Cultivate Cambs Grant

Cambridgeshire County Council is pleased to announce that the next deadline for Cultivate Cambs grant applications is 16 December 2022. Pre-application advice appointments will be offered in November.

Cultivate Cambs awards grants of £2,000 to £15,000 for new initiatives that support adults & older people with care and support needs and children, young people & families, to live independently, safe and well in thriving and inclusive communities.

The fund is open to voluntary & community organisations and social enterprises based in and outside of Cambridgeshire, and public sector organisations in Cambridgeshire, for projects that benefit Cambridgeshire residents. Please note that projects serving Peterborough residents are not eligible.

Pre-application advice

We encourage you to seek pre-application advice on your project ideas before submitting your application.  Appointments are available on 8 & 9 November for projects supporting adults with care and support needs, 9 & 23 November for projects supporting children, young people and families, and 7 & 10 November for anti-poverty projects (e.g. enhanced community food projects). Please pre-book your 15-minute telephone or virtual advice appointment here.

Cultivate Ideas

Do you want to do something for your community but need inspiration to start a project? Cultivate Ideas offer guidance and support for setting up the following community-led initiatives – Enhanced Community Food Projects, Care Micro-enterprises, Community Warden Schemes, Community Youth Worker, Timebanks, Good Neighbour Schemes, Dementia Friendly Communities and Men’s Sheds.  

Cultivate Cambs grant applications and information may be found on the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation website.

Scam Phone Call – Council Tax Arrears

This was shared by a Peterborough resident in order to protect others – It’s the transcript of a phone call that her Mother received last week:

“You are in debt £1,998 on your Council Tax bill. This issue will be taken to court and you will get house arrested. If you don’t want to resolve this debt in court, you must pay for a solicitor. I can help taking you to the solicitor to solve this Council Tax case. If you don’t get the solicitor or pay the £1,998 debt now, you can get house arrested.”

Luckily, the lady’s daughter was there at the time and when she noticed that her Mother was feeling panicked and confused by the phone call, she took the call and ended it.

They then did exactly the right thing: they contacted the City Council directly where the team confirmed that the lady was fully up-to-date with her Council Tax, that it would NEVER threaten someone with “house arrest” and that it would send out reminder letters if the account was in arrears.


Never be Rushed – Take the time to talk to friends and family if you are worried about a cold call approach, whether that has come by phone, mail, online or on the doorstep.

Stay in Control – Make your own enquiries as the lady and her daughter did here.

If you need to phone to check the veracity of a call:

Use a phone number you know and trust, not one the caller gives you.

Make sure the line you use is clear (by leaving 10 mins before phoning, or phoning a friend first), or maybe use a different device. This is to prevent what is known as “no hang up” fraud where the scammer stays on the line.

County Council Highways events diary – October 2022

Please find attached the Highway Events diary for October. The diary shows all known events and their highway restrictions. The diary includes links to where further details can be viewed, including the specific road closure timings of each traffic management plan.

October’s Highlights

Duxford Flying Finale – 8th October 2022

Cambridge Town & Gown 10K – 16th October 2022

Please remember details of all highway events can be found on

Future key event dates

Numerous Remembrance events are planned county wide throughout November.

Cambridge Bonfire Night, Midsummer Common – 5th November 2022

Mill Road, Cambridge Winter Fair – 3rd December 2022

School uniform help available for families

School uniform helpFamilies struggling to buy school uniform and shoes for children are being made aware of a special scheme which is providing vital help.  The School Uniform Wardrobe project, run by Cambridgeshire County Council’s Think Communities team, is holding a series of uniform donation events over the coming weeks in Whittlesey and Wisbech.  People can donate school uniform and shoes that they no longer need which will be used by families struggling financially due to the cost of living crisis. Anyone in need of school uniform can attend the events or contact the team and they will aim to find suitable attire for you.  The scheme has already received backing from Tesco Extra, with the supermarket giants donating new items of uniform. At a recent donation event, shoppers were encouraged to buy an item of clothing to donate while doing their regular shopping.  The next donation bank events will be at Tesco Extra in Wisbech tomorrow (Friday 26 August) from 10am – 3pm and at Whittlesey Library on Tuesday 30 August from 10am – 1pm.  Councillor Tom Sanderson, Chair of the council’s Communities, Social Mobility and Inclusion, said: “We know that many people are struggling with the cost of living crisis and this time of year is also very expensive for families with new school uniform and other items needed as their children go back to school. We’re hoping that communities will get behind this truly worthwhile scheme to ease the pressure on those who are struggling.  “Although the scheme is primarily aimed at those struggling financially, it will also help reduce the amount of clothing going to landfill waste. If people can help either by donating good quality second hand uniform they no longer need, or by buying items while shopping, then that will really help.”  The scheme’s current round of support is focused in both Wisbech and Whittlesey, with similar support offered in March and Chatteris during October half-term.  Click here for more information about the scheme, how to make donations or if you are need of school uniform

Resources available to help with cost of living

Cost of livingAre you worried about the rising cost of energy bills, food and transport? You are not alone; the cost of living crisis is affecting many of us. You may want help accessing grants and debt advice, support getting all the money you’re entitled to, or simply want to know more about the government’s recent support measures. Whatever your money worries may be, Cambridgeshire County Council has put together some helpful information to help you.  You’ll find information about the Household Support Fund which has been created to help people experiencing immediate financial hardship to pay for food and household energy bills; the Warm Home Discount and energy bill rebate; and other local and national resources.

Cambridgeshire County Council need Volunteer School Appeals Panel Members

Volunteer School Appeals Panel Member

  • Are you interested in Primary and Secondary School Education and want to be involved?
  • Do you have excellent listening skills?
  • Are you able to put people at ease?
  • Are you able to make balanced decisions?
  • Would you be interested in being part of an important, impartial service provided to parents and schools?

If you have answered yes to any of the above, please consider applying to be become a Volunteer School Appeals Panel Member

Why be a panel member? 

For some people the work is helpful for their career, providing them with relevant work experience.

For others, it is rewarding in itself to give people the chance to state their case.

Appellants often become clearer about the options open to them during a hearing and the reasons why a place was not offered at a preferred school. 

What is the role?

All parents or carers have the right to make an appeal to an independent appeal panel if their child is not offered a place at their preferred school. 

The role of the panel is to decide whether a child who has been refused a place by an admission authority, should be given a place. All parties involved must be afforded an appeal hearing that is transparent, accessible, independent and impartial. 

The appeal panel is independent of the local authority and their decisions are binding on all parties, unless overturned by the courts. 

An Appeals Panel is made up of 3 trained panel members:

  • Lay members – those without personal experience in the management of a school or provision of education in any school (except as a school governor); 
  • Education experienced members – those who have experience in education, are acquainted with educational conditions or who are parents of registered pupils at school. 

The Panel is supported by an independent Legal Clerk who advises the Panel on points of law and procedure and takes notes during the Hearing.

What will I be doing? 

  • You will be sitting on independent admission appeal panels 
  • Ensuring that parents feel they have had a fair and independent hearing, have been given every opportunity to put their case and have been taken seriously 
  • Volunteers must be able to listen to two sides of a case and weigh up evidence objectively and impartially.

To ensure impartiality, panel members must not be elected Members or employees of the County Council who work in education, or on the governing body of the school concerned with the appeal. However, they can be on the governing body of an unconnected school.  They must also not be involved in the management or provision of education in any school. 

What skills or experience do I need?  

The following qualities will help you to undertake the work of the Panel:  

  • Ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of people  
  • Ability to read and assess information and identify key points  
  • Ability to listen to key information  
  • Ability to ask questions to obtain information and clarify points being made  
  • Ability to analyse information and use it to form opinions and conclusions  
  • Ability to obtain and weigh up evidence to reach a reasoned and evidence based decision  
  • Willingness to work as part of a team  
  • Willingness to take advice  
  • Willingness to develop your own skills  

Equal Opportunities  

  • Ability to demonstrate awareness/understanding of equal opportunities
  • Ability to consider people’s behaviour, physical, social and welfare needs

Panel members will be expected to develop an understanding of:  

  • The admissions process and the guidance /legislation  
  • The role of the Legal Clerk 

Will I receive training?

All volunteer Panel Members receive initial and annual refresher training.  You will also be fully supported by the Appeals Service.

How much time do I need to give?

This can vary depending on the level of commitment you wish to give. While appeals are held throughout the year, the peak months are between April and July. The appeals are arranged for half a day or a full day. 

Location of Hearings

Hearings are currently virtual using Microsoft TEAMS but this will be reviewed in September 2022.

More information

If you require further information or would like an informal to chat to discuss the above, please contact

Warning of loan shark dangers in Cambridgeshire

stop loan sharks banner 4
Cambridgeshire County Council is lending its support to a national campaign aimed at tackling loan sharks and raising awareness of where people can seek help. The campaign is being led by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) – a national team that investigates and prosecutes loan sharks. They also provide specialist support for people affected by this crime. A loan shark is someone who lends money without authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They often tend to initially appear friendly and helpful but can then turn to violent and aggressive behaviour to force victims to repay the loans with huge interest and extortionate penalties. It’s not always easy to spot a loan shark as they come in many different guises and will at first appear friendly, just part of the community. It’s when you can’t pay that they will turn on you. They could be a regular from the local pub, a parent in the school playground or a friend of a friend. Loan sharks prey on people at their most vulnerable. Borrowing from a loan shark can seem like an easy option but often it will lead to a vicious cycle of threats, intimidation and spiralling debts. You will usually find these predators lurking in communities, but they also operate on social media, using dating sites and online groups to find, threaten and control people in debt. Here are some of the warning signs to watch out for that a lender is acting illegally: Giving you no paperwork or agreement on a loan Refusing to give you information about the loan Keeping items such as your passport and bank card until the debt is paid Taking things from you if you don’t pay on time Adding more interest or charges so the debt never goes down Using intimidation or violence if you don’t pay Starting off by being your friend but quickly turning nasty If you have borrowed money from a loan shark, it is important to remember that you have done nothing wrong and there is no shame in seeking help. It may seem like a difficult step to take, but there is support available from the England Illegal Money Lending Team. Credit unions are a safe and legal alternative than borrowing from a loan shark, find out more about the services on offer locally by going to Why join a credit union? ✔️ Credit unions are not-for-profit organisations, existing primarily to serve the needs of their members and the communities in which they operate. ✔️ It’s easy to find a credit union that you’re eligible to join. To become a member of the Eastern Savings and Loans Credit Union, you need to live or work in Norfolk, Suffolk or Cambridgeshire. ✔️ Credit unions help members save and manage their money ethically and responsibly. They offer savings and loans at affordable rates, and just like with banks and building societies, your savings are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). ✔️ Credit unions may be more willing to offer you a small loan if you have poor or no credit rating. Banks, along with other loan providers, may be reluctant to lend you money for this reason. It’s easy to check that a lender is authorised before considering a loan by visiting the Financial Services Register online at Residents who believe they may be involved with a loan shark or suspect that one is operating in their area can report it to the Illegal Money Lending Team by calling 0300 555 2222, emailing or filling out an online form at Live Chat is available on the website between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Follow us on Twitter| Facebook| CCC PCC

Energy Company scam Alert forwarded from Cambridgeshire Police

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Cambridgeshire Police Fraud Alert –

Energy Company Scams
Energy companies are closing at unprecedented rates and with more than two million customers being affected, this is just another opportunity for fraudsters to exploit.

There is limited information that fraudsters are sending fake emails purporting to be from a solicitor on behalf of a recognisable energy supplier, these emails claim to be collecting outstanding payments and may make reference to your account being taken over and managed by another energy company. Like most phishing communications they not only intend to appear genuine, but they also install fear, anxiety, stress, a sense of urgency and a veiled threat such as legal action and disconnection of supply.

If you receive any such email or message:
STOP – Taking a moment to stop and think before replying, parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
CHALLENGE – Could it be fake? It is ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try and rush or panic you.
PROTECT – Contact your bank immediately if you think you have fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

Do not reply to the suspicious communication or use the contacts details provided.

Do not open any attachment or click on any link.

Contact your current and genuine energy supplier using your previously tried, tested, and trusted means, this is either an app, website or contact telephone number from a genuine previous bill.

They will soon confirm or deny whether the communication is a scam or not.
If you receive a suspicious email forward to or text to 7726
Ensure any suspicious communication is deleted from your device.

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Scam in Focus -Romance Scams
Romance Scams. 
What is a romance scam?  It is when someone uses an online dating site to develop a relationship with someone for the express purpose of extracting money from them.  
How does someone become a victim? The scam is run over a long period of time, forging a relationship, gaining trust, until they feel the victim is sufficiently enamoured with the scammer to send money when it is asked for. 
Signs: – A friend or family member may be involved are they exhibiting secretive behaviour, making excuses why they haven’t met in person, Sudden and strong attachment to someone they haven’t met, and have only just started talking to.  These are some of the things to look out for.
Remember, these people are professional relationship builders.  They will make you feel special and say all the right things because that is how they gain your trust and build the relationship with you. 
How to protect yourself: – Alarm bells should ring If- 
You like the person and they ask you to chat off the site.   
You attempt to arrange to meet, but they keep making excuses why they can’t.  They will usually be out of the country for some reason, and it will all sound very plausible.    
If they ask for money or any personal documentation, then that is a sure sign the person is not on the dating site genuinely. 
If you find yourself getting really defensive about questions from loved ones and friends.  If they are concerned there is probably a legitimate reason, especially.   
Conduct a reverse image search on one of the search engines. If the search engine returns an image like the one seen on the dating profile, do a bit more research around the picture.  It could be a photograph from a company website.   
“Why would someone wait this long to scam me”.  The longer the scam goes on the more you will get attached to the person, the more money you are likely to spend.  Remember that the sums sent from a single person have been £30,000.  This is a good yearly wage, and  this is multiplied by the number of people they are scamming, they can scam several people at the same time. 
Examples of the type of job they will have: – Remember, they will be working out of the country so they may be on an oil rig, be a doctor working abroad, or they could be in the military.  They need to be out of the country as a reason why they can’t meet you, and then when they ask for money, for example, they need money for a flight home, or to pay medical fees, or they have lost their credit cards, it will all sound plausible.  
Payments: – Credit cards, banks and Paypal all have ways of protecting their customers, and transactions can be reversed. So, you will be asked to send money via ways where the receiver can remain anonymous and the transfer is not reversable. If you haven’t heard of their way they are asking you to send money, or it isn’t something you have done before, then it is another red flag. 
At the end of the day this is a job to these people.  So another tell tale sign is they only chat with you their equivalent of 9-5, don’t forget they live all over the world in different time zones, so it may look like they are chatting when they get home from work, but in reality they are in a different time zone.  English may not be their first language so if they are saying they are from Wales, and their English isn’t good, then that is another flag that something may be wrong. 

Partner in the spotlight – Nat West
This months partner in focus, we look at Nat West and how they are working through these difficult times.
The role of a Customer Support Specialist at NatWest is primarily based in the community so our local Community Banker Bernadette Merry has had to adapt her way of working during the coronavirus restrictions. However she is still very much able to support you and the wider community at this time.
Nat west

Bernadette now offers workshops on Fraud & Scams and Digital Safety via Zoom. This is available to any community group or charity – they don’t need to be a customer of NatWest.
Another valuable offer from the Customer Support Specialist is to offer support and coaching for customers who wish to register for and use NatWest’s Online Banking services, mobile app and video banking which will help them to do most of the things they’d usually do in branch without having to leave their homes.
Two new dedicated customer support lines have also been put in place and the links below provide more information about how they can help.
Over 70’s and extended isolation  line – 0800 051 4176 (Relay UK 18001 0800 051 4176)
NHS Workers line – 0800 046 2418 (Relay UK 18001 0800 046 2418)
If you would like to contact the Customer Support Specialist for your area, please contact Bernadette Merry 

Concessionary Fare Passes Renewal

The Combined Authority is aware that over the next eighteen months the number of renewals of the concessionary bus passes is going to be potentially very high. It is the responsibility of the pass holder to check when their pass is up for renewal and then to contact the Combined Authority to get a new one. In order to aid the pass holder we have set up an online form which allows people to easily renew online. This online form can be found at Free Bus Passes – CPCA Transport ( . If people have any problems with the online form then they can also call the number on the back of their passes