Highlights from the Hubs update - Friday

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A big thank you to our volunteers


Hello everyone, I hope you’re staying safe and well.  

This week, we’ve included some data which shows some of the numbers we’re dealing with in the countywide hub which is providing support for residents that need to be shielded from the virus.

As you can see, the hub team have been very busy, and are doing a remarkable job. The numbers are important as they show the extent of the impact of Coronavirus on our communities, but there are also many, many more people being supported by the district/city hubs, and by huge numbers of voluntary, community and faith sector groups as well as community volunteers, that aren’t reflected in these numbers.

hub data

The numbers also mask the realities for every single individual who is having to shield, and especially those without their own support network in place. Every one of the 18,166 people that are registered as shielding is an individual with their own circumstances and needs, and in fact there are over 31,000 people across the county that should be shielding right now. They are the ones we are most determined to help. This week we’ve been trying to contact people who should be shielding but who haven’t responded to the formal contact they’ve had from the NHS or the national shielding team. We’ve managed to reach the majority of these people now, which is a huge relief, but in so doing have come across people who are without support and didn’t know where to turn. Some people were rapidly running out of food and other essential supplies, and there were some who couldn’t read or write and who therefore hadn’t understood the letters they’d received from the Government saying they should be shielding. We have of course been able to put all the support they need in place now. So, as the lockdown measures continue to be eased, for many people there is no change, and I am so very proud of the collective response we have all made to support them, up to now and for however long they need to shield. 

None of this would be possible though without the incredible support of the thousands of volunteers that have come forward to help their neighbours, communities and organisations. 

Thank you. 

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council

Content table

Volunteers' Week

volunteers wk logo

Next week is Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) which is a chance to celebrate and say thank you for the contribution which millions of volunteers make across the UK. 

With volunteers forming a crucial part of the response to the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we recognise and support volunteers across Cambridgeshire who are helping people who have been affected by the virus. 

As a result, we want to dedicate next week’s newsletter to Volunteers’ Week and shout about the amazing work being carried out by volunteers at this time. 

If you have a story or case study that you would like to contribute, please email amanda.rose@peterborough.gov.uk by 5pm on Tuesday (2 June). 

Hubs network critical part of NHS Test and Trace

test and trace













With the launch of a nationwide NHS Test and Trace service this week, the network of COVID-19 coordination hubs will perform a crucial and wider role in supporting people who need to isolate and don’t have support from elsewhere. 

As Test and Trace becomes more established it will lead to a reduction in the lockdown measures for all, but it will mean that individuals and their households will need to isolate if they have symptoms, or individuals who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive. 

People in that situation, who don’t have a network of family, friends or neighbours, will be able to access support from the network of district and city hubs. 

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “The network of hubs has supported thousands of people in the past two months and will continue to do so as we enter this next phase in our fight against coronavirus. We have found that the support being provided for many people is absolutely vital and we have come across some who simply would not be able to access food and medicines without this support. 

“I would ask people to think about who they can call upon for help if they have to isolate at short notice and if they don’t have a good support network in place, to remember that support is available. The hubs can help people to access food and medicine, can offer befriending services to beat loneliness and can support with essential home maintenance and repairs and in many other ways too.” 

People are being urged to support the NHS Test and Trace programme, which aims to gradually replace the national lockdown with individual and household isolation for those who have been in contact with the virus. 

People are 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 www.NHS/coronavirus 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. Even if negative they still have to self-isolate for 14 days even though the household is not required to do so.  

People who need help whilst isolating should visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or call 0345 045 5219 

Click here to watch a video about the new Test and Trace service. 

Against Scams Partners continue to help people avoid Covid-19 scams

CASAP logo

The Coordination Hub is helping the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Against Scams Partnership (CAPASP) to prevent residents becoming the victims of coronavirus-related scams.   

Although anyone can fall victim to a scam at any given time, the increase in uncertainty and anxiety caused by the pandemic makes everyone more vulnerable to becoming a victim. On top of this, people being at home makes them more likely to fall victim to opportunist doorstep and telephone scammers.  

As a result CAPASP, a county council-led county-wide partnership of public, private and voluntary sector organisations, has continued working throughout the pandemic to help stop scams and related crimes 

Since April, Charlotte Homent from our Think Communities team and the lead for CAPASP has sent email information about specific scams to the network of 400 community groups, volunteers and partners and reached 4,000 people on social media. Charlotte and her team also continue to make scams prevention resources available on the CAPASP webpage and update both councils’ ‘Beware of Coronavirus Scams’ web pages to help keep people safe in communities - ensuring that information surrounding recent scams is easily accessible.  

In order to keep yourself and family safe from scams it is important to consider the following before parting with money regarding coronavirus:  

  • Coronavirus testing kits are only offered by the NHS, nobody will come to your door offering you one for any price.   
  • There is currently no vaccine or cure for coronavirus, so it is vital that you are not tempted by advertisements of treatments for any sum of money.   
  • Beware of the sales of overpriced goods that are claimed to protect you from the virus, such as anti-bacterial products or PPE. If you need these products, always purchase from a trusted pharmacy or supermarket.   
  • There are scams that are offering shopping or medication collection services for a price – avoid these! If you are vulnerable and in need of support, you should contact the Coordination Hub on 0345 045 5219 for free advice and assistance.   

During these uncertain times, it is vital that the public continue to have knowledge of ongoing scams; more information can be found for Cambridgeshire here and Peterborough here.   

If you would like to help to protect yourself and residents in your community from the financial and emotional harm of scams why not sign up as a CAPASP supporter to receive information about the latest scams and any relevant funding or training opportunities that arise? Visit the CAPASP webpage for more information  

Redeployed staff ensuring reablement care continues across the county

One of the key responsibilities of the Countywide Hub is ensuring that critical services across the public sector, such as care for older people, can continue through the support of staff who have been redeployed from other council services and partner organisations and the support of volunteers.     

One of those council services that needed additional capacity to be able to continue providing important services to the public was reablement.  

The council’s reablement teams support people who have spent time in hospital or might have recently suffered poor health to readjust to living at home and regain independence to avoid them having to spend time in a care home. 

A number of reablement staff have needed to shield, leaving fewer people to deliver direct care.  

As a result, the Peterborough and Cambridgeshire reablement teams have been supported by 20 staff redeployed from other services and two Care Quality Commission inspectors. All of them received basic classroom-based training prior to commencing roles in the team.     

Many of them have enjoyed their new roles so much that they have expressed a willingness to continue to support the service in a bank or part time capacity once they return to their substantive roles.  In addition, two of the Cambridgeshire redeployed staff have already applied to join the team on a permanent basis.  

Comments from the redeployed staff included:  

"I have really enjoyed the work and I have appreciated the team and support and everyone has been great."  

"Love reablement, great job, I love the responsibility of being able to go out there and get on with the job, working independently with the service user. I was so used to doing everything for a service user, but this is brilliant as you are working with them so that they can become independent again. You can see the progress, the rewards, the service users are so pleased to see you and I have learnt so much. “   

Tina Hornsby, head of integration for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire councils, said: “We cannot express enough our gratitude to staff members, who often came into the service with very limited previous experience of care delivery and embraced what can be a very demanding job role with such admirable energy and enthusiasm.  I would also like to thank the members of the workforce development teams supporting both councils for the speed in which they were able to arrange and provide the essential training required." 

Spotlight on our partners


"Charlotte Homent is a member of the 16-strong call handling team for the Covid-19 Coordination Hub 0345 helpline. The helpline was set up to provide support to people who have been advised to shield from coronavirus – although, as Charlotte explains, the team receives all sorts of enquiries. 

“Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has brought great tragedy across the world, the response provided by our Coordination Hub has been incredible and I am really proud to be a part of it.  

"I was redeployed from my role as Community Protection Manager to answer calls on the newly-established helpline. Since then I have helped hundreds of people to access essential supplies such as food or medication to enable them to follow government advice to stay at home. It’s been extremely rewarding and great to work alongside, albeit virtually, such a fantastic team of people.  

"Call handlers answer calls from home and we keep in touch as a group by Skype messenger so we can support each other with tricky queries, IT issues or anything emotionally distressing. The support of fellow call handlers is invaluable and I look forward to meeting some of my new friends once restrictions are eased! 

"The majority of calls are from people who are shielding or a family member and involve me searching the Cambridgeshire Directory and Peterborough PIN to find local support and ordering weekly government food parcels or emergency supplies through Red Cross where no community help could be found.  

"As well as food related queries I have taken calls from people needing help with obtaining transport for a carer, help with heating and help with getting plants that had been ordered before the pandemic into the ground. 

"There is a balance to be struck between brevity and the compassion that is required for people who are sometimes very poorly and for whom the current situation can be incredibly overwhelming. A few weeks back I took a call from a person who was extremely distressed and of low mood. I was able to provide lots of information to that person during the call - and in writing afterwards - including information about local volunteer support and mental health support. The caller was very grateful and even contacted me again a month later to say how talking to me helped enormously and they would always appreciate it. 

"Earlier this week I took a call from someone who had developed Covid-19 symptoms and whose call to NHS 111 had advised to order a testing kit online. As the caller doesn’t use the internet and lives alone, she rang our helpline. I discovered a 119 helpline for the tests, the kit was ordered and duly arrived.  I then continued to help this resident who was struggling to understand how to register and then take the test and book a courier.  We worked it out together, I played her a video down the phone of how to take the test and booked the courier to collect the swab once the test was completed and she was very grateful. Another satisfied customer!

"Whilst juggling work and family life is quite tricky and tiring at the moment, with no days together as a whole family, the reward and value of the work I am doing in the hub makes up for it. It’s great to be making a positive difference for so many at this challenging time.” 

Coordination Hub helping more than 1,000 residents

More than 1,000 residents across Peterborough who have needed help and support during the Coronavirus public health emergency have been in contact with the Peterborough Resource Group hub. 

The hub includes representatives from the public, private, charitable, voluntary, community, independent and faith sectors, parish councils, registered social landlords, such as Cross Keys Homes and Peterborough City College.  

Since its launch on 2 April, more than 1,000 people have been in touch asking for help and lots of others have been helped by agencies, organisations and volunteers in their local communities. The requests to the hub vary from support with food parcels, shopping, delivery of medication, gardening and house maintenance, virtual youth clubs and events, family support and support with skills development and education, and also providing comfort calls to those who feel alone and socially isolated. 

Wendi Ogle-Welbourn, executive director for people and communities for Peterborough City and Cambridgeshire County Councils who is leading the work of the hubsaid: “The hard work that has gone into developing the hub, particularly that of our volunteers, is overwhelming. It is incredible to see the lengths to which our volunteers have been willing to go to, going above and beyond to support our vulnerable residents in our great city. 

Communities urged to social distance and stay alert

Messages urging people to continue following the social distancing guidelines are being translated into other languages to encourage people from the county’s many communities to pull together to avoid a second peak in the coronavirus virus. 

The messages are being translated to inform people that although the Government has eased the lockdown measures, there are still strict guidelines in place to control the spread of the virus, which we must all follow. They also advise that coronavirus has not gone away, and, unless we follow the guidelines, infection rates will increase, leading to more deaths. 

Wendi Ogle Welbourn, Executive Director for People and Communities for Peterborough City and Cambridgeshire County Councils, said: "We need people to understand that if they leave their home to take outdoor exercise, they must stay at least two metres away from anyone not in their household. From Monday, you can go outside to be in a group of up to six people, but you must stay at least 2 metres apart from anyone not from your own household. 

"If we all follow this guidance, rates of infection will stay under control, and the Government may be able to make further changes to the lockdown measures. It will protect you, your family and friends, and all the fantastic people in the health, education and care sector who are caring for our loved ones. If we ignore the rules, we will face a second wave of the virus and a tightening of the lockdown measures. I am reaching out to everyone to say ‘do the right thing’ to protect everyone in our great city." 

South Cambs housing team keeping people safe and well

South Cambridgeshire District Council's housing team has been supporting residents through the pandemic. 

Two officers have shared their heart-warming experiences of people they have been able to help. 

Charlotte Lowe, operations surveyor, said: “I had one of our tenants in tears, as she’d finished another 12-hour shift at a care home and was exhausted. She was worrying about paying her bills and work were expecting her to do 7 nights straight, have one night off, and then the same again.  

"She was emotionally drained. I let her talk and cry to get everything out (all she wanted to do was hug her grandchildren) and she apologised for it. I told her not to be silly, she obviously needed to talk to someone and I’m glad it was me. We had a lovely chat and I suggested she pamper herself. I also told her about our support teams and emailed the rents department to see if there was anything they could do to help.” 

Project officer Steve Keerie, who has been helping to do home visits during the lockdown, said: “I visited an elderly man that we were unable to reach. He seemed okay but then got very emotional as it seemed he was lonely. He said ‘I can’t believe there are people in the world thinking about me at a time like this’. He was crying as he said this. I carried on talking to him for a while, checked he had food and meds and had a general conversation about the current circumstances. I left and reported that I believed his mental health was at risk so could do with follow up visits. 

"The following week it was agreed I should visit him again, I stopped at the bakery to grab myself some lunch and thought I would grab a little treat for the man, see if it would cheer him up. I visited and he was very thankful and smiley faced, not only that I had visited again to check on him but also that I had brought him a cake. His neighbour came out, she said she would do shopping for him that evening as he was running low on food. I also made him aware of the community support again and how to contact them should he need further support. I left knowing now he had support from the community.” 

Fire service supporting NHS colleagues on the frontline

Fire service front line

Nine on-call firefighters from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service have been seconded to the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) while they experience high demand during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Having now received their training, they will be using their skill as blue light trained drivers to assist in driving frontline emergency NHS ambulances alongside EEAST paramedics. 

A wholetime firefighter from St Neots has also been seconded to EEAST. He temporarily returns to work as a paramedic, a role he did before becoming a firefighter in 2018. 

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Jon Anderson said: “Working together and supporting our emergency services colleagues has never been so important.  As a service, we are committed to doing everything we can to help keep our communities in Cambridgeshire safe. 

“It’s no surprise that so many of our staff have been volunteering their services for our partners and their communities. 

“We’re thankful we are able to offer our help, without compromising our own emergency response to the public.” 

Marcus Bailey, Chief Operating Officer with EEAST, said: “Covid-19 represents an unprecedented challenge for all of us and we truly appreciate the fantastic support we have received from the fire service, the public, businesses and our other partners. We would urge people to continue to play their part in helping the NHS by taking extra care of themselves, only going out for essential items, observing advice about hand-washing and maintaining social distancing.” 

PPE for care home and home care providers

Care homes and home care providers are expected to continue to secure supplies of PPE through their usual supply routes or through one of the seven wholesalers identified by Department of Health and Social Care, to supply PPE to the social care sector. Recently an e-commerce has been set up. However the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) PPE central hub is also able to provide them with emergency supplies if they are unable to obtain any PPE from their normal supply routes, and have less than 7 day’s supply.

Contact Cambridge City Council with a free online sign language service

Cambridge residents who are deaf or have substantial hearing loss, can contact Cambridge City Council using a free online sign language service. The service is likely to be particularly useful during the Coronavirus lockdown, when face-to-face appointments are limited and deaf customers may not be able to draw on support they would usually get from friends or relatives. They can now use their computer or smartphone to receive British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation when using the council’s customer service phone line.  

To use the service they need to register their details on the SignLive website and either download an app, or access it via the internet.