Welcome to the July 2022 Cambridgeshire Matters newsletter

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Welcome to the July 2022 Cambridgeshire Matters newsletter

Welcome to the latest edition of Cambridgeshire Matters, our monthly newsletter which aims to share good news, highlights and updates from across Cambridgeshire to help our network of district, city and community members stay informed.

The summer is well and truly here and there is much activity across the county to share with you all, so sit back and enjoy the July edition.

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.

Calling all Gadgeteers


As with every issue of Cambridgeshire Matters, we love to celebrate our libraries. They are our unofficial community hubs and a wonderful place for people of all ages to come together.

Every summer our libraries run a reading challenge for young readers and 2022 has a fabulous theme – Gadgeteers.

Join the Gadgeteers to discover facts on the amazing science and innovation that happens every day in the world, including some of your favourite things that you can see, touch and feel!

The Summer Reading Challenge is run annually by the Reading Agency and the challenge is open to pre-school and primary school aged children. It is designed for all reading abilities and is free to take part.

Gadgeteers will feature amazing books, awesome rewards and plenty of ideas for cool experiments and activities to discover the science all around you. The challenge will be brought to life by top children’s writer and illustrator Julian Beresford.

To complete the challenge, children must read six books of their choice by the end of the school holidays. For each book completed, they will receive a sticker and for completing the challenge they will receive a certificate and medal.

Children can sign up for the challenge at their local library or online at The Summer Reading Challenge website.

Support for families across the summer

HAF poster

Cost of living is of real concern for us all right now and we want to do all we can to ensure families are supported and that children don’t miss out on meals while they are not at school.

Enriching experiences and a nutritious lunch are being made available throughout the holidays for the children and young people of families receiving income-related free school meals.

Places are still available on the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme during the summer holidays for eligible children.

Eligible children can attend a holiday scheme free for up to 64 hours over the summer holidays. Find out more here.

The county council is also funding free access to families not eligible for free school meals but who are struggling financially, and to Ukrainian and other refugee families, which is proving to be very popular.

Additionally, the county council’s joint administration agreed to earmark £3.6m in one-off funds to extend the Holiday Voucher Scheme in Cambridgeshire for each of the school holidays until the February 2023 half term.

The scheme offers parents vouchers for a choice of supermarkets. These vouchers will be sent to eligible families automatically using school data and information held by the local authority.

Find out more please read here.

Major boost for motorists as new bridge over Kings Dyke level crossing opens

King's Dyke

For decades it has felt like a bridge too far, but there are now much quicker road commuting times between Peterborough and Whittlesey.

Welcoming the news that the new bridge over Kings Dyke level crossing is now open, chair of the county council’s Highways and Transport Committee, Cllr Alex Beckett, said: “I’m delighted to hear that we can say goodbye to delays at the level crossing. I would like to thank everyone for their patience while the works have been ongoing and please bear with us for a little longer while the final pieces of work are finished. I’d also like to thank the teams at Jones Bros and the county council for all their hard work and keeping residents informed with fortnightly updates which I know have been well received.”

The major project has been delivered thanks to the support of a number of partners, including Fenland District and Whittlesey Town councils and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority - the latter providing crucial funding. Further works include the construction of an embankment near Forterra, works at Funtham’s Lane, landscaping and the closure and removal of the level crossing.

The project will be fully completed by the end of the year. Find out more here.

Ground-breaking ceremony for new Wisbech special school

Wisbech school

A ground-breaking ceremony was held to mark the start of construction on a new special school for Wisbech off Barton Road.

The school, funded by Cambridgeshire County Council, is for 60 young people with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs and will be run by Horizons Education Trust.

The ground-breaking ceremony was performed by the chair of Cambridgeshire County Council, Cllr Stephen Ferguson, and the chief executive of Horizons Education Trust, Dr Kim Taylor OBE.

The new purpose-built accommodation will provide a much-needed replacement for the existing building in Algores Way and will provide a modern learning environment with outdoor spaces for primary to secondary aged young people.

Local flood groups receive funding boost

St Ives

Whilst the current weather may not automatically make us think of flooding, we do always need to be mindful of what is around the corner and prepare our communities accordingly.

The county council’s Community Flood Action Programme has recently received a £14,000 grant from the Local Resilience Forum. The money is to be used for local flood groups, such as those in St Ives and Alconbury, to enhance their community flood kits and thus their resilience to flooding.

Flood kits contain a combination of products which are ideal for residents to respond quickly and effectively to flooding in their community. Each flood group is eligible to receive £500 which can be used to purchase additional PPE or tools through the scheme.

Cllr Lorna Dupré, chair of the council’s Environment and Green Investment Committee, said “Flooding is an increasing issue in Cambridgeshire, and as climate change affects rainfall patterns, we are likely to see more large-scale rainfall events in the future. It is essential that communities in areas most at risk are prepared for this.”

If any local flood groups would like to apply for this money, please get in touch with the Community Flood Action Programme team on CFAP@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

If you are interested in setting up your own flood group, then take a look at https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/business/planning-and-development/flood-and-water/community-flood-action-programme or email CFAP@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

Scam in Focus - Courier Fraud

Scam alert

Courier fraud is predominantly a telephone crime, where the victim receives a call from someone whom they believe to be in a position of authority, such as a police officer or bank official, and a courier is sent to the victim to collect cash, a bank card, or other items, as arranged.

It will start by the fraudster posing as the official and building up a relationship with the victim. This is done by offering information that the victim can see could have come from an official source, such as full name and address. The victim may have already given that information away themselves, or the fraudster will have obtained a database that contains their name and address, which is how they were targeted in the first place. The fraudster then asks for help.

Everyone wants to be helpful, it’s in our nature to be, but we must remain on our guard. Remember this is all on the phone where you can’t see the body language of the other person and they are relying on tone of voice and their questions being enticing.

Research Google on how to make a good sales' call and it will give you lots of ideas of tactics they might use, which you can then use as tell-tale signs.

Here are some specific examples of what fraudsters might say:

Bank card expiry: Fraudsters claim to be from the victim’s bank and say their card is no longer valid. They ask for the pin number and then send a “courier” to collect the card before using it for fraudulent purposes.

Purchasing high end items: The fraudsters pretend to be police officers and ask the victim to help with an undercover operation by purchasing expensive items like watches, jewellery and gold. Once the item is bought, the fraudster will send a courier to collect the items.

Counterfeit cash/bank investigation: A person claiming to be the police or a banking official informs the victim that they need to help with a banking corruption investigation. The victim is told to withdraw a large amount of money and the cash is picked up later by a courier to “check for fingerprints" or to "identify counterfeit bank notes”.

Computer takeover: The fraudster telephones the victim, purporting to be from their internet service provider, saying that they have had an issue with their internet connectivity, and they are due compensation. The victim is persuaded to download a remote access application, giving the suspects access to their home computers. The fraudster persuades the victims into thinking that they have been paid too much compensation and the victims then withdraw cash to pay the money back, which is later collected by a courier.

Scheme helps businesses cut costs and carbon


Is your business ready for a future without fossil fuels? Have you been asked by companies you work with what your carbon footprint is and how you need to reduce it?

Questions like these will become commonplace as the UK tackles climate change.

The Low Carbon Business Support programme offers support and guidance to businesses looking to take their first steps to reduce their carbon emissions, as well as those who have actively started their low carbon journey.

The programme runs until February 2023 and is being led by Deyton Bell, in partnership with the county council and Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) and with support from the European Regional Development Fund. All the support provided will be free.

To find out how you can take advantage of this please read more here.

New Shire Hall is officially open!

NSH opening ceremony

The official opening of New Shire Hall has finally happened, after being delayed because of the pandemic.

The building, operational since the summer of 2021, was officially opened by county council Chair Cllr Stephen Ferguson, ably supported by pupils from Alconbury CofE Primary School.

Celebrations also included the cutting of a cake designed by The Great British Bake Off runner up Ian Cumming of Great Wilbraham.

New Shire Hall at Alconbury Weald has been purpose built to be the county council’s civic hub and the centre of local decision making – whilst at the same time meeting high environmental standards.

In total, 729 staff from more than 70 different teams have New Shire Hall as their official office base.

We have it from a reliable source that the cake was simply delicious!

NSH opening ceremony cake