Member Newsletter June 2019
Welcome to the June edition of the Member Newsletter!
This newsletter has been produced by the Communications and Information Service to inform all Members of the latest council news and projects taking place across the county.
- Action plan aims to reduce inequalities
- Residents to be asked for transport views
- A bright future for Cambridgeshire libraries
- Fanfare for Boots Bridge
- Presenting...The Library Presents
- Employability Day: Closing the Gaps
- Growing the county's largest volunteer force
- Infected blood inquiry
- St Ives is CALM
- Supporting our town and parish councils
- Superfast broadband coverage to reach rural areas
- Opportunities to support Bikeability
Last week the Communities and Partnerships Committee approved the recommendations of a cross party member working group to develop a poverty and social mobility action plan for Cambridgeshire.
This includes the commitment to work alongside partners in all sectors to develop a shared approach to these issues and take forward an action plan for 2019-20.
This is vital for our county because while the percentage of pensioner households living in poverty has dropped slightly in the last 15 years in the UK, households living in poverty with children has not. The percentage of people in Cambridgeshire whose household income is less than 60% of the median national household income (approximately £28,400) means approximately one in ten ( 71,000 ) in are living in poverty, including approximately 14,500 children.
Our action plan highlights a number of activities covering all areas of the council’s work including:
- Developing Business and Intellectual Property Centres in libraries to support start-up businesses and small and medium size enterprises (SMEs)
- Supporting a pilot Community Heat Scheme to move Swaffham Prior off expensive oil and onto renewable heating, with a view to rolling out to other areas if successful
- Delivering the Opportunity Area Programme to increase social mobility and life chances for disadvantaged young people in East Cambridgeshire and Fenland
A survey asking residents for their views on the county's highways and transport services will be dropping through doors shortly.
A random sample of around 3,300 Cambridgeshire residents will receive the National Highways and Transport public satisfaction survey which will ask for their views on highways and transport services, from the condition of roads and footpaths to the quality of cycling facilities.
Cambridgeshire County Council is one of 111 local authorities to sign up to the survey, which is being run for the eleventh year. It is the largest collaboration between local authorities offering the opportunity to compare results, share in best practice and identify further opportunities to work together in the future.
The questionnaires will be sent to Cambridgeshire’s residents from 7 June, followed by a reminder, with local and national results to be published in late-October 2019. Since the survey is based on a sample, residents that receive a copy are being urged to take part.
Further information on the survey can be found at: www.nhtnetwork.org.
The Communities and Partnership Committee unanimously agreed to progress our Future Libraries project - in partnership with Civic - to design future models of libraries for the county and, ultimately, the country.
The project follows on from the previous transformation work carried out by the Library Service that enabled the council to keep all libraries open, and to plan many new libraries and improve existing ones as part of future growth plans.
The project will see five archetypes of library models piloted in seven locations across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough - Anchor of the High Street, Centre for rural life, Hub for the Region, (Re)animating Communities and Pop-Up for Reviving Community Assets.
The ambition is to prove these models in the pilot areas before rolling them out to all Cambridgeshire and Peterborough libraries over three years so that all libraries benefit. Members will be involved at each stage of the project and in particular in the design phase where engagement with local communities will be paramount.
Boots Bridge in Manea reopened on Friday 24 May 2019, ahead of schedule and in time for the bank holiday weekend. The £1m improvement work to demolish the old bridge, first built in 1931, and install the new structure lasted for almost five months.
The new structure was designed to improve safety at this road junction with Sixteen Foot Bank. Later in the year, we will install the permanent road signs, which require electrical connections, and carry out the other parts of the safety work (signs, lines and red surface) to the crossroads. This is so as not to disrupt the harvest traffic and the summer events at the neighbouring garden centre.
Cllr John Gowing was interviewed by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire on the day the bridge reopened to traffic. You can listen again here (at 39mins in): https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p07860z3.
The Library Presents takes great art into libraries across the county. With workshops and performances for children, families, adults and young people, our programme appeals to a wide range of ages and interests.
The Spring Season finished in May, and we’re already gearing up for the Autumn Season, starting in September. In the meantime, Arts Award sessions will be delivered in three Wisbech primary schools and planning has begun for an arts project in conjunction with the Looked After Children team.
The Library Presents is funded by Arts Council England for four years. Our Year 1 Evaluation is now complete and 57 performances and 60 workshops were delivered at 27 venues (22 libraries and 5 community spaces). Almost 2,400 people attended the performances and workshops. With overwhelmingly positive satisfaction scores and comments received.
This year’s Employability Day theme is Closing the Gaps. Cambridgeshire Adult Learning and Skills (ALS) is joining providers across the country to celebrate Employability Day on 28 June 2019 to show how we are supporting people into work.
ALS helps individuals, communities and businesses in Cambridgeshire develop their basic maths, English including ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), IT and work skills to help develop and fulfil their potential with a range of accredited and non-accredited courses.
Adult Learning and Skills Centres are based in the following libraries:
- Cambridge Central Library
- Ely Library
- Huntingdon Library
- March Library
- Wisbech Library
This week is National Volunteers’ Week which celebrates volunteers across the country for all their hard work and dedication.
School governors are the largest volunteer forces in the country and we shared the story of Philip Hodgson who has been a school governor for 32 years. There are currently around 3,500 governor positions in Cambridgeshire.
School governors play a vital role in ensuring the best possible education that takes every child as far as their talents allow. Governors need a strong commitment to the role and to improving outcomes for children; the inquisitiveness to question and analyse; and the willingness to learn. Crucially, that means holding school leaders to account by monitoring and evaluating the performance of pupils, teachers and finances to ask the right questions.
Schools are keen to attract people in the community to become school governors, they need a good mix of people from all walks of life, who can bring different viewpoints, experience, skills and fresh ideas with them.
The independent statutory inquiry into the NHS infected blood scandal of the 1970s and 1980s has started its investigations. The inquiry’s investigative team will be looking at many archive records as part of its work and are scheduled to visit Cambridgeshire Archives in July to access various Health Authority records which we hold, particularly the records of the East Anglian Regional Health Authority and Regional Hospital Board. More details regarding the inquiry are available on https://www.infectedbloodinquiry.org.uk/.
For Mental Health Week, BBC Cambridgeshire focused on CALMTown (St Ives) – the first mental health town in the UK.
Reporter Oliva Crellin created a one hour special audio documentary about the initiative and in support St Ives library was stocked with a range of books and leaflets about mental health.
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Association of Local Councils will hold its annual conference Share the Vision, Shape the Future on 28 June 2019.
Clerks and chairs of town and parish councils across the patch will come together to listen to keynote speaker James Palmer, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor, and updates on national and local issues.
We will be attending to share information on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Against Scams Partnership and how parish councils can help protect their residents from financial fraud (scams and rogue traders etc).
We have announced plans to extend the Connecting Cambridgeshire superfast broadband rollout to 5,300 more homes and businesses in harder to reach rural areas of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Connecting Cambridgeshire Superfast Broadband rollout phase 4
The Connecting Cambridgeshire superfast rollout has already reached over 97% of the county and is on track to achieve over 99% coverage in the next two years.
Here’s a quick guide to help Members respond to queries about broadband, mobile or Wifi coverage.
If you have a query, please contact the Connecting Cambridgeshire team by email: [email protected] or call 01223 703 293.
Cambridgeshire County Council won the award for ‘Bikeability Grant Recipient of the Year’ after being nominated by training provider Outspoken.
The award recognises the fantastic support and importance the Council places on Bikeability training, enabling thousands of pupils to receive cycling lessons. There are opportunities available to sponsor the scheme, and interested parties should contact [email protected].