Dear members, volunteer coordinators and parish councillors

 It feels as though we are in a bit of a holding pattern at the moment. We’re past the peak, but we are not able to predict what the impact on the spread of the virus is going to be as measures have started to ease up and are set to ease up further in the coming weeks.

 We said at the start of the lockdown that responding to the crisis would be more like a marathon than a sprint, and we know that the feeling of a longer-term challenge may be setting in for some groups. You will no doubt be supporting your volunteers already but there are some useful reminders from Magellan Healthcare in their Compassion fatigue and Covid-19 document about how to support each other, which we thought may be useful. Any groups that are worrying about volunteer numbers please don’t hesitate to let your patch lead know. We are here to help.

Covid-19 Hardship Energy Voucher Scheme

A Covid-19 Hardship Energy Voucher Scheme provides energy vouchers for residents struggling to top up pre-pay meters due to the COVID-19 crisis. This could include anyone whose income has significantly reduced due to job loss or significant reduction in hours, or who is already on a low income and has seen costs increased due to having more people at home every day and not having school meals, for example. Citizens Advice would be the best route for South Cambridgeshire residents to access this, as a referral is needed. Please use: scambscovid@cambridgecab.org.uk 

Face coverings

We are aware that some residents have been enquiring about the best way to access face coverings, ahead of the requirement for these to be worn on public transport, in crowded places and in health care settings from Monday. We know that Boots is currently selling packs of face coverings online so we thought this may be helpful to share. There is also guidance online about how to make your own face covering, and we’re aware of local groups such as Community Covid-19 Masks – fundraiser for NHS that are making face coverings while also raising thousands of pounds. Please remember this advice is in addition to the other measures such as handwashing, social distancing and staying at home as much as possible.

Updates to the shielded list

Some individuals have been removed from the shielded list by their GP. These individuals will have been informed that this is the case. The central Cambridgeshire and Peterborough hub has checked with the people removed to ensure they have the help they need. There is no need for community groups to contact these individuals directly to offer additional support. However, please do not stop any support you have already been providing, and continue as usual.

 The Government has announced that it will review the shielding policy next week. Patients identified as clinically extremely vulnerable between now and the review will receive a letter advising them to shield until 30 June, awaiting the outcome of the review, and encouraging them to register their support needs.

Meal scheme launches in partnership with Over Day Centre

We wrote to you last week about the new prepared meals scheme we were setting up after a successful bid for funding from Countryside. The scheme launched yesterday and, in week one, is providing 40 meals to vulnerable residents who are currently missing out on a cooked meal they would usually enjoy at day centres in Over and Cottenham.

 

Over the next fortnight a second food hub is being set up, which is likely to be located in Duxford with the food cooked by Cambridge-based C3 Churches. Both schemes would not be possible without a team of volunteer chefs and community volunteers who ensure the food reaches the people who need it.

 

We are currently looking for a driver who would be willing to collect 100-150 meals from C3 Church in Coldhams Lane to deliver them to Duxford Community Centre, and would need to be available on a Thursday late morning to collect the meals between 11 am and 11.30 am. If you know someone who is interested or would like any further information about the scheme please contact ellen.bridges@scambs.gov.uk.

Guidance in alternative languages

The County Council has created some videos in alternative languages to explain the Government’s guidance on social distancing and socialising with others out of doors, as updated on 29 May.

Funding for community group efforts

A number of Community Foundations and other organisations have launched funding programmes to assist local organisations in responding to the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic. A list of organisations and the types of funding they have made available can be viewed online – last updated on 10 June 2020.

Virtual Village Hall programme

The Royal Voluntary Service has launched a national lockdown activity programme for older people. The programme is designed to bring people together to enjoy activities at the same time, to keep active and interested, and to have fun.