Cambridgeshire Matters Newsletter - September 2017

The newsletter for Cambridgeshire parish and town councils and neighbourhood forums

New initiatives and 'firsts'

Cambridgeshire County Council has been working alongside Town and Parish Councils, 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.

Last November, we held the very first countywide Town and Parish Council conference, which was a huge success with over 150 attendees and great feedback. Since then, as a group, we have had a number of other 'firsts':

  • the first joint website that includes a single training and events calendar - https://cambsparishes.wordpress.com/ (where you can also find:)
  • the first joint directory of support
  • the first countywide survey of Town and Parish Council Councillors and Clerks

The next 'first' is a 5 year Development Plan that all support organisations will sign up to, and we will be asking for your comments on it in the coming weeks, ready to launch at the next countywide Town and Parish conference on 17 November at the Burgess Hall in St Ives. Clearly, there are many exciting things ahead for our communities.

Your new newsletter

This newsletter is another 'first' that we hope will help support your work. Intended as a useful snapshot of news from across the Council that is relevant and helpful to you all to keep informed with what is coming up, and where we would like your views and support.

Please do send your feedback on the newsletter to [email protected] so we can continue to improve and build on what we are doing.

Council campaigns

#Fairdeal4Cambs

Join together with 266 shire county MPs to press for change

#Fairdeal4Cambs

In August, the County Councils' Network released: A New Deal for Counties: Our Plan for Government, which sets out the collective priorities for county authorities across England.

It shows that County Councils receive less funding per head than all other council types, while levels of demand are rising faster in rural areas than those in more urban areas - particularly in adult social care and children's services which are our key responsibilities.

It also makes clear that it is more costly to deliver services in rural areas to fulfil the Government's agenda for greater independence and choice - e.g. home to school transport, home care, faster broadband / improved mobile access. But, while we know this, funding for local government beyond 2020/21 is unclear. So, during September, we will be working with other shire counties across England to give a message to our own MPs to take back to Government that we urgently seek reforms to local government finance to secure sustainable and fairer funding for county areas, and we need your help to support us.

How can you help?

A full briefing has been sent to all Town and Parish Councils in Cambridgeshire. Please help us and offer your support to the campaign by writing to your local MP and urging them to speak up in Parliament and join with the other 266 shire county MPs to press for change.

Infrastructure projects

Highways Improvement Initiative

Submit your funding proposal

Groups and organisations that represent the local community are invited to submit a proposal for funding from the Local Highways Improvement (LHI) Initiative Scheme to bring forward their own highway improvements within their community.

Schemes are delivered by the County Council on a jointly funded basis and applicants are able to apply for funding of up to £10,000 as a contribution - with applicants expected to provide a minimum contribution of 10% of the total scheme cost. This enables applicants to deliver minor improvements for as little as £500.

The deadline for LHI applications has been extended to 15 October 2017, after which you will be contacted to look at the feasibility of your application in more detail. Your final application will then be presented to the LHI Member Advisory Panel in February 2018.

Due to the popularity of this initiative, only one application per group can be submitted. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us - [email protected]

Local bus route changes

Whippet Coaches services to be affected

Councillors recently agreed to provide alternative arrangements for services following an announcement from Whippet Coaches. The services affected are the Whippet numbers:

1, 1A, 2, 3, 5, 7A, 8, 9, 12, 15, 16, 18, 21, 45, 45A, 114, 117, 476, 477, Busway C and U.

A full breakdown of the changes and their impact can now be viewed on the Council's website here.

Timetable information for the 1A, 7A, 9, 15, 21, 45A, 114 and 117 services that will be in place from 2 September are available here. Alternatively, you can contact us by telephone on 0345 045 0675 or by email at [email protected].

For services operated by Whippet, residents can get timetable information directly from their website or on 01954 230 011.

For services that will be operated by Stagecoach, timetable information is available directly from their website or on 01223 433 250.

Councillor Ian Bates, Chair of the Economy and Environment Committee, said: "Our officers have been working extremely hard to provide this information as quickly as possible for residents who were understandably concerned by the Whippet announcement. Whilst we have agreed to help on a short term basis, we now need to start thinking about the longer term solution and I'd urge communities and Parish Councils to help us and consider any local solutions. For instance, could they run a village car scheme in their area?"

Queen Adelaide - have your say

An engagement event to find out more

An engagement event is being held to understand more about the way residents and businesses use the roads in and around Queen Adelaide. Cambridgeshire County Council and Network Rail would like to understand more about how the traffic flows through the village and get people's views on the impact the three level crossings have on those in the area. 

The event will be held on Thursday 14 September from 6pm to 8pm at Queen Adelaide Village Hall.

Find out more

Resurfacing work planned for six locations in Cambridgeshire

Overnight resurfacing work is due to start next month on three major routes in Cambridgeshire

The proposed work includes resurfacing and new road markings on the A505 Whittlesford, A505 M11 / Duxford Interchange, A505 Duxford, A505 Flint Cross, A1303/4 Stetchworth Roundabout and A10 Hauxton / Harston.

Find out more

Building stronger communities

Innovate and Cultivate Fund

Now open for applications!

We are delighted to let you know that the Innovate and Cultivate Fund is now open for applications. Previously known as 'Cambridgeshire Communities Innovation Fund', the County Council's up to £1 million fund for community organisations has been refreshed and revamped to both simplify the process for applying for small grants, and to offer greater guidance to potential applicants on the Council's priority areas for this fund.

Who can apply?

The fund is open to voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors, based in and outside of Cambridgeshire and public sector organisations in Cambridgeshire, including Town and Parish Councils. There are two funding streams: a 'Cultivate' steam for small grants of £2,000 - £10,000 and an 'Innovate' stream for larger grants of up to £50,000.

Workshop for applicants

A new round of funding is now open and the deadline for applications is 26 October 2017. A workshop for applicants will be held on 27 September, 2.00 - 4.15pm at St Ives Corn Exchange and is now taking bookings.

Find out more about grant applications and further information about the fund.

If you have any queries about the fund, please contact Cambridgeshire Community Foundation on 01223 410 535 or email [email protected].

Frank's garden is blooming!

How timebanking has benefited one Somersham resident

Frank is a Somersham and Pidley Timebank member living with Dementia. He has spent his life outdoors farming and planting fruit and veg in his own garden. His family were concerned that his garden had become a bit overwhelming and so he hasn't been keeping active, but sitting inside watching TV. Bring in 'Team Timebank' who helped to clear his garden, donate plants and encouraged him to get outside and put them in his newly prepared plot. Members were so supportive and friendly, giving him the time and space he needed. Since then, he has been out watering and tending to his new plants. This is what timebanking is all about; enabling and working together. This Timebank is run by Somersham Parish Council.

If you want to find out how to start one up, come along to a free workshop on 18 November 2017.

Ramsey Library and Community Hub

Local library highlighted for its innovative ways in Arts Council England report

Cambridgeshire's Ramsey Library is one of five case studies featured in an Arts Council England report on the contribution of public libraries in place-shaping.

Ramsey Library was chosen among library services across the country for its innovative ways of using the service for place-shaping that others could learn from. It has been recognised for the niche it has carved as an incubator and 'hub' for community projects which meet the specific needs of the small market town since its reopening in 2011.

View the full report and five case studies

Your County Council

Flick the switch and save on energy!

Delivering competitive energy tariffs to residents

Cambridgeshire County Council has partnered with iChoosr, the UK's leading expert in collective energy switching, to deliver bespoke and highly competitive energy tariffs. Taking part in the Cambridgeshire Energy Switch is free and without obligation. The more people that participate in the scheme, the more likely people will be able to achieve cheaper energy prices.

An auction will be held on Tuesday 10 October 2017 after which individuals will receive a personal offer, and can then make a decision on whether to switch to the winning supplier.

The rates are exclusive to residents switching through the scheme and are not available direct from the suppliers or via price comparison websites.

Find out more information on how you can encourage residents to join the Cambridgeshire Energy Switch scheme.

Travellers on parish land

Advice and support

You will have noticed recently an increase in the number of travellers appearing on parish land and the necessary precautions some parishes have taken. 

If you need further information, please visit your local district council website. Alternatively, you can get advice from Cambridgeshire County Council's enforcement officer.

Find out more

Getting involved

Depot Open Days 2017

Meet your Highways Team and more!

Cambridgeshire Highways is once again opening its doors to welcome all Town and Parish Council representatives to its Depot Open Days from 10am - 4pm on:

  • Tuesday 3 October 2017 at Huntingdon Highways Depot
  • Monday 9 October 2017 at Witchford Highways Depot
  • Wednesday 11 October 2017 at March Highways Depot
  • Monday 16 October 2017 at Whittlesford Highways Depot

We will be showcasing the work that we do and our equipment, including the latest gritting fleet as well as the latest products available for winter volunteers and, for the first time, Road Safety Educations crash vehicles. There will also be visits to see Skanska's Dragon Patcher pothole filling machine, road marking machines, gulley emptying machines as well as drainage investigation units in action. You will have the opportunity to meet and discuss parish issues with individual officers, such as:

  • Rights of Way
  • Definitive Map Team
  • Local Highways Officers
  • Assets and Commissioning
  • Streetworks
  • Projects
  • Cambridgeshire Highways partners - Skanska
  • Streetlighting
  • Road Safety Engineering
  • Road Safety Education
  • Policy and Regulation

Further details and booking information will be sent out to every Town and Parish Council shortly.

Cambridgeshire Highways looks forward to meeting you soon.

Workshops on the future of libraries in Cambridgeshire

How your residents can help shape our libraries

In August, the Council started an informal discussion with library users and community groups on the future of libraries in Cambridgeshire through a series of workshops. Cambridgeshire's library service is growing and we want to hear the community's ideas and suggestions on how to sustain, improve and develop the service libraries provide to residents and find new ways to meet library users' changing needs and demands. We'll use this to inform our work and define together how libraries can achieve long term sustainability and continue to thrive. We are using 'Libraries Deliver: Ambition for Public Libraries in England 2016 to 2021', recently published by the Government, as a framework to refresh our own strategy over the coming months. Workshops are being held at the end of September as follows:

  • Monday 25 September, 10.00 - 12.30 - The Eastrea Centre, 2 Roman Gardens, Coates Road, Eastrea, Whittlesey, PE7 2BA
  • Tuesday 26 September,  18.30 - 21.00 - St Andrew's Centre, School Hill, Histon, CB24 9JE
  • Wednesday 27 September, 13.30 - 16.00 - The Priory Centre, Priory Lane, St Neots, PE19 2BH
  • Thursday 28 September, 12.30 - 15.00 - The Ellesmere Centre, Ley Road, Stetchworth, Newmarket, CB8 9TS
  • Monday 2 October, 18.30 - 21.00 - Cambridge Central Library, 7 Lion Yard, Cambridge, CB2 3QD
  • Tuesday 3 October, 13.00 - 15.30 - The Hub Meeting Room, High Street, Cambourne, CB23 6GW

To find out more, please email [email protected] or listen to Cllr Mathew Shuter, Chair of the Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee, who was on the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire Breakfast Show on 21 August to talk about these workshops at 02:06:10 into the programme.

Rogue Trading - keeping residents safe

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards has seen a large increase in rogue trader reports in the first quarter having received 34 reports, compared to 51 for the whole of 2016/17. These crimes have a devastating impact on the lives of the elderly and vulnerable people concerned. Many lose their life savings to these organised crime gangs. In addition to the financial detriment suffered, a person defrauded in their own home is 2.5 times more likely to either die or go into residential care within a year.

What you can do to help

  • Encourage local vigilance within your local community. If residents see anything suspicious at an elderly person's house they should speak to the elderly person where possible or contact the police on 101. They should dial 999 if someone suspected of being a rogue trader is still at the property or due to return imminently for payment.
  • Residents might want to consider setting up a 'Good Neighbours' scheme for their local community. A local coordinator will be provided with a supply of useful information, leaflets and door stickers to deter cold callers and rogue traders which they can share with their neighbours.
  • Urge residents not to use tradespeople that call at their door unsolicited telling them there is an issue with their roof, driveway, trees etc. If they are worried there might be some truth in what they are saying, they should seek an independent, professional opinion. In most cases, the issue will be fictitious.
  • If in the rare case there is an issue, they should seek quotes from three tradespeople, preferably on recommendation from a friend or family member, of from the 'Buy with Confidence Scheme' which is operated by Trading Standards and is free of charge. You can access details of traders on the scheme by contacting the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.

If you would like more information about rogue trading and the work Trading Standards is doing to tackle it, or if you'd like to shadow some of its officers to get a greater understanding of the problem, please contact the Consumer Protection Team Leader - [email protected].

If you would like more information about the Good Neighbours schemes, then please contact the Community Protection Manager - [email protected].

How much do your residents walk in a month?

Just 10 minutes a day for better health

People aged 40 - 60 in the East of England are being urged to walk more after it was found that 4 out of 10 adults walk for less than 10 minutes continuously each month at a brisk pace. Research from Public Health England found over 740,000 middle aged adults in the region do not achieve this over the course of a month and are missing out on health benefits. A 10 minute brisk walk each day gets the heart pumping faster, makes you more energetic and improves your mood and can help prevent cancer, heart disease and poor mental health.

Why not help get our residents walking?

The free 'Active 10' app is available to download and shows how much brisk walking a person is doing each day and tips on how to incorporate more of it into their lifestyles. 

Find out more and help get Cambridgeshire walking!

Can you help test the new travel app?

Help improve people's journey times

We have started testing a new travel app being developed through the Greater Cambridge Partnership to help improve people's journey times and encourage more sustainable transport use in and around Cambridge. The free app will bring together 'real time' local data to suggest alternative travel itineraries using public transport. As the technology develops, the app will handle more complex situations where different modes of transport are required for each stage of the journey and display additional information that travellers will find useful based on their feedback.

Wider testing will take place later in the summer to gather valuable feedback from regular public transport users to help refine the app before it becomes available to download from App Stores for both Android and IOS mobiles.

If residents are interested in testing the app, they can email [email protected] with their contact details.

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