Cambridgeshire Matters Newsletter - July 2019

Future Parks Accelerator Project

Did you hold a Big Lunch or Great Get Together?

The "Think Communities" Challenge

CCC's Independent Visitor Service is looking for Volunteer Independent Visitors!

|Listen to our podcast explaining the different types of fostering

The best start in life for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough's children

Read It Again!

Summer Reading Challenge

The Recyclables Summer Challenge: Space For Change

Education Centre at Amey Waste Management Park

News from partners

Support Cambridgeshire training offer

Cambridgeshire Local Councils Peer Learning Event

Welcome to the July 2019 Cambridgeshire Matters newsletter

Welcome to the summer issue of Cambridgeshire Matters, designed to keep you up to date with Cambridgeshire County Council's latest news and features relevant to you and your council.

Please do share this e-newsletter with your parish council colleagues and feel free to use any of the features in your own newsletter or social media.

We had some lovely feedback last month which really made our day:

Parish Councillor Julie Newman said: "I am a Parish Councillor in Gamlingay and, having looked through the Community Matters May newsletter, have been able to direct the local youth group to the Community Reach Fund, the local church ministers to the Cinnamon Network and our Community Safety Group towards Cambridge Women's Aid recruiting of Community Ambassadors tackling domestic abuse. Very useful!"

Thank you to everyone who contributes to the newsletter - keep your content coming!

Latest news

News from our partners

Depot Open Days - have your say

Cambridgeshire Highways will be holding its Depot Open Days again this year. To build on the success of previous Depot Days, we would like to hear from parish councils to find out what they would like to see at the Open Days.

Last year we had the support of not only Skanska, our Cambridgeshire Highway partners, but also their specialist supply chain - some provided stalls with their products and other informative videos.

Please email [email protected] with your suggestions so we can gather feedback and ideas ready for the open days.

Local Highway Improvement funding - don't miss the deadline

The Local Highway Improvement initiative invites any groups or organisations that represent the local community to submit a proposal for funding. The fund offers residents the chance to bring forward their own highway improvements within their community.

Schemes are delivered by the County Council on a jointly funded basis, and this year you can now apply for funding of up to £15,000 - as a contribution to your scheme.

Deadline for applications is Sunday 4 August 2019 - speak to your County Councillor to find out more or visit our Local Highway Improvement webpage.

Innovate and Cultivate Fund - eight exciting new projects and deadlines not to miss

Innovate and Cultivate Fund logo
Innovate and Cultivate Fund logo

The County Council’s Innovate and Cultivate Fund is supporting parish councils to set up new initiatives to support vulnerable children, families, adults and older people.

A reminder that we’ve recently launched ‘Cultivate Seed Fund Projects’ to offer inspiration, guidance and funding for projects that can be set up and run by parish councils or local community groups. These include timebanks, good neighbour schemes, men’s sheds and dementia-friendly communities.

We’ve just funded eight exciting new projects, including two Cultivate Seed Fund Projects:

Sawston Parish Council’s Timebank and Hemingford Hub’s Good Neighbour Scheme. When will you submit your application?

The next application deadlines are:

  • 1 August 2019 - Cultivate grants (£2k-£19k) and Innovate grants (£19k-£50k)
  • 1 November 2019 – Cultivate grants only (£2k-£19k)
  • 1 February 2020 - Cultivate grants (£2k-£19k) and Innovate grants (£19k-£50k)
  • 1 May 2020 - Cultivate grants only (£2k-£19k)

The next pre-application advice session will be held on 19 September 2019. Please email [email protected] if you’d like to attend.

We’re also working in partnership with The Cinnamon Network to offer £2000 grants to churches who are keen to set up projects to support local residents. Please help us to spread the word to churches in your area. Find out more on the Cinnamon Network website.

More information about the Innovate and Cultivate Fund can be found on the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation website.

Residents to be asked for transport views

A survey asking residents for their views on the county's highways and transport services will be dropping through doors shortly. 

A random sample of around 3,300 Cambridgeshire residents will receive the National Highways and Transport public satisfaction survey which will ask for their views on highways and transport services, from the condition of roads and footpaths to the quality of cycling facilities. 

Cambridgeshire County Council is one of 111 local authorities to sign up to the survey, which is being run for the eleventh year. It is the largest collaboration between local authorities offering the opportunity to compare results, share in best practice and identify further opportunities to work together in the future. 

The questionnaires will have been sent to Cambridgeshire’s residents from early June onwards, followed by a reminder, with local and national results to be published in late October 2019. Since the survey is based on a sample, residents that receive a copy are being urged to take part. 

Further information on the survey can be found at

Electric Vehicle Chargepoints for your parish

Electric Vehicles (EV) are on the rise, with the number of new Cambridgeshire registrations increasing month by month. Despite this surge in popularity, access to EV Chargepoints remains a barrier to widespread uptake - particularly for our residents with no off-street parking.

On behalf of a number of parishes, Cambridgeshire County Council is putting together an application to the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to access a grant to cover 75% of the purchase and installation cost of an EV chargepoint in their villages. This will enable these parishes to more easily provide chargepoint access to their residents who are not able to have one of their own.

If your parish is interested in providing a chargepoint for your residents and would like to know more about the scheme, please get in touch with the Energy Team at the County Council by emailing [email protected]

Babraham Park and Ride

CCC Councillors have lent their support to an innovative clean energy project planned for the Babraham Park and Ride site. 

The project will install carports over the parking spaces which will then support solar modules. These modules will generate clean electricity to supply the site, additional electric vehicle chargers and allow sales of excess electricity to a nearby site. 

Councillors approved moving to the second stage of project development which will involve submitting the planning application.

Read more about this exciting project and other work the Energy Investment Team do on the MLEI website.

CCC wins ‘East of England Council of the Year’ at the Energy Efficiency Awards

An accolade which provides public recognition for excellent work in the Energy Efficiency sector was awarded to Cambridgeshire County Council on Friday 28 June 2019 by the Energy Efficiency Association.

The key criteria for the award 'East of England Council of the Year 2019' was the benefit of the energy work the Energy Investment Unit have been engaged in for the local community as a whole. 

When submitting for the awards, the application focused primarily on the work being done on the schools programme. 

It also highlighted the development of the Swaffham Prior community heat project and the small-scale investments e.g. LED lighting upgrades being made across the Council’s property portfolio through the Energy Efficiency Fund. 

Read all about it.

Photo of council representatives for Future Parks Accelerator Project.
From L-R: Cllr Hazel Smith (South Cambs District Council), Ellie Robinson (Future Parks Development Director), Cllr Martin Cahn (South Cambs District Council), Gillian Beasley (Chief Executive at Cambridgeshire County Council), Cllr Murphy (Fenland District Council) and Cllr Ian Bates (Cambridgeshire County Council).

From L-R: Cllr Hazel Smith (South Cambs District Council), Ellie Robinson (Future Parks Development Director), Cllr Martin Cahn (South Cambs District Council), Gillian Beasley (Chief Executive at Cambridgeshire County Council), Cllr Murphy (Fenland District Council) and Cllr Ian Bates (Cambridgeshire County Council).

The Flood Risk and Biodiversity Team has been successful in its bid for the County Council to lead one of the national Future Parks Accelerator projects funded to the tune of £700,000 by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the National Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Trust.

Working as a partnership with all our district and city councils, the project aims to develop a sustainable long term strategy for the management and funding of green space in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

The official launch of the project was on 18 June 2019 with a photo shoot in Hinchingbrooke Park.

Broadband for rural communities

Parishes are being asked to help to ensure homes and businesses in harder to reach rural areas don’t miss out on faster broadband – by making people aware of funding options available to get them connected.

The Connecting Cambridgeshire superfast broadband programme, led by Cambridgeshire County Council, is on track to reach over 99% of the county over the next two years. Superfast broadband has already been made available to over 126,000 premises and another 5,300 will be covered in harder to reach rural areas in the next phase of the rollout - using the latest Fibre to the Premise (FTTP) technology.

Remaining premises (estimated to be less than 4,000) have a range of options to secure fast internet access, with funding available for businesses and residents – individually or as part of a group project - to install wireless or fibre connections using local suppliers. These include the Government’s Gigabit Vouchers and Better Broadband Schemes, together with Openreach’s Community Fibre Partnerships

Residents can use the postcode checker on the Connecting Cambridgeshire website to check if superfast is available or planned for their premises, and find advice on upgrading to fibre services.

The website also has information about other technologies and links to funding schemes available for those that are not due to be covered in the superfast rollout or commercial plans:

  • Gigabit vouchers  – primarily for businesses but can include residential premises alongside businesses
  • Rural Gigabit vouchers (new) – for businesses and residential premises in rural areas (ie not cities or towns)
  • Basic Broadband vouchers – for any premises unable to access broadband speeds of over 2Mbps where a gigabit voucher is not available or viable

The Government schemes are supplier-led and run centrally, however you can email [email protected] if you need advice on applying.

New Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme for groups

The Government’s new Rural Gigabit Voucher Scheme will help eligible business and residents in some of the hardest-to-reach rural areas get additional funding towards the cost of installing gigabit-capable broadband as part of a group project. 

Rural premises with broadband speeds of less than 30Mbps can pool vouchers worth up to £3,500 for each small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), and up to £1,500 per residential premise to support the cost of installing new gigabit-capable connections – via a local supplier. Use the postcode search to check if you are eligible, and choose from a list of local suppliers who can guide you through the process.

The scheme builds upon the existing Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme which more than 100 Cambridgeshire and Peterborough businesses and nearby residents have already applied for to install gigabit-capable full fibre. Find out more at

Benefits and bus passes: two free courses for parish councils 

The County Council’s Adult Early Help Team has a small team of welfare benefit advisers that make people aware of their benefit entitlement, and can train volunteers, community groups and parish councils to help people receive the benefits they are entitled to.

This free 2½ hour session enables volunteers to start the conversations about benefits and money with people they are supporting. This can help people to make better informed choices about the support they need and how to maximise their income to access this support.  

Peter Menzcer from Brampton Hub said:This course gave us a great grasp of benefits and has helped us make a really positive impact on the lives of people in Brampton. Our project brings us into contact with lots of people who are carers or who are struggling to cope with a disability. Our boosted benefits knowledge has enabled us to help a lady whose husband has been diagnosed as suffering from dementia and a couple with a disabled daughter’.

The session would give an overview of the benefits available (for either working age benefits or older people or both), how they are claimed and how the different benefits interact with each other. Your group would need to provide is at least five keen volunteers, a room, access to power and a wall to project on to. If you would like to book a trainer, please email [email protected] with two potential dates, the venue and whether you would like to cover working age benefits or benefits for older people.

The County Council’s Public Transport team can also train volunteers, community groups and parish councils to help people who are entitled for a concessionary bus pass to apply for one online. This one hour session gives an overview of the scheme to volunteers, covers who is eligible for a pass, and also provides a chance for volunteers to go through a mock application online so that they, in turn, can help people use this form to apply for a pass. All you need to provide is a room, access to power and an internet connection and some volunteers. If you would like to book a session, please email [email protected] or [email protected].

Big Lunch logo
Big Lunch logo

Thank you to everyone who held took part in this year’s Big Lunch and Great Get Together celebrations in June.

The events were designed and encouraged to bring together neighbours, including those who might be more isolated, to celebrate all we have in common.

If you held an event, we’d love to hear all about how it went and whether you’d do it again.

We have four simple questions that we’d like to hear the answers to:

  1. How did it go?
  2. What would you differently?
  3. Would you do it again, if not why not?
  4. Do you have any photos to share?

Please email your answers and any photos to [email protected].

Think Communities challenge
Think Communities challenge

Over the summer months and into September the “Think Communities” Challenge will be completed by many people across Cambridgeshire. This simple challenge aims to get people thinking about what their responsibilities are - and start a conversation about what their own involvement in their community could be. 

It is designed to help all local public services develop an understanding of the areas in which people feel they could - or should - be taking a more active role. And it will also help local services see the areas in which they could collaborate more with local people.

The Think Communities work is led by Cambridge County Council on behalf of the Cambridgeshire Public Sector Board which brings together all public sector organisations in our area.

The challenge is designed to be completed with small groups, such as local parish councils or community groups. If you would like to take part - and complete the challenge in your area, please get in touch with Emily Tucker-Prescott by email at [email protected] or call 01223 715 958.

Picture of heart containing words
Picture of heart containing words

We are looking for volunteers from all walks of life who have a couple of hours spare each month to mentor and befriend a child or young person in care. Volunteers can expect to enjoy the challenge of building a lasting friendship whilst acting as a positive influence in their life by promoting their social, educational, emotional and cultural development. The volunteer will support and encourage the young person to exercise their rights and participate in decision making processes about their life by listening and advising and being non-judgemental. The most important aspect of the role is to help the young person have fun and experience new activities and build on their life skills.

The young people benefit greatly from the support from the volunteer as it provides them with a consistent, fun relationship with someone independent of the care system to talk to.

Full training is provided to all volunteers and on-going support will be given on a 1:1 basis and within group settings with other volunteers. Reasonable out of pocket expenses are paid for mileage and activities undertaken during visits.

If you’d like more information on the opportunity to volunteer for the service please contact the Independent Visitor Coordinator on 01223 729 704 or via email at [email protected] or visit the webpage.

All posts are subject to Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks.

Link Carer Kate
Link Carer Kate

Link Carer Kate

Do you have the time to give parents a much needed break by looking after a child with a disability for a short break on a regular basis. This rewarding role is a fantastic opportunity to support a family who need some extra help and it also enables children with disabilities to enjoy new experiences and broaden their social circle.

As a Link Carer, you'll be paid an allowance and we will cover your insurance. You will be looking after a child or children in your own home giving them a ‘home from home’ experience, while providing their own families with a break. Link Carers offer anywhere from 24 nights a year to working full-time providing overnight care to a number of children who visit on a rota system.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a Link Short Break Carer then please contact us by email at [email protected], call 0800 052 0078 or visit our fostering webpage.

Campaign to attract children’s social workers

We have launched a campaign to encourage more children’s social workers to consider working for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

It forms part of the wider We Love Social Workers recruitment drive launched earlier this year which has been successful in recruiting more than 30 social workers.

The hard-hitting campaign is based on in-depth discussions with our social workers who shared their experiences of working for Cambridgeshire County Council and what attracted them to work as a children’s social worker.

For more information about social work in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough please see

Help us and become a foster carer for Cambridgeshire

Have you ever thought about fostering? We have produced a podcast which talks about the different types of fostering and guides you through the options, to help fit in with your lifestyle.

Cambridgeshire County Council needs more foster carers to help provide safe and stable homes for local children and young people. Being a foster carer is rewarding. You need a spare bedroom, patience, the ability to take the good with the bad and a sense of humour!

We offer generous allowances, a start-up package and 24 hour access to advice and support plus great training courses.

To find out more visit: or call 0800 052 0078.

Image of family holding hands.
Image of family holding hands.

We want all children in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to be healthy, happy, safe from harm and ready for learning. Evidence is clear that the early years (pre-birth to 5 years) are a crucial period of change. The experiences of babies and children during this time lay the foundations for their future, and shape their development, educational attainment and life chances.

The Best Start in Life strategy will identify specific areas where we can work together to have the greatest impact on early year’s outcomes for children from pre-birth to 5. It will focus on areas including: healthy pregnancy, parents and children; identifying and supporting vulnerable parents early; preparing for parenthood; supporting positive attachment, bonding and child development.

The strategy recognises that to give every child the best start in life we not only need to provide high quality integrated services, but also empower families and communities to contribute to this vision.

The Best Start in Life Strategy is an opportunity to address these challenges and improve outcomes by creating a more integrated approach which maximises the benefits of services working together better and involving the public and communities at every stage.

Over the summer we will be working to further refine the strategy and develop a model for how we will bring together the various strands of early years provision in a more integrated way. The Best Start in Life Strategy will be discussed by councillors in September 2019.

A bright future for Cambridgeshire libraries

CCC’s Communities and Partnership Committee has unanimously agreed to progress our Future Libraries project - in partnership with Civic - to design future models of libraries for the county and, ultimately, the country.

The project follows on from the previous transformation work carried out by the Library Service that enabled the council to keep all libraries open, and to plan many new libraries and improve existing ones as part of future growth plans.

The project will see five archetypes of library models piloted in seven locations across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough - Anchor of the High Street, Centre for Rural Life, Hub for the Region, (Re)animating Communities and Pop-Up for Reviving Community Assets.

The ambition is to prove these models in the pilot areas before rolling them out to all Cambridgeshire and Peterborough libraries over three years so that all libraries benefit. Members will be involved at each stage of the project and in particular in the design phase where engagement with local communities will be paramount.

Front cover artwork of "Mini Rabbit Not Lost" by John Bond.
Front cover artwork of "Mini Rabbit Not Lost" by John Bond.

Over 5,000 children from 25 primary schools across Cambridgeshire took part in the voting for the 2019 ‘Read It Again! Children’s Picture Book Award’ – and selected ‘Mini Rabbit Not Lost’ by John Bond as their winner. 

Now in its 14th year, “Read it Again!” is an award for a debut picture book where words and pictures are the work of one individual. It is organised by Cambridgeshire Libraries and judged solely by children in Cambridgeshire schools. The aim is to promote and encourage exciting new talent in the world of children’s books and give children the opportunity to enjoy some of the best new picture books. 

Previous “Read it Again!” winners include Nicola Senior, Matty Long, Emily Gravett, Tim Hopgood, Chris Haughton and Marta Altes, and many have gone on to receive international acclaim for their work. 

Check the full list of shortlisted 2019 titles, short videos from their authors and previous winners on our Read It Again webpage. 

All of the titles, as well as previous winners, are available to borrow for free and read again from all Cambridgeshire libraries. One lucky participating school, The Roundhouse in St Neots, has been selected to receive a visit by the winning author and arrangements will be made shortly.

The Reading Agency and Libraries Present Space Change, Summer Reading Challenge 2019
The Reading Agency and Libraries Present Space Change, Summer Reading Challenge 2019

The Summer Reading Challenge 2019 theme is Space Chase, an out-of-this-world adventure inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. The Challenge will begin on Monday 22 July. Children can sign up at their local library from Saturday 13 July.

Children can read whichever books they like, just as long as they are borrowed from the library, an activity which helps promote literacy levels across the county - and prevent the academic 'dip' teachers report during the long summer holiday.

There are six special stickers to collect and everyone who finishes the Challenge will receive a certificate and a medal. For children under three, there's a special pre-school challenge, with a gold sticker medal. And the best thing? It’s all free!

For more info, please visit the library news pages.

Recyclables Summer Challenge 2019 poster #spaceforchange 8 July to 20 September.
Recyclables Summer Challenge 2019 poster #spaceforchange 8 July to 20 September.

The Recyclables Summer Challenge is an exciting competition that celebrates the power of imagination and encourages everyone to reduce and recycle as much as they can. Taking place over the summer, the competition open to Cambridgeshire children who have just finished Years 3, 4 and 5.

Get local children to use their imagination to create a story of how everyday recycling can be transformed into something new. The more fabulous the better! The winning story will get made into a video by professional animators with the help of its author and their whole class. There is also a prize for a whole class visit to the Waste Management Park in Waterbeach.

The competition runs until 20 September 2019. To find out more, please visit

Image of reuse, repair, recycle, recover, disposal display at the Amey Education Centre.
Image of reuse, repair, recycle, recover, disposal display at the Amey Education Centre.
Image of Education Centre at Amey Waste Management Park in Waterbeach.
Image of Education Centre at Amey Waste Management Park in Waterbeach.

Looking for something to do this summer?

Last year, the Education Centre at the Amey Waste Management Park engaged with over 6,500 Cambridgeshire residents from schools and community groups through site visits, outreach work and attending events.

Almost half of these were pupils across 33 schools, all of whom had either a site visit to Waterbeach or an outreach visit.

A visit to the Education Centre is free and includes a tour of the site and an activity session to see first-hand what happens to recycling and waste.

The Education Centre also gives talks and attends community events all with the aim to embed long term behaviour change in Cambridgeshire residents to increase recycling, reduce waste to landfill and reduce the total amount of waste produced.

To book a visit, contact 01223 815 490 or email [email protected].

County Council wins ‘Bikeability Grant Recipient of the Year’ Award


Cambridgeshire County Council has won the award for ‘Bikeability Grant Recipient of the Year’ after being nominated by training provider Outspoken.

The award recognises the fantastic support and importance the Council places on Bikeability training, enabling thousands of pupils to receive lessons.

The nomination recognises the work the Council is doing to encourage and support thousands of children in Cambridgeshire receiving Bikeability training.

The Council’s Cycling Projects Team has also contributed significantly to year-on-year increases in Bikeability participation across all levels. Councillors back Bikeability enthusiastically as it supports council objectives around public health and supporting people to live independently, as well as transport strategy aims on reducing congestion, improving air quality and reducing car-based trips.

Due to the success of training across the county, demand for training exceeds the funding the Council receives from the Department for Transport. When this challenge was presented to the Council’s Economy and Environment Committee, councillors tasked officers with finding funds to keep the training free for all pupils. Councillors have since been active in identifying and setting up leads for local companies to help sponsor cycle training which led to the recent donation of £6,000 from Cambridge Assessment.

Support Cambridgeshire website.
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Participants of Rural Affordable Mythbuster Tour
Participants of Rural Affordable Mythbuster Tour
Participants of Rural Affordable Mythbuster Tour
Participants of Rural Affordable Mythbuster Tour

On Wednesday 3 July, the annual Rural Affordable Mythbuster Tour took place - 19 local council representatives joined Cambridgeshire ACRE staff, district and county council officers and representatives from several housing associations to learn more about the provision of affordable homes for local people on rural exception sites.

The tour started and concluded at Bluntisham Village Hall and took in sites at Colne, Earith, Willingham and Swavesey. The tour allowed local councillors to see for themselves how small housing developments that provide vital housing for local people in perpetuity (i.e. they cannot be sold off for private housing) can be incorporated into a rural village without affecting its character and allowed them to share experiences regarding provision of housing in their parishes with each other. Feedback from the tour was excellent with people calling it ‘enlightening’ and ‘inspiring’ and noting their pleasant surprise at the high quality of the homes built. The two photos show the tour attendees and the house at one of the tour stops.

For anyone unable to attend the tour, a copy of the tour programme below supplies interesting information on each site. If any local council would like to learn more or be interested in talking to Cambridgeshire ACRE regarding rural affordable housing, please contact our Housing, Planning and Economic Development Officer Mark Deas, on 01353 865 035.

Further peer learning events are planned for the autumn. Please look out for details in future issues of Cambridgeshire Matters.

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