Cambridgeshire Matters - March 2024

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Welcome to Cambridgeshire Matters - March 2024

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.

Business Plan and Strategic Framework

Strategic framework

Cambridgeshire County Council will be publishing their 2024/25 Business Plan on Monday 1 April.

The Business Plan was formally approved by Full Council in February and provides a summary of our long-term vision and ambitions for Cambridgeshire, planned activities for the next five years, as well as key budget allocations and new savings and investments for the next financial year.

In addition, the refreshed Strategic Framework 2023-2028 sets out how we have been making progress towards the council’s vision of a greener, fairer and more caring Cambridgeshire.

We will continue to work toward this vision by being closer to our communities, working with partners and residents so that Cambridgeshire becomes greener, fairer and more caring in the ways that are most suitable to the variety of people and communities we serve.

The Business Plan and refreshed Strategic Framework will be available on the council's website from next week.

Voter ID and registering to vote

Polling station sign

Voters in England need to show photo ID to vote at polling stations in some elections

The accepted forms of photo ID are available on the Electoral Commission website.

You will still be able to use your accepted form of photo ID even if it's out of date, as long as it looks like you. The name on your ID should be the same name you use to register to vote. 

If you don't have accepted photo ID, you can apply for a free voter ID document, which is known as a Voter Authority Certificate. The deadline to apply for free voter ID for the elections on Thursday 2 May is 5pm on Wednesday 24 April. 

Find upcoming elections in your area and more information on getting ready to vote on the Electoral Commission website. 

Small increase to parking charges in Cambridge to encourage active travel

Image of a resident permit parking sign

Following a review of fees relating to parking and traffic management, as part of the council’s budget, the cost of on-street parking in Cambridge will increase slightly to help with inflation as well as encourage people to make more sustainable travel choices.

A small increase is being in introduced for all pay and display parking sites, including Shire Hall and Castle Court and resident, business and visitor permit fees operated by Cambridgeshire County Council.

As a result of the changes, on-street pay and display parking charges will increase by 20p in Cambridge city centre. This came into effect on 12 March 2024. The new permit charges will increase, on average, by around £8, depending on the zone as some operate seven days a week. This will come into effect from 1 April 2024. 

Read the full story on our website

Help available to buy healthy food and milk for your family

Image of healthy foods with the NHS logo and text reading healthy start

If you're more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four, you may be able to get help to buy healthy food and milk through the NHS Healthy Start scheme.

If you qualify for help, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use to help buy:

  • plain cow’s milk
  • fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables
  • fresh, dried, and tinned pulses
  • infant formula milk based on cow’s milk.

You can also use your card to collect free Healthy Start vitamins to support you during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and vitamin drops for babies and young children up to four years old.

You can pick these up from a range of locations including many of our Child and Family Centres across Cambridgeshire. If your nearest centre doesn’t have any vitamins in stock, you can arrange to collect them from another centre or outreach session.

You can find out more about Healthy Start, including how to apply, on the NHS Healthy Start website

Have your say about nature across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Image of Wicken Fen

Cambridgeshire is one of the most nature depleted counties across England. To combat this, we would like to hear your thoughts and ideas to help shape nature recovery across the county. 

The Local Nature Recovery Strategy survey is now live and your responses will contribute towards a strategy to help Cambridgeshire and Peterborough become a world class environment where both nature and people can thrive, helping to achieve our vision of creating a greener Cambridgeshire. 

Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) set priorities for nature recovery across England - your input will help to identify existing habitats and species important to conserve, as well as opportunities to increase biodiversity and create a landscape more resilient to climate change and other environmental pressures. 

The survey provides an opportunity for you to tell us about your relationship with your local natural environment, and what aspects of nature in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are important to you and why. 

The survey closes on Friday 5 April 2024 and can be completed on the council's website

If you have any questions about the survey or the development of the LNRS, please email

Grants available for the improvement of your local area

Image of a park in St Ives, Cambridgeshire

The Thalia Community Fund offers grants towards the improvement of your local area. 

Grants are available for projects which provide, maintain or improve:

  • a public park or general amenity
  • conserve a species or habitat, or
  • repair, maintain or restore a place of architectural importance or worship. 

The grants are open to organisations and groups within 10 miles of a landfill site within Cambridgeshire County Council's boundaries. The fund is managed by the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation, who receive landfill tax credits from Thalia and choose the grants against set national criteria. 

There is a two-stage application process for the grants, which are paid at the end of the project when evidence of expenditure has been provided. More information on who can apply and what projects the Thalia Community Fund can support is available on the Cambridgeshire Community Fund website

Bespoke wedding ceremonies available in Cambridgeshire

Image of wedding rings

Earlier this year, the county council launched a new wedding service which enables couples to have their ceremony in non-approved venues, like a garden or community centre, with all legalities taken care of.

Our Registration Service has recognised couples needs for personalisation and the bespoke ceremonies offer even more choice and freedom. 

Those wanting to take advantage of this flexible service would complete the legal paperwork in a local register office either the day or morning before the ceremony.

The marriages will be organised by the council’s team of expert celebrants, who perform over 2,500 ceremonies a year.

Book a free recycling workshop for your community group or business

Image of a recycling icon on grass

Recycling workshops at Waterbeach Waste Education Centre offer community groups and businesses the chance to learn more about household waste and how we can all do more to reduce, reuse and recycle, and contribute towards the vision of creating a greener Cambridgeshire. 

The workshops include:

  • an overview of the importance of waste recycling in protecting our environment
  • a presentation and series of films on the processes involved in sorting and recycling waste
  • guidance on which household waste items you can recycle, and 
  • advice on what we can all do to minimise our household waste. 

The workshops are free to attend, and can be tailored to suit the individual needs of the group. They last for around one hour and can accommodate 15+ people. 

For more information or to book a recycling workshop, please email Jon Crisp, Waste Education Officer or call 07887 387 977. 

Get connected with the National Databank at Cambridgeshire Libraries

Image of a SIM card being inserted into a mobile phone

Did you know that Cambridgeshire Libraries are part the National Databank, a scheme from the Good Things Foundation which provides free SIM cards to help digitally excluded people get connected. 

The scheme is available for those who are 18+ years old and from a low income household, with no or insufficient access to the internet. Support is available for a maximum of 12 months and the data can be used with any SIM-enabled device. 

The scheme is available at Arbury Court, Barnwell Road, Bar Hill, Cambourne, Cambridge Central, Clay Farm, Ely, Huntingdon, March, St Ives, St Neots and Wisbech libraries.

For more information, you can speak to a colleague at one of the above libraries.

Enjoy a variety of events this spring with The Library Presents

The Library Presents logo

More than 570 Cambridgeshire residents have helped to shape the programming for the upcoming season of The Library Presents, choosing from a menu of 40 music, puppetry, dance, circus, theatre and storytelling events.

Tickets for the 15-week programme will go on sale from Tuesday 2 April, and events will be hosted by 19 libraries across the county. 

The programme will open with the performance of Thumbelina at Ely Library on Saturday 20 April, with the classic tale brought to life through live music, dance and song. 

Take a look at the full programme, pick up a brochure, and purchase tickets in libraries and online via The Library Presents website

Further updates from around Cambridgeshire

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

Access a range of family learning courses from Cambridgeshire Skills

Cambridgeshire Skills

New dates have been added for courses delivered by Cambridgeshire Skills, including 'Supporting your anxious child' - a supportive course where parents can come together to learn how to recognise and manage childhood anxiety.

Gain essential skills in stress identification, communication, and accessing support, all while exploring potential career paths in child-related fields.

With flexible online sessions and the chance to earn a digital badge endorsed by City and Guilds, this course is accessible to all parents eager to empower their children and themselves. No prerequisites are required.

Learn more about the course, as well as other family learning courses, on the Cambridgeshire Skills course directory

Updates from the Communities Service

Image of teenagers playing football in a sports hall

Million Hours Funding awarded for youth work in Wisbech

Cambridgeshire County Council's Communities Service are thrilled to announce that their Million Hours Funding application, submitted in partnership with the Sports Connections Foundation (SCF) children's charity, has been approved - securing £50,771 in funding for the Medworth Ward in Wisbech. Over the course of two years, this grant will support the implementation of an 'Inspire Through Sports Programme', aimed at empowering local young people through sports engagement and mentorship.

Funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) and The National Lottery Local Community Fund, the Million Hours Fund is a £22 million initiative designed to enhance youth work initiatives across the nation.

The funding will facilitate the establishment of a weekly open access multi-sport and football session, accompanied by a youth café. Dedicated youth workers will be on hand to provide essential mentorship, coaching, work experience opportunities, enrichment activities and holiday provision, fostering personal and social development amongst participants.

The successful outcome of this application is a testament to the collaborative efforts of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Communities Service, Sports Connections Foundation Children's Charity, Clarion Housing, Fenland District Council and Wisbech Town Council.

For more information, please contact Stephanie Webb or Liz Morris.

New road safety campaign launches in East Cambridgeshire

East Cambridgeshire road safety campaign

In an example of great collaborative working between three councils, local businesses, and the community, Lizzi Wales and Caline Easey Saunders from Cambridgeshire County Council's Communities Service are playing a key role in a road safety initiative in the East Cambridgeshire village of Haddenham. 

Working in partnership with Haddenham Parish Council and local businesses, as well as the colleagues, children and parents from Robert Arkenstall Primary School, the initiative (supported by a grant from the East Cambridgeshire Community Safety Partnership) has secured the support of local people - many of whom attended a recent event to launch the new 20mph zone in the village.

The Communities Service has been working with pupils from the school who, as well as designing publicity materials for the campaign, delivered a presentation at the launch event where they explained to the adults present the aims of the initiative - “To help make sure everyone has a safe journey to and from school”.

They asked their parents to sign up to a 'parent pledge' to promise to drive slower, be safe and more aware, to use their eyes and not to take risks, and not to use their phone whilst driving.

For more information about the campaign, please contact Lizzi Wales or Caline Easey Saunders.

Updates from Care Together

Carer holding the hand of an older person

Care Together seed funding for 2024/25

The Care Together team have been engaging with residents, local charities, district and parish councils, health colleagues, and our own Libraries and Communities teams across the county to identify gaps and priorities for the 2024/25 round of Care Together seed funding. This funding is aimed at supporting older adults to live happily and healthily in their communities for longer. 

These priorities for 2024/25 can be found in our summary

For full details, including amounts available in each area, guidance notes and an application form, visit the Care Together website from 1 April.

The seed funding grant offer and bidding process will be advertised until 26 April 2024 on the Care Together website and shared with multiple partner organisations, including Cambridge Council for Voluntary Services (CCVS) and Hunts Forum.