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Covid-19 Update.

From Bill Handley

Lead Cabinet Member for Community Resilience, Health & Wellbeing

South Cambridgeshire District Council


Following the Prime Minister’s announcement earlier this week, I hope that people are feeling more positive about the future, especially with the possibility of sensible outdoor gatherings of two households or ‘the rule of six’ not too far away now (hopefully 29 March).


If you need to review the roadmap you can read the publication and the summary version.

Vaccination briefing – 18 February 2021

The latest vaccination briefing (from 18 February) contained the following highlights which may be of interest:

  • Cumulative total doses of 215,034 had been administered in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough by 14 February 2021

  • More than 90% of residents aged 70 and above in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough had received their first dose

  • Anyone aged 65 and over, or Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (previously on the shielding list), who hasn’t yet had their first dose should now make an appointment at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination or by phoning 119

  • Carers are included in cohort 6 for vaccination if they fit the definition of “adult carers”, which is defined as “Those who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable.” Eligible adult carers will be contacted via the National Booking System (NBS) to receive an invitation to book vaccination through Vaccination Centres, Community Pharmacies or Hospital Hubs, once a list of these individuals has been produced

  • If an individual has been added to the Shielded Patient List as part of the new QCovid model, the NHS will contact them to offer them the vaccine as soon as appointments become available. The NHS may contact patients via text message, letter, or a phone call to offer an appointment.

Winter Support: Direct Award Scheme

Small one-off payments to help South Cambridgeshire individuals and families in acute need can now be made by some of our officers and other partner organisations across the county such as Citizens Advice and Age UK. These will be in the form of direct payments under the Winter Support Family Fund. The payments can go towards food and fuel for those who need financial assistance as a direct result of Coronavirus. This is a payment of up to £25 for an individual, and up to £50 for a couple or family. The payments will be made as a one-off grant. These grants are designed as reactive support under the Winter Support Scheme.


The resident will then either receive an email with a food retail voucher or a unique code to credit their fuel account at a pay-point. The second option is a text/email code to take to a pay-point to cash out the money from their text code to purchase what they need.


This is a countywide scheme which will close at the end of March 2021, which is when funding for Winter Support is expected to end. Any of your residents wishing to apply can do so by emailing duty.communities@scambs.gov.uk. One of our team will be in touch with the resident to understand their situation, offer further advice, and make the award if needed.

Self-isolation update

Self-isolation payments are expanding. People who need to self-isolate because of Coronavirus and will lose income by doing so may be entitled to a £500 payment that they do not have to pay back. This now also covers one parent or guardian who has to stay off work to look after a child who is self-isolating (where the parent or guardian is not required to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace but meets all the other eligibility criteria). Despite this change, our message remains the same. Anyone who has lost an income due to self-isolation should get in touch with usas help is available.

Coronavirus home testing kits now easier to order

You may be interested in an announcement from Government (on 18 February) that it has introduced a number of new accessibility improvements to the home testing programme to make it easier to get tested.


The improvements include:

  • People who do not have access to the internet now being able to order home testing kits over the phone by calling 119, without needing an email address or any other digital requirement

  • A new NHS Test and Trace partnership with Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to improve the home testing service for people with visual impairments

  • A new video-call support service with specially trained NHS Test and Trace staff that will assist people with vision impairments to test at home.

Cambridge Council for Voluntary Services community workshops

We are partnering with CCVS (Cambridge Council for Voluntary Services) to run a workshop on tips for making successful grant applications on Tuesday 30 March, from 12 noon to 1.30pm.


This follows on from the well-attended event in December which focused on fundraising for rural communities, at which a number of attendees expressed an interest in learning more about putting together grant applications.


Also running in the spring are the following events:

  • How to run a successful crowdfunding campaign for good causes, on Tuesday 2 March, from 9.30am to 12 noon

  • Recruiting and retaining volunteers, on Tuesday 9 March, from 9.30am to 12 noon

  • An introduction for child and adult safeguarding on Thursday 29 April, from 9.30am to 1pm.


As always CCVS is available to give one to one support to groups – currently online or over the phone, please feel free to pass on their email to any groups who might need their support enquiries@cambridgecvs.org.uk. You can also find some additional ideas about fundraising for your group on our website.

Get to grips with online meetings

Cambridgeshire Healthwatch has created a new training course aimed at volunteers who are nervous about using Zoom and Teams, creating a barrier to volunteering, taking part in activities or socialising.


Healthwatch has acknowledged that some people find online communication platforms scary and don't understand how they work. This online training course will help create confidence in those worried about taking part in online events.


The Hunts Forum online training portal also includes safeguarding and mental health courses for volunteers, created by experts in the field. All training is low-level, simple and looks at the subject in a 'COVID world' and is free to access to member groups.


If you're interested in getting some of your volunteers signed up please email Kathryn at kathryn@huntsforum.org.uk. Visit the Training and Events page.

Public Health England launches new Psychological First Aid training

People who care for or work with children and young people aged up to 25 who have been affected by COVID-19 (or other emergencies or individual crises) will be able to access a new online Psychological First Aid (PFA) training course. The course is free for all who care for and work with children and young people aged up to the age of 25. No previous qualifications are required.


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