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: Thursday, 15 April 2020
Nearly 250 people being supported by Coronavirus support hub – Almost 250 people across Peterborough who need help and support during the Coronavirus public health emergency have been in contact with the Peterborough Local Community Resilience Group (CRG). The support hub was set up following an instruction from the Government for every council in the country to establish local hubs to provide targeted support for those people who require it during the pandemic. The hub includes representatives from the public, private, voluntary, independent and faith sectors.
Its role is to support those who are vulnerable and in need of help and support, but are not classed as being high risk (shielded). Those who are highest risk and therefore identified as shielded are being supported by the countywide co-ordination hub.
Since its launch on 2 April, almost 250 people have been in touch asking for help, with many vulnerable people needing assistance to source food or medicine, or requiring support around benefits, or because they feel lonely.
Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “First and foremost we want people to use their own networks if possible, so friends, family and neighbours. But we know those networks don’t exist for everyone, or they may have broken down, and these are the people we want to hear from if they need help and support.
“It is vitally important that we all follow the stay at home message, but of course this will make life difficult for some residents who will struggle to source food, collect medicines or may feel lonely and in need of contact with the outside world.
“The message to those residents, is please don’t struggle in silence. We are here to help, so please get in touch. It may be just a phone call from a friendly voice once a week, or support in sourcing food items, we have a bank of people waiting to help.
“There is a tremendous amount of work taking place every day, by both the Peterborough hub and the county-wide hub. Whether it’s coordinating and delivering food parcels or contacting many thousands of people each week to check they are ok, it’s all helping to keep our residents safe, well and connected at this most difficult time.”
Wendi Ogle-Welbourn, executive director for people and communities, is leading the work of the hub and the SaferPeterborough Partnership is overseeing the work.
Wendi said: “I am bowled over by the offers of support from the voluntary sector, Cross Keys Homes and other agencies, organisations and community groups. I want to thank every single person who is supporting our work to help and support vulnerable people – nothing is too much trouble and everyone is working together to make sure those that need help and support get it.
“There are many people in our communities who will be grateful for this incredible response.”
People who need help and support should get in touch with the Peterborough CRG by visiting the council’s website or by calling (01733 747474). The hub is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Organisations offering help city-wide can also be found on the Peterborough Information Network
District hubs in Cambridgeshire are handled by Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council and Huntingdonshire District Council and you can contact them about their hub details.
Number of pupils starting their first choice school in September increases – The vast majority of pupils starting primary school in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough this September will be attending their first preference school.
In Cambridgeshire, the early opening of the Primary School application process saw a slight increase in the number of applications received before the submission deadline compared to previous years – with a higher percentage of children being offered their first preference than was the case in 2019.
Overall, of the 6890 applications received, the Council were able to allocate 93.7% of pupils a place at their parents’ first preference school (an increase from 92.75% in 2019), with 4.2% being offered their second preference, and 0.7% offered their third. The number of children not receiving one of their top three preferences dropped from 1.96% to 1.4%.
In Peterborough, while the number of applications received was down on last year – 2727 as opposed to 2870, the percentage of pupils being offered their first preference has increased.
Of the applications received, the Council were able to allocate first preference to 93.7% of pupils (an increase from 91.5% in 2019), with 4.3% being offered their second preference, and 0.8% offered their third. The number of children not receiving one of their top three preferences dropped from 2.1% to 1.1%.
Jonathan Lewis, Service Director for Education at Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, said: “I’m so pleased that almost 94% of pupils will be able to attend their first preference school. I know things are particularly challenging at this time and it is tough for all our families, but hopefully for this is one thing that will bring a level of continuity and positivity. Our schools have been amazing, and I want to thank them for everything they are doing to help in such difficult circumstances.”
Councillor Simon Bywater, Chairman of the Children and Young Peoples Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “I want to say a big thank you to the County Council’s Admission’s team and everyone in our Education Directorate, who have worked tirelessly to ensure the majority of our children will be attending the school they put top of their list.”
Councillor Lynne Ayres, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education, Skills and the University at Peterborough City Council, said: “I also want to extend my thanks and say that the beginning of formal education is such an important part of anyone’s life, and I’m glad that for most of our children and families, they are able to begin their journey in a place of their choosing.”
The Councils are sending letters to parents today, letting them know the result of their application, but parents who applied online can also check for themselves:
Cambridgeshire’s online portal
Peterborough – parent portal
What can parents do if they are not happy about the place their child(ren) has been offered?
Parents are legally entitled to appeal against the Admission Authority’s decision to refuse a place at their preferred school(s). Accepting a place at an alternative school does not affect their child’s place on the reserve list for their preferred school(s), or right of appeal. For more information see the Cambridgeshire County Council’s Appeals page and Peterborough’s Appeals page
Parents should be aware that appeals are likely to be delayed due to the current situation. We ask that you check the appeals web page for updates.
Littleport motorbike training school offering free courier service – An award-winning motorcycle training school in East Cambridgeshire is now offering a free courier service to residents in need.
Based in Littleport, AAA Motorcycle Training School Ltd has shifted its focus from training new motorcyclists to delivering prescription medication to households who are self-isolating during the Covid-19 outbreak.
In response to government advice, the motorcycle training school first began delivering prescriptions to elderly and vulnerable residents who were struggling to collect their own medication, while also protecting pharmacy and surgery staff by reducing face-to-face contact.
As the severity of the lockdown developed, the company began contacting local pharmacies and surgeries and advertising on social media to offer their help. Their free courier service is now available to all residents with prescriptions in an effort to reduce footfall and maintain social distancing.
In their first week, the company had two riders each handling between 30 and 60 prescriptions a day. As demand increased, so did their team, which now consists of four riders, each handling between 50 and 60 prescriptions a day, with slightly fewer at weekends.
After initially covering the needs of Littleport, Ely and Soham residents, the company soon expanded their service to Duxford, Foxton, Chatteris, March, Newmarket, Downham Market and beyond.
The training school has ceased all training other than for essential workers who rely on their use of motorbikes for work.
Dean Abbess and Amanda Hellmann, owners of the company, said: “We are a small family business within a large community. From the onset of our business, we felt that the company should work with and support the community we are in and we have always done this.
“Never in a million years did we consider that the support would develop into what it has now become, but it is still the right thing to do and we will keep on doing it.”
Councillor Anna Bailey, Chairwoman of the Adults Committee said: “What a truly wonderful thing this business is doing in these extraordinary times, adapting and responding to the need it sees in its own community and beyond to help keep people safe and well.
“On behalf of Cambridgeshire residents, I thank the bikers of AAA Motorcycle Training School Ltd for everything they are doing – hats off to you!”
Residents in need of this free courier service can contact AAA Motorcycle Training School Ltd on its website or by calling 07384 746025 between 8am and 8pm.
Dean and Amanda also regularly update the AAA Motorcycle Training School Ltd Facebook page with stories of their adventures.
Changes to coroner hearings – Due to government advice to reduce the spread of coronavirus, all Cambridgeshire and Peterborough inquests and openings will be conducted via Skype.
Any media that wish to join a hearing should contact the Coroner’s Office on 0345 045 1364 for further information. Please note that hearings may change at short notice. Please check the webpage here the evening before a hearing is scheduled, for the most up-to-date information.
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.