people who are living away from their families. You will need to be over 21 and have a spare bedroom in your home.

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council encourage you to find out more about fostering, visit: www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/fostering email fostering@cambridgeshire.gov.uk or call 0800 052 0078

Visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/fostering email FosteringandAdoption@Peterborough.gov.uk or call 0800 328 8433.


Trading Standards warns about Coronavirus personal protective goods

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards Service are asking local residents to report any online products claiming to protect people against coronavirus that haven’t been provided by a reputable supplier or nationally approved. This could be home-made sanitisers, genuine looking face masks claiming protection and coronavirus swabbing kits. These products can often be dangerous and unsafe. This is a time when unscrupulous criminals will attempt to make illegal profit and prey on the fears of the most vulnerable in our society.

In addition to cracking down on such products, you might also be interested to read the latest Public Health England blog about personal protective equipment (known as ‘PPE’) and what is being recommended for the necessary excursions we are having to make. For the vast majority you will find in fact the recommendation is to use no PPE but instead to adopt thorough hand washing practices and social distancing.

Members of the public can contact the Trading Service via the Citizens Advice helpline on 0808 223 1133


Dr Liz Robin vlog thanking everyone staying at home for Easter

Dr Liz Robin, Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, thanks everyone who observed the government’s stay at home rules over the Easter Bank Holiday, and reminds us that by doing this together we can continue to save lives in our local communities.

Click here to watch today’s video blog.


Easter message from Chairs/Vice-chairs and cabinet members

Senior councillors from Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council have pulled together a personal message to remind people to stay at home over the Easter holiday to protect the NHS and save lives.

This followed the launch of an Easter campaign by the two authorities, with ‘Buddy the Bunny’ setting daily challenges and activities to help keep the county’s families entertained during the holiday.

The animated message, which features the leaders, chairs and vice-chairs from both councils, can be viewed on our Cambridgeshire and Peterborough YouTube channels.

The councils also kicked off their #SafeAtHomeEaster campaign with ‘Buddy the Bunny’ setting activities for all the family on social media – including a video tutorial for how to bake bread and craft challenges.

Daily activities and challenges will be posted on:


Cambridgeshire distillery produces hand sanitiser for frontline care staff

Cambridgeshire based artisan Gin Distillery Roundwood, who are based in the village of Abbots Ripton, have kindly offered to donate ten litres of hand sanitiser free of charge to council social workers and personal advisers to help them continue their vital roles.

The sanitiser will ensure that front line staff are keeping themselves and young people in care safe during visitations.

Rupert Waters, Co-founder of Roundwood Gin, said: “Once the Government relaxed the licensing requirements for production a couple of weeks ago, we felt we had to take the opportunity and do something to help the heroic key workers in our community.

“These dedicated staff are providing an excellent service to young people and we hope that Roundwood can help, even if in a small way, to support the incredible work they’re doing.”


Schools on song to support Countywide Covid-19 response

Fantastic support from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough schools saw 159 opening on Good Friday and a further 148 open on Bank Holiday Monday, supporting vulnerable children, or the children of key workers to help keep essential services like the NHS working.  Around 30% of the available early year’s providers were working too.

As well as continuing to provide as much of the curriculum as possible, schools are coming up with innovative and inventive ways of keeping in touch with their communities – such as this example from Stukeley Meadows Primary School in Huntingdon, a video medley featuring some very familiar faces.


Dear Resident,

I know that under normal circumstances we would all be looking forward to spending part of the sunny Easter weekend outside with family, but this weekend it remains vital for us all to keep following the rules about staying at home and social distancing.

When I was elected Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC), my first speech to the council focused on my belief in the strength of our Huntingdonshire community, and what we can achieve when we all pull together. Recently I wrote about how proud I am of the response from local people stepping forward to help others during this crisis, and I am equally proud of the inspiring efforts of council staff, who are doing their utmost to get help and support to our residents.  

I am seeing daily examples of innovation and flexibility in how our officers not only keep frontline services running in difficult circumstances, but also put in place unprecedented measures to provide financial assistance, identify vulnerable people and then deliver food, medicine and support to them.
Across Huntingdonshire, we truly are seeing the very best examples of community spirit and resilience.

In this newsletter you will find some key updates about council services. You can also check our dedicated website for COVID-19 related support and guidance at www.wearehuntingdonshire.org.
 
I wish you all the very best and thank you for playing your part in keeping Huntingdonshire safe.

Cllr Ryan Fuller
Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council


What we’ve been doing so far …
Delivering over 200 food parcels to our most vulnerable residents across the district
Making over 3,000 phone calls to vulnerable residents to check on their welfare
Collecting over 150 prescriptions and delivering them to residents who are unable to collect from their local pharmacy
Introduced a two-month council tax deferral scheme. We’ve already received applications for this scheme from over 2,000 households, click here for more information or to apply.
Supporting local businesses through grant funding schemes, click here for more information

If your income has reduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic you may be entitled to claim Universal Credit and/or Council Tax Support
Visit the One Leisure YouTube channel for workouts to keep you active and look after your health and wellbeing whilst at home. From beginners to advanced, with and without equipment, from yoga to HIIT even when staying at home, there’s something for everyone with One Leisure!

Markets St Ives market on bank holiday Easter Monday has been cancelled to give way to a small food market only. An amended layout will be used with only food stalls (pet food included). Normal weekly markets are continuing in Huntingdon and St Ives for food stalls only as per Government guidance. 

Country Parks
Please remember that if you are visiting either Hinchingbrooke Country Park or Paxton Pits for your daily exercise and to enjoy some fresh air, please make sure you:only go by yourself or with members of your householdkeep at least two metres away from anyone elsedon’t meet up with friends or family members who you don’t live withonly go out for exercise once a daydo not drive to exercise

Waste and RecyclingThere will be no changes to your scheduled bin collection days as our crews will be working on Good Friday and Easter Monday. Please leave your bin or sacks out on your normal collection day. View the bin collection calendar for your property You can find information, tips and advice on minimising your waste on the Huntingdonshire Recycles Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Useful Links:
Government Guidance: Coronavirus
NHS Advice for Everyone
We Are Huntingdonshire Portal
Huntingdonshire District Council Service Updates

Update from Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City Councils

Countywide Covid-19 Coordination Hub – Bank Holiday weekend availability

The Countywide Covid-19 Coordination Hub will be open as usual – every day except Sunday – over the Bank Holiday weekend as follows: Friday and Monday (8am to 6pm) and Saturday (9am to 1pm). Some City/District Coordination Hubs may be closed over the weekend, so please check your local council’s website for information.

To help manage demand, staff will be taking emergency calls only on 0345 045 5219.

Non-urgent contact can be made via the online portals, which can be found 24/7 at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus


Dr Liz Robin vlog about staying home at Easter

Dr Liz Robin, Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, reminds us that it is essential to follow the stay at home rules this Easter Bank Holiday weekend, to keep the social distancing measures working, and to be aware of people trying to play on our fears at this challenging time by sharing fake news.

Click here to watch today’s video blog. 


Schools continue to support free school meals over the Easter period

Children who qualify for free school meals will now be covered during the Easter period, thanks to a voucher scheme announced by the Government yesterday.

The scheme, which was initially introduced to cover term times, will now be extended to ensure eligible families are supported over the two-week Easter period, and will be in place regardless of whether a school is open or not.

Education leads, working across Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City Council, have been working with schools to determine the best way to apply the scheme so that it offers the best support for their local families. In some instances, this may be in the form of packed lunches, food parcels, or providing parents with vouchers to use at a number of local supermarkets.

Families who have not been deemed eligible for free school meals in the past may now be able to apply, if their circumstances have changed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Families who are currently in receipt of free school meals do not need to reapply.

Parents who are already eligible for free school meals should contact their school directly for further information.

Parents who are not already claiming free school meals should:

  • Check they are eligible for free school meals on our Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
  • If they are eligible:
    • Cambridgeshire – Parents can complete an online application for an instant response
    • Peterborough – If you have any queries in relation to free school meals entitlement please speak to child’s school who will be able to advise you.

Coronavirus response– practical general guidance on what councils can do at a local level

As we all know, local councils are limited in their powers and in how they can assist with the relief efforts. Generally speaking, local councils can rely on s.137 of the Local Government Act 1972 to make grants to groups assisting with the response (e.g. to foodbanks and other local charities or voluntary groups) subject to the s.137 criteria or, if eligible, do so under the general power of competence.

Already existing organisations will be able to identify where food and essentials are best directed and to the most vulnerable and donating to such groups helps to avoid unnecessary duplication. Getting involved in this way also highlights the important role of a local council within the community.

If there are no such groups known to a council, Facebook can assist as well as principal authority webpages and local MPs – they may already be working with relevant groups and organisations. An example can be found here of local councils seeking volunteer groups to assist: https://www.lep.co.uk/health/appeal-local-coronavirus-community-help-groups-contact-longridge-town-council-2506543

Individual councillors of course do things to help their communities, Many are running alternative schemes to assist their local communities, for example: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/24/its-a-community-effort-wiltshire-villagers-unite-against-coronavirus-isolation  


Cambridgeshire online library services prove popular during Covid-19

While Cambridgeshire library buildings are closed, our library service is still very much open to all in the digital world.

More people than ever before are accessing the online offerings and social media channels, with over 39,000 reaching out to its Facebook page in the last week alone (an increase of 522 per cent). The library online events timetable has also been viewed by over 10,000 people and due to demand the service has created a weekly online rhyme-time, daily Twitterchats and webinars from the Business&IP Centre.

Also, for the very first time, library members can access Ancestry and Find My Past from home – a time limited offer available from these companies throughout the Covid-19 outbreak.

Digital library services also include: eBooks, eMagazines, eAudiobooks and eNewspapers to download, all free of charge. The benefits of reading in terms of wellbeing, relaxation, entertainment and education are well known. Subjects include meditation, relaxation, gardening, cookery as well as fiction for adults and children. Find out more online.


Advice to combat distraction burglaries

We’re urging residents to be alert following reports of distraction burglaries in recent weeks.

On 24 March a distraction burglary took place on Worcester Road, Wisbech. A woman fraudulently gained entry to an elderly man’s home by using his granddaughter’s name. She asked for cash for a bus but was stopped by a member of the man’s family.

On 3 April two women entered a home in Southwell Road, Wisbech, pretending to be nurses who needed to check the elderly resident’s paperwork. Once they left, the victim realised they had stolen her purse containing bank cards.

Also on 3 April a distraction burglary took place in Dogsthorpe, Peterborough. A man let himself in with the victim believing he was a carer for her husband. The man’s female accomplice then stole the victim’s purse while he distracted her.

Since the lockdown started on 23 March there have been five similar incidents across the county. Distraction burglars use dishonest tactics to trick their way into homes to steal money or valuables. In light of the current situation we are urging members of the public to be even more wary of letting people into their homes.

To reduce the risk of becoming the victim of a distraction burglar or rogue trader, always remember:

  • LOCK – Is your back door locked? If not, lock it before you answer the front door as distraction burglars often work in pairs – one distracts, while the other steals. STOP – Are you expecting anybody?
  • CHAIN – Put this on before you open the door. If you have not got one, it is a worthwhile investment.  It will give you that extra ‘safe space’ and barrier between you and the caller.
  • CHECK – Ask for their identification card, take it and look at it carefully. Close the door and check the number in the phone book – not the number on the card.  If they are genuine they will not mind waiting or coming back another day.

Anyone with information regarding this incident should call police on 101 or visit www.cambs.police.uk/report. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

Call 999 for live incidents where the distraction burglar is still at the property, or is due to return.

For more information on distraction burglaries please contact Crime Reduction Officers Amanda Large on 07872 3577868 or Helen O’Driscoll on 07736 085238.


Local schools produce more protective equipment for frontline workers

Following on from the news that Jack Hunt School in Peterborough recently put their design and technology skills to the test, by producing and distributing more than 650 protective visors for local NHS hospital staff, other schools have got involved.

Arthur Mellows Village College in Glinton, Peterborough, has also produced visors, which are now being used in a local GP practice and pharmacy. This work was organised and undertaken by Scott Dewdney and Tom Chegwidden at the college.

The college’s art and textile teachers, Lisa Mitchell and Hanna Senior wondered how they could help nurses – so they put their heads together and have so far produced 100 headbands to alleviate nurses’ sore ears.

The teachers have also set up a group on Facebook for fellow sewing bees and have signed up volunteers across the country.

They show no sign of stopping yet, they have now received requests from over 10 NHS hospitals, alongside multiple private health care providers, for both headbands and laundry bags.

They have received donations from local fabric shops and have teamed up with Casterton College which has been printing 3D buttons.

Countywide Covid-19 Coordination Hub – Bank Holiday weekend availability

The Countywide Covid-19 Coordination Hub will be open as usual – every day except Sunday – over the Bank Holiday weekend as follows: Friday and Monday (8am to 6pm) and Saturday (9am to 1pm). Some City/District Coordination Hubs may be closed over the weekend, so please check your local council’s website for information.

To help manage demand, staff will be taking emergency calls only on 0345 045 5219.

Non-urgent contact can be made via the online portals  which can be found 24/7 at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus


School and Early Years Settings continue supporting children over Easter

The number of children attending our Cambridgeshire and Peterborough schools continues to fall, with parents following government advice – to keep children at home where safe to do so.

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council have been working closely with their schools and early years settings to help identify need, and a number of them will remain open over the Easter period to ensure our vulnerable and critical worker children are cared for.

However, if you’re a key worker or have vulnerable children or anyone you know has and they’re struggling to find childcare provision over the Easter period you can contact the Council’s Family Information Service, who are keeping track of available options.

In Cambridgeshire – you can call the team weekdays between 9am-5pm on: 0345 045 1360. On Good Friday and Easter Monday, please contact earlyyears.service@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

In Peterborough – you can access the service online


County Council employee redeployed as part of Coordination Hub scheme

A network of COVID-19 Coordination and Response Hubs has been launched across Cambridgeshire to ensure that everyone who needs our help and support at this incredibly difficult time receives it. This includes the countywide coordination hub, which is focussed on supporting residents who have been identified as being at the highest risk. It involves staff being redeployed to critical services across the public sector, such as care for older people.

Tara has worked for the Cambridgeshire County Council HR department since December 2017, but has recently been redeployed to the reablement service team.

As part of her new role, she visits vulnerable residents at lunch and dinner times to check they are well and assist with providing any help they may need.

Tara said: “On my first shift I shadowed a colleague and we did some lunch calls – visiting vulnerable people at home and making sure they’re okay, they’re hydrated and that they’ve got food. It’s also just really important that they have someone to speak to. For some people, we might be the only faces they see all day – especially now with the lockdown restrictions.

“The people I’ve visited so far have been absolutely brilliant. They’re always up for a chat about their grandchildren, or what they used to do for work – they’ll talk to us about all sorts.

“I was nervous before I started. Partly because I’ve never done anything like this before, but partly because these are vulnerable people and you want to help and make things better for them. But the training I received was fantastic and I’ve learnt so many good skills which will be with me for a long time.”

People in the “shielded” category should not generally be meeting other people face to face, but staff are working in strict accordance with Government guidelines and wear appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) when on shift, including a face mask, gloves and pinafore apron.

Normally, reablement is a service that provides care and support to adults living in the community. It delivers a programme of time limited, reablement intervention to enable individuals to increase their confidence and ability to live as independently as possible within their everyday environment and community network.

During the COVID 19 outbreak, the reablement service is ensuring that they help to deliver care and support to those people who need it most.

If you want to volunteer and help your community find out more here


College meals for the vulnerable in Peterborough

Dedicated staff at City College Peterborough are supporting the community by rustling up delicious hot dishes and delivering them to vulnerable residents and homeless people.

A team at the college’s Brook Street campus have been busy using their catering facilities and vans to help those in need.

They’ve cooked meals including Beef Stew, Quorn shepherd’s pie and fish and chips while keeping the correct social distance apart from each other and ensuring the meals are delivered hot.

Pat Carrington, the college’s executive principal, said: “I’m really proud of the team – they’ve been fantastic and become a real well-oiled machine! They’re now in their second week of making hot meals – on their first day they made 20 but now they’ve got into a real rhythm and are making and delivering around 150 hot meals and 70 sandwich lunches a day – it’s an incredible effort.”

The City College also lent one of their chefs to help out at The Phoenix School when they were struggling due to staff sickness.

Meanwhile, college staff who are working from home have been busy creating online training programmes designed for people about to start care work or volunteering.


Pupils at St Laurence Primary send hope to all

St Laurence Catholic Primary School in Cambridge are just one example of our schools going the extra mile to support local children.

Despite pupil numbers dropping over the last week, a reduced staff crew at the school remain committed to support those in attendance. The low numbers hasn’t held back their creativity, with a hope rainbow now proudly adorning one of their windows.

You can keep up-to-date with any changes to our services on our websites:

Peterborough – https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/healthcare/public-health/coronavirus/disruption-to-council-services

Cambridgeshire – https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/coronavirus/disruption-to-council-services

Our advice and latest information on Coronavirus can be found on both websites – www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus and www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough leaders send their best wishes to the PM

Following last night’s admission of Prime Minister Boris Johnson to intensive care after his Coronavirus symptoms worsened, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough leaders have extended their best wishes to the Prime Minister and his family.

Councillor Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We are all thinking of the Prime Minister and his family. I’m sure he will be heartened to see all the messages of support that have gathered online overnight when he makes a full recovery.”

Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “Like many of us, I was shocked when I heard the news last night that Boris Johnson’s symptoms had worsened. My thoughts and prayers are with the Prime Minister and his family and I wish him a full recovery.”


New £5m Communities Capital Fund to help Cambridgeshire community-led projects

A new £5m fund aimed at creating opportunities and improving lives and skills across Cambridgeshire has been launched by Cambridgeshire County Council today (Tuesday, 7 April).

The Communities Capital Fund will support projects that will make positive changes in the community, bringing people together and meeting the priorities that matter most to local people.

Grants of up to £500,000 are available to support community-led projects which improve the health, wellbeing, social and economic opportunities and outcomes in communities.

Projects will need to show how they will:

  • Bring people together and involve them in the design and implementation
  • Improve local places and spaces that are important to communities
  • Help to address local priorities e.g. increasing skills, reducing loneliness, improving physical and mental health
  • Improve access to new or existing services or activities e.g. sports, leisure, education
  • Demonstrate match funding – this include in kind contributions, land transfer etc
  • Minimise any potential impact on carbon emissions

The fund is open to any voluntary, community organisation or social enterprise alongside public bodies such as district, parish and town Councils, schools or any other organisation that can demonstrate how their project will benefit Cambridgeshire residents. Applications can relate to buildings, land, vehicles, equipment or any other capital related item.

The Communities Capital Fund was announced by Cambridgeshire County Council Leader Councillor Steve Count as part of the 20/21 Budget in February and its rollout will be overseen by the council’s Communities and Partnership Committee.

Community organisations that wish to submit an application must do so through their county councillor or community champion to ensure that projects meets with the strategic aims of the council and will add real value to local communities.

“We want to encourage bids for projects which will help to fill gaps in provision or service, and where the community wants some support to help them take the lead in meeting local need. For example, we want this fund to help more rural communities to have the same opportunities to engage with services or activities that more urban places already enjoy,” said Cllr Steve Criswell, Chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Communities and Partnerships Committee.

Further details of the Communities Capital Fund are available on the Cambridgeshire County Council website.


Dr Liz Robin vlog about staying home this Easter

Today Dr Liz Robin, Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, reminds us that the national ‘Stay at Home’ rules need to be stuck to and shares details of the Councils’ ‘Stay at Home this Easter’ campaign – launched yesterday on Facebook and Twitter – to provide ideas of things to do at home and encourage us all to try something new.

Click here to watch today’s video blog.


Volunteers build protective screen in post office

A local community and volunteer group has pulled together to keep a vital village post office open during the coronavirus outbreak.

Sawtry Post Office was due to close last week over safety concerns for its staff and customers.

After hearing the news, the Sawtry Covid-19 action group and Councillor Simon Bywater decided what was needed was a Perspex screen on the counter to protect individuals and allow the post office to remain open.

They contacted the directors of local engineering company Spirotech, brothers Russell and Dave Gadsby, who provided the materials they needed.

The team from Spirotech worked to build the protective screen and the post office has remained open and continues to provide services for local residents. They then did the same at Boots pharmacy and have started work at another local shop, John Greens Newsagent.

Councillor Simon Bywater, at Cambridgeshire County Council and local member for Sawtry and Stilton, said: “If the post office had closed it wouldn’t have only affected Sawtry, but all the villages around it too. Russell and David have been very generous in their support for the village and I want to say thank you on behalf of the community.”

Director of Spirotech, Russell Gadsby, said: “We’re part of this community and wanted to do our bit so we’re only too happy to help.

“We’re so pleased the post office has managed to remain open, particularly as lots of people in the community rely so heavily on it.”


Cambridgeshire and Peterborough prepare for temporary mortuary facility following coronavirus outbreak

Work has begun on preparing to site a temporary mortuary facility at Marshall Aerospace and Defence in Cambridge, if existing provision is not sufficient due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Marshall Aerospace and Defence has given us one of its hangers as a temporary facility and work will start on Wednesday (8 April) to ensure the facility is ready if needed.

Cambridgeshire County Council Leader Cllr Steve Count said: “Local authorities have a duty to ensure that temporary mortuary facilities are available, and while we hope we don’t have to use them, we have to be ready.

“We’re grateful to Marshall Aerospace and Defence in playing their part in helping us deal with this emergency situation and we really appreciate them coming forward in this way.”

The facility will be a pre-fabricated building inside the hangar and will only be used by funeral directors and those looking after the site and run to the highest standards. There will be no public access or post mortem activity taking place at the site.


Houghton Primary share Easter joy

Staff at Houghton Primary School have put their own needs aside to help families whose lives have been affected by the lockdown.

The school became aware that some families of students who are not in receipt of free school meals were beginning to struggle because the Covid-19 outbreak has meant some parents are no longer able to work.

Following a plea in a closed staff Facebook group, donations of food flooded in, enabling staff to put together food packages for help families over the Easter period. A member of staff’s husband even made a special trip to the supermarket to get fresh food to donate to the packages.

Georgina Young, head teacher at Houghton Primary School, said: “I’m so proud of the amazing team we have at Houghton Primary School. None of our staff want any of our students or their families to struggle over Easter, particularly at what is usually a time of celebration. We want to do what we can for those families whose circumstances have changed since the Coronavirus outbreak began, and I know our food parcels will be well appreciated. On behalf of our school can I wish all our students, parents and staff a happy and safe Easter.”

You can keep up-to-date with any changes to our services on our websites:

Additional donations of vital Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to NHS frontline staff

A donation of additional PPE, including visors and thousands of protective masks, is being given to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough hospitals to help frontline staff stay safe during the fight against coronavirus, from two entirely difference sources.

Schools across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are using their Design and Technology Departments to make basic facial PPE visors for NHS staff.

Jack Hunt School and Arthur Mellows schools have already started making and delivering more than 650 protective visors to assist key workers and emergency services as they take to the frontline in hospitals, GP surgeries and care homes. The visors are already in use in Peterborough Hospital.

And a further 12,000 masks are being donated from China this week,  as a result of contacts made by Cambridgeshire County Council leader Cllr Steve Count, who over the past few years has been working  to build links between foreign investors in China and businesses in the county. 

Cllr Count, and County Council chief executive Gillian Beasley have been working closely with Martin Garrett of Cambridge Cleantech and Dr Chenguang Sun from UK Cambridge Education Centre  to develop a strategic agreement which encourages local companies and investors to collaborate with Chinese companies and investors and vice versa – boosting economic opportunities for Cambridgeshire. And it was thanks to Dr Sun’s direct intervention that the additional donation is being made to help the county’s battle against the disease.

The donations from China – which are most useful in clinical settings – are being passed onto Addenbrooke’s Hospital. They will then be distributed to frontline staff and medical professionals battling Covid-19.

Cllr Steve Count, Leader at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “I am extremely grateful and thankful to our Chinese partners – and particularly Dr Chenguang Sun for his support in sourcing and donating 12,000 masks which will help to protect our incredible staff and NHS workers.

“The masks will be a welcome addition to those already being used across our health and social care system, and we are making sure they get to the services that need them as quickly as possible.”


Local doctors advise residents to stay in this Easter

Local medical and health experts have joined forces to tell the public that we can beat coronavirus if we stick to the battle plan.

With Easter just round the corner and summer on its way, many people may want to start seeing family and friends again.

But to successfully tackle the virus, the doctors say we must continue following advice by staying at home and practicing social distancing.

Feature versions

  • CUH – Cambridge, East Cambs and South Cambs click here
  • Hinchingbrooke – Hunts and Fenland click here
  • Peterborough City Hospital –  click here

Schools helping ensure our vulnerable children can continue learning

Cavalry Primary School in March and William de Yaxley Church of England Academy in Yaxley have been going above and beyond to ensure some of our most vulnerable children can still attend school.

Staff at Cavalry Primary School have worked with the local authority to continue supporting pupils who are particularly vulnerable, whilst the option of moving them to a more specialist setting is explored.

William de Yaxley Church of England Academy, part of the Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust, have also opened their doors to support vulnerable students who don’t currently attend the school. With the agreement of the Academy Trust, staff offered to educate students who would otherwise be supported at a school entirely unfamiliar to them during the outbreak, to ensure that they could keep on learning in a place that is familiar.

Graeme Hull, SEN Casework Officer at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “It’s so important that vulnerable children and those with additional needs are not forgotten. Cavalry Primary and William de Yaxley have shown what can be achieved if we work together at what is a challenging time for all of us. The Statutory Assessment Team is really proud of the support that they, and all the local authority schools, are providing to children with additional needs. I have to pay credit to these schools, and others who are thinking outside the box to ensure our children have a level of continuity during these difficult times.”

Cambridgeshire/Peterborough Together Against Coronavirus

Our councils are today (Friday 3 April 2020) asking communities to pull together to reach out against Coronavirus.

Cambridgeshire/Peterborough Together Against Coronavirus is helping people stay connected during self-isolation, particularly those at risk of feeling lonely.

While many of us are finding innovative ways of keeping in touch with the outside world – from regular phone or video calls to family and friends to online exercise classes – self isolation can lead to increased feelings of loneliness for people living on their own. These may be people living with disabilities or other vulnerable conditions, elderly people or those who are isolating for 12 weeks due to chronic health conditions.

There are already some great examples of people offering support in their communities, but we are now asking you to help us reach out to those who may be struggling to stay connected with the outside world.

Whether it’s offering to deliver food supplies or pick up prescriptions, or regular phone calls checking on their wellbeing, there are many ways we can all keep an eye on people, without the need to make physical contact.

So what can you do to help?

  • Share your stories of what you are doing to help people on your social media pages using the hashtags #ReachOut #PeterboroughTogether or #CambridgeshireTogether
  • Share your tips on beating loneliness
  • Download the campaign poster and other visuals on your social media pages or in your window to show what you are doing to help people in your neighbourhood
  • Help us remind people about the importance of staying at home

Your stories will help us remind people that help is at hand.

If you are shielding from the Coronavirus and are in need of food, medicine or other supplies, please contact us via our website www.peterborough.gov.uk/coordinationhub or www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coordinationhub or by calling 0345 045 5219


Library service changes in Cambridgeshire

Following Government guidance, all Cambridgeshire County Council library buildings closed on Monday 23rd March and will remain closed until further notice. During this time:

  • Overdue charges have been suspended and return dates have been extended throughout the closure period
  • Reservations for stock will not be accepted at this time. Any existing reservations will be satisfied when libraries re-open.
  • A number of digital services will be provided. To browse our eBooks, eMagazines, eNewspapers and three suppliers of eAudiobooks, visit our Online Library webpage
  • To stay up to date with the latest Cambridgeshire County Council library news, sign up the our e-newsletter
  • Further information about the library closures is on our website

You can keep up-to-date with any changes to our services on our websites:

Our advice and latest information on Coronavirus can be found on both websites – www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus and www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus 


Schoolchildren encouraged to out-do the grown-ups by ‘creating their own community’

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough education teams are setting down a challenge for children – encouraging them to create their own town and community from scratch to win an iPad.

The competition, open for all Cambridgeshire and Peterborough infant, junior and primary school children, combines many areas of the curriculum including Maths, Art and Geography and requires those taking part of carry out research, explore their own creativity and make some really big decisions, perhaps the biggest being what to name their new settlement. Towny Mc Townville is the best we can come up with!

You can find out more about the challenge on our new online learning hub which was launched yesterday.


Changes to bus services across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

As Government social distancing during the Covid-19 outbreak continues, a number of bus companies across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have announced changes to their timetables.

  • Call Connect in Peterborough – Call Connect has decided not to operate its services on Good Friday, Easter Sunday or Easter Monday. Bookings will still be taken for the Saturday service from 8.30am to 4pm (Welland) and 9am to 4.30pm (Lincolnshire). Visit the Call Connect website
  • Stagecoach timetable changes in Peterborough and Cambs – Updates to bus services – Further temporary changes to Stagecoach bus timetables will be introduced in Cambridge and Peterborough from Sunday, 5th April. Critical routes will be maintained wherever possible. Visit the Stagecoach website
    • Cambridge – Changes to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 13A, 13B and 13X, 16A, 18, 19, 25, H, X8 and 39.
    • Peterborough – Changes to services 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. 

Some revisions to the Busway A, B and D timetables have also been made.


National Express temporarily suspending all bus operations

National Express is temporarily suspending all its coach operations from 11.59pm on Sunday (5 April). The closure will be continually reviewed in line with government policy and services will restart when possible. Until Sunday, the Emergency Timetable has been reduced. For more information, visit the National Express website

Network of coordination and response hubs launched  

A network of COVID-19 Coordination and Response Hubs has been launched across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. 

This includes the countywide co-ordination hub, which has been in operation now for almost two weeks, and local hubs that are being led by the district/city councils.  

The countywide hub is focussed on supporting residents who have been identified as shielding and being of the highest risk. It will ensure that critical services across the public sector, such as care for the elderly, can continue through the support of staff who have been redeployed from other council services and partner organisations and the support of volunteers.  

This work includes ensuring our most vulnerable residents have access to food, medicines and other important supplies, as well as ensuring broader social needs are met as far as possible, to minimise anxiety. 

The district and city hubs will provide more local support, for residents across their communities and will respond to individual offers of help or requests for support. They will also connect with and support mutual aid and other community-led initiatives. 

Working closely with the countywide hub, they will also respond to individual requests for help and offers of assistance that fall outside the scope of the support being offered to those who are identified as being of the highest risk. 

Each of the district and city councils will have information on their websites from tomorrow about the local hubs including how people can get in touch and access help and support. We will provide more details of each hub in a follow up email to all subscribers of this Update.

To contact the countywide hub, people are being asked, where possible, to do so online at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus  

The countywide hub can also be contacted Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, and Saturdays 9am to 1pm at communitycv@cambridgeshire.gov.uk  or on 0345 045 5219 


Community Fund

The Cambridgeshire Coronavirus Community Fund is offering grants to help Parish, Town, District, City and County Councils, along with local charities and groups to deal with issues affecting older and vulnerable people in our community as a result of the continuing threat of COVID-19.

Grants between £1,000 and £5,000 are available for projects that aim to tackle the impact of financial hardship, potential for hunger, lack of shelter, health issues, loneliness, isolation, etc.

Cambridgeshire County Council has contributed to the fund and several local groups have already successfully applied.

You can find more information about the fund and how to apply here:

https://www.cambscf.org.uk/cambridgeshire-coronavirus-community-fund.html

Please also spread the word about the appeal, which has had a fantastic response and is aiming to raise £300,000. You can find more information here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/Coronaviruscommunityfund


Council staff doing essential work

Some people have questioned whether Council staff should be working in communities or in our offices when we are being asked to practice social distancing.

Please remember that, as well as health workers and police officers, many council staff are on the Government’s critical worker list because they are providing essential services so need to be out and about.

For example, health and social care workers supporting vulnerable families, carers and homeless people; school staff providing child care for key workers; refuse and recycling crews emptying bins and keeping our neighbourhoods clean; and bereavement services supporting people who have lost loved ones.

Other Council staff have been re-deployed to carry out critical co-ordination and complex planning work, which cannot be done from home, such as responding to vulnerable people through the Cambridgeshire Coronavirus Coordination Hub, which is providing food, medicines and other supplies.

Key worker cards are being made and distributed to staff doing critical work in case there is a challenge from a member of the public or police. At all times, key workers are being advised to work at a safe distance to prevent the spread of infection.

Wendi Ogle-Welbourn, Executive Director, People and Communities, Cambridgeshire County Council, says: “Where at all possible we want Council staff to work from home; there are however some situations where this is not possible and people need to physically come into work and practice social distancing.

“Everybody is working incredibly hard and also adhering to social isolation or social distancing to protect the most vulnerable people in our community. We all have a part to play and we need to understand that the parts we have to play are all different, but equally valued.”


Council’s new online learning hub is one stop shop for parents and children

There is no doubt parents are inundated at the minute, with online learning resources being offered from all angles. Rather than trying to add to the noise, the Education Team at Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council has created a ‘one stop shop’, giving parents and children a single ‘go to’ place for a whole range of interactive lessons, projects, challenges and activities for children of all ages.

The ‘Home Learning Hub’ has been created by the collective brainpower of the Council’s Education Team, which includes Maths and English advisers and subject leads from many other areas. It offers interactive learning materials that will really get you thinking and keep your brain and body active, as well as covering important topics such as safety online, and links to content.

The team are continually adding to the Hub and are taking on board feedback from parents to ensure new content is really valuable – and fun! Click here to have a look and see.


Sport England to dish out funding to help local clubs and community associations 

We know there are many sport clubs and community associations in both Cambridgeshire and Peterborough that are worried about funding during the Covid-19 outbreak. Sports England has just announced it will be launching a £20million Community Emergency Fund.  Grants of between £300 and £10,000 are available for grass roots organisations to bid for.  Find out more – https://www.sportengland.org/news/195-million-package-help-sport-and-physical-activity-through-coronavirus


Employment HR and Coronavirus webinar

Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Association of Local (CAPALC) are offering a webinar on .

Each session would be about an hour including Q+A’s.

Key content will include:

  • HR basics to follow including:
    • HR Admin.
    • Communicating, and
    • Policies and Procedures
    • Job Retention Scheme and the process of furloughing.
  • Protecting the Workforce [Working from Home, Self-Isolation and Social Distancing, Hygiene Routines]
  • Sick Pay and SSP [on-line isolation notes and medical evidence]
  • Specific guidance for local authorities
  • Planning Short Term & Medium Term Response
  • Staff Mental Health and Well-Being
  • Business Continuity and
  • Business Risks

There will be 5 separate sessions (please note this is a 1 session webinar, NOT a series of sessions.):

  • Tuesday 7th April. 15:00 hrs
  • Weds 8th April. 10:00 hrs
  • Weds 8th April. 12:00 hrs
  • Thursday 9th April.  08:00 hrs
  • Thursday 9th April. 17:00 hrs

NOTE – these are open to ALL Parish councils not just those who are members of CAPALC.

The fee is £20 for members and £40 for non-members to cover costs.

All bookings to be made directly with CAPALC, by emailing Samantha Sharp –

 office@capalc.org.uk

Full details are available here: https://mailchi.mp/05c4db9cecaa/coronavirus-and-hr-webinar


COVID-19 scam alert

We have been informed by Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board of a scam doing the rounds. People are calling claiming to be from Public Health England, asking residents if they had received their letter from the government and then asking if they have support from family and friends, etc. and trying to obtain personal details.

Please warn your family and friends and do not give out personal details over the phone.


Sharing Parish Updates

You are welcome to share this Parish Update by forwarding the email to people in your community, who can also subscribe to receive updates from Cambridgeshire County Council by registering and selecting ‘Parish and District Updates’ from the list under Covid-19.  We are asking City councillors to forward this update to their local residents associations.

Wednesday 1 AprilCommunity Fund offering grantsThe Cambridgeshire Coronavirus Community Fund is offering grants to help Parish, Town, District, City and County Councils, along with local charities and groups to deal with issues affecting older and vulnerable people in our community as a result of the continuing threat of Covid-19.Grants between £1,000 and £5,000 are available for projects that aim to tackle the impact of financial hardship, potential for hunger, lack of shelter, health issues, loneliness, isolation, etc.Cambridgeshire County Council has contributed to the fund and several local groups have already successfully applied.You can find more information about the fund and how to apply here.Please also spread the word about the appeal, which has had a fantastic response and is aiming to raise £300,000. You can find more information here.Volunteers put ‘Diamond’ Cambridgeshire couple back in touchIsleham Village Cricket Club has joined forces with Isleham Parish Council to launch a volunteer project which provides help and support to vulnerable people in the community.Local resident, Mrs Jaggard, who is in her 80s, asked them for help after her husband was in hospital following a fall. After more than 60 years of marriage she was devastated they would not be able to see each other for 12 weeks.To help the couple stay in contact, Cambridgeshire County Councillor Mark Goldsack and other volunteers from the group requested the loans of a tablet and a phone. One was delivered to Mrs Jaggard in her home and the other to the hospital for her husband.The volunteers then stood outside Mrs Jaggard’s window and used the hotspot function on their phones so Mrs Jaggard could FaceTime her husband. The volunteers and the couple’s daughter captured the heart-warming moment the pair first saw each other on video call. The group has said they will do the same every three days so the pair can stay in regular contact.Watch the video here of the couple reuniting using the devices.Mrs Jaggard said: “I was so worried when my husband went to hospital and I didn’t think I’d be able to see him for the next twelve weeks or so. But having the phone and being able to see and speak to him has been amazing and it’s really helped be during isolation. It’s such a kind thing to do and I’m so grateful for the volunteers who have made it happen”.Councillor Mark Goldsack, at Cambridgeshire County Council and local member for Soham North and Isleham, said: “Seeing Mrs Jaggard and her husband be able to talk again was such a lovely moment, it would bring a tear to anyone’s eyes. It was amazing to see two vulnerable people united when they thought that may not see each other again for so long.“We need to share positive stories like this during such a difficult time and to help everybody’s mental health. I think it shows not just the amazing community here but also the others across our region that are all likely doing the same type of good deeds.”Just a week since the volunteering project was launched, the group has also already delivered nearly £2,000 worth of garden equipment and items to allow people to access their green spaces in isolation.They have delivered free potatoes, donated by a local fresh produce company, to the most vulnerable people in isolation. More than 60 shopping trips have been made and over 100 prescriptions have been collected and delivered to people who can’t leave their homes.Cllr Goldsack added: “There’s about 40 or 50 people in the cricket club volunteering to help other people and meet the needs of the most vulnerable and they’re doing a brilliant job. Delivering the garden equipment will mean people can at least get out of their houses and have something to do and by delivering food and prescriptions it will stop people from making unnecessary journeys. It’s great seeing everyone come together during this difficult time.”If people need more general help or want to offer help locally visit our Coordination Hub page or call us on 0345 045 5219.Cllr Steve Count’s vlog on shieldingToday in his video message Cllr Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, encourages people who the Government has asked to ‘shield’ themselves – to sign up and make sure that they get the support that they need to help them do this. Those who have received a letter are asked to go to: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable where there is an online form or to call 0800 0288327 which is the dedicated government helpline.People who haven’t received a letter but believe they should be in the shielded category are asked to do the same.Once they register, their details will be passed to the countywide COVID-19 co-ordination hub who will make contact to establish what support they might need and so we can prioritise those at greatest risk. (NB: this will never involve asking individuals for money or their bank details).How to help others safelyAcross Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, people are playing their part and providing essential support to their friends and family who are in isolation.The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.You should only leave the house for one of four reasons, and one of these is to provide care or to help a vulnerable person. Even when you are doing this, you need to do so safely. You should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres (6 feet) apart from anyone outside of your household.This guidance outlines how you can help and importantly, how to do this safely.Household Recycling Centres closed across Cambridgeshire and PeterboroughAll Household Recycling Centres across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are now closed until further notice. Residents are asked not leave waste outside the gate – as this is fly tipping.The decision to close sites has not been taken lightly but it is essential to encourage residents to stay at home and limit the spread of Coronavirus. Anyone planning to visit a recycling centre, should hold onto the items they were planning to take until the centres are reopened.Schools helping key workers find childcareA number of schools and early years settings across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough remain open and are working hard to look after those children deemed vulnerable, and those of key workers. A dedicated team is now on hand to signpost parents to available options, including childcare provided by nurseries and childminders. If you are a critical worker and in need of childcare support, please contact the Family Information Service on:Cambridgeshire – 0345 045 1360Peterborough – 01733 864446 or visit the websiteThe services will also be available over Easter and the upcoming Bank Holidays.Council services updatesYou can keep up-to-date with any changes to Council services on our websites:Peterborough – https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/healthcare/public-health/coronavirus/disruption-to-council-servicesCambridgeshire – https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/coronavirus/disruption-to-council-services

Council provides essential supplies for most vulnerable shielding from Coronavirus

Parcels of food and emergency supplies for the most vulnerable in our communities who are shielding from the Coronavirus are being delivered to residents across the county from this week.

The Government has promised that a national food distribution scheme will be up and running very soon, to support 1.5million people nationally who need to be shielded from the virus for at least 12 weeks because of serious health and medical conditions.

Every one of those people is being contacted by the NHS to advise them of this, and to ask whether or not they have a reliable support network in place to make sure they receive food and medicines, and other supplies, to prevent them from having to leave their homes.

Those who don’t have such a network will be provided with food and medicines via a national scheme which is being developed with food wholesalers, supermarkets and community pharmacies.

In the period up until this national scheme is fully operational, Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council have been working with the British Red Cross to ensure that those residents who need food, medicine and emergency supplies are looked after.

During the weekend council staff telephoned residents who they knew were shielding to see if they needed help and then arranged deliveries of items to those that did.

Yesterday (Monday) a team of council staff and British Red Cross volunteers packed tens of boxes with emergency supplies which have been delivered by the Government, which will be delivered to residents who are shielding at home in the coming days and weeks.

The council and British Red Cross have also been supported by a planner from the military and staff from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service.

A warehouse facility has been secured in the centre of the county, from which distribution of the parcels will take place via the local hubs network.

Residents are asked to note that they will NOT be asked for payment or bank card details, either at the door or by any other contact.

If you are at home and shielding because of serious health or medical conditions and we have not been in touch, please visit our Coordination Hub page or call us on 0345 045 5219

Please visit our Cambridgeshire or Peterborough websites for further contacts details.


Shielded Patients List

NHS Digital has published the shielded patients list (SPL) which is enabling partner organisations across government to support and protect those who need shielding at this time.

People who have not yet received a text or letter from NHS, can self-register (or register a family member) if they are extremely vulnerable and think they should be on the NHS Shielded Patient list https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable

People who believe they have been included in error on the list can ignore the communication provided they have checked the list of identified conditions does not apply to them, and may wish to contact their GP or clinical specialist for advice


Community translation videos

The Government’s information about staying at home for all but essential reasons, keeping your distance when you must go out, and washing your hands when you return is vitally important for everyone to know and understand to prevent the spread of the virus. Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council identified that there was a problem reaching some people in our communities with this message who may not have understood the important public health messages, either because they cannot read or understand English or because they cannot access translations.

As a result we have worked with people across our communities to produce video messages of this advice in other languages. Video blogs have been produced covering 29 different languages so far – with more being added every day – and these are available to view and share on our websites and on all our social media sites. People across our communities have been sharing the messages and we are asking other organisations to use them widely to reach as many people as we can.  Cambridgeshire Constabulary is already doing this.

Please help us to share the videos as widely as you can, helping to reinforce the message that people must stay at home unless for the reasons set out by Government. Take a look at the video blogs on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough websites.


Domestic abuse and COVID-19

We know that this is a difficult and worrying time for everyone – but particularly so for adults and children living with domestic abuse, and the professionals working hard to support them.

During the current coronavirus ‘stay at home’ situation, one of the concerns is that there will be an increase in reports of domestic abuse. Home is not likely to be a safe place for victims and survivors of domestic abuse and they will be increasingly isolated from sources of support.

The window of opportunity for anyone with an abusive partner to make a call and seek help is often very limited and that window is now likely to be even smaller. Research undertaken in China during the Wuhan lockdown revealed an increase of a third in reported domestic abuse incidents.

Councillor Mark Goldsack, White Ribbon ambassador and lead member for community safety and domestic violence at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “As a White Ribbon ambassador, domestic abuse of all kinds is constantly in my mind. Under current rules for COVID-19, families will be under new and different pressures which could put vulnerable people in a heightened risk of domestic abuse.

“We want to make sure that despite the conditions our support services are available for those that may need them. Please stay safe and contact specialist support services or the police if you are suffering any form of domestic abuse, sexual violence or coercive behaviour.”

Councillor Irene Walsh, Cabinet Member for Communities at Peterborough City Council, said: “Under the new ‘stay at home’ rules in place for coronavirus, families will be under new and different pressures which could put vulnerable people at a heightened risk of all kinds of domestic abuse.

“We want to make sure that despite the current circumstances, our support services are available for those that may need them. Please stay safe and contact specialist support services or the police if you are suffering any form of domestic abuse, sexual violence or coercive behaviour.”

Find all the contact details and read more here on our news pages at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.


Dr Liz Robin vlog

Today Dr Liz Robin, Director of Public Health, reminds us the measures we are taking will help to beat the spread of coronavirus and give us five simple tips that you can do every day to improve your mental and physical health.

Click here to watch today’s video blog.

Dr Liz Robin is available for down the line interviews about the current COVID-19 situation or the contents of today’s Vlog.  Please contact the Communications team if you would like to set one of these up.


Support for businesses in Peterborough

From tomorrow (Wednesday), businesses in Peterborough will begin receiving financial support from the city council, following a package of measures announced by Central Government last week to support businesses which have been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.  

12 month Business Rate Holiday

This applies to any retail, hospitality and leisure businesses and also non-local authority childcare providers. These businesses will have nothing to pay from tomorrow (Wednesday, 1 April) for 12 months. The collective saving for these city businesses is £33m and revised bills – with zero to pay – will be sent.

Small Business Grant Funding

All businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief (over 2,000 businesses in Peterborough) will automatically receive £10,000. The collective payment for Peterborough businesses is £22million. We are getting in touch with these businesses and will make the payments over the next two weeks.

Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Funding

This affects almost 640 businesses in Peterborough who will each receive £25,000. The collective payment is £16million. We are getting in touch with these businesses and will make the payment over the next two weeks.


Support for city residents

Central Government has now provided the council with further clarification over which households should receive a slice of a national £500million Hardship Fund to help ease financial worries during Covid-19.  

Over 7,700 city households will be eligible for a £150 payment. Residents across the city will collectively receive £1.6million. This will appear as a credit on their April council tax bills. 


Businesses in Cambridgeshire

The Peterborough and Cambridgeshire Combined Authority (CPCA), working with the County Council and Peterborough City Council, wants to ensure businesses across Cambridgeshire are fully aware of the various financial support measures being made available by Government and that as many businesses as possible secure the support they are eligible to receive.

The CPCA have set-up an email address to receive and respond to general business queries – business@cambridgeshirepeterborough-ca.gov.uk

Further support and advice for businesses can be found on our websites: Cambridgeshire and Peterborough



Junction 18 (Rhubarb Bridge) works complete in Peterborough

The works are now complete, the bridge has been strengthened and traffic can flow at the main roundabout. The contractors will return as soon as possible to put the finishing touches to the pedestrian crossings, which then means they can be used. In the meantime the footbridge is open as usual.


Children in school are all smiles

While the current situation may be difficult for many of us, it is certainly not holding back those children attending Cherry Hinton Primary School in Cambridge. Not just content with keeping the positivity to themselves, they have been helping those passing by the school keep in good spirits too!   


Bin collections in Peterborough

City residents are being asked not to overload bins and to ensure that recycling, general waste and food waste is in the correct bins. Crews are noticing some residents are having non-essential clear outs at home and are filling bins with many more items than usual. This means crews are taking longer to complete their collections and could place strain on the teams if workers begin to fall sick and are unable to come to work during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

For more information about what should go in your bin, visit our website.             

You can keep up-to-date with any changes to our services on our websites:

Our advice and latest information on Coronavirus can be found on both websites – www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus and www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus 


Coronavirus: what you need to do

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home                                                     

Anyone can spread the virus.

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Covid-19 Community Support help available

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is impacting on everyone’s lives and Cambridgeshire County Council is working with our partner district and city councils and other partner organisations to ensure that the most vulnerable in our region are well cared for.

We are deploying council staff and recruiting volunteers who can help others.  We are receiving a very high volume of requests and we are working on these as fast as we can.

If you or your organisation needs help – or can offer help – you can find useful information and links on the Covid -19 Community Support pages on the website. Please share this information.


NALC and CAPALC

The National Association of Local Councils is publishing updated information on a regular basis, please regularly visit their web page  https://www.nalc.gov.uk/coronavirus

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Association of Local Councils (CAPALC) is also sending out regular emails to all of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Parish Councils where they have email addresses for Clerks and Chairs.  If you are not receiving those emails and wish to do so please contact office@capalc.org.uk

If you have any other queries which are specific for your parish council, please contact ParishesCV@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

Sharing Parish Updates

You are welcome to share this Parish Update by forwarding the email to people in your community, who can also subscribe to receive updates from Cambridgeshire County Council by registering and selecting ‘Parish and District Updates’ from the list under Covid-19.


Refuse collectors praised in Peterborough

Peterborough City residents have been leaving drawings and messages of support on wheelie bins for our Aragon Direct Services bin collection crews.

These have been welcomed by the crews who are key workers doing a vital job. The structure and nature of their duties mean that, at times, they need to be in closer proximity to people to carry out their work, as is the case for doctors, carers and police officers. For example, crews must travel together in the same refuse collection vehicle.

Extra safety steps are being followed by the crews to limit the likelihood of spreading Covid-19 as much as possible, while ensuring they can still provide an essential service to residents. 

Councillor Marco Cereste, cabinet member for waste at Peterborough City Council, said: “The overwhelming support that our Aragon refuse collectors have seen from city residents is very much appreciated by the crews. They are key workers doing a fantastic job during the Covid-19 outbreak and it’s great that they are being supported so much by their local community.”         


Supporting local businesses

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards is offering free advice to businesses affected by the Government’s closure order if they are not providing essential services, to minimise spread of the Coronavirus.

 Any business that is unsure whether the rules apply to them should contact Trading Standards urgently for advice free of charge.

Councillor Steve Criswell, Chairman of the Communities and Partnership Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “This is understandably a difficult and uncertain time for businesses but it’s essential that we follow the Government’s advice and do everything we can to stop the spread of this virus. I urge any local business, large or small, that is unsure if the mandatory closure applies to them to contact Trading Standards as soon as possible.”

Councillor Irene Walsh, cabinet member for communities at Peterborough City Council, said: “No part of our society is unaffected by the Coronavirus. We need to make sure that we all help to stop its spread, including those businesses who have sadly been instructed to close until the virus is under control. Please contact Trading Standards as a matter of urgency if you’re not sure whether the new rules apply to you.”

Visit our websites for more information, support and advice: Cambridgeshire and Peterborough or fill out a Trading Standards contact form:  www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/regulatorycompanion


Consumer concerns at increased prices

There have been reports that some businesses have been increasing the prices of goods during the Coronavirus outbreak. Whilst local businesses are free to set their own prices, the Competition and Markets Authority has set up a taskforce to examine the scale of the issue and are asking people to report instances via an online reporting form or via email to covid.monitoring@cma.gov.uk


Play areas reminder in Peterborough

All play areas, skate parks, outdoor gym spaces have been closed and messages are clearly displayed at the entrances. Please can we remind all residents, who are using the open spaces, not to meet in groups and adhere to safe social distancing of at least two metres/six feet apart from others.


Cambridgeshire Customer Services Contact Centre

Library and Trading Standards phone lines closed on Friday (27 March) to allow us to focus and prioritise critical services which need to remain open.


Bus Services in Peterborough

Service X4 Northampton – Kettering – Corby – Peterborough has reduced to a Sunday service. This changed yesterday (Sunday 29 March).


Changes to council services

You can keep up-to-date with any changes to our services on our websites:

Peterborough – https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/healthcare/public-health/coronavirus/disruption-to-council-services

Cambridgeshire – https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/coronavirus/disruption-to-council-services

Our advice and latest information on Coronavirus can be found on both websites – www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus and www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus


Coronavirus: what you need to do.

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home                                                       

Anyone can spread the virus.

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

I’d like to express my sincere thanks to the officers who have worked so hard to create this network in a matter of days. Already, there are over 1,000 volunteers signed up, and more than 350 staff members available for redeployment. The Hub has brought together staff from across the organisation to set up and run its operations, which will spread across seven days and last for as long as necessary. Both Irene and I are provided with a daily update from the director leading this work, which has enabled me to ensure that all issues are carefully considered, and again this will continue for the duration of the Hub being live. I know many of you are helping in your own communities, so please be careful and stay safe.  Best wishes,  SteveSteve Criswell, Chair, Communities & Partnerships Committee, Cambridgeshire County Council

I  hope you and your family and friends are keeping well in these very challenging times.We felt that it was important to share with you details of the operation that has been set up to deal with the situation current situation as soon as possible.  Included in this update are the contact details for the countywide Hub, as well as the network of local Hubs – please do refer any offers of help or cases of concern into this network so that we can deal with them as quickly as possible.We will be sharing information with you on at least a weekly basis, but in the meantime if you have comments or suggestions please do let us know.Irene Walsh, Cabinet Member for Communities Peterborough City Council

Update on the COVID-19 co-ordination hub.

As you may know, a Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Covid-19 Coordination Hub has been created, supported by District/City level Hubs, as part of our efforts to tackle the current crisis.

This briefing note provides further information, including how to access the Hub for help and to offer support.


Offers of help from volunteers

The Countywide Hub is focused on ensuring critical public services, and the most vulnerable residents, receive the support they need.

For people or groups who want to offer their support in this way, they should complete the online form at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coordinationhub OR www.peterborough.gov.uk/coordinationhub

Work is continuing to ensure information on the web sites, including how to ask for help, is made as clear as possible.

Details of people wanting to volunteer will be reviewed, and volunteers will be matched to specific activities. Details of volunteers will be shared across the Hubs network, to ensure that all needs are met.

The network of District/City Hubs will focus on supporting community-based activity and individuals who contact us or who we identify because they need some assistance. The diagram at the end of this briefing note sets out the relationship, and includes the main themes of work for the Countywide Hub.

At time of writing, we have had confirmation from more than 1,000 local people that they wish to help us. We’ve also had lots of information from community and mutual aid groups that have set up at speed to support the effort. We’re keen to capture these details in an easy format and have created a separate link to the Cambridgeshire Directory, and will be replicating this for the Peterborough version – content will be added at pace in the coming days and weeks. We will also be launching an app to allow anybody that needs help to identify and reach out to local offers of support direct. District Councils too are collating data about local provision to make sure that wherever someone asks for help or support, they can easily find it.

https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/cambridgeshire-online-directory

Redeployment of staff

In both Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, details of staff available for redeployment have been captured. Redeployment may be necessary into critical front-line services, or to support community action or individuals at the highest risk. These staff members are ready to be redeployed now. We have already been able to provide additional capacity via this route to the County Council contact centre, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust and the Foodbank network in Peterborough.


Requests for help

The Hub network is working hard to identify those people we think might be in need of help and support – for example, those who need to self-isolate, those who are vulnerable or excluded, and those who are worried about their wellbeing. The Hubs will also receive data direct from NHS England about the people who need to be ‘shielded’ from the virus for 12 weeks because of their significant health issues.

Our Hubs network will be proactively reaching out to these groups, to make sure they know how to get the help and support they may need. However, we are also keen to receive direct contact from anybody across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who needs help and support, or referrals from Councillors and others where you know of residents in this situation.

Whether making direct contact or making a referral, people should use the contact details at the end of this briefing note


NHS Volunteers

You will be aware that the Government has now launched NHS Volunteers, to specifically recruit people who can support the NHS at this critical time. It is very likely that many of the 1,000+ volunteers registered with the Countywide Hub are also offering to volunteer with the NHS. This is of course absolutely fine – there is so much work to be done at all levels and across all disciplines. For-simplicity however, we are suggesting that volunteers with a clinical-type background register with NHS Volunteers, whereas others who want to volunteer their time in community-based activity, OR in non-NHS related public services, register with us.

We will receive more details in the coming days about how the national scheme will operate, including how it will link into local areas


Shielded Group

There are around 1.5million people nationally who need to be shielded from the virus for at least 12 weeks because of serious health and medical conditions. Every one of those people is being contacted by the NHS to advise them of this, and to ask whether or not they have a reliable support network in place to make sure they receive food and medicines, and other supplies, to prevent them from having to leave their homes.

Those who don’t have such a network will be provided with food and medicines via a national scheme which is being developed with food wholesalers, supermarkets and community pharmacies. However, people in this situation may also need additional support – for example, befriending, delivery of magazines and books, and other social-type support, and this is a role that our Hubs network will fulfil. This social-type support will also be extended to anybody in the shielded group if required. We have now received the first set of details of people in the shielded group category, and are in the process of contacting all of them to make sure they have what they need for the next 72 hours.

Additionally, it will probably be 3-4 weeks before the full national food distribution scheme is up and running, and so we are receiving supplies of basic foods for use in emergency situations, primarily targeted towards the shielded group. We have secured a warehouse facility in the centre of the county, from which distribution will happen via our local Hubs network. Our first delivery is expected within the next 48 hours.


Contacting the Countywide Hub.

The contact details for the Countywide Hub are as follows:

www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coordinationhub

www.peterborough.gov.uk/coordinationhub

 or by email communitycv@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

Over this weekend, we need to allow our call handler volunteers to use the telephone lines to contact those most at risk and who are shielding, potentially without access to food and urgent supplies. Therefore, we will not be making the telephone line into the Hub active until after the weekend, but we will advise you of this number as quickly as possible.

We’ll also provide details of how to contact the Local Hubs within the next few days.


hub graphic

Cllr John Holdich Vlog

We’re sharing a regular video blog from Peterborough City Council leader Cllr John Holdich, giving guidance to city residents and council updates during the COVID-19 outbreak. Click here to watch today’s video blog.


Cllr Steve Count’s Vlog

We’re also sharing regular video blogs from Cambridgeshire County Council Leader Cllr Steve Count, watch him thank families who are following guidance and helping keep children at home, plus some helpful signposting for home learning here and him talk about a group which has been set-up to help businesses across Cambridgeshire here.


Promote your Community Support (Covid-19)

Please list brief details of the voluntary support your community is offering on the Cambridgeshire Online Directory.  This will help people within your community find you.  Scroll half way down the page and you will see a section titled ‘I want to promote the support we offer (COVID-19)’. 


Advice on Covid-19 scams

The National Trading Standards Scams Team has produced some materials to promote scams awareness around coronavirus scams. The team has published various tools that will help spread the message that criminals are exploiting fears about coronavirus to be able to prey on members of the public, particularly older and vulnerable people who are isolated from family and friends. Please help us to share these across your media platforms.


Rough Sleepers in Peterborough

It’s never been more important for rough sleepers to be safer off the streets than now. The Safer Off the Streets partnership – of which Peterborough City Council is a member – is working together to help support those sleeping rough during the COVID-19 outbreak, including:          

Accommodation

Self-contained accommodation is being provided to vulnerable rough sleepers to self-isolate in. The Peterborough Winter Night Shelter and emergency crash bed facility also closed last night due to the latest Government guidance. Rough sleepers who accessed these services are also being moved into self-contained accommodation.          

Outreach services

The council continue to engage with everyone we know who is sleeping out, including handing out a COVID-19 information leaflet. Anyone falling into the vulnerable groups have been provided with accommodation where they’re able to self-isolate.  

Drop-in services

Light Project Peterborough’s Garden House drop-in centre currently remains open for rough sleepers to seek help as an emergency service. To minimise numbers coming in the Garden House they are only able to support those sleeping rough. Hygiene and social distancing is being observed.  

Food Banks

Peterborough Food bank continues to provide emergency food parcels at all of its location, however from today (Friday 27 March) it will be moving to one location at Dogsthorpe Methodist Church, six days a week between 11am and 1pm. Referrals will be made via e-vouchers/unique codes. The foodbank is an essential emergency service for people unable to afford food. People self-isolating who can afford to buy food but cannot leave their homes should contact the local council who are setting up a co‑ordination hub to help.  

Meals

Peterborough Soup Kitchen unfortunately has had to cease operation today due to issues with social distancing. Discussions are in progress on a solution on how to stop large groups gathering for food and they hope to be up and running again shortly, possibly at a different location. Food stock is also reduced and demand is increasing.                             

Appeal for public help

Demands on Food bankSoup Kitchen and Light Project Peterborough services have increased and volunteer numbers decreased.  Members of the public are encouraged to continue to donate food supplies or money to their local food banks, the Peterborough Soup Kitchen and Light Project Peterborough.


Parking enforcement in Cambridge

From Monday (30 March), we will be suspending parking enforcement in Cambridge, other than using a skeleton staff to deal with dangerous parking, during the COVID-19 crisis. 

This is being done in partnership with Cambridge City Council and will complement the measures they are taking, which includes providing free car parking in their car parks for key workers, during these challenging times.  Together, this will help key workers access their places of work in order to protect the vital services they provide.

It follows the Government’s ‘Stay at Home’ guidance and will be reviewed on a weekly basis.  

Cllr Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We have taken these steps with the City Council to try and help critical workers during this unprecedented time.

“We want to make sure critical services can continue to operate and we hope by suspending parking enforcement, keeping the roads flowing for emergency vehicles and essential deliveries to food shops and pharmacies this will make it easier.

“We want our streets not to be cluttered with badly parked cars and allow customers to park for essential visits e.g. near food shops, the hospital and pharmacies. We also need to consider the safety of the traffic officers based on the latest Government guidance.” 

Cambridge City Council Leader, Cllr Lewis Herbert, said: “We are in unprecedented times and by making our car parks free for key workers including NHS staff we are helping them to keep the most critical services running.

“All Cambridge residents need to follow strictly the government Stay at Home advice for their and their family’s safety. They should also ensure that they and their whole families adhere to essential guidance on social distancing at all times, plus hygiene and hand washing advice.

“People who may be volunteering to help support vulnerable people, along with those working in health services and other public services, need all the support available to do their essential work and we will help them wherever we can.”

Our enforcement officers will assess dangerous parking within the area and if they believe it is obstructive or dangerous we will ticket where possible.


Audio clips for communities in Peterborough

We’ve produced a number of public information audio clips to share important messages about the Coronavirus outbreak with communities. Please download them and share them as widely as you can. 


Libraries in Cambridge

The Library Presents Spring programme has been postponed, this includes all performances and workshops planned until June 2020. We will continue to engage with our audiences and communities using our digital channels to share light-hearted, fun, friendly and exciting arts and ideas for activities that can be done at home. Follow on Facebook and Instagram or join the mailing list through the website.


Councillors share thanks to education staff for hard work so far

Councillors have shown their appreciation for the hard work and collective effort shown by those working in education across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough:

Cllr Simon Bywater, Chairman of Children & Young People Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We are in unprecedented times and the ever changing nature of our current situation is testing us all professionally, and personally. The last couple of weeks have been enormously challenging for everyone involved in education.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone in schools, early years’ practitioners, childminders, partners and local authority officers for the dedication and superhuman effort they have shown so far. I have seen some fantastic examples of people coming together and going above and beyond to ensure those children in attendance are safe, and those who are at home have the resources they need to continue learning and developing.

“I also want to thank our parents for keeping your children at home. It helps ease some of the pressure, and is helping prevent the further spread of the virus.

“This period may run for some time yet, but I am fully confident the Council’s education teams and the wider education community will continue pulling together.”

Councillor Lynne Ayres, Peterborough City Council’s cabinet member for education, said: “The last couple of weeks have been enormously challenging for everyone involved in education. You have all had to deal with an unprecedented and rapidly changing situation.

“So I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved – staff in early years’ settings and schools, governors, pupils and parents for your dedication and all-round brilliance. Everyone has worked tirelessly to keep things working as well as possible, it really has been an incredible team effort and I’m very proud of you all.

“Rest assured, our council’s education team will continue to work to offer all schools the support and guidance that they need.”


No let-up in learning for local school children

Schools and early years settings across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have quickly stepped up to ensure pupils can continue learning whether they are attending school or not.

Marshfields School in Peterborough have set up a YouTube channel which is proving popular, delivering practical lessons such as cookery and dance and ensuring those at home don’t miss out. This is just one example of the many ways schools and early years settings are rising to the challenges, and we will be sharing more of these stories with you.


Finally…

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council communications team would like to thank all the district, parish and town councils for their support and use of these daily update briefings. We hope you find them useful.

You can keep up-to-date with any changes or disruptions to our services via our websites:

Our advice and latest information on Coronavirus can be found on both websites – www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus and www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus.


Coronavirus: what you need to do

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6.5ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home                                                       

Remember, anyone can spread the virus.

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Coronavirus scams prevention

Wash your hands of Coronavirus scams!   Read it.  Share it.  Prevent it.

The National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team has produced some materials to help promote awareness around Coronavirus (COVID-19) scams at this difficult time. The team has published various tools that will help spread the message that criminals are exploiting fears about Coronavirus to be able to prey on members of the public, particularly older and vulnerable people who are isolated from family and friends.  

On the Against Scams Partnership pages of our website you will find a page for scam prevention resources where you will find:

  • Coronavirus infographic – this is printable and sharable via social media or email.
  • Link to the updated FAS training materials 
  • Social media pack – please share on all your platforms (Word and PDF files available)
  • Letter template – for partners who want to contact people in vulnerable situations in their area. Please add your own logos and contact information and edit as you wish.

Please share amongst your partners, groups, communities and social media platforms to support us in this campaign and help share the important scams awareness messages. If you haven’t already please follow @AgainstScams and @NTSscamsteam.

Please join the fight against scams by registering to become a Friend Against Scams

Follow the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Against Scams Partnership (CAPASP) on Facebook or Twitter or visit our website for more information.


Dr Liz Robin vlog 

We’re sharing a regular video blog from our Director of Public Health, Dr Liz Robin, explaining the public health advice about dealing with the Coronavirus. Click here to watch today’s video blog.


Garden Waste changing to one collection every four weeks in Peterborough

This will ensure essential refuse services (general waste and recycling) can be maintained to all residents during the Covid-19 outbreak. Further advice being issued includes: 

  • No extra garden waste placed by the side of the bin will be collected as this would slow down crews and would require more resources 
  • Bin lids should be shut and not overflowing 
  • Garden waste should not be put in the refuse bin 
  • The Aragon Direct Services bin collection crews are key workers doing a vital job, please show your support by driving safely near them.  
  • Ensure bins are placed out for collection by 6.45am 

Further information is available on our website

Aragon Direct Services are also actively working with their subcontractors who work on their behalf for example Tree Services, to ensure social distancing procedures are put in place where possible.


Change in working for refuse collectors in Peterborough 

Aragon Direct Services bin collection crews are key workers doing a vital job. The structure and nature of the duties carried out by key workers means there are times when they need to be in closer proximity to people to carry out their work, as is the case for doctors, carers and police officers. For example, crews must travel together in the same refuse collection vehicle. The following safety steps, have been put in to limit the likelihood of spreading Covid-19 as much as possible, while ensuring they can still provide an essential service to residents: 

  • All vehicles have been issued with specialist wipes, and instructions given to staff on which surfaces to wipe down regularly  
  • Crews always have gloves as part of their issued personal protective equipment and the vehicle have hand sanitising facilities 
  • At the depot hand washing and hand sanitising facilities has been increased 
  • Early last week Aragon introduced new procedures for shift patterns for front line staff to reduce mass gathering at the start and end of shifts 
  • Staff are being updated daily with information around symptoms, safe working practices and changes in government guidance.   

Aragon Direct Services are also actively working with their subcontractors who work on their behalf, for example Tree Services, to ensure social distancing procedures are put in place where possible. Daily management meetings are being held to ensure staff safety is paramount while still delivering key frontline services.


Road projects across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough 

In light of the Government guidance about ‘stay at home’, after speaking to our contractors and in order to protect the public and our workforce, we have taken the decision to close down all project sites.

During these difficult times, we have taken the latest advice, assessed the staffing issues due to COVID-19 and taken into account a number of supply chain partners who have already begun to withdraw. We also want to keep our roads open and available for key workers and emergencies as well as protect the workforce and our contractors who are not able to work whilst adhering to the 2m/6ft distance rule. We will make our sites safe and close down.

This will include, the Dutch-Style roundabout project in Cambridge and the King’s Dyke advance work. The A15 junction 18, Rhubarb Bridge works will complete tomorrow (Friday) as planned, with just minor finishing elements such as landscaping to follow at a later date.  

All emergency, safety critical work and essential maintenance will continue and resources will be prioritised for this to be carried out.

Cllr Steve Count, Leader at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “It is absolutely vital we all follow the advice from Government and stay at home. We have assessed this impact on our highway services contracts and the ability to deliver on the ground and adopt a managed approach to the tightening restrictions and reduce risk. That is why both councils have taken this decision.”

Cllr John Holdich, Leader at Peterborough City Council, said: “We have to be sensible and protect the public as well as our workforce. With a number of supply chains shutting down their operations, the need for social distancing, along with the pressure on resource we have had to take this decision to close down our sites. The work on Rhubarb Bridge is in the closing stages and will finish tomorrow as planned.”


Helping provide schools and early years settings with clear information

As the Local Authority we have been listening to schools and early years settings, and along with daily updates and conversations already taking place, have now provided comprehensive answers to the most commonly discussed topics.

Jonathan Lewis, Service Director for Education at Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council said: “We have been working hard to provide schools and early years settings with clear information to help them navigate the ever-changing situation. Yesterday we wrote to our Heads and Leaders to share a comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions, which we complied based on the intelligence we have gathered from working closely with schools and Trust leaders, and through our daily meetings with the Department for Education. We will keep these updated on a daily basis.

“With regard to Free School Meals in particular, we have been working hard with schools to put in place plans to continue our provision, so those families in receipt do not lose out.   A government scheme was planned for vouchers but this has been delayed.  Unfortunately we have been told about a scam where fraudsters have targeted parents so I want to reiterate, if you do receive an email asking for your bank details in relation to this, do not give them over, just delete the email straight away.”

As of yesterday (Wednesday), only 2% of school children registered in Cambridgeshire were in attendance, while in Peterborough this was 1% – this shows parents are continuing to do their bit to stop the spread of the virus by keeping their children safely at home.

The Government has launched its free WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Service. Parents and the public are encouraged to sign up to receive trustworthy and timely general information and advice about the Coronavirus.

To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.

Contact:

parishesCV@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

CCC and PCC

Covid-19 Update

Business Rates

Businesses who have been hit hard by the Covid-19 outbreak will be supported by Peterborough City Council over the coming months, following the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s daily briefings over the past week. The council is putting in various support measures in place and more information can be found in our news release available  here                                                                                                                      


Peterborough Council Tax

We are awaiting information from Central Government giving us details on how to make sure that city residents who need it the most, benefit from the £500million national Hardship Funding set aside by Government. While we are awaiting this, the various decisions have been taken regarding income already due from council tax: more information can be found in our news release here


Household Waste Recyling Centres

IIn light of the Prime Minister’s announcement last night, all recycling centres across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will be closed from today (Tuesday) until further notice. The decision to close sites has not been taken lightly but it is essential to encourage residents to stay at home and limit the spread of Coronavirus. 

If you were planning to visit a recycling centre, please hold on to the items you were planning to take until they are reopened.

During this time, we ask residents to act responsibly and not place items such as DIY waste, garden waste, or recycling into their kerbside general rubbish collection. This will take up space in the collection vehicles needed for general household rubbish. Try to limit your food waste by home composting and using your freezer. If you have food waste it can be disposed of in your general waste bin or in Peterborough, people should put food waste in their food waste caddys as normal.

For more information please visit our websites: Cambridgeshire and Peterborough  


Dr Liz Robin vlog

Every other day there will be a video blog from our Director of Public Health, Dr Liz Robin, explaining the public health advice. She will also be available for down the line interviews, please contact the newsdesk to check availability. https://youtu.be/khAI7ZOB1u

Latest Government guidance can be found here                                           


Support for schools

Despite the difficult circumstances, schools and early years settings across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have already begun adapting to new ways of working, often with the support of parents and members of the local communities. It may not quite be business as usual, but the show definitely goes on.

We are also supporting home to school transport providers to make sure they are not disadvantaged and during this challenging time are paid for any service disruption. Across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, both councils have committed to continue funding transport operators up to Easter and post Easter we are going to fund 85% of the contract value as providers will not be incurring fuel costs on the routes. This will be until the end of June at which point the position will be reviewed further.


Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council buildings

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement last night, we have taken the decision to close all CCC and PCC buildings to the public from today (Tuesday). People can still get in touch with us, please visit our websites for more details – Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

In an emergency people can call Cambridgeshire on 0345 045 5200 and Peterborough on 01733 747474.

Archives – Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire Archives search rooms will be closed to the public until further notice. We regret that we will be unable to offer our usual enquiry services during this period but we will continue to monitor and respond to emails as far as the available staffing allows.


Health and Personal Care volunteers

A campaign encouraging people with experience of adult health and personal care to volunteer to provide additional support has been launched across social media. This is to support out domiciliary care service, which assists older and vulnerable people who still live in their own homes, but require additional support with household tasks and personal care. More than 30,000 people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have been reached so far since the campaign launched, and more than 310 have filled in a survey capturing their skills so far. This is part of COVID-19 Coordination Hub Cambridgeshire and Peterborough councils launched last week to help those most affected by the Coronavirus outbreak.


Services for older people and those with learning disabilities

Our day services that support older people and people with Learning Disabilities closed yesterday (Monday 23 March) until further notice. Alternative home-based care provision has been arranged for clients of the day services who need this, and staff from the service are actively being redeployed elsewhere in the Council to support vulnerable people in the community. 

Support for adults with Learning Disabilities and Autism at our Kingfisher Centre, Industrial Hub and City Centre Hub in Peterborough has been scaled back, providing support for the most vulnerable.


Bus services in Peterborough

Service X4 Northampton – Kettering – Corby – Peterborough 

The frequency will be reduced to hourly Mondays to Saturdays, two hourly Sundays – most of the journeys still operating via Lynch Wood. This is due to commence from Monday 30th March. 


Cambridgeshire Customer Contact Centre

In order to re-direct our resources to critical services, we will be closing the Greater Cambridge Partnership, Parking Policy and Park & Ride phone lines from close of play tomorrow and the Trading Standards phone line from close of play on Friday. This will allow us to focus and prioritise critical services which need to remain


Registration services

Following the update from the Prime Minister last night, as of today all ceremonies are cancelled until at least the end of April. A number of other changes have also been made to the registration services being offered by both councils to ensure the government advice around social distancing is being followed. Measures have been put in place for birth and death registrations. More information can be found here on our websites:

Cambridgeshire County Council  https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/births-deaths-and-marriages                                                                                                       

Peterborough City Council  https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/residents/births-deaths-and-ceremonies/peterborough-register-office


You can keep up-to-date with any changes to our services on our websites:

Our advice and latest information on Coronavirus can be found on both websites – www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus and www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus 

COVID-19 Coordination hub

Following yesterday’s press conference by the Prime Minister, Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, in response to the MHCLG direction, have already launched a COVID-19 coordination hub to provide targeted support for those most at risk during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The hub will have a specific focus on providing access to food, medicines and other supplies in the first instance. As well as co-ordinate the need to make sure there is adequate staff and resource capacity to serve a significant increased level of demand in critical service areas, such as the NHS and social care.

We’re waiting for guidance and instruction from Government in relation to the coordination of food, medicines and other support to the highly vulnerable list, the details of which will be shared with us this week and will draw in all necessary support from our partners, including the military, to support this vital work.


Peterborough Community Centres 

We are aware that in light of the government advice on social distancing some Community Centres have already closed and we suggest they all consider doing the same in order to keep staff and our communities safe. We have recently launched a Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Coordination Hub to help those in our communities most affected.  Our hub will work alongside community centre groups and ensure we can reach everyone who needs our support at this difficult time. For more information visit our website


Changes to bus services in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council has been told of the following changes to bus services:

Delaine Bus Route Changes in Peterborough 

  • Service 101 (Morton – Bourne – The Deepings – Peterborough) – normal service apart from last bus from Peterborough 19.15, Sunday departures from Peterborough now 10.00, 12.00, 14.00 & 17.00
  • Service 102 (The Deepings – Peterborough) – Full Suspension – departures from Peterborough now 07.30, 09.45, 11.15, 12.45 & 14.15
  • Service 201 (Bourne – Stamford – Peterborough) – normal operation

Changes to CallConnect service

CallConnect is a bus service for rural communities which can be requested by pre-booking only. The times the buses operate will be unaffected. However, the call centre that users phone to request a service will be reducing its opening hours by one hour at the end of each day. These temporary changes will help the service ensure it has sufficient staffing levels. The revised opening hours will be:

  • Mon-Fri – CallConnect emergencies and cancellations: 8am-6pm, Drivers: 6.30am-6pm, Main booking service: 8.30am-5.30pm (Welland and North Lincs 8am-5pm).
  • Saturday – CallConnect emergencies and cancellations: 8am-5pm, Drivers: 7.30am-5pm, Main booking service: 9am-4.30pm (Welland and North Lincs 8.30am-4pm).

Stagecoach

Changes will be made to the following services provided by Stagecoach. For full service changes visit the Stagecoach website:

  • Guided Busway – postponing launch of busway service until further notice and service changes
  • Cambridge Park & Ride
  • Cambridge Service
  • 99 Service
  • X5 Service
  • Bedford Service
  • Peterborough Service
  • Cambridge City Sightseeing Tour
  • Fenstanton Service

Gladstone Park Community Centre

The Gladstone Park Community Centre will be closed from today (Monday) until further notice because of the impact of COVID-19. All bookings have been cancelled until the end of April in the first instance, and arrangements are being made for staff to continue to be available remotely to take enquiries during the centre’s normal opening hours.    


Cambridgeshire libraries to close

Following the Prime Minister’s words on Friday (20 March), increasing social distancing by closing many social venues, we are striving to maintain key functions of the library service across Cambridgeshire.

We must do this in a way which minimises the risk of infection to our customers and staff as we face the COVID- 19 pandemic, so from next week we plan to focus on increased digital and online offer, and an appointments based system for all Cambridgeshire County Council libraries.

This means that from today (Monday), our Library buildings will close but the service is working to create an alternative service offer including:

  • Appointments to use IT for those who most need it
  • A drop off / collection service for item reservations on an appointment basis – with items quarantined for 72 hours between loans

During the closure period, there will be no fines for overdue materials. Loans will also be extended until isolation advice is lifted for everyone.

An online offer will be available to give people access to digital books at home, more information about our online library service can be found here


Vivacity

Vivacity have closed all their services in line with Government guidance, this includes libraries and leisure centres in Peterborough, including the Key Theatre. For more details visit their website


Schools and Key workers

Following updated advice from central government, we’ve contacted schools and early years settings across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to clarify the national position on school closures and key workers.

The message from Government is clear – if it is possible for children to be at home safely, then they should be. Parents should not rely on, or ask for, childcare to be provided by anyone who should be stringently social distancing, such as grandparents or those with underlying health conditions. Schools will be asked to provide optional care for those children who are deemed to be vulnerable. Read more here

Children whose parents are ‘Key Workers’ – those whom the government deem critical to the COVID-19 response – will also be considered if they cannot be cared for at home. This will be the case if one or both parents are classed as key workers, and there is no means by which to keep the child at home, or in single parent families where the parent’s occupation falls within the list.


Garden Waste Collections for Peterborough

Anyone signed up to receive garden waste collections will no longer need to renew this service in April. Subscriptions will automatically be extended until July free of charge and the recurring direct debits will be paused.​ During this period no new subscribers will be able join the service and collections frequency will reduce to monthly. This will enable the council and Aragon Direct Services to prioritise collection of Green Recycling, Black Residual and Grey Food Caddie bins for all residents. 


Peterborough Bereavement Service – Peterborough Crematorium

The following changes will be taking place:

Funerals

Following Government advice there is currently no ban on funeral gatherings, however for chapel services, families are asked to consider restricting attendance to close family and friends only.  If anyone is unable to attend a service due to self-isolation or underlying health problems, a live web cam facility is available at a reduced cost throughout this period. For further information in regards to this, please contact your funeral director

Bereavement Services

This will change to an appointment only based service. Please contact the team on 01733 262639 to make an appointment or for advice.

https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/residents/births-deaths-and-ceremonies/memorials

You can keep up-to-date with any changes to our services on our websites:

Our advice and latest information on Coronavirus can be found on both websites – www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus and www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus 


Information for specific groups

Advice and support for specific groups including Gypsy, Roma, and Travellers; health advice for Migrants and non-English speaking residents, together with those suffering financial hardship is available on the Covid-19 pages of Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City Councils’ website.


Prime Minister’s Statement on Coronavirus

On 16 March, the Prime Minister made the following statement:

  • If you or anyone in your household has one of two key symptoms, a high temperature or a new and continuous cough, then you should stay at home for fourteen days.
  • That means that if possible you should not go out even to buy food or essentials, other than for exercise, and in that case at a safe distance from others.
  • If necessary, you should ask for help from others for your daily necessities. And if that is not possible, then you should do what you can to limit your social contact when you leave the house to get supplies.
  • Even if you don’t have symptoms and if no one in your household has symptoms, you should stop non-essential contact with others and stop all unnecessary travel.
  • We need people to start working from home where they possibly can. You should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other social venues.
  • We should all only use the NHS when we really need to. Please go online rather than ringing NHS 111.
  • This advice is particularly important for people over 70, for pregnant women and for those with some health conditions.

You can read the latest guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK and protecting older people and vulnerable adults, published on Monday 16 March at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people