Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council communications team will be providing a daily media update with a round-up of any changes to council services arising from the Coronavirus. Please note – all information is correct at the time of publishing.
UPDATE: Wednesday, 22 April 2020
Update on distribution of Government business grants – As of Wednesday 22 April 2020, Peterborough City Council has paid out over 50 per cent (over £17 million to 1,456 Peterborough small businesses and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors) over the last three weeks, mainly through BACS transfers.
Further payments will continue to be made over the coming days with 90 per cent of these to take place by the end of the month. Businesses who qualify for the grants do not need to do anything, the council will pay the money directly into their accounts through BACS payments.
Councillor David Seaton, cabinet member for finance at Peterborough City Council, said: “We are distributing these grants swiftly, however, we are required by government to ensure these payments (of sums of £10,000 and £25,000) are given to those businesses which meet the government criteria.
“Sadly, there has been a minority of people who have attempted to submit fraudulent claims and because of this we have to make sure we are not simply handing over millions of pounds of taxpayer’s cash.”
Peterborough City Council has also awarded 100 per cent business rate relief for 1,255 retail/hospitality/leisure businesses, totaling £36,255,343.42. We also have 31 nurseries eligible for relief of £337,656.
Peterborough businesses can find out more about the grants and other support that is available through the council for businesses in the city online
Business grants in Cambridgeshire are also handled by Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council and Huntingdonshire District Council. Please contact them for their details.
Poetry in motion at King’s Hedges Primary (see pic) – Children at King’s Hedges Primary have been keeping their creative juices flowing by writing poems.
The pupils were tasked with writing a poem that expressed how they were feeling about any topic they wanted to choose. Subjects ranged from growing up to the people in their lives and from a specific memory to the current situation.
Year 5 pupil Paige chose to write about her experiences of the current situation in a poem entitled “Express Yourself”.
Paige’s poem reflects a range of emotions most of us can relate to at the moment – such as sadness, anger, confusion, disappointment and loneliness – but most of all it reminds us all to be resilient and, overall, not to be scared.
Sarah Merritt, Headteacher at King’s Hedges Education Federation, said: “As a school we’re acutely aware that this is a strange time for our pupils and their families. We wanted to give the children the chance to write about any subject that was important to them and I’ve been really impressed with the standard of poetry that they’ve written.
“This is a tough time for everyone, whatever their age. Paige’s poem really sums up the way that a lot of people are feeling and it reflects the range of emotions many of us are going through. We can get through this together and, to quote Paige’s poem, ‘the most important thing is not to be scared’.”
Local ‘friendship club’ provides buddy system to vulnerable people – The Glinton Friendship Club has launched a buddy system to provide support to its vulnerable members during the coronavirus outbreak.
Now in its 19th year, the Glinton Friendship Club runs every Monday on a purely voluntary basis and was set up with money from Peterborough City Council and Age Concern, now Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (AgeUKCAP).
After the first year, the group began raising funds for itself and now has 45 members. It was the first club of its type to be set up in Peterborough and it provides members with a two course hot meal for lunch every week.
Due to government guidance to reduce the spread of coronavirus by limiting social contact, the club is currently not running as usual. Instead, the buddy scheme has been launched so volunteers can call members to check they are okay and provide support by bringing them food shopping and prescriptions.
Barbara Holdich has helped the club since it began and has run it for most of that time. She said: “The idea of a buddy scheme was suggested in the early days of the virus by Mandy Dewdney from Age UK CAP, who co-ordinates our Clubs. So on our last day before closure, Monday 16th March, I talked to all the volunteers and asked them to take on board ringing various members every day or two, to make sure they were alright, and if they needed anything like food shopping or prescriptions.
“They were very happy to do this, and the members also keep in regular contact with each other, so everyone is getting plenty of company, albeit it over the telephone. Everyone I have called has told me that several people have rung them, and they sounded really uplifted by the support they are giving to one another. “Our oldest member, a lady called Win Vine, stopped coming to the Club when she was 103. She has just celebrated her 105th birthday and I popped a card round to her, and I rang her for a lovely chat on Easter Sunday.”
Beverley Young, Manager at Age UK CAP, added: “Glinton Friendship Club is one of 11 Friendship Clubs we support across the city, and each club has introduced a similar buddy system to stay in touch with their members. It is wonderful how everyone is supporting each other.”
Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council and also a ward councillor for Glinton, said: “It’s vitally important that people stay in touch during these difficult times, especially those who are vulnerable.
“The friendship club is one of many community groups going the extra distance to help those in need – it’s fantastic to see and I’m really proud of everyone involved.”
Council’s continue to make home learning rewarding – and fun! While our schools remain closed for the majority of children, many parents have been turning to online resources to help ensure their children continuing learning and developing at home.
Keen to make sure our local children don’t miss out on any areas of the curriculum, the Education Team at Cambridgeshire County Council have been working hard on creating new activities, plans and puzzles for their popular Home Learning Hub platform.
The resource, which also provides links to other trusted learning materials, aims to offer a ‘one-stop shop’ for parents who may otherwise find themselves jumping between different sites.
The team have created short recommendation videos, highlighting some of their own favourite activities, as well as ‘Study Topics’, where children can study one topic while applying lots of skills from other areas of the curriculum.
A brand new Outdoor Learning page offers lots of activities to help families make the most of their gardens and outdoor spaces as places for informal learning.
The Hub is developing regularly, and you can jump on in here.
You can keep up-to-date with any changes to our services on our websites:
- Peterborough – https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/healthcare/public-health/coronavirus/disruption-to-council-services
- Cambridgeshire – https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/coronavirus/disruption-to-council-services
Coronavirus: what you need to do
- Stay at home
- Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
- Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home
Anyone can spread the virus!
Full guidance on staying at home and away from others can be found here.