Cambridgeshire Matters Newsletter - January 2020

Welcome to the January 2020 Cambridgeshire Matters Newsletter

Welcome to the January 2020 issue of Cambridgeshire Matters. The newsletter 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 newsletter with your town or parish council colleagues and feel free to use any of the features in your own newsletters or social media.

If you have an item you'd like to submit for future editions, please send your submissions to

Cambridgeshire Matters goes out bi-monthly in the middle of the following months: January, March, May, July, September and November.

Village Halls Week - a time to celebrate

Village Halls Week 2020 banner - 20 to 26 January 2020 - celebrating England's village halls

It’s not long now until the annual Village Halls Week celebration (20 – 26 January 2020). It's a time to shine a light nationally on the wonderful network of village halls and community buildings across the country and, more importantly, the fantastic volunteers and staff that keep these facilities open all year round come rain or shine!

Many community buildings are run by local councils and we’d love for them to take part in this week too. There are two ways you can take part this year:

Share your History - Thursday 23 January 2020

Share your hall’s history on social media by using the hashtags #tbt and #villagehallsweek. You could put up old pictures or past flyers, detail significant guests, share an old film or write an article on your history.

National Open Day – Saturday 25 January 2020

Many halls across the country will be holding an open day as a great opportunity to get new people involved in running the building, to set up new user groups, to boost community engagement or to get a visit from their local MP.

For more information or support with Village Halls Week activities, please contact Lisa Chambers at Cambridgeshire ACRE on 01353 865 048. 

Deadline 1 February for the Innovate and Cultivate Fund

The next deadline for Innovate and Cultivate Fund (ICF) applications is 1 February 2020.

The aim of the fund is to support initiatives that strengthen communities and reduce pressure on County Council services, thereby giving a return on investment. Council services that are inviting applications are adult social care and children and families services. 

The fund is open to voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations based in and outside of Cambridgeshire, and public sector organisations including parish councils in Cambridgeshire.

There are two funding streams: a ‘Cultivate’ fund for smaller projects that build community support networks and an ‘Innovate’ fund for bigger, bolder and more innovative initiatives. 

New Cultivate ‘Seed’ Fund Projects

Guidance has been developed on starting Cultivate Seed Fund Projects that can help people to remain independent and active within their community, encourage volunteering and complement more costly council services. Projects include Timebanks, Good Neighbour Schemes, Dementia-Friendly Communities and Men’s Sheds. Visit the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation website for details. 

Upcoming application deadlines

  • 1 February 2020 – Cultivate grants (£2,000 – £19,000) and Innovate grants (£19,001 – £50,000)
  • 1 May 2020 – Cultivate grants only (£2,000 – £19,000)

More details can be found on the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation website.

Peer Learning and Networking Event on the Local Council Award Scheme

Attendees watching presentation

Cambridgeshire Local Councils Peer Learning and Networking Event on the Local Council Award Scheme
Tuesday 31 March 2020, 1pm - 3.30pm
Swavesey Memorial Hall, High Street, Swavesey, CB24 4QU

The Local Council Award Scheme (LCAS) is designed to celebrate the successes of the very best local councils and to provide a framework to support all local councils to improve and develop to meet their full potential. Take-up of the Scheme has been relatively low in Cambridgeshire and when we last surveyed local councillors and clerks, many told us that their awareness of the Scheme, what’s involved and what the benefits might be, was limited.

We are therefore bringing the National Association of Local Councils’ Head of Member Services, Charlotte Eisenhart, to Cambridgeshire to talk about what the scheme has to offer local councils. Three Cambridgeshire parishes who’ve reached different levels within the scheme will also speak about their experiences so you can hear at what’s involved from peers who have been through the process.

We very much hope that lots of local councils will send along a representative (clerks and councillors equally welcome) to hear more. We’ll provide tea and cake and there’ll be lots of opportunity to talk to each other and make new contacts with other councils.

Book a place by Monday 23 March 2020 and we'll send a reminder with joining instructions to everyone who books one week prior to the event.

This event is being organised by Cambridgeshire ACRE in association with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Association of Local Councils, the Society of Local Council Clerks Cambridgeshire branch, the county's district councils and Cambridgeshire County Council. It is one of a series of events scheduled to address issues raised by clerks and councillors in their responses to our biennial surveys completed in 2019. Any enquiries should be addressed to Lisa Chambers at Cambridgeshire ACRE on 01353 865 048 or by email to

Stay Well this Winter pack

As in previous years, Public Health, with support from the Community Health Information Service (provided by the Library Service) and members of the multi-agency Stay Well Steering Group, is currently disseminating its 20,000 Stay Well this 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, 14,000 packs have been delivered to a wide range of organisations including hospital transfer teams and pharmacies. These packs continue to be very popular with many parish councils, who are again identifying and distributing packs to vulnerable members of their communities.

If you or your parish council have yet to request any Stay Well Winter Health packs, please contact the Library Service on, who are now holding local parish council stock ready for quick distribution.

If you would like to receive further information about these packs however, please email

Superfast broadband is here - have you got it yet?

Most households and businesses across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough can now access superfast (and faster) broadband – but residents are being reminded it’s not automatic, you need to upgrade to get higher speeds.

Research by Ofcom shows that customers may be paying more than they need to on existing broadband contracts, so it’s worth checking if you can switch to a better deal.

The Connecting Cambridgeshire programme, led by Cambridgeshire County Council, is highlighting the availability of superfast broadband and encouraging residents to switch to get the speeds they need.

The superfast broadband rollout has now reached over 97% of premises across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and plans are underway for a further phase of the rollout to fill remaining gaps in coverage.

Over two-thirds of homes and businesses in the county have already switched to fibre-based broadband, which is much faster and more reliable for work, learning or leisure.

Increasingly, newer Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) technology is being used to extend the fibre network, which means some premises can access future-proof speeds of up to 300Mbps, through a growing number of Internet Service Providers.

Residents can use the postcode checker on the Connecting Cambridgeshire website to check if superfast broadband is available or planned for their address, and find out how to upgrade to faster broadband.

Ofcom’s independent website Boost Your Broadband has useful tips to help people decide what speed they need, and how to get the best deal.

There are also several Government funded Gigabit voucher schemes with up to £3,500 available for businesses and up to £1,500 for residents interested in improving their current broadband speeds in group schemes. Find out more on Connecting Cambridgeshire website under Funding Schemes.

Climate Change and Environment Strategy - communities invited to have their say by filling out our online survey

Following its declaration of a Climate and Environment Emergency in May 2019, Cambridgeshire County Council is developing a Climate Change and Environment Strategy and Action Plan and needs your help.

The strategy outlines how the council will:

  • reduce the carbon footprint of the council and the county
  • help communities adapt to the change already happening
  • enhance nature and the benefits it provides.

As part of the strategy development, the council is keen to understand what the wider community thinks of the targets and actions it plans to set itself and its suppliers, and how it can work to help community action to accelerate this.

The consultation began on the 20 December 2019 and you have until the end of the month to take part (31 January 2020). If you have platforms to get the survey out to your own local residents please help spread the word by sharing the online survey link.

Should you wish a member of the project team to be present when the strategy is discussed at your next council meeting, please let us know and this can be arranged. Please email with any requests or queries.

Read the press release about the strategy launch. More details about what the council is doing following the climate emergency declaration can be found on the MLEI website.

Combatting climate change in Cambridgeshire is everyone’s business

'We aren’t a council that rests on its laurels’ said Cllr Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council as the council launched its draft Environment and Climate Strategy just before Christmas.

The council is aiming to put its own house in order to reduce its impact on the environment, as well as bringing its own influence to bear on suppliers and partners. The council is inviting as many residents and organisations as possible to look at the strategy and have their say. If you have platforms to get the survey out to your own local residents please help spread the word.

The online survey is available to complete until 31 January 2020.

Thinking about fostering - can you offer children a home?

Two small children ice skating

The fostering service is asking people to consider becoming foster carer’s and welcome a child into their home.

You need to be over 21, have a spare bedroom and be available to care for children and teenagers.  

There is an urgent need for more carer to look after teenagers, brothers and sisters. Fostering can fit in with your lifestyle so call us now to find out more.

We offer generous allowances, a start-up package and 24 hour access to advice and support.

 You can be:

  • Married, single or living with a partner
  • Living with a disability
  • In a same sex relationship
  • In work, unemployed or retired
  • Living in your own home or renting

If you would like to register your interest then email or telephone 0800 052 0078. You can also visit our fostering webpages.

Cambridgeshire Insight - local area profiling

Cambridgeshire Insight recently attended the Cambridgeshire Local Council Conference and delivered a workshop to many of you on how local councils and communities across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough can use the Cambridgeshire Insight website to gain greater insights into your local area.

The feedback from a number of attendees at the event was that it would be beneficial for them to share a direct link to all parish councils, particularly to the local parish headline data profiles.

They have put together the following infographic that summarises the website which includes direct links to a number of their key features, including to the local parish profiles.

Size: 1.63MBFile format: pdf

Cambridgeshire Insight and Think Communities 

Through recent engagement with local communities, the Cambridgeshire Insight team have been collating feedback in order to improve the website and best meet the needs of a broad audience base; helping to put Cambridgeshire Insight at the heart of the Think Communities agenda.

The main ways in which they hope to do this are by:

  • Publishing place based assessments and data profiles to help create a single evidence base for officers, members and the community.
  • Work with communities, partners and the voluntary sector to help understand and deliver against their data needs.
  • Enable the creation of flexible geographies on the site to support local and varying interpretations of place.

They have put together an infographic which summaries the key features of the site, identifies the way that we are looking to support the Think Communities agenda and meet local data demands. The pdf version of the infographic has embedded links with direct access to the different areas of the site, including ward profiles.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please contact

Size: 1.3MBFile format: pdf

Dry January

Dry January is a campaign aimed at drinkers who may be reflecting on their habits after the Christmas excesses and wanting to readdress their relationship with alcohol. The driving force behind the national campaign is Alcohol Research UK (formerly Alcohol Concern) and Cambridgeshire County Council is supporting the campaign locally.

Pharmacy staff at 113 pharmacies across Cambridgeshire will be having conversations about alcohol use, prompted by colourful and engaging alcohol scratch cards and promoting the key campaign messages of Dry January:

  • The challenge is for an individual to go alcohol free for 31 days.
  • Key message: “Reset your drinking, save money, have more energy and feel great”.

Dry January started in 2012 when 4,000 individuals signed up nationally. Last year around 4 million people took part. For members of the public who need more support they will be referred to Cambridgeshire County Council’s commissioned alcohol misuse service operated by Change Grow Live (CGL).

Interventions include:

  • Advice and information
  • Brief Interventions and Extended Brief Interventions
  • Alcohol detox and reduction plans
  • Group work
  • One – to one support
  • Family support

For further information about alcohol impacts and support services, please visit the Be Well Cambridgeshire website.

For more information about Dry January, please visit the Alcohol Change website.

Winter volunteers needed for the Community Gritting Scheme

A massive thank you to all the volunteers who already take part in our Community Gritting Scheme. 

For those hearing about the Community Gritting Scheme for the first time, it’s a scheme where local volunteers help to keep their community moving in freezing weather. The parish or town council agrees specific routes in their area which are important to the local community and agrees them with the county council.   

If you or someone in your parish or town council would like to join the scheme, please email or speak to your local highway officer. You can also visit our gritting webpages for more information.

Consultation on Madingley Road cycling improvements

Plans for new cycleways to help provide safer and improved journeys along Madingley Road have been revealed.

People are being invited to give their opinion on two options being put forward by the Greater Cambridge Partnership to significantly upgrade walking and cycling journeys.

A public consultation outlining the proposals – both of which include mostly segregated cycle lanes – launched on Monday 13 January 2020. The consultation closes to comments on 2 March 2020.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership will be holding a series of drop-in sessions where people can ask questions and share their opinions with project officers. These events will be held on the following dates:

  • 28 January, 6-30-8.30pm, at Selwyn College in Grange Road, Cambridge.
  • 30 January, 11.30am-1.30pm, at Sainsbury’s in Eddington Avenue, Cambridge.
  • 4 February, 6.30pm-8.30pm, at Churchill College in Storey’s Way, Cambridge.

The Madingley Road improvements would link to the proposed Cambourne to Cambridge public transport route and the Comberton Greenway project being developed by the Greater Cambridge Partnership to make it quicker, easier and safer for people to travel in, out and around the city by sustainable modes of transport.

For more information and to have your say, please visit the Madingley Road webpage.

Celebrating the joy of reading all year long

Group of adults each holding a book

Cambridgeshire Libraries are taking part in the BBC’s Novels That Shaped Our World Festival, marking the 300th anniversary of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, with a new regular appearance on Charlie Thompson’s Saturday breakfast show.

Every month, a different member of the library staff will present and recommend one of the 100 novels selected by a panel of writers, journalists and thinkers for having shaped their world.

The books, chosen to spark debate as well as celebrate the joy of reading, are classified in ten themes:

  • Identity
  • Politics, Power and Protest
  • Rule Breakers
  • Love, Sex and Romance
  • Coming of Age
  • Adventure
  • Life, Death and Other Worlds
  • Class and Society
  • Family and Friendship
  • Crime and Conflict

Follow the link to see the full list of 100 novels, then check our catalogue to see which titles we have to borrow; don't forget some titles are available in a digital format - eAudio or eBooks. 

Listen back to Louise Aldridge from Cambridgeshire Libraries, launching the new literary rendezvous on Saturday 4 January 2020 at - 1:22:48-1:27:25.

What books have you read, which ones do you want to read in 2020? Let us know and share your ‘reviews’ on Facebook and Twitter using #mybooklife.


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