Category Archives: Press Release
News from Cambridgeshire County Council
Councillors vote to reshape Children’s Centres services for Cambridgeshire
Plans to focus funding on increased outreach services for children and families in Cambridgeshire, by reducing spend on building maintenance, have been given the go ahead after a full and wide ranging debate by Cambridgeshire County Councillors, with strong views shared on both sides.
Councillors at today’s (17 October) Full Council meeting voted 31 to 22, to support proposals, which look to transform Children’s Centre services from next April, creating a more flexible, targeted and responsive service delivered from 27 buildings supported by increased outreach services.
The decision followed a debate on the response to a ten week consultation from 2280 people – the largest response to a Cambridgeshire County Council consultation and one of the largest for a Children’s Centre consultation across the Country. Having reviewed the consultation responses, the plans now include more outreach services sited in areas across the County, including the southern part of Cambridge City. This change will see £100,000 of a planned £1m saving re-invested in the service.
Following the change £4.3m will continue to be spent on the new Child and Family Centre services, complementing Early Help services of the council, which have an additional budget of £7.2 million.
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Simon Bywater, Chairman of the Children’s Committee, said: “We have listened carefully to what people have been saying during the consultation and I want to reassure people we will continue to listen as we begin to implement these proposals. I recognise that feelings have run high during this debate, but I now call on all councillors, partners and communities to come together to help take these plans forward so we can fulfill the ambition of creating a service for more families to get the right help, at the right time and in the right place.
“Today’s decision means we remain heavily committed to early intervention for families, something we believe is essential. The new service is intended to be embedded alongside our district early help teams, health and other community services providing a flexible, targeted and responsive service in order to meet the needs of a rapidly changing and growing County.”
Overall, respondents to the consultation supported the key ambitions of the proposals – that funding should be directed towards those most in need, that services should be co-located with partners such as health wherever possible, and that the services should be widened to support families with children aged 0 -19. The changes to the proposals which followed consultation include:
- Investing an extra £100,000 back into outreach services across the County, including the southern parts of Cambridge after feedback identified potential gaps in provision, not included in the initial proposals.
- Resolving issues at Caldecote Children’s Centre to ensure wrap-around childcare is protected alongside identifying capacity for additional childcare provision
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Samantha Hoy, Vice Chairman of the Children and Young People Committee, added: “Children’s Centre Services across the country are changing to help them meet the needs of our most vulnerable families, who remain our top priority. Our plans are very much in line with those of other counties who, like us, also have reducing budgets for a whole range of services where demand continues to grow. The Council is sending a strong message to Government that the long-term underfunding of large rural counties like ours cannot continue as part of our fairdeal4Cambs campaign.”
FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL
October 16, 2017
Ten-in-a-row: Wisbech’s golden achievement
Horticultural champions have been honoured in Wisbech at a special event to celebrate the town’s extraordinary In Bloom achievements.
Last month, Wisbech became one of only a handful of towns in the region to reach ten consecutive gold awards in the history of the annual Anglia In Bloom contest.
During this time, the town has also been crowned Britain In Bloom winners in 2009, and achieved a Gold award in the Britain In Bloom finals in 2016.
Wisbech also scooped the top ‘5 Blooms’ award in the International Communities in Bloom contest in 2010, a tough competition which attracts high calibre entrants from countries including Canada, the Czech Republic and Japan.
On Monday, October 9, Fenland District Council invited everyone who played a part in this year’s Bloom campaign to St Peter’s Church gardens to commend the achievements and thank them for their continuing efforts.
Volunteers from the town’s In Bloom, Street Pride and Friends groups joined councillors, council cleansing staff and contractors for the celebration.
Bob Ollier, the council’s parks and open spaces manager, said: “The In Bloom judges were taken on a grand tour of Wisbech in July, when they picked up on many of the fantastic achievements that have not only been undertaken in the last 12 months, but also projects that have now matured after several years of nurturing.
“The number of projects has been astonishing, and all those involved have all contributed to help make Wisbech a blooming great town. 2017 has been a great year and once again been one of the very best for community and partnership working.”
Councillor Peter Murphy, the council’s Portfolio Holder for the Environment, said: “Wisbech has now achieved ten gold awards in Anglia In Bloom, from 2008 to 2017. It’s a considerable achievement and one which not many have achieved, or will do in future, and everyone involved should be justifiably proud.
“Our dedicated volunteers continue to work hard for the benefit of everyone in Wisbech, and we can’t thank them enough.”
FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL
October 16, 2017
Tougher street drinking rules come into force
New powers to reinforce ongoing work to tackle alcohol-fuelled incidents and antisocial behaviour in Wisbech will come into force this month.
Fenland District Council is introducing a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in the town on Friday, October 20.
The order intends to restrict alcohol consumption in three street drinking hotspots – Tillery Fields, St Peter’s Church Gardens and the memorial garden in The Crescent – and enable authorised officers to tackle alcohol-related antisocial behaviour across a wider area covering Wisbech town centre.
The robust approach will form part of a wider alcohol action plan being delivered by the council through the Wisbech Alcohol Partnership to address the issues and also provide support to dependent drinkers and local residents.
Other initiatives in the 14-point plan include recovery walks from the Inclusion Adult Substance Misuse Treatment Service and recruiting a dedicated outreach worker to engage with street drinkers through funding secured from central government.
After a successful bid to government, Wisbech has also become a Local Alcohol Action Area, one of only 33 locations in the country, which is working towards reducing the sale of alcohol to people who are drunk and help improve the health outcomes of the local community affected by alcohol misuse.
A Cumulative Impact Zone has also been implemented in the town making it harder to get a licence to sell alcohol, with a number of licences having already been refused through the use of the order.
Associated issues such as homelessness and poor management and condition of private rented homes are also being tackled through a partnership approach.
Under the new PSPO, which was approved by the council last month, it will be an offence to possess any open containers of alcohol in the three hotspot areas. It will also be an offence to drink alcohol in the town centre if someone continues to drink when asked to stop and refuses to surrender their alcohol.
It can be enforced by police officers, Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and authorised persons representing Fenland District Council.
Anyone caught breaching the order could be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £75.
Councillor David Oliver, the council’s Cabinet member for community safety, said: “We are introducing the PSPOs to respond to areas of need in Wisbech that have been impacted by alcohol misuse and harm.
“It will form part of our wider partnership work as it is essential we continue to address this complex issue through both enforcement and ongoing support to alleviate it long-term and ensure people are able to feel safe and enjoy the town.”
Councillor Steve Tierney, the Member in whose District Ward all the PSPO areas fall, said: “This is what I have been proposing is tried for the last two years and it’s great to see it being rolled out. The main thing is going to be enforcement. Without solid enforcement and support from the Police it just won’t work – so it’s important to keep reminding the Police and District Council not to forget that words alone won’t be enough, action must be taken.”
For more information on the PSPOs visit: www.fenland.gov.uk/pspo
Bakers wanted for Fenland’s own bake offs
Cake-makers are being urged to rise to the occasion when two Fenland leisure centres hold their very own bake off contests for charity.
Budding bakers can put their skills to the test when the Great British Bake Off-style events are held at the New Vision Fitness centres next month in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
The Great Hudson Bake Off and Tea Dance takes place at the Hudson Leisure Centre in Wisbech on October 6, and a second bake off and coffee morning is being held at the George Campbell Leisure Centre in March on October 13.
People are invited to bring along their homemade showstoppers to be judged – with top prizes on offer for star bakers!
All the cakes baked will be on sale at the events along with refreshments, and everyone is welcome. All money raised will go to Macmillan as the chosen charity of Cllr Mrs Kay Mayor, Chairman of Fenland District Council, which runs the leisure centres.
The Hudson bake off is being held from 11.30am to 12.30pm, with the tea dance between 2pm and 4pm. Tickets for the tea dance cost £2 each and are still available to buy from the Hudson reception. There will also be craft stalls selling items such as photo frames, homemade cards and jewellery.
The George Campbell event will see a coffee morning between 7am and 12noon, with the bake off from 10.30am to 11.30am.
There will also be a coffee morning at the Manor Leisure Centre in Whittlesey on October 4 from 11am to 1pm, and once again everyone is welcome.
Cllr Mrs Mayor said: “This is a cause so close to many of our hearts so I hope as many people as possible will join us for what promise to be some fantastic events. It’s a great chance for people to show off their baking skills and be in with a chance of winning some fantastic prizes including vouchers for afternoon tea-for-two.”
Residents are also invited to join Cllr Mrs Mayor at her Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event at Fenland Hall in County Road, March, on Thursday, September 28, between 10am and 11.30am. There will be coffee, tea, cakes, sausages rolls and a raffle.
Donations to Macmillan can be made at all the events. Anyone who cannot attend but would like to make a donation can post it to the Chairman’s Secretary, Fenland District Council, Fenland Hall, County Road, March, Cambridgeshire, PE15 8NQ (please make cheques payable to Macmillan Cancer Support).
FENLAND DSTRICT COUNCIL: PRESS RELEASE
Roma project will ease pressure on resident communities and services
A catalyst to integrate one of the most vulnerable and misunderstood migrant communities in the region has been launched thanks to more than £150,000 of government funding.
Fenland District Council has received a grant from the Department of Communities and Local Government’s Controlling Migration Fund (CMF) to deliver a project aimed at the East of England’s Roma community.
The Parallel Lives Project will not only help to ease pressures on local services as a result of Romani migration, but will also tackle chronic discrimination against the community and help to establish a more cohesive and mutually respectful environment.
Working in partnership with the East of England Strategic Migration Partnership (SMP), the Council will deliver the two-year project in two phases.
Firstly it will gather data and local intelligence on Roma communities. Research has shown Roma to be disproportionately affected by poverty and discriminated against in employment, education and health care, and by other local communities – both resident and other migrant. In many instances they live ‘parallel lives’, at a distance from other groups.
The project will also identify the key pressures on local services and the impact that has on resident communities, before developing solutions to the issues in phase two.
The solutions will depend on the outcome of the first phase, although project leaders anticipate that a minimum of six Roma community champions will be identified to work in each part of the region with the highest concentration of Roma people – Fenland, Great Yarmouth, Ipswich, Luton, Peterborough and Southend.
Roma cultural competence training will also be developed and rolled out, and workshops held to bring Roma people together with frontline services.
Councillor Mike Cornwell, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Communities, said: “By engaging with Roma people, and bringing them closer to local services and service providers, this project will be a catalyst for Roma integration across the region’s most highly pressurised areas of inward migration.”
“The longer-term gain for the established community is a more cohesive environment where all residents are encouraged and enabled to co-exist harmoniously, rather than living lives which can induce mistrust, exclusion and the socio-economic costs of racial violence.”
FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL
Rogue landlords who exploit migrants in poor housing to be targeted by new inspection team
Rogue landlords who exploit migrants in sub-standard accommodation in Wisbech are set to be targeted by a new team of enforcers – thanks to government funding.
The officers will inspect thousands of privately-rented homes in the town to crackdown on overcrowding and dangerous conditions to help both the tenants themselves and neighbouring families.
The government’s Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has given Fenland District Council £192,370 from its Controlling Migration Fund to launch the enforcement plan.
Two new private-sector housing officers will work alongside Operation Pheasant, the multi-agency task force set up in 2012 to tackle migrant exploitation across Fenland.
In its bid to the DCLG, the council said although Operation Pheasant is successful in tackling housing condition issues, rogue landlords, gangmasters and organised crime groups, additional resource was needed to get to grips with the issues in Wisbech.
It also said high levels of deprivation, coupled with significant inward migration and cheap poor quality housing, has meant the town has become a hub for exploitation. Rogue landlords take advantage of the fact people who are relatively new to the country don’t know they can complain about it, or are afraid to.
The new two-year project will see house-to-house inspections carried out on around 10,500 private rented properties to identify failings and take enforcement action where necessary. Data will also be gathered to enable effective monitoring, and intelligence shared with the Operation Pheasant task force.
Information packs will also be provided to tenants with advice on how to access local services and fire safety and information on workers’ rights, human trafficking and exploitation.
Councillor Will Sutton, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder responsible for private-sector housing, said: “Poor quality private-rented accommodation has become a breeding ground for migrants to exist in sometimes dire and dangerous conditions, frequently overcrowded without basic safety standards in place.
“In Fenland we are working hard to tackle criminal landlords and through this extra funding, we expect to see a reduction in the number of these landlords letting out such accommodation and exploiting tenants.
“I would like to pay tribute to council officers, as once again they have put together a successful, strong evidence-based bid to DCLG.”
FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL
July 28, 2017
All aboard for bus service launch
It was all aboard in Wisbech as the Wisbech Tesco Bus Service celebrated its official launch.
Three weeks after the No 68 service went into operation, civic dignitaries and business representatives gathered at the Horsefair Bus Station on Friday, July 21, for a special launch event.
Guests were welcomed by Councillor Simon King, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Transport, who told how the service had been designed through the authority’s Wisbech Bus Service Project using Tesco S106 funding.
Created following the withdrawal of the failed Tesco 66 Service last year, the project was set up to develop a community-led approach to a new bus service design and offered a genuine opportunity for local residents to influence a new route and timetable.
Belinda Pedler, the Council’s Wisbech Bus Service Project Co-ordinator, also provided guests with an insight into her work with the community, public transport providers and organisations over the last few months to design and plan the new service.
Feedback from bus service users before the 66 service was withdrawn revealed what wasn’t working and where improvements could be made, and gave the Council a strong focus to make the new service work better.
It meant the 68 service would not only provide access to Tesco Extra and other businesses in Cromwell Road, but also to local healthcare, education and community facilities, as well as residential parts of South and North-West Wisbech not served by other public transport.
Guests also enjoyed a trip on the bus service to Tesco Extra, where they enjoyed refreshments from Tesco and Costa and a speech from Wisbech Mayor Steve Tierney.
Cllr Tierney said: “The Wisbech Bus Service Project is a unique approach putting local customers’ needs at the heart of bus service design. At a time when many public transport services are being withdrawn, the decision to maximise the potential of the Tesco S106 funding this way is very important.
“It is great to see a project delivered with such a strong emphasis on local engagement. No one knows better what local peoples’ needs are than local people themselves. To focus on a community-led design for a new local bus service will surely make all the difference in ensuring it becomes a successful, long term service.”
Passengers who had travelled on the new service since its launch on July 3 were also entered into a prize draw to win a luxury hamper from Tesco. The winner, announced at the launch event, was Lucy Moody, of Wisbech.
The bus service will initially run as a 12-month pilot and if successful will aim to become a permanent local bus service. It is operated by Fenland Area Community Transport (FACT), although you do not need to be a member of FACT to use the service.
For more information on timetables, routes and fares (free to concessionary bus pass holders), visit: www.fenland.gov.uk/wisbechtescobus
Also keep a look out on Twitter (@FenlandCitizen) and the council’s Facebook page in the coming months for more bus service competitions and offers.
Love Your Home with seaside crafts
Residents young and old can enjoy seaside themed arts and crafts when the latest Love Your Home event is held in Wisbech.
The community event is held at the Queen Mary Centre on the second Tuesday of every month from 10am to 1pm, with the next one taking place on August 8.
Visitors will be able to try their hands at making sand pictures and seaside themed jewellery, painting pebbles and sewing a fishing game, and Anglian Water representatives will be presenting ‘Mad Science’.
The Love Your Home events invite residents to have a go at DIY, decorating, crafts, gardening and more to help them pick-up valuable skills.
They also offer a pop-up paint store and scrapstore from CCORRN (Cambridgeshrie Community Reuse and Recycle Network), a gift swap shop, guest contributors and help and support to get online.
Entry, activities and refreshments are free and there are also five free annual CCORRN memberships up for grabs at each event.
The events are organised and delivered by CCORRN with support from Fenland District Council, and are sponsored by Making Money Count and The Big Lottery Fund.
Like the ‘Love Your Home events’ Facebook page for updates on each month’s themed activities.
Anyone wishing to volunteer to share their skills at a future event is also invited to go along to a session to see what’s involved and have a chat with the team. Alternately, email: email@example.com