Welcome to Cambridgeshire Matters May 2023
Cambridgeshire Matters is our monthly newsletter which aims to share good news, highlights and updates from across Cambridgeshire to help our network of district, city and community members stay informed.
Find out about the great work that is taking place to support everyone in the county. Share this newsletter with your parish council colleagues and feel welcome to use any of the features in your own newsletter or on social media.
Two new county councillors appointed
Mike Black (Labour) and Bill Hunt (The Conservative Party) have been elected to Cambridgeshire County Council following by-elections held for seats in Arbury and Soham South & Haddenham. The by-elections took place on 4 May 2023 following the resignations of Cllr Dan Schumann and Cllr Hilary Cox Condron. Results for the by-elections are available here.
New Chair and Vice Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council appointed
At the annual meeting of Cambridgeshire County Council on 16 May, Cllr Sebastian Kindersley was elected to serve as Chair of Council for the next two years. Cllr Gerri Bird was elected Vice Chair. Cllr Kindersley takes over from Councillor Stephen Ferguson, and will be serving his second term as Chair having previously held this office from 2015 to 2017.You can read more about the new appointments on the council’s website and watch the full council meeting on CCC’s YouTube channel.
Extra commitment to tackle roads across the county
Cambridgeshire County Council has been provided with additional funding from the Department for Transport to help tackle road repairs.The funding will allow for a new proactive approach to be used to manage our response to the increasing number of potholes. The funding will be spent on additional programmes of work to ‘find, record and fix’ minor surface issues before they develop into potholes. Please continue to report any potholes or highways fault using the online tool.
County Council offers greater protection for care leavers
People who have spent time in care are to be granted ‘protected characteristic’ status by Cambridgeshire County Council. The unanimous agreement by Full Council on 16 May will give people of any age who are ‘care experienced’ special status to have their needs considered as part of any changes to Cambridgeshire services or spending decisions. This is already required by law for other groups who face potential discrimination because of their age, ethnicity, disability or gender.Cambridgeshire’s agreement was welcomed at the meeting by Cambridgeshire Care leaver Elle, who received a standing ovation after she spoke to Councillors. Cambridgeshire become the 3rd County Council and 30th local authority to recognise care experience as a protected characteristic.
Council agrees motion to support child minders
The County Council will be recommending to district and city councils that any new strategic developments which have restrictive covenants around childcare on domestic premises will be exempt where there is an identified need.The council agreed a motion put forward by Cllr Firouz Thompson to Full Council on Tuesday 16 May. Some house builders place restrictive covenants on their properties which prohibit residents living within them from running a business from home including childcare. As a restrictive covenant does not expire, it will be applicable indefinitely, even if the building is sold and the ownership changes.The motion also asked that district and city councils highlight the importance of such changes with developers and house builders to ensure that they are aware of the barrier that these covenants can cause.It was agreed to signpost childcare providers, and residents, to the appropriate support within the local authority when concerns are experienced.Childminders and nannies play an important role within the childcare sector, offering flexible childcare for families. It is the County Council’s duty to ensure there is sufficient and suitable quality early education and childcare places to enable parents to work, or to undertake education or training which could lead to employment and that there are enough places to meet current demand.
Help transform the lives of young people in Cambridgeshire
A new mentoring programme aimed at supporting young care leavers will soon be launched by Cambridgeshire County Council in partnership with Goal 17 Ltd.The programme will recruit and train mentors from across the county to provide guidance, advice, and support to young care leavers as they navigate the challenges of adulthood. This will help young people to build self-esteem, develop new skills, and achieve their full potential.Local people are currently being invited to volunteer as mentors in this forward-thinking programme. If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Foster Care Fortnight
Cambridgeshire County Council supported the Fostering Network’s Foster Care Fortnight campaign this year to help find more people who can offer loving, stable homes for local young people in care. Foster Care Fortnight is the UK’s biggest foster care awareness raising campaign, and took place from 15-28 May. Over those two weeks, the council’s Fostering Service celebrated it’s ‘fostering communities’ by championing local carers and care leavers, organising foster walks to raise awareness, and hosting an event to welcome new carers.Listen to Tracey and Paul’s story about their experiences with fostering teenagers and why it’s important for young people to have good role models. More information on fostering for your local council can be found on the CCC website. Alternatively, you can contact the Fostering recruitment team by emailing email@example.com or calling 0800 052 0078. The council also holds regular sessions for those wanting to learn more about fostering – visit the CCC Fostering website for upcoming dates and to book yourself a free place.
Mental health campaign for LGBTQ+ young people
During Mental Health Awareness Week (15-21 May), Cambridgeshire County Council worked with The Kite Trust to deliver a campaign aimed at supporting young LGBTQ+ people in Cambridgeshire with their mental health. #MyWaysToWellbeing highlighted how individuals can use five different ways to keep themselves mentally well, whilst also stressing that there is no shame in accessing support.The five themes of the campaign were: Connect, Be Active, Keep Learning, Take Notice and Give. Read more about the campaign here. The Kite Trust is a charity which supports the wellbeing and creativity of LGBTQ+ young people in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and the surrounding areas. Access support, useful information and resources on their website.
Cambridgeshire Archives needs YOUR help!
Cambridgeshire Archives are asking for Parish and Town Councils to donate any records of any event or activity carried out for either: the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the Accession of King Charles III or the Coronation of King Charles III.Any council with photos or programmes of such events held in their parish are being asked whether they would like to donate these to the Cambridgeshire Archives, so that they may be kept and stored to be viewed by future generations.Councils wanting to submit photos or programmes for inclusion in the archives should do the following:Firstly, contact the Cambridgeshire Archives to inform them of what you are submitting. They can be contacted on 01223 699399, or you can email them on firstname.lastname@example.org.You will then be advised on how and where to send your documents.By donating photos, you can ensure that a record of your celebrations are maintained for generations to come and may be looked back at as a significant part of history.So, if you have photos or programmes of these events, please use the above instructions to contact the Cambridgeshire Archives.
First Migrant Champion appointed
A migrant advocate for Cambridgeshire has been appointed to support migrants and refugees living in the county.Cllr Alex Bulat will take up the new role which is part of a wide series of actions intended to make Cambridgeshire a welcoming place for people who have come here from abroad.The new Migrant advocate role will act as a political spokesperson for the council of asylum and migration issues and will correspond with political leaders at Cambridgeshire’s district and city councils on matters relating to asylum seekers and refugees.
We want to hear from you: be a part of our summer campaign
With summer just around the corner, we’re interested in finding out from our Parish and Town Councils about the free or low-cost events and activities you may have planned for the local community. We would love to feature these in a summer campaign to help promote physical activity and wellbeing in Cambridgeshire. If you have anything planned, or are thinking about organising activities in your area, then please email email@example.com with the details.
Are your residents eligible for cheaper broadband and mobile tariffs?
If they receive benefit payments, they could be! Please spread the word that low-income families in your area could be eligible for discounted broadband and mobile phone services called social tariffs. Social tariffs are low-cost broadband and mobile phone package deals offered to customers on certain benefits and cost between £10 and £20 a month. As well as being much more affordable, social tariffs are usually on shorter-term contracts. Plus, there are no early exit fees – so you are not tied to the contract if your circumstances change, and you can leave without paying a penalty. Many providers offer reduced social tariffs to both new and existing customers claiming government benefits such as Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support – so they can pay less for internet access and mobile phone bills. The Connecting Cambridgeshire website has links to useful information about how to get reduced broadband and mobile tariffs or go straight to the Ofcom website for more details. Contact the Connecting Cambridgeshire team if you or your residents have any queries and concerns about broadband or mobile coverage. Email firstname.lastname@example.org including details of the location and postcode, if relevant, to help the team investigate and respond as soon as possible.
Updates from the Communities Service
This month Jess from the Cambridge City team presented at the Adults and Health Committee Development Session, which provided the opportunity to showcase work the team have been delivering across the local community, including Wellbeing Wednesdays and the cost of living pop-up events. It was a great opportunity to network with colleagues from Public Health and Care Together as well as local councillors. The team received lots of positive feedback on the work they have been carrying out to help support our communities to live happier and healthier lives.
The East Cambridgeshire team have been busy making connections across the community this month to help support the health and wellbeing of local people. Wendy from the team supported a resident who was concerned about a friend who needed support from the foodbank but could not face the stigma of asking for a voucher. Wendy liaised with the foodbank for them to issue one discretely. In addition to accessing food, the person also accepted offers of advice and support in relation to finance and benefits. Wendy also visited a coffee morning at Townsend Manor Care Home in Soham and spoke with Howard from the local Men’s Shed about the work he is currently carrying out in the community. Howard has recently partnered with the home and delivers bird box making workshops to the residents.
This month Scott from the South Cambridgeshire team attended the Histon & Impington Wellbeing Festival, where he offered advice and support on parent carers through drawing on his own lived experiences. The festival, hosted by charity Friends of Histon & Impington Community, featured talks and workshops on a variety of different subjects, including mental health, exercise, storytelling, arts, cooking on a budget, CPR training and much more.
In April the Huntingdonshire team supported with the launch of the Pride in St Neots Youth Provision, which saw four young people attend the first session, followed by seven young people for the second. The provision is the first Pride youth group in Cambridgeshire outside of the work run by The Kite Trust, and has been supported by the Communities Service through access to the ‘Youth Provision in a Box’ (governance, policies, templates for membership forms etc.) The team have also directly supported the group by providing a space for the club to meet and four weeks of coaching for volunteers.
The School Uniform Wardrobe Project rub by the Fenland team continues to be an extremely popular and well-used service within the local community.There are currently three libraries across the area acting as collection and drop-off points, and a range of volunteers are now onboard to help out with donated items. For more information about the scheme, including how to make donations or if you are in need of school uniform, visit the Communities Service Fenland Facebook page.