Cambridgeshire County Council update 13th May 2020

Peterborough and Cambridgeshire lead the way in supporting small businesses

Peterborough and Cambridgeshire are out-performing the national average for paying out grants to small businesses affected by Coronavirus.

Peterborough City Council is leading the way, having now paid out grants to more than 93% of those eligible. While the wider Peterborough and Cambridgeshire area has paid out 84.4%. The national average is 77.6%.

Peterborough City Council continues to administer the small business grants, which provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs, and a £25,000 grant for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

In addition, it is implementing a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses and nurseries for the 2020/21 tax year.

Further payments will continue to be made over the coming days. Businesses which qualify for the grants do not need to do anything, the council will pay the money directly into their accounts.

The city council has also awarded 100 per cent business rate relief for 1,255 retail/hospitality/leisure businesses, totalling £36,255,343.42. It also has 31 nurseries eligible for relief of £337,656.

Help us dispel fake news

We have been asked to make people aware of fake stories which are being shared on social media about police using non-existent powers to remove children from families where there are cases of coronavirus.

Understandably these posts have caused concern in some of our communities. If you come across such posts on social media or elsewhere, or people who are concerned as a result, please let them know that these are fake stories.

Call for businesses to help shape Peterborough’s economic recovery strategy

A call has been put out for Peterborough businesses to help identify gaps in current support provision and influence the shape of future support from local and national government bodies.

The city’s economic development company, Opportunity Peterborough, Peterborough Positive working towards a Business Improvement District (BID), and Peterborough City Council are working together to understand the impact Covid-19 has had on the city.

They are developing their support for businesses to help jump-start the economy after lockdown and are asking for local businesses to give their feedback before Friday (15 May).

Businesses can share their feedback about how the Coronavirus pandemic has affected them by completing a short online survey

Respondents will be asked about the impact on operations, supply chains, service delivery, financial implications, and what areas they might need support in now, and in the short, and longer term.

Grafham Water Centre supporting the community

Instructors from Grafham Water Centre (GWC) have been adapting their skills and joining projects set up to support essential services.

The centre’s outreach program has placed instructors in schools throughout the county providing outdoor education to those children attending school, delivering both education based and sporting activities, such as archery.

Elsewhere, instructors are using their experience working with vulnerable people at the GWC to provide much needed support for the homeless in Peterborough. From assisting with welfare checks to delivering food, the instructors are working hard as part of a Government project to ensure that some of the most vulnerable within the community are continuing to be cared for during this difficult time.

The success of both these projects highlights the importance of togetherness, particularly in this current climate, with the instructors demonstrating how the community can continue to work as a team whilst following the government guidance.

Outdoor Education Centre staff look forward to not being ‘all by themselves’

Usually at this time of year, Cambridgeshire Environmental Education Service in Stibbington, near Peterborough, would be buzzing with excited children taking their learning far beyond the classroom.

The environmental day centre, which also houses accommodation for residential trips, offers school children the chance to roll their sleeves up and get ‘hands on’ with the outdoor environment. It also helps pupils develop their understanding of ecology and energy, horticulture and sustainability – while indoors, lots of children (and some parents!) have had great joy taking part in a full Victorian re-enactment, including a traditional Victorian lunch and a historical tour through the local village.

Unfortunately with most children now at home, the centre is a lot quieter. Staff have certainly noticed, so much so they have created a video to say how much they are looking forward to the day they are no longer ‘all by themselves’.

Cambridgeshire Environmental Education Service Centre Manager, Helen Johnson, said: “We hope all our school children are staying safe and continuing to be inquisitive about the environment around them. We miss them here at the centre. It is certainly a lot quieter without them, but it will make it even more special for me and our staff when we are able to open our doors and welcome everyone back.”

Until we meet again… watch their video here.

More information about the Cambridgeshire Environmental Education Service can be found on their website.

Isleham CC phone box

Isleham Cricket Club assists the community

Although we have seen the suspension of team sports due to Covid-19, Isleham Cricket Club have still been working as a team to support their local community.

Last week, Isleham Cricket Club took over a phone box to provide food to those currently in need in the community. Shelves were fitted, by members of the club to hold the items donated by residents; with the lower shelves designated to gifts for children, such as books and quizzes.

Inside the phone box residents are also leaving non-perishable goods free for anyone in need to collect, with a volunteer a day visiting to maintain its stock. The phone box has allowed people to help others as well as receive anything they may need, whilst observing social distancing and keeping each other safe. Any extra items are donated to the local foodbank.

Since opening last week, the phone box has been largely popular, illustrating a great example of how communities can continue to work as a team during this time to support the wider community in safe and creative ways.