COVID-19 UPDATES FROM COUNTY COUNCIL

You will find regular updates from the County Council here

COVID-19 update for all media

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council communications team will be providing a daily media update with a round-up of any changes to council services arising from the Coronvirus

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.


Update Wednesday 27th May

Social workers recognised for brilliant work  The winners of Cambridgeshire County Council’s and Peterborough City Council’s Children’s Services’ Social Work Stars 2020 have been announced.  The awards ceremony was due to take place on 17 March which is World Social Work Day but sadly this was cancelled due to lockdown. However, both councils wanted to make sure that colleagues know they are valued and appreciated for all their hard work, and are now thrilled to be able to announce the results today.  Out of 33 nominations, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Social Work Stars 2020 are:  Knowledge Mpofu from Children in Care South Team 2 – Knowledge was nominated for going the extra mile for young people and one nominee said he stands out as a brilliant social worker in Cambridgeshire.  Emily Hogg from South Family Safeguarding Team 2 – Following Emily’s work with students at ARU, one nominee said her ‘wealth of experience, professionalism and professional leadership skills were inspiring the next generation of social workers’  Sophie Bradley from Hunts Family Safeguarding Children’s Team 1 – Sophie was recognised for her work on a case involving a young person who experienced a number of severe mental health issues throughout 2019. Sophie advocated for an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) for this young person who is now safe in a foster care placement that Sophie helped select.  The winner of Peterborough City Council’s Social Work Stars of 2020 was Bethany Smith from Children in Care Team 2.  Bethany was recognised as a role model for other social workers and her nominee said the service was ‘lucky to have her’. In her feedback, she was described as a ‘competent, reliable and knowledgeable social worker who is making positive changes to children’s lives on a daily basis and securing them permanency.’   Cambridgeshire Day Centre keep their ‘virtual’ visitors up and active Not letting the small matter of a lockdown get in their way, staff at Victoria Lodge in Wisbech have been busy flexing their creative muscles, creating a wide-ranging activity programme that’s keeping regular visitors entertained and active online.   The pilot project, held at the Cambridgeshire County Council run day service for older people and adults with learning disabilities, initially set out to simply offer regular virtual drop-ins and check-ups for the Centre’s visitors.  But it has since morphed into a wider-ranging interactive activity and engagement programme, with users of the day centre putting forward their ideas – even helping run some of the sessions themselves.  Staff at the centre have been overwhelmed by the videos and photos they have been receiving back from those who would usually be attending the centre.  The programme is proving highly successful, but while the cookery classes, gardening and creative photography have already seen some great results, the afternoon danceathon with centre manager, Hayley, is proving a massive hit without forgetting staff member Dave encouraging all the Rhinestone Cowboy’s to get involved in his karaoke. Watch the video here.  With no let-up in interest of ideas, the 8-week programme has been expanded and will keep running for the foreseeable future, enabling prolonged engagement with the vulnerable adults and older people with learning disabilities who use the service.  To see what centre have been up to, including Centre Manger Hayley’s Dance Lessons, check out this Facebook page. Pen pal project connects the young and elderly Children from a Cambridgeshire primary school have been writing letters to older residents in return for a letter sharing memories of VE Day and other post-war experiences.    More than 30 children from The Shade Primary School wrote letters to residents of Soham Lodge Care Centre, as part of Soham Write and Unite, an intergenerational pen pal project. Residents of Soham Lodge then returned letters to the children, sharing their memories and experiences of VE Day and post war.  The project was initially set up by the Connecting Communities team at Cambridgeshire County Council to support communities to feel safe, connected and able to help themselves and others in their community.  There are other groups in the community that have taken part in the project, exchanging letter with elderly residents across the town, including Weatheralls Primary School, Little Wombatz Pre School, Soham Methodist Church, Soham Community Association and Soham Community Group. Soham Handy Helpers distributed letters to elder residents living in isolation in the town.  Library at Home host virtual ‘bank holiday bash’ The Library at Home team supports more than 300 volunteers across the county who select, deliver and collect books and audiobooks for avid readers and listeners who are unable get to their local library. Whilst the Library at Home service is currently on hold, the team have taken to hosting a range of virtual social events for their volunteers, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness during Covid-19.   Each meeting hosts up to 16 guests for the sharing of stories of life in lockdown and valuable time to connect with others during this difficult period. For many volunteers, these virtual social gatherings have introduced them to video conference calls allowing them to apply these digital skills to keep in touch with other friends and family.   The team have been welcoming new faces almost every meeting and have just hosted a successful virtual Bank Holiday bash.  For more information about the service or the events, please contact Fay Boans, Volunteer Coordinator for Library at Home (City, South and East Cambs) and Digital at Home, or Magda Kowalska-Cheffey (Fenland and Hunts) at volunteers@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.  Sharing Communities Updates You are welcome to share this Communities 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 ‘Communities Updates’ from the list under Covid-19.  We are asking City councillors to forward this update to their local residents associations.

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.


Sharing Communities Updates

You are welcome to share this Communities 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 ‘Communities Updates’ from the list under Covid-19.  We are asking City councillors to forward this update to their local residents associations.

COVID-19 update for all media
15 May 2020   COVID-19 update for all media   Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council communications team will be providing a daily media update with a round-up of any changes to council services arising from the Coronavirus.    Please note – this information is correct at the time of publishing.   Friday, 15 May 2020   Council’s Covid-19 Coordination Hub initiative is already providing ’11 out of 10′ support for our most vulnerable – Responding quickly to the Coronavirus outbreak, Cambridgeshire County and Peterborough City Council’s worked day and night with their District and City Council counterparts and other local support organisations, to create a network of linked support hubs across the region – ensuring help was there for anyone who needed it. 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.   “The chap who I spoke to, Phil, listened to me and treated me like a human being. He told me exactly how the Hub were going to help, and everything he said has happened since. Knowing there are people thinking about us, it really is fantastic. The food parcels are keeping me busy in the kitchen, and not having to make the long trip out for food and tablets means I can do short walks with our dog Pepper. I think she was getting even more fed up indoors than we were!   “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, has been working in the Hub for a number of weeks, and says he feels proud to be able to help those who are most in need at this time.   Phil, who had the phone call with Mr Peck and has supported him and many others, recorded a short video to express how it felt to be involved in the work, saying he hoped to able to continue doing it for many months to come. Watch the video here.   Adrian Chapman, Service Director for Communities and Partnerships at Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, and Coordination Hub lead, said: “I really want to thank everyone who has been involved in creating the service from the ground up in a very short space of time. From staff and volunteers, professional services and our district and city partners, everyone involved has shown ingenuity and enthusiasm, and it really is a collaboration of minds and resources. We all have a shared goal, to ensure and uphold the safety and wellbeing of our most vulnerable. We are providing practical support and help to thousands, and are working hard to ensure we reach everyone who needs us most. I believe we will continue to do so for some time yet.” Media interviews are available for this story, please contact the newsdesk for details.   Youngsters are invited to enter a creative competition based on a series of swashbuckling stories, with the chance to win a bundle of books – Peterborough Reads has launched a second writing contest, aimed at children learning from home due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The competition is inspired by James Patterson’s award-winning ‘Treasure Hunters’ books, which are centred around the adventures of the Kidd family. Four siblings – Bick, Beck, Storm, and Tommy need to find their missing parents by hunting for treasure. Their father is a legendary treasure hunter and their mother has been kidnapped by pirates. To enter the competition, you need to produce a treasure map and short story alongside it, imagining that Mr and Mrs Kidd have been hidden in Peterborough.  The map should include landmarks, which can be imaginary, as well as an ‘X’ to mark the spot. Meanwhile, the story should explore the challenges the Kidd siblings must overcome and end with them finding their parents, mentioning the places on the map in your story. The deadline to enter is Wednesday 20 May. Entries should be sent to hannahriley@literacytrust.org.uk, including name, age, and the school attended in the email.  Councillor Lynne Ayres, cabinet member for children’s services, education, skills and university for Peterborough City Council, said: “Reading and creative writing are some of the most important skills a child can learn. Challenging children to explore creative ideas and problem solving, through both reading and writing, allows children to develop the focus and discipline needed for other subjects and later life.   “We have seen previous reading events and activities have made a positive difference on children’s literacy levels and progress, so I would encourage everyone to get involved with the latest Peterborough Reads competition”   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.   Chocolate eggs spread joy at children’s ward – 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. This week some of the eggs were donated to the children’s ward at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, 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.  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 the senior nurses. Distribution to the children’s ward began and apparently the supply didn’t last the hour!    Note to editors: From Monday (18 May), we will be moving from a daily media brief to issuing two joint CCC and PCC media briefings a week on a Tuesday and Thursday. These will focus exclusively on how Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council are dealing with the pandemic.   The rest of the week will revert back to business as usual with separate press releases as and when.   We’d like to thank you all for your help in getting vital COVID-19 messages out to members of the public during the past few weeks.     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 alertControl the virusSave livesSocially distance – stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other peopleWash your hands                                                          Anyone can spread the virus. For guidance on how to stay alert and safe (social distancing)

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.   Sharing Communities Updates You are welcome to share this Communities 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 ‘Communities Updates’ from the list under Covid-19.  We are asking City councillors to forward this update to their local residents associations.

Monday 11th May

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 fostering@cambridgeshire.gov.uk or call 0800 052 0078.

For Peterborough, visit the website or email FosteringandAdoption@Peterborough.gov.uk 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.


Sharing Communities Updates

You are welcome to share this Communities 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 ‘Communities Updates’ from the list under Covid-19.  We are asking city councillors to forward this update to their local residents associations.

Monday 4th May

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


Sharing Communities Updates

You are welcome to share this Communities 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 ‘Communities Updates’ from the list under Covid-19.  We are asking City councillors to forward this update to their local residents associations.

Wednesday 29th April

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.


Sharing Parish Updates

You are welcome to share this Parish Update by forwarding the email to people in your community, who can also subscribe to receive updates from Cambridgeshire County Council by registering and selecting ‘Parish and District Updates’ from the list under Covid-19.  We are asking City councillors to forward this update to their local residents associations.

Tuesday 28th April

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.”


Sharing Parish Updates

You are welcome to share this Parish Update by forwarding the email to people in your community, who can also subscribe to receive updates from Cambridgeshire County Council by registering and selecting ‘Parish and District Updates’ from the list under Covid-19.  We are asking City councillors to forward this update to their local residents associations.

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. Sharing Parish Updates You are welcome to share this Parish Update by forwarding the email to people in your community, who can also subscribe to receive updates from Cambridgeshire County Council by registering and selecting ‘Parish and District Updates’ from the list under Covid-19.  We are asking City councillors to forward this update to their local residents associations.

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.”


Sharing Parish Updates

You are welcome to share this Parish Update by forwarding the email to people in your community, who can also subscribe to receive updates from Cambridgeshire County Council by registering and selecting ‘Parish and District Updates’ from the list under Covid-19.  We are asking City councillors to forward this update to their local residents associations.

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.


Sharing Parish Updates

You are welcome to share this Parish Update by forwarding the email to people in your community, who can also subscribe to receive updates from Cambridgeshire County Council by registering and selecting ‘Parish and District Updates’ from the list under Covid-19.  We are asking City councillors to forward this update to their local residents associations.

Update 17th April 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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


Key highlights from the Countywide Coordination Hub

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

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

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

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

Shielded list

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

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

Access to food

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

PPE delivery to pharmacies

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

Offers of mutual aid

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

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

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


Virtual council meetings to begin in Cambridgeshire 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fire safety in the home

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

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

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

Read the full guidance here.


Help spread sunshine and joy by joining a virtual orchestra

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

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

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

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

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


Sharing Parish Updates

You are welcome to share this Parish Update by forwarding the email to people in your community, who can also subscribe to receive updates from Cambridgeshire County Council by registering and selecting ‘Parish and District Updates’ from the list under Covid-19.  We are asking City councillors to forward this update to their local residents associations

Social distancing measures set to continue for a further three weeks

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

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

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

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

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

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


Key highlights from the Countywide Coordination Hub

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

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

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

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

Shielded list

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

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

Access to food

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

PPE delivery to pharmacies

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

Offers of mutual aid

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

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

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


Virtual council meetings to begin in Cambridgeshire 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fire safety in the home

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

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

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

Read the full guidance here.


Help spread sunshine and joy by joining a virtual orchestra

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

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

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

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

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


Sharing Parish Updates

You are welcome to share this Parish Update by forwarding the email to people in your community, who can also subscribe to receive updates from Cambridgeshire County Council by registering and selecting ‘Parish and District Updates’ from the list under Covid-19.  We are asking City councillors to forward this update to their local residents associations

Information regarding Free School Meals Eligibility

There is no doubt that the current crisis has had a significant impact on the financial circumstances of many families. Thankfully, a Government-led voucher scheme was announced to ensure provision continued over the Easter period, whether eligible children were attending school or not.

How schools provide free school meals continues to be their decision. Where staff and facilities are available and able, some will continue providing and distributing cooked meals or packed lunches, either directly from their in-house provision or through their partner arrangements.

Where they don’t have the option to do this, they will provide parents with vouchers entitling them to £15 per week per child. These vouchers can be spent in most major supermarkets, including Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and M&S.

Parents already in receipt of free school meals do not need to reapply.

However, many families have been negatively impacted and will have seen their financial situation change through this crisis – the result being they may now meet the eligibility criteria.

The message we want to impress upon parents is clear;

  • If you are currently in receipt of free school meals you are still entitled. Your school should be speaking to you directly.
  • If you are not currently in receipt, but your financial circumstances have changed, you should contact us to find out if you are now eligible.

Parents in Cambridgeshire can contact us online here  

Parents in Peterborough can look here, before completing the Parent Registration form, which they sent to fsm@peterborough.gov.uk

Schools have been sharing these messages with parents and we have written a letter for parents explaining the situation. I would appreciate it if you could share this letter with families in your area where possible.

Cambridgeshire letter  / Peterborough letter

For information, the eligibility criteria, set by Government is as follows:

  • Income Support.
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance.
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
  • Child Tax Credit – but no element of Working Tax Credit – and have an annual income (as assessed by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)) that does not exceed £16,190.
  • If you are supported under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
  • Guarantee element of State Pension Credit.
  • Working Tax Credit during the four week period immediately after your employment finishes or after you start to work less hours per week.
  • Universal Credit with an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400 (as from 1 April 2018).

15th April Update

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.


Sharing Parish Updates

You are welcome to share this Parish Update by forwarding the email to people in your community, who can also subscribe to receive updates from Cambridgeshire County Council by registering and selecting ‘Parish and District Updates’ from the list under Covid-19.  We are asking City councillors to forward this update to their local residents associations.

Monday, 13 April 2020

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 the recommendation is to maintain a clear distance of 2m( or six foot) between yourself and anyone else, and  adopt regular and thorough hand washing practices.

Peter Gell, Assistant Director Regulatory Services at Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, said: ‘We recognise that many schools, communities and reputable businesses are producing equipment to help key workers and I’d like to make it clear that these are not the individuals Trading Standards are looking to tackle. We are aware of some masks and hand sanitisers being sold offering ‘Covid-19 protection’ when in fact they do not; and coronavirus home testing kits being sold again claiming to be effective when there is no official products on the consumer market capable of doing this. These are false claims, and pose a risk to the public. I urge the public to be on their guard and report any concerns to Trading Standards.”

Dr Linda Sheridan, Consultant in Public Health Medicine at Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council,  said: “There is a real concern that if members of the public use any of these products, that it could lull them into a false sense of security and lead them to drop their other, more effective precautions of social distancing and frequent hand washing.”

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

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                                                       

09 April 2020

COVID-19 update for all media

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council communications team will be providing a daily media update with a round-up of any changes to council services arising from the Coronavirus. 

Please note – this information is correct at the time of publishing.

Monday, 13 April 2020

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 the recommendation is to maintain a clear distance of 2m( or six foot) between yourself and anyone else, and  adopt regular and thorough hand washing practices.

Peter Gell, Assistant Director Regulatory Services at Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, said: ‘We recognise that many schools, communities and reputable businesses are producing equipment to help key workers and I’d like to make it clear that these are not the individuals Trading Standards are looking to tackle. We are aware of some masks and hand sanitisers being sold offering ‘Covid-19 protection’ when in fact they do not; and coronavirus home testing kits being sold again claiming to be effective when there is no official products on the consumer market capable of doing this. These are false claims, and pose a risk to the public. I urge the public to be on their guard and report any concerns to Trading Standards.”

Dr Linda Sheridan, Consultant in Public Health Medicine at Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council,  said: “There is a real concern that if members of the public use any of these products, that it could lull them into a false sense of security and lead them to drop their other, more effective precautions of social distancing and frequent hand washing.”

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

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.

Anyone can spread the virus.

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.


Sharing Parish Updates

You are welcome to share this Parish Update by forwarding the email to people in your community, who can also subscribe to receive updates from Cambridgeshire County Council by registering and selecting ‘Parish and District Updates’ from the list under Covid-19.  We are asking City councillors to forward this update to their local residents associations.

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.


Sharing Parish Updates

You are welcome to share this Parish Update by forwarding the email to people in your community, who can also subscribe to receive updates from Cambridgeshire County Council by registering and selecting ‘Parish and District Updates’ from the list under Covid-19.  We are asking City councillors to forward this update to their local residents associations.

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.


Sharing Parish Updates

You are welcome to share this Parish Update by forwarding the email to people in your community, who can also subscribe to receive updates from Cambridgeshire County Council by registering and selecting ‘Parish and District Updates’ from the list under Covid-19.  We are asking City councillors to forward this update to their local residents associations.

Cambridgeshire County Council is today (Friday 3 April 2020) asking communities to pull together to reach out against Coronavirus.

Cambridgeshire Against Coronavirus will help people stay connected during self-isolation, particularly those at risk of feeling lonely.

Lots of us who are isolating 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.

However, for some people living on their own, self-isolation can lead to increased feelings of loneliness. These might 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, whether as individuals, groups or businesses.

We are asking people to reach out and help others who may be vulnerable to help them 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 lots of ways we can all keep an eye on people, without the need to make physical contact.

Councillor Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We know that for some people who are self-isolating this could be a very difficult time and could lead to feelings of loneliness. Think about people who you know who might fall into this group and how you might be able to help them, whether it’s a family member, friend or neighbour.

“We must all follow the stay at home message, but we also want people to think about how they can keep in contact with the outside world and keep stocked with food, medicine and other supplies from afar and how they can help others to do the same

“We want to encourage people through this campaign to pull together and highlight the many ways they are already supporting people in their communities and their own household. We want to share stories, so please let us know what you are doing

“Importantly, if you are shielding from the Coronavirus and are in need of food, medicine or other supplies, please contact us via our website at or www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coordinationhub or by calling 0345 045 5219.”

If you are already involved in a community group, volunteering to help people, tell us what you are doing. For example, you may be a local shop offering food deliveries or an IT company supporting people to join social media networks.

You can also share your tips on beating loneliness.

There are a variety of brilliant ideas people are already sharing such from encouraging people to join online singing or exercise classes, putting rainbow pictures or teddy bears in your window to encourage children to spot them.

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 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

Covid-19 Co-ordination Hubs info and contacts.pdf

01 April 2020

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council communications team will be providing a daily media update with a round-up of any changes to council services arising from the Coronavirus. 

Please note – this information is correct at the time of publishing.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

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.

Watch the video here of the couple reuniting using the devices.

The group has said they will do the same every three days so the pair can stay in regular contact.

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.”

Gardening_pic

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 – 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)

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.

Peterborough and Cambridgeshire 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.

Cambridge school ensuring all can learn at home – Abbey College in Cambridge has worked hard to make sure all its students have access to learning materials during the Coronavirus.

Staff from the school have delivered learning packs to all students who do not have access to a PC or the internet, enabling them to carry on learning and keep up with their peers.

Andy Christoforou, Headteacher at Abbey College, said: “This is a difficult and unusual time for all of us but that doesn’t mean our students should have to miss out. Our Welfare Team is committed to making sure that all our students have access to the same learning materials, whatever their circumstances, so that they can continue to learn.

“I’m so proud of the staff here at Abbey College and am grateful to them all for putting together packs of materials, including copies of the resources we’ve been making available online, and sending them out to students.”

Learning packs_pic

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