Cambridgeshire County Council Update 4th May 2020

County Council works quickly with social care partner Lifeways to create emergency accommodation and relieve pressure on the NHS

Cambridgeshire County Council and a care provider have repurposed a building in Chatteris to create a rapid response unit for vulnerable adults, after government lockdown put a hold on the building opening as independent living apartments.

The pressure to increase the rate of appropriate hospital discharge and free up NHS beds is ever present, and something that has only been heightened by the coronavirus crisis.

Lifeways, one of the UK’s market leaders in support services for adults with diverse and complex needs, was due to open Barber Gardens in Chatteris, earlier this year. But the opening of the 15 apartments and 3 bungalows, to support adults with learning disabilities and autism to live independently, had been temporarily put on hold due to the government lockdown.

Keen to do everything it could to help alleviate pressure on the system, Cambridgeshire County Council worked directly with Lifeways, and owners Triple Point and Inclusion Housing CIC, to repurpose the building as a rapid response accommodation space to safely house vulnerable adults during the crisis.

The flexible accommodation offers a lifeline for vulnerable people who otherwise might have remained in hospital occupying urgently needed hospital beds, or for anyone requiring support and currently living with their parents who are in a high risk category and need to be shielded. The individual apartments will also benefit those with a need to self-isolate.

The council has taken full responsibility for the service for an initial three-month period, to help during the peak of the pandemic, with Lifeways providing all the support, operational staff and resources for those moving in.

The first person, a young man with autism, moved in on Monday 20 April. Lifeways and the Council are working closely with social workers and NHS discharge teams to move more people in imminently.

National help: Take part in COVID-19 research

University College London is running a study into the psychological and social effects of Covid-19 in the UK.

The results are being used to understand the effects of the virus and social distancing measures on mental health and loneliness in the UK and to inform government advice and decisions.

They are looking for adults in the UK who are happy to take part and spread the word about the study. Participation involves answering a 10-minute online survey now and then answering a shorter follow-up survey once a week whilst social isolation measures are in place.

To take part, visit

Safer Off the Streets partnership working night and day to help rough sleepers during Covid-19

Peterborough City Council and the Light Project Peterborough, supported by the city’s Safer Off the Streets partnership has delivered around-the-clock services to rough sleepers while they are housed during the Covid-19 outbreak.

In March, the Government issued advice to councils that all rough sleepers should be given temporary accommodation as they are a vulnerable group, with many suffering from ill health due to their lives on the streets.

Within 24 hours, Peterborough City Council and the Light Project Peterborough had housed a total of 25 rough sleepers and then mobilised partners who are essential for supporting them, including drug and alcohol services, mental health support, medical and prescription services.

Volunteer groups from the Safer Off the Streets partnership and the wider community have supported the city council and the Light Project Peterborough to ensure all are given three meals a day, clothes are laundered and other essential supplies.

An army of over 60 volunteers have kicked into force, to help the former rough sleepers settle into their new temporary homes and self-isolate to protect themselves from the Covid-19 virus. This includes liaising with multiple food outlets and donors to co-ordinate over 1,500 meals per week for 80 former rough sleepers who are now housed.

Update meetings are held seven days a week with key partners to coordinate this effort.

Peterborough Soup Kitchen, Salvation Army and The 3 Pillars have also been active in supporting this to provide breakfasts and lunches, and when needed the Peterborough Foodbank has helped with supplies. Aspire has been able to engage with adults with substance misuse issues to provide drug and alcohol support.

The Garden House, run by Light Project Peterborough, continues to operate emergency service for anyone finding themselves homeless 10am-2pm Monday to Friday. Citizens Advice Peterborough and the Homelessness Prevention Team continue to provide advice and assistance to clients threatened with homelessness remotely.

  • Make a donation to the Safer Off the Streets partnership online.
  • Make a donation to the Light Project Peterborough’s Coronavirus Emergency Appeal online.

The Safer Off the Streets partnership is closely following the Government’s guidance in order to provide up-to-date advice to suit the needs of those affected by Covid-19.

Homelessness in Cambridgeshire is also handled by Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council and Huntingdonshire District Council. Please contact them for their details.

Foster for us – enquire today

Can you consider fostering in support of this year’s ‘Foster Care Fortnight’, 11th – 24th May 2020?

There are around 1000 children & young people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, particularly teenagers and children over ten, who need the love and support from foster carers. Anyone who is interested can find out more about the process by phone or video call and ask any questions they may have about becoming a foster carer and what’s involved.

Foster Care Fortnight is the UK’s largest foster care awareness raising campaign. It aims to show the positive impact foster care has made on children’s and young people’s lives.

We are encouraging people from all walks of life to consider fostering – and we want to hear from anyone who is over 21, has a spare bedroom and the passion and dedication to help children and teenagers thrive.

People should not rule themselves out because they have children, are single, married or partnered, work, unemployed, live in rented accommodation or want to foster past retirement age.

If you would like to register your interest, please call 0800 052 0078 or visit: or