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Welcome to the May 2018 Cambridgeshire Matters newsletter

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

Latest news

Potholes - record road repairs pave the way for a smooth summer

The county’s roads have been suffering since the Beast from the East paid a visit, and with a record number of potholes being reported the Council’s Highways team have pulled out all the stops to fix them in equally record times.

Fixing the roads is one of our number one priorities and we are delighted that so many local people have been using our online reporting tool – which not only gives us vital information, but allows people to keep an eye on progress. We have updated our Report a highway fault page to include a counter that shows how many potholes have been repaired each week.

The public have been fantastic, reporting 8,477 potholes using the online system since 1 January 2018, a massive 50% more than were reported in the whole of last year! In addition to this, Cambridgeshire Highways inspectors are out on the roads every day, identifying more potholes as part of a regular maintenance programme. This means that during the same period we have already fixed a remarkable 15,040 potholes across the county.

With eleven dedicated crews on the ground, plus the fiery dragon patcher, more than 1,300 potholes are currently being filled every week, more than the Council has ever done before.  

261 new reports were made by the public in the week to 27 April and with improving weather, and two more dragon patchers due to join the team, the pothole crews hope to soon be ahead of the game.

When potholes are reported each one is inspected and risk assessed, and marked with paint, to prioritise repairs for areas most in need. Some potholes are fixed immediately, if they are a considered a safety risk, while others will be repaired as part of programmed maintenance work.

Depending on the size and location and any safety risk, we commit to deal with potholes between five days and 12 weeks after they are reported but we usually deal with them much quicker.

This year, along with additional government funding, the Council has £6.3m to repair potholes and keep traffic moving safely around the county.

Please encourage all your councillors and residents to continue using our online reporting tool. We have a  handy leaflet to share with anyone who'd like to know more about potholes. 

Pothole leaflet

Size: 1.70 MB File format: pdf

Cambridgeshire Surface Dressing Programme

Surface treatments provide a robust, cost effective method of maintaining our existing road surfaces. Cambridgeshire’s annual Surface Dressing programme coats existing road surface with a liquid bituminous binder from a spray tanker, followed by the application of aggregate (chippings) of varying sizes, usually 6mm, 10mm or 14mm.

It’s designed to seal in the existing carriageway, preventing water forcing its way into cracks and reducing the likelihood of potholes developing. Aggregate within the design will restore the texture of the surface, and, after it’s embedded, will improve skid resistance. Surface treatments also provide a more uniform surface, when the appearance of the road is scarred by repairs and reinstatements. The general aim of a treatment is to extend the life of an existing road surface by upwards of eight years at around 25% the cost of conventional methods.

Cambridgeshire’s annual capital budget for surface treatments is £5m, and in 2018, there are approximately 38 Surface Dressing sites with 85 Micro Asphalt sites being delivered later in the year.

View the list of surface treatments scheduled for 2018

All surface treatment processes are weather dependent, and therefore programmes are subject to change at short or no notice. Every effort is made to enable traffic to continue to use a road whilst the surface dressing takes place, however many roads will not be wide enough to keep open, and will need to be closed.

Local Highway Improvement (LHI) programme

From Monday 14 May 2018, we will be accepting initial applications for the 2019-20 Local Highway Improvement (LHI) programme. This year, applications will be available in electronic form that will have to be downloaded from our Improving your local highway page and emailed to us directly. The final date for initial applications to be submitted will be Tuesday 31 July 2018. After the submission date, a member of the team will start to undertake the feasibility study on your application and will contact you in due course.

Highway events webpage

Our highway events webpage has been improved by adding an interactive map that gives users the ability to view what events are happening around the county. This includes information such as road closures and dates along with diversion routes. Moving forward, we aim to improve the quality of information further by taking on board user feedback.

Application process

We have refined this, making it simpler for event organisers; producing updated, clear guidance for events that affect the highway, filming on the highway and street party/playing out events. By putting all the events information in one place it will make it easier for users to find the information they need quickly and easily.

Updated tables and chairs policy

Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee approved the newly updated tables and chairs policy, part of the Highway Operational Standards 2018-2028.

The new policy includes provisions designed to aid blind and partially sighted pedestrians which were suggested by disability groups. In future, in areas of significant footfall pavement café areas will need to be enclosed, to demarcate the licensed area and contain the tables and chairs, thus making it distinguishable to other pavement users.

Licenced premises will also be required to display a ‘licence summary sticker’ which confirms the licence duration and provides details of whom to contact if there are any concerns with the operation of the area.

It is intended that these changes will allow for an amenity that will benefit not only those using it but also those using the area around the tables and chairs.


People across Greater Cambridge have been helping to shape the Cambridge Greenways – 12 high quality walking, cycling and equestrian routes.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership has recently engaged with communities about the look, feel and route options of their local Greenway network at 25 public events.

The Partnership-funded project aims to create a network of 12 cycling, walking and equestrian routes that link surrounding villages with Cambridge, creating a safe, largely off-road environment that is ideal for both commuting and leisure use.

The Partnership has recently consulted on the Linton Greenway and consultations on the other routes will follow later in the year, starting with Fulbourn, Waterbeach, Barton and Haslingfield

For more information about the Greenways, please visit the Greater Cambridge Partnership website.

Rural Travel Hubs

The Greater Cambridge Partnership needs local residents and stakeholders' ideas to help design proposed Rural Travel Hub for Oakington and Sawston. Rural Travel Hubs are bespoke rural transport interchanges to connect residents in South Cambridgeshire with public transport and cycling / walking routes.

The Project Team wants local residents to help shape the scheme by providing feedback on the proposed location and features, such as lighting, toilets and cycling parking.

You can find out more about the Rural Travel Hubs scheme and provide feedback at the following events:

  • 29/05/2018 - Oakington Pavilion - 3.30pm - 7.30pm
  • 03/06/2018 - Sawston Village Fete - 1.00pm - 4.00pm
  • 13/06/2018 - Sawston Free Church - 6.00pm - 8.00pm
  • 30/06/2018 - Oakington Community Association Fair - 12.00pm - 5.00pm

More information is available on the Greater Cambridge Partnership website.

Service 46 bus charges: Wisbech - Guyhirn - March

The County Council has stepped in to fund a replacement service for the 46 bus route from 30 April 2018. It was agreed to fund a replacement bus service in the short term, at a cost of £36K, and this support will stay in place until 25 August 2018 – ensuring a continuous service during the critical school exam period, while a more permanent solution is found.

The new timetable has been scheduled around school times, to ensure students for Neale-Wade Academy will see no break in service. The timetable will change from an hourly service to every hour and a half.

The service will continue to be operated by Stagecoach and in the meantime the County Council will be working with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor James Palmer and the Combined Authority to consider further longer term options.

A new masterplan to tackle Whittlesford's traffic

A new study to understand how planned developments will affect Whittlesford’s transport network has been commissioned by the Greater Cambridge Partnership, including the potential for a Rural Travel Hub for the village.

The master planning exercise will research the current and future developments around the train station at Whittlesford Parkway and any required transport interventions to mitigate and support growth in the area. The report aims to looks at ways the station can support existing and new businesses, whilst also protecting the rural environment.

The results of the Whittlesford master planning exercise will be published later in autumn 2018.

Histon Road project

The Greater Cambridge Partnership will be consulting on the final stages of the Histon Road project in Cambridge on Monday 21 May to Monday 2 July 2018.

The project aims to improve bus journeys along Histon Road and encourage people to use sustainable modes of transport which will help reduce levels of peak-time congestion and to improve the reliability of bus journeys and air quality.

Exhibition events are open to all and will provide detailed information on the project:

  • Wednesday 30 May 2018 - St Andrew's Centre, School Hill, Histon, Cambridgeshire, CB23 9JE - 4.00pm - 7.00pm
  • Wednesday 13 June 2018 - St Augustine's Church and Hall, Richmond Road, Cambridge, CB4 3PS - 4.00pm - 7.00pm
  • Tuesday 19 June 2018 - Chesterton Community College, Gilbert Road, Cambridge, CB4 3NY - 5.00pm - 8.00pm

Further information on the plans are also available on the Greater Cambridge Partnership website, along with online feedback forms. 

Ely Southern Bypass

Ely Southern Bypass is anticipated to deliver a huge boost for the area, easing congestion in and around Ely by providing a new link between Stuntney Causeway and Angel Drove.

As you will have seen from extensive media coverage at the beginning of April, the project has now passed several major milestones:

  • Ground improvements and embankments are complete
  • The rail bridge sections were lifted into place in a series of overnight rail closures
  • The concrete deck is being poured
  • The complex V-piers that support the viaduct over the River Great Ouse are complete
  • The large beams for the viaduct are being lifted into place and should all be in place in early May, ready for the deck construction to commence
  • The Angel Drove roundabout and road up to the rail bridge is near completion with only the final surface to be laid
  • The piled foundations for the walkway have been installed
  • Work is underway on the roundabout at Stuntney Causeway

Working to deliver such a challenging design as quickly as possible in very difficult and unpredictable conditions such as building on a floodplain and near a national heritage site has meant costs have increased by £13 million to an estimated £49m, which we’re working with our contractor Volker Fitzpatrick to minimise. We expect the project to be completed in October 2018.

Watch a timelapse video of the Ely Southern Bypass project

Kings Dyke crossing

Kier, the appointed contractor, is currently working on the detailed design. Progress has been slower than expected owing to delays in agreeing access to land for surveys and ground investigation which has limited the design that can be undertaken. However, access has now been agreed and surveys and investigation are underway.

Agreement on the broad terms of acquiring the land have been agreed and the legal processes are underway.

Work to programme diversion and protection of services is continuing so that as much work as possible can be carried out in advance of the main construction. Trial holes to locate underground services (gas, water and electricity pipes) are currently underway.

Early estimates for the scheme indicated a cost of £13.6m. Revised estimates, reported to Economy and Environment (E&E) Committee have shown that the estimated cost could increase towards £16.9m. The scheme costs will become more robust as the design progresses.   Any additional funding requirements will be reported to the E&E Committee and the General Purposes Committee.

It is anticipated that the design, which will be the basis for a detailed target cost, will be completed in the autumn. It will be considered by Economy and Environment Committee, when approval to commence Stage 2 of the contract will be sought.

The current indicative programme suggests that the scheme will be completed in Spring/Summer 2020. Time scales will become clearer as the design progresses.

Have your say on options to extend platforms at Manea and Whittlesea

There is still time to take part in Fenland District Council’s consultation on Whittlesea and Manea Station Enhancement Platform Lengthening which continues until 30 May 2018.

Currently both Whittlesea and Manea have platforms that are only long enough to accommodate two carriage trains. This means fewer additional train services can stop at these stations and there is selective door opening on some train services that do stop.

Work has been ongoing to develop viable options to increase platform lengths at both stations to accommodate four car trains. Three options have now been identified for each station that could achieve this. This consultation explains the work that has been undertaken so far to get to the options stage.

Have your say

Fenland District Council would like to know what you think about the options for the platform extension at Manea Station and the platform extension and footbridge at Whittlesea Station.

If you would like to complete the consultation survey and give your views about the options, the closing date is 5pm on Wednesday 30 May 2018. 

Bright future for Cambridgeshire with LED rollout

By the end of December 2018, 3,635 energy-saving LED streetlights will have been installed as part of the LED lantern replacement project being carried out by Balfour Beatty on behalf of the County Council.

Starting in late May this year, energy-saving LED lanterns will now be installed on 3,635 street lights in the county which have been adopted into the PFI Contract since contract commencement in July 2011 and which originate primarily from new road adoptions. The new LED lights will provide essential energy savings for taxpayers, minimise light pollution and provide a more sustainable system for the future.

The work will replace existing lanterns and will not involve any excavations in the roads or footpaths and each lantern replacement will be completed within one working day.

The benefits of the scheme will be clearly visible and include:

  • Brand new streetlights using the latest technology
  • More effective "white lights"
  • Energy cost savings
  • Reduction in required maintenance and associated costs

Find out when the upgrades are happening in your area

View further information on planned maintenance works throughout Cambridgeshire

If you have any queries regarding the works, please email [email protected] or telephone 01954 233 331.

Electrification of transport

Cambridgeshire County Council’s Commercial and Investment Committee approved the concept of developing a network of Smart Energy Grids on its Park and Ride sites. The Smart Energy Grids generate renewable electricity which can power electric buses, cars and bikes reducing the impact of carbon dioxide emissions and other air pollutants.  The first demonstration project is scheduled for delivery this year at St Ives Park & Ride and the intention is to replicate this scheme across Cambridgeshire.

For further information please contact:
Sheryl French
Projector Director - Energy Investment Unit
[email protected]
01223 728 552

Local energy projects for Trumpington and Babraham Park and Rides

Work has started assessing the feasibility for smart energy grids on Trumpington and Babraham Park and Ride sites on the edge of Cambridge. The projects will include solar panels installed on carports which generate green electricity. The electricity is fed into battery storage, lighting and electric vehicle charging.  Excess electricity will be made available to local businesses for sale through a Power Purchase Agreement.  An artist’s impression of the Trumpington project is below.

Public engagement started in March at the Park and Ride sites and this will continue over the next few months.   

For further information, please contact:
Cherie Gregoire
Special Projects Manager - Energy Investment Unit
[email protected]
01223 715 689

Managing the costs of energy through the power of group switching

593 Cambridgeshire households signed up to switch energy suppliers in the February 2018 auction. The outcome of the auction provided households with the opportunity to save an average of £167.23 per year. The winning suppliers were: So Energy, Green Star Energy and Economy Energy. All of the suppliers provide energy that is wholly or in part derived from renewable resources.

For further information, please contact:
Emily Bolton
Energy Projects Officer - Energy Investment Unit
[email protected]
01223 714 732

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough minerals and waste local plan

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough residents are being invited to have their say as work starts on a new minerals and waste plan which will cover both areas and extends until 2036.

As mineral and waste planning authorities, Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council are starting the process of preparing a single joint plan which will be used to forecast future waste management needs while taking into account the minerals needed for new development and housing growth set out in local plans.

At present Cambridgeshire and Peterborough produce about 2.7 million tonnes of waste each year. The largest amount (56 per cent) comes from construction, demolition and excavation operations, while household waste accounts for 16 per cent of the waste the Councils have to manage.

The new plan, which will take 3 years to prepare, will contain detailed policies for waste management and minerals which will help to protect and enhance the environment whilst supporting local growth - including the new houses, roads and jobs that are needed in this area to drive our economy.

The preliminary plan and supporting documents can be found on our website and are also available to view on the landing of the County Council's main office at Shire Hall, Cambridge (outside the main Council Chamber) which is accessible to the general public.

People are being encouraged to comment on the plan and the initial consultation period will run from Wednesday 16 May to Tuesday 26 June 2018.

Connecting Cambridgeshire

Connecting Cambridgeshire, led by Cambridgeshire County Council, has been awarded additional funding to ensure the county has ‘outstanding digital connectivity’.

The successful programme is developing ambitious plans for improving mobile, broadband and public Wi-Fi coverage for everyone – whether at home or work, on the move, in market towns or rural villages.

The plans will be supported by a £5.6m investment recently agreed by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Board, as part of a shared vision for fixed and mobile connectivity to underpin the region’s growth and prosperity.

The programme has also recently been allocated £4m additional Government Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) funding, which includes increasing the availability of full fibre networks along a ‘digital innovation corridor’ from St Ives to Linton, providing fibre upgrades to 31 public buildings in rural areas, and supporting businesses to access fibre networks.

With the additional funding the programme will be extended to target improvements in mobile (2G and 4G), extend full fibre networks, trial 5G (next generation mobile) and increase public access Wifi coverage over the next four years.

Connecting Cambridgeshire has already brought superfast broadband access to over 96% of homes and businesses, and is aiming for 99% coverage countywide by the end of 2020. A third phase of the fibre broadband rollout targeting the last few percent is now underway and a fourth phase is being planned to reach remaining areas in scope over the next two years.

The Connecting Cambridgeshire website has a postcode checker showing the availability of superfast broadband, and how to upgrade.

Start a Community Flood Group?

Would you like to help raise awareness about flood risk in your community? Does helping to write a flood plan and getting relevant training sound intriguing?

If so, then you may be interested in becoming a member of a Community Flood Group.

A Community Flood Group is a group of local volunteers who focus on improving flood resilience and minimising the effects of flooding within their communities by planning ahead and sharing information. They represent the community and work in partnership with other authorities (e.g. Councils, Environment Agency, water companies) to highlight issues and work together to resolve them. There are many examples of these groups across the country. The National Flood Forum website has many examples of these groups.

The Cambridgeshire County Council Flood Risk Team is working with the Environment Agency to help form Community Flood Groups across the county. If you would like to get involved or learn more about this opportunity then please email [email protected].

Time Credits #50000 hours

Glenda Storey, who came to know about Time Credits when she was homeless and in a hostel, has earned Time Credits when she volunteered to give her time to Wisbech Community House, which supports people to get back into work.

Cambridgeshire Time Credits have been running in areas across Cambridgeshire since 2014. The programme is funded by Cambridgeshire County Council and the CHS Group working in partnership with Spice, a social enterprise. The programme has broadly focused on supporting Older People, Strengthening Families and Skills and Employment. 

Time Credits provide the opportunity for people to get involved in their local community. For every hour they give to an organisation participating in the Time Credits scheme they receive one Time Credit which can be spent on an hour's activity. This could be swimming, adult education, a visit to the cinema or a trip to St Paul's Cathedral in London.

In March 2018, we celebrated volunteers giving #50000hrs -  that’s 5 years and 8 months - to supporting communities since the inception of the programme. Volunteers have learnt new skills, found work and strengthened their communities.

Find out more information about Time Credit areas in Cambridgeshire

Cambridgeshire time credits - an update

April 2018

Size: 499.25 KB File format: pdf

The Great Get Together

This year, The Great Get Together will take place on 22 – 24 June 2018, which would have been Jo Cox’s 44th birthday.

The Great Get Together is inspired by Jo Cox, who was killed on 16 June 2016. The initiative was founded in 2017 by the family and friends of Jo and More in Common, in partnership with more than 100 organisations. They believe there is a groundswell of people who reject divisive politics and simply want to bring communities together and celebrate all that unites us.

As the Prime Minister said, when she remarked on Jo’s death in her New Year’s message in 2017, we have an opportunity to move forward and “bring this country together, as never before”.

Jo’s family and friends came up with the initiative and more than one hundred organisations are now supporting them, see their partners page for the full list.

This weekend is inspired by Jo Cox, but they expect people to take part for many different reasons.

When: Friday 22 – Sunday 24 June 2018
What: A celebration of your choosing! Arrange something with your neighbours, find an event taking place near you or join in online. Whatever you decide, you’ll be part of a huge national celebration.
Get involved: Find out how to join in
Contact: [email protected]

Campaign to end loneliness

Loneliness can affect us all at some point in our lives and be damaging to our health so please get behind this campaign by signing up to the Be More Us movement and help end loneliness.

The Be More Us campaign wants to inspire millions of people to get involved and celebrate the small things that bring us all together. But, they need your help.

Please watch and share their brand new film:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Thecampaigntoendloneliness/videos/790395627816836/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EndLonelinessUK/status/994122715274600449

Be More Us - Campaign to end loneliness

What else can you do?

  • Join the Be More Us campaign by signing up at www.BeMoreUs.org.uk and encourage others to do so too
  • Inform your networks about the Be More Us movement and encourage them to take part
  • Share any work you are doing that you feel demonstrates the values of Be More Us. Share content that shows how easy it can be for people to connect using hashtag - #BeMoreUs
  • Ask your supporters for tips and ideas for how we can all make connections
  • Share photos or vox pops of examples of your senior leaders sharing small moments of connection with others as part of Be More Us

If you have any questions about Be More Us, please contact their team in London by email at [email protected].

Let's be more open. Let's be more together. Let's Be More Us.

Sharing your knowledge and experience

As part of the Support Cambridgeshire 'Local Council Development' project commissioned by Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridgeshire ACRE is looking for ways to encourage local councils to share their knowledge and experience with each other. Here’s 3 ways you can get involved:

1. Join us for the next Cambridgeshire Local Council Stakeholder Group

All clerks and councillors are welcome to attend on Thursday 24 May 2018 from 10.00am – 11.30am at Great Staughton Village Hall, The Green, Great Staughton, St Neots, PE19 5DG. This group helps set the agenda for the annual conference and peer learning events, get feedback on progress on the 5 year development plan and steer the Local Council Development Project. Afterwards (11.30am – 1.00pm) our host Great Staughton Parish Council, will show us around their community and tell us more about the workings of their parish council. We’re looking forward to seeing how this local council operates; why don’t you join us and see what you can learn too? 

View the agenda
Sign up to attend

2. Profile your parish

We’ve started to profile a number of local councils and the key people involved in them. Our first profiles come from the East Cambridgeshire village of Haddenham and Aldreth, where we’ve interviewed the Clerk, Jenny Manning, and the Chairman, David Lyon, about their roles and what it takes to run a successful council. Read their profiles.

We’d like to showcase a range of local councils, big and small, so if you’d like to be interviewed as part of the project, please contact Alison Brown at Cambridgeshire ACRE - [email protected]

3. Get these forthcoming dates in your diary

On Thursday 14 June 2018 we’re holding a Neighbourhood Planning Networking Session from 10.00am – 2.00pm at Huntingdonshire District Council's offices. If you’re considering a Neighbourhood Plan then this event is an opportunity to hear from others who have been through the process to find out what it’s really like. 

View full programme
Book a place

On Tuesday 3 July 2018 we’re running a further Rural Affordable Housing Mythbuster Tour as part of Rural Housing Week. The guided coach tour will start and finish at Warboys Parish Centre and take in a number of local rural exception sites and aims to dispel some of the myths around affordable rural housing. 

View full programme
Book a place

For further information about all these opportunities and more, please visit www.cambsparishes.wordpress.com or email [email protected].

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough join forces to support the local military

A joint project that supports armed forces and their families has been awarded nearly £90,000 to strengthen and develop the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Military Covenant.

Supported by the Ministry of Defence’s ‘Covenant Fund’ the Community Covenant Development project aims to strengthen the work councils do to help support our armed forces community in local life. The project will promote understanding and awareness among the public of issues affecting the armed forces community including mental and physical health, housing, finance, and support after service. The Community Covenant was signed back in 2012. The project is supported by a partnership across local authorities, health, the police service, the voluntary sector and other organisations.

The bid for the fund was led by Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) and Peterborough City Council (PCC) on behalf of the partnership, and will involve working closely with Cambridge City and all district councils. The aim is to work in partnership with local organisations and communities to come together and support all our armed forces and their families living locally.

With there being five Armed Forces bases to support in Cambridgeshire, the Community Covenant focuses on the military community which includes, Reservists, Cadet Adult Volunteers, Veterans, wounded, injured and sick, military spouses and partners who are not in active service.

The funding will be used over a two year period to deliver campaigns and community engagement events including ‘Armed Forces Day’ (30 June), contributing to the ‘Battle’s Over – a National Tribute’ (11 November) and ‘RAF 100’ (April – November) to reach out and spread awareness of facilities available to Armed Forces personnel and their families.

Battle's Over - A Nation's Tribute - 11 November 2018

The organisers of Battle’s Over, a national and international event marking the armistice, want to see more than 1,000 churches and cathedrals participate by ringing their bells simultaneously at 7.05pm on the night of 11 November 2018.

The event has four charities linked to it – The Royal Naval Association, Army Benevolent Fund – the Soldiers Charity, RAF Benevolent Fund and the Merchant Navy Association.

More information on Battle’s Over – A Nation's Tribute 11 November 2018, and how to take part, can be found at www.brunopeek.co.uk

Wisbech Community Led Local Development

Local organisations and community groups in Wisbech are being encouraged to apply for financial support through the European Social Fund (ESF) Community Led Local Development (CLLD) - a European funding programme managed by Cambridgeshire ACRE, which aims to mobilise and involve local communities and organisations to contribute to achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

The programme will be distributed through an up to three-year competitive grants scheme to address local priorities including offering help to build work-related skills, providing help to find and access work, supporting local and community businesses and offering support to increase household incomes.

The first stage of the programme, which started in early March, is a call out to all organisations, local community groups, training organisations, colleges, employers or the voluntary sector, to come forward with their ideas on how they could support people into work or enterprise.

You can find more information on https://wisbechclld.wordpress.com/, or contact Cambridgeshire Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) on 01353 865 029 or email [email protected]

New library at the heart of Clay Farm Centre

Cambridge County Council’s newest library, at the heart of the Clay Farm Centre, opened last month and there was an official launch on 10 May 2018.

This is a first for Cambridgeshire Public Library Service because we are working in partnership with Cambridge City Council to deliver this latest addition to the library service and we are very excited about the benefits it will bring to the local community.

We are also planning a series of events throughout the year in the Centre including our well-loved ‘Read It Again’ award event for primary school children that celebrates a love of reading and books.

For all the latest information visit their new webpage.

Changes to computer access in libraries

From 1 May 2018, a £1 hourly charge for computer access has been introduced - after an initial 30 minutes free. 

This will help prevent people from monopolising limited facilities in our libraries and will allow us to make sure everyone has fair access to computers, as well as generate income to be reinvested in our book stock.

Everyone will be able to use computers for free for the first 30 minutes. Children up to the age of 18 and Job-seekers will be able to continue using computers free of charge at all times. Additional websites for government and council services (such as universal credit, child benefit applications, etc) will remain free to browse.

Charging for computer access is one of the proposals agreed by the County Council in February 2018 to transform libraries, putting them at the heart of the Council’s delivery in local communities and offering more services under one roof. 

Find out more about our plans to transform Cambridgeshire's libraries

Please talk to a member of staff if you have any question or issue getting online. 

School Admissions and Transport Survey 2018

The School Admissions and Transport team is keen to hear your views on respective application processes for school admissions and home to school transport. Your feedback is very much valued and will influence decision making about the design of each process.

Take part in the short surveys:

School admissions survey
Home to school transport survey

The online consultation closes on Friday 25 May 2018 at 5pm.

Changes to free early education for two year olds for families on or going on to Universal Credit

Following a recent consultation by the Department for Education (DfE), there will be a new income threshold for all families receiving or going onto Universal Credit (UC).

As from 1 April 2018, for Universal Credit, the new income threshold for the Free early education for two year olds (Funded Twos) will be £15,400 net (take home pay). 

This change means more low-income working families will be entitled.

Apply or find out more

If you have any queries about the changes, or any general enquires about free early education for two year olds, please contact [email protected]  or 01223 703 200.

Changes to Universal Credits - Free School Meals and Early Years Pupil Premium

Following a recent consultation by the Department for Education (DfE), there will be a new income threshold for all families receiving or going onto Universal Credit (UC).

From 1 April 2018, the new income threshold will be £7,400 net (take home pay).

This change means more low-income working families will be entitled. 

Apply or find out more about Free School Meals or Early Years Pupil Premium.

If you have any queries about the changes, or any general enquiries about Free School Meals and Early Years Pupil Premium, please email [email protected] or telephone 01223 703 200.

Focused Ofsted inspection of children's services

Ofsted inspectors made a focus visit to Cambridgeshire County Council children’s services last month to look at our arrangements for children in need and those subject to a child protection plan.

Inspectors agreed that our self-assessment accurately reflected our strengths and areas for development, and commented that all of the staff they met with or spoke to during the inspection were engaged and enthusiastic.

They noted that leaders know the service well and that social workers, managers and clinicians are confident, capable and know children well. Strong partnership working ensures that children in Cambridgeshire are protected. Children’s needs are quickly identified and the services provided reduce risks and enable children to remain at home with their families.

Wendi Ogle-Welbourn, Executive Director for People and Communities said, “I would like to thank all the staff who made the inspection team feel really welcome. Inspectors recognised that we have a passionate team of staff and managers who work hard to ensure that the children of Cambridgeshire are protected and speak very positively about the children that they work with.”

Areas for development include a continued and sustained focus on the recruitment and retention of suitably qualified and experienced social workers, which along with other initiatives, will help to address high staff caseloads and ensure that expected timescales are consistently met. 

Suicide prevention

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Suicide Prevention Strategy has been refreshed to cover the period until 2020. The strategy builds on and supports the National Suicide Prevention Strategy – ‘Preventing suicide in England’, Dept. of Health 2012 and was approved by the Peterborough and Cambridgeshire Health and Wellbeing boards on 4 December 2017 and 1 February 2018, respectively. Its key purpose is to ensure that there is co-ordinated and integrated multi-agency agreement on the delivery of suicide prevention services that is tailored appropriately to local need and is driven by the involvement and feedback from service users. With a focus on Zero suicide, the strategy emphasises the requirement for senior level engagement with all relevant organisations to ensure quality improvement across the pathways of care for suicide prevention.

The strategy includes updates on national and local suicide statistics, initiatives, evidence and forward planning. Recommendations for actions are set out in the Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2017-2020.

For more information, please contact:
Kathy Hartley
Consultant in Public Health
[email protected]

Keep Your Head website

Adults in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough now have access to a mental health support website www.keep-your-head.com. The site, which has been successful in signposting children and young people to sources of support for their mental health, has been expanded to now provide local residents of all ages with a ‘one-stop shop’ for information on wellbeing and mental health.

The site provides a range of local and national information on looking after your mental health, self-help resources, and services that can help when you need more support. There are also dedicated pages for professionals which hold information on referral options and key contact information for services.

The site has been developed by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City Council, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust and the SUN Network. The SUN Network ([email protected]) will be maintaining the site, on behalf of all the partners, ensuring content remains up-to-date and engaging.

HOOP - housing information and advice for older people

In a first for the East of England, a new service which offers specialist housing information and advice to older people is being rolled out by Cambridgeshire County Council following a successful 7 month pilot in South Cambridgeshire last year.

Working with EAC FirstStop, a bespoke HOOP web based tool for each district is being developed which will provide links to different local partners in those areas.

HOOP (Housing Options for Older People) is designed to ensure that all older people have access to free information, advice and support to consider their housing options and where they live at an early stage to maintain independence and wellbeing.

People answer a simple questionnaire about their home and how it suits them. The answers are then used to put them in touch with local housing options (sheltered housing, extra care schemes), support services and community groups that can provide a mixture of practical support and advice.

HOOP can be accessed online or by telephone and is free to use. For more information, call 0800 310 2031 or visit hoop.eac.org.uk.

Reablement Team receives CQC "Good" rating and major campaign begins

The Cambridge City and East Cambridgeshire Reablement teams are delighted to have received CQC GOOD ratings following the inspections in December and January respectively.

In reporting, the Inspector noted specifically:

  • Without exception, we received only positive comments from people and their relatives about the quality of the service they received.
  • Staff were caring, compassionate and creative in overcoming obstacles and finding opportunities to go 'the extra mile' in order to promote people's independence and wellbeing. People told us they valued their relationship with staff and were treated with dignity and respect. Staff were dedicated, skilled and empathetic towards the people they supported.
  • This is a highly responsive service that worked in partnership with other health and social care providers.
  • The management had a clear vision and promoted a positive open culture which achieved good outcomes for people.
  • People, their relatives and health care professionals told us the service was exceptionally well led.

Both teams received really positive service user feedback of which they are justifiably proud and so staff welcomed the inspections as a way to improve the service to the people of Cambridgeshire. Below is feedback that was fed to the Inspectors by staff and service users during the inspection process:

  • I feel safe with all of the staff. They are professional and know just what is needed.
  • I have no concerns or worries, they are all fantastic and I am completely safe in their care.
  • They set up all the care in a matter of hours, quite remarkable.
  • They are well organised and efficient. The communication is second to none.
  • You couldn't improve the service. They are very good it is fantastic. I am a new person, you have no idea the difference they made to my life.

Work to increase the number of reablement support workers has been continuing at pace this year and, since 9 March 2018, nine new workers have started work, with ten more being offered positions and finalising their start dates. Schemes in place to boost this number include:

  • 'Refer a friend ' scheme
  • Linking with Peterborough City College's 'Work Academy' programme to train a cohort of workers to gain health and care qualifications
  • Adverts online
  • Library drop in sessions
  • Working with area champions to promote the roles in their communities
  • Building relationships with job centres

A major multimedia recruitment campaign, developed following workshops with existing carers and the Reablement team, launched on 7 May 2018.

Thank you for reading the May 2018 issue of Cambridgeshire Matters. We value your input so please do let us know your thoughts on this issue by emailing [email protected] or by clicking  on the "Did you find this information useful" buttons at the bottom of the page.

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