Welcome to the October 2017 Cambridgeshire Matters newsletter

We are delighted to bring you the second issue of our Cambridgeshire Matters newsletter, designed to keep you up-to-date with the latest news and features relevant to you and your Parish Council.

We want to hear your views! Too long? Too short? Not enough relevant features? Let us know ([email protected]) after reading Cambridgeshire Matters so we can ensure our newsletter works for you.

Working together

Over the last year, Cambridgeshire County Council has been working alongside Town and Parish Councillors and Clerks, District Councils and a range of support organisations to improve the way we work together to meet the needs and aspirations of our communities. This work is part of Support Cambridgeshire and led by Cambridgeshire ACRE with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Association of Local Councils and the Society of Local Council Clerks.

These partners have come together in a stakeholder group and together we have developed the first:

  • Countywide Parish Council Conference
  • Joint website that includes a single training and events calendar
  • Joint directory of support
  • Countywide survey of parish councillors and clerks

We have devised our first ever 5 year development plan that sets out how we'd like to work together to realise the potential of the local council sector.

We are keen to hear your views on how well the plan and its actions will support the sector's development over the next 5 years. All your comments will be gratefully received and will be used to inform a final version of the plan which will be launched at the Cambridgeshire Parish Council Conference on 17 November 2017. Please let us know your thoughts and feedback by 10 November so we can all help the local council sector grow.

Cambridgeshire Parish Council Conference 2017 - moving forward together

We hope you are joining us at our 2017 conference. Organised by Cambridgeshire ACRE, as part of Support Cambridgeshire, it promises to be a full morning. Town and Parish Councils will come together to consider their ambitions and aspirations for the future and the new development plan will be launched.

When9.00am - 1.30pm, Friday 17 November 2017
Where: Burgess Hall, Westwood Road, St Ives, PE27 6WU

This year our keynote speaker is the Chief Executive of the National Association of Local Councils, Jonathan Owen talking about the challenges by parish councils from a national perspective and opportunities for the future.

Cllr Steve Criswell and Gillian Beasley of Cambridgeshire County Council will be launching the Cambridgeshire Local Council Development Plan, and talking about a local opportunities such as how to apply for the Innovate and Cultivate Fund.

In addition to our speakers we will be holding workshops providing bitesize training sessions for clerks and councillors on a number of topics including:

  • Community engagement - how to better engage with your community and involve them in your Council's work
  • Making funding applications - the best ways to make a funding 'ask'
  • Using social media - an overview of the tools you can use to communicate with your communities and each other
  • Employment matters - guidance on best practice for the recruitment and employment of clerks

Finally there will be a marketplace of stalls providing information, support and services to the local council sector, giving you the opportunity to ask questions and get free advice. If you wish to attend the conference and have not yet booked, you can still register your place here.

Depot Days

Skanska’s pothole busting “dragon machine” in action

Cambridgeshire Highways depot open days proved to be a big success this year with the parishes and councillors of Cambridgeshire. Attendees were able to speak to the manufacturers of industry leading products, take a bus tour that featured Skanska pothole busting “dragon machine” in action, speak with drainage specialists and then relax with a tea or coffee whilst discussing a wide range of local issues from road safety to rights of way with the Highway Services team of experts.

Highway Maintenance Manager Jon Clarke said “We are really pleased that so many were able to attend and found something of use out of the day, we have had lots of feedback so far and every comment received will be used to improve future events. A huge thanks to all who attended.”

Feedback for the recent Depot Days has been overwhelmingly positive. Here are just some of the responses we have had to-date:

‘Bus trip was useful as were all the displays’

‘Very good to talk to some of the office managers’

‘I was impressed with the bus trip round our area, and the “Dragon Patcher” seemed to be a very useful tool.

‘Understanding the way that you have to work was a great help’

Community gritting scheme

Local volunteers can help to keep their community moving in freezing weather by taking part in the community gritting scheme. Under this scheme, 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 are interested in joining the scheme, please email [email protected] or speak to your local highway officer.

Find out more or download the Highways Volunteering Pack

Gritters ready to rock and roll!

All 37 of the Council's gritters are now safely back home in Cambridgeshire following their summer checks and clean up.

Every summer the gritters, which are all named by local schools, make the journey up to Ripon in Yorkshire to their manufacturer Econ Engineering Ltd where they are cleaned and serviced ready for the cold winter months.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s Highways Maintenance Manager Jonathan Clarke said “Brad Grit is now safely back in his usual spot next to Gritney Spears and we’re fully equipped to grit the roads when winter does arrive. Don’t be surprised if you start to see some of our gritters out and about - all our drivers are now being trained on any new technology that’s been added making sure they’re ready to help keep the counties roads moving during any cold weather we might get.”

Watch a video of our gritters coming home here.

Free community flood group training

Community flood volunteers and flood groups are key in helping their community to be prepared for flooding and other emergencies. They play a vital role in a community’s response before, during, and after a flood. Working in partnership the Environment Agency, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue, Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City Council and Anglian Water are offering 2 free training sessions for all new flood volunteers and those communities who are interested in setting up flood volunteers in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. You don’t need any previous experience. You just need to be willing to learn how to help your community.

By attending the training, you'll gain an insight into the work of the Environment Agency and its partners. During the day, you will cover modules in:

  • Role profile - what do community volunteers do?
  • Introduction to emergency services - what they do and don't do
  • Understanding flood risk - an introduction to flooding, responsibilities of organisations and flood warnings
  • Flood risk awareness - personal safety and dangers of flood water
  • Equipment - how to use hydrosacks and the correct use, maintenance and storage of high visibility clothing and equipment

The dates of the 2 training sessions are as follows. Please note you only need to attend one of these dates:

Wednesday 29 November 2017
10.00am - 4.00pm
Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Headquarters
Brampton Road
PE29 2NA

Friday 1 December 2017
10.00am - 4.00pm
Environment Agency Office
Bromholme Lane
PE28 4NE

To get the most out of the training course places are limited to 30 attendees for each day. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. If you would like to book your place, please email [email protected] or call 020 302 51949 with your first and second preference for which training session you would like to attend.

Innovate and Cultivate Fund - spring application round

The Innovate and Cultivate Fund is Cambridgeshire County Council’s 'up to £1 million fund' to help voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations realise their projects and ideas that help address the needs of local residents. Previously known as the Cambridgeshire Communities Innovation Fund, the newly designed fund makes it easier to apply for small grants and focuses on council funding priorities –enabling innovative ideas to grow into something inspiring.

Find out more by watching our Innovate and Cultivate Fund short film.

We are pleased to be able to share the new application deadlines for all funding rounds this year as follows*:

  • 26 October 2017 - small and large grants
  • 15 December 2017 - small grants
  • 9 March 2018 - large grants
  • 1 May 2018 - small grants

There will be an applicant workshop*

8 February 2018, 9.45am - 12.00pm
Venue to be confirmed

*All dates other than 26 Oct and 15 Dec are subject to change

Information and application forms are available on the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation website.

Community Reach Fund

The Community Reach Fund supports community projects with children, young people and their families living in Cambridgeshire. Projects must aim to:

  • help community members to develop their own initiatives and by doing so contribute to community resilience
  • be inclusive and have a shared benefit to their communities
  • motivate and empower other community members to take part and by doing so develop social capacity
  • develop opportunities for children, young people and their families to engage in positive activity which is beneficial to their health and wellbeing

Applicants should also consider how they might sustain and further develop their projects.

How does it work?

Parish Councils, community groups and social enterprises can apply for up to £700. This needs to be match funded by at least 10% through volunteering hours, donations or small entry fees, or providing a local venue in kind. Funds should be spent within 12 months of being awarded.

Who to contact?

If you have any ideas or possible projects in your parish please make contact with your local Youth and Community Coordinator. Details are as follows:

Cambridge City [email protected] 01223 729 075
South Cambs [email protected] 01954 286 011
Fenland [email protected] 01354 372 449
Fenland / East Cambs [email protected] 01354 750 424
Huntingdonshire [email protected] 01480 376 208
Huntingdonshire [email protected] 01945 482 996

The future of libraries in Cambridgeshire

Over the last three months, nearly 170 people attended a series of workshops across the county for stakeholders of the Cambridgeshire Library Service to hear about opportunities and challenges that the service is currently facing and for us to hear people’s ideas ahead of developing options for the future of the service. We also spoke with users of the Mobile Library Service and children and young people’s groups.

We heard a wide range of views and ideas about the future of the service, specifically in relation to how the service could increase financial sustainability. 

What happens next?

We are now using the comments collected to inform a set of proposals for how we will achieve great outcomes for library users and communities and how we will secure the future of the service by increasing its financial sustainability.

Councillors will be meeting on 6 December 2017 to discuss the Library Transformation Programme and its proposals. Prior to this meeting, we will share the proposals with you and tell you how your input has shaped these via our website. To find out more, join the mailing list by emailing [email protected]

Councillors vote to reshape Children's Centre services for Cambridgeshire

Plans to focus funding on increased outreach services for children and families in Cambridgeshire, by reducing spend on building maintenance, have been given the go ahead after a full and wide-ranging debate by Cambridgeshire County Councillors.

Councillors at a Full Council meeting on 17 October 2017 voted 31 to 22, to support proposals, which look to transform Children’s Centre services from next April, creating a more flexible, targeted and responsive service delivered from 27 buildings supported by increased outreach services.

The decision followed a debate on the response to a ten week consultation from 2,280 people - the largest response to a Cambridgeshire County Council consultation and one of the largest for a Children’s Centre consultation across the country. Having reviewed the consultation responses, the plans now include more outreach services sited in areas across the county, including the southern part of Cambridge City.  This change will see £100,000 of a planned £1m saving re-invested in the service.

Following the change £4.3m will continue to be spent on the new Child and Family Centre services, complementing Early Help services of the council, which have an additional budget of £7.2 million.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Simon Bywater, Chairman of the Children’s Committee, said: “We have listened carefully to what people have been saying during the consultation and I want to reassure people we will continue to listen as we begin to implement these proposals. I recognise that feelings have run high during this debate, but I now call on all councillors, partners and communities to come together to help take these plans forward so we can fulfil the ambition of creating a service for more families to get the right help, at the right time and in the right place.”

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