Developing the local economy for the benefit of all
The budget announcement of £5 million for Cambridge South Station is good news. There is a lot of work still to be done and Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) will play an important part in the process as plans develop.
The Chancellor also announced funding to build the Western Section of East West Rail, while promising further money to progress the missing link between Bedford and Cambridge.
Work to repair sections of more than 40 miles of drought damaged roads in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will start in January 2018. The scheme, which will include 21 sections of road, has been made possible thanks to a successful joint bid by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council to the Department for Transport.
Energy service provider procured
Bouygues Energies and Services, a Cambridge based energy services company, has been reappointed to continue energy performance contracting work for the County Council. This continues a successful relationship started in 2014 which has seen over £20 million of investment into our schools and public assets, saving over £1.8 million annually.
Connecting Cambridgeshire - broadband demand survey
The superfast broadband rollout has now reached more than 95% of the county and is aiming for 99% coverage by 2020.
Residents can use the Connecting Cambridgeshire postcode checker to check the position in their area, and find out how to upgrade or improve broadband speeds.
Those who want superfast broadband, but cannot access it yet, are being asked to complete a short online broadband demand survey before the end of February 2018.
396 households signed up to Cambridgeshire's Energy Switch auction in October 2017 and are now able to make savings on household energy bills. Residents who missed out on the October auction will have another chance in February 2018.
28% of public weighbridges fail Trading Standards test
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards have recently checked all public weighbridges in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and found nearly a third were inaccurate.
All weighing equipment has permitted limits of error; of the 25 bridges tested, seven were found to be outside these tolerances so failed. Some had to be taken out of service immediately, and those with lesser issues were given 28 days to have equipment repaired and re-verified. All issues were caused by insufficient maintenance and cleaning.
"Not what you signed up for?" - The focus of National Consumer Week 2017
This year's National Consumer Week, which is led by Citizens Advice and supported by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards, looks to tackle and raise awareness with the launch of two video animations for consumers, businesses and financial institutions. The videos can be viewed below.
National Consumer Week - subscription advice for businesses
National Consumer Week - subscription advice for banks and consumers
The Hub update
Earlier in the autumn, we launched 'the Hub', an initiative that provides a safe place for some of our most vulnerable young people who are at imminent risk of care or are looked after. They can receive support in their families, or stay with us for short or medium term until they return home or move to a family placement or independence. They receive intensive support from a range of specialists.
The aim of the Hub is to bring stability to the lives of these young people and to improve their outcomes, such as lowering their need for long term care, educational attainment and less contact with the criminal justice system.
Currently, the Hub has had placements since its launch in October 2017 and has supported 27 young people in the community. To find out more, please watch the following video.
A new campaign is about to be launched to recruit more Shared Lives carers in Fenland and Huntingdon. A Shared Lives carer is someone who can open up their home to those with a learning disability or an older person needing care and support.
The scheme provides an opportunity for someone to be part of the family and community of a Shared Lives carer who in turn offers friendship, support and care. Whether it is for a few hours a week, a short respite stay or a long-term live-in arrangement, Shared Lives carers can still work while supporting an adult.
Countywide Shared Lives Manager
Our relaunched Supported Lodgings scheme is looking for people with a spare room or annexe who can support a young person leaving care, aged 16-21.
Carers can be from a wide range of backgrounds and walks of life and an allowance of £250 per week is paid to them while they have a young person placed with them. Although the Supported Lodgings scheme requires less intensive support than other types of foster care, carers do, however, need to be able to make time for the young people in their care and show the ability to listen and understand their needs. Carers are also required to offer advice on all aspects of independent living, such as cooking, washing and budgeting.
For more information, please contact Cambridgeshire County Council’s Fostering Service on 0800 052 0078 or visit our Supported Lodgings webpage.
It is a paid caring role with a fixed tax-free allowance of £10,000 per year plus an extra £250 for each person supported each week or part of a week. Please look out for social media content to share across your networks.
Our Tag Bikes team. based in Huntingdon, were showcased on a CCC social media video for #OurDay, the national campaign to show the work local authorities do across the country.
The Tag Bikes work with people with learning disabilities providing them with workplace skills and experience so they can make the transition into work. They repair, service and sell bikes to the local community.
Tag Bikes are part of CCC's Support into Work service, which also includes garden nurseries in Huntingdon, Ely Cafe and the Clean Team in March.
There is a video available to watch below.
Supporting into work - Tag Bikes
New "all-through" school planned for Chatteris
Councillors at the Children and Young People (CYP) Committee on Tuesday 5 December 2017 agreed a novel approach to provide more primary school places in Chatteris.
Councillors have agreed to convert Cromwell Community College in the town to an "all-through" school for children aged 4-19 - the first of its kind in the county. It will be sponsored by the Active Learning Trust (ALT), who took over Cromwell Community College in September 2017 and also manage one of Chatteris' two existing primary schools - Kingsfield Primary School.
An extensive consultation on the changes will now take place.
New academy sponsors announced
New sponsors have been confirmed for two new schools near Huntingdon. Following the recommendation made by the Children and Young People Committee on 14 November 2017, Spring Common Academy Trust has been given Secretary of State approval to sponsor the proposed new special free school in Alconbury Weald. The Diamond Learning Partnership Trust will sponsor the new free school at Wintringham Park, which will serve new communities in the east of St Neots.
The prevention and early diagnosis of HIV are still key challenges for improving sexual health. Early diagnosis and effective treatment means that people with HIV are able to live a normal life well into old age. The National HIV Testing Week which ran from 18 to 24 November 2017 promotes regular testing amongst those most at risk to reduce the rates of undiagnosed people and those diagnosed late.
In support of the campaign, Public Health England is funding the National HIV Self-Sampling Service from 6 November 2017 to 4 January 2018. The National HIV Self-Sampling Service provides postal home sampling kits for individuals to take a simple finger prick test blood sample which they post to a local laboratory for HIV testing and follow up if necessary. For more information, please visit the Starts With Me website.
DHIVERSE the local HIV charity also ran a number of events related to HIV Testing Week and World AIDS Day which was 1 December 2017.
Public Health England (PHE) will be running a national Sexual Health campaign later this year. Young people have high rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and the campaign is targeting those between the ages of 16 and 24 years, with a particular focus upon those aged 16 to 19 years. There is also a secondary benefit in terms of helping to reduce teenage pregnancy rates.
Health Improvement Specialist - Sexual Health
New "Be Well Cambridgeshire" website
"Be Well Cambridgeshire" is a new Cambridgeshire County Council Public Health website. The website provides information and tips for mental health, active living, a healthy diet, sexual health, alcohol, drugs and smoking. Its central message is that often quite a small change to something you do every day can make a big difference to your overall health and wellbeing. It is not about completely changing your lifestyle or doing unachievable things.
Links to other organisations that provide information also feature on the website as well as local support groups. Over the coming months, more content will be added including health campaigns to help people in Cambridgeshire maintain their health and wellbeing, and links to District and City Council pages with local content.
The website www.bewellcambridgeshire.co.uk was launched in the week commencing 20 November 2017.
Stay Well campaign
The Stay Well campaign supports people to keep their health during the winter months. Cold weather can affect health; those aged over 65, the under 5s or those who have a long-standing health condition such as breathing or heart problems, are particularly vulnerable to winter conditions. Keeping warm is important for protecting health in colder weather and the campaign is providing information and tips that range from how to best heat your house to the importance of hot drinks and food during the winter months.
Cambridgeshire County Council Public Health has been working with partners from across the system for several years to provide information and support to vulnerable groups in the winter months including access to bids to help with heating bills. Stay Well is the first campaign on the new Cambridgeshire County Council Public Health website, www.bewellcambridgeshire.co.uk where information links to sources of local and national support.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid MP confirmed on BBC East's Sunday Politics Show (26 November 2017) that he has heard our messages and agrees the current funding formula is out of date and needs reviewing.
Leader Cllr Steve Count was interviewed as part of the programme. It also involves an elderly couple who are now able to live independently due to the work of our Reablement Service. The video is available to watch on the BBC website.
The consultation to support the County Council's budget planning is now online.
The feedback from the survey, which includes district focus groups, will be discussed at the General Purposes Committee on 19 December 2017.
Nature Reserve wins award
The Friends of Rings End Nature Reserve, who work with the County Council to manage the reserve, have won the ‘Best Nature Project’ Award from Fenland District Council’s Street Pride Initiative. This was for their joint working with the national charity Froglife, using £12,000 of funding from the Tesco Bags of Help grant, which helped to restore and create habitat for water voles, frogs and toads (all of which are protected species). Photos and further details available on the Fenland District Council website.
The County Council owns eight local nature reserves that are managed for the benefit of nature and the local community. Five of these have Friends Groups who work with the County Council on their management.