Welcome to Cambridgeshire Matters June 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.

Cambridgeshire launches quality of life survey to track the views of residents

SurveyAs part of Cambridgeshire County Council’s vision to make Cambridgeshire greener, fairer and more caring, a countywide survey has been launched – speaking to a random sample of 5,500 residents to understand their views on the quality of their lives.The annual survey aims to track the responses over time to see how changes to council decisions and policies, and the work of other public sector bodies in the county, affect views and to give Members vital insight when they make business decisions.The 15 minute telephone survey – run by independent market research company Thinks Insight and their partner Team Search – aims to speak to 1,100 people aged 18+ living in each of the five Cambridgeshire district areas, broadly representing the area’s population. The survey is published on the County Council’s website for anyone who wants to take part.Survey activity will continue until August, allowing results to be fed back into the Council’s meetings from September onwards as Members begin to discuss priorities for the years ahead.If you are approached the market research team’s commissioned service, Team Search will identify themselves as working on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council and will give contact details to allow people to check if they want to. No one will be asked for identifying personal details, or any financial information.

Help shape the future of your local fire and rescue service

Two fire engines in a fire stationCambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service are currently preparing its next plan for 2024-2028 and are seeking the views from people across Cambridgeshire to help shape how resources are used across the county. The plan will identify the fire and rescue related risks in the county and how the Service will mitigate them, as well as the opportunities that exist to continue improving services to local communities. Complete the survey here. The survey is open until the end of July and will take around 10-15 minutes to complete. There are also three £50 shopping vouchers up for grabs which you could be in with a chance of winning by completing the survey.

New support website for families with SEND children

SEND information hubSupport for parents and carers of children with special educational needs and disability (SEND) in Cambridgeshire is now available through a new information hub. The website has been developed with local experts such as parents, health professionals and community organisations, and has been produced to help families and young people navigate the special needs journey and access information and advice.The hub contains guidance and resources for children of all ages, featuring topics like early years, education and preparing for adulthood. There are also specific sections on health, finding the right support, and social care – giving families unlimited access to information that can help them feel empowered and education on what is available locally.The hub is part of a large transformation programme led by Cambridgeshire County Council to improve support for children with SEND and their families. Learn more about the SEND information hub here

Covid memorial woodland to be named Memory Wood following unveiling event

Memory woodCovid memorial woodland has been officially named following a competition for pupils from Fulbourn Primary School. Cambridgeshire County Council planted the woodland earlier this year to create a lasting legacy marking the difficulties faced and lives lost during the Covid pandemic. The woodland is an extension to one already on the site and the footpath creates a walk connecting Fulbourn and the Roman Road.The unveiling took place on the 15 June, which was also Clean Air Day, the global campaign which seeks to raise awareness of air pollution. 

National Carers Week helps to raise the profile of carers

Lady caring for an elderly manNational Carers Week highlighted the challenges faced by unpaid carers and helped to recognise the contribution they make to families and communities in our region. This year’s theme focused on ‘Recognising and supporting carers in the community’ and aimed to bring communities together to recognise the huge contribution unpaid carers make to society. Being a carer can be rewarding, but it can also be very hard work. Support is available for anyone who care for someone else, whether they call themselves a ‘carer’ or not. This support can help make the caring role easier and it can free up more time for carers to take care of themselves.If you provide care for someone, our partners are on hand to help: Caring Together for adult carers in Cambridgeshire; Centre 33 supports young carers in Cambridgeshire and Making Space helps carers in Cambridgeshire who look after someone with mental ill health.Information for carers is available on the County Council website.

Enjoy a variety of performances and workshops this summer

Group of women taking part in a theatre productionA vibrant and inclusive arts programme has returned to Cambridgeshire this summer thanks to The Library Presents. An incredible line up is on offer with plenty of opportunities to enjoy fantastic live music, theatre, dance and comedy, as well as events to be enjoyed by the whole family. View the full line-up of events here. All events are welcoming and accessible as possible, with certain events including enhanced accessibility measures. Audience members are also welcome to get in touch to make specific access requests. Tickets are now on sale for performances and workshops on The Library Presents website.  

Cambridgeshire Libraries supported HiVis fortnight 

HiVis fortnight 2023 logoThis month Cambridgeshire Libraries supported HiVis Fortnight (1-14 June) – an annual, national campaign which highlights the work libraries do to keep people with a visual or print impairment in touch with reading.As part of HiVis Fortnight, Cambridgeshire Libraries, in partnership with Huntingdonshire Society for the Blind, held an annual showcase event for visual and print impaired readers at Huntingdon Library on 9 June. The event provided residents the opportunity to seek information and advice from a wide array of exhibitors, including DeafBlind UK, the Royal National Institute of Blind People, Healthwatch, and Blind Veterans. Cambridgeshire Libraries have a range of services for adults and children with a visual or print impairment – most of which are free and can be access from home. Learn more about what our libraries offer here

Businesses urged not to miss out on free support to cut carbon and cut costs

Low Carbon Business Support programmeBusinesses across Cambridgeshire can find out how to cut carbon and cut costs as part of a free Low Carbon Business Support Programme. The programme aims to assist small and medium sized businesses to reduce energy use and costs and prepare for a low carbon future.There are a few places available for the final two-day training sessions taking place on Tuesday 4 and Thursday 6 July at New Shire Hall, Emery Crescent, Alconbury, PE28 4YE.No matter where businesses are on their low carbon journey, the workshop offers something for them with business diagnostics, technology reviews and training available from expert business advisors. The Low Carbon Business Support covers all areas of business operations and is tailored to the area/s most useful for each business – and all at no cost to the company. There is a particular focus on energy management.The workshops involve learning how to audit your energy usage, an introduction to the concept of carbon footprinting and an overview of low carbon technologies as well as guidance on how to find funding and procurement support. Information about future opportunities for low carbon business support measures will also be available at the workshops.Interested organisations can find out more on the Low Carbon Business Support Programme’s website.

Updates from Care Together

Care TogetherThe Care Together team is excited to share the news that all the seed-funding proposals that were co-produced with partners in the different localities of Cambridgeshire, following identification of localised gaps and demand, were recently approved by the County Council and agreements are now in place for work with local partners to commence. These projects will enable local groups and organisations to support increasing numbers of older adults to do the things they want to do in the place they call home, with the people they want to do them with. This is part of our vision for the Care Together programme.Cambridge CityWorking with Cambridge City Council, an activity coordinator is being recruited to organise and promote activities for the physical and mental wellbeing of older adults living in sheltered housing, as well as others living in the local community. This will bring people together to combat social isolation and promote health and happiness.South CambridgeshireSeveral initiatives will be supported by funding for Mobile Warden Schemes, including the expansion of the Willingham Memory Box Dementia & Carers Café, to Over Day Centre, and the Bar Hill Knit & Natter and Reminiscence Group for Memory Loss.HuntingdonshireIn Huntingdonshire we are partnering with several local organisations to deliver health and fitness opportunities for older adults via a mobile gymnasium, a Dementia Choir & Reconnect Social Group, support for Volunteer Driver/Community Transport schemes in Sawtry, Stilton & Connington, and ‘Love to Move’ chair-based exercise programme in Huntingdon and St Neots. We are also providing support to the expansion of a Mobile Warden Scheme across Huntingdon to meet rising demand.East CambridgeshireGiven the overwhelming demand for the winter warm hubs to be maintained all year-round, we have partnered once again with Cambridgeshire ACRE to support local grass roots organisations to run community spaces for people of all ages to come together mostly for social interaction, free hot and cold drinks and information and advice when necessary.FenlandAcross the district there are activities and opportunities for older people to engage, including the Lunch Club and ‘Swap Not Shop’ in Wisbech, a mobile gymnasium for veterans and older adults, a good neighbour scheme in partnership with Newton-on-the-isle Parish Council and ‘Forever Fit’ strength and balance exercise opportunities for older adults in partnership with Active Fenland. We are also addressing some of the issues around community transport in Fenland by ensuring older people in rural villages can be transported for free to activities taking place nearby.

Updates from the Communities Service

CommunityJill Buckingham, the newly appointed Head of Communities, started in post on 5 June. Jill has moved within Cambridgeshire County Council from Children’s Services, and has previously worked in schools, the NHS and the voluntary sector. Jill can be contacted by email at Jill.Buckingham@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.Our Armed Forces Covenant Officer, Tommy Kelly has been working very hard in the run-up to the recent Armed Forces Day, which included a flag raising event at New Shire Hall on 19 June. The flag was raised by Council Chair Cllr Sebastian Kindersley.All of our district based teams continue to work on shared priorities with our district, parish, health and community partners. In East Cambridgeshire, where the team supports the parish and community forum, the meeting at Soham Library last month saw its highest ever attendance – with more than 50 people joining in person and online. The event saw speakers from a variety of local partner organisations deliver presentations on funding opportunities, which would help to improve the health and wellbeing of residents in the area. The Fenland team have been working in partnership with the Libraries service where there are now 4 libraries supporting the School Uniform Project. This will help to reach even more families and prevent unwanted uniforms going to landfill. The project continues to be an extremely popular and well-used service within the local community.