Cambridgeshire Matters - October 2023

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Welcome to Cambridgeshire Matters October 2023

Cambridgeshire Matters is 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.

Find out about the great work that is taking place to support everyone in the county. Share this newsletter with your communities and feel welcome to use any of the features in your own newsletter or on social media.

Survey finds Cambridgeshire residents are happy – but with significant concerns about their current and future lives


Most Cambridgeshire residents feel happy and safe in the county, well connected to their local communities, and believe it’s a great place to raise children – according to the County Council’s first annual Quality of Life survey involving more than 5,500 residents.

But unsurprisingly this is less likely to be the case for people in some specific groups, with a stark finding that loneliness in Cambridgeshire is far higher than the national average. Loneliness was most likely to be reported by those aged 18 to 25, who also reported more struggles with their mental health.

The survey found the council itself plays a relatively trusted role in residents lives, with just over half of residents trusting the council to make decisions. 

Satisfaction with council services was mixed. It was highest across library, waste management, street lighting and registration services, and lowest in road and pavement maintenance.

It is intended that the survey will be run again next year.

Read the full results of the survey here

Growing gap in County Council's future finances

Image of a calculator

At the Strategy, Resources and Performance Committee on 31 October, members will hear that Cambridgeshire County Council’s estimated budget gap for 2024/5 has increased from a predicted £16m to more than £23m – largely due to increases in demand for services and inflationary pressure.

With the LGA currently reporting that councils are to face an 'inflationary storm' with a predicted £4billion funding gap over the next two years, Cambridgeshire County Council is not alone - but the report to members sets out some of the key reasons for the increased predictions and some of the mitigations the council is already putting in place.

It also points to wider national and even international issues which have an impact on the council's pressures, and highlights how all services in the council have been undergoing a comprehensive exercise to identify efficiencies to mitigate the impacts facing its budget. 

Proposals to set the council’s 2024/5 budget will be discussed by members in December before a period of scrutiny, throughout January, including an opportunity for residents to comment on the plans. Find out more on the council's website

Low carbon streetlights coming to Cambridgeshire


Plans have been approved to introduce new low-carbon street lighting across the county. 

The roll out of newer, more efficient LED (light emitting diode) lights is expected to cut energy consumption from street lighting by more than half. 

47,500 street lights are eligible for LED replacements under the scheme, with work expected to begin in 2024. Replacing the streetlights with LEDs will take two years.

The council is committed to making Cambridgeshire a greener place to live and work. Reducing the existing carbon usage of streetlights is therefore vital to achieving net zero carbon emissions from council assets by 2030.

You can find information on how to report a street lighting fault and likely repair times on our website.

Further 20mph schemes approved

20 miles per hour sign

Following the Highways and Transport Committee on 3 October, more 20mph schemes have been approved across the county.

More than 80 applications were received from local communities. Some of the areas where the schemes will be implemented include Cottenham, Fulbourn, Whittlesford, Girton, Willingham, Upwood and The Raveleys, Elton, Houghton and Wyton, Burwell and Wicken.

The schemes will be rolled out after the winter period once the weather starts to improve, with all schemes in place by Autumn 2024. 

Improving road safety through 20mph schemes is a priority of the Cambridgeshire County Council’s Joint Administration which has highlighted several benefits from the programme, including safer streets which allow residents to feel safe when walking or cycling and reduced noise and pollution.

The scheme will reopen for new applications in January 2024. 

Be Winter Wise - campaign launches to support Cambridgeshire residents as clocks go back


Last week Cambridgeshire County Council launched its new 'Be Winter Wise' campaign to help keep residents across the county informed and prepared to stay safe and healthy throughout the winter months of 2023/24. 

The campaign will draw together a range of services and highlight a variety of activities - from winter gritting and road safety, to falls prevention and flu vaccination support - with Olly the Owl used as a helpful identifying motif. 

Be Winter Wise will also signpost Cambridgeshire residents to information from partner organisations who provide essential winter support activities, as well as promoting low or no cost winter activities to support residents with their mental and physical health. 

You can follow the campaign by searching for #BeWinterWise on social media channels. 

Talk Money Week

Talk Money Week

As part of Cambridgeshire County Council's winter preparedness campaign - 'Be Winter Wise' - the council will be supporting the Money and Pension Service’s 'Talk Money Week', to help residents across the county feel more in control of their finances and know where they can access guidance and support.

Held from 6-10 November, Talk Money Week encourages conversations on money between friends, families, colleagues, and communities, to help people build money into everyday conversations, feel more confident about the future, and improve financial wellbeing. 

As part of the campaign, residents are encouraged to take small steps and ‘do one thing’ to help make discussing money easier. This could include looking closely at a pension, talking to a child about pocket money, or exploring the council’s support with the cost-of-living webpage to help shape money conversations.

Cambridgeshire residents can get involved with online learning courses offered by Cambridgeshire Skills to learn how to build financial resilience and develop sustainable behaviours. Cambridgeshire Libraries also have a variety of information and resources to help residents talk about money throughout the week - from free books on budgeting, to a variety of free or low-cost events, workshops, and performances for everyone to enjoy.

Keep an eye on our social media channels next week to find out more about Talk Money Week, download one of our Talk Money Week posters to display in community spaces, and download our toolkit

Volunteers sought for school place appeals panels

Image of an empty classroom

Volunteers are currently needed to hear appeals when children are not offered a place at their preferred school.

Volunteers will sit on the independent admission appeal panels and ensure that parents feel they have had a fair and independent hearing.

Panel members must be able to listen to two sides of a case and weigh up evidence objectively and impartially, as well as being able to communicate effectively with a wide range of people and analyse information and use it to form opinions and conclusions. You can find the full requirements here

All volunteer panel members will receive initial and annual refresher training, and time commitment is dependent on how much time each volunteer is willing to give. While appeals are held throughout the year, the peak months are between April and July. 

If you are interested in applying or would like to find out more, then please email Clare Cronk

Understand your risk of falling and stay steady on your feet with new interactive checker 

Older couple walking

An easy-to-use web-based tool, which helps users identify their individual risks of falling and suggests simple steps they can take to stay active and independent, has been launched by Cambridgeshire County Council.  

Steady on your Feet is aimed at those who haven’t previously had a fall but would like to understand what they can do to prevent this happening.  

The tool is easy to use and asks a short series of questions to help understand any individual risks you might have and provides an action plan to keep you active and independent while increasing your confidence and reducing the risk of falling. You can fill in the risk checker yourself, or with the help of a family member or friend if you need extra help. 

If you don’t have access to the internet but would like to find out what simple steps you can take to prevent a fall, you can request a copy of our Stronger for Longer booklet by calling 01223 703259. 

Three more libraries to be open for longer

Histon library

Cambridgeshire County Council libraries in Soham, Rock Road Cambridge and March have joined a pilot scheme that offers residents extended access.

Each of these libraries is adding more than 20 hours a week of access to their current opening times, with early mornings (from 8am Monday-Friday) and Sunday openings introduced, alongside more consistent full day access.

This brings the number of libraries participating in the Open+ pilot scheme to five, alongside libraries in Histon and St Ives which have been successfully offering extended opening hours through Open+ for some time.

Anyone with full library membership over the age of 16 can register to use Open+. Speak to a member of staff at any Open+ library during staffed hours. 

Find out more about the library services which can be accessed through Open+

Further updates from around Cambridgeshire

Find below an additional range of news, highlights and updates from around the county this month:

Boost your digital proficiency with Cambridgeshire Skills

Cambridgeshire Skills

Looking to master your digital abilities?

Cambridgeshire Skills offer a variety of courses to help improve digital proficiency. From beginners IT and essential digital skills, to the Microsoft masterclass - convenient one-hour lunchtime sessions, unlocking the secrets of software packages like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint where you can discover invaluable tips and tricks to enhance your productivity. 

For more information, contact Cambridgeshire Skills by calling 01353 613013, email, or visit the website

To see the range of digital courses on offer, take a look at the online course catalogue.

Updates from Communities Service

Poppy wreaths laid out on a set of steps with the shadow of a saluting soldier in the background


Remembrance does not glorify war, and its symbol, the red poppy, is a sign of both remembrance and hope for a peaceful future.

This Remembrance, Tommy Kelly, Armed Forces Covenant Officer for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, will be supporting events starting with Huntingdonshire Royal British Legion Branch’s Poppy Appeal Launch supported by Huntingdonshire District Council on the 26 October.

On 10 November, he, and veterans from Wisbech, will then be supporting Orchards Academy in Wisbech with their Remembrance assembly.

He will also attend March’s Remembrance Parade on 12 November.

As Armed Forces Covenant Officer, Tommy, a veteran of the British Army, engages with organisations; commercial, charity, voluntary and public (including town and parish councils) to highlight the disadvantages that the Armed Forces Community face during, and after, service and how each organisation can play their part in supporting the community by signing the Armed Forces Covenant.

If you would like any further information about the Armed Forces Community or Covenant, please contact Tommy on

Cambridgeshire Priorities Capital Fund

The Cambridgeshire Priorities Capital Fund (CPCF) is a £1M fund designed to support local communities - by helping to upgrade and improve community buildings and assets to better meet the needs of the families, households and communities who use them.

More than 150 organisations from across the county submitted expressions of interest totalling over £4M by the end of September. Over 85% of these expressions met the eligibility criteria to progress to the next competitive stage, where full applications will be scored against the agreed criteria value for money, supporting our ambitions, statutory compliance and the involvement of local residents and beneficiaries.

All applicants are being invited to attend one of three virtual briefing sessions being held during the week beginning 30 October, and members of the Communities Service are also available to support applicants with the next stage. The deadline for completed applications is Friday 15 December 2023. The Communities Service can be contacted on

Updates from Care Together

Happy people stood outside of a van which reads fitness rush on the side of it

Assisting older adults in Fenland

Fitness Rush, funded by Care Together, have delivered 36 hours of outdoor exercise to adults over the age of 65 across six different locations throughout Fenland. The mobile fitness facility visits rural areas to offer tailored exercise to individuals dealing with various medical conditions. 

Read more about how Fitness Rush have helped March residents Fred and Maureen enjoy physical activity and exercise again

If you would like to kickstart your health and wellbeing with a free six week programme then please contact

Extra support offered in Huntingdonshire

The new Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Community Warden in Huntingdon is busy taking referrals for older adults that require some extra support in their homes. Please contact or telephone 07812 496004 for further information.   

If you have an idea for supporting older adults live independently at home for longer, contact Care Together's Huntingdonshire commissioner:

Supporting those with memory loss in South Cambridgeshire

Over Memory Café have successfully hosted four sessions with the assistance of Willingham Memory Box Café to help support those experiencing memory loss. There is currently capacity to accommodate more people, so please come along.

Bar Hill’s Knit and Natter sessions have also seen an increase in attendance due to the funding for kits provided by Care Together - we hope to share more good news in the future about how we're supporting those with memory loss and their carers.

Vibrant social spaces in Cambridge City

The activity coordinator in Cambridge City Council's sheltered schemes, funded by Care Together, is working with residents to create a vibrant social space with engaging physical activities, and are currently inviting older adults from the local area to join in and make new friends

New opportunities are also being explored for 2024-25 and older adults in Cambridge are sharing their thoughts and needs with us in face-to-face conversations. For more information and how to get involved please contact

New grants for older residents in East Cambridgeshire

Members of the East Cambridgeshire team have been involved in conversations with various partners (GPs, voluntary organisations, the district council, Cambridgeshire Police and others) to identify how best to help more vulnerable people in the area. Workshops were held with partners and residents to define the focus of Older Adults Social Inclusion grants, which will be going live across the county on 1 November.