Playground Risk Assessment – Covid-19

You can read a copy of the Parish Council’s risk assessment below:

Covid-19 Risk Assessment – Playground

Coronavirus Information from WhatsApp

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.

The information from the service is below (correct as at 26/03/20):

Health information

This service cannot check your symptoms or provide a diagnosis.

What is coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

Tell me more about coronavirus

A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world.

Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

How is coronavirus spread?

Because it’s a new illness, we do not know exactly how it spreads from person to person, but similar viruses spread by cough droplets or sneeze droplets.

These droplets fall on people in the vicinity and can be directly inhaled or picked up on the hands and transferred when someone touches their face.

How long any respiratory virus survives will depend on a number of factors; for example:

– what surface the virus is on

– whether it is exposed to sunlight

– differences in temperature and humidity

– exposure to cleaning products

Under most circumstances, the amount of infectious virus on any contaminated surfaces is likely to have decreased significantly by 24 hours, and even more so by 48 hours.

There is currently no evidence to suggest that the virus can be transmitted from post, packages or parcels. It is also very unlikely that it is transmitted through food.

What is the ‘delay’ phase?

The ‘delay’ phase of the government response to coronavirus (COVID-19) aims to slow the spread of the disease.

If the peak of the outbreak can be delayed until the warmer months, we can reduce significantly the risk of overlapping with seasonal flu and other challenges (societal or medical) that the colder months bring.

The ‘delay’ phase also buys time for the testing of drugs and initial development of vaccines and/or improved therapies or tests to help reduce the impact of the disease.

Prevention

There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with coronavirus.

Do:

– wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds

– use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

– wash your hands as soon as you get back home

– cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

– put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards

Don’t:

– do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Is hand sanitiser effective?

The best way to protect yourself from infections like coronavirus is to wash your hands more often than usual with soap and water, and for 20 seconds each time.

If soap or water aren’t available and your hands are visibly clean, then sanitiser gel can be used. But proper hand washing is the most effective method and this should be your first choice.

Should people wear face masks to protect themselves from infection?

Face masks play a very important role in clinical settings, such as hospitals, but there’s very little evidence of widespread benefit from their use outside of these clinical settings.

Face masks must be worn correctly, changed frequently, removed properly and disposed of safely in order to be effective.

Symptoms

Do not leave your home if you have either:

A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

If you think you have symptoms of coronavirus, please visit 111.nhs.uk/covid-19/

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

Will I be tested if I think I have coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home.

If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service: 111.nhs.uk/covid-19/

If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

Stay at home

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.

That is why the Government has introduced three new measures:

– requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes

– closing non-essential shops and community spaces

– stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Every citizen must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

Staying at home

You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:

– shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible

– one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household

– any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

– travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

These four reasons are exceptions – even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

These measures must be followed by everyone.

Separate advice is available for individuals or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded.

If you work in a critical sector, or your child has been identified as vulnerable, you can continue to take your children to school.

Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes.

Closing non-essential shops and public spaces

To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. These include:

– pubs, cinemas and theatres

– all retail stores selling non-essential goods, this includes clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets

– libraries, community centres, and youth centres

– indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities

– communal places within parks, such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms

– places of worship, except for funerals attended by immediate families

– hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use, excluding permanent residents, key workers and those providing emergency accommodation, for example for the homeless

More detailed information on which businesses must close can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close

Stopping public gatherings

To make sure people are staying at home and apart from each other, the Government is also stopping all public gatherings of more than two people.

There are only two exceptions to this rule:

– where the gathering is of a group of people who live together, this means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home

– where the gathering is essential for work purposes, but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace

In addition, the Government is stopping social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies.

This excludes funerals, which can be attended by immediate family.

Going to work

People can travel to and from work only where the work they do absolutely cannot be done from home.

At all times, workers should follow the guidance on self-isolating if they or anyone in their household shows symptoms of coronavirus.

For more information on those who can or cannot go to work, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others

Delivering these new measures

These measures will reduce our day to day contact with other people. They are a vital part of our efforts to reduce the rate of transmission of coronavirus.

Every citizen is instructed to comply with these new measures.

The Government will therefore be ensuring the police and other relevant authorities have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings where people do not comply.

They will initially last for the three weeks from 23 March, at which point the Government will look at them again and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

Self-isolating if you have symptoms

Do not leave your home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does.

This is called self-isolation.

If you are self-isolating, you must:

– not leave your home for any reason, other than to exercise once a day – but stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people

– not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home

– not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home

You can use your garden, if you have one.

If you have symptoms and live with a vulnerable person

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to arrange for them to stay with friends or family for 14 days.

If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.

Do:

– try to keep 2 metres (3 steps) away from each other

– avoid using shared spaces, such as kitchens or bathrooms, at the same time as each other

– open windows in shared spaces if you can

– clean a shared bathroom each time you use it, for example by wiping the surfaces you have touched

– use a dishwasher if you have one – if you do not have one, use washing-up liquid and warm water and dry everything thoroughly

Don’t:

– do not share a bed, if possible

– do not share towels, including hand towels and tea towels

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

– you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home

– your condition gets worse

NHS 111: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/

For full details on self-isolating, including how long to self-isolate for, visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/

Shielding the extremely vulnerable

Shielding is a practice used to protect extremely vulnerable people from coming into contact with coronavirus.

People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include:

– solid organ transplant recipients

– people with specific cancers

– people with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD

– people with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).

– people on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection

– women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired

If you think you have a condition which makes you extremely vulnerable or have received a letter from NHS England you are strongly advised to shield yourself, to reduce the chance of getting coronavirus (COVID-19) and follow the face-to-face distancing measures below:

– strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough

– do not leave your house

– do not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces for example family homes, weddings and religious services

– do not go out for shopping, leisure or travel and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact

– do keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media

For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Travel

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises British people travelling abroad to return to the UK now, if commercial flights are still available.

The FCO also now advises British people against all non-essential travel worldwide until at least 15 April.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions. All countries may restrict travel without notice.

For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

Travel in the UK

People should avoid travelling unless it is essential.

Essential travel does not include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays.

People should remain in their primary residence.

Not taking these steps puts additional pressure on communities and services that are already at risk.

Latest numbers

Number of cases

As of 9am on 25 March 2020, a total of 97,019 people have been tested, of which 87,490 were confirmed negative and 9,529 were confirmed positive. 463 patients in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have died.

Risk level

The risk to the UK has been raised to high.

For more information, please visit:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

Mythbusters

Source: World Health Organization

There is a lot of false information around. These are the facts.

People of all ages CAN be infected by the coronavirus. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the coronavirus.

The coronavirus CAN be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates.

The coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.

There is NO evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can transmit the coronavirus.

Taking a hot bath DOES NOT prevent you from catching the coronavirus.

Hand dryers are NOT effective in killing the coronavirus.

Ultraviolet light SHOULD NOT be used for sterilization and CAN cause skin irritation.

Thermal scanners CAN detect if people have a fever but CANNOT detect whether or not someone has the coronavirus.

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body WILL NOT kill viruses that have already entered your body.

Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) vaccine, DO NOT provide protection against the coronavirus.

There is NO evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the coronavirus.

Garlic is healthy but there is NO evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the coronavirus.

Antibiotics DO NOT work against viruses, antibiotics only work against bacteria.

To date, there is NO specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the coronavirus.

Check the facts on the WHO website: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

Share

Share the GOV.UK coronavirus information service

You can help your loved ones get information about coronavirus (COVID-19) from GOV.UK.

To share this service with your friends and family, send them this link:

https://wa.me/447860064422/?text=Hi

More information

Additional information for citizens living in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland

For citizens living in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, please use the following links to access specific guidance relevant to your country:

SCOTLAND:

https://www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus

WALES:

https://www.gov.wales/coronavirus

or

www.llyw.cymru/coronafeirws

NORTHERN IRELAND:

www.pha.site/coronavirus

Can I breastfeed while infected with coronavirus (COVID-19)?

There is currently no evidence to suggest that the virus can be transmitted through breast milk. Infection can be spread to the baby in the same way as to anyone in close contact with you.

The current evidence is that children with coronavirus get much less severe symptoms than adults. The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of the virus through breast milk or by being in close contact.

However, this will be an individual decision and can be discussed with your midwife, health visitor or GP by telephone.

If you or a family member are feeding with formula or expressed milk, you should sterilise the equipment carefully before each use. You should not share bottles or a breast pump with someone else.

For more information, visit: https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/

How do we know if the virus is evolving?

Public Health England has used whole genome sequencing to sequence the viral genome from the first two positive cases in this country and has made the sequence available to the scientific community.

Our findings are consistent with viral genomes sequenced in China, and we are not seeing changes that suggest the virus has evolved in the last month.

Could my pet become infected?

At present, there is no evidence that companion animals or pets such as dogs and cats can be infected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

Should I still go to work even if I feel ill?

If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started.

For more detailed information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Will my employer be obliged to pay me while I stay at home?

You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.

If you’re self-isolating because of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can get SSP if you’re eligible. You should tell your employer as soon as possible.

There are different sick pay rules for agricultural workers.

For more information, including how to claim SSP, visit: https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay

COVID-19 Cambridgeshire County Council Updates

Friday 6th August 2020

Welcome to the last edition of Highlights from the Hubs – for the time being.

We reached a significant milestone last weekend, when the National Shielding Programme was officially paused. People who have been shielding from the virus for the past four months or more because they are clinically extremely vulnerable were able to start meeting with other people and going outdoors again from 1 August, albeit still paying close attention to the social distancing guidance.

Over the past month or so we’ve been speaking to many of the people locally in this situation, to make sure they know what the new rules are, how to keep themselves safe, and to make sure they have all the support and information they need going forwards, and it’s fair to say there has been a mixed reaction to the changes – some people very keen to return to some form of normality, and others who remain very concerned and may continue to stay at home for a while longer.

Supporting this group of people – 32,000 across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – has been one of the most humbling things I’ve ever done, and I am full of admiration for the ways in which those that have had to isolate for weeks on end have coped. We’ve built some amazing relationships with many people, and I really hope that in some small way we’ve helped make the experience at least a little more manageable.

We’re now turning our attention to supporting local outbreak management. Alongside our district and city council partners, we have learned so much about the type of support people need to self-isolate, and we are taking that learning forward to support people, where needed, who receive a positive COVID-19 test result or who are contact traced and advised to self-isolate. Although the period of self-isolation will be far shorter than those that have been shielding, many will still need help, and we remain here to provide that support.

This work is especially important in Peterborough right now because of the continued above average rates of the virus in parts of the city. Our community leaders in Peterborough are doing some amazing work with residents to deliver messages reminding everyone to be careful, and we are making good progress, but this is a whole team effort and one which we must sustain.

We’ll be pausing the Highlights from the Hubs newsletter for the next few weeks – giving it a summer break! – but we’ll be back! Meanwhile, thank you to everyone that has supported us, helped us, and listened to us, and I hope you have a really great summer!

Adrian Chapman

Service Director: Communities and Partnerships for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council

Countywide Hub reflects on its success!

Since March the Countywide Coordination Hub has been staffed by volunteers and council workers who have been seconded from their normal day to day roles in order to help look after the vulnerable in our county.

At the start of the pandemic we identified 19,040 people who required our help.  All were contacted by letter and phone and from this the hub has been in regular contact, mainly weekly, with 7,812 shielded people.

People asked for help in many ways; we had 7,763 direct phone calls for help and responded to 5,737 direct emails asking for help. Help came in all kinds of forms.  For example, the hub delivered 3,312 food packages and we referred 806 people for befriending support via the Red Cross.

Initially the hub was geared up for practical hands on support such as food packages and delivery of medication, but it quickly became apparent that mental health and loneliness and isolation were additional concerns and the service quickly responded to this.  The support officers were invaluable in reaching out on a regular basis to the shielded community. Throughout July support officers worked with the community to help them with transitioning out of shielding. So far 6,185 people who have been receiving regular calls have been supported to learn new skills and processes ensuring that they are able to access food and medication for themselves.

Whilst the hub has paused there is still lots of information for people who have been shielding on the websites of both Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council. As well as information about the support that is on offer now the national programme has paused, people can find support available where they live via the Peterborough Information Network and the Cambridgeshire Online Directory, both of which provide residents and families with information on organisations, services and events across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. For more information visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/pin or www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/cambridgeshire-online-directory

Adrian Chapman, Service Director for Communities and Partnerships at Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, said: “The hub has worked very hard to make sure that everyone who is shielding – around 32,000 people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – have had all the information and support they need in place for when the shielding programme paused last week.

“Just a small number of this community are likely to continue to need support from the hub, at least initially, although we remain here in case that changes. To help people to see the sorts of changes that have happened outside whilst they’ve been shielding our support officers have been preparing them with the weekly phone calls as to how ‘the world’ has altered and additionally we have produced a short video of what to expect in a supermarket and pharmacy now.”

The video is available to view here.

You can also access a written version of the script used for the video on the websites of both councils.

Guidance for Peterborough residents as shielding pauses

Currently the levels of Covid-19 circulating in Peterborough are higher than the national average. Therefore, Peterborough City Council’s Director of Public Health, Dr Liz Robin, has issued advice to the city’s residents.

If you live in Peterborough and are clinically extremely vulnerable, you may still be at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus. As a result, you should still take the following precautions:

  • Stay at home as much as possible and continue to take precautions when you do go out. This includes regular hand washing, avoiding touching your face and keeping a social distance of two metres away from people outside of your household or bubble whenever possible.
  • Avoid gatherings of any size.
  • Avoid going in person to shops if you can make other arrangements.
  • Avoid going to services in places of worship where there are several other people.
  • Talk to your employer to see whether you are able to work from home.

The city council will continue to review the guidance on a weekly basis. Advice will be updated when appropriate and will be shared with local employers, where possible. All shielding guidance is advisory.

Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald, Peterborough City Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Health and Public Health, said: “Ensuring that all our residents remain safe and well throughout the pandemic is our priority and we are taking all necessary steps to achieve this. While we understand the last four months have been difficult for many, particularly those who have been shielding, it is vital we continue to encourage vulnerable people to make the right decisions to stay safe. We will do all we can to provide support to make this possible.”

The Future of Shielding

Now that the national shielding programme has paused, we are joining more national conversations with the Government about the potential for any future shielding arrangements.

They’ve been keen to understand more about our experiences and models, and we’ve been discussing how things might look different in the future. For example, what could we do differently if more elements of the programme are managed locally (e.g. food delivery) and what our offer of support will look like in the event of a local lockdown for residents that are being asked to shield.

We’ll keep you briefed as these conversations develop.

Hello everyone, thanks for taking a look at the latest Highlights from the Hubs!

Here at the countywide hub, we’re working hard to make sure that everyone who is shielding – around 32,000 people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – have all the information and support they need in place for when the shielding programme is paused from 1 August. Just a small number are likely to continue to need support from the hub, at least initially, although we remain here in case that changes. To help people to see the sorts of changes that have happened outside whilst they’ve been shielding, we’ve produced a short video of a shopping experience, and you can read about that in this week’s edition.

The countywide hub, alongside our amazing district and city council partners, are very focused now on supporting the management of any local outbreaks of Coronavirus. Our job is to make sure that people affected by these outbreaks in our communities have all the support they need if they need to self-isolate. We’re building a package of support that will mirror many of the same arrangements we set up to support shielding and vulnerable people so far – for example, help with shopping for food and essential supplies, running errands, or being available on the phone to provide information or befriending support.

We’re also working closely with our partners in the voluntary, community and faith sectors to support the important outbreak management work. They have a vital role to play in ensuring all of our residents stay safe, follow the guidance, and know what to do in the event of an outbreak.

We’ll keep you updated on how all of this work is progressing!

And finally, we’re reducing the frequency of our newsletter to fortnightly for the summer months, so look out for the next edition in two weeks time!

Thanks again for reading, and do please stay safe and well.

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council

Video launched to explain the new normal to shielding community

A video has been produced by the Countywide Hub which will help people who are shielding who have not left home for months to feel confident visiting supermarkets and pharmacies again.

As Adrian has said above, staff at The Hub, which is operated by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, are working closely with people who are shielding to give them the advice and support that they need to transition from shielding at the end of this month.

Whilst the support officers who talk to them regularly have been discussing the changes and how they best can individually prepare, it can be difficult to convey how life has changed through phone calls.

So the team at the hub has pulled together a video to help people navigate around supermarkets and pharmacies before they visit them to help them understand the changes and explain why they are in place.

The video – filmed in Tesco Hampton and a pharmacy in Newborough – details all the signage you will see as a customer and why this is now in place.  It takes the viewer on a mini tour around both sites and explains 2m distancing and plastic shielding screens at till points to protect the customer and employee.

Nikitta Vanterpool, Operational Lead COVID-19 Co-ordination Hub, said: “We realised quickly that a show and tell approach for our community would work best so we harnessed the power of video.  This way community members can both see the physical changes in stores as well as listening to the staff and thus feel reassured as to why these changes are in place.

“Lockdown has been a challenging time for many and we are determined to ensure that their individual transitions will be seamless.  We have listened to their concerns and we have produced this video to help them visualise the new normal.  For those without online access we are supplying photos and text so they know what to expect.”

The video is available to view here.

Support officers from the Hub will continue to work with the shielded community until 31 July.  After this time if you need support and you don’t have friends, family or neighbours to help you, please visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or call 0345 045 5219.

Library staff continue to help homeless

Dedicated Cambridgeshire Mobile Library staff are continuing to help support rough sleepers in Cambridge, having delivered over 10,000 meals to those in need since the start of lockdown.

Over the past four months, mobile library staff have distributed meals to more than 80 people three times a day, along with toiletries, clothes, books, magazines, and jigsaws as requested.

This is part of ongoing work alongside a wider network of organisations, including the Salvation Army, 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 – whilst mobile libraries remain closed to the public.

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 hotels providing rough sleepers with temporary accommodation.

Meals include curry and rice, baked potatoes with chilli con carne, sausage casserole and sausages mash and gravy. Recipients 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.

Councillor Steve Criswell, chairman of the communities and partnership committee, said: “I’m really proud of our teams who continue to go the extra mile to help those less fortunate during these difficult times. It’s really heart-warming to see and I would like to thank those involved for their sterling efforts. We remain fully committed to helping our communities as much as possible.”

Watch a video by the Salvation Army about the initiative here.

Find lots of support online

Lots of information for people who have been shielding is available to view on the websites of both Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council.

As well as information about what support will be on offer after the national programme pauses on 31 July, people can also find support available where they live via the Peterborough Information Network and the Cambridgeshire Online Directory, both of which provide residents and families with information on organisations, services and events across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

For more information visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/pin or www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/cambridgeshire-online-directory

Are you Covidsavvy or a Covidiot

Residents are being asked to take a Corona-Quiz to find out how much they know about what you can and can’t do to protect themselves, family and friends from Coronavirus.

As the rules around households, bubbles and socialising have been updated it can be hard for some people to understand the guidance when it comes to keeping safe.

So the councils have designed a fun but informative online Corona-Quiz to help remind residents of what they can and can’t do.  The quiz can be found here and will run until the end of the month. People are being encouraged to share it with their friends.

So far almost 2,000 residents have completed the quiz with an average score of 75%.  Residents are pretty Covidsavvy with 99% knowing that they cannot leave self-isolation early if showing no symptoms.

However 61% of residents wrongly guessed that ‘they need to take a test if they’ve no symptoms and have been in close contact with someone who has been confirmed as having coronavirus’.

This is wrong – you should only take a test if you have symptoms although you must continue to self-isolate for 14 days. If you take a test and it’s negative you could still develop symptoms and infect other people up to 14 days after being in contact with someone who has got the virus.

With two weeks remaining before the pause of the national shielding programme the county hub feels as active as ever this week. As we scale down the contact to the 7,653 residents who asked for regular support, our remaining redeployed case officers and managers continue to help those most vulnerable to make sure they transition safely in to alternative arrangements.

As I write this introduction our hub operational lead Nikitta Vanterpool is on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s Breakfast Show talking about why it is important for people to register as shielding by the end of the day enabling them to access essential help and support, as well as priority supermarket slots. You can also here from Jim one of the 19 thousand shielded resident who registered for support from the county hub.

(listen back here https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/live:bbc_radio_cambridge, the interview starts at 01hr 7mins)

As well as managing the transition of shielding support we continue to work hand in hand with our public health partners to implement the countywide outbreak control plan. This week we have reaffirmed our commitment to help those who need it to self-isolate by making the decision to retain the food warehouse at Alconbury for the foreseeable future as well as supporting local areas with funding to meet identified residents basic needs.

Highlighted in this edition is the importance of the “KEEP CARING” campaign. Although life is moving back to some sort of normal there are obvious indications of the challenges which we will face in the future to manage the virus. Everyone has a part to play and we would value your support to keep the spreading those public health messages far and wide!

Take Care and Stay Safe

Matt Oliver

Head of Think Communities Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Preparing the shielded community for the new normal

Staff at the Countywide Hub who are in regular conversations with the shielded community have been undergoing training to ensure they are offering the best support possible in the run up to the pausing of the national shielding programme on 31 July.

The training has focused on the different mindsets towards the shielding programme pausing and recognising that whilst many people are ready to get out and about; others need additional support within their communities and a few will need continued support. Identifying who falls into which category has been key so conversations can be tailored to their needs.

Case officers are now working with their residents to provide support and a key focus is around ensuring people are able to access prescriptions and food, plus continuing to support with general wellbeing. Ensuring people are registered by today (Friday) in order to receive priority shopping times and vouchers has been essential.

Additionally there is a lot of bespoke communication work happening, including the development of a video detailing what to expect when you go back out into your community and how shops such as supermarkets are now operating and what precautions they have in place for us all such as hand sanitisers. The video is combined with a leaflet of general information and advice.

Nikitta Vanterpool, operational lead for the Countywide Hub, said: “We know this might be a worrying time for some people who are shielding so we are doing all that we can to ease people’s concerns. And ensuring people continue to have support after the 31 July remains a priority.

“Case officers are already reporting this week that they have seen an increase in the number of people being supported by their own immediate communities which is a positive step forward for transition.

“The hub continues to see a reduction in the number of local and national food deliveries which again is encouraging as it shows that people are starting to make their own arrangements.

“We are working in collaboration with voluntary sector partners to ensure those that need it continue to receive support.”

NHS volunteer responders will continue to offer support after 31 July to those who need it, including collecting and delivering food and medicines.

The hub will be keeping a record of people who are extremely clinically vulnerable in case the R rate starts to increase and there is a need for people to shield once again.

Website for shielded community proves a hit

An interactive website launched across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough for people who are shielding to help them combat loneliness during lockdown has so far been accessed by more than 6,000 people.

In the past eight weeks, 500 people have enrolled onto courses, 200 people have had craft packs delivered and more than 500 scrubs bags have been made and donated to regional care homes and the NHS.

The website, launched by the Countywide Coordination Hub, is a collaboration between Cambridgeshire Skills, City College Peterborough and Cambridgeshire Library Service.

It has offered people who are shielding the chance to learn and discover new things and has been a great way to keep the many minds active and to support overall wellbeing.

The website allows residents to:-

  • Take a virtual tour of museums such as the Natural History Museum
  • Learn a new craft, such as how to sew scrub bags to donate to the NHS,
  • Learn new skills for work (or even a career change),
  • Access our great Library resources through Libraries.Live
  • Share their own experiences of lockdown through our Life in Lockdown Campaign.

Pat Carrington, who led the initiative, said: “The Open New Doors website was designed specifically to meet the needs of our shielded community and it really has been an essential source for many.

“It has helped give our community a sense of purpose and kept them busy through engaging in an extensive range of activities and learning a range of new skills.”

The website also offers support to 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.

Residents who are shielding and able to access the website are given login details. It is not accessible to the wider public.

Spotlight on our staff…

Emily Sanderson has been supporting the hub since the very beginning. Here she talks about her role and how rewarding she has found the experience.

“I’ve been with the hub since before it officially existed. I came to Stanton House on 18 March looking to support in any way I could and have not looked back since!

“Three of us from the Transformation Team who had been working on community-based projects came to support the development of the hub and it quickly became apparent that data analysis and digital skills would have to play a significant role in allowing the hub to meet the various demands that were coming its way.

“My role is to manage the data flows in and out of the hub and design the processes and systems that we use on a daily basis to support that. I work very closely all of the different aspects of the hub and particularly with Kat and Panos from LGSS Digital to develop and iterate the solutions that we need.

“The whole experience has been an amazing opportunity and a huge learning curve for me. One of the most incredible aspects was the pace that we’re working at. I remember 9am on Wednesday being given the challenge of having the hub up and running by the end of the week – getting a whole service running from scratch in three days flat was certainly a massive challenge but we managed it somehow!

“We’ve learnt that there are some key things that enable the speed and type of approach we’ve managed:

  • A group of people who are willing to roll up their sleeves and pitch in
  • Clear unified purpose and aim
  • Good accessible leadership who are willing to take risks
  • A clear understanding of what the essential offer is to allow for quick prioritisation
  • Willingness to change and update quickly in response to changing circumstances

“Now the National Shielding Programme is due to go on pause, we’re focusing a lot on how we can transition into the pause while remaining ready to step operations back up if needed. We’re also looking at what support the hub network can offer to places where there have been local outbreaks.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work that we’ve done and continue to do as well as the way we have done that work together.”

We need your help!

Residents across the county are being urged to help share important public health messages with their friends, family and neighbours to reduce rates of community transmission of coronavirus, keep people safe and to avoid a devastating second wave of the virus.

Even though the Government is reducing the lockdown measures and life is returning to normal in many ways, people are still at risk and coronavirus has most certainly not gone away.

As a result, people are being called upon to spread vital information to their friends, family and neighbours.

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council have produced a toolkit which suggests ways people can help to share important messages, in particular what constitutes a household, the need to social distance, and how many households can meet at any one time. You can access the tool kit here.

Christine Birchall, head of communications for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, said: “Please do what you can to share these messages – in doing so you will be playing your part in helping our communities and our country recover from the impact of the coronavirus, by reducing its spread.

“Good communications with our residents is a really important part of our work to reduce the spread of the virus and avoid a second peak.

“Please play your part and feel proud that you have kept people safe and helped our city to recover from coronavirus.”

The city and county councils have produced lots of materials that people can use through their own channels, including a number of videos and translations in more than 15 different languages. To find out more visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk or www.Peterborough.gov.uk or follow either council on Twitter or Facebook.

Disability Sport: Pilates in place of football

A ‘Stay Active’ campaign to encourage people with disabilities to move more and try new ways of being active, whether at home or when going outside for exercise, 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 people with a disability may have felt even more isolated, and been less active, during this time.

Protecting residents’ physical and mental health is one of Cambridgeshire County Council’s and Peterborough City Council’s highest priorities since the outbreak of COVID-19, and the Stay Active campaign raises awareness of the many ways people with a disability can continue to enjoy an active lifestyle during lockdown, by adapting activities or a change in sporting routines.

The campaign ties in the Activity Alliance ‘at home’ programme – a charity working to make active lives possible with a vision that disabled people are active for life.

Living Sport, the Active Partnership for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has a dedicated web page with links and advice to inspire people to adapt their current activities and sports to maintain their physical activity or find new opportunities to keep moving whilst in and around the house.

Taking part in any form of physical activity can help to manage complications by improving muscle stamina and strength, helping control joint swelling, and reducing stress and pain.

Regular physical activity can also 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 days a routine and can be a way to stay in contact with family and friends.

It may be surprising how much the benefits of trying something new can help improve day to day routines.

Find out more about getting or staying active during COVID-19 on the Living Sport webpage.

Monday 13th July 2020

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.

Friday 10th July 2020

Welcome

Hi everyone! The latest newsletter must mean it’s the end of another week – they are flying by at an alarming rate right now! And this week we’ve seen the start of the changes to the shielding programme being implemented. People who have been shielding have been able to meet with others for the first time in many months, and the relief must have been huge. Further changes are to come of course, and we’ll keep you updated on this as things progress.

Ultimately, the need for people to shield will be paused from 1 August, but this also means the national food delivery service will also be paused. It’s really important therefore that everybody that should be shielding is registered via the national scheme before 17 July in order to secure a priority supermarket home delivery slot for August onwards, especially if they are still a little reluctant to venture out just yet. There’s more detail on this in this week’s edition.

Of course we’ve also all been able to get out to the pub or restaurant, still following the national guidelines, and this has been great both for us and our high streets. The response across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has been really positive, and we’ve all now got the added incentive of ‘eating out to help out’ with 50% of a meal during August!! I’m making my table reservations now!!

Thanks for taking the time to look at the latest newsletter, stay safe everyone and very best wishes.

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council

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, 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.

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships for Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “If you’ve been contacted by the NHS and advised that you need to shield and have not yet registered, please think about doing so, whether you need help at the moment or not.

“Registering will allow us to keep in contact with you and provide support if there is a further lockdown and will allow you to access priority supermarket delivery slots, which may be useful to you in the coming weeks and months. To access these slots, please make sure you tick the box which asks for help with accessing essential supplies when you register.

“In addition, if you have registered and told us you don’t need help with accessing food, you won’t be able to access priority supermarket slots. If you would like to be able to, please contact the national shielding programme to change your preferences.” 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.

Spotlight on our staff…

Steve Bass has worked in Environmental Health (pollution) for the past 19 years (for Peterborough and Fenland) and has been redeployed since the start of April as a Covid-19 co-ordinator at the Countywide Hub, dealing with the multitude of requests for help submitted by those identified as being at the highest risk if they contract Covid-19.

“Life in the hub has been challenging but incredibly rewarding and my experience and training in Environmental Health has been invaluable in dealing with the range of customers, their needs and concerns

“The hub is made up of practitioners form across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, from different teams all bringing a wealth of experience and skill sets. We have a real ‘one team’ approach that has enabled us to develop a service from scratch that meets the needs of the 32,000 shielded residents and their families.

“We have had to constantly adapt to the changing needs and issues as they have arisen – the early days of April seem like a lifetime ago when we were swamped with requests for emergency food and arranging the delivery of prescriptions.

“Once the Government announced the official date for the pause in the requirement to shield we have been focusing on how to transition and enable those shielding, who may not have left their homes for five months, a safe route back to the outside world.

“From the discussions with a range of shielded individuals we found a common degree of nervousness about how they could keep themselves safe, as the safety nets put in place during shielding are scaled back.

“For some residents their last experience of a supermarket was back in March when shelves were bare and panic buying was in full swing, and they are very anxious at the thought of visiting such an environment.

“We have been telling them of our experiences and reiterating the Government advice on the precautions they will need to take, but realised we needed to do more to give people the confidence that they need.  We are exploring a range of options, such as information on how shopping experiences have changed and what organisations are providing assistance, as well as practical measures such as the possibility of providing face masks to those who need one for their first trip out.

As we approach the pause in shielding and the scaling back of the activities at the hub, I have begun my “repatriation” with my team, working one day a week back with the Pollution Team.  It feels good to be back doing a job I love, but I will carry with me the benefit of my time in the hub, which I am incredibly grateful to have been part of.

Keep caring for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

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 this week to reinvigorate public health messages and remind people that while lockdown restrictions are gradually being lifted – everyone needs to take action to help us all return to a more normal life.

With certain government restrictions relaxed from last weekend (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 Keep Caring campaign led by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, and supported by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Cambridgeshire Constabulary, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, East of England Ambulance Service, the local NHS, community organisations and local district councils, 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

Dr Liz Robin, Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough said: “It is the public who have reduced the transmission of coronavirus so far. By taking care of themselves and each other, fatalities and infection rates in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have continued to fall.

“But our message is that this caring can’t stop now, as the most important thing we can continue to do is to stay alert, control the virus, and, in doing so, save more lives.

“The government updated its plan for social distancing from 4 July, but the message remains strong that to continue to reduce the transmission of the virus, we should continue good hygiene rules, washing our hands and surfaces often, remain physically distant from people outside of our household, and keep your mouth and nose covered where you can’t be sure of staying apart.”

Highlighting our online and digital response to the pandemic

Kat Sexton is a digital services architect for LGSS Digital who has been working with the Countywide Co-ordination Hub since March.

Kat has been coordinating the online and digital response to COVID and has been working with the hub coordination team to design effective online services for people needing help or wanting to provide help to others.

Kat and the LGSS Digital team designed and built a CRM system in one week for the shielded case officers to record the proactive contact with our shielded population.  This system has been iterated on over the weeks that followed and is continuously being improved and adapted to meet the changing needs of the COVID hub.

She has written a blog post about her time with the hub, sharing achievements of the team and what she has learned. You can read the post here.

Help us share translations of NHS Test and Trace

People across the county are being asked to share translations of the important NHS Test and Trace messages, including where people can access help and support if they are isolating.

Currently there are 13 translations available and residents are being urged to share them far and wide using their own channels, so that as many people as possible understand the need to use Test and Trace. The translations also inform people how they can access help and support via the hub network and what steps they can take to limit the spread of the virus.

The translations are available at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus and www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus with more languages being added all the time.

The network of support hubs is available to assist people who are having to isolate, either because they or someone they live with has symptoms ,or because they have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace as they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

A user-friendly guide to NHS Test and Trace, including a Q&A document, is also available on the websites of both councils.

Wednesday 8th July 2020

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.

Monday 6th July 2020

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 or call 0800 052 0078. And for Peterborough residents, email 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.

Friday 3rd July 2020

Welcome

Hello from the Hubs!

We’ve been busy this week supporting our colleagues in Public Health to make sure we can respond quickly and effectively should there be any local outbreaks of COVID-19 across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. We have so many opportunities to keep reminding everyone of the need to follow the national guidelines on social distancing, especially important from this weekend as bars and restaurants, as well as other services, slowly begin to open. Our Hubs will play a vital role in:

  • Making sure key Public Health messages are delivered to our whole population, as well as to businesses and visitors
  • Supporting anyone that needs to self-isolate, if they need that support, if they’re contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service
  • Working alongside communities that might become affected by local outbreaks
We have strong arrangements in place to make sure that if we do see an increase in cases, we can respond quickly and decisively. And to help us remind everyone of the need to ‘keep caring’, look out next week for a new communications campaign that will do just that!

For our residents who have been shielding for the last 3 months or more, they can start to slowly ease their restrictions from Monday (6th July) – further details are in this week’s edition.

And, as we start to look ahead at how we can build on the work we’ve been doing here in the countywide Hub for the future, we have to say goodbye to some of the staff who have been redeployed with us to support our work with our shielded residents. As more and more council services begin to reopen, they need to return to their substantive jobs – without exception though, they have been brilliant and we couldn’t have done it without them!

Take care everyone, and stay safe.

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council

Library staff bid farewell to the hub

Hundreds of council staff from across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have been redeployed in the past three months to support the work of the Countywide Co-ordination Hub and other frontline services.

Those staff have performed crucial roles to support residents who are shielding and have been most affected by the lockdown measures, including delivering food parcels, answering calls and emails from people asking for help and in many other ways.

County council library staff have played a central role as both case managers and case officers providing vital support to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Outside of the hub, the library service was proactive in making a contribution – colleagues in the Mobile Library Service played a vital role working with Cambridge City Council in delivering and distributing meals to homeless people as well as supporting other basic necessities by providing clean clothing and washing kits.

Other library staff were assigned as community outreach officers and were available to do chores and errands for people unable to leave their homes.

And staff across both councils were redeployed to support colleagues in Adult Social Care to help people stay safe and independent in their own homes.

Many of those staff are now returning to their substantive posts, with libraries in particular beginning to reopen from next week in Cambridgeshire (Peterborough libraries will begin to reopen at a later date).

Shelley Kane, area library manager for Huntingdon, Yaxley and Sawtry libraries, said: “Over the last few weeks I have spoken to a variety of people from all walks of life, sometimes being the regular voice down the phone ensuring they were okay, to more complex cases where I needed to provide further support and assistance. I feel the work I have done has been important, particularly for those who have needed support; I am pleased and proud, to have been able to get help for those who have needed it, in such uncertain times.”

Julie Kisby, district library manager for Huntingdonshire, said: “The calls to residents have at times been distressing due to individual situations but at many times rewarding and we have all experienced a lot of appreciation from residents. In fact, the very first call I took was from a resident in a distressing family situation who thanked me profusely for being there to take her call, I found this very humbling and gave me a real appreciation of my own situation.

“I’m looking forward to going back to my substantive role as a district library manager and have been busy preparing for a “new normal” in libraries. In many ways I will miss my new colleagues and work in the hub and am proud to have been able to make a small contribution to this work.”

Liz Graham, district library assistant for St Neots, said: “Working as a case officer in the Co-ordination Hub has been an interesting and at times challenging role.  I have had the privilege to speak to so many different people, referring for support if needed or sometimes just offering a friendly reassuring voice in these uncertain times.

“It’s great that Cambridgeshire’s libraries are slowly beginning to re-open, and even if our service is reduced, it will be welcome by so many.  I’m looking forward to getting back to my job!”

Following government guidance, Cambridgeshire County Council is starting a phased re-opening of library services from Monday, 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 and Wisbech – will be re-opening from next week; for opening times visit here.

All remaining libraries will open from 3 August for 2 days per week and the council will continue to review the situation.

For more information about library services, visit here.

Changes for shielded group from next week

From Monday 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 last week, 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 we want to reassure them that help is available to begin the initial transition from shielding starting July 6th.

Dr Liz Robin, Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, said:  “It is really important that even with the gradual relaxing of the guidance for people who are shielding, they continue to keep a safe 2m distance from anyone not in their household.

“Also, try not to share items such as cups and plates if you are attending a barbecue.

“Cases of the virus have reduced but it is still really important at this time for people who are shielding to exercise caution and follow the rules.”

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

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, said:

“We know that the update from Government relating to the pausing of the shielding programme will be met with both excitement and anxiety.

“For many people Monday will be a day of celebration when they can spend time, at a distance, with friends and family who they may not have seen face to face for months.

“But we also know there will be many people who will feel anxious about the relaxing of the guidance and will need help and support to transition out of shielding and to move towards a new way of life, which of course will still include social distancing. For those people, the Countywide Hub will be there to provide that support. In addition, NHS volunteer responders will continue to offer support after the 31 July to those who need it, including collecting and delivering food and medicines.

“In addition, we will be keeping a record of people who are extremely clinically vulnerable in case the R rate starts to increase and there is a need for people to shield once again.

“If you need support and you don’t have friends, family or neighbours to help you, please visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or call 0345 045 5219.”

County council and British Red Cross extend partnership

When lockdown began the British Red Cross assisted the Countywide Hub with the distribution of food parcels. Together they have distributed 2,500 food parcels to 900 households and 4,500 people.

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

BRC offered to provide an additional service in the form of befriending people who were feeling vulnerable and isolated.

The Hub and BRC 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.

Emily Forbes, a senior emergency response officer, said: “This project has been invaluable in connecting isolated shielding people with British Red Cross volunteers and by using a new digital platform, has enabled over 100 volunteers from around the country to reach out and participate in the befriending project.

“It has allowed the volunteers, some of whom are shielding themselves, to contribute to the Covid response, and the team has overwhelmingly fed back that they find the calls to be an uplifting experience that has a real impact on the lives of the people they are calling.

“There have been cases where additional and sometimes urgent support has been needed and through teamwork with the council these have been resolved quickly to ensure people receive the help they need.”

Rebecca Pentelow from the Co-ordination Hub said: “As the pandemic has progressed we’ve had to become very agile to be able to meet the needs of people who are shielding and it quickly became apparent that communication and contact was a key area.

“The befriending service has been a lifeline for many by offering them someone to talk to when they feel isolated. We have been able to learn about and solve issues for our community that perhaps we wouldn’t have been aware of without the befrienders.

“We are currently working with BRC to see how we can use this service moving forward to support people who are shielding to transition back to ‘normal’ life.”

Spotlight on our staff…

Debbie Price is working as a shielded case manager in the Countywide Hub which involves supporting people who have been identified as being at the highest risk if they contract coronavirus. She was redeployed into the team from her role as the district library manager for East Cambs and Fenland.

“It must be very scary to be told you are extremely vulnerable when the world is facing a pandemic. So vulnerable that you have to hide at home for months and it’s not safe to go out. It is the people in this situation that we have been reaching out to, offering help, advice, regular contact and a human voice.

“At the beginning I had no idea of what working with the hub would be like and where the work would take me, but I was very happy to be redeployed into this critical work.

“I started off by having a list of shielding people to call. I had a script, but it still felt quite nerve racking making those early calls. You never know what people are going to ask you or how they will react – you just hope you get it right.

“Of course, they were actually kind and friendly and I felt privileged to be able to tell them about what help was available in their locality or from government. I remember callers telling me they wished they were the ones helping others instead of needing help themselves.

“Alongside this I was doing stints on the helpline number. You wait by your laptop for calls and use your script to give people the right advice and signposting, again quite nerve racking until you have a few under your belt. After a while, the scale of the task was so great that a bespoke online recording system was created. We left spreadsheets behind and were trained in these new systems. We were organised into district teams and I became a team manager. I had nine case officers making calls to support and all of them were newly redeployed into this new world. They were all amazing and we relished the challenge. We met daily on skype to compare notes and to keep updated.

“I’ve learned how challenging some people have it in life. All of us felt fortunate that our lives were so easy in comparison. I’ve made friends across the authority and seen how a sense of public service is there in all departments. I’ve learned to adapt and develop solutions on the hoof with colleagues, little things like collating and sharing queries when we were in information overload or chatting online during a call handling shift to shore up each other’s knowledge and confidence. I’ve learned how isolation and illness don’t stop on weekends and Bank Holidays. I’ve learned that having someone call you rather than needing to do it yourself, can sometimes be just what someone needs.”

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 this 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 and 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 here. on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough websites.

Wednesday 1st July 2020

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.

Monday 29th June 2020

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

Friday 26th June 2020

Welcome

Hello, and welcome to our latest Highlights from the Hubs! I can’t believe another week has flown by already….

It’s been a week with some important announcements of course – news of the hottest day of the year (and don’t we know it!), Liverpool being crowned Premiership Champions (so I’m told!), and who knew just how popular Bournemouth Beach was!

But there were two really important announcements this week that will change the lives of many people – details on the further easing of lockdown measures from 4 July, and the plans to gradually lift the requirements for people to shield from the virus. For the more than 30,000 people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who have been shielding for 3 months or more, this must come as both a huge relief, but also with some anxiety, and we will be doing all we can between now and the end of July, when the need to shield will be paused, to make sure that everyone has the information, advice and independent support they need to stay safe.

This week’s edition includes further details of how the shielding restrictions will be lifted.

Alongside this, the Hub reached its 100-day milestone this week, and it’s been quite a journey with some very special partnerships being developed with colleagues across district and city councils, parish and town councils, and the wider public, voluntary and faith sectors. We’re determined to continue to work in this way together, to benefit all of our residents and communities, long into the future.

And finally, there was a really great interview on Tuesday’s BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s Drivetime show about the 100 day anniversary, 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 the interview at 2hrs 12mins on BBC Sounds.

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council

Countywide Hub marks first 100-days

The Countywide Co-ordination Hub marked its 100-day anniversary on Tuesday.

The hub launched in March to support residents identified as shielding and being of the highest risk to coronavirus.  Currently there are more than 30,000 people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who are shielding, with 19,058 of them registered with the Hub. 7,653 of these people are receiving regular help.

Since its launch the Countywide Hub has:

  • Delivered food packages to 2,782 residents. This includes 914 specialist food parcels
  • Made contact, either on the telephone or on home visits, with 3,732 people who the NHS believes should be shielding who the Government could not reach
  • Referred 762 people to the Red Cross for befriending services
  • Responded to 5,915 calls from residents
  • Responded to 4,791 emails asking for help
  • Delivered PPE to GP surgeries, pharmacies, care homes and elsewhere
  • Launched a website specifically for residents who are shielding to allow them to learn new skills and keep busy whilst isolating
  • Launched a service which supports residents with everyday tasks such as gardening and essential DIY
  • Trained volunteers to work in places such as care homes where staff are in short supply
  • Supported hundreds of carers across the county

Adrian Chapman, service director for communities and safety for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire who is leading the work of the Countywide Hub, said: “It has been an absolute privilege to lead the work of the countywide hub, making sure that people who are at the greatest risk from the coronavirus are protected from harm as far as possible.

“We created the Countywide Hub from scratch at incredible pace, to be able to provide the support that so many of our residents needed at that time and still do. What has been achieved in such a short space of time is truly remarkable.

“None of this would have been possible without the hard work of council staff, many of whom were redeployed into the hub from other council services, our partners including the district and city councils across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who are delivering vital support services to their own communities, the support from our voluntary, faith and public sector partners and last but not least the 2,500 residents who signed up to volunteer their time to support the work of the hub.

“The feedback we receive from the people we are supporting is what makes it all worthwhile and makes it clear that we are making a difference to so many people in a variety of ways.

“My aspiration now is to make sure we take all of the features of our new ways of working into whatever ‘new normal’ emerges post-Covid-19. The ability to make swift decisions, to collaborate in ways we never thought possible, to share data quickly but safely, and to find very creative solutions to really tricky issues will be no less important beyond the current crisis.”

Councillor Irene Walsh, cabinet member for communities for Peterborough City Council, said: “The pandemic left hundreds of people across Peterborough feeling worried, alone and without help within a very short space of time. It has, and continues to be, an incredibly difficult time for so many residents, but the network of support hubs has lightened the load for so many people.

“Whether it’s providing essential food or medicine to residents, delivering PPE to health settings to allow GPs and pharmacists to continue working, supporting in care homes or simply offering a friendly voice on the other end of the phone, the work we have seen from council staff, partners and volunteers has been phenomenal.

“I would also like to pay tribute to the hundreds of people across Peterborough who continue to show the most fantastic community spirit, supporting people in their communities who need help at this time. Their work too is supporting so many people to stay safe and well.”

Councillor Steve Criswell, chairman of the Communities and Partnerships Committee, Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “The COVID-19 support hubs continue to be a shining example of what can be achieved when councils work together with their partners and residents for the good of our communities.

“Everyone involved in their work deserves a huge pat on the back for the outstanding service they have provided, and continue to provide, to so many. I am particularly proud of how our communities have stepped up and worked with the council to keep people safe and well.

“Every week the Countywide Hub continues to support more than 4,000 people who are shielding and have asked for help and that figure is rising all the time. We will continue to provide that support so that those who are shielding have the help they need until such a time that their lives are able to return to normal.”

Changes announced for shielded group

On Monday the Government announced that the 2.2 million people who have been self-isolating in England will no longer need to shield from 1 August. There will also be a gradual relaxing of the advice from 6 July.

Further details are available at www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We know that the update from Government relating to the pausing of the shielding programme will be met with excitement and anxiety. “There will be many people who will need help and support to transition out of shielding and to move towards a new way of life, which of course will still include social distancing. For those people, the Countywide Hub will be there to provide that support. In addition, NHS volunteer responders will continue to offer support after the 31 July to those who need it, including collecting and delivering food and medicines.

“The network of district and city hubs will continue to provide support for all others who don’t have help and assistance from friends, family or neighbours. This will be particularly important as part of NHS Test and Trace, to support people who may need help when isolating as a result of having symptoms of coronavirus or because they have been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case. “In addition, we will be keeping a record of people who are extremely clinically vulnerable in case the R rate starts to increase and there is a need for people to shield once again. “If you need support and you don’t have friends, family or neighbours to help you, please visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or call 0345 045 5219.”

PPE Hub delivers over 2.4 million items through partnership working

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Resilience Forum PPE Hub, led by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), has now delivered over 2.4 million PPE items to care homes, GPs, pharmacies, hospices, prisons as well as many others working on the frontline.

The PPE Hub is a collaborative effort with the volunteer organisations, the military, local authorities and other partners in the regional health and social care system, delivering around 40,000 items of PPE each day. After an initial seven-day operation schedule, the team now works five days a week to provide PPE and offers both urgent same-day delivery and next-day delivery.

To comply with social distancing rules, staff across the hub are split into two teams – reducing risk to staff and ensuring that the PPE delivery service is as resilient as possible.

CCG programme director Sarah Learney, who coordinates the PPE Hub, said: “The PPE Hub has been a massive partnership effort. The commitment of all partners involved in the hub has meant that thousands of workers received the PPE they needed to carry out their jobs safely, making sure that patients in our area can still receive the care they need.

“Our thanks go out to all the organisations involved in the work of the hub, including the local authorities, fire service, the Armed Forces, Re:ACT (formerly known as Team Rubicon), and the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire 4×4 Response team whose volunteer drivers deliver PPE to where it’s most needed. We’re proud to have delivered over 2.4 million items of PPE to date, and we couldn’t have done this without you.”

Community rallies round to help shielding mum-to-be

Having your first baby should be one of the most exciting times in a person’s life.

But for one Fenland mum-to-be, it was not the case as a result of the financial challenges resulting from Covid-19, her need to shield, shop closures and stock issues.

It was a stressful time as she had been told that due to her medical needs, she would need to be delivered at 34 weeks and was desperate to be prepared for her and her partner’s first child.

She got in touch with the Fenland community hub and explained that she was unable to purchase premature baby clothes.  She and her partner had considered using Facebook sites and many other options, but all would have carried risks due to their need to shield.

The hub contacted community members through social media and several people responded resulting in donations of premature baby starter gift packs from a community knitting group that works in partnership with Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Addenbrooke’s, individuals wishing to donate clothes and other parents who had experience of NICU when they had given birth prematurely.

The hub was able to deliver new and second hand clothes and share these valuable stories and messages of support and advice.

The resident was incredibly grateful for the response and said that it had enabled her to plan for what she felt should be such a special occasion that was being overshadowed by the effects of the pandemic.

She shared that they had worked hard to plan their first child and were now in a financially challenging situation, isolated from their family who would have given the emotional and physical support they needed at this time.

Hearing the shared stories together with the support from Addenbrookes had made her feel cared for, less isolated, respected and valued.  Receiving the clothes had alleviated emotional stress and financial pressure and allowed her to feel as if she was preparing for her baby in the way she had hoped to before the Coronavirus.

Spotlight on our staff

Kerrie Tonks has worked for Cambridgeshire County Council for 22 years and is currently the Youth and Community Coordinator for Fenland which is now part of the Think Communities team. For the past 14 weeks she has been redeployed into the Covid-19 Coordination work as a Place Based Coordinator covering the Fenland area.

“I was delighted to be asked to undertake this role in which I would be able to utilise and build upon the knowledge and relationships I have developed over the last few years working in Fenland.  But even I was not aware at the start of the process of the overwhelming need there would be in the community and how much of a difference these roles could make, and have made, to peoples’ lives over this time.

“A team of six Placed Based roles was set up in the five Cambridgeshire districts and one in Peterborough. It has been a really good and positive experience working in this newly formed team and it has been a delight to work alongside a group of people who have been so supportive of one another throughout the process.

“Fenland District Council was very quick off the mark in setting up a response hub and I have worked closely with them, forming new relationships and building upon established ones within the council. FDC developed a database of over 90 community-based organisations who were willing to assist those in need across Fenland.  It has been an amazing experience to see these organisations grow and develop so quickly and to witness the sheer numbers of volunteers who have come forward to help.  Capturing this community spirit and supporting further development is certainly something that will be considered as we move into recovery phases of Covid-19.

“If I was ever to need a reminder of my time I will think about Michael who was in desperate need having been sent home after a month in hospital saying to me that “we would never know how much the help we gave him has improved his mental health”. Or Maddy who is expecting her first child which due to medical needs will be induced very prematurely saying “she was so grateful for all the baby things we had managed to find for her and how despite things being difficult, knowing that she was being cared about and considered meant so much to her”.

So, it has been a worthwhile and very moving experience at times and has given me a huge amount of new skills and knowledge which I will be able to take with me back into my Youth and Community worker role.

Bright Ribbon campaign extends its reach across Peterborough

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.

Councillor Irene Walsh, Peterborough City Council’s cabinet member who helped set up the campaign, said: “We’ve had a fantastic response from residents in the villages who are keen to help those in need. And full credit to Bainton & Ashton Parish Council who supported the scheme from the outset.

“We have been in touch with other parish councils, some of whom were already running schemes of their own and some who were keen to set up their own Bright Ribbon campaign. In Glinton the Good Neighbours Scheme is promoting the food donation point at the NISA store on the High Street. An impressive volunteering scheme is also running in the village, supporting local residents in a variety of ways.

“Currently, the donation points in Bainton and Ashton are two repurposed grit bins, one positioned in the centre of each village. All donation points are adorned with bright ribbons so that they can be identified “All in all, a fantastic contribution from Peterborough’s rural areas.”

Wednesday 24th June 2020

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.

Monday 22nd June 2020

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.

Friday 19th June 2020

Welcome

Hello, and I hope you’re all safe and well.

Tuesday 23 June marks the 100th day since the launch of the countywide coordination hub! It’s a significant milestone worth noting – and the infographic below highlights some of the achievements, none of which could have happened without the support of the whole partnership across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough District and City councils, other public sector bodies, voluntary, community and faith sector organisations, parish and town councils, and volunteers.

The 100th day milestone though is also an opportunity to reflect on the challenging times our shielded and vulnerable residents, and our communities, have faced during the pandemic. Our hubs have been privileged to be able to help and support many of them during our 100 days so far, and we all regularly receive such fantastic feedback, some of which is included in this edition. But we do also recognise, every day, just how challenging this.

As I write, we’re awaiting an announcement from the Government about the future of the Shielding programme, and we’re poised to continue to provide the support and assistance our residents need based on that announcement, whatever it is.

Please, stay safe and well!

Fish and Chip Fridays are back for one shielded resident

People who have been shielding during the pandemic have faced the most restraints on their regular lives. Many of them have been missing out on regular hobbies, outings or treats that they used to look forward to each week.

But thanks to the Coordination Hub, some shielded residents have been able to enjoy their weekly treats again.

Mrs G, an elderly shielded resident, was scheduled to receive a fortnightly call from her case officer to ensure that she was coping/managing.

During the most recent call, Mrs G mentioned to her case officer that she required some assistance from the hub with a home maintenance issue. She also happened to mention that prior to being shielded, she would look forward to fish and chips from her local chip shop on a Friday, however she is no longer able to enjoy this as she is not able to leave her home.

A hub co-ordinator contacted Mrs G and, with her permission, was able to refer her home maintenance concerns to Age UK’s Handyperson scheme: a service capable of undertaking basic DIY for elderly or disabled people in their own home, so they can remain safe and independent.

Although recognised as not being an urgent issue, the hub co-ordinator also made contact with Mrs G’s local Community Response Service (a service operated by the Countywide Hub, that consists of place-based co-ordinators offering more localised support for residents), who advised that they would be able to arrange collection and delivery of a fish supper to Mrs G – with a view to this being something that could continue on a regular basis.

It goes without saying that Mrs G was delighted!

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. These will be available at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk and www.peterborough.gov.uk soon.

The network of COVID-19 coordination hubs will perform a crucial and wider role in supporting people who need to isolate and don’t have support from elsewhere.

As Test and Trace becomes more established it will lead to a reduction in the lockdown measures for all, but it will mean that individuals and their households will need to isolate if they have symptoms, or individuals who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive.

People in that situation, who don’t have a network of family, friends or neighbours, will be able to access support from the network of district and city hubs.

People who need help whilst isolating should visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or call 0345 045 5219.

Support for people with sensory impairment

Support for people with sensory impairment will be picked up by the Countywide Hub from next week.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s sensory team has been supporting 100 people since the start of the pandemic, but this will now be picked up by the hub.

At the start of the pandemic, the sensory team put together a list of vulnerable residents with sensory impairment who may have required extra support during the crisis.

Using this list, the team has been making weekly calls to offer advice and support. So far, the service provided by the sensory team has been extremely successful with the number of people requiring support reducing from 400 to 100 since the beginning of the crisis.

Moving forward, the hub will continue to support those that have been identified as requiring support, the majority of which are people that are still isolating and could benefit from the befriending services the hub can provide. These support services will also include regular calls to ensure that immediate needs are being met.

By taking on this service the hub can ensure that those with sensory impairment and struggling can continue to receive the support they need. Meanwhile, the sensory team can continue to support those who are no longer needing to isolate with any struggles that may occur as we begin to transition into the Covid-19 recovery phase.

Spotlight on our partners: Pav

Graeme Tolliday (known as Pav) is chairman and trustee of Bedfordshire & Cambridgeshire 4×4 Response – a fairly new charity formed in 2017. He is also an ambulance officer and paramedic with the East of England Ambulance Service, where he has served for 29 years. The 4×4 charity is helping the hub with the distribution of PPE across the county.

“My love of 4x4s and motorsport fit in well with the charity and our various activities across the two counties.

“All of our members are volunteers and are giving their time around their own jobs during the Covid-19 crisis. We currently have 55 volunteers with a vast array of professions, from computer experts to post office managers and highway staff to coach owners. Our age range starts in the 20s and goes up to the 80s, but every single member has the same goals and intentions to help people.

“The Covid-19 crisis has pushed the team into a new direction, and our volunteers are now transporting PPE around Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and the surrounding areas, from the Countywide Hub.

“Both the volunteers from the 4×4 response team and Team Rubicon have developed a really solid and professional working relationship with all the staff on the site. PPE is being packed and dispatched usually within 24 hours of requests.

“With everybody understanding and respecting each other’s role, this relationship has developed incredibly well during the crisis and has demonstrated how amazing all of our volunteers are. Working alongside army colleagues has given another dimension to this provision and proved team work is the best. We supply between two and five vehicles a day depending on requests.

“The PPE hub, led by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, and the food hub, which is managed by the British Red Cross, have demonstrated how effective, professional and committed the volunteers are, this could not have been achieved without them.

“I feel very privileged to have been involved in this amazing collaboration across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and have met many amazing people who give up their time for one purpose.

“To ensure our population are as protected as possible and that those in need get the help they require. The Countywide Co-ordination Hub is certainly a team that delivers.”

Resident grateful for the support of her neighbours

Every week, the Countywide Hub hears heart-warming stories from people it is supporting of ways they have been helped, either by the hub or someone in the community.

People like Carole, who lives alone in Huntingdonshire and was struggling to access food and prescriptions when her next-door neighbour passed away.

Carole was struggling and had a food parcel delivered every other week by the hub, even though she didn’t want to be a burden or in her words ‘take it away from someone else in need’.

When the second Red Cross parcel arrived a neighbour from across the street noticed and put a note through Carole’s door and offered her support. The neighbour is now doing weekly shopping and picking up prescriptions as required.

Carole has told us that her cupboards have never been so stocked up and she actually cried through happiness when she opened them one morning. She is so grateful of our support and can’t thank me enough for helping her out in her time of need.

An example of the support being provided to residents

A number of redeployed council staff who have been supporting shielded residents as part of their role with the Countywide Hub are now returning to their substantive posts.

One of those people is Katie Ellis, an assistant traffic signal engineer for Cambridgeshire County Council and one of the 142 officers who have been supporting residents who are shielding for the past 12 weeks.

Katie’s role has involved her keeping regular contact with a group of 60 residents, providing support to get food, medicines and other help to them whilst they remain at home.

Upon hearing that Katie was leaving the hub, one resident got in touch to say how well supported that had been and how much they will miss her.

The resident said: “I wanted to write an email to thank you for all of your kind effort and relentless help. For joining all the different departments together to form a circle of security and reassurance. Throughout the last couple of months you have been my go to rock. “I honestly don’t know how at times I could have got by without you. Your positive attitude, organisation. It really helped me to get through what I can only say has been, and still is, the most challenging time on my own.

“Thank you so much for all your hard work and for the care and attention you have had for myself. When we could not get a nurse and you reassured me we would. When my prescription went missing and you rescued the situation. When all my family were ill and I was so alone. You were there.” Katie said: “It has been a pleasure working in this role for the past ten weeks. I have felt a real sense of achievement in helping people in this challenging time. I am overwhelmed that I have made such a difference to this resident’s life. To have such positive comments back is greatly appreciated.”

Elaine Matthews, one of managers for the Countywide Hub, said: “It is so lovely to hear of the positive impact Katie’s regular calls have had during this difficult time, well done Katie.  We will continue to take great care to support all our residents who are still shielding by making sure they have access to food and medication so they can stay at home.

“In reality, as Katie and our other officers are demonstrating, our regular calls provide much more than that.  This has shown that a regular friendly call to discuss what is important, provide reassurance and help where needed really makes a huge difference.”

Arty friends spread cheer to Elton resident

A lady who is shielding and being supported by the Countywide Hub got in touch this week to show us this lovely work of art that had been created for her at the end of her garden.

The masterpiece was created by some of her friends to cheer her up whilst in lockdown.

From what the lady told us, it certainly did the trick!

Wednesday 17th June 2020

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.

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 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

Monday 15th June 2020

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.

Friday 12th June 2020

Welcome

This week is National Carers’ week – a really important moment to celebrate the outstanding contribution that those people caring for family and friends make to individuals and communities. It’s also an opportunity to shine a light on the many challenges that carers face, even more so in the midst of the current pandemic. There are thought to be well over 6million people nationally who are caring for a family member or a friend; without this, so many of those cared for will likely need to access more formal services and support, and may not even be able to carry on living at home.

Here in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, we have many fantastic carers, often supporting the people they care for 24/7, and in this week’s Highlights from the Hubs, we share some of their stories.

We’re also fortunate to have some really amazing support organisations locally, who provide advice, guidance, support and respite to our caring community, and again, this edition includes some details of their work.

In a similar way, last week was National Volunteers’ Week, and in last week’s edition we celebrated the thousands of volunteers across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who are giving up their time to help those who need support at this really difficult time.

Following that, Matt Oliver, who is one of a number of people leading the work of the Countywide Co-ordination Hub, was interviewed on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s breakfast show last Saturday. Matt spoke about some of the many ways volunteers are supporting people who need help and how we want to harness this support from our communities for long-term benefit. It’s worth a listen and you can do so here. Fast forward to 2 hours 52 minutes into the show.

Whether you are volunteering in your community, or are someone caring for a family member or friend, thank you from all of us to all of you.

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council

Safe and well checks continue to trace vulnerable

Safe and well checks for people who the NHS believes should be shielding who have not yet registered have been continuing.

In the past two weeks the Co-ordination Hub has been supported by the British Red Cross and redeployed staff, including county council library staff members, to make contact with just over 2,000 people to check whether they are okay and need help and support.

Of this group, 1,228 people were successfully contacted by telephone and a further 780 were visited at home.

As a result, 27 people who required urgent help and support were identified.

Rob Hill, part of the hub team, said: “We will continue in the coming days and weeks to attempt to make contact with people who we have been told should be shielding who have not yet registered.

“We know from the visits we have made so far how essential this work is, as we are coming across people who really do need our help and support at this time.

“I cannot thank enough the redeployed staff and volunteers we have supporting us on these checks. Their hard work is making sure that some of the most vulnerable people in our communities are supported.”

Janette, one of the redeployed staff members from Peterborough City Council who has been supporting the work, said: “I really enjoyed making the calls this week.  I feel as if I made a difference, I hope, to many of the people I spoke to.”

As of yesterday (Thursday) there are now 18,893 people on the shielded list, with 4,538 people telling the hub that they need ongoing support.

Hub’s work with carers helps couple feel safe

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 to make sure they have access to support.

The Co-ordination Hub has been supporting carers and the most vulnerable members of society, helping with access to food and medication, signposting to professional services, arranging a friendly phone call and offering a point of contact should any needs arise.

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 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.

Mr F was contacted by the council and referred to the Co-ordination Hub, and the couple is now receiving support with food deliveries and medication.

Mr F said: “The lady from the council was brilliant. My wife and I now have online slots with two supermarkets, and we’ve received a food bundle that was just great. They are also helping pick up our medication. It may sound like a simple thing to some people, but I can’t tell you how much it means to us, just knowing that someone is looking out for us and there if we need them.”

Helen Duncan, head of adult safeguarding at Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, said: “The number of people taking on caring responsibilities nationally and locally is growing faster than ever, and this has only been heightened by the coronavirus lockdown. We support carers from all walks of life and often they don’t give themselves enough credit for the incredible work they do for others. Being a carer is rewarding, but it is difficult. We want carers to know you are not alone. Through the councils and our partners there is a lot of help out there for you, so please get in touch.”

In the last census 65,000 people identified themselves as carers in Cambridgeshire, and close to 20,000 in Peterborough, but we know the numbers are likely to be higher as those providing care don’t often see themselves as a ‘carer’.

As part of National Carers Week, carers are being informed about the help and support available. Caring Together is there 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.

Goodie bags delivered to shielding police

Cambridgeshire Police’s wellbeing network has been out in force spreading some cheer and delivering healthy snack boxes to officers and staff who are self-isolating at home.

On Monday almost 30 volunteers delivered fruit and vegetables to all police stations and to those who are shielding.

The rally, which was supported by the Federation and the National Association of Retired Police Officers (NARPO), was organised by the wellbeing network as part of what would have been National Healthy Eating Week, which has been postponed until September.

Inspector Caroline Scully, member of the wellbeing network and organiser of the event, said: “Although we may not have been able to reach everyone who is isolating, we hope we got to as many people as possible who may have missed out on some of the generous deliveries that have been gifted to some of our stations in recent months.

“I would also like to extend a huge thank you to NARPO and the Federation for their help in making this operation possible!”

A total of 154 boxes were delivered to officers and staff who are isolating as well as every station and office across the county to reach as many people from across the force as possible.

Meal scheme launches with Over Day Centre

A new hot food scheme at Over Day Centre has launched in South Cambridgeshire after the district council successfully bid for funding from national developer, Countryside.

On Wednesday 40 meals were provided to vulnerable residents who are unable to attend the day centres in Over and Cottenham during the coronavirus pandemic. This week’s main was shepherd’s pie followed by an apple strudel. Plans for a second food hub are now underway in the south of the district. The hub will provide food to vulnerable residents and is likely to include the council working with schools in areas where a higher proportion of children access a free school meal. The food in the second hub is being cooked by C3 Churches who are based in Cambridge. They are already cooking hundreds of meals each week for people in Cambridge and beyond. Both schemes would not be possible without funding from Countryside, the volunteer chefs, team to support them and community volunteers who ensure the food reaches the people who need it.

Support for people removed from shielded list

People who have been identified as no longer having to shield are being supported by the Co-Ordination Hub to access ongoing assistance should they need it.

The review of those on the shielded list is led nationally and letters are sent by GPs to those who no longer need to shield.

Around 1,200 people have been removed from the shielding list since the programme began in March – this is either because a GP or clinician has determined they are not clinically vulnerable or because they have been incorrectly identified as needing to shield.

However, the Co-ordination Hub knows that some of these people may still need help, so is making contact with those who have been receiving support,  firstly to ensure they are aware they have been removed from the shielded list and secondly, to identify if they have any urgent needs. They will also be referred to the network of district and city hubs for ongoing support, if this is needed.

People who are concerned by the change in status are being asked to contact their GP to discuss in more detail.

Nikitta Vanterpool, part of the hub team, said: “Our ethos at the hub is to make sure that everyone who needs support at this difficult time receives it. That is why we are contacting those people who we have been supporting, who are no longer on the shielded list, to ensure that they have all the support they need in place.”

Youth and Community Team supports KICK online move

Coronavirus saw the suspension of all KICK groups and activities, leaving those that use the youth service, and the staff within, disappointed.

However, with support from the Youth and Community Coordinator for Huntingdonshire, the youth charity has been awarded funding that will enable it to set up a virtual youth club to support young people during this difficult time.

KICK is a youth service provider which offers positive activities and informal education interventions to young people including those who are vulnerable, marginalised or at risk of exclusion across the St Ives area.

The charity works with local schools and organisations in order to deliver a variety of programmes to help young people across Cambridgeshire transition into adulthood. Having recently been awarded funding from the Community Reach Fund, run by Cambridgeshire County Council, KICK will be able to continue this support online.

The Youth and Community team has been supporting KICK by providing information, advice and guidance to allow it to move its youth groups online through Zoom.

Allison Preece, Youth and Community Coordinator, said: “It is really important to maintain open access provision for young people who may find it difficult to be part of other groups.

“KICK are great at supporting vulnerable and marginalised young people and this move to virtual services will make this support even more accessible.”

Community Chest Grants for community groups

Huntingdonshire District Council has announced the latest community groups to receive Community Chest Grant funding to support work and initiatives being launched for communities during COVID-19.

The initiatives include paying towards staff cover, improving stocks used for food parcels, providing hot meals for vulnerable people and purchasing supermarket vouchers for those in need.

The Community Chest Grant has allowed organisations and community groups, which have been struggling during the pandemic, to carry on supporting communities.

Executive Leader of the council, Councillor Ryan Fuller, said: “We have now awarded funding to 22 community groups or projects to help support their efforts to provide valuable assistance in their local areas in response to COVID-19. There is still a large amount of the Community Chest Fund remaining, and we will keep the application process open so that we can continue to do whatever we can to support local initiatives.”

If you would like to apply for funding from the Community Chest, you should complete the online application form which can be found at www.huntingdonshire.gov.uk/communitychestfund Applications will be considered by councillors on a weekly basis.

Spotlight on our Partners: And it’s goodbye from him…

Matt Staton has worked in road safety at Cambridgeshire County Council for the last 12 years and is the Highway Projects and Road Safety Manager overseeing a service that delivers small and medium-sized highway projects including structures, resurfacing, local highway improvements, road safety education and road safety engineering. However, for the last 8 weeks he has been redeployed into the Covid-19 Coordination Hub. Now he is returning to his highways role, but on his final week he’s taken time to reflect on his contribution to the work of the hub.

“In my highways role we spent the first couple of weeks of the crisis identifying what the priority activities were across highways, managing the closedown of sites and ensuring all the team were set up for working from home. As only a small proportion of my team’s work fell under the high priority maintenance works, most of the team were identified as being available for redeployment. A number of my team were put forward for various roles and then a request came through for a specialist role to help with the coordination of testing. It turned out I was the only one available that met the requirements so put myself forward and was redeployed into the hub.

“However, within a couple of days of starting it was evident this role was no longer required as national arrangements had been brought in, but the hub team were able to match my skills to another specialist project in the hub: setting up a new service to extend the support available to people who were shielding.

“Having been a bit frustrated with the first few days, I was really pleased to be able to lend my skills to help with the pandemic response. Little did I know that eight weeks later I’d be leaving behind a service with over 60 redeployed staff that had already responded to more than 100 requests for help with things like shopping, medication and gardening and also coordinated safe and well checks for just over 2,000 shielded people.

“I have found my time in the hub to be incredibly rewarding and enjoyable even though it has been very challenging and a steep learning curve. The team in the hub and the place-based coordinators out in the districts have been incredible and it has been amazing to see people from across both councils with such varied backgrounds come together and support each other to achieve what we have done.

“I hope it is something the organisation can learn from, as there will be so many services enriched as a result of staff being redeployed and gaining a broader insight and experience of the organisation as a whole, and the communities we serve. I have gained a working knowledge of Think Communities that will be invaluable in the implementation of our new road safety strategy and can feed into our local highways work. I have made new friends, forged new working relationships and seen the direct positive impact we can have on our residents’ lives.

“As I walk out the door of the hub on my final day here it is a bittersweet feeling. I can’t wait to get back to my team and support them with the important work in our county’s recovery from this pandemic, share our stories of redeployment and implement some of the good practice we have experienced. But that is tinged with a sadness that I am leaving behind another team, people who have helped me grow (not just my hair!) and a shared experience that will hopefully shape the way we work for many years to come… to the team at the hub all I can say is THANK YOU!”

Coronavirus Community Fund’s countywide impact

More than £600,000 has been distributed by the Cambridgeshire Coronavirus Community Fund to support community organisations across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to continue to help those in need during the Covid-19 crisis.

Many groups have had to adapt their services to continue providing support to the community, including a shift to online services or remote delivery.

As a result of lockdown, many opportunities that groups rely on for fundraising have been cancelled, such as the London Marathon, and as such the funds to make these changes and to continue supporting the community have become stretched.

However, thanks to the Cambridgeshire Coronavirus Community Fund, many organisations have been able to continue supporting their communities. This has included helping those with learning disabilities, supporting people to access groceries and food, assisting those at risk of homelessness and supplying people with the resources to allow them to remain occupied in lockdown and improve their wellbeing.

This fund itself is completely reliant on donations from the public.

Katrina D’Souza, community development officer for the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation, said: “We are so grateful to our donors, but the fund can only run for as long as people are donating to it.

“The Cambridgeshire Community Foundation has always been focused on addressing the inequality that exists across Cambridgeshire, which no doubt will be negatively impacted as a result of the virus. We all have a responsibility to support our community!”

You can find out more and donate to the fund here.

Community support for all

South Cambridgeshire District Council has completed work to ensure the Gypsy and Traveller community in the district has the same access to support as everyone else in the area. The work by the council’s communities team and Traveller liaison officer looked at how support may need to be adapted to meet the needs of the Gypsy and Traveller community. By assessing the support already available through the network of community groups in the area, the council was able to identify any gaps and work with the Travelling community to ensure the right help was in place.

This included having plans in place for delivering food packages if urgent help was needed and translating leaflets so anyone who does not speak English as their first language knew where to turn.

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. 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. Reablement care is often short term and enables people 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. Jenny said: “Working as a reablement support worker means that I’m looking after people in their own houses and really re-enabling them to gain some independence, or if not able to regain independence, then looking at packages that may be put into place to help them look after themselves in the future.”

Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald, cabinet member for Adult Social Care, Health and Public Health for Peterborough City Council, said: “Redeployed staff like Jenny have helped our reablement teams continue doing the vital work they do while many vulnerable people are isolating.

“I’d like to thank Jenny, other redeployed staff and all reablement workers for the brilliant work they are doing, as they are helping so many people who need it most.”

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

Centre 33 continues to help young carers

Many young carers are living in families that are potentially more vulnerable during this time. As an organisation aware of this potential impact on their caring role, Centre 33 has continued to offer support to young carers throughout this pandemic.

At the end of March Centre 33 moved to delivering all its support remotely and is now offering regular telephone calls to young carers as well as keeping in contact via email, text or WhatsApp and video calls. Keeping in weekly or fortnightly contact for young carers has allowed the organisation to continue supporting their mental health and well-being, as well as advocating for them to ensure they have everything they need to access education.

The pandemic has been a worrying time for young carers, with many families shielding. Centre 33 has been supporting young carers who have seen an increase in their caring roles and working with county council services to ensure the right support is in place, including access to food and medication, and a plan is in place should a family member become unwell with the virus.

Helen Eves, senior young carers project worker, said: “Young carers have felt an increased sense of isolation during this time, and as our usual community and school-based young carers groups haven’t been able to run during this period, we have started to run these groups remotely via video calls.

“The young carers have fed back that being able to see their friends face to face has made a big difference.

“Throughout Carers Week we have been asking our young carers to share with us a creative piece that tells us about their life as a young carer. Examples of their creative work can be found on Centre 33’s social media platforms.”

You can find out more via Centre 33’s website, Facebook page or Twitter.

Cambridgeshire Police supporting the hub

During the pandemic, six community safety officers and volunteers from Cambridgeshire Police have assisted the Co-ordination Hub by visiting more than 600 vulnerable residents across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

These visits have been an enlightening experience to them all, highlighting the range of life challenges that some of our residents face on a daily basis.

Here is what they had to say:

Clare: “To meet, help and support the most vulnerable residents in Cambridgeshire is a privilege. All agencies have pulled together and have made such a difference to those struggling to cope.”

Amanda: “I have met a wide range of residents with diverse conditions. I’ve enjoyed helping out with bit of shopping, collecting prescriptions and other small errands.”

Helen: “All visits had been welcomed with open arms and greatly appreciated.”

Sue: “It is impressive that in such times, agencies and volunteers have demonstrated working together at it’s very best to ensure the health and well-being of our residents.”

Jules: “I have received positive responses to the shielding visits and have spoken to many residents who without the support would have been in a dire situation.”

Kate: “I’ve found it very rewarding being able to help people. Knowing that there are people who genuinely care, to offer help and support, is a great comfort to many.”

The team will continue to support the safe and well checks on residents to support the work of the hub.

Scam Awareness Fortnight begins next week

Scam Awareness Fortnight begins on Monday and this year the focus is on scams which take advantage of the uncertainty and loneliness felt by many during the Covid-19 outbreak.

During Scam Awareness Fortnight, Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council will be sharing information about the types of scams which criminals are using amid the Covid-19 outbreak. Some of these include:

  • adverts of face masks or medical equipment at high prices
  • emails or texts pretending to be from the government
  • emails offering life insurance against coronavirus
  • people knocking at your door and asking for money for fake charities

The best way to protect your neighbours from being scammed is to spread the message. Unfortunately, it is estimated that 7 out of 10 (68%) of people targeted by a scam do not tell anyone about it and only around 5% of scams are reported.

Further information on coronavirus scams are available here.

You can access free downloadable resources for coronavirus and all types of scams on 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.

Charity adapts services to support county’s carers

A survey launched by Caring Together has revealed the impact the pandemic has had on carers of all ages, with 78% feeling they can’t take a break from caring, 82% feeling more stressed and 77% feeling an increase in loneliness.

Caring Together has adapted its services to be sure it can continue to support carers of all ages, and the people they care for.

Caring Together has been hosting carers hubs via Zoom to ensure adult carers have the opportunity to talk with other people in their position.

The charity has also continued to offer its Listening Ear service where carers are linked with a trained volunteer who can provide them with someone to talk to via telephone.

With the pandemic leaving many carers feeling unable to take a break, Caring Together is able to offer some of those struggling a care worker who can support their cared for person and enable them to take a break. They have also been supporting carers through the Carers Emergency Fund to allow them to purchase things that can make life easier.

Miriam Martin, chief executive of Caring Together, said: “Carers were already very much in need of support before the coronavirus crisis but now they face a new set of challenges. As other people’s lives move towards normality the reality of returning to work or school will bring new issues for carers, particularly if they are shielding a vulnerable person. This will mean tackling dilemmas around health, income and education that are unique to them in their caring role.

“During this unsettling time, we are certain of one thing, that carers and their families need our support, now more than ever. But we also know relatively small things can make a big difference to carers.”

People can make a donation to help Caring Together’s Caring for carers emergency appeal, or volunteer to help.

To find out about support for carers or to get involved visit www.caringtogether.org/carers-week.

Wednesday 10th June 2020

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.”

Friday 5th June 2020

Welcome to our special volunteers edition of Highlights from the Hubs!

There’s no long introduction from me this week! The content in the newsletter speaks for itself, and makes me feel both proud and humble.

A deep felt, deeply personal thank you to everyone who has volunteered during the pandemic, who volunteers in normal times, and who will carry on
volunteering to make our amazing communities even more amazing.

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council

 

As Volunteers’ Week draws to a close, I am delighted it has given us an extra reason to pay tribute to volunteers across the nation for the part they are playing during the Covid-19 crisis.

In Peterborough, as elsewhere, the number of volunteers has swelled and the pandemic has shone an even brighter light on their roles. And it has reminded us how strong we are as a city as we display our willingness to stand together and help each other.

Organisations have sprung up to respond to people who need support by providing food parcels and hot meals and individuals have offered a helping hand to their neighbours. Donations to food banks have increased massively. Parish Councils have formed teams of people willing to be deployed in
their local areas. And, importantly, volunteers have stepped forward to offer their time to the Peterborough Coordination Hub. This has been incredibly helpful in enabling crucial services supporting residents to continue.

We are determined to ensure that here in Peterborough we will continue to value our volunteers and work towards ensuring there are always roles available which are fulfilling.

We would like to ensure that volunteering can be an opportunity also for personal development, meeting new people and learning new skills.

We appreciate how crucial volunteers are, and always will be. And this week we say to them: “We salute you!”

Councillor Irene Walsh, Cabinet Member for Communities, Peterborough City Council

 

When this pandemic is over, the wisdom of hindsight will be used to debate and conclude many things. What will not be in doubt is how everyone involved has worked together for the benefit of all.

By putting communities at the heart of everything we do and focusing on the well-being of our residents across the county, we are certainly all pulling together to do the very best we can. This applies to council staff, our public sector partners and our volunteers.

Particularly as this is National Volunteers’ Week, we should celebrate and thank all the volunteers who regularly give their time and those who have recently answered the call to help during this pandemic.

By volunteering, we are not just helping our neighbours, we are expressing the kind of community we want to live in. As we gradually emerge from this awful pandemic we must hope that the  community spirit so evident over the last few weeks, will live on and by our volunteering efforts, we can continue to enhance the lives of many grateful residents within our communities.

Thank you all.

Councillor Steve Criswell, Chairman of the Communities and Partnerships Committee,
Cambridgeshire County Council

A big thank you to all our amazing volunteers this Volunteers’ Week

As part of Volunteers’ Week a huge debt of appreciation is being paid to the hundreds of volunteers
across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who are working hard to support people during the
coronavirus pandemic.

Volunteers have always been a crucial part in supporting communities and individuals across
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, working alongside councils and other organisations to help and
support people.

The coronavirus pandemic has shone an even brighter spotlight on their work and encouraged thousands more people to volunteer.

In addition to the many people who have supported their local mutual aid group and community
groups which have been set up and adapted to provide local support, the Countywide Hub put a call
out for people to consider volunteering to support the work of the hub and the many essential
services that people still rely upon, such as social care. Just under 2,500 people got in touch and we
have been able to deploy a large number of them into volunteering roles across the county. This has
included additional support to care homes, community groups and voluntary organisations.

In addition, the Countywide Hub has been working with the district and city councils to see how
volunteers can support their work. So far, 500 volunteers have been assigned to projects across the
county and have supported in providing food and medicine deliveries, but also linked into
established networks, for example local community transport services and the voluntary and
community sector.

Close to 200 people in total have indicated they are willing to go into care homes and many are now
going through either personal care or general care home support training.

Matt Oliver, part of the team leading the work of the countywide hub, said: “Never before have we
seen so much support for our community and we have been truly overwhelmed with the number of
volunteers who have come forward. The amount of people who have offered their time and help
has outnumbered the calls for help around the county, at a time when calls for help are so high.

“During Volunteers’ Week in particular, we want to thank those volunteers who have been helping
neighbours and strangers get through this crisis. Our support for the most vulnerable people could
not have been delivered without the support of volunteers who have helped with practical tasks like
grocery shopping and collecting prescriptions for people who are housebound or self-isolating.

“On behalf of the councils of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and the people you have helped, we
say a great big thank you.”

With the number of people wanting to volunteer being greater than the level of demand, a team has been set up to help people who have not yet been assigned a role to access volunteering
opportunities where they live, to support the efforts taking place now around the pandemic and
longer term.

As part of this, a survey has been sent to all these volunteers asking if they would be willing to
volunteer long term and if they would be keen to support other voluntary and community groups,
charities or organisations such as the police, NHS or other councils. So far, of the people who
responded, 87% are keen to help during the next three months, and 66% would be willing to
volunteer long-term.

For more information about volunteering in general and to find local opportunities you can visit or
contact your local volunteer centre, or search via https://do-it.org/. Alternatively, you can visit the
NCVO (National Council for Voluntary organisations) web page ‘I want to volunteer’ for everything
you need to know to get started or you can also search for volunteering opportunities in your local
area on the Volunteering Matters web pages.

Godmanchester unites to support residents

Around 500 volunteers are supporting residents in Godmanchester during the Covid-19 crisis and
had responded to nearly 1,000 requests for help by the end of May.

The work of the volunteers is coordinated by the town mayor and town clerk, the Godmanchester
Covid-19 Mutual Aid Group, Godmanchester Community Timebank and district and county
councillors.

Mayor Dick Taplin said: “I am immensely proud of how so many people have come forward to
volunteer to support local residents. We have street coordinators covering nearly every road and
hundreds of volunteers offering support.”

A couple receiving support said: “Many words have been used and similarities drawn with regards to
the pandemic and times gone by. As one enduring shielded lockdown, it would be that of a silent
army working with the threat of being exposed to the virus to help others and for no gain. The relief
of those few words on an app on my mobile saying “no problem will drop your things off in a little
while” brought a palpable belief in humankind. I hope we can maintain this sense of community
spirit but whatever the future holds for now all I can say is ‘thank you’.”

A big thanks to Peterborough’s army of volunteers

Appreciation and thanks are being paid to the volunteers across Peterborough giving up their time
to support others during the COVID-19 crisis.

Volunteers have stepped forward to support the Peterborough Coordination Hub, ensuring that
services crucial to supporting residents can continue, such as the work of Peterborough Foodbank.
Through the Coordination Hub, volunteers are linked to an organisation and role based on their skills
and experiences, with the hope this will encourage them to continue volunteering.

Roles are varied, with some volunteers providing emotional support for those struggling with the
current experience of isolation, for example, seven people have been matched as telephone
befrienders, working with the organisation Caring Together. Other roles include completing more
physical acts in order to support communities during this time, such as volunteering with
Peterborough Foodbank and Family Voice to aid in the packaging and delivery of food parcels.

Even now as restrictions begin to ease, the work of the volunteers remains vital. To begin re-opening
our city in a manner that is safe for our communities, volunteers will be taking up marshalling and
information support roles, ensuring that the crucial social distancing and safety measures are
adhered to.

Of course, as these services and industries begin to recover, many volunteers will return to their
place of work. However, Peterborough City Council will be working with PCVS Volunteer
Coordination Forum to coordinate volunteering opportunities as the city moves through the COVID19 recovery period.

Wendi Ogle-Welbourn, executive director for People and Communities, who is part of the team
leading the work of the hub, said: “Volunteers are always such a large part of our community, but
during this Volunteers’ Week we want to say an especially big thank you to everyone who has given
up their time to help others throughout the pandemic. Without these volunteers, the much-needed
support for the vulnerable and shielded could not have been carried out.”

Boxing charity receives Queen’s Award

 

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, including general fitness and a gym for children aged eight upwards and adults. The club is run entirely by volunteers and achieves remarkable results with little funding, relying entirely on the goodwill of the volunteers, who are clearly committed to not only the club but also the success of its individual members.

There are 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.

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

The Lord Lieutenant said: “The selfless giving of their time, skills and enthusiasm has been rightly
recognised by Her Majesty the Queen, who has awarded them the Queens Award for Voluntary
Service – the nation’s top award for Volunteer led organisations.

“I must also congratulate the nominator because, without their initiative, this brilliant organisation
would not have been recognised. So, if you know a volunteer led organisation that goes above and
beyond with their care and commitment – we are a county full of amazing people doing amazing
things – please nominate them.

“Today however is March Amateur Boxing Club’s day and a big well done to them.”

More information on the Award can be found at https://www.gov.uk/queens-award-for-voluntaryservice – 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.

Spotlight on our partners

Roy Harold served in a number of fire services, including eight years with Cambridgeshire, but retired as chief fire officer and head of public safety at Norfolk County Council in 2017. He is
currently volunteering with Team Rubicon, a charity made up of military and emergency service veterans, who are helping central and local government manage Covid-19 across the UK via
Operation Re:ACT.”I recently retired after 30 years tearing around in fire engines to other people’s disasters, but I’m now, along with six billion others, living right in the middle of a disaster that’s put us all on the firing
step, shoulder to shoulder in the same trench, facing the same common enemy.“The way people have come together has been frankly humbling, especially for someone who used to see ‘spontaneous volunteers’ as one of the challenges of emergency management. It’s become
clear to me that people stepping up to help their fellow humans is not only a great thing, it’s also a deeply ingrained shared common instinct.“That sense of solidarity and concern for others is the bedrock on which we’ve built the response to Covid. Grassroots self-help kicked into gear much more quickly than could ever have been organised centrally. The coordination hub, local and central government and charities have provided critical organisation and direction, but that has simply harnessed the huge energy provided by ordinary people stepping up.“So, thank you to all the people who have put leaflets through their neighbours’ doors offering to help, to the dog walkers, shoppers, prescription collectors and friendly chatters out for their daily
exercise.“Thank you to posties, refuse collectors, delivery drivers and shop staff. Especially, thank you to the 120 people who turned up at very short notice to meet a bunch of strangers in a carpark and then
visited over 3,000 shielded residents to check if they needed anything. Thankfully, the vast majority were being looked out for by family, friends and neighbours, but a few were in need of support
when a volunteer knocked on their door.“Finally, I’d like to say thank you to all the wonderful people I’ve encountered because of coronavirus.”

Top tips for volunteers

In her new series of videos, Val Thomas, Deputy Director of Public Health at Cambridgeshire County
Council and Peterborough City Council, gives some top tips and advice on how to keep safe when
volunteering in the community.

The videos cover volunteering to walk dogs, do some gardening, taking out deliveries and some
general advice.

To see the top tips and advice videos, click here.

Cambs Police volunteers more valuable than ever

Traditionally during Volunteers’ Week, Cambridgeshire Constabulary celebrates the achievements of all its volunteers and says thank you at events.

But this year things are lower key, especially as a lot of people aren’t able to continue volunteering
as their roles may have been temporarily stood down or they are personally shielding.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary is using Volunteers’ Week to highlight the support it has been receiving with many people continuing to volunteer, in a uniformed role as a member of the Special Constabulary or in other roles. Specials have continued to contribute massively, providing more than 5,000 hours of volunteering in April alone!

Phil is a police support volunteer (PSV) who’s usually involved in role-play with police officers in training. He has stepped forward like many other PSVs, Neighbourhood Watch coordinators and
members of the public, supporting the work of the hub by visiting residents who are shielding.

He said: “I’ve been lucky enough to be offered the perfect excuse to get out on my bike during lockdown, welfare checks on some of our vulnerable residents who can’t be contacted. I’ve enjoyed doing something useful, talking to the people I’ve met and it’s been really pleasing that the ‘system’ seems to be working for all of them. Being able to chat with those who were isolating alone and reassure them that help if they needed it was at the end of the phone seemed to be very welcome.”

This weekend is also National Specials Weekend and Cambridgeshire Police is saying thank you to all
those people who dedicate their spare time to helping police in the county.

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/Jobtypes/Special-constable

Linton team supporting people through the pandemic

Volunteers at the Linton Community Help Team have been working round the clock during the lockdown to support fellow villagers with a cheerful and can-do attitude.

So far, they’ve helped 109 households through a food hub and by providing social contact and dog walking services, collecting more than 200 prescriptions and shopping. They’ve also delivered more
than 5,000 village newsletters and flyers.

Yannick Auckland, co-lead for the team, said: “There’s a sense of partnership with local agencies coming together but what is most inspiring is the cheerful and can do commitment of the volunteers and the lovely connections made between villagers of all ages and situations.

“An example of this is one young boy, Zach, 7, who has been helping his mum Gabi deliver flyers etc
and who has met one of the elderly isolated villagers through this. On the last visit, seeing Zach’s own toy boat, the gent insisted on giving him his own model boat. Not a man of many words but clearly touched by the kindness of others.”

Gabi said: “When the lockdown started I was really hit hard. I’m an outgoing person, I thrive on the interaction with others and enjoy being surrounded by friends and family. So getting involved in the
local community has really given me a purpose.

“The welfare calls have been bringing me so much joy, but also a good insight of how much we can all contribute to our community. I think this period has left the most vulnerable members of our
community even more isolated and at risk than before, and it means the world to me to be able to make even a small contribution to their welfare.

“It’s amazing how quickly you can create a special bond, even when you can only have a quick conversation sitting two meters apart. And how mutually beneficial that relationship is. We’ve
definitely built relationships that are going to last beyond this period of lockdown.”

Isleham Cricket Club volunteers continue to go above and beyond

When lockdown began Isleham Cricket Club recruited a team of 140 volunteers who have been supporting more than 300 households with the help of the parish council.

So far, they have collected and distributed over 500 prescriptions for the Stapole Medical Centre in Soham and completed over 400 errand requests on behalf of other residents, ranging from trips to the shop, dog walking, to cutting grass.

They also helped a school to remove unwanted furniture to allow for the bubble arrangement needed for it to re-open safely.

But it’s not just practical services volunteers have carried out. For those residents who had recently lost loved ones prior to lockdown, working alongside social services and NHS Mental Health, the volunteers have been offering emotional support by providing crucial social contact as well as fulfilling errands.

With permission from Isleham Parish Council, the team also converted a phone box into a hub for
food and gifts. The phone box is full of non-perishable goods and children’s games and toys and is
open for anyone to give or remove anything they wish.

Councillor Mark Goldsack, county councillor for Soham North & Isleham, said: “The people in our
village have really stepped up. The neighbourhood response has been truly uplifting and we hope to
encompass this and maintain the contact, support and friendships we have developed during the
lockdown.”

Age UK volunteers prove valuable part of our community

During lockdown, 3.3 million people aged over 70 have reported that their access to essential items like groceries and medication have been affected.

Volunteers for Age UK Cambridgeshire & Peterborough form an invaluable part of our community, offering services that are otherwise inaccessible.

Volunteers such as Angie and her two children, Izzy and Matt, from Ellington, Cambridgeshire, provide essential support to older people in their community through their work with Age UK. They have supported several older people with their food shopping, collecting prescriptions and simply offering phone calls to keep them connected.

As well as supporting older people, Angie has also been making scrubs and face masks for the NHS
and other key workers. “When lockdown started, we just felt like we needed to do something –
particularly as we’re all fit and healthy,” Angie said.

“Izzy was finishing off her dissertation for university, so it was really nice for her to have a reason to
take a break from everything and do something positive too.”

Matt will be starting an engineering apprenticeship soon but hopes he will be able to continue
volunteering with Age UK to support older people.

Melanie Wicklen, Chief Executive of Age UK Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, said: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank Angie, Izzy and Matt for the fantastic work that they do, as well as all our incredible team of volunteers.”

To support Age UK Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, find out how you can donate here so our
volunteers can continue to provide vital services to our older community.

FACT provides vital lifeline through Fenland District Council response hub

With the support of over 80 voluntary groups, town and parish councils and businesses across the
district, Fenland District Council’s COVID-19 response hub is continuing to help elderly and
vulnerable members of the community during the coronavirus pandemic.Although lockdown restrictions are beginning to ease, groups such as the Fenland Association for
Community Transport (FACT) are powering on – and planning how they can continue to offer the same support long-term.FACT usually provides a dial-a-ride and befriending service, but the past ten weeks has seen its
dedicated army of volunteers provide a shop and drop service to people across Fenland and as far
away as Sawtry, Huntingdon and St Neots.Since they started, the volunteers have tallied up more than 2,700 shops – totalling over £62,000
worth of shopping! They shop and deliver an average of 60 food orders every day and were
managing almost 100 orders a day at its peak.They also collect and drop off around 20 prescriptions a day and bring cheer to many stuck at home
in isolation.Gary Christy, trustee and chairperson of FACT, said: “The team is doing a great job supporting the
community and also supporting each other, helped by generous donations from local people of cake, which have kept the energy levels up, and wonderful messages of thanks and gratitude.“Some people we visit say it ‘makes their day’ to see us and members of the public will spot us in
Tesco and say what a great job we’re doing. It makes it all worthwhile.”If you need FACT’s shopping or prescription delivery service please contact the community response
hub on 01354 654321 or FACT directly on 01354 661234.Anyone wishing to volunteer with FACT can register via the Cambridgeshire County Council COVID19 coordination hub.For more information on FACT, including making a donation or becoming a member, visit: www.factcambs.co.uk

Communities come together to clap for volunteers

People across the county took to their doorsteps last night to clap for volunteers.
Acting Police and Crime Commissioner, Ray Bisby, asked people to join him at 8pm to clap for
volunteers in support of the invaluable contributions our local volunteers continue to make to
support their neighbours during Covid-19.

Although in many places the clap for carers came to an end last Thursday, it was hoped people
would join in one last time and make an extra effort to thank our volunteers.

Councillor Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “There are hundreds and
hundreds of volunteers willingly giving up their time across Cambridgeshire and Volunteers’ Week is
a good chance to recognise them and show your appreciation.

“We’re all in this together and it’s absolutely true that the volunteers are making a difference
between just coping and coping well, so a personal, huge thank you from me.”

Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “Volunteers have always been the backbone of our city and support people to an extent which many will never appreciate. But in
recent weeks the coronavirus pandemic has shone an even brighter light on these volunteers,
including the many who have so willingly signed up to help others during these most difficult times.

“So please, if you know someone who is volunteering, take time to show them how much you
appreciate their efforts this week.”

Both council leaders have recorded video blogs about Volunteers’ Week. You can watch Councillor
Count’s here and Councillor Holdich’s here.

Neighbourhood Watch widens its remit

 

Robin Sutton is the chairman of Cambridgeshire Neighbourhood Watch Association (CNWA) uniting the six districts of Cambridge, Peterborough, Fenland, Huntindonshire, East Cambridgeshire and
South Cambridgeshire. The association has over 1,700 coordinators who organise Neighbourhood
Watch schemes in this area.Robin became chairman of the CNWA at an exciting time for Neighbourhood Watch. He explained: “Our focus has been preventing crimes such as burglary which in turn improves wellbeing. Crime prevention and support for victims of crime continues, but we are now encouraging residents to be neighbourly by being kind, sharing and supporting each other.”CNWA has a valuable and supportive partnership with Cambridgeshire Police which brings many
benefits. Members, who live in the communities, offer neighbourhood policing much in return.CNWA is part of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Against Scams Partnership to help prevent
residents becoming victims of scams. Its coordinators help scam victims to report the crime and will provide emotional support. They also visit victims of burglary and provide toolkits for members to help understand modern crimes such as domestic abuse, terrorism and cybercrime.Robin said: “COVID-19 has presented all of us with many challenges. We have been working with
councils and the police making prescription deliveries, basic shopping and welfare visits. In
Peterborough for example over 160 welfare visits have been made. One of our coordinators, who
has made 29 welfare visits so far said, ‘I have found providing Covid-19 support to the shielded
community a very rewarding, and worthwhile, experience’.“Recently, our lives have been turned upside down. Neighbourliness has never meant so much to so
many. I am inviting you, and your communities, to join us in sharing what it means to be a good
neighbour. If you would like to know more about Neighbourhood Watch visit our website at
www.ourwatch.org.uk.”

Check and Chat volunteers continue to tackle loneliness

Thanks to the hard work of volunteers, the Care Network has been able to expand its services to
support communities through the Covid-19 crisis.

For over 30 years it has been working across the county to help people stay healthy, independent
and in touch with their community. Now, with the support of its volunteers, it has been able to
address the issue of loneliness caused by the lockdown through the Check and Chat service.

The service was launched at the beginning of lockdown and offers support to anybody over 18 who
has been adversely affected by the lockdown restrictions, with 27 volunteers taking calls from those
that don’t require more intensive support. So far, over 100 people have been supported.

The Check and Chat volunteers have been going above and beyond to support people, with many
volunteers finding the service mutually beneficial.

One volunteer, Pauline, reported that the calls were of as much use to her as they were to her client.
As time went on they found they had a lot in common so when lockdown measures eased, they met
in their local park for a face to face, socially distanced, chat. Pauline is now the first volunteer to
meet face to face with her client and has offered to take on more check and chat clients to further
make connections.

The Check and Chat service is available weekdays, 9am to 5pm. If you feel that you, or anyone you
know, may benefit from the service you can get in touch with team for free on 0330 094 5750.

Hemingford Hub’s key volunteers have stepped up

The Hemingford Hub has more than 140 volunteers helping in excess of 260 residents across the villages of Hemingford Grey and Hemingford Abbots.

The hub would like to recognise three very active volunteers for their dedication:

Camille Altman (or Cammy), collects and delivers prescriptions. She has been shopping for nine households and picking up over 150 prescriptions for more than 70 people. Many of the elderly appreciate seeing a regular friendly face and are happy to open the door when she calls.

Cammy said: “I love the way the community has pulled together to help and support each other,
giving back to the generation that made our lovely village what it is today. I hope we will keep the
community spirit alive after this.”

Liz Freitas and Denise Felstead have been delivering the papers. Working seven days a week, Liz
delivers 147 papers a week, and Denise delivers 85. Together with shopping for others and helping
out with medicines, their dedication is endless.

Liz enjoys making sure the people on her paper rounds are okay. She said: “They have all been so
grateful and friendly, it’s been a pleasure to help them out. I’m hoping the world doesn’t go back to
‘normal’ and people stay a little more caring.”

Denise always chats to people on her round and keeps a watchful eye in case things don’t look right.
She said: “The people I look after show their appreciation in lots of lovely ways. I’ve had an email
from one gentleman’s daughter thanking me for looking after him. I’ve made new friends in the
village, which feels good. When a form of normality returns, I will miss the people on my round.”

Spotlight on our services

Joe Gilbert is a specialist personal adviser in Cambridgeshire County Council’s corporate parenting
team, providing support for care leavers. Here he talks about how young people in care are being
supported by volunteers and others during the pandemic.

“When the severity of Covid-19 became apparent, we became concerned about the struggles of
many of our young people. These are ‘our children’ that we as Cambridgeshire County Council and
Peterborough City Council are corporate parents to, that have been through the care system and are
now trying to live independently.

“Many already struggled with finances before Covid-19, but this was now amplified with jobs not
materialising, redundancies, furloughing, isolation and awaiting benefits. These young people often
have no other family or limited social circle to support them in the same way that many others their
age might be supported.

“We appealed to the community for donations and received a fantastic response of food and
hygiene products and started putting together emergency relief hampers. These have been a lifeline
to our young people and are still going strong.

“We applied for grant funding through Cambridgeshire Community Foundation and were successful
which has helped us make this sustainable and to date we have delivered over 100 relief hampers to
our care experienced young people.

“Many of our young people also live in semi-independent accommodation with no internet or
laptops, so when many of their courses became virtual, we had a real risk of many of our young
people dropping out of their courses. We have been very lucky to receive grant funding for laptops
and connectivity devices which again has been another vital life-line for our young people through
this pandemic.

“Both of these initiatives have been adopted by our personal advisers and social workers who have
been more than happy to volunteer their time to help make and deliver hampers across the county.”

Cambridgeshire Search and Rescue volunteers go the extra mile

Cambridgeshire Search and Rescue has put in a total of 1,252 hours of volunteer time this year,
continuing to support the police as well as providing assistance to communities during lockdown.

Cambridgeshire Search and Rescue is made up of 40 active trained members and volunteers who are available 365 days a year. Whilst supporting Cambridgeshire Constabulary, as a specialist search
team, they can be called upon to search for high risk vulnerable missing people.

The team is also part of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Resilience Forum (CPLRF) and
supports the community in a number of ways including helping with extreme weather conditions
and flooding, door knocking to reach vulnerable people that maybe cut off from their water supply
or helping in the event of a serious aircraft accident

It is the charity’s part in this forum that led to it taking up new services when lockdown began.
Since the end of March, the charity has been providing drivers and vehicles to deliver food to
shielded people. In May alone, volunteers have driven over 8,500 miles to make more than 580 food
deliveries. The volunteers have also supported with welfare checks to the home of people identified
as vulnerable who we have not yet been able to make contact with.

These volunteers have continued to go above and beyond to ensure the safety of those in the
community, extending their services even further to ensure the most vulnerable are supported
during this difficult time.

Wednesday 3rd June 2020

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 service finds new ways to provide support

The 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.

National Special Weekend

This 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

Friday 29th May 2020

A big thank you to our volunteers

Hello everyone, I hope you’re staying safe and well.

This week, we’ve included some data which shows some of the numbers we’re dealing with in the countywide hub which is providing support for residents that need to be shielded from the virus.

As you can see, the hub team have been very busy, and are doing a remarkable job. The numbers are important as they show the extent of the impact of Coronavirus on our communities, but there are also many, many more people being supported by the district/city hubs, and by huge numbers of voluntary, community and faith sector groups as well as community volunteers, that aren’t reflected in these numbers.

 

The numbers also mask the realities for every single individual who is having to shield, and especially those without their own support network in place. Every one of the 18,166 people that are registered as shielding is an individual with their own circumstances and needs, and in fact there are over 31,000 people across the county that should be shielding right now. They are the ones we are most determined to help. This week we’ve been trying to contact people who should be shielding but who haven’t responded to the formal contact they’ve had from the NHS or the national shielding team. We’ve managed to reach the majority of these people now, which is a huge relief, but in so doing have come across people who are without support and didn’t know where to turn. Some people were rapidly running out of food and other essential supplies, and there were some who couldn’t read or write and who therefore hadn’t understood the letters they’d received from the Government saying they should be shielding. We have of course been able to put all the support they need in place now. So, as the lockdown measures continue to be eased, for many people there is no change, and I am so very proud of the collective response we have all made to support them, up to now and for however long they need to shield.

None of this would be possible though without the incredible support of the thousands of volunteers that have come forward to help their neighbours, communities and organisations.

Thank you.

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council

Volunteers’ Week

Next week is Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) which is a chance to celebrate and say thank you for the contribution which millions of volunteers make across the UK.

With volunteers forming a crucial part of the response to the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we recognise and support volunteers across Cambridgeshire who are helping people who have been affected by the virus.

As a result, we want to dedicate next week’s newsletter to Volunteers’ Week and shout about the amazing work being carried out by volunteers at this time.

If you have a story or case study that you would like to contribute, please email  by 5pm on Tuesday (2 June).

Hubs network critical part of NHS Test and Trace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the launch of a nationwide NHS Test and Trace service this week, the network of COVID-19 coordination hubs will perform a crucial and wider role in supporting people who need to isolate and don’t have support from elsewhere.

As Test and Trace becomes more established it will lead to a reduction in the lockdown measures for all, but it will mean that individuals and their households will need to isolate if they have symptoms, or individuals who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive.

People in that situation, who don’t have a network of family, friends or neighbours, will be able to access support from the network of district and city hubs.

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “The network of hubs has supported thousands of people in the past two months and will continue to do so as we enter this next phase in our fight against coronavirus. We have found that the support being provided for many people is absolutely vital and we have come across some who simply would not be able to access food and medicines without this support.

“I would ask people to think about who they can call upon for help if they have to isolate at short notice and if they don’t have a good support network in place, to remember that support is available. The hubs can help people to access food and medicine, can offer befriending services to beat loneliness and can support with essential home maintenance and repairs and in many other ways too.”

People are being urged to support the NHS Test and Trace programme, which aims to gradually replace the national lockdown with individual and household isolation for those who have been in contact with the virus.

People are being asked to follow this three-step plan:

Step 1 – If you have one or more of the symptoms of coronavirus – a fever, a new continuous cough or a loss of taste or smell – you and the people you live with must immediately self-isolate.

Step 2 – You then must book a test on the www.NHS/coronavirus website and if you don’t have internet access dial 119. Do not leave home for any other reason. If you test positive, you will then be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service within 24 hours.

Step 3 – If you do test positive, NHS Test and Trace will help you establish who you have been in contact with and might have infected. This could be members of your own household already isolating or someone you have been within 2 metres of for more than 15 minutes. You will also be given clinical advice and support for dealing with the virus. NHS Test and Trace will then contact those contacts anonymously. If you are one of those contacts, you will be advised to isolate for 14 days, even if you don’t have symptoms or feel perfectly well. If you developed symptoms, you would be required to get a test. Even if negative they still have to self-isolate for 14 days even though the household is not required to do so.

People who need help whilst isolating should visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or call 0345 045 5219

Click here to watch a video about the new Test and Trace service.

Against Scams Partners continue to help people avoid Covid-19 scams

The Coordination Hub is helping the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Against Scams Partnership (CAPASP) to prevent residents becoming the victims of coronavirus-related scams.

Although anyone can fall victim to a scam at any given time, the increase in uncertainty and anxiety caused by the pandemic makes everyone more vulnerable to becoming a victim. On top of this, people being at home makes them more likely to fall victim to opportunist doorstep and telephone scammers.

As a result CAPASP, a county council-led county-wide partnership of public, private and voluntary sector organisations, has continued working throughout the pandemic to help stop scams and related crimes.

Since April, Charlotte Homent from our Think Communities team and the lead for CAPASP has sent email information about specific scams to the network of 400 community groups, volunteers and partners and reached 4,000 people on social media. Charlotte and her team also continue to make scams prevention resources available on the CAPASP webpage and update both councils’ ‘Beware of Coronavirus Scams’ web pages to help keep people safe in communities – ensuring that information surrounding recent scams is easily accessible.

In order to keep yourself and family safe from scams it is important to consider the following before parting with money regarding coronavirus:

  • Coronavirus testing kits are only offered by the NHS, nobody will come to your door offering you one for any price.
  • There is currently no vaccine or cure for coronavirus, so it is vital that you are not tempted by advertisements of treatments for any sum of money.
  • Beware of the sales of overpriced goods that are claimed to protect you from the virus, such as anti-bacterial products or PPE. If you need these products, always purchase from a trusted pharmacy or supermarket.
  • There are scams that are offering shopping or medication collection services for a price – avoid these! If you are vulnerable and in need of support, you should contact the Coordination Hub on 0345 045 5219 for free advice and assistance.

During these uncertain times, it is vital that the public continue to have knowledge of ongoing scams; more information can be found for Cambridgeshire here and Peterborough here.

If you would like to help to protect yourself and residents in your community from the financial and emotional harm of scams why not sign up as a CAPASP supporter to receive information about the latest scams and any relevant funding or training opportunities that arise? Visit the CAPASP webpage for more information 

Redeployed staff ensuring reablement care continues across the county

One of the key responsibilities of the Countywide Hub is ensuring that critical services across the public sector, such as care for older people, can continue through the support of staff who have been redeployed from other council services and partner organisations and the support of volunteers.

One of those council services that needed additional capacity to be able to continue providing important services to the public was reablement.

The council’s reablement teams support people who have spent time in hospital or might have recently suffered poor health to readjust to living at home and regain independence to avoid them having to spend time in a care home.

A number of reablement staff have needed to shield, leaving fewer people to deliver direct care.

As a result, the Peterborough and Cambridgeshire reablement teams have been supported by 20 staff redeployed from other services and two Care Quality Commission inspectors. All of them received basic classroom-based training prior to commencing roles in the team.

Many of them have enjoyed their new roles so much that they have expressed a willingness to continue to support the service in a bank or part time capacity once they return to their substantive roles.  In addition, two of the Cambridgeshire redeployed staff have already applied to join the team on a permanent basis.

Comments from the redeployed staff included:

“I have really enjoyed the work and I have appreciated the team and support and everyone has been great.”

“Love reablement, great job, I love the responsibility of being able to go out there and get on with the job, working independently with the service user. I was so used to doing everything for a service user, but this is brilliant as you are working with them so that they can become independent again. You can see the progress, the rewards, the service users are so pleased to see you and I have learnt so much. “

Tina Hornsby, head of integration for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire councils, said: “We cannot express enough our gratitude to staff members, who often came into the service with very limited previous experience of care delivery and embraced what can be a very demanding job role with such admirable energy and enthusiasm.  I would also like to thank the members of the workforce development teams supporting both councils for the speed in which they were able to arrange and provide the essential training required.”

Spotlight on our partners

“Charlotte Homent is a member of the 16-strong call handling team for the Covid-19 Coordination Hub 0345 helpline. The helpline was set up to provide support to people who have been advised to shield from coronavirus – although, as Charlotte explains, the team receives all sorts of enquiries.

“Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has brought great tragedy across the world, the response provided by our Coordination Hub has been incredible and I am really proud to be a part of it.

“I was redeployed from my role as Community Protection Manager to answer calls on the newly-established helpline. Since then I have helped hundreds of people to access essential supplies such as food or medication to enable them to follow government advice to stay at home. It’s been extremely rewarding and great to work alongside, albeit virtually, such a fantastic team of people.

“Call handlers answer calls from home and we keep in touch as a group by Skype messenger so we can support each other with tricky queries, IT issues or anything emotionally distressing. The support of fellow call handlers is invaluable and I look forward to meeting some of my new friends once restrictions are eased!

“The majority of calls are from people who are shielding or a family member and involve me searching the Cambridgeshire Directory and Peterborough PIN to find local support and ordering weekly government food parcels or emergency supplies through Red Cross where no community help could be found.

“As well as food related queries I have taken calls from people needing help with obtaining transport for a carer, help with heating and help with getting plants that had been ordered before the pandemic into the ground.

“There is a balance to be struck between brevity and the compassion that is required for people who are sometimes very poorly and for whom the current situation can be incredibly overwhelming. A few weeks back I took a call from a person who was extremely distressed and of low mood. I was able to provide lots of information to that person during the call – and in writing afterwards – including information about local volunteer support and mental health support. The caller was very grateful and even contacted me again a month later to say how talking to me helped enormously and they would always appreciate it.

“Earlier this week I took a call from someone who had developed Covid-19 symptoms and whose call to NHS 111 had advised to order a testing kit online. As the caller doesn’t use the internet and lives alone, she rang our helpline. I discovered a 119 helpline for the tests, the kit was ordered and duly arrived.  I then continued to help this resident who was struggling to understand how to register and then take the test and book a courier.  We worked it out together, I played her a video down the phone of how to take the test and booked the courier to collect the swab once the test was completed and she was very grateful. Another satisfied customer!

“Whilst juggling work and family life is quite tricky and tiring at the moment, with no days together as a whole family, the reward and value of the work I am doing in the hub makes up for it. It’s great to be making a positive difference for so many at this challenging time.”

Coordination Hub helping more than 1,000 residents

More than 1,000 residents across Peterborough who have needed help and support during the Coronavirus public health emergency have been in contact with the Peterborough Resource Group hub.

The hub includes representatives from the public, private, charitable, voluntary, community, independent and faith sectors, parish councils, registered social landlords, such as Cross Keys Homes and Peterborough City College.

Since its launch on 2 April, more than 1,000 people have been in touch asking for help and lots of others have been helped by agencies, organisations and volunteers in their local communities. The requests to the hub vary from support with food parcels, shopping, delivery of medication, gardening and house maintenance, virtual youth clubs and events, family support and support with skills development and education, and also providing comfort calls to those who feel alone and socially isolated.

Wendi Ogle-Welbourn, executive director for people and communities for Peterborough City and Cambridgeshire County Councils who is leading the work of the hub, said: “The hard work that has gone into developing the hub, particularly that of our volunteers, is overwhelming. It is incredible to see the lengths to which our volunteers have been willing to go to, going above and beyond to support our vulnerable residents in our great city.”

Communities urged to social distance and stay alert

Messages urging people to continue following the social distancing guidelines are being translated into other languages to encourage people from the county’s many communities to pull together to avoid a second peak in the coronavirus virus.

The messages are being translated to inform people that although the Government has eased the lockdown measures, there are still strict guidelines in place to control the spread of the virus, which we must all follow. They also advise that coronavirus has not gone away, and, unless we follow the guidelines, infection rates will increase, leading to more deaths.

Wendi Ogle Welbourn, Executive Director for People and Communities for Peterborough City and Cambridgeshire County Councils, said: “We need people to understand that if they leave their home to take outdoor exercise, they must stay at least two metres away from anyone not in their household. From Monday, you can go outside to be in a group of up to six people, but you must stay at least 2 metres apart from anyone not from your own household.

“If we all follow this guidance, rates of infection will stay under control, and the Government may be able to make further changes to the lockdown measures. It will protect you, your family and friends, and all the fantastic people in the health, education and care sector who are caring for our loved ones. If we ignore the rules, we will face a second wave of the virus and a tightening of the lockdown measures. I am reaching out to everyone to say ‘do the right thing’ to protect everyone in our great city.”

South Cambs housing team keeping people safe and well

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s housing team has been supporting residents through the pandemic.

Two officers have shared their heart-warming experiences of people they have been able to help.

Charlotte Lowe, operations surveyor, said: “I had one of our tenants in tears, as she’d finished another 12-hour shift at a care home and was exhausted. She was worrying about paying her bills and work were expecting her to do 7 nights straight, have one night off, and then the same again.

“She was emotionally drained. I let her talk and cry to get everything out (all she wanted to do was hug her grandchildren) and she apologised for it. I told her not to be silly, she obviously needed to talk to someone and I’m glad it was me. We had a lovely chat and I suggested she pamper herself. I also told her about our support teams and emailed the rents department to see if there was anything they could do to help.”

Project officer Steve Keerie, who has been helping to do home visits during the lockdown, said: “I visited an elderly man that we were unable to reach. He seemed okay but then got very emotional as it seemed he was lonely. He said ‘I can’t believe there are people in the world thinking about me at a time like this’. He was crying as he said this. I carried on talking to him for a while, checked he had food and meds and had a general conversation about the current circumstances. I left and reported that I believed his mental health was at risk so could do with follow up visits.

“The following week it was agreed I should visit him again, I stopped at the bakery to grab myself some lunch and thought I would grab a little treat for the man, see if it would cheer him up. I visited and he was very thankful and smiley faced, not only that I had visited again to check on him but also that I had brought him a cake. His neighbour came out, she said she would do shopping for him that evening as he was running low on food. I also made him aware of the community support again and how to contact them should he need further support. I left knowing now he had support from the community.”

Fire service supporting NHS colleagues on the frontline

Nine on-call firefighters from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service have been seconded to the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) while they experience high demand during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Having now received their training, they will be using their skill as blue light trained drivers to assist in driving frontline emergency NHS ambulances alongside EEAST paramedics.

A wholetime firefighter from St Neots has also been seconded to EEAST. He temporarily returns to work as a paramedic, a role he did before becoming a firefighter in 2018.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Jon Anderson said: “Working together and supporting our emergency services colleagues has never been so important.  As a service, we are committed to doing everything we can to help keep our communities in Cambridgeshire safe.

“It’s no surprise that so many of our staff have been volunteering their services for our partners and their communities.

“We’re thankful we are able to offer our help, without compromising our own emergency response to the public.”

Marcus Bailey, Chief Operating Officer with EEAST, said: “Covid-19 represents an unprecedented challenge for all of us and we truly appreciate the fantastic support we have received from the fire service, the public, businesses and our other partners. We would urge people to continue to play their part in helping the NHS by taking extra care of themselves, only going out for essential items, observing advice about hand-washing and maintaining social distancing.”

PPE for care home and home care providers

Care homes and home care providers are expected to continue to secure supplies of PPE through their usual supply routes or through one of the seven wholesalers identified by Department of Health and Social Care, to supply PPE to the social care sector. Recently an e-commerce has been set up. However the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) PPE central hub is also able to provide them with emergency supplies if they are unable to obtain any PPE from their normal supply routes, and have less than 7 day’s supply.

Contact Cambridge City Council with a free online sign language service

Cambridge residents who are deaf or have substantial hearing loss, can contact Cambridge City Council using a free online sign language service. The service is likely to be particularly useful during the Coronavirus lockdown, when face-to-face appointments are limited and deaf customers may not be able to draw on support they would usually get from friends or relatives. They can now use their computer or smartphone to receive British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation when using the council’s customer service phone line.

To use the service they need to register their details on the SignLive website and either download an app, or access it via the internet.

Wednesday 27th May 2020

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 .

Friday 22nd May 2020

Welcome

I can’t quite believe it’s the end of another week, and a bank holiday weekend too! It’s been another amazing week here in the countywide Hub, with hundreds more people contacted by the team and supported with whatever they need to help them through the shielding period.

The long weekend is a welcome opportunity for me and the team to take a breath, and restore our energy levels, but we’ve been talking a lot in the team about never taking this for granted again. Right now, we’re supporting people who have to remain at home with no face to face contact – even though limited, the easing of the lockdown measures doesn’t apply to those that need to shield and they must continue to stay at home for their own protection. Around 30,000 of our residents and neighbours won’t be able to enjoy even a short trip out or meet up with a friend or family member in the local park.

It’s times like this that make our work – our whole partnership – so very important. We’ll all carry on looking out for our shielded residents for as long as they need us, and once again I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who is working alongside us in this effort. Like me, I hope you too get some time to relax and take a breath over the weekend – we need to come back re-energised and with continued vigour to help everyone that needs us.

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council

Countywide Hub Bank Holiday hours

The countywide coordination hub will be operating as normal on Saturday 23 May, and will also operate on Bank Holiday Monday between 9am and 1pm.

We can be reached on:

0345 045 5219

www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus

www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus

New website will support shielded residents to keep busy

A new interactive website, believed to be the first of its kind in the country, has been launched for people who are shielding to help them combat loneliness, keep busy and learn new skills.

Launched by the Countywide Coordination Hub this week, it is a collaboration between Cambridgeshire Skills, City College Peterborough and Cambridgeshire Library Service.

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.

The website will offer a set of leisure, pleasure and learning opportunities for shielded people to take part in.

This will include aligning the food deliveries from the hub to a healthy eating class, both 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 through instruction cards for those that have no internet access, that would include a delivery of materials and instructions to learn how to sew alongside the food deliveries.

There is also a section of the website which supports families of pre-school children to help their children prepare to start school in September.

For those people who don’t have access to a computer, information that is on the website will be sent through the post. A bid for funding has also been made to set up a scheme where people can loan laptops or to supply those without digital access with tablets to allow them to access the website and engage with friends and family online.

Adrian Chapman, the council director leading the Hub, said: “As well as providing deliveries of food and medication and offering a befriending service and meeting many other needs, we know that many people who are shielding need help and support to keep busy at home.

“This new website will allow everyone who is shielding, regardless of whether they have told us they need help or not, to take part in a whole range of activities and sessions, whether it’s cooking, learning a new skill or supporting our NHS by sewing masks and other items.”

Details of the website and how people can log in will be shared with those on the shielding list.

Cambridge City Council has also launched an e-newsletter for residents listing creative activities and events to engage with from home. Creative at Home is a fortnightly newsletter highlighting contributions from local creative and cultural organisations.

The content, for all ages, includes digital museum tours, theatre and dance performances to stream online, and things to make using materials found at home.

Creative at Home aims to provide residents with a positive distraction from the most serious and challenging aspects of coronavirus, as well as a productive focus for managing time and isolation during this period of social distancing.

To subscribe and receive the fortnightly newsletter visit: http://eepurl.com/g1ymDn

To submit content email:

SERVSC expands services to respond to Covid-19 emergency in communities

Charity SERV Suffolk & Cambridgeshire (SERVSC) provides essential service to NHS hospitals in the region transporting blood, blood products, samples and donated breast milk every day of the year. However, in response to COVID-19, the charity has expanded its services even further to support local hospitals and communities.

The charity has been supporting the Peterborough COVID-19 Hub, by delivering prescription medicines to people who are unable to collect them. It has also been supporting Peterborough and Cambridgeshire NHS Foundation Trust by using its fleet of vans to transport vital PPE to community hospitals and health centres.

This extension of services has seen a 50 per cent increase in the number of calls they receive. As a result, because the charity continues to carry out its primary function, many of the services in response to COVID-19 are completed out of SERVSC hours.

Cindy Dickerson, SERVSC chairwoman, said: “We have been really happy to support our NHS services during this challenging time.

“To do all this we have increased our hours to 24/7 every day and as a result it has enabled us to double the capacity of tasks we can do.

“Our volunteers have been fantastic and we have had some really great responses from the patients and hospitals they have been helping.”

SERVSC doesn’t receive any government funding so it relies on donations from the public, charitable grants and awards and by corporate sponsorship. However, during the COVID-19 emergency it has been unable to perform its usual fundraising activities so has been relying on generous donations from the public using the charity’s text donate service.

If you would like to donate to SERV Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, you can text ‘BLOODRUNNERS’ to 70085 to donate £5. Alternatively, you can text ‘BLOODRUNNERS’ followed by the monetary value you would like to donate, e.g. ‘BLOODRUNNERS15’ to donate £15. (Messages sent at the standard text rate).

Spotlight on our partners

Abi Ferrell is one of a number of people answering requests for help which come into the Countywide Hub either online or on the phone. This could include support sourcing food and medication, including in an emergency. She also assists with the redeployment of council staff.

“It’s a very odd time for me. I started in the County Council’s transformation team in February and then after three weeks lockdown began. After two weeks of working from home, I was very excited to be asked to join the COVID19 Coordination Hub and was chomping at the bit to get to Stanton House.

In the hub, it has been very rewarding, being on the other end of the phone for people that are facing many barriers, feeling loneliness, having difficulties with shopping, and needing someone to just reassure them.

Although there have been some difficult calls where support has been offered, there have been some real highs. I spoke to a gentleman that was so grateful with the support and help that was provided by the hub, he even ended up in tears and sang that I was his sunshine! Calls like this make me go home on a massive high and make me revel in what valuable work we are doing in the hub.

Another request for help I received via an ‘I need help form’ was from a lady who was having a really difficult time isolating, as she had to shield several weeks before lockdown due to her illness. She felt so low, and couldn’t even go outside due to the nature of her accommodation, she missed the small things. I recommended visiting YouTube and listening to those familiar sounds that we once took for granted. She was so grateful to speak to someone, and was willing to try it and was happy to call us back for further support, as well as getting support from a shielded case officer.

I have really enjoyed carrying out the Think Communities approach during COVID-19 and understanding what we can learn from a crisis and how we can work together in the future. I have been fascinated by how quickly we have been able to overcome so many barriers.

I am so proud of the work we are doing, and at times have to hold back with my emotions because I am so proud of the council and our local communities.”

Fenland hub springs into action to help resident

Fenland District Council’s COVID-19 response hub took a call from a vulnerable shielded adult with complex care requirements.

The resident required an urgent food parcel to be arranged which was actioned via the hub’s support team. Due to the individual’s complex needs a referral was also made to the NHS GoodSAM volunteer service for ongoing assistance with food deliveries.

Within 24 hours a volunteer had called the support team confirming the referral had been received and began offering support immediately. Whilst the individual has been referred to a number of care providers and organisations, due to his needs, he is now receiving daily support and regular food parcels from the NHS volunteer.

Community Response Service for shielded residents

The Community Response Service launched in the last few days to support shielded people’s wider health and wellbeing beyond basic food and medication needs. So far the service has received 46 requests for help to improve the lives of those who are shielding.

The requests are wide ranging from essential maintenance issues to food deliveries.

A mother contacted the Coordination Hub because her fridge had broken down, which is essential for storage of her shielded child’s medication. The team sourced the lady a new fridge and she was overjoyed with the support the hub has been able to give her family and her child.

Another family contacted the hub as they wanted to get halal meat, which isn’t provided for in the government food parcels or the hub emergency food packages. To access this the meat had to be collected from a butchers in Cambridge and delivered to the Huntingdon area. A member of redeployed staff was very happy to help and the family was very grateful for the support to be able to choose what they are eating, something many of us just take for granted but is of real significance to those who are shielding.

On top of the 46 requests for help received there have been numerous requests for advice or signposting to other services. This is where the work of the place-based coordinators is key, liaising with district housing teams, community services, commissioned providers and others.

In one example, the hub was contacted by a local councillor with concerns for a disabled resident who was having difficulty accessing their outdoor area as the concrete was breaking up. The resident had nearly toppled out of their wheelchair on a couple of occasions. The place-based coordinator was able to speak to the relevant local team and arrange for it to be fixed the following day.

Matt Staton from the Countywide Hub said: “It is really uplifting to hear the feedback from the people we are helping to understand what a big difference these small things make to their lives at the moment. The place-based coordinators and redeployed staff have been amazing, we’ve had a couple of urgent requests for things like painkillers or collecting medication near the end of the day and the team have managed to have it delivered to the person within an hour. A real testament to their dedication, compassion and community spirit.”

Home visits prove successful in tracing those who need support

Lots more people who need help from the Countywide Co-ordination Hub are now being supported thanks to a week-long campaign to reach people who the NHS believes should be shielding but who have not yet registered.

Almost 3,500 people were visited last week by volunteers from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, Team Rubicon, Age UK, Bike Shed community response volunteers, district and city councils and elsewhere.

It followed home visits the week before to 727 people who have not answered any of the calls or letters sent by the Government.

Of last week’s visits, almost 90% were successful, with support now in place for those who have said they need it.

Letters were put through the doors of 1,109 people who were not home when a visit is made, asking them to register, or at least make contact with the hub to confirm they are safe and well and have support systems in place.

Rob Hill, part of the Hub team, said: “We are really pleased with how the home visits went and the number of people we were able to make contact with. As a result, we made around 80 urgent requests for support, including a lady who was running out of food and was having a drainage issue. We got in touch, got her registered, sent her an emergency food package and supported her to resolve the drainage issue with her district council. There were others too who need support who did not realise that we could help.

“I cannot thank enough the army of volunteers we have had supporting us – without them we would not have been able to reach as many people as we have. Their hard work is making sure that some of the most vulnerable people in our communities are supported.”

As of yesterday (Thursday) there are now 17,416 people on the shielded list, with around one third telling the hub that they need ongoing support.

The front door of the Countywide Coordination Hub

Everyday a team of 178 redeployed council officers receives the calls that come in to the 0345 Covid helpline and keeps in regular contact with residents who are shielding.

It’s no easy task with an average of 100 calls a day received by the helpline – with the most received in any one day at an incredible 247 – and regular calls to 6,730 shielded people who need support.

A team of 16 operates the helpline between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday and between 9am and 1pm on Saturdays – they cover Bank Holidays too.

They are the first people that someone in urgent need of assistance will speak to, so their compassion, understanding and ability to help and be flexible are crucial. To date, the hub has received 4,317 general telephone enquiries.

Calls range from the more usual Covid general enquiries such as how to register for support and questions about the government food packages, to the less usual requests such as how to support a lady with exploding light bulbs at 4.30pm on a bank holiday! In addition, a team of 159 staff (142 case officers and 17 case managers) maintain regular contact with shielded residents who have registered to say they need support. There are three support officers too.

Elaine Matthews, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Think Communities Manager and lead for the front door team (pictured), said: ”I am hugely proud of all the officers who are working on the front line to directly contact our residents whilst they are shielding or calling us for help and advice.

“These officers, who come from all service areas including highways, libraries, HR, flood and water and road safety, have come together to form effective and supportive teams.  The majority of calls are quite positive, residents are pleased to hear from them, and the case officers are making sure all support is in place.

“Listening to what the team are getting out of this work is just so wonderful.   Many of them are already asking to keep a small case load when they return to their day job.  As one officer put it ‘I have certainly found working with the Covid calls team to be an amazing and immensely satisfying experience.  If I’m honest I was not sure at the start, but can now say it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever been involved in’.”

Lianne Parrett, strengthening communities officer for Cambridgeshire County Council who is one of the helpline call handlers, said: “I had a really lovely lady ring to pass on her heartfelt thanks for all that we’re doing to support people and to say we’re doing a wonderful job. She had rung the 0345 number the day before to request a food parcel to tide her and her husband over until they could arrange a supermarket food delivery. Two Red Cross boxes arrived that day and she was amazed at the quality and generosity of their contents. Her call actually made me choke up a wee bit. She really was very, very grateful for all that the hub is doing for people during this awful time.”

Michelle Coston, a business support officer, said: “One of the people I call weekly is a gentleman just out of hospital who kept falling over. He lives alone and had bought a fall detector without any idea how to put this together.  I contacted my support team and we sent someone round to assemble this.

The hub has also received 3,661 email contacts to date, which takes the total number of contacts into the hub so far to 7,978.

Positive response to volunteer survey

Many of the people who signed up to volunteer to help vulnerable people have been supporting the work of the hub.

But there are others who we have not been able to find a role for yet, because the numbers offering their time have been higher than the demand.

A team has been set up to help these people access volunteering opportunities where they live, to support the efforts taking place now around the pandemic and longer term.

This week a survey was sent to everyone who has not been offered a role yet, asking whether they still have the time and the desire to volunteer. 66% per cent so far of the people we contacted came back to confirm that they still want to volunteer.

Matt Oliver, head of Think Communities for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire councils and part of the hub team, said: “The response to the survey is really encouraging but it doesn’t surprise me. Never before have we seen so much support for our community and we are truly overwhelmed with the number of volunteers who have come forward.

“As we start moving towards the new ‘normal’ way of life, we know we will need to support the elderly and the most vulnerable on a longer-term basis. We also know that, like us, many community groups and organisations will have to adapt the way they deliver services.

“Therefore, we are asking people if they would be willing to volunteer long term and if they would be keen to support other voluntary and community groups, charities or organisations such as the police, NHS or other councils.”

For more information about volunteering in general and to find local opportunities you can visit or contact your local volunteer centre, or search via https://do-it.org/.  Alternatively, you can visit the NCVO (National Council for Voluntary organisations) web page ‘I want to volunteer’ for everything you need to know to get started or you can also search for volunteering opportunities in your local area on the Volunteering Matters web pages.

Offers of mutual aid

The Countywide hub continues to receive information about mutual aid offers right across the county. These offers of support are being added to either the Peterborough Information Network or the Cambridgeshire Directory of Services, so that people who need help can seek out their own support.

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.

Wednesday 20th May 2020

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.

Monday 18th May 2020

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 , 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 , 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

Friday 15th May 2020

Welcome

Alongside our work to support people who are shielded from COVID-19, the countywide hub has this week been busy making contact with people who we’ve been advised need to be shielding but who haven’t yet registered as such. This exercise is described in more detail later in this newsletter, but it has been a large-scale and complex operation, which would not have been possible without an amazing range of partners and volunteers, hundreds of whom have been pounding the streets all week.

Volunteers from Team Rubicon, the British Red Cross, and other local organisations, as well as colleagues from our district and city council and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service partners have pulled together to make sure that everyone who needs help and support is offered it, as well as just knowing that we’re here to help if they need anything whilst they continue to shield.

The vast majority of people visited are safe and well, and have made their own arrangements to get food, medicines and other supplies. But in a small number of cases we’ve been able to respond quickly to requests for urgent food supplies or other forms of help. We couldn’t have achieved this without the support of all of the partners involved, whose resilience, passion and determination has been limitless.

I hope the news and information in this latest edition is helpful and interesting; please stay safe and
well, and very best wishes.

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council

 

Shielded list continues to grow as more people register for support

The number of people who have registered as shielding across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has risen by more than 800 people in a week.

As of yesterday (Thursday) there were 16,264 people on the shielded list, meaning they are extremely vulnerable to the risks of coronavirus. The Thursday prior there were 15,455.

Of these people, 4,852 have told us they need help.

A new master data set of people that the NHS believes should be shielded from the virus was received last week; a total of 29,032 people.

The hub has written to those who have not registered to encourage them to do so, alongside the contact they are receiving from the national shielding service.

In addition, home visits have been taking place to people who the NHS believes should be shielding who have not yet registered, despite repeated contact being made.

Last week 727 people on this list who have not answered any of the calls or letters sent by the Government were visited by redeployed council staff and our partners in the district and city councils.

Almost 3,700 other people are being visited this week by volunteers from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, Team Rubicon, Age UK, Bike Shed community response volunteers, district and city councils and elsewhere.

The county has been divided up by city or district, with a team on the patch each day until Sunday.

If the person is not home when a visit is made, a letter is put through their door asking them to register, or at least make contact with the hub to confirm they are safe and well and have support systems in place.

Rob Hill, assistant director for community safety, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “The home visits this week have gone well and we have made contact with lots of people who need support and did not realise it was available. This is one of the reasons our list of shielded people is growing, but this is a good thing as we can then work with those people to keep them safe and well.

“I cannot thank enough the army of volunteers we have had supporting us – without them we would not have been able to reach as many people as we have. Their hard work is making sure that some of the most vulnerable people in our communities are supported.”

Group Commander Karl Bowden, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service’s lead for the Community Hub, said: “I’m immensely proud of our team for the way they’ve stepped up and adapted to new ways of working, while going above and beyond to help those in need.

“As a service we’re very much ready to respond to emergencies, but it’s really important we help to protect those who are most vulnerable in our community. As well as visiting vulnerable residents, we are also providing support to our partners. We’ve seconded staff to the ambulance service to drive ambulances, as well as giving emergency blue light driver training.”

Staff at the hub regularly receive messages of thanks from people they are supporting. This message was received from Jane in Peterborough who is shielding: “I was really impressed with the

professionalism, empathy and attention to detail shown to me during the phone call from the county hub. I cannot praise them highly enough.”

Delivering thousands of items of PPE to key workers every day

Ensuring a steady flow of the right kit at the right time has been the challenge of the local PPE team, led by Sarah Learney from NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on behalf of the Local Resilience Forum.

Over 40,000 items of PPE are distributed across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough each day to a wide range of organisations including GPs, pharmacies, prisons, hospices, care homes, domiciliary care agencies, emergency dentists, children’s homes, residential special schools, children’s social care services, funeral services, hospital social care discharge teams, the fire service, highways and many others thanks to this fantastic partnership effort.

At the PPE warehouse, a team of ex-military volunteers from Team Rubicon are working with members of the NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG to organise thousands of pieces of PPE, taking orders from over 1,000 different service users, picking, packing and distributing PPE for next day delivery by the British Red Cross.

Sarah Learney explains: “We understand just how important it is to get the right PPE to key workers at the right time. In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, our response has been a genuine partnership effort bringing together all of the Local Resilience Forum and amazing volunteers, such as Team Rubicon and the British Red Cross, who have ensured we can distribute thousands of items of PPE seven days a week.

“I wanted to thank everyone who has supported us so far, including the West Cambs Federation for providing us with office space in our set up phase and the Urban&Civic for providing free warehouse space for us to set up and run our PPE warehouse from at Alconbury Weald, as well as all of the members of staff from NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG who have been working seven days a week to keep the operation running smoothly.

“Whilst others are moving to recovery, the PPE continues to work at pace to meet the needs of our local key workers and will continue to do so for as long as we are needed.”

Spotlight on our partners

Nick Challis is an Army veteran who is volunteering for Team Rubicon UK to support the work of the Countywide Hub.

My wife and I were volunteers on a wildlife sanctuary in Namibia when the COVID-19 pandemic took a grip of the world. In the blink of an eye, my wife had gone back to work as a nurse and I was deployed by Team Rubicon UK to set up the PPE distribution operation across Cambridgeshire. Now I’m living in Grafham Village Hall, leading another Team Rubicon team to complete safe and well visits to folk who have not responded to the council’s efforts to offer support.

Team Rubicon UK repurposes veterans’ myriad planning, leadership, communication and technical skills for a new purpose, that of “serving again” by helping others. It’s a small charity that punches well above its weight, responding rapidly and with significant effect to international disasters. This time we’re staying at “home” to serve on UK soil. There’s about 3,000 vulnerable, shielding folk in the, county who, for whatever reason, have remained silent. On every level, they deserve our support and Rob Hill and his outstanding team deserve the opportunity to deliver that support.

Team Rubicon is the bridge between the two; a bridge we are providing across the UK on a variety of tasks.

I met Roy Harold MBE (former fire chief, Norfolk) for the first time last Thursday; he is leading operations on-the-ground and we were briefed by Rob Hill and Jonathan Harwood the same day. We met with our four team leaders for the first time the following day in Grafham Village Hall, to get to know each other, make a plan and get organised; team leaders are four superb Team Rubicon volunteers Gareth Thomas, Zak Golby, Josie Loh and Mike Beach.

We executed the first 467 visits on Monday, with 30 spontaneous volunteers from some 15 different organisations, which we divided into groups and clustered under the four team leaders. The whole thing was structured and executed using paper maps, spreadsheets, a lot of communication, flexibility and a huge sense of humour. We’ve now adopted an IT based route optimisation package, which is further accelerating delivery of these critical visits and, at the time of writing (three days into the task), we have completed 1,370 visits.

The folk in Team Rubicon instinctively move towards challenges, leaving their ego behind. They seek first to understand, then plan, communicate, get organised and deliver the solution; rapidly and collegiately. As someone who had an unconventional start in life, I understand vulnerability and I’m passionate about helping others. Beyond family, it is my reason and I’m grateful Peterborough City and Cambridgeshire County Councils have given me two wonderful opportunities to do it in the UK when it’s needed the most. I hope we have been (are being) of service.

Catering project helps people in Melbourn and Meldreth

Hundreds of prepared, nutritious meals have been delivered to residents in Melbourn and Meldreth thanks to chefs and hospitality partners, the Melbourn Coronavirus Community Response, and South Cambridgeshire District Council (SHDC).

Liz Young, a professional chef who now runs catering company The Modern Table, was offered funding to help feed those who may be in difficulty due to the pandemic. With support from a number of other individuals from the local catering community, Liz needed to work out the details around who to provide meals for, and how to distribute them. She was put in touch with SCDC, which was able to use existing networks and local knowledge to identify Melbourn Coronavirus Community Response as a community group that would be able to rapidly distribute the meals to residents in Melbourn and Meldreth.

The scheme was quickly set up, with the meals prepared in Steak and Honour’s commercial kitchen in Cambridge, and then transported to the Melbourn Community Hub kitchen. From here the team of Melbourn Coronavirus Community Response volunteers deliver them to families’ doorsteps.

Councillor Jose Hales, district councillor for Melbourn, said: “I feel really fortunate that this idea was brought to life in my village. All credit to this group for having the idea and the get up and go to make it happen. If other chefs or community groups are wondering what they can do to help, get in touch and council staff will be happy to help.”

To contact the council to discuss setting up something similar email

Peterborough man one of hundreds supported to access food

A woman who lives in Norfolk has thanked the Countywide Coordination Hub for supporting her elderly brother who is shielding to access food supplies.

The lady got in touch this week to say thank you to the team which delivered food shopping to her brother in Eastfield, Peterborough

She said: “He was delighted and we are so very grateful as he lives on his own and has no family in the area.

“I was unable to get him any food delivery slots with any of the supermarkets which was understandable. So last weekend I went on Peterborough City Council’s website and gave his details in the hope he might get a little bag of shopping delivered to him. I was delighted to get a phone call first thing last Monday from the council telling me they would deliver some food to him on the Thursday. He phoned me on Thursday to tell me he got big box of food delivered and he was so pleased and grateful, so again thank you so much.

“It made such a difference as he was delighted that someone took time to see him.”

This gentleman is one of hundreds of residents who are shielding who have received food parcels from the hub. So far, 1,400 people across Cambridgeshire have received a food parcel. In addition, 409 people have received deliveries of specialist food and other items that need collecting.

National food deliveries are also taking place each week – 9,233 shielded people were due to receive one this week.

The hub receives regular data showing where the national scheme has been unable to make a delivery, for example because of access issues. These cases are being followed up as soon as the hub is notified, to ensure the recipient is safe and well and to arrange a food delivery from the hub.

Reaching the county’s diverse communities

Every week there are important messages coming from Government which need sharing with as many people as possible. In Peterborough and parts of Cambridgeshire this means making key messages available in many different languages. This is no small task, but both Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City Councils have used innovative ways to do so.

For example, when the Prime Minister delivered the important stay at home message, the councils arranged for it to be translated into more than 30 different languages by asking trusted contacts in the community to video record them. They are available to view here.

Other local authorities across the country have also requested permission to use these video translations for their own residents.

The city council and Cambridgeshire Constabulary have also worked with Peterborough company Service AV to display the translations on its large portable screen in communities where many different languages are spoken. You can watch a video about this here.

Many other translations are also available to view and share on the council’s website here which other organisations are being asked to use widely to reach as many people as possible.

Hubs work together to deliver urgent medication

Just before 5pm last Wednesday the Countywide Coordination Hub received an ‘I need help request’ form via the council’s website from a lady who urgently required medication for her son that evening.

A hub staff member, Gareth, spoke to the pharmacy to try and arrange a delivery, however the pharmacy refused to deliver the medication that evening as its delivery driver had left for the day.

Determined not to give up and to help the resident, Gareth called the Peterborough Hub which gave him a number for SERV, a local bikers group which is collecting and delivering prescriptions for people in need.

SERV immediately arranged for one of its bikers to collect the prescription and delivered it to the lady’s home by 5.40pm – within an hour of the form being received!

This is just one example of the hundreds of people who are supported each day by the network of hubs.

Cambridge project supports community to make PPE

The Cambridge Community Scrapstore is offering materials free of charge to people making personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers and community volunteers during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Scrapstore, run by Cambridge City Council, is in normal times a resource for those searching out arts and crafts material. It has now turned to distributing fabrics and materials to home-sewers running up scrubs and face masks for use in hospitals and hospices.

The Scrapstore has been offered temporary space in the Howard Road Baptist Church and now opens every morning for visitors to pick through donated textiles, needles, thread, ribbon, and other materials, all while maintaining social distancing.

It has waived its usual membership fees so visitors are able to take what they wish, free of charge. Home-sewers in Cambridge can then turn the material into finished scrubs, facemasks, head coverings, keepsake bags and more.

Home-sewn masks are used by volunteers and mutual aid groups as they go door to door distributing food parcels to vulnerable people who are self-isolating or unable to shop for themselves. Other items are used by key workers in hospices and hospitals, where demand for scrubs and face masks has greatly increased as they must be changed and washed more frequently.

Councillor Anna Smith, executive councillor for communities for Cambridge City Council, said: “If you have sewing skills it’s a great opportunity to put them to good use. The materials we are giving away have all been donated to the Scrapstore, and we are delighted to be able to use them to give something back to key workers, volunteers and mutual aid groups.”

For the most up-to-date information on the Scrapstore’s opening times, visit the store’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/camscrapstore

Chocolate eggs spread joy at children’s ward

In last week’s newsletter we told you about a donation to the hub of 5,000 Easter eggs from Nestle International.

On Monday some of the eggs were donated to the children’s ward at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, particularly those with terminal illnesses or undergoing cancer treatment. Some of these children have limited access to their relatives because of the infection risks posed.

Fifty of the large chocolate eggs were delivered to the hospital office of Dr Suzanna Watson, paediatric neuropsychologist (also a member of the Red Cross psycho-social team) who spread the word to senior nurses. Distribution to the children’s ward began and apparently the supply didn’t last the hour!

East Cambridgeshire Communities Collaboration – Online and now in print!

At the East Cambs Hub communities have been at the heart of the pandemic response. Since late March community leaders have been getting together online each week in meetings hosted by East Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and Care Network. It has been a wonderful way to learn from each other and share ideas.

A common theme identified by local communities has been a concern that people who are not on the internet feel out of touch and don’t always have access to key information. As a result, next week sees the publication of a community newsletter – bursting at the seams with community stories and information.

Another common theme for the local support groups has been the amazing number of enthusiastic volunteers who have come forward to help. So much so that the magazines will be dropping on doormats across East Cambs with the delivery fuelled by volunteers. We even had an Ely resident, Zoe Davidson, giving her time and media skills to help create the publication whilst furloughed from the Raspberry Pi Foundation. If you are leading a community response in East Cambs, are not yet part of the forum, and would like to join, please email .

Youth and community team supporting young people

The Essentials Skills for Life Programme, funded by the DfE as part of the Social Mobility Opportunity Area and delivered by the Youth and Community Team at Cambridgeshire County Council, has continued to support young people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prior to lockdown the programme was supporting 13 secondary schools, aiding over 1,000 young people since September.

Despite the restrictions of Covid-19 the Youth and Community Team has worked hard to continue supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged young people. The programme has offered digital sessions via video call platforms to keep in contact with vulnerable and disadvantaged young people and to ensure they receive the emotional support they need as well as access to resources and activities to supplement their ongoing education.

For example, last week, the Youth and Community team delivered 12 art boxes to support the participation of traveller children at Wilburton Primary School. Another 700 are to be delivered through a partnership with 20Twenty productions, Living sport, CCORRN and Healthy Fenland.

Emma Peppercorn, programme manager for Essential Skills, said: “The work carried out by the Youth and Community Team has been vital to supporting many young people across the community during this difficult period.

“Without this programme more than 1,200 young people could be left feeling isolated and restricted in their opportunities for development and growth.

“We are grateful for the continued opportunity to support our young people during this difficult time.”

Wednesday 13th May 2020

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 community

Although 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.

Monday 11th May 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement

Following the announcement yesterday (Sunday) from the Prime Minister, Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council’s leaders have recorded a video message saying while we wait for guidance there is no dramatic change.

Cllr Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council can be viewed here.

Cllr John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council can be viewed here.

Foster carers needed to transform lives in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council are supporting this year’s Foster Care Fortnight campaign to help raise awareness about how the dedication and commitment of foster carer’s changes lives.

Foster Care Fortnight runs from the 11th -24th May and is the UK’s largest foster care awareness raising campaign, it aims to show the positive impact foster care has on children’s and young people’s lives.

Foster carers accomplish incredible things every day, even in the face of a global crisis that has affected every one of us and impacted all aspects of our society. Despite the practical and emotional challenges that the coronavirus is bringing, foster carers continue to provide day-to-day support, love and stability to children and young people who can’t live with their birth families. They support children and young people’s education, health, and social wellbeing, and also help to maintain the children’s relationship with the people who are important to them but who they cannot currently see in person.

Both Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council are keen to hear from people who can care for sibling groups of brothers and sisters, children with additional needs and teenagers.

Every year more foster carers are needed across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to make sure fostered children can live with the right foster carer for them. Despite the coronavirus, this year is no different, so anyone who thinks they might have the skills and experience to become a foster carer is urged to contact the fostering services.

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.

For Cambridgeshire, visit the website or email  or call 0800 052 0078.

For Peterborough, visit the website or email  or call 0800 328 8433.  

New service launched to provide extra help for shielding residents

In the past six weeks the Countywide Hub has focused on meeting the basic needs of people who are shielding, providing essential supplies for those that have no other support available.

The Countywide Hub has now developed a new service working with the Red Cross and the council’s place-based coordinators, using staff redeployed from the libraries service and elsewhere, to enable it to support people’s wider health and wellbeing.

The first training sessions for redeployed staff took place last week, with initial requests expected to be fulfilled in the next few days.

This is likely to include support with things like shopping, running errands, gardening and skills development services.

The hub is also developing a set of leisure, pleasure and learning opportunities for shielded people to take part in. 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. Further details will be announced soon.

Youth services supporting The Kite Trust to help more young people

Youth services across Peterborough and Cambridgeshire are helping third sector youth groups and charities to adapt their services to meet demand during these unprecedented times.

One of those charities being supported is The Kite Trust. Youth services supported The Kite Trust to obtain a grant for £5,000 from the Office of the Police and Crime Commission for Cambridgeshire to help upgrade its IT setup and continue to provide effective remote support services.

The Kite Trust promotes the health, well-being, and inclusion of LGBTQ+ young people across Cambridgeshire; raising awareness, supporting, and educating communities.

During lockdown the charity has been struggling to meet the demand for its services so far, as young people’s needs have changed and developed and because staff do not have the equipment they needed to work most effectively from home.

The charity has seen a 45% increase in the number of young people getting in touch with its services, up to 170 young people since the lockdown began. It’s also nearly tripled the amount of time youth workers are spending supporting young people (184% increase) as their needs have changed and increased.

Thanks to the grant from the OPCC the charity can now buy laptops and other equipment for staff to support young people from home, including running online group sessions and providing one to one support.

Helpline launched to support those finding this time difficult

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 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.

Wellbeing plan launched as part of ‘Now We’re Talking’ mental health campaign

A helpful wellbeing plan has been put together as part of the ‘Now We’re Talking’ mental health campaign.

Organisations across Cambridgeshire have come together to launch the campaign to get people talking and beat loneliness while self-isolating during the coronavirus outbreak.

Led by the local authority, NHS and third sector, the campaign helps people find where they can get increased mental health support.

The idea of the wellbeing plan is to help people get creative and think about things they can do that are good for their mental wellbeing.

A video to accompany the plan is available to view here.

For more information visit Peterborough website here and Cambridgeshire website here.

Local councils survey on impact of COVID-19

Thank you to all the local council clerks who have already responded to the survey to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on local councils, the issues they are facing and the support they need going forward. If you haven’t yet had a chance to complete yours, there’s still time as the survey doesn’t close until Monday 18 May 2020.

Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City Council, Cambridgeshire ACRE and CAPALC will be tailoring the support offered to local councils based on the responses received so it is vitally important that every local council takes part and provides a response.

The more responses we get, the more representative the data will be of the local council sector in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough so please find 10 minutes to take part here.

Thursday 7th May 2020

Welcome to this week’s Highlights from the Hubs

I’m pleased to introduce our latest look at the work of our coordination hubs across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

If you are able to, I hope you are doing something nice from home to mark VE Day 75, an important date in our country’s history.

The hubs have continued to provide practical support and help for thousands of people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, providing food, essential supplies and access to medicines, as well as helping resolve issues or carry out simple tasks that would otherwise prevent people from being able to protect themselves from the risks associated with Coronavirus.

The Countywide Hub has now received the latest information about who the NHS believe should be shielded from the virus – 29,000 of our residents who are at the greatest risk of serious harm if they become poorly with COVID-19.

The work we’re all doing to protect these people from harm is so vital, and it remains a humbling responsibility for us all. But of course, there are thousands of other people who are also vulnerable, whether through illness, age or other factors, that also need to be supported to stay safe and well, and the work of the district and city hubs, parish and town councils, and the thousands of community-based organisations and volunteers is a real inspiration.

As we start to think about life beyond COVID-19, I think it is vital that we recognise the features of how we have all pulled together to respond so effectively, and make sure we sustain that spirit and ways of working as our ‘new normal’. I hope you find the information that follows interesting and helpful, and please do stay safe and well.

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council

Home visits to reach those we’ve not heard from

In last week’s edition we told you we’d been sent details of 6,000 people who the NHS believes should be shielding who have not yet registered, despite repeated contact being made.

Once we had studied the data and removed duplicates and other errors, there remained around 4,400 names and addresses.

The priority this week has been 727 people on this list who have not answered any of the calls or letters sent by the Government. Additional local calls, as well as visits to these people’s homes, are being made this week by redeployed council staff and our partners in the district and city councils.

If the person is not home when a visit is made, a letter is put through their door asking them to register, or at least make contact with the hub to confirm they are safe and well and have support systems in place.

The almost 3,700 people remaining will be visited next week by volunteers, if contact cannot be made any other way.

Adrian Chapman, service director for communities and partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “It is vitally important that we speak to everyone who the NHS believes should be shielding from the virus. It might be that many of the people we are contacting are okay and have their own support systems in place, but we need those people to tell us this.

“As of yesterday (Wednesday), there are now 15,237 people on the shielded list, with 4,650 of them telling us they need help and support. We continue to support those people to access food and medicines, to beat anxiety and loneliness caused by isolation and in many other ways.

“However, we know that in total there are currently around 29,000 people across the county who the NHS believes should be shielding, and we’re keen to do all we can to make sure they are getting the information and support they need.”

If you know someone who is shielding from the virus, who we have not yet been in touch with, please contact the countywide hub by visiting www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus

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

For this Bank Holiday Friday only, the hub can be contacted between 9am and 1pm.

New service to provide extra help for shielding residents

Library staff are being trained up to work with volunteers to support people who are shielding at home as part of new service launched this week.

In the past six weeks the Countywide Hub has focused on meeting the basic needs of people who are shielding, providing essential supplies for those that have no other support available.

The Countywide Hub has now developed a new service working with the Red Cross and the council’s place-based coordinators, using staff redeployed from the libraries service and elsewhere, to enable it to support people’s wider health and wellbeing.

The first training sessions for redeployed staff took place this week, with initial requests expected to be fulfilled in the next few days.

This is likely to include support with things like shopping, running errands, gardening and skills development services.

Matt Staton from the Countywide Hub said: “This is another great example of how we are making best use of staff whose usual roles have changed during lockdown, to ensure that the people in our communities who need help and support the most are being looked after.

“We know that for many people all that they require is food and perhaps a phone call, but many of the people we speak to need support in other ways, to reduce their anxieties and support their wellbeing. They may be concerned about the state of their garden or need an item posting – if they have nobody else to ask to do this, we want to be able to help.”

The hub is also developing a set of leisure, pleasure and learning opportunities for shielded people to take part in. 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. Further details will be announced soon.

Plans to ensure all our volunteers can play their part

More than 2,500 volunteers have signed up to the Countywide Hub to help vulnerable residents.

A large number of volunteers are now working within the hub but there are others who have not yet currently been required.

To ensure these people can support work taking place across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, a new team has been set up to help them access volunteering opportunities where they live, to support the efforts taking place now around the pandemic and longer term.

Matt Oliver, head of Think Communities for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire councils, said: “Never before have we seen so much support for our community and we are truly overwhelmed with the number of volunteers who have come forward.

“We want to thank those volunteers as without them there will be vulnerable residents without access to food, medicine and other important supplies.

“We also want to make sure that there is a role for everyone who has offered to help so we will now be working closely with the district and city councils and the community and voluntary sector to make sure this happens.

“We hope that many of the people who have offered to volunteer will continue to do so in the future, once life returns to ‘normal’.”

As the plea for volunteers has been so successful, the hub no longer needs any more volunteers and is closing the registration.

For more information about volunteering in general and to find local opportunities you can visit or contact your local volunteer centre, or search via https://do-it.org/. Alternatively, you can visit the NCVO (National Council for Voluntary organisations) web page ‘I want to volunteer’ for everything you need to know to get started or you can also search for volunteering opportunities in your local area on the Volunteering Matters web pages.

Lifting spirits and keeping Fenland active

In addition to carrying out food deliveries and supporting Fenland District Council’s COVID-19 Community Response Hub, the council’s Active Fenland team has been helping to lift spirits and motivate both volunteers and those currently self-isolating by offering free physical activity sessions on its YouTube channel.

The sessions cover a wide range of activities including yoga, boot camp and HIIT with videos also available offering tips on running and cycling. The sessions are all ‘real-time’ meaning you can do them along with the instructors in the video and most of the sessions can be adapted for all fitness levels.

Since the quarantine measures were introduced, the Active Fenland team has uploaded 25 separate sessions and amassed more than 1,000 views!

Spotlight on our partners

Kat Sexton is digital services architect for LGSS Digital and is working at the Covid-19 Coordination Hub as the lead for web and digital.

“Life before Covid-19 involved leading on many exciting projects for Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire councils and coaching a team of digital designers working on service design and transformation projects, researching with teams and users, piloting and evaluating new ideas and

initiatives, designing services in the digital age and developing new processes and systems. I feel so privileged and lucky to be able to do the same sort of work in my redeployed life at the Covid-19 hub and to utilise my digital and service design skills in our response to the pandemic.

“My role is to work with the wider hub team to understand the contact we are receiving and help design the new processes and systems that help us manage this. So far, I have worked with many people inside and outside of the hub to create clear web content for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough websites, so that people know what to do if they need help or they want to help others, and we have also done a lot of work to ensure that people can find help in their communities using the Cambridgeshire Online Directory and the Peterborough Information Network.

“We have also designed and created the ‘I need help’ process which enables people to ask for help online or by calling us, and for the hub coordinators to triage these requests and pass them on to the right place so that the person is helped. Some examples of this include; passing details to our food hub operation so that people receive the urgent food supplies they need, referring requests to the district and city councils where the resident is not ‘shielding’ and referring to our early help teams where appropriate. So far, we have received about 4,300 requests for help through this process which have all been handled and triaged by our amazing hub coordination team.

“I think for me and the LGSS Digital team, our greatest achievement is that we designed, built and released a new system in seven working days which is enabling 130 redeployed council staff to proactively call the nearly 15,000 people who need help on our registered shielded list. The new system went live on 24 April and went into operation on the 27th and has already undergone improvements based on user feedback and testing in a real life environment! It is working really well as a single place for us to track the calls we are making and ensure we are doing our duty as the county hub and looking after the registered shielded people. We have learned so much about what it takes to design and build something of this magnitude in such a short period of time, and Adele wrote a blog post about it.

“It is an incredible experience working at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Covid-19 coordination hub. The pace and the moving goalposts keep things interesting and the collaborative, creative and experimental approach is so in tune with everything my team stands for and it’s just incredible to have the opportunity to work like this in real life as part of the local government response.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported the hub’s web and digital work so far, your help and support has been exceptional – the comms and information services team, the IT and digital team, the transformation team and of course the many colleagues within LGSS Digital and colleagues at the hub.”

Help at hand across Huntingdonshire

The Huntingdonshire support hub is continuing to support people in the community who need help at this difficult time.

These two examples show the excellent work that is taking place every day to keep people safe and well.

In one example, the hub contacted a resident who had self-referred for a food parcel and during the call heard a child crying. The call handler asked how things were going which led to the resident agreeing to be referred to a local community group for assistance. The resident disclosed to the group that she lived alone with her three-year-old son and that they were struggling financially. She

had no friends or family locally but desperately wanted to clear her overgrown garden so that her son could play safely. The community group removed all the unwanted items and tidied the garden. This resulted in trust being built and support for a number of other issues being put in place as well as continued contact with the community group.

The hub was also contacted by the daughter of a 92-year-old gentleman with dementia. His daughter did not live locally and had severe health issues herself. She explained that her stepbrother had been living with her father and been his primary carer, but he had been hospitalised and was not due to return home in the near future. The hub arranged for an urgent food parcel to be delivered to the gentleman as well as referring him for further help and support. The following morning, a volunteer delivered the food parcel but there was no answer at the house. The gentleman then returned home in his car. Although he was supposed to be shielding he had been to the shops as he had no other option to get food. Huntingdonshire District Council, along with the volunteer, made arrangements to support his needs longer term preventing the need for him to leave his property.

Chocolate gifts brighten people’s day

Easter may now be a distant memory, but a chocolate company has brought smiles to the faces of people across the county by donating 5,000 Easter eggs.

Nestle International got in touch to say that it had a large number of chocolate eggs that it wanted to donate to good causes.

Nestle agreed to provide 5,000 eggs, which have been given to front line staff working across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough including reablement services in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, The Learning Disability Partnership in Cambridgeshire, Learning Disability Day Services in Peterborough and Cherry Lodge which provides short breaks for children.

Debbie McQuade, assistant director for adults and safeguarding for Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City councils, said: “It was really important that the delivery went to those who are delivering front line services to support those who are most vulnerable across the spectrum of services. It was great to receive them and remind staff that there is recognition of the amazing support they provide.”

A number of the eggs have also been sent to those on the shielded list receiving food parcels to brighten their day and also to children attending school and school staff.

Be on your guard for fake shielding letters

We have become aware of fake shielding letters being sent to people, claiming to be from the Countywide Co-ordination Hub.

If you have any concerns regarding a letter, check the correct information about the official Coordination Hub here: www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or please call 0345 045 5219.

Coordination Hub already providing ’11 out of 10’ support for shielded carers

Husband and wife, Mr and Mrs P were recently contacted by the Countywide Hub as both fall into the shielded category. Mr P, himself a diabetic, is a carer for his wife, who suffers from complex physical needs.

The couple, both in their 70s, have limited mobility, with Mr P only able to leave the house once a day to take his dog Pepper on a short walk.

Unable to get to the local pharmacy or to pick up shopping, the couple were worried about covering their basic needs through lockdown and putting neighbours at risk if they had to rely on them for help.

They weren’t sure where to turn. They had heard something about the Coordination Hub but weren’t expecting help from the council.

Mr P said: “That initial phone call made so much difference. I instantly felt that someone cared, and I was filled with confidence that we would be supported.

“The chap I spoke to, Phil Carter, really took time to understand our situation. He wasn’t pushy in any way, and he explained how the council were going to help, and who I could contact if anything went wrong. He just spoke to me like a human being and really put me at ease. Knowing there are people thinking about us and helping us with the things we can’t do ourselves – that really is fantastic.

“My wife and I are lucky because we have each other and our dog, but the help on offer will make so much of a difference for us. I can see just how much of a lifeline this could be for someone on their own.”

Mr P added: “If I had to give the council marks out of ten I’d give them 11. We are so fortunate with their generosity. I cannot say thank you enough.”

Food hubs across Cambridge ensure daily essentials for the vulnerable

An informal network of community and mutual aid groups, residents’ associations, faith-based organisations and volunteers has sprung up across Cambridge, enabling people to safely access essentials like food and medicine during the Coronavirus lockdown.

Working alongside the Cambridge Food Poverty Alliance, Cambridge Sustainable Food and local voluntary groups, Cambridge City Council has established food hubs across the city to ensure a supply of fresh food and basic supplies are available to support those most in need.

Supporting this grassroots community activity, the council has put support in place for every ward, including a community development link officer and lead councillor.

It has also created and staffed a central coordinating hub to refer new requests for help to local groups, coordinating with county and national authorities where necessary.

The key shared aim is to ensure that all city residents, especially vulnerable residents, know where to turn for help and daily essentials whilst restrictions are in place.

Councillor Anna Smith, executive councillor for communities, said: “Food poverty is sadly not a new thing in Cambridge, and that’s why even before the Coronavirus crisis we had set aside money in the budget to support the Cambridge Food Poverty Alliance’s vision of a food storage and distribution hub for the city.

“At this time, we are seeing so many more people in need, and the whole city is pulling together to support them. The number of people coming forward to help their neighbours is wonderful to see. I won’t name names – every single person is a hero and deserves the thanks of the whole city. Find more information about the Cambridge Food Poverty Alliance HERE.

Supporting people to help themselves

The hub continues to receive offers of mutual aid from partners who would like to help people at this time.

All these offers of support are made available on the Peterborough Information Network and the Cambridgeshire Online Directory, so that people can search them based on where they live and identify organisations or groups that meet their requirements.

Both websites provide residents and families with information on organisations, services and events across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. They are currently being used to collate and publish a range of services available during the COVID-19 pandemic, including information about more than 100 different organisations.

Both services also welcome listings from local providers and organisations including events, activities, clubs, groups and courses that can support or help Cambridgeshire and Peterborough residents lead active, healthy and fulfilling lives and access local community support. For more information about the PIN visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/PIN

For more information about the Cambridgeshire Directory visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/directory

Youth services supporting The Kite Trust to help more young people

Youth services across Peterborough and Cambridgeshire are helping third sector youth groups and charities to adapt their services to meet demand during these unprecedented times.

One of those charities being supported is The Kite Trust. Youth services supported The Kite Trust to obtain a grant for £5,000 from the Office of the Police and Crime Commission for Cambridgeshire to help upgrade its IT setup and continue to provide effective remote support services.

The Kite Trust promotes the health, well-being, and inclusion of LGBTQ+ young people across Cambridgeshire; raising awareness, supporting, and educating communities.

During lockdown the charity has been struggling to meet the demand for its services so far, as young people’s needs have changed and developed and because staff do not have the equipment they needed to work most effectively from home.

The charity has seen a 45% increase in the number of young people getting in touch with its services, up to 170 young people since the lockdown began. It’s also nearly tripled the amount of time youth workers are spending supporting young people (184% increase) as their needs have changed and increased.

Thanks to the grant from the OPCC the charity can now buy laptops and other equipment for staff to support young people from home, including running online group sessions and providing one to one support.

Pip Gardner, chief executive of the charity, said: “All of the services we provide depend on our staff’s access to laptops, mobile phones and reliable internet connections to facilitate them so we are incredibly grateful for the grant that we have received from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire. It means we will be able to work more efficiently and provide support to more young people at this time and into the future too!”

Acting Police and Crime Commissioner, Ray Bisby said: “Charities across the country have had to adapt the way they offer services during the lockdown, providing online and telephone-based support rather than on a face-to-face basis in order to keep people safe. I am pleased my fund has been able to help support workers reach even more young people who may be facing challenges as a result of their gender.”

NCS service praised for shaping new summer programme

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough National Citizen Service has been praised for its involvement in developing the NCS Trust Covid-19 programme.

Reed in Partnership, which manages the NCS contract for East Anglia, got in touch with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough service as part of its plans to run a virtual programme this summer.

Usually hundreds of young people across the county come together for the four-week programme during the summer holidays. This year that cannot take place, so the Peterborough and Cambridgeshire NCS team, along with all other delivery partners, were tasked with redesigning the programme in a digital way with community volunteering to support the recovery of the nation at the end of it, if it is safe to do so.

Matt Oliver, head of Think Communities for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire councils, said: “Reed in Partnership fed back to us that the detail in our response was outstanding. They said we had considered many factors that other delivery partners within the network had not, particularly with regards to barriers to engagement for some of our more vulnerable young people that had hoped to participate in NCS this summer.

“We continue to prepare for this summer’s repurposed programmes including young people recruitment and engagement, staff training, programme planning and session delivery in a very different and ever-changing environment.”

Survey asks councils to assess impact of COVID-19

Town and parish councils in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have been asked to participate in a short survey to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the issues they are facing and the support they need going forward.

The survey has been emailed directly to all local council clerks and responses are required by Monday 18 May 2020.

The survey is being undertaken by Cambridgeshire ACRE, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Association of Local Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council on behalf of the Local Councils Strategic Partnership to learn how local councils believe their communities will move forward as the country transitions out of lockdown and to see what can be learnt from this current situation and what can be taken forward to make Cambridgeshire and Peterborough a better place to live for all its residents.

It is hoped that every local council in the county will take the time to respond as the survey will provide critical data to inform how local councils can best be supported. If you have not received your email invitation to take part, please contact .

Wednesday 6th May 2020

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.

Monday 4th May 2020

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

Friday 1st May 2020

Welcome

I have the very great privilege of leading the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough countywide hub, which is making sure that people who are at the greatest risk from the Coronavirus are protected from harm as far as possible.

This group of people need to be ‘shielded’ from the virus for at least 12 weeks, which means they can’t leave their home and should have no face to face contact with anyone from outside their home. People who need to be shielded are formally registering to ensure they get the help and support they need, and so far we have details of around 15,000 people. This number is expected to continue to grow over the coming weeks.

We shared with you last week some of the work we’re doing to support this group of people. I wanted though to share my perspective on this vital work. We have created the countywide hub from scratch at incredible pace, and I am so proud of the team that I have around me that have worked tirelessly – and continue to do so – to achieve this, and to make sure we do all we can to protect our residents.

The team of hub coordinators, case officers and call handlers has been drawn together from across different services in Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City Councils to support this work. We all recognise the significant responsibility that rests on our shoulders, and it is humbling to be able to support people who are already vulnerable to stay safe and well.

We couldn’t do this work though without the support of our partners, particularly the district and city councils across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who are delivering vital support services to their own communities. Between us, we are reaching tens of thousands of people every week.

I’m also humbled by the support offered to us by our voluntary, faith and public sector partners – around 35 different organisations coming together (digitally!) every week to consider what more we can do together to help protect people.

Thank you to those and everyone else involved in this critically important work. My aspiration is to make sure we take all of the features of our new ways of working into whatever ‘new normal’ emerges post-Covid-19. The ability to make swift decisions, to collaborate in ways we never thought possible, to share data quickly but safely, and to find very creative solutions to really tricky issues will be no less important beyond the current crisis!

Please, stay safe and well.

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council

Spike in demand for help from the Hub

Requests for help and support coming into the countywide hub have continued to rise over the past fortnight.

The hub has received a total of 2,101  telephone enquiries over the past four weeks.  The team has resolved a total of 5,856 individual requests for help and support, which include delivering urgent food supplies to 832 people. A further 129 people have been provided with more specialist food, for example that is suitable for people who are seriously ill.

There are now almost 15,000 people on the registered shielded list across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and around a third of this group have told us that they have no support in place and will need our assistance.

Adrian Chapman said: “We believe the increase in demand is down to the fact that we have been contacting people who need to shield who have not yet registered – a nationally commissioned service has also been doing the same thing. In addition, more names are being added to the shielded group by local GPs and medical services.

“All shielded people are receiving regular telephone contact from our case officers to ensure their needs are being met. We are also contacting everyone less often by email or letter, to ensure they know we are here and that nobody is missed whose existing support arrangements break down.

“We now have a further 112 case officers trained who are now fully operational and able to help us with this work.”

Around 5,000 shielded people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are receiving a national food delivery over the course of this week.

Reaching everyone who might need our help

Every day the government sends us details of people who have responded to the request to shield by NHS England or their GP.

We make contact with these people to find out if they have what they need and if they don’t how we can supply those needs, discuss other issues and anxieties, and make arrangements for at least weekly telephone contact.

Every week we are supporting thousands of people to access food and medicines, to help them beat anxiety and loneliness caused by isolation and in many other ways. Some people may choose not to have a weekly call – we still make email contact every couple of weeks, in case their arrangements change.

In addition, there are others who have been contacted by either NHS England or their local GP or clinical lead who are advised to shield but haven’t yet registered. The Government has set up a national hotline which is contacting these people to encourage them to register. We have some details of this group, although limited and not comprehensive, and we have written to them ourselves (about 12,000 people).

This week we have been passed the details of 6,000 people who the NHS believe should be shielding who have not yet registered, despite repeated contact being made.  We are now planning for how we contact these people to establish whether they need our support or have their own arrangements in place. This may include visits in person to addresses.

If you know someone who is shielding from the virus, who we have not yet been in touch with, please contact the countywide hub by visiting  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.

Shopping for people who are self-isolating – advice for volunteers

Many local volunteers are supporting people who are self-isolating so can’t get to the shops for food and other supplies but able to pay for their goods.

However, finding safe and secure ways for people to pay for items without exposing themselves, or the volunteers, to risk of harm, is a national challenge.

To support this, the Countywide Coordination Hub has been researching a range of payment options, so they can advise people, and the volunteers who are supporting them, who can then choose the most appropriate method for them.

The payment methods include:

  • Supermarket ‘click and collect’ schemes – for customers with online accounts, however delivery slots are in high demand
  • Paying the shop over the phone by card –using a pre-agreed password when the volunteer goes to the till
  • Buying volunteer cards online from Asda, Marks & Spencer or Waitrose and sending to the volunteer to use
  • Buying gift cards from Morrisons, Sainsbury’s or Tesco for the volunteer to use
  • Paying the volunteer with a cash machine via a bank card – using contactless
  • Paying the volunteer for the shopping via online banking
  • Using the Post Office ‘Payout Now’ to access cash

More detailed information will be shared with our partners across Cambridgeshire as this is not specific to the shielded group. For further information, please email

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.
  • Lifeline – 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

‘Now We’re Talking’ comms toolkit to use for your own updates:

Following the launch of our Now We’re Talking campaign this week, please find here a toolkit so you can share the details with your town or parish council colleagues. Please feel free to use the news article (short or long) and any of the images in your own newsletters, on your websites or social media.

Learn a new skill and help beat loneliness

We know that one of the challenges for people who are self-isolating is being able to keep busy in their own home.

As a result, the countywide hub is developing a set of leisure, pleasure and learning opportunities for shielded people to take part in.

This could include aligning the food deliveries from the hub to a healthy eating class, both 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.

The hub is also considering putting sewing classes online, or taught through instruction cards for those that have no internet access, that again could, with the food deliveries, see a delivery of materials and instruction to learn how to sew.

This could take the form of, for example, learning to sew ‘scrub’ bags that can be donated to the NHS for their staff to use.

Further details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Spotlight on our partners

Jonathan Harwood is an emergency response officer for Cambridgeshire and Suffolk British Red Cross.

“A day in the life of an emergency response officer is usually very varied. Some days I am sat at my desk completing administrative tasks, whilst others I am training volunteers in emergency management, providing rest centre training to our local authority partners or, as at the moment, responding to major incidents.

The everyday emergencies that the British Red Cross can attend might be domestic fires or floods, supporting the National Crime Agency on modern day slavery incidents and attending power and water outages, but the key element to all our work is supporting people in crisis.

I am also the 3rd Sector tactical advisor to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Resilience Forum, working with the county’s emergency planning teams in preparing for incidents, so that the voluntary and community sector can be at the heart of an incident to provide much needed supplementary support to our category one partners, both during an incident and as part of the recovery work, to return the communities to a sense of normality.

Covid-19 has seen a massive demand on the voluntary sector over the past few weeks. At the county food and PPE distribution warehouse we have seen the British Red Cross, Beds & Cambs 4×4 Response Group, Cambridgeshire Search and Rescue, Served by Emergency Response Volunteers, Raynet and Team Rubicon UK all come together to ensure the vulnerable people in our county are being fed and the organisations that need PPE are able to keep supporting our county’s vulnerable people through the work we are completing in partnership.

Local voluntary and community sector groups such as the Peterborough and Cambridge CVS, Hunts Forum and Cambridgeshire Acre are taking a lead in the local volunteering efforts to ensure that local communities are supported, not just in food distribution, but are connecting people to ensure that community resilience is strong and that once Covid-19 is a thing of the past, we will be living in stronger communities with people who will be there for each other.

I would like to thank all volunteers for everything that they are doing to support the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Hold your heads up high and be proud that you are a volunteer because without you we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Looking after the county’s carers

A project to support people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who are carers to friends and family has seen hundreds of people contacted to enquire whether they need support.

Family carers are currently delivering unprecedented levels of essential care and support to people with care needs in the community who are impacted by the pandemic.

In response Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City Council have re-deployed more than 30 staff who are unable to fulfil their usual role due to the Covid-19 outbreak, to contact those family carers currently known to adult social care, check that they are coping, provide preventative advice and connect them to sources of support where this is needed.

In Cambridgeshire 1,557 carers were identified and are being contacted.  Of those contacted so far 56% or 429 carers have told staff that they are coping.

Feedback from staff making the calls is that carers have been extremely grateful to be contacted and have taken contact details in order to access support should this be needed in the future. One carer told us “I enjoyed chatting to you and both my husband and I are impressed with the initiative set up by the council. Thank you.”

So far 57 carers contacted by the redeployed staff have been referred for support as a result of the calls, examples include accessing help with shopping and medication collection, both for themselves and the adult that they support, and amendments to the care and support being provided to the cared for person due to changes in their circumstances.

The staff making the calls have had information regarding a wide range of preventative services and have also been able to connect carers to support from services like occupational therapy and the technology enabled care team, as well as raising awareness of help available through Caring Together, previously known as Carers Trust.

In Peterborough the experience is very similar, more than 423 carers have been contacted and provided with information and advice to date and staff are working through a further list of 214 carers.

Adrian Chapman, service director for communities and partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We know that many carers don’t recognise themselves as a carer and may be reluctant to ask for help for themselves for many reasons. As a result we know we need to encourage this group of people to accept support.

“It’s essential that carers are supported appropriately in order for them to continue in their caring role and to ensure that this does not have a negative impact on their own health and well-being. But now more than ever, it is important carers know that support is available to them.

“As a result, there is currently a great deal of work happening across Cambridgeshire & Peterborough to support those with a caring responsibility and this work continues to develop. If you are a carer and you would like to talk to us about the support on offer, please call the countywide hub on 0345 045 5219.”

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 official lock-down guidance.

Providing support in Wisbech

Wisbech Town Council members have been identifying vulnerable residents and businesses at this difficult time and offering their support.

The team, co-ordinated by Leader of the Council, Councillor Samantha Hoy, has been shopping and delivering vital food necessities and medication across Wisbech and neighbouring villages and offering a friendly voice to those simply needing to chat.

Councillor Hoy said: “It is great to see people pulling together to support others at this difficult and unprecedented time. I have always been aware of the community spirit within our great town, but the current situation has made me realise how strong it is. I would personally like to thank the team for the fantastic support they are giving and to all of the other groups that are helping.”

Leading regional housing association offers support to vulnerable tenants

Hundreds of vulnerable people across Peterborough and Cambridgeshire who live in social housing are being supported by Cross Keys Homes (CKH).

CKH has contacted more than 900 residents aged over 70 who live in its general needs housing to make sure that they have support from family or friends. At their request, CKH colleagues are making welfare calls every week to around 150 of them.

Regular calls are also being made to 190 tenants who are under the age of 24 with children and 200 other vulnerable residents who have asked for this weekly support. Of those living in CKH retirement housing and extra care schemes, in the region of 1,200 residents receive daily contact.

As well as these welfare calls, the housing association has been supporting residents with food shopping, medication deliveries and providing craft bags to keep young children entertained.

CKH has also launched a £1million welfare fund to support residents experiencing difficulties with the impact of Covid-19. Its ‘Be Kind’ fund is ring-fenced exclusively to offer help to those living in CKH homes who have been impacted financially, socially or physically by the coronavirus crisis.

If you’re talking to CKH residents who need support please email their details to  or refer them to apply for the ‘Be Kind’ welfare fund at www.crosskeyshomes.co.uk/be-kind.

Safer Off the Streets partnership working night and day to help rough sleepers

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.

Within 24 hours of the government advising that all rough sleepers should be given temporary accommodation as they are a vulnerable group, the city council and the Light Project Peterborough had housed a total of 25 rough sleepers in individual hotel rooms to encourage social distancing and then mobilised partners who are essential for supporting guests in the hotels including drug and alcohol services, mental health support, medical and prescription services. Currently, support is being provided to 90 rough sleepers and homeless people.

An army of 90 volunteers have kicked into force, many of whom are redeployed council staff, delivering 24/7 services within hours 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 meal per week for 80 former rough sleepers who are now housed.

Steven Pettican, chief executive officer at the Light Project Peterborough, said: “Providing three meals a day has been a military operation – particularly for charities like ours who rely on volunteers and have effectively had their fundraising dry up during Covid-19. We’ve also been providing a listening service, encouraging them to reflect on their current situation and to ask themselves if they really want to return to the streets once they press ‘play’ on their lives again. The feedback we’ve received from individuals who genuinely want to turn their lives around has made this worth it.”

Peterborough Soup Kitchen 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 an 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.

Thursday 30th April 2020

Further support for children affected by domestic abuse

Cambridgeshire County Council is delighted to have been awarded Home Office funding to support children affected by domestic abuse.

A total of £3.1 million nationally will go to specialist services for children who have both been directly and indirectly affected by domestic abuse. This will include one-to-one and group counselling sessions to improve the mental health of children affected and early intervention schemes.

The funding comes at a crucial time as the Covid-19 lockdown has seen increased calls to national domestic abuse helplines and also an increase in children calling specialist helplines about abuse at home.

Just over £400K funding will be coming to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to ensure a number of much needed services are delivered including trauma based therapy for children who have experienced domestic abuse, dedicated children’s workers in refuges and support to help women and children remain safely in their homes.

The Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership website (www.cambsdasv.org.uk) has all the local contacts for anyone living with or experiencing domestic abuse to use, along with information for friends and family of victims as well as information for professionals.

Dr Liz Robin vlog about the NHS being open for business

Dr Liz Robin’s, Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, has released another video blog which has been shared on our YouTube and social media channels. She talks about the NHS still being open for business, and advises that we should still seek urgent medical attention and treatment from GPs and Emergency Departments when we need it – as not doing so can pose a long term risk to our health, both mental and physical.

Watch today’s vlog on YouTube.

Keeping everyone connected

 The Covid-19 outbreak has made us all more reliant on phone networks and internet services to keep in touch, which is why they are designated as ‘critical’ services by the Government. It’s vital that people can keep connected especially at a time when we are being asked to stay at home and practise social distancing.

Mobile phones or landlines are particularly essential for vulnerable people who are self-isolating, and those without internet access, to get food, medicines and other support they need. Many people are also facing financial uncertainty and the more vulnerable members of our communities may need a bit of extra help.

The UK’s major mobile and internet service providers have responded to this by offering a range of support for all their customers, including concessions for NHS frontline workers, the most vulnerable and people in financial hardship due to the Covid-19 situation.

Connecting Cambridgeshire, the digital connectivity programme led by Cambridgeshire County Council, is working with telecoms operators to improve broadband and mobile coverage across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and has put together a Quick Guide to help available from the mobile networks which is summarised below.

Help for everyone to stay connected:

  • All phone users can get free access to all NHS UK online websites with data allowances unaffected, and free calls to NHS 111 and the Non-Emergency 101 service to the Police
  • NHS frontline staff, who are existing customers, can get mobile data access, voice calls and texts at no extra cost when using their personal mobiles for work
  • Vulnerable patients can get generous data allowances to use their mobile phones for video consultations with doctors and health staff
  • People finding it difficult to pay their phone bill as a result of Covid-19 can get support if they inform their provider
  • Vulnerable people – such as those who are Shielded – can get generous mobile and landline packages to ensure they remain connected, including data boosts at low prices and free calls from their landline or mobile, whether on contract or ‘pay as you go’.
  • All providers will remove all data allowance caps on all current fixed broadband services.
  • Vulnerable customers or those self-isolating will receive alternative methods of communication where possible if priority repairs to fixed broadband and landlines cannot be carried out.

Visit the Connecting Cambridgeshire Getting Superfast webpage to check if you can get superfast broadband, and follow the steps to upgrade, or find out about the options available if you can’t get it yet.

St Neots school encourage pupils to ‘reach for the stars’

With the majority of our school-aged children currently learning at home, schools across the region have been thinking up ways of staying in touch and keeping the spirits up.

Staff at Crosshall Junior School, St Neots, wanted to let pupils know they are missing them lots, and to remain ambitious, resilient and kind, while they stay home and stay safe.

Not content with just creating a photo collage to spell out a message, which was no mean feat in itself, the staff went one step further by recreating an old S-Club 7 favourite, encouraging children to ‘follow that rainbow, and reach for the stars’.

While the video is already proving popular online, talk over a greatest hits medley are unfortunately only rumours at this stage.

You can view the video on YouTube.

Isleham volunteers host virtual quiz

Isleham’s extremely active volunteer group is not just focused on supporting the most vulnerable members of their community. Besides daily prescription runs, shopping, gardening and regular phone calls to people living on their own, they are working to keep the whole community’s brains active too.

Each Tuesday evening they run a quiz night hosted by local County Councillor Mark Goldsack. The family-friendly quiz is open to all in Isleham and has already helped to bring together new neighbours and friends – virtually.

The quiz starts at 7:30pm each Tuesday and consists of 100 questions ranging from general knowledge to a celebrity faces round.

The community quiz is set to continue throughout the lockdown period and is hoping for more village participants as the weeks unfold.

Wednesday 29th April 2020

We have listened to feedback and this update will now be issued twice a week on a Monday and Thursday as the Covid-19 Communities Update – sharing news and information to support the work of our local councils, residents associations, community networks, volunteer groups and others helping vulnerable people. The team also produces a newsletter for the hubs network which is issued on a Friday.

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.

Tuesday 28th April 2020

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.”

Monday 27th April 2020

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 

Friday 24th April 2020

Welcome to the first edition of hub highlights

Welcome to the first edition of our newsletter which aims to share news and highlights from the Countywide Coordination Hub and the network of district and city hubs.

I would like to pay tribute to all our staff, many of whom work on the ‘front line’, who have continued to serve our residents under increasingly difficult circumstances. I know that many have been redeployed to undertake vital roles in our response to the Coronavirus outbreak and our continued quest to support residents across the county. Thank you.

The response from our communities has been exemplary. Local councils and volunteers have been quick to set up a support network to provide help to those who need it now and reassurance to those who may need it later. Community spirit is alive and well in Cambridgeshire. Thank you.

Our partners across the whole public sector have come together to work as one, to pool resources, share information, spread the workload and protect the public. District councils, the NHS, carers, voluntary sector, faith groups, police, fire, ambulance and military, and many more. Businesses have also been quick to help, by providing food, transport and premises.

Thank you all.

Councillor Steve Criswell, Chairman of the Communities and Partnerships Committee, Cambridgeshire County Council

Welcome to the first edition of our newsletter which aims to share good news and highlights from the Countywide Coordination Hub and the network of district and city hubs.

We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received from members of the public offering their time as volunteers and from partner organisations who want to support people who need help at this very difficult time. Our staff too have once again shown their commitment to serving the city and its residents. We have always known it, but this has proven once again that community spirit is very much alive in Peterborough.

Staff in the COVID-19 Hubs are working hard to ensure that everybody in Peterborough and across the rest of the county has access to food, medicine and other essential supplies, working in partnership with the Government, public sector partners, the British Red Cross, supermarkets, the voluntary sector, charities and community groups. All of these groups have pulled together in the most magnificent way and we want to share that with you in this newsletter.

I hope the articles included each week will give you a flavour of how people across the city and the whole county are working together to make sure people get the help and support they need.

Councillor Irene Walsh

Cabinet Member for Communities, Peterborough City Council.

Support network available for everyone who needs it

In the past month councils and other organisations across the county have been working flat out to create a network of support to ensure help is available for everyone who needs it during the COVID-19 emergency.

That support network is now in place and everyday hundreds of people are being supported to access food, medicines and in many other ways.

The Countywide Hub is focussed on supporting residents who have been identified as shielding and being of the highest risk. It is ensuring 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.

Our most vulnerable residents who require support are being given access to food, medicines and other important supplies, and broader social needs are being met as far as possible, to minimise anxiety.  Regular deliveries of food to those on the shielded list are also being made directly by the Government.

In addition, the countywide hub organises emergency deliveries of food for people who have specialist food and other items that need collecting, and is delivering PPE seven days a week to GP surgeries, pharmacies, care homes and elsewhere.

For those who are not shielded, but still need help and support, the network of district and city hubs are providing that support for residents responding to individual offers of help or requests for support. This includes support for those who need it to access food and medicine and a befriending service.   They are also connecting with and supporting mutual aid and other community-led initiatives which are taking place on their patch.

Lots of organisations, groups and charities are also offering support at this time, details of which can be found on the Peterborough Information Network or the Cambridgeshire Directory of Services.

Each of the hubs is there to support those people who don’t have assistance from friends, family or neighbours. Therefore, people who can are asked to use their own networks or the support being offered on the directories mentioned above.

The district and city councils have information on their websites about the local hubs including how people can get in touch and access help and support.

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

Countywide Hub supporting thousands of people every week

In the past month the Countywide Hub has responded to more than 2,000 requests for help from people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

As of yesterday (Thursday) the hub had responded to 1,261 direct requests for help and support and a further 781 requests for assistance from those on the shielded list – that’s a total of 2,041 requests for help.

We are so far aware of just over 13,000 people who are on the shielded list – out of a possible 30,000 who may have received a letter from the NHS or been identified by their GP. Of these people, just short of 4,000 have been in touch to let us know that they don’t have a reliable network of local family or friends to help them .

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

If you know someone who needs help and support who we have not made contact with yet, please visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or call 0345 045 5219.

Food parcels delivered to people’s homes

The countywide coordination hub has now delivered 572 food packages to homes where people have no other way of accessing food supplies.

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.

These deliveries are helping people like June (not her real name) who lives in Huntingdonshire and has a terminal illness. She contacted us because the food delivery she received from HM Government did not meet her needs. Her illness means she can only eat vegetarian food which can be easily liquidated; she was grateful for the food delivery she had already received but was very distressed as she could not eat meat pies, corned beef, or some of the other items which it contained.

We arranged for the British Red Cross to do a special shopping trip for June and delivered a package of food to her doorstep. She called us back the next morning to tell us how grateful she was for the council’s response.

Healthy meals for children

The manager of a nursery in Cambridge got in touch with the hub because her staff were unable to obtain food from their normal supermarket to feed the children in their care. They are providing care to the children of key workers—including carers, social workers, nurses and doctors—but were struggling to obtain the ingredients to give the children a healthy, balanced meal.

A local community group was highlighted by colleagues from the Cambridge City Hub, and volunteers are now giving up their time to stand in line at the supermarket and collect food for the nursery. Furthermore, a local fruit company is now dropping off fresh fruit and vegetables at the nursery every week.

Praise for our army of volunteers

None of the work the hubs are doing would be possible without an army of volunteers, including residents and groups who have offered their time and council staff who are being redeployed into different roles.

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council  have so far redeployed 2,297 staff,  and volunteers into roles, which include delivering food and medicines, providing care for people in their homes and delivering PPE and other equipment to organisations across the county.

In the past week volunteers from The Red Cross have been helping the Countywide hub to organise and deliver Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)  to pharmacies.

Due to the overwhelming response we received from the public to our plea for volunteers, we still have a good number who are yet to be allocated roles.

We are matching volunteers to those who need our help every day and also sharing details (with their permission) with the network of district and City hubs, so if you know someone who has offered their time but is yet to hear anything further, please ask them to bear with us.

Spotlight on our partners

Simon Cartwright, Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy’s Submarine Service, tells us how he is using his military planning skills to assist the Countywide Hub.

“Prior to the COVID19 pandemic I was an instructor for an organisation known as Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST), preparing submarines for pending deployments. I have served my country for almost 18 years and I continue to do so to assist in the response phase, leading into the recovery phase for the COVID19 pandemic.

“As part of the MoD’s response and contribution to the COVID19 pandemic, military planners have been deployed all around the UK in order to assist the Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) in dealing with planning operations.

“I have been a part of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough LRF for almost 4 weeks now. I began my work setting up the food distribution hub, supplying food to people on the shielded list. Considering we were starting from scratch and building this operation up from the ground up we had our work cut out for us! In the proceeding two weeks we managed to secure a warehouse, get it fit for purpose, risk assessed, racks fitted and filled with food for distribution. This was a tremendous achievement all involved and a large step towards sustainability. The warehouse then became dual purposed with the delivery of PPE for distribution to a multitude of health care facilities.

I have recently shifted my focus from the logistical efforts to the recovery group and I look forward to working with this new team and taking the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough communities back to normality.”

Thanks for ‘extremely valuable work’

We often don’t hear back from the people who have been helped, but when we do, we discover how much it means to them. We received this response from a gentleman in Cambridge a few days ago.

I am in my late 70s and have a medical condition that makes me officially ‘extremely vulnerable.’ I filled up an on-line form, saying that I needed some help getting essential supplies. I was very worried because I could not get any delivery slots from normal suppliers, like Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, all my neighbours are elderly too so can’t pick up for me, and I cannot leave the house. Today I received a care package, and then a phone call from the shielding team. Thank you so much for this extremely valuable work that you are doing to support people like me.”

Offers of mutual aid

The Countywide hub continues to receive information about mutual aid offers right across the county. These offers of support are being added to either the Peterborough Information Network or the Cambridgeshire Directory of Services, so that people who need help can seek out their own support.

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.

Bright Ribbon Campaign supporting food bank appeal

Villagers in Ashton and Bainton near Peterborough have started an innovative campaign to help vulnerable people in need of essential items.

In conjunction with Peterborough City Council’s on-going efforts to support communities since the coronavirus outbreak, Bainton & 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 food bank 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.

Councillor Irene Walsh, Peterborough City Council’s cabinet member who helped set up the campaign, said: “We’ve had a fantastic response from residents in the villages who are keen to help those in need. And full credit to the parish council who supported the scheme from the outset.

“We have been getting in touch with other parish councils, some of whom are already running schemes of their own and some who are keen to set up their own Bright Ribbon campaign. In Glinton the Good Neighbours Scheme is promoting the food donation point at the NISA store on the High Street. An impressive volunteering scheme is also running in the village, supporting local residents in a variety of ways.

All in all, a fantastic contribution from Peterborough’s rural areas.”

Easter and rainbow boxes delivered to Fenland families

Boxes containing food and Easter eggs have been delivered to families across Fenland thanks to the Cambridgeshire Community Reuse & Recycling Network and staff from Fenland District Council .

During the Easter holidays 200 boxes containing Easter eggs and art and craft activities were delivered to families in boxes donated by Smurfit Kappa.

Boxes were delivered to the Oasis Centre in Wisbech where a wonderful group of community champions distributed them, as did the Rosmini Centre and the food banks in Wimblington and March. The team is planning to deliver more boxes over the next two months, known as rainbow boxes, which will include an indoor or small garden activity pack for children and educational activities.

The partnership, led by Nikki and Chris at the Oasis Centre in Wisbech, has been successful in obtaining a grant to support the development of the project.

Help in Hunts

Over at the Huntingdon district hub volunteers and council staff have also been hard at work sourcing and delivering essentials to vulnerable individuals and families who have experienced difficulties since the lock down began.

Many parcels continue to  be put together and delivered.

Thursday 23rd April 2020

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.

Wednesday 22nd April 2020

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.

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.

Tuesday 21st April 2020

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.”

Monday 20th April 2020

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.

Friday 17th April 2020

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 . 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.

Thursday 16th April 2020

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  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 

Wednesday 15th April 2020

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.

Tuesday 14th April 2020

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 or call 0800 052 0078

Visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/fostering email 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.

Thursday 9th April 2020

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.

Wednesday 8th April 2020

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

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

Tuesday 7th April 2020

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:

Monday 6th April 2020

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.”

Message from Cllr Count – Leader of CCC

Friday 3rd April 2020

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

Thursday 2nd April 2020

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   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 –

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.

Wednesday 1st April 2020

Community Fund offering grants

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.

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 touch

Isleham 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 shielding

Today 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 safely

Across 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 Peterborough

All 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 childcare

A 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 1360
  • Peterborough – 01733 864446 or visit the website

The services will also be available over Easter and the upcoming Bank Holidays.

Council services updates

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

Cambridgeshire – https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/coronavirus/disruption-to-council-services

Tuesday 31st March 2020

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 –

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

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.

Monday 30th March 2020

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

If you have any other queries which are specific for your parish council, please contact

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

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

Friday 27th March 2020

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 bank, Soup 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

Thursday 26th March 2020

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.

Wednesday 25th March 2020

Food and Supplies Donations – Staff at both Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council have been delivering emergency supply hampers to vulnerable young residents in need. Last week, our corporate parenting teams delivered 12 hampers, filled with food, toiletries, cleaning products, books and clothing. These went to young people in care and care leavers. Thank you everyone who donated these items. If you or someone you know owns a restaurant, café or pub which is currently closed, we’re urging you not to throw out food or supplies. Instead you can donate it to us so we can deliver more hampers to those in need. Get in touch with 

News for businesses in Cambridgeshire – Cambridgeshire County Council is leading the establishment of an ‘economic recovery sub-group’ that has been set up as part of a Strategic Coordinating Group (SCG) looking at the impact of Covid-19. Working with the Peterborough and Cambridgeshire Combined Authority the County Council is driving forward the early set-up of this group 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.

Support and advice for businesses can be found on our websites: Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Families follow guidance and help keep children at home – Our schools and early years settings across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough remain open, as they continue to look after those children deemed to be vulnerable, and those of critical workers.

It seems parents across both counties are listening to the advice set out by Government – to keep children at home where safe to do so – with the number of children in attendance much lower than originally predicted.  There are lots of resources on our ‘learn together’ website to help parents who are keeping their children at home.

Jonathan Lewis, Service Director for Education in Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City Council said: “I want to say thank you to those parents who are following the advice of Government and keeping their children at home. You are playing a big part in helping relieve the pressures on the system, and allowing us to prioritise our resources where they are needed most. We are seeing children from critical worker families attending, but I want to reiterate that we will also provide for children who are supported by social care and who have safeguarding and welfare needs.

“We continue to work closely with the Department of Health, our teachers, practitioners and childminders, and have put measures in place to ensure the safety of those children and staff who are in attendance. We are in this together.”

The Government’s definition of critical workers and children who are vulnerable is available here.

Be aware of free school meals scam – We have had reports of parents and carers in receipt of free school meals being targeted by fraudsters. They are contacting parents and carers with messages such as ‘if your child is entitled to free school meals send your bank details to the school and they will help with funding while the school is closed.’

The email contains links for the parents to follow, these emails and links are fake. Do not give your bank details. If you think you have been targeted by a fraudster, do not reply to the email. Instead, contact your school directly.

Funerals/Cremations Grounds/Cemeteries in Peterborough – There will be some changes to these services to take into account Government advice around reducing the spread of Covid-19 and the importance of protecting key workers. These are:

Attending funerals – We will be limiting funeral gatherings in chapels to the immediate family only – including spouse/partner, parents/carers, brothers/sisters, children (and partners of children).

Crematorium Grounds/Cemeteries – These are still open, however please be mindful of keeping at least six feet (two metres) away from other visitors.

Bereavement Services Office – This is closed, although we will take appointments from families to collect cremated remains, however please avoid this if you possibly can.

Waiting Room – This will be closed from today (Wednesday, 25 March). Attendees are asked to stay in their cars until the cortege arrives at the crematorium

Book of Remembrance – This will be closed from today (Wednesday, 25 March), however the inscription can be viewed from the outside of the building and there will be vases available for any tributes left.

Scattering/internment of cremated remains – We will not be taking any further bookings. If you have a scattering/internment booked, a member of the Bereavement Team will contact you.

First day for volunteers – Following our campaign to increase the number of people available to provide care to vulnerable people in their own homes – and keeping them out of hospital – that we launched last week, we’ve had an amazing amount of support with more than 75 new volunteers with suitable skills and backgrounds identified and 12 recruited already.

The new volunteers had their first day of training yesterday (24 March) to help them support vulnerable people in the community. They will be providing personal or health care to vulnerable people in their own homes or in a care setting. This will include showering, giving medication and helping someone use the toilet.

Adrian Chapman, Service Director for Communities and Safety for Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council said: “We would like to thank the volunteers that have come forward so far to help us provide vital services, their contribution has already been inspiring.”

Councillor Steve Criswell, Chairman of the Communities and Partnership Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We’re grateful for the people who are coming forward in these challenging times, if you feel you can contribute, please get in touch and find out who you can help.”

Councillor Irene Walsh, cabinet member for communities at Peterborough City Council, said: “These volunteers are bringing in a range of skills and experience that will be essential to keep people safe and keep providing care and support so thank you.”

If you have experience of personal or health care, please contact us to share your contact details, experience and availability so we can find out more about how you could help.

Road signs in Cambridgeshire – Following a request from the Department for Transport, we will be helping to give consistent and widespread messaging about the need for people to stay at home during the Covid-19 crisis by displaying messages on our road signs.

Bulky Waste Collections in Peterborough – The service will be happening as normal, but we will no longer be conducting face-to-face quoted jobs or estimations.

Child care – With children now being asked to stay at home where safe to do so, more and more parents will be turning to childminders and alternative childcare to help out. The government guidance is clear – children should not be cared for by any friends or family who should be stringently social distancing – such as the elderly or those with underlying health problems.

Parents should also be fully confident they are using childminders who are fully registered. The Council provides a list of these here – CambridgeshirePeterborough 

If you are offered any unregistered provision, or you feel someone may be acting illegally, let Ofsted know immediately by contacting using the subject heading ‘Early Years setting – possibly unregistered’. Help us keep our children safe and well.

Play Areas, Outdoor Gyms and Skate Parks in Peterborough – All will be closed to stop people using equipment on which they could potentially pass on the virus with a message put up clearly at the entrance asking residents to continue using the rest of the open space, while adhering to safe social distancing of at least two metres/six feet apart from others.

Toilets in Central Park, Peterborough – These are now closed, according to the Government guidance on shutting park buildings.

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

Tuesday 24th March 2020

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

Monday 23rd March 2020

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

Friday 20th March 2020

Governance Process

From the NALC website:

On 16 March 2020, local government secretary Robert Jenrick MP addressed over 300 council leaders and sector bodies in a call on the government’s response to coronavirus. He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to supporting councils to focus their efforts on the priority area of social care, providing vital support for vulnerable people and supporting their local economies — read the full press release on MHCLG’s website. NALC is awaiting confirmation that these changes will be applicable to local councils, plus legislation will need to be passed for this to come into effect and we are seeking clarification on the detail. In particular, the MHCLG press release states:

  • The deadline for local government financial audits will be extended to 30 September 2020
  • It will consider bringing forward legislation to remove the requirement for annual council meetings to take place in person
  • It will consider bringing forward legislation to legislation to allow council committee meetings to be held virtually for a temporary period

We will provide further updates as we find them out.

The work on the hub continues to develop, a website is currently being developed to allow easier access to information and self-serve to be able to register offers of help. Already, we are starting to see a great response from both communities & local businesses offering support and supplies.

A Community Reference Group is being established and will meet early next week – this has been mandated by the Strategic Coordination Group and brings together community and public sector partners to co-ordinate community messaging and action, and to feed community intelligence up through the command structure

Please join the fight against scams by registering to become a supporter of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Against Scams Partnership,   become a Friend Against Scams at https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/elearning/Cambridgeshire  and follow @CPAgainstScams on Twitter or Facebook – CAPASP19

Thursday 19th March 2020

Reach out …and help us combat coronavirus together.

Parish Councils

A COVID-19 coordination hub has been launched across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to help those in our communities who are most affected by the Coronavirus outbreak.

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council are working closely with partners to call upon people across the county to get in touch if they can volunteer their time to help others in a co-ordinated effort, which will offer safe support and reassurance county and city wide.

The virtual hub – staffed by a range of council workers –  will manage offers of help, thereby maximising support for communities, working alongside existing voluntary and community organisation partners.

The hub will link those who volunteer, with over 70s and others who fall within the vulnerable groups listed by the Government, who have been advised to self-isolate.

People can email and will be matched with those who need help based on their skills, time and willingness.

Adrian Chapman, service director for communities and safety for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, said: “We are seeing examples across the county of residents and communities setting up support groups which are working really effectively and  mobilising people who can and want to support their neighbours.

“Our hub will work alongside those groups which are already in existence to ensure that together we can reach everyone who needs our support at this incredibly difficult time.

“If you are someone who wants to offer your help, but aren’t necessarily sure how or where you can do so, please get in touch. We will match people to roles which they are comfortable with, ranging from food delivery to personal care.

“We also want to hear from voluntary groups who are doing good work in our communities who might be struggling to continue to offer support because of reduced numbers or resources. Please email us if you need our help to continue doing what you are doing.”

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough hub is in support of a request from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to establish a national network of hubs to provide targeted support for those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

People who are already part of support groups in their community are being asked to continue to do so. Residents who want to help but are not sure where their skills can be best used,  can get in touch with the hub.

NALC and CAPALC

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

Coronavirus Local Info

Hilton Parish Council, in co-ordination with the Town Trust, Women’s Institute, Church and Village Hall Committee, are looking to organise assistance to any family/individual who is having to self-isolate during this period of Coronavirus.

Co-ordination could include:

  • Picking up shopping
  • Collecting prescriptions
  • Posting mail
  • A friendly telephone call
  • Advice regarding setting up Skype or other methods of online communication

Our point of contact is Nicola Webster, Clerk to the Council

Tel: 830605 Email:

Please contact if you would like assistance.

Coronavirus is contagious. Please note that the collection and delivery of items will be undertaken without charge, we will discuss with you how payment can be made for the goods as necessary.

This will be a doorstep delivery service to avoid physical contact.

We are looking for volunteers to help with this community effort, if you can help please contact Nicola.

Hilton Town Trust are also offering financial support to any Hilton individuals or families that are facing hardship as a result of this pandemic. For further information please contact Phil Wood, Clerk to the Town Trust on 830866 or

Further information is available on this website, the community website (www.hilton-village.com) and the Parish Council’s Facebook page.

If you are self-isolating you could use the door sign below to alert delivery drivers and neighbours of your situation. If you are unable to print and would like one of these signs printed for you please contact Nicola Webster – or 830605

Coronavirus door sign

Information regarding local businesses that are offering services to help parishioners can be found on the community website – www.hilton-village.com

The up to date information from central government can be found here:

www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

There is also guidance on the new stay-at-home directive:

Full_guidance_on_staying_at_home_and_away_from_others__1_

Top Tips

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists has produced a poster showing some top tips for staying well whilst isolating. You can find a copy of this poster below:

TopTips for staying well

St Ives and Villages Local Shops

This website has just been set up by a kind parishioner (free of charge). It is a free website to help you get local deliveries, and support local suppliers during the coronavirus pandemic. If you know of any local suppliers or services that should be listed on this website please contact them and let them know.

www.stivesandvillages.co.uk

Playground

Following the recent announcement from the government, the playground is now closed until further notice.

Jigsaw Exchange

Unfortunately, the Church is now closed in accordance with the Government directive so the Jigsaw Exchange is unavailable.

Spectrum

Following advice from the government regarding minimising contact, there will be no deliveries of Spectrum in paper format this month. An online copy can be found on the community website by clicking here

Village I-Spy

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Covid-19 Symptom Tracker

Parishioners are encouraged to use https://covid.joinzoe.com/ to track their symptoms, even if they are symptom free.

By using this app you’re contributing to advance vital research on COVID-19. The app will be used to study the symptoms of the virus and track how it spreads.

This research is led by Dr Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and director of TwinsUK a scientific study of 15,000 identical and non-identical twins, which has been running for nearly three decades.

The COVID Symptom Tracker was designed by doctors and scientists at King’s College London, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospitals working in partnership with ZOE Global Ltd – a health science company.

Please visit the website for further information.

Household Recycling Centres

  • Household Recycling Centres across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – In 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.

Stay at Home Guidance Diagram

This is a useful guide to self-isolating in the case of someone in your household being infected with the virus.

Stay_at_home_guidance_diagram

County Council Support Hub

Please find contact details for the support hubs below:

Covid-19 Co-ordination Hubs info and contacts

A COVID-19 coordination hub has been launched across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to help those in our communities who are most affected by the Coronavirus outbreak.

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council are working closely with partners to call upon people across the county to get in touch if they can volunteer their time to help others in a co-ordinated effort, which will offer safe support and reassurance county and city wide.

The virtual hub – staffed by a range of council workers – will manage offers of help, thereby maximising support for communities, working alongside existing voluntary and community organisation partners.

The hub will link those who volunteer, with over 70s and others who fall within the vulnerable groups listed by the Government, who have been advised to self-isolate.

People can email and will be matched with those who need help based on their skills, time and willingness.

Adrian Chapman, service director for communities and safety for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, said: “We are seeing examples across the county of residents and communities setting up support groups which are working really effectively and mobilising people who can and want to support their neighbours.

“Our hub will work alongside those groups which are already in existence to ensure that together we can reach everyone who needs our support at this incredibly difficult time.

“If you are someone who wants to offer your help, but aren’t necessarily sure how or where you can do so, please get in touch. We will match people to roles which they are comfortable with, ranging from food delivery to personal care.

“We also want to hear from voluntary groups who are doing good work in our communities who might be struggling to continue to offer support because of reduced numbers or resources. Please email us if you need our help to continue doing what you are doing.”

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough hub is in support of a request from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to establish a national network of hubs to provide targeted support for those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

People who are already part of support groups in their community are being asked to continue to do so. Residents who want to help but are not sure where their skills can be best used, can get in touch with the hub.

There is also a video from Cllr Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council and you can watch that video by clicking here

Changes to Cambridgeshire County Council library service from March 23rd

Following the Prime Minister’s words tonight about increasing social distancing by closing many social venues, the county council has taken swift measures to retain key functions of the library service across Cambridgeshire.

The council is doing this in a way which minimises the risk of infection to customers and staff as we face the COVID- 19 pandemic so from next week it plans to focus on an increased digital and online offer, and an appointments based system for all its libraries.

This means that from Monday 23 March, all Library buildings will close but the service is working to create an alternative 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

Government’s Statement on Coronavirus

Government Daily Briefing update – Thursday 7 May

The Government briefing today was led by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

 Key messages:

  • 1,534,533 tests have been completed (86,583 yesterday), 206,715 have tested positive (5,614 yesterday), sadly 30,615 have died (539 since yesterday).
  • Three weeks ago before Easter Government set out 5 tests, then, just as now there were calls to ease up on the restrictions.
  • There’s been a lot of people that have gone the extra mile and helped people in their community.
  • We’ve now passed the peak, NHS hasn’t been overwhelmed
  • Death toll is sobering. There have been challenges in the UK with PPE and care homes
  • Today cabinet was updated on SAGE advice and R level (how many people, on average, will be infected for every one person who has the disease) is between 0.5 and 0.9.
  • Number of new cases and deaths steadily falling
  • Virus is not beaten yet, remains deadly and infectious
  • Because we held firm three weeks ago we are in the position to think about the next phase – this weekend the PM will set out the guidelines for how we will live and work while maintaining the social distancing rules and preventing a second peak
  • This will be a road-map for the next phase, with appropriate measures and appropriate milestones with detailed guidance to inform everyone – guided by the 5 tests and SAGE advice
  • If we see that the R level goes back up we will tighten the restrictions again.

Government Daily Briefing update – Wednesday 6 May

Today’s Government briefing was led by Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick.

Key messages –

  • Prime Minister to talk to nation on Sunday and set government’s approach to the second phase
  • The number of confirmed cases in the UK is now over 196,000
  • UK death toll is now above 30,000
  • More than 1.4 million tests have been carried out, 69,463 tests carried out yesterday
  • 201,101 people have now tested positive
  • 30,076 people have died from coronavirus in hospital, with 649 deaths since yesterday
  • Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has played a vital role by giving £3.2billion pounds of funding to local authorities during this pandemic. As well as setting up 38 Local Resilience Forums across England which are embedded with military planners
  • More than 67 million items of PPE have been delivered in England since early April
  • More than 290,000 boxes per week are being distributed to those who are shielding
  • Councils have paid out more than £8.6billion in grants to businesses
  • Myself as Housing Secretary and the Chancellor have given an additional 5% uplift to local councils for small businesses
  • On Friday we’ll be celebrating the 75th anniversary of VE day, we need to mark this occasion at home.
  • Dr Nikki Kanani, Director of Primary Care for NHS England, paid tribute to primary care workers, GPs, dentists, the unsung heroes, community pharmacists.
  • Prof Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director for PHE, said motor vehicle movement has been slowly increasing, we must still stay at home where we can. She added there are more new cases, as we are testing more people, and the recorded deaths trend is slowly declining.

Government Daily Briefing update – Tuesday 5 May

Today’s Government briefing was led by the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

Key messages:

  • 1,383,842 tests have been undertaken so far (84,803 yesterday), 194,190 have tested positive (1,046 since yesterday) and sadly 29,427 have died (693 since yesterday).
  • We continue to see evidence of a flattening of the peak
  • In the coming days, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) will update ministers on their current advice. The Government will continue to be advised by them, alongside the five key tests.
  • Later on this week the Prime Minister will update the country on measures and decisions to protect the NHS to and to protect the economy. As we consider the decisions we take next, it’s clear that the second phase will be different, there will be a new normal in how we go about our daily lives, travel, work and interact with each other.
  • While vast majority of people and countries have come together there will always be some who seek to profit from it. Cyber criminals, scams and advance persistent threat groups (hackers) who are actively targeting local government, along with pharmaceutical companies etc do exist and are trying to obtain data. A joint statement has been published today by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA)

Any issues which particularly affect staff or the way we deliver services will be picked up in tomorrow’s staff briefing.

VE Day

This Friday marks the 75th anniversary VE Day – one of most important days in recent history, marking an end to the Second World War in Europe and a return to peace. To help you celebrate and commemorate safely in the comfort of your own home, we invite you to join our full ‘virtual service’, which will be online here at 3pm this Friday, with music, memories and speeches to mark the occasion.

Government Daily Briefing update – Monday 4 May

Today’s Government briefing was led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, supported by Professor John Newton, UK Testing Co-ordinator and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam.

Key messages:

  • Our plan continues to be to slow the spread of the virus and protect our NHS. We need to Keep ‘R’ (rate of infection) down
  • We have 3,413 spare critical care beds
  • A total of more than 1.2 million tests have now been carried out including 85,186 tests carried out yesterday, 28,734 people have sadly died from coronavirus across all settings, with a further 288 deaths announced today. Whilst this is the lowest number reported since March it could be lower than the actual number because of delays in reporting deaths over the weekend.
  • From tomorrow the UK will be in a position to carry out a ‘test, track and trace’ programme to identify and track those with symptoms. A trial will start on the Isle of Wight tomorrow. The testing capacity started last week, contact tracing will start tonight and people in the Isle of Wight will be asked to download the app. The pilot will help make sure the app works as best it can and will allow the government to take a more targeted approach to the lockdown while containing the virus
  • Social distancing rules won’t be changed until the government’s five key tests have been met.

Any issues which particularly affect staff or the way we deliver services will be picked up in Wednesday’s staff briefing.

Reopening Household Recycling Centres 

Cambridgeshire County Council is working with its partner Amey to put plans in place to re-open all nine of the county’s Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) from Monday 11 May 2020. The plans – jointly prepared with Public Health England – will make sure that visits to HRCs are safe for residents as well as for employees – with measures in place to ensure social distancing on site. There is more information in this news story on our website.

Government Daily Briefing update – Friday 1 May

The Government briefing today was led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, supported by Professor John Newton, coordinator of the UK coronavirus testing programme and Professor Stephen Powis, Medical Director, NHS England

 Key messages:

  • 122,347 tests have been carried out in 24 hours up to 9am today (Friday)
  • The target of 100,000 coronavirus tests per day has been met
  • Mr Hancock said: “The testing capacity we’ve built will help every single person in this country”
  • 27,510 people have died (739 deaths since yesterday), these are UK deaths in all settings not just in hospitals
  • A new lab coming on stream in Cambridge to expand testing but ‘we have to use testing capacity to focus on care homes to tackle the crisis’. Health and care workers can get a test as a priority through the NHS, or via their employer.
  • A new app will tell people if they have been in contact with someone who has had COVID-19
  • Mr Hancock said: “Tracking and tracing will help us get the R-rate (rate of infection) down and help us lift lockdown measures”
  • Prof Stephen Powis says NHS England has “begun to get on top of this virus”. He added that 84% of adults say they have not left their homes in the past seven days except for the permitted reasons
  • Matt Hancock says now the UK is past the peak, fertility services will be restored
  • He reiterated the social distancing measures and for people to stay home, protect the NHS and to save lives. The five key tests have to be met before lockdown measures are lifted.

Updated FAQs and testing flowchart

Information about the two routes that are available to request tests are included in the updated FAQs and testing flowchart available on the main Covid-19 page on Camweb.

Hub Highlights

The second edition of the Highlights from the Hubs newsletter is out. It aims to share news and highlights from the Countywide Coordination Hub and the network of district and city hubs. Read it here.

Government Daily Briefing update – Thursday 30 April

The Government briefing today was led by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson,  supported by Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer and Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Adviser.

  Key messages:

  •  901,905 people have been tested, 171,253 tested positive, 26,711 people have died (674 deaths since yesterday), these are UK deaths in all settings not just in hospitals
  • Our NHS has not been overwhelmed, our collective effort is shielding the NHS. We are past the peak of coronavirus cases and on the downward slope
  • We will announce plan for next steps next week, which will explain how we get our economy moving, our children back to school, how we can travel to work and make life in the workplace safer and how we can continue to suppress the disease
  • We must satisfy ‘five key tests’ before next steps. It is vital we do not now lose control and we must avoid a second peak

Dr Liz Robin’s, Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, has released another video blog which has been shared on our YouTube and social media channels. She talks about the NHS still being open for business, and advises that we should still seek urgent medical attention and treatment from GPs and Emergency Departments when we need it – as not doing so can pose a long term risk to our health, both mental and physical.

Government Daily Briefing update – Wednesday 29 April

The Government briefing today was led by the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, joined by Prof Jonathan Van Tam, the deputy chief medical officer for England, and Prof Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England.

Key messages:

  • Huge congratulations to PM and fiance for birth of baby boy – both mum and son are doing really well
  • 818,539 tests (increase of 52,429), 165,221 tested positive (increase of 4,075).
  • We are now launching improved daily reporting systems for deaths which cover hospitals, care homes and the wider community. Total who have sadly died after testing positive for the virus are 26,097 (increase of 765 since yesterday).
  • Thanks everyone for observing the minute of silence yesterday.
  • We continue to see evidence of flattening of the peak of Coronavirus – however, we are still coming through the peak, it is a delicate and dangerous moment.
  • Five tests remain key – most critical is that we need to be confidence that any adjustments don’t lead to a second spike and overwhelm the NHS.
  • Eligibility for tests is now being expanded further for over 65s (with symptoms) and those who have to go out to work (without symptoms). Testing capacity is now over 73,000 a day.
  • We continue to work on tracking and tracing capability, which will be key in the next phase of this fight.
  • We continue to source extra PPE through international procurement.
  • £333 million towards vaccines over the next three years.

Government Daily Briefing update – Tuesday 28 April

The Government briefing today was led by the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, supported by Professor Angela McLean, the Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser and Professor John Newton the Co-ordinator of national testing.

Key messages:

  • At 11am today, International Workers Memorial Day, we all paused to remember the keyworkers who have lost their lives to coronavirus
  • Every day we are working through our plan to save lives and protect the NHS, 763,387 people have now been tested, 161,405 tested positive, 21,678 people have died* (586 deaths since yesterday) *this figure only relates to reported deaths in UK hospitals
  • There are 3,260 spare critical care beds across the NHS
  • The Office of National Statistic (ONS) has now published more information and we can report that there have been 4,343 notified deaths that occurred in care homes since Easter. From tomorrow Government will be publishing the number of deaths in care homes and the community as well as those in hospitals. This will supplement the ONS and Care Quality Commission publications
  • Access to testing will be expanded to all care home staff and residents whether they have symptoms or not. Testing will also be available to all over 65s in households with symptoms and all workers who are not able to work from home and anyone in their households with symptoms, for example, plumbers and those in manufacturing
  • We will not change our social distancing rules until our five point coronavirus testing plan is met and there is no risk of a second spike
  • During an 18 day period at the start of the lockdown more than 3,000 fines were issued to those failing to social distance.

Government Daily Briefing update – Wednesday 22 April

The Government’s daily Covid-19 briefing was delivered by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, with General Sir Nicholas Carter, head of the UK’s armed forces.

Key messages

  • 559,539 people have been tested, 133,495 of these have tested positive, sadly 18,100 have died.
  • It’s been tough going for businesses, families and vulnerable members of our society – with immense mental strain on everyone – isolation, debt, etc.
  • We can’t risk a second spike and the impact of a second lockdown on our society and economy
  • This virus has been devastating, no one is arguing against that. However, it has shone a light on our NHS, key workers and our armed forces.
  • Armed forces have been there every step of the way, helping us create Nightingale hospitals, mobile labs etc
  • As a result hospitals have been able to treat more patients.
  • Today armed forces deployed to NHS Nightingale Haringey and Bristol.
  • We used to joke in this country that you can never build a hospital so quickly. We didn’t just build one we built seven.
  • For British people the sight of the military on our streets working side by side with the NHS provides reassurance.
  • We continue to ramp up testing and have distributed over a billion of PPE items to the frontline.
  • We will only come through this if we come through it as a nation and work with partners abroad
  • We have brought over one million stranded British nationals home from abroad and have set up special chartered flights.

Government Daily Briefing update – Tuesday 21 April

The Government’s daily Covid-19 briefing was delivered by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, with Prof Jonathan Van Tam – Deputy Chief Medical Officer, and Prof John Newton – Coordinator of national testing.

Key messages :

  • We won’t lift the lockdown until there is no risk of a second peak
  • Our plan is working and we’re flattening the curve so people need to continue staying at home
  • If anyone needs critical care, they will get that bed and life-saving equipment, we now have 2,963 spare critical care beds
  • 535,342 people have been tested, 129,044 tested positive, 17,681 are in hospital which is down from yesterday, 17,337 people have died (823 deaths since yesterday).
  • We are working with 159 potential UK PPE manufacturers
  • We will throw everything at developing a vaccine and we have two leading projects here in Oxford and Imperial
  • Today we will invest £22.5m to the Imperial project, which will support phase 2 clinical trials and allow them to begin work on phase three. We are also giving £20m to the Oxford team to fund their clinical trials
  • Hancock: I can announce today, human vaccine trials will begin in Oxford this Thursday
  • Prof Van Tam: we are not out of danger yet.

Government Daily Briefing update – Wednesday 8 April

The Government briefing today was led by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.

Key messages:

  • 232,718 have now been tested, 60,734 of these have tested positive (increase of 5,492 since yesterday), 7,097 have now died (increase of 938 since yesterday). Our thoughts are with their family and friends.
  • The Prime Minister Boris Johnson is receiving excellent care. He remains in intensive care where his condition is improving. He has been sitting up in bed and engaging with NHS staff.
  • This virus is indiscriminate – nearly everyone will know someone who has been affected
  • One of our greatest strengths as a country is our charitable effort, there are 170,000 charities registered in the UK and we all need the gentleness of charities in our lives. It gives us hope, it makes us stronger and it reminds us that we depend on each other. Therefore we are pledging:
    • £750m of funding for the charitable sector
    • £300m+ of funding for small charities in villages, market towns and cities who are looking after the vulnerable
    • £360m directly to charities supporting essential services as we battle Covid-19 (Citizen’s Advice, rough sleeper charities etc)

Government Daily Briefing update – Monday 6 April 

The Government briefing today was led by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

Key messages:

  • Our step by step action plan is aimed at slowing the spread to protect the pressure on the NHS
  • This Government has been increasing NHS capacity by increasing beds, key staff and equipment on frontline
  • That’s why we are instructing people to stay at home
  • 51,608 tested positive, 17,911 at hospital. Sadly, 5,373 died – our thoughts are with loved ones
  • This is a powerful reminder of why we need people to follow guidance
  • Prime Minister was admitted to hospital last night as he continues to have symptoms 10 days after getting the virus. He is in good spirits and continues to lead the government.

In addition

  • Government’s single over-riding priority is to defeat the virus
  • We are working with other governments and airlines to bring people home. For those travellers who are still stuck, we are doing everything we can to bring you home
  • Last night the Queen reflected on the national spirit of unity and resolve
  • All key workers are worthy of our applause – supermarket staff, carers etc, as well as NHS

Government Daily Briefing update – Friday 3 April

The Government briefing today was led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Key messages:

  • Slowing the spread of the virus, stay at home
  • We are boosting capacity of NHS, more beds, staff, equipment and treatment
  • Latest figures as of this morning 173,784 tested, 38,168 tested positive, and 3,605 have died
  • In the last 24 hours, two nurses and two health care assistance have died
  • Providing more critical care beds, boosted by over 2,500
  • New Nightingale hospital will be fully staffed in nine days
  • More Nightingale hospitals planned in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow
  • Announced today that two more will be built in Bristol (1000 beds) and Harrogate (500 beds)
  • Every hospital in the country has been expanded.
  • 26 million PPE products have been delivered to 281 different organisations
  • New trials being designed
  • Set up an expert therapeutic task force to search for new medicines for trials
  • Cannot relax social distancing measures. This is not a request, it’s an instruction.

Government Daily Briefing update – Wednesday 1 April

The Government briefing today was led by Business Secretary Alok Sharma and Dr Yvonne Doyle from Public Health England.

Key messages

  • We’ve taken right steps at right time  – the step-by-step action plan is aiming to slow down the virus so fewer people need hospital treatment at the same time
  • From a total of 152,979 people tested in UK – 29,474 have tested positive,
  • Another 563 people in the UK have died of coronavirus – the  youngest was just 13 years old
  • Heartfelt thanks is paid to businesses with a promise that the Government will do it all it can to support businesses and safeguard jobs
  • From today – businesses will benefit from £22bn in the form of business rates relief and grants, Local Authorities have received more than £12m to distribute
  • Government pledges to ensure banks help people in the country
  • Public Health England is concerned by rise in motor vehicle traffic, but there continues to be a decrease in the number using public transport
  • 390m Personal Protection Equipment products have been distributed in last two weeks

Government’s top priority is to increase testing capacity

Government Daily Briefing update – Tuesday 31 March

The Government briefing today was given by Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove.

Key messages

    • 143,186 people have now been tested, of those 25,150 have tested positive
    • Yesterday was highest daily increase of deaths – 381 people died (1,789 overall now)
    • Overall 10,767 have been admitted to hospital, more in London than elsewhere
    • More NHS staff are coming back to the frontline and the rate of testing is increasing, so are the numbers of ventilators and oxygen
    • The time is not to be complacent. We should all continue following the Government’s advice to follow social distancing to help the NHS ensure it has the capacity it needs.

 

In addition

    • Government is working with other countries (including EU) and UK based manufacturers to increase supply of ventilators and oxygen, including Dyson, McLaren and Mercedes Benz
    • Rapid clinical trials on things like anti-malarial treatments which may be able to reduce the impact of Covid-19
    • The Chancellor’s economic package is in place and Government is working with public sector workers to ensure this happens everywhere
    • United national effort in providing food and prescription drugs – working with 750,000 volunteers who are helping at this critical time.
    • Government is working with food suppliers to ensure food is being distributed
    • Thanks to military including helicopter facilities helping with NHS transport across UK
    • Grateful to everyone in the armed forces and the public sector
    • There are signs that transmission is slowing in communities, but we should not be complacent. The next few weeks will be critical.
    • All of us can help by staying at home and saving lives

Government Daily Briefing update – 27 March

Michael Gove, Minister for the Cabinet Office

  • The rate of coronavirus infection is doubling every three to four days. There has sadly now been a total of 759 deaths. This is powerful reminder that we all need to help to slow the spread by following the strict social distancing measures which are in place.
  • We are expanding number of beds and acquiring more lifesaving equipment. We are bringing together a new alliance of businesses, universities and healthcare organisations to boost our testing capacity.
  • Thank all those in frontline of battle against Covid-19 – doctors, nurses, social workers, armed forces and those working in supermarkets.
  • As you will know the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has coronavirus. He is self-isolating at home. He has mild symptoms and continues to lead the efforts against coronavirus.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the National Health Service (NHS)

  • The number of people with coronavirus symptoms who are in hospital continues to grow. We have taken steps to reconfigure hospital services so that we have 33,000 beds to treat coronavirus patients. We are building temporary hospitals at East London, Birmingham and Manchester.
  • Thanks to everyone who participated in the Clap for Carers yesterday. The best way to show support for the NHS is by taking the action to limit infections.

Government Daily Briefing update – 26 March

Chancellor Rishi Sunak with deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries

Key messages:

  • The new scheme for the self-employed would cover 80% of average earnings over the past three years
  • Support will be capped at £2,500 per month and will initially last three months
  • The scheme is open to those with trading profits of up to £50,000 a year
  • HMRC will contact those eligible for grants
  • The scheme is only open to those who are already self-employed and have a self-assessment tax return for 2019
  • Access the scheme no later than June

More from Chancellor Rishi Sunak:

Today announced next steps in the fight against coronavirus pandemic, supporting the livelihoods of the self-employed –  95% of those who are self-employed will benefit from the new scheme.

We are working closely with businesses and trade unions put together economic plan which is starting to make a different. Big companies have said thousands of jobs already being protected

Small businesses are already benefiting from interrupted loans, we’ve had 30,000 enquiries in four days

Local authorities are already informing leisure and retail businesses about not paying business rates this year

We know people are anxious, musicians, plumbers, taxi drivers, hairdressers, childminders. To you – you have not been forgotten.

When asked when the peak is expected, Deputy Medical Director said it’s too early to say but we’re moving in the right direction, so keep following advice.

PM’s key points – March 23 2020

  • 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

PM’s key points – March 20 2020

· We are strengthening measures and need to push further to tackle coronavirus

· We are now telling pubs, cafes, bars, restaurants, gyms, theatres, cinemas, nightclubs and gyms to close tonight except for take-away food establishments

· Please stay at home

· Chancellor – ‘to all those at home now anxious, you will not face this alone’

· He announced a combination of measures which are unprecedented: the government will page 80% of wages for employees who are not working, up to £2,500 a month; the next quarter of VAT payments for firms will be deferred until the end of June; Business Interruption Scheme will be interest free for 12 months; there will be increased universal credit for next 12 months, increased working tax credit, next self-assessment payments will be deferred until January 2021 and finally £1 billion pounds of support for renters.

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 and/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

Information from Huntingdonshire District Council

HDC Services

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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

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.

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

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