COVID-19 Update

South Cambs District Council News

Covid-19 update – 18 December 2020

Dear members, volunteer coordinators and parish councillors

This is my last update this side of Christmas. Next week the Sustainable Communities and Wellbeing Team will send out a special Winter Warmers – Isolation and Loneliness Newsletter so keep an eye on your inbox.

I would like to once again thank you all for the of the extraordinary work you have done during 2020 to support your communities. I wish you a lovely, jolly (careful !) Christmas.

Important information on Christmas bubbles

You will be aware that there has been discussion at the highest government levels about what we are allowed to do at Christmas. The decision has been taken to keep government advice unchanged and the official government guidance about Christmas ‘bubbles’ is given below. We should all consider very carefully how we behave over Christmas, however just because it is OK to mix with other households in a bubble, it doesn’t mean that we should. We need to still try to keep our rates of infection as low as we can possible to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the NHS.

The government advises that a Christmas bubble will allow you to spend time with other people indoors, in your garden, attend places of worship or at public outdoor places. To have a #CovidSafeChristmas please take note of the specifics about Christmas bubbles.

This bubble should only consist of three separate households in total. Your own household counts as one of the households and your Christmas bubble must consist of the same 3 households for the whole 5-day period.

There are 3 main rules:

  • you cannot change your Christmas bubble – it is set for the whole 5 days
  • your Christmas bubble should not include people from more than three households
  • you can only be in one Christmas bubble

If you do form a Christmas bubble, you should not meet socially with other friends or family in your home or garden.

Although you can form a Christmas bubble, you are advised to think carefully to ensure you minimise the risk to vulnerable people and help minimise the spread of the virus. The Government is reminding people about this now so please help us encourage people to be cautious.

The Government’s website has further information on support, childcare, Christmas bubbles and the local tier restrictions.

Support Bubble  Making a Support Bubble

Childcare Bubble Making a Childcare Bubble

Christmas Bubble Making a Christmas Bubble

Local Tier Restrictions – What You Need to Know

Self-isolation changes

Also be aware that there has been a change to the self-isolation period, from 14 to 10 days. This applied across the UK from 00.01am on Monday 14 December. This reduced period of self-isolation applies for both the confirmed contacts of those who have tested positive, and people who return from countries which are not on the travel corridor list. This will apply to all those who are currently self-isolating including those who commenced self-isolation before Monday. People who test positive should continue to self-isolate for 10 days from onset of symptoms or 10 days from point of taking a positive test if asymptomatic.

Winter support grants

A wide package of support is being made available in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough thanks to a £2.2 million grant from Government. The money must be spent on food, fuel and essential supplies. The criteria mean that most of the funding is aimed at households with children living there.

All families with children who receive a free school meal will receive a voucher to help cover additional food costs during the Christmas and February half term school holidays. Support has also been offered to families that schools have identified as potentially needing extra help.

On 6 January parishes and community groups will be able to bid for up to £500 for local schemes that will support people with food, fuel and essential supplies. More information will be added to the CCVS (Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service) website who are administering this for us.

A further support grant with Cambridge Online will help digitally excluded children across South Cambridgeshire get online to learn and socialise this winter. This will be done by providing a device on which to learn and access to the internet, where necessary, via a data package. To find out more, email or call the helpline on 01223 300407. You can refer people directly to Cambridge Online or get in touch with . Please make sure you reference South Cambs Winter Support Grant when you get in touch with Cambridge Online.

New NHS Test and Trace plan to support return to more normal way of life

As part of the Government’s coronavirus Winter Plan, NHS Test and Trace has set out a new business plan for the next phase of the service. The plan sets out the approach to disrupt and prevent coronavirus transmission, protect people’s health and enable people to return towards a more normal way of life.

Mental health training

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are anticipating increases in the numbers of people suffering poor mental health as a result of loneliness, isolation and economic impacts such as job loss, uncertainty for the future, debt etc.

Following the excellent webinar last week, to extend knowledge and build on the online mental health tutorial being provided by Mind CPSL, we are offering additional workshops. The workshops are limited to a maximum of 16 people per session but if these sessions fill up, Mind will release further dates and times. Please register your interest by following the links below. If you cannot attend these dates, still follow the links as there are email contact details for Mind listed. You can contact them to register your interest in a future date.

11 January 1pm-2pm:

12 January 7pm-8pm:

Who to contact over the festive period

If you need any support over the Christmas period, please don’t hesitate to contact in the usual way as there will be someone checking the inbox on all the normal working days. Officers will be taking a break on the weekends and public bank holidays. This is the same for the County Council’s Covid-19 hub. Their details are below:

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Coordination Hub or call 0345 045 5219.

Other contacts for out of hours emergencies:

Cambridgeshire County Council Social Care out of hours/duty team or safeguarding emergencies: 01733 234724

Police non-emergency situations – call 101 for non-emergency enquiries. Using this number, you can report an incident or get help.

In an emergency call the police on 999

Emergency and cannot speak

If you are in a hostile environment or situation and you can’t talk, you can the police on 999 and press 55 to inform them that you are unable to speak but that you need help.

SCDC Councillor and Officer support

In an emergency you can also contact your local district councillor. Councillors will be able to reach district officers in an emergency throughout the festive break

Age UK

Support is also available through the Christmas break from Age UK this year, including on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. In the attached document you can see a useful list of contacts to call, should you need to find some support for residents over the festive period.

Children/ baby goods donations

We have had a number of enquiries regarding where people can donate Children/baby goods and also how to access blankets and clothing. Many local organisations do not have capacity to store these items, and demand is not consistent, making it logistically difficult. We know that, as community groups, you have successfully rallied to manage these needs in your communities however, I would like to highlight a network that might be helpful. Life is a gift is a set of Gift Economy groups, run through Facebook, extending through Cambridgeshire & surrounding areas. If people have a need, or possibly items surplus to requirements, here is an avenue to locally distribute them. It requires users to undertake Covid-safe doorstep drop offs/ collections.

Christmas food delivery

In the uncertainty surrounding Christmas, we were very concerned that some elderly and vulnerable residents may not get a Christmas meal, whether due to not being able to see family, attend a usual community event or because it simply wasn’t affordable. We were very keen to make sure these people got a Christmas meal and I am delighted to report that we will be delivering 900 meals to such residents across 41 South Cambs villages. Meal ingredients are being sourced from local businesses, who have been impacted by Covid restrictions and two of the three food suppliers are South Cambridgeshire based companies. The Christmas meals are being prepared by the 3C church group, who have employed additional chefs who would otherwise have been out of work. On 23 December three locally hired freezer vans will be driven by six SCDC employees, who have volunteered to make the deliveries to each of the central hubs across the villages. Local volunteers will then deliver the meals to residents. This is such a wonderful initiative and truly shows us Christmas spirit is alive and well! Many thanks to all involved.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy Christmas,

Bill Handley

Lead Cabinet Member for Community Resilience, Health & Wellbeing

South Cambridgeshire District Council