Highlights from the Hubs update - Friday, 26 June 2020

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Hello, and welcome to our latest Highlights from the Hubs! I can’t believe another week has flown by already….

It’s been a week with some important announcements of course – news of the hottest day of the year (and don’t we know it!), Liverpool being crowned Premiership Champions (so I’m told!), and who knew just how popular Bournemouth Beach was!

But there were two really important announcements this week that will change the lives of many people – details on the further easing of lockdown measures from 4 July, and the plans to gradually lift the requirements for people to shield from the virus. For the more than 30,000 people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who have been shielding for 3 months or more, this must come as both a huge relief, but also with some anxiety, and we will be doing all we can between now and the end of July, when the need to shield will be paused, to make sure that everyone has the information, advice and independent support they need to stay safe.

This week’s edition includes further details of how the shielding restrictions will be lifted. 

Alongside this, the Hub reached its 100-day milestone this week, and it’s been quite a journey with some very special partnerships being developed with colleagues across district and city councils, parish and town councils, and the wider public, voluntary and faith sectors. We’re determined to continue to work in this way together, to benefit all of our residents and communities, long into the future.

And finally, there was a really great interview on Tuesday’s BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s Drivetime show about the 100 day anniversary, which included an interview with Phil Carter, an adults safeguarding trainer who has been redeployed into the Hub to support those on the shielded list. You can listen back to the interview at 2hrs 12mins on BBC Sounds.

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

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Countywide Hub marks first 100-days

100 days of the Hub infographic

The Countywide Co-ordination Hub marked its 100-day anniversary on Tuesday.

The hub launched in March to support residents identified as shielding and being of the highest risk to coronavirus.  Currently there are more than 30,000 people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who are shielding, with 19,058 of them registered with the Hub. 7,653 of these people are receiving regular help. 

 Since its launch the Countywide Hub has:

  • Delivered food packages to 2,782 residents. This includes 914 specialist food parcels
  • Made contact, either on the telephone or on home visits, with 3,732 people who the NHS believes should be shielding who the Government could not reach
  • Referred 762 people to the Red Cross for befriending services
  • Responded to 5,915 calls from residents
  • Responded to 4,791 emails asking for help
  • Delivered PPE to GP surgeries, pharmacies, care homes and elsewhere
  • Launched a website specifically for residents who are shielding to allow them to learn new skills and keep busy whilst isolating
  • Launched a service which supports residents with everyday tasks such as gardening and essential DIY
  • Trained volunteers to work in places such as care homes where staff are in short supply
  • Supported hundreds of carers across the county

Adrian Chapman, service director for communities and safety for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire who is leading the work of the Countywide Hub, said: "It has been an absolute privilege to lead the work of the countywide hub, making sure that people who are at the greatest risk from the coronavirus are protected from harm as far as possible.

 "We created the Countywide Hub from scratch at incredible pace, to be able to provide the support that so many of our residents needed at that time and still do. What has been achieved in such a short space of time is truly remarkable.

"None of this would have been possible without the hard work of council staff, many of whom were redeployed into the hub from other council services, our partners including the district and city councils across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who are delivering vital support services to their own communities, the support from our voluntary, faith and public sector partners and last but not least the 2,500 residents who signed up to volunteer their time to support the work of the hub.

"The feedback we receive from the people we are supporting is what makes it all worthwhile and makes it clear that we are making a difference to so many people in a variety of ways. 

"My aspiration now is to make sure we take all of the features of our new ways of working into whatever ‘new normal’ emerges post-Covid-19. The ability to make swift decisions, to collaborate in ways we never thought possible, to share data quickly but safely, and to find very creative solutions to really tricky issues will be no less important beyond the current crisis."

Councillor Irene Walsh, cabinet member for communities for Peterborough City Council, said: "The pandemic left hundreds of people across Peterborough feeling worried, alone and without help within a very short space of time. It has, and continues to be, an incredibly difficult time for so many residents, but the network of support hubs has lightened the load for so many people.

"Whether it's providing essential food or medicine to residents, delivering PPE to health settings to allow GPs and pharmacists to continue working, supporting in care homes or simply offering a friendly voice on the other end of the phone, the work we have seen from council staff, partners and volunteers has been phenomenal.

"I would also like to pay tribute to the hundreds of people across Peterborough who continue to show the most fantastic community spirit, supporting people in their communities who need help at this time. Their work too is supporting so many people to stay safe and well."

Councillor Steve Criswell, chairman of the Communities and Partnerships Committee, Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "The COVID-19 support hubs continue to be a shining example of what can be achieved when councils work together with their partners and residents for the good of our communities. 

"Everyone involved in their work deserves a huge pat on the back for the outstanding service they have provided, and continue to provide, to so many. I am particularly proud of how our communities have stepped up and worked with the council to keep people safe and well.

"Every week the Countywide Hub continues to support more than 4,000 people who are shielding and have asked for help and that figure is rising all the time. We will continue to provide that support so that those who are shielding have the help they need until such a time that their lives are able to return to normal."

Changes announced for shielded group

On Monday the Government announced that the 2.2 million people who have been self-isolating in England will no longer need to shield from 1 August. There will also be a gradual relaxing of the advice from 6 July.

Further details are available at www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus

Adrian Chapman, Service Director: Communities and Partnerships, Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “We know that the update from Government relating to the pausing of the shielding programme will be met with excitement and anxiety. “There will be many people who will need help and support to transition out of shielding and to move towards a new way of life, which of course will still include social distancing. For those people, the Countywide Hub will be there to provide that support. In addition, NHS volunteer responders will continue to offer support after the 31 July to those who need it, including collecting and delivering food and medicines.

“The network of district and city hubs will continue to provide support for all others who don't have help and assistance from friends, family or neighbours. This will be particularly important as part of NHS Test and Trace, to support people who may need help when isolating as a result of having symptoms of coronavirus or because they have been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case. “In addition, we will be keeping a record of people who are extremely clinically vulnerable in case the R rate starts to increase and there is a need for people to shield once again. “If you need support and you don't have friends, family or neighbours to help you, please visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or call 0345 045 5219.”

PPE Hub delivers over 2.4 million items through partnership working


The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Resilience Forum PPE Hub, led by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), has now delivered over 2.4 million PPE items to care homes, GPs, pharmacies, hospices, prisons as well as many others working on the frontline.

The PPE Hub is a collaborative effort with the volunteer organisations, the military, local authorities and other partners in the regional health and social care system, delivering around 40,000 items of PPE each day. After an initial seven-day operation schedule, the team now works five days a week to provide PPE and offers both urgent same-day delivery and next-day delivery.

To comply with social distancing rules, staff across the hub are split into two teams – reducing risk to staff and ensuring that the PPE delivery service is as resilient as possible.

CCG programme director Sarah Learney, who coordinates the PPE Hub, said: “The PPE Hub has been a massive partnership effort. The commitment of all partners involved in the hub has meant that thousands of workers received the PPE they needed to carry out their jobs safely, making sure that patients in our area can still receive the care they need.

“Our thanks go out to all the organisations involved in the work of the hub, including the local authorities, fire service, the Armed Forces, Re:ACT (formerly known as Team Rubicon), and the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire 4x4 Response team whose volunteer drivers deliver PPE to where it’s most needed. We’re proud to have delivered over 2.4 million items of PPE to date, and we couldn’t have done this without you."

Community rallies round to help shielding mum-to-be

Having your first baby should be one of the most exciting times in a person’s life.

But for one Fenland mum-to-be, it was not the case as a result of the financial challenges resulting from Covid-19, her need to shield, shop closures and stock issues.

It was a stressful time as she had been told that due to her medical needs, she would need to be delivered at 34 weeks and was desperate to be prepared for her and her partner’s first child. 

She got in touch with the Fenland community hub and explained that she was unable to purchase premature baby clothes.  She and her partner had considered using Facebook sites and many other options, but all would have carried risks due to their need to shield.  

The hub contacted community members through social media and several people responded resulting in donations of premature baby starter gift packs from a community knitting group that works in partnership with Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Addenbrooke’s, individuals wishing to donate clothes and other parents who had experience of NICU when they had given birth prematurely. 

The hub was able to deliver new and second hand clothes and share these valuable stories and messages of support and advice. 

The resident was incredibly grateful for the response and said that it had enabled her to plan for what she felt should be such a special occasion that was being overshadowed by the effects of the pandemic. 

She shared that they had worked hard to plan their first child and were now in a financially challenging situation, isolated from their family who would have given the emotional and physical support they needed at this time. 

Hearing the shared stories together with the support from Addenbrookes had made her feel cared for, less isolated, respected and valued.  Receiving the clothes had alleviated emotional stress and financial pressure and allowed her to feel as if she was preparing for her baby in the way she had hoped to before the Coronavirus.

Spotlight on our staff


Kerrie Tonks has worked for Cambridgeshire County Council for 22 years and is currently the Youth and Community Coordinator for Fenland which is now part of the Think Communities team. For the past 14 weeks she has been redeployed into the Covid-19 Coordination work as a Place Based Coordinator covering the Fenland area.

“I was delighted to be asked to undertake this role in which I would be able to utilise and build upon the knowledge and relationships I have developed over the last few years working in Fenland.  But even I was not aware at the start of the process of the overwhelming need there would be in the community and how much of a difference these roles could make, and have made, to peoples’ lives over this time.

“A team of six Placed Based roles was set up in the five Cambridgeshire districts and one in Peterborough. It has been a really good and positive experience working in this newly formed team and it has been a delight to work alongside a group of people who have been so supportive of one another throughout the process.

“Fenland District Council was very quick off the mark in setting up a response hub and I have worked closely with them, forming new relationships and building upon established ones within the council. FDC developed a database of over 90 community-based organisations who were willing to assist those in need across Fenland.  It has been an amazing experience to see these organisations grow and develop so quickly and to witness the sheer numbers of volunteers who have come forward to help.  Capturing this community spirit and supporting further development is certainly something that will be considered as we move into recovery phases of Covid-19.

“If I was ever to need a reminder of my time I will think about Michael who was in desperate need having been sent home after a month in hospital saying to me that “we would never know how much the help we gave him has improved his mental health”. Or Maddy who is expecting her first child which due to medical needs will be induced very prematurely saying “she was so grateful for all the baby things we had managed to find for her and how despite things being difficult, knowing that she was being cared about and considered meant so much to her”.

So, it has been a worthwhile and very moving experience at times and has given me a huge amount of new skills and knowledge which I will be able to take with me back into my Youth and Community worker role.

Bright Ribbon campaign extends its reach across Peterborough

In conjunction with Peterborough City Council’s on-going efforts to support communities since the coronavirus outbreak, Bainton & Ashton Parish Council launched the Bright Ribbon campaign back in April.

Initially, residents in the two villages donated non-perishable food items by placing them on their doorsteps in shopping bags tied with brightly-coloured ribbon. This was then collected and delivered to the Peterborough food bank where it could be passed on to those in need. Local suppliers Plants Eggs have been generously donating a regular supply of fresh eggs into the scheme.

Since then the campaign has proved so successful that is has been rolled out to neighbouring villages Barnack and Ufford, where donation points are located in old-style red telephone boxes.

Councillor Irene Walsh, Peterborough City Council’s cabinet member who helped set up the campaign, said: “We’ve had a fantastic response from residents in the villages who are keen to help those in need. And full credit to Bainton & Ashton Parish Council who supported the scheme from the outset.

“We have been in touch with other parish councils, some of whom were already running schemes of their own and some who were keen to set up their own Bright Ribbon campaign. In Glinton the Good Neighbours Scheme is promoting the food donation point at the NISA store on the High Street. An impressive volunteering scheme is also running in the village, supporting local residents in a variety of ways.

“Currently, the donation points in Bainton and Ashton are two repurposed grit bins, one positioned in the centre of each village. All donation points are adorned with bright ribbons so that they can be identified “All in all, a fantastic contribution from Peterborough's rural areas."