Cambridgeshire County Council update 27th May 2020

Social workers recognised for brilliant work 

The winners of Cambridgeshire County Council’s and Peterborough City Council’s Children’s Services’ Social Work Stars 2020 have been announced.

The awards ceremony was due to take place on 17 March which is World Social Work Day but sadly this was cancelled due to lockdown.

However, both councils wanted to make sure that colleagues know they are valued and appreciated for all their hard work, and are now thrilled to be able to announce the results today.

Out of 33 nominations, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Social Work Stars 2020 are:

  • Knowledge Mpofu from Children in Care South Team 2 – Knowledge was nominated for going the extra mile for young people and one nominee said he stands out as a brilliant social worker in Cambridgeshire.
  • Emily Hogg from South Family Safeguarding Team 2 – Following Emily’s work with students at ARU, one nominee said her ‘wealth of experience, professionalism and professional leadership skills were inspiring the next generation of social workers’
  • Sophie Bradley from Hunts Family Safeguarding Children’s Team 1 – Sophie was recognised for her work on a case involving a young person who experienced a number of severe mental health issues throughout 2019. Sophie advocated for an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) for this young person who is now safe in a foster care placement that Sophie helped select.

The winner of Peterborough City Council’s Social Work Stars of 2020 was Bethany Smith from Children in Care Team 2.

Bethany was recognised as a role model for other social workers and her nominee said the service was ‘lucky to have her’. In her feedback, she was described as a ‘competent, reliable and knowledgeable social worker who is making positive changes to children’s lives on a daily basis and securing them permanency.’

Cambridgeshire Day Centre keep their ‘virtual’ visitors up and active

Not letting the small matter of a lockdown get in their way, staff at Victoria Lodge in Wisbech have been busy flexing their creative muscles, creating a wide-ranging activity programme that’s keeping regular visitors entertained and active online.

The pilot project, held at the Cambridgeshire County Council run day service for older people and adults with learning disabilities, initially set out to simply offer regular virtual drop-ins and check-ups for the Centre’s visitors.

But it has since morphed into a wider-ranging interactive activity and engagement programme, with users of the day centre putting forward their ideas – even helping run some of the sessions themselves.

Staff at the centre have been overwhelmed by the videos and photos they have been receiving back from those who would usually be attending the centre.

The programme is proving highly successful, but while the cookery classes, gardening and creative photography have already seen some great results, the afternoon danceathon with centre manager, Hayley, is proving a massive hit without forgetting staff member Dave encouraging all the Rhinestone Cowboy’s to get involved in his karaoke. Watch the video here.

With no let-up in interest of ideas, the 8-week programme has been expanded and will keep running for the foreseeable future, enabling prolonged engagement with the vulnerable adults and older people with learning disabilities who use the service.

To see what centre have been up to, including Centre Manger Hayley’s Dance Lessons, check out this Facebook page.

Pen pal project connects the young and elderly

Children from a Cambridgeshire primary school have been writing letters to older residents in return for a letter sharing memories of VE Day and other post-war experiences.

More than 30 children from The Shade Primary School wrote letters to residents of Soham Lodge Care Centre, as part of Soham Write and Unite, an intergenerational pen pal project. Residents of Soham Lodge then returned letters to the children, sharing their memories and experiences of VE Day and post war.

The project was initially set up by the Connecting Communities team at Cambridgeshire County Council to support communities to feel safe, connected and able to help themselves and others in their community.

There are other groups in the community that have taken part in the project, exchanging letter with elderly residents across the town, including Weatheralls Primary School, Little Wombatz Pre School, Soham Methodist Church, Soham Community Association and Soham Community Group. Soham Handy Helpers distributed letters to elder residents living in isolation in the town.

Library at Home host virtual ‘bank holiday bash’

The Library at Home team supports more than 300 volunteers across the county who select, deliver and collect books and audiobooks for avid readers and listeners who are unable get to their local library.

Whilst the Library at Home service is currently on hold, the team have taken to hosting a range of virtual social events for their volunteersreducing feelings of isolation and loneliness during Covid-19

Each meeting hosts up to 16 guests for the sharing of stories of life in lockdown and valuable time to connect with others during this difficult period. For many volunteers, these virtual social gatherings have introduced them to video conference calls allowing them to apply these digital skills to keep in touch with other friends and family. 

The team have been welcoming new faces almost every meeting and have just hosted a successful virtual Bank Holiday bash.

For more information about the service or the events, please contact Fay Boans, Volunteer Coordinator for Library at Home (City, South and East Cambs) and Digital at Home, or Magda Kowalska-Cheffey (Fenland and Hunts) at