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Welcome to the January 2019 Cambridgeshire Matters newsletter

Happy New Year! Welcome to the ninth edition of Cambridgeshire Matters, designed to keep you up to date with Cambridgeshire County Council's latest news and features relevant to you and your council. 

Please share this e-newsletter with your councillors and feel free to use any of the features in your own newsletters or social media. 

We had a submission sent to us for this issue from Huntingdonshire Cycling and Walking Campaign Group. If you have an item you'd like to submit for the March issue, please contact us at [email protected]

Latest news

Cambridgeshire Local Councils Conference 2018

Thanks to all of you who attended November’s Local Councils Conference. We had a record attendance of 227 people and 85 Parishes represented.

Participants rated it higher than last year and we’ve had some really good feedback, particularly about the buzzing marketplace and the opportunity to exchange ideas: 

There are lots of parish councils doing lots of good things from which we can all learn”.

Special thanks to those involved in the nine workshops, showcasing local councils who are leading the way on everything from Community Led Housing and Emergency Planning to Renewable Energy and Market Town Masterplanning, along with Cambridgeshire ACRE who organised the conference on behalf of the partnership.

If you are running a great project that you'd like to share, please contact [email protected]

Village Halls Week 2019

Following the first successful Village Halls Week in 2018, the ACRE Network will be running a further Village Halls Week from 22 January to 29 January 2019.

Locally, Cambridgeshire ACRE will be facilitating a programme of events to celebrate the village halls in our county.  They have decided to look at themed areas throughout the week, highlighting different aspects of why village halls are important to our communities. 

Find out how you can get involved and view an outline of the programme on https://cambscommunitybuildings.wordpress.com/training-events/village-halls-week-2019/.

Consultation on County Council Business Planning - survey open until 31 January

As the fastest growing county in the UK, demand for council services is growing and we are having to continually adapt what we do. 

Cambridgeshire County Council is gathering views about local communities, council services and proposed changes to council tax. The views of parish councils and parish councillors matter, so sharing your views will help us better understand what is important to your community and what we should take into consideration when setting council tax rates.

Parishes will have already received this information, but if you haven’t already responded you have two weeks left as the County Council's online survey will only be available until the end of January 2019.

Complete the survey

If you have any queries, or require the survey in a different format, please email Cambridgeshire County Council's Research Group at [email protected]

Support Cambridgeshire Funding Portal

Support Cambridgeshire 4 Community is a free self-service portal which enables voluntary and community organisations, including local councils, to search and apply for grants to support their work. It contains details of grants, loans, venture capital, awards and other funding suitable for community-based projects.

You can access the portal here: https://www.idoxopen4community.co.uk/supportcambs

We would encourage all local councils to register, visit and use the site as much as possible and please mention to any local groups in your community that are looking for funding too.

Highway events - 2018 review

Last year saw over 330 events happen on the county's roads with Huntingdonshire having the most (89), followed by Cambridge City (77), South (73), East (55) and Fenland (35).

As always, these events came in all shapes and sizes from street parties to mass participation in the Cambridge Half Marathon and Tour of Cambridgeshire events, and have brought communities closer together and raised countless funds for charities.

Special events in 2018 included the funeral procession of Professor Stephen Hawking and the marking of 100 years since the end of the First World War which was remembered through over 30 remembrance parades and events.

With these remembrance events in mind and a change in policy around the use of police at pre-planned events, Cambridgeshire County Council was able to facilitate a number of training courses to enable members of the public to become familiar with the Traffic Signs Manual Chapter 8 guidance. By completing the training courses local parishes were able to meet the requirements of having trained personnel implement temporary traffic management on the public highway meaning they could facilitate their own events safely and with confidence without the need of police resources.

Key 2019 event dates for your diary

  • Sunday 3 March - Cambridge Half Marathon
  • Sunday 12 May - Sawston Charity Fun Run
  • Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 June - Tour of Cambridgeshire
  • Sunday 20 October - Cambridge Town and Gown

The Highways Team would like to say a big thank you to all of you. Highway events by their very nature impact on day-to-day movements and often the operations parish councils run - and it is only with your cooperation and flexibility that these events run so successfully.

As always, details of all known highway events can be found on our highway events page.

Want to know more about Traveller encampments or need advice?

Would you like to know more about traveller encampments or need some advice?

Parish councils are being given the opportunity to get advice about illegal encampments from Cambridgeshire County Council’s traveller liaison officer George Hay.

George can help with both responsive and strategic help around managing unauthorised encampments. If you’d like to know more or ask George for some advice contact him at [email protected]

New opportunity for churches

From left to right: Nick Amis (Cinnamon Network), Chief Executive Gillian Beasley, Cllr Steve Criswell (Chair of Communities and Partnership Committee) and Paul Garratt (Cinnamon Network) at the launch of the partnership last month.

Gillian Beasley recently launched an exciting new countywide partnership with the Cinnamon Network.

Cinnamon Network successfully secured funding from the County Council’s Innovate and Cultivate Fund to give 5 churches the opportunity to start tried-and-tested projects that reduce demand for either children’s or adults' services and will make a lasting difference in Cambridgeshire’s communities. Cinnamon Network are offering £2,000 micro-grants and significant training and start-up support. Churches can apply on the Cinnamon Network website by 31 January 2019.

Please share this information and encourage your local churches to apply.

Huntingdonshire Registration Service moving to Huntingdon Library

Work is underway to relocate Huntingdonshire Registration Service customer appointments, and associated support services, into Huntingdon Library. This exciting opportunity also increases the library footfall and the number of rooms available for hire. The aim is to complete the move in February / March 2019. 

Both teams already work closely together and are looking forward to developing this partnership further, to the benefit of both services. 

Huntingdon Library will continue to operate as usual throughout the relocation period with minimal disruption to services. 

Ceremonies will continue to take place in Lawrence Court whilst the Registration Service records are already due to relocate from Huntingdon into the new Cambridgeshire Archives building in Ely during late summer 2019.

Reconstruction work to start on Boots Bridge in Manea

The existing Boots Bridge.

Work to reconstruct Boots Bridge on Manea Road, Wimblington began on Monday 7 January 2019 for almost five months.

The current concrete bridge deck, which is the top surface of the bridge, was first built in 1931 and needs upgrading because it’s now deteriorating.

The bridge work started after UK Power Networks diverted power cables.

The existing bridge deck will be demolished and the abutments which support the bridge reused, before the new bridge surface is built.

The new bridge has been designed to improve safety at this road junction with Sixteen Foot Bank. The new parapets, which will be a protective wall along the edge of a bridge, will see steel posts and safety barriers installed to improve visibility.

To keep disruption to a minimum, additional work at the junction with Sixteen Foot Bank including improving signage, white lines and cutting down vegetation and new high friction grip surfacing, will be completed at the same time.

The B1093 between Manea and Wimblington will be closed while the work is being carried out and a diversion via New Road, Chatteris will be in place. The Stagecoach 56 service will continue to run via Upwell Road, March to and from Manea.

The Sixteen Foot drain will also be closed for navigation until the new bridge deck is in place.

Babraham Road Park & Ride - Energy Investment Unit public outreach

From mid-January to early February 2019, members of the Energy Investment Unit will be out in Babraham and Great Shelford talking to residents and business owners about their innovative clean energy projects. 

In Babraham, a 2MW smart energy grid is being developed for the Park and Ride site.  The main components of a smart energy grid are solar generating modules mounted on carports and battery storage.  No loss of car parking spaces will be experienced.  The clean energy produced will meet the site’s needs and produce excess for sale onto the grid, further reducing the carbon intensity of electricity used elsewhere.  We’re in the early stages of development and construction is anticipated to start in 2020. 

More details on the public consultation will be made available on the events tab on the MLEI website.

Stanground and Woodston, Peterborough - Energy Investment Unit public outreach

Clean energy projects are being developed on two closed landfill sites owned by the County Council and located in Peterborough.  The Council is unable to repurpose the sites for development without significant investment to ensure the sites are no longer contaminated land.  To make the best use of Council assets, a 2.25 MW solar farm plus battery storage has been scoped for land in Stanground and a 3MW battery project is being developed on land in Woodston.  

These projects are contributing to national carbon reduction targets while generating revenue streams for vital services, the 3 projects have a combined 25 year net return of over £70m.

More details on this public consultation will be made available on the Events tab on the MLEI website.

Street lighting upgrade - A1 (M) Junction 17

Work is being carried out to replace the existing street lighting at the A1 (M) Junction 17 roundabout with new street lighting columns and LED lanterns and new illuminated signs. The new lanterns will improve the standard of the street lighting on the roundabout to bring it in line with County Council standards. Work will be carried out overnight and at off peak times from Monday 14 January until Sunday 27 January (with traffic management in place).

We do not expect any significant disruption to the travelling public as the works will be carried out as noted above at night / off peak times.

LED lantern replacement project - complete

50,000 Reasons Christmas campaign

There are 50,000 people over the age of 65 in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who may be at risk of loneliness. 

The Public Health-led ‘Ageing Well’ steering group has identified loneliness and social isolation as a key priority – and as part of its work has supported the County Council’s Communication Team to develop the ’50,000 reasons’ Christmas campaign.

The loneliness prevention campaign launched in December 2018 and received excellent support from local people, regional audiences and partners. 

The campaign aimed to encourage people to do small acts of kindness that could have a big impact on the 50,000 people at risk of loneliness across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, such as greeting elderly neighbours with a smile or a wave, sending a Christmas card to older people in your street, or organising an informal ‘mince pie moment’ and including older neighbours in the invitation. 

Around 800,000 accounts were reached on Twitter, with 155 tweets and 87 contributors taking part.

On Facebook around 40,000 people were reached via the Council’s corporate Facebook page. 

BBC Look East and BBC Radio Cambridgeshire also covered the story. 

View the BBC Look East feature

The ‘Ageing Well’ steering group is working with the national Campaign to End Loneliness, and further initiatives will be developed during 2019.  

50,000 reasons

Dry January

The driving force behind the national campaign Dry January is Alcohol Research UK (formerly Alcohol Concern) and Cambridgeshire County Council is supporting the campaign locally. 

The aim of the campaign is promote awareness and to start new conversations about alcohol and the challenge is for an individual to go alcohol free for 31 days. Dry January started in 2012 when 4,000 individuals signed up nationally. Last year around 4 million people took part. “It’s a chance to feel great, have more energy and save money.” 

We know only about 20% of high risk drinkers seek help from alcohol treatment services at any one time. Following a successful campaign last year, the County Council is joining forces with our pharmacy partners to deliver the Dry January campaign to 108 pharmacies simultaneously across Cambridgeshire. Pharmacy staff will be having conversations about alcohol use prompted by colourful and engaging alcohol scratch cards and promoting the key campaign messages of Dry January. For members of the public who need more support they will be referred to our commissioned alcohol misuse service operated by Change Grow Live (CGL).

For further information about alcohol impacts and support services visit: https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/be-well/your-health-and-wellbeing/alcohol-advice/

For more information about Dry January visit: https://alcoholchange.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/dry-january.

Winter health packs

As in previous years, Public Health has been distributing the Stay Well Winter Health packs. These packs include tips, information, key contacts and resources to keep our most vulnerable groups stay well and warm during the winter months. At present, Public Health, with support from the Library Service and members of the multi-agency Stay Well Steering Group have disseminated around 17,500 packs to a wide range of organisations, communities and parish councils. Another 2,500 has been allocated to the ongoing Stay Well Pharmacy Campaign. 

These packs continue to be very popular with many parish councils, who are again identifying and distributing the packs to vulnerable members of their communities e.g. older and frailer people, young children from impoverished families, and those who are more deprived. 

If you or your parish council have not yet received any Stay Well Winter Health packs, please contact the Library Service on [email protected], who are now holding local parish council stock ready for distribution.

Healthy Fenland Fund

The Healthy Fenland Fund (HFF) programme has been commissioned by County Council Public Health since January 2016. The fund may be accessed by individuals or groups in Fenland who want to develop activities or projects that they think will improve health and wellbeing in their community. It therefore aims to strengthen the community by supporting the “building blocks” for a specific project that addresses a community issue. The HFF programme staff, who support residents to develop their initiatives are managed by Care Network, and the allocation of the fund is administered by the Cambridge Community Foundation. 

The HFF recently celebrated its forthcoming third birthday at the Oasis Centre in Wisbech. People involved in many of the projects funded by the HFF or supported by the community development team were present to talk about the work they undertake in their communities. 

To date 108 community projects have been supported by the team and an impressive 74% of them are self-sustaining after receiving initial development and funding from the HFF.


Let’s Get Moving - funding extended

 ‘Let’s Get Moving’, funded by County Council Public Health, is a Cambridgeshire-wide physical activity programme that aims to increase levels of physical activity especially in areas and groups with high needs.

It was developed as a collaborative initiative between the district and city councils - which lead local delivery - their partners and Living Sport, the County Sports Partnership. ‘Lets Get Moving’ has a key role in the delivery of the Cambridgeshire Healthy Weight Strategy with its central themes of collaboration across the system to support healthy behavioural change and communities taking responsibility for their health and wellbeing.

Delivery of the programme started in July 2017 and was funded to run for two years. The Health Committee recently received an initial evaluation report for the first 15 months of the programme which indicated that it had an impact in communities across the county. To ensure that enough evaluation data is collected to fully demonstrate the impact of the programme, the Health Committee agreed at its December meeting to fund ‘Let’s Get Moving’ for a further year, until June 2020.


Huntingdonshire Cycling and Walking Campaign Group

 Huntingdonshire Cycling and Walking Campaign Group (HCWCG) is a new group that will be formally launched in February 2019 to improve conditions for people who cycle and walk in the towns of Huntingdon, Godmanchester, St Neots, St Ives, Ramsey and surrounding villages. For now the group is looking to build up a membership base of people who would like to see improvements in our cycling and walking infrastructure to help encourage active travel, healthy and safer streets: https://m.facebook.com/groups/915196732012062 

“We aim to be a strong and independent voice for cyclists and pedestrians throughout Huntingdonshire.  Our aim is to ‘make cycling and walking normal’ by advocating for improvements to our cycling and walking infrastructure, to make our streets safer and healthier and to create safer routes to school for all school children. 

“We hope this will encourage more people to cycle for work and pleasure, leading to fewer cars on our roads, less congestion and a safer and healthier environment for all. Promoting #HealthyStreets for all. 

“New members always welcome.”  


  1. Please click on the Facebook link if you would like to join the Huntingdonshire Cycling and Walking Campaign Group and join in the debate. You don’t need to be a cyclist or pedestrian to join in the discussion. Horse riders, mobility scooter riders and other vulnerable road users are most welcome to join as indeed are car drivers. 
  1. If you wish to promote healthy and active lifestyles please can help spread the word by forwarding this message to at least two people who care about our environment.                 

In the longer term it may be possible to extend this group to cover the whole of Cambridgeshire.

The Library Presents

Spring Programme out now! 

Tickets are available for all activity from 2 February to 25 May. The programme is really wide-ranging and includes many family shows, folk music, magic and drumming workshops. Take a look at the brochure at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/arts.

Twenty two libraries will be involved in the Spring 2019 Programme, with new additions Burwell, Great Shelford and Rock Road Libraries joining the programme as hosting libraries.

If you visit our webpages, you’ll see we’re already looking for artists to work in our libraries in the Autumn 2019 season, and advertising for an artist to work with adults with learning disabilities in the Spring. This is all possible through Arts Council funding over four years. 

Scams awareness 

More than 20 organisations have signed up to a new partnership to intensify the fight against scams and to make Cambridgeshire and Peterborough a scam-free county.

Led by Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridgeshire Police, the Against Scams Partnership unites more than 20 organisations, including Peterborough City Council, Trading Standards, Age UK, Neighbourhood Watch and NatWest Bank, who will work together to raise awareness of scams and to support victims of scams.

According to Action Fraud, 53% of people aged 65 or over have been targeted by scams and criminals. Being a victim of this crime can have devastating impact. These crimes are often targeted at people in our communities that are vulnerable for a variety of reasons, including poverty, isolation, frailty, disability, cognitive impairment, and by the very nature of them being specifically targeted.

Anyone can be a scam victim, regardless of age, gender, education or economic background; partners are committed to act on the Against Scams Partnership four key aims:

  1. Improve awareness of scams
  2. Increase protection for everyone, and especially vulnerable people, against scams
  3. Implement consistent recording of scams and improve referral processes
  4. Improve support for potential victims of scams

You can join us in our Friends Against Scams campaign by taking part here: https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/elearning/Cambridgeshire.

If you think you or a relative, friend or neighbour have been the victim of a scam or fraud or you are concerned about a possible scam or fraud, please report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. 

New Boost Your Broadband website 

Connecting Cambridgeshire has welcomed the new Boost Your Broadband campaign launched by Ofcom to help people get better broadband deals.

The new dedicated website www.boostyourbroadband.com aims to encourage more homes and offices to take up superfast broadband and urges customers to check they are not paying more than they need to for their broadband deal.

The campaign aims to demystify the broadband market, especially for people who would like more clarity about speeds, prices and contracts. The UK telecoms regulator has also begun a review of broadband pricing to ensure customers get clear, accurate information from their provider about the best deals they offer.

Connecting Cambridgeshire will be launching their own take-up campaign in the New Year to remind residents and businesses in areas where superfast broadband is available that it’s not automatic – you need to upgrade to get faster speeds and may also find its cheaper than staying on your old contract.

The superfast broadband rollout has reached over 96% of premises across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, which is above the national average, and the county has seen some of the highest take up in the country – now close to 60%.

Residents can use the postcode checker  on the Connecting Cambridgeshire website at www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk to check if superfast broadband is available or planned for their address. 

Preparing for Brexit

Across Cambridgeshire County Council, the particular impact on our services of Britain leaving the EU has been discussed (at the time of writing this is still due to be on 29 March 2019).

We are working hard as a Council to develop plans to maximise any opportunities which arise, and also to mitigate and manage any risks to the way we do business and support vulnerable people.

The Council’s plans to date are due to be discussed at Audit and Accounts Committee later in January, but in the meantime please look at and share the national government advice and information materials here and highlight them to staff or commissioners you are working with:

Advice for residents who are EU citizens – sign up here for alerts.

Communications materials for businesses, organisations or local authorities to communicate details about the EU Settlement scheme to their wider communities.

A ‘No deal’ Brexit - the Government has also released a series of no deal guidance notices to offer advice on how to prepare should the UK and EU not reach a deal, and a Partnership Pack to enable businesses to prepare. 

EU Settlement Scheme grant funding

The deadline to apply for grant funding to help vulnerable groups apply for the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) is under a month away: 12pm on Friday 1 February 2019, so here is a quick reminder about the deadline and how to apply. 

The Home Office has pledged £9 million of grant funding, available to voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations to help vulnerable or at-risk EU citizens needing additional support when applying for the EUSS. 

Ensuring that vulnerable or at-risk EU citizens and their families are supported to obtain a status is a critical objective in the delivery of the EUSS and the grant funding. The Home Office will set out to create a network of funded organisations to ensure that a range of services are mobilised across the UK, so that support and assistance to apply for the EUSS is available to meet those who require the most support. 

Extensive engagement with VCS organisations has also helped to shape the development of the grant funding. Following insight gained during the market engagement, there will be two levels of award: 

· Level one – to fund grant projects from £5,000 up to £39,999; and
· Level two – to fund grant projects from £40,000 up to £750,000.

Organisations are invited to submit proposals as to how they can support the diversity of needs of a diverse EU citizen population to make their EUSS applications. The application period for bids will close at 12pm on 1 February 2019.  

For more information, and to take part in the grant funding opportunity, please click this: goo.gl/zzcnEV

We would be grateful if you could ensure that organisations you work with who may be interested are sent this information. The Home Office is keen to get as many responses as possible to ensure that communities get the support they need.

Gritting equipment reminder

With gritting season upon us, please can all parish volunteers check their gritting equipment. If you need spares please email [email protected] or speak to your local highway officer and we will get them delivered.

Don’t forget to visit our news pagelike us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to keep up-to-date with the latest announcements.

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