South Cambridgeshire District Council News
Covid-19 update – 18 March 2021
School and parent/guardian testing
With schools now reopened, please continue to spread the word that regular home testing is now available to help stop the spread of the virus. Free tests can be ordered online, or collected from local pickup points.
Reminder of the testing sites in Cambridgeshire
- The Hub, High Street, Cambourne, South Cambridgeshire CB23 6GW
- Queen Mary Centre, Queen’s Road, Wisbech, Fenland PE13 2PE
- Soham Town Rangers Football Club, Julius Martin Lane, Soham, Ely, East Cambridgeshire CB7 5EQ
- The Coneygear Centre, Buttsgrove Way, Huntingdon PE29 1PE
- The Meadows Community Centre, 1 St Catherine’s Road, Arbury, Cambridge CB4 3XJ
Vaccines for people over the age of 50
The National Booking Service is now open to all those aged 50 and over. Book a Covid-19 vaccination now via www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or, for those who are not online, by calling 119.
While there are enough vaccinators to be able to deliver the number of doses available to the NHS, this will continue to be a huge task, and to ensure the NHS can continue to vaccinate millions of people as quickly as possible – at the same time as keeping other vital services going – the NHS is recruiting thousands of paid and volunteer roles across the country. Perhaps you can help?
Covid information campaign
NHS patients can pick their type of vaccine.
- Any vaccines that the NHS will provide will have been approved because they pass the MHRA’s tests on safety and efficacy, so people should be assured that whatever vaccine they get, it is worth their while.
Is the vaccine safe?
- The NHS will not offer any Covid-19 vaccinations to the public until independent experts have signed off that it is safe to do so. The MHRA, the official UK regulator, has said that both vaccines currently being used have good safety profiles and offer a high level of protection, and we have full confidence in their expert judgement and processes.
COVID Recovery Community Chest Grant
To help groups and projects begin to resume their activities as we come out of lockdown, we have earmarked a £30,000 Covid recovery grant fund as part of our Community Chest funding. This is specifically designed to help local community groups and Parish Councils resume community activities which have been difficult or impossible during the pandemic.
The eligibility criteria for our Community Chest Grant scheme have been temporarily amended to allow applications for grants of up to £2,000 for Covid recovery related projects and initiatives. Previously, few parish councils could apply to the scheme but for the next eight weeks – up until 10th May 2021 – it is open to all Parish Councils as well as community groups, with applications being considered at the May 28th Grants Advisory Committee meeting. Meanwhile, the normal Community Chest scheme continues to run for community groups for a maximum grant of £1,000.
The process is the same for both types of application – just select which grant you are applying for at the start of the process. If you have any questions, please email:
Re-opening facilities safely
Included with this week’s update is an attached infographic of the Government’s Roadmap out of lockdown, its four steps and provisional dates. Each transitional step is 5 weeks long and we are currently in Step 1. Step 2 is from 12th April when libraries and community centres can reopen, children’s activities can restart and all retail reopens. Indoor parent and child groups (up to 15 attendees, under 5s donot count) can also reopen in this phase. In Step 3, from 17th May, outdoors gatherings of up to 30 people will be allowed, as will indoor gatherings of up to 6 people (or 2 households) and indoors adult group sports and exercise classes. Step 4 from 21st June – all activities can restart.
Our Environmental Health service has two dedicated teams supporting communities during this phased reopening. They can help with proactive support to businesses, organisations, community groups and community facilities offering advice and help e.g., giving out support packs, Covid tool kits, free signage and signposting to further services. Please contact .
Virtual Council meetings
The feedback received during Monday’s meeting showed that there was concern from parish councils that the authority to hold virtual Council meetings was being removed. Parish councils reported increased interest from members of the public in their activities and meetings, which they felt was a direct consequence of being able to ‘attend’ remotely. They expressed regret that this permission is to be removed, which is shared by many councils up and down the country. Our Covid Team has conveyed these concerns and views to the relevant departments in central Government, as has the Local Government Association (LGA). It is suggested that it would be worthwhile writing to your MP, stating your views on this matter and the reasons for them. Once we have clarification on this, we will provide an update to you.
Easter Holiday Activities and Food Programme
Following some funding from the Department of Education, the County Council is running a series of Easter Holiday Activity Camps with food for eligible children in receipt of Free School Meals. The camps will be held within schools across the District. If you know of any eligible families who might be interested, let them know to sign up by the deadline 23 March 2021.
3 positive steps we can all take when facing difficult times.
Part of our recovery from the stress and tragedy of the last year is the ability to remain hopeful and happy. Being a hopeful thinker about the future will help build resilience and give another tool for handling stress, change and adversity.
March 20th is International day of Happiness, a global event arranged by the United Nations to remind us that experiencing happiness matters, committing to finding ways forward that bring happiness is important and worth celebrating.
It suggests three steps for increasing happiness:
Keep Calm Stay Wise Be Kind
A minute of silence on a National Day of Reflection
Since the first lockdown began in 2020, hundreds of thousands of lives have been cut short and millions have been bereaved by Covid-19. In South Cambridgeshire alone there have, so far, been 184 deaths where Covid-19 has been a factor.
Behind the statistics, and whatever the cause, every death has been devastating for the people left behind. For those needing support, we suggest they start with The Good Grief Trust for getting the necessary help.
I would therefore like to invite everyone to reflect on our collective loss, support those who’ve been bereaved, and hope for a brighter future together. At 12pm on Tuesday 23 March, why not stop whatever you are doing and pause for a minute of silence for the National Day of Reflection, the first anniversary of the first UK lockdown.
Lead Cabinet Member for Community Resilience, Health & Wellbeing
South Cambridgeshire District Council