UPDATES: 26 & 29 May 2020
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough communities urged to support NHS Test and Trace – From today people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are being urged to support a new NHS Test and Trace programme which will aim to track every single case of coronavirus in our communities to stop the infection spreading.
In a briefing last night, Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, urged everyone to support the programme, which aims to gradually replace the national lockdown with individual isolation for those who have been in contact with the virus and local action where it is necessary to respond to a flare up of coronavirus cases.
As we move out of the national lockdown, we are asking those who have been in contact with anyone who might have the virus to isolate themselves.
Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council will also be able to take robust action where a number of people have or are suspected of having caught the virus.
From now on, everyone is being asked to follow this three-step plan:
Step 1 – If you have one or more of the symptoms of coronavirus – a fever, a new continuous cough or a loss of taste or smell – you and the people you live with must immediately self-isolate.
Step 2 – You then must book a test on the NHS website and if you don’t have internet access dial 119. Do not leave home for any other reason. If you test positive, you will then be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service within 24 hours.
Step 3 – If you do test positive, NHS Test and Trace will help you establish who you have been in contact with and might have infected. This could be members of your own household already isolating or someone you have been within 2 metres of for more than 15 minutes. You will also be given clinical advice and support for dealing with the virus. NHS Test and Trace will then contact those contacts anonymously. If you are one of those contacts, you will be advised to isolate for 14 days, even if you don’t have symptoms or feel perfectly well. If you developed symptoms, you would be required to get a test.
Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “Thanks to the efforts of everyone who has abided by the national lockdown measures so far we are past the peak of the virus and beginning to look at how we can start to return to living our lives through for example the reopening of shops and other services. But to maintain this will require us to behave differently if we are to be safe.
“The Government has made it clear that until there is a cure or a vaccine, NHS Test and Trace is a crucial part of being able to slow the spread of the virus even further and to be able to release us gradually from lockdown.
“It is all our duty to follow the instructions set out by the Government – to self-isolate immediately if you get symptoms and to get a test. If you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, instructing you to isolate, you must do so.
“We know it might be difficult for people to self-isolate, particularly if they don’t have support from friends, family or neighbours. There is a network of services provided through local hubs that support and help those, if required, who are self-isolating.”
Councillor Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “The Government has made it very clear that if you get symptoms you must isolate immediately and get a test. If you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, instructing you to isolate, you must do so.
“If the lockdown measures are to be lifted further we all need to follow these instructions to slow the spread of the virus even further, keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, along with protecting the NHS and all key workers.
“The more people who correctly use Test and Trace, the greater impact it will have on the spread of the virus and the quicker we will be able to return to seeing the people we love and doing the things we all enjoy.
“We know that people who are required to self-isolate might need help and support if they don’t have friends, family or neighbours to call upon, and we will make sure that support is available through the network of local hubs.”
A network of COVID-19 hubs is working across the county to help people who need support at this time and don’t have family, friends or neighbours they can ask for help.
Free parking permit for critical NHS staff, health and social care key workers and volunteers – Critical NHS staff, health and social care key workers and volunteers can now apply for a digital parking permit to use when on duty or performing home visits during the Coronavirus pandemic.
This free digital permit will allow the care worker to park their vehicle in all Resident Permit Parking Areas and on-street Pay and Display bays in Cambridge city, whilst carrying out essential duties, without having to worry about cost or time restrictions.
The application is available to the following key areas:
• Social Care key worker – key care worker on home visit
• NHS Key Worker – Key Health Worker on Duty
• Contracted Key Worker – care worker on home visit
• Volunteers who are working within the community to support vulnerable people throughout the coronavirus outbreak
Applications can be submitted using the online form on the Cambridgeshire County Council website here
Requests will be processed within the next working day and a notification email will be sent when the digital permit is active. Users won’t need to display a permit within their vehicle as the permit is digital.
These will be valid until 31st October 2020 to coincide with the extended furlough date set by the Government, but will subject to further guidance.
Councillor Ian Bates, chair of the Highways and Transport Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “Key workers and volunteers are working incredibly hard to support the most vulnerable people and it feels only right that we provide a free parking permit, where we can, to help them carry out the vital work they’re doing. I’m incredibly pleased that we’ve introduced these free permits across all resident and pay and display bays in Cambridge city and I’d like to thank all of those people who are providing help and support for others throughout the pandemic.”
In Peterborough, all council owned car parks are currently free of charge. This will be reviewed at the end of June.
Parking in Cambridgeshire is 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.
Leader’s Vlogs – Councillor Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council and Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council have recorded separate vlogs for residents across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Councillor Steve Count talks about the cycle enhancements and addresses some of the criticism. Watch his vlog
Councillor John Holdich talks about re-opening the city centre, test and trace and schools. Watch his vlog
Peterborough city centre preparing to welcome back shoppers – Peterborough City Council will spend £181,500 to kick-start work on social distancing measures to welcome back shoppers from mid-June.
Following the Government’s announcement that non-essential shops could begin re-opening from Monday, 15 June, the city council has been working closely with local businesses, including Queensgate Shopping Centre, Peterborough Positive, Opportunity Peterborough and the Combined Authority to prepare for a ‘new normal’ in the city centre.
This will include the promotion of an open-air café-style culture, including the Guild Hall and St Peter’s Arcade, when bars, coffee shops and restaurants are expected to open in the summer. Other measures include new bicycle storage facilities, reorganised spaces in car parks, a health and safety audit of Peterborough City Market and widening of pavements to encourage people coming short distances into the city centre to walk and cycle.
Clear signage and floor markings will encourage people to stay apart and avoid close contact and to help with this, the Cathedral Square fountains will also be turned off to create more space for shoppers to socially distance.
Cleansing will also be further enhanced by Aragon Direct Services, in addition to the regular hot wash of the city centre and a daily cleanse of all benches and bins. Daily bench sanitising will also be carried out.
The funding will come from a £50million fund that the Government has set aside for the safe re-opening of cities and towns which was announced on Saturday (24 May).
Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “Our city centre will be ready to begin welcoming back shoppers from Monday, 15 June. The last few months have been tough for businesses, but we’ve got a strong economy and retail offering and are positioned better than most to weather this storm.
“We will be working closely with local businesses, Peterborough Positive, Opportunity Peterborough and the Combined Authority over the coming fortnight to ensure businesses feel supported and we will be reorganising sections of the city centre and putting up clear signage to help residents to socially distance.
“What we’re asking from residents in return is to walk and cycle into the city centre where they are able to do so, to be considerate of other shoppers and staff and to continue to stay at least 2 metres apart from one another, as they would when they go to a supermarket.”
Tom Hennessy, chief executive of Opportunity Peterborough, said: “We’ve been in close communication with businesses over the past weeks and we know the Government’s announcement that non-essential shops can begin to re-open from Monday, 15 June was well received.
“No one is going to pretend that the past weeks have been easy for businesses – we’re supporting businesses as much as we can with one-to-one advice and information that will keep them and their customers safe, but also helping them adapt their business plans to ensure their survival. We will also help source enough PPE, plastic screens and clear signage ready for their re-opening.”
In Cambridgeshire city centres re-opening is 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.
Registration services staff continue to support community during coronavirus – Since 1837 the Cambridgeshire County Council registration service has been here for everyone in life’s biggest moments – whether it’s to register a birth, get married, form a civil partnership or to register the death of a loved one.
But because of coronavirus, our team has had to adapt quickly, as lockdown has brought some big changes to how the registration services team works. We are now waiting on more information about when we will be able to register births and resume ceremonies.
Currently the only appointments the service can do are to register deaths. This is usually a face-to-face service but, for the first time ever, it is now being done over the telephone.
Registration officer, Kallie Orchard, said: “Registering a death can be very upsetting and is especially difficult for everyone at the moment. But we continue to work as compassionately
as we always have. Since telephone death registrations started, we’ve registered approximately 1,100 deaths. We’ve had good feedback about our telephone service with many customers and medical professionals commenting on how easy the process is.”
As well as registering deaths, we have had thousands of e-mails from couples about their marriage or civil partnership ceremonies, and have already moved more than 300 to new dates.”
Apart from those required to shield, registration staff are still working in Huntingdon, Ely Cambridge and March offices observing good COVID security measures, to ensure access to and the security of legal documents and certificates, but all locations are closed to the public.
The registration service has received hundreds of positive feedback messages since the lockdown began.
One person said: “I truly appreciate everything you are doing for us, I can only imagine how difficult it is for you trying to help everyone”.
Someone else said: “We’re both really grateful to Cambridgeshire Ceremonies for being so understanding.”
Click here to watch our registrations services video.
For more information on our registration services, visit our website
Next week we’ll be looking at Peterborough registration services.
Dr Liz Robin vlog – Dr Liz Robin, Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, explains what it means that Huntingdonshire has reported some Covid-19 ‘hotspots’, and reminds us that the best way to prevent the spread of coronavirus is to stay vigilant and follow the national public health guidance – to stay at home, limit contact with other people and keep 2 meters away from other people if you do go out. Click here to watch today’s video blog. Dr Liz Robin is available for down the line interviews about the current COVID-19 situation or the contents of today’s Vlog. Please contact the newsdesk to check availability.
Social workers recognised for brilliant work – The winner of Cambridgeshire County Council’s and Peterborough City Council’s Children’s Services’ Social Work stars 2020 have been announced.
The awards ceremony was due to take place on 17 March which is World Social Work Day but sadly this was cancelled due to restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus.
However, both councils wanted to make sure that colleagues know they are valued and appreciated for all their hard work and are thrilled to announce the results today.
Out of 33 nominations, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Social Work Stars 2020 are:
· Knowledge Mpofu from Children in Care South Team 2 – Knowledge was nominated for going the extra mile for young people and one nominee said he stands out as a brilliant social worker in Cambridgeshire.
· Emily Hogg from South Family Safeguarding Team 2 – Following Emily’s work with students at ARU, one nominee said her ‘wealth of experience, professionalism and professional leadership skills were inspiring the next generation of social workers’.
· Sophie Bradley from Hunts Family Safeguarding Children’s Team 1 – Sophie Bradley was recognised for her work with a young person with severe mental health issues.
The winner of Peterborough City Council’s Social Work Stars of 2020 was Bethany Smith from Children in Care Team 2.
She was recognised as a role model for other social workers and her nominee said the service was ‘lucky to have her’. In her feedback, she was described as a ‘competent, reliable and knowledgeable social worker who is making positive changes to children’s lives on a daily basis and securing them permanency.’
Wendi Ogle-Welbourn, executive director for People and Communities, said: “It is so important to recognise the work that our children social workers have done in the past year, even more now during the situation we are all facing. I want to personally congratulate our winners for the support they have provided and a give big thank you for keeping the children in our county/city safe.”
Councillor Simon Bywater, chairman of the Children and Young Peoples Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “Congratulations to all the winners and nominees and thank you to all our social workers for the work you do.
“Our teams work so hard and make a huge difference to children’s lives across the county all year round.”
Councillor Lynne Ayres, cabinet member for Children’s Services, Education, Skills and the University at Peterborough City Council, said: “All our staff in the children’s social service teams are fantastic and I want them all to know how valued and appreciated they are.
“The work they do is vital, especially now as we face this incredibly difficult time”.
Cambridgeshire Day Centre continues to support adults with learning disabilities, keeping their ‘virtual’ visitors up and active! – Not letting the small matter of a lockdown get in their way, staff at Victoria Lodge in Wisbech have been busy flexing their creative muscles, creating a wide-ranging activity programme that’s keeping regular visitors entertained and active online.
The pilot project, held at the Cambridgeshire County Council run day service for older people and adults with learning disabilities, initially set out to simply offer regular virtual drop-ins and check-ups for the Centre’s visitors.
But it has since morphed into a wider-ranging interactive activity and engagement programme, with users of the day centre putting forward their ideas – even helping run some of the sessions themselves.
Staff at the centre have been overwhelmed by the videos and photos they have been receiving back from those who would usually be attending the centre.
The programme is proving highly successful, but while the cookery classes, gardening and creative photography have already seen some great results, the afternoon danceathon with centre manager, Hayley, is proving a massive hit without forgetting staff member Dave encouraging all the Rhinestone Cowboy’s to get involved in his karaoke. Watch the video here.
With no let-up in interest of ideas, the 8-week programme has been expanded and will keep running for the foreseeable future, enabling prolonged engagement with the vulnerable adults and older people with learning disabilities who use the service.
Hayley Bradshaw, centre manager, said: “It seems like a long time since my colleague Nik Embelton and I were talking into the late hours, discussing how we could reach out to people during the lockdown. Nik had run a session on social media and had set-up our Facebook page as a way of sharing the great work and stories from the people we support. Never did we think we would have to flip that on its head and use it as a tool to maintain contact and run fun sessions with those who use our service.
“The people who visit our centre mean so much to us and it is so humbling to see how involved they are. Many are telling us they are accessing it every day to see what is going on, and they are getting their families involved in the activities too.
“They have brilliant ideas and I can’t thank them and our staff enough for everything they are doing.
“We say that anything goes, which is unfortunate because I couldn’t then back out of giving a dance class! I’m certainly no professional and have never done anything like it, but a promise is a promise. I’m just pleased we can keep peoples spirits up, and that really does work both ways.”
To see what centre have been up to, including Centre Manger Hayley’s Dance Lessons, check out this Facebook page
Pen pal project connects the young and elderly – Children from a Cambridgeshire primary school have been writing letters to older residents in return for a letter sharing memories of VE Day and other post-war experiences.
More than 30 children from The Shade Primary School wrote letters residents of Soham Lodge Care Centre, as part of Soham Write and Unite, an intergenerational pen pal project. The project was initially set up by the Connecting Communities team at Cambridgeshire County Council to support communities to feel safe, connected and able to help themselves and others in their community.
Residents of Soham Lodge then returned letters to the children, sharing their memories and experiences of VE Day and post war.
Other groups in the community have also taken part in the project including Weatheralls Primary School, Little Wombatz Pre School, Soham Methodist Church, Soham Community Association and Soham Community Group. Soham Handy Helpers distributed letters to elder residents living in isolation in the town.
Wendy Landsdown, Think Communities Coordinator for Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “The project highlights the importance of working together across generations and communities.
“It also illustrates to both children, and wider community, the importance and value every member of the community adds and the importance of linking generations in order to learn about parts of our social history.”
Councillor Steve Criswell, Chairman of the Communities and Partnership Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council said: “This a wonderful example of the importance of members of the community learning from each other, with VE day offering the perfect opportunity for the younger residents to learn from the older.
“These are difficult times for all, and it is great to see people continuing to work together to support the wellbeing of the whole community.”
Emma Hales, activities and events manager at Soham Lodge Care Centre, said: “The student response has been absolutely amazing!
“This is a lonely time for our residents who are missing seeing their families and friends. This connection with the outside world and being able to share memories is really combating loneliness for them and raising their spirits.”
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 alert
- Control the virus
- Save lives
- Socially distance – stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
- Wash your hands
Anyone can spread the virus!
Full guidance on staying alert and safe can be found here.