Advice for communities
Since March 2020, existing community groups and new groups of volunteers mobilised to support local communities during the pandemic. Thank you to everyone who has been giving their time to provide selfless support through trips to pharmacies, deliveries of shopping and hot food, phone calls to people who’ve been on their own, online events to keep people connected, and much more.
Many of your groups are now well-established, but should you need any support please don’t hesitate to contact our Communities team using the email and phone number at the bottom of this page, or you can contact your local District Councillor. We have been sending out regular email bulletins with the latest useful information for community groups; if you are not on this list but would like to be added, please email the team.
The Cambridgeshire County Council volunteer sign up form is still active, so if there are people still wanting to volunteer, please sign up here.
Support for residents to access direct
Residents can call the Countywide COVID-19 hub directly on 03450 455 219 (or your group can call them on behalf of a resident), for help with things like food deliveries or regular phone calls to support residents’ mental wellbeing.
Anyone whose income has reduced should check what government benefits they may be entitled to, and then also contact us to:
- apply for Council Tax Support
- apply for the Council Tax Hardship Fund
- apply for Discretionary Housing Payments which provide financial support towards housing costs
- contact our Welfare and Money Maximisation Officer, Lucy Tompkins, by emailing Lucy.Tompkins@scambs.gov.uk
- email our communities team for information about small one-off payments to help with immediate food of fuel needs - up to £49 for a family, or £29 for an individual.
Cambridge Local Assistance Scheme (CLAS) can also support residents in crisis by providing a CLAS award, which could be in the form of a supermarket voucher.
Support your group may offer to residents
Supporting people who can’t access their money
Anyone who cannot leave home may be able to ask a trusted friend or volunteer to withdraw cash, or cash a cheque, through the Post Office’s Payout Now and Fast PACE schemes.
The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Pharmaceutical Committee advised that anyone from a community group can pick up a prescription on behalf of someone else, as long as they know: the name and address of the person the prescription is for; and whether the prescription is paid for or not. The pharmacist may ask for ID of the person collecting the prescription. Prescription prepayment certificates (PPCs) enable online payment. Volunteers may still need to provide evidence to the pharmacy that the person has paid – this is usually an email confirmation.
GP Access Card
People who are not registered with a GP still have rights to receive healthcare. GP Access Cards explain that everyone has the right to register with GP surgeries, including those experiencing homelessness; Gypsy, Roma and Travellers; and other people who may be refused registration. It also gives information on what to do if people are refused. They are small, plastic, credit card style cards emphasising that when registering with a GP:
- you do not need a fixed address
- you do not need identification
- your immigration status does not matter
- people can also register if they do not know or do not have an NHS number.
Funding to support residents
Throughout the pandemic, our Communities team has been sharing updates on different grants or mechanisms that have been available to support residents who find themselves in financial difficulty. This could range from payments to isolate, and weekly meal deliveries, to vouchers to use for food or fuel.
If you come across a resident urgently in need of financial support, food, or fuel, please refer them to us by emailing email@example.com. We will contact them to assess their needs and give appropriate support.
Funding for your community group
The Communities team regularly update groups on funding opportunities through our email bulletin. Another way to find out what funding may be available for your community group is by visiting Cambridgeshire Community Foundation, which manages a growing number of funds. There are always fund alerts available too through the Support Cambridgeshire website. Please also email firstname.lastname@example.org for any urgent support you may need as you support your community.
There are a range of resources that may be helpful as guidance for your group.
- The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) offers advice and support for voluntary organisations across many areas including managing COVID-19 risk and delivering activities.
- The national Action with Communities in Rural England offers information about village community halls.
- Locally, Cambridgeshire Council for Voluntary Service and Support Cambridgeshire website offer resources aimed at smaller community groups.
Free PPE for voluntary organisations
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is offering free Personal Protective Equipment for use by voluntary sector organisations. You can express your interest in this free PPE by completing this short form with a few details.
Please visit Cambridgeshire County Council's website for guidance on adult safeguarding.
Safe use of council buildings, public spaces, playgrounds and outdoor gyms
The Government provides guidance on:
- the safe use of council buildings
- the safe use and management of green spaces, outdoor playgrounds and gyms, and urban centres (updated in line with Step 4 from 19 July).
The Government has published updated guidance on protecting people who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) to COVID-19, which came into effect on 19 July 2021.
The guidance advises CEV people, as a minimum, to follow the same guidance as everyone else. However, it also notes that CEV people who are at a higher risk of serious illness if they were to catch COVID-19, may wish to think carefully about additional precautions.
The Government guidance sets out a number of suggested measures for CEV people to consider, related to socialising, vaccinations, work and travel.
Throughout the pandemic, there has been misinformation circling. If you would be happy to help stop the spread of harmful misinformation, please feel free to use the following links within your communities.
You can view the latest information on cases nationally, or in South Cambridgeshire on the Government’s website if you search by ‘local authority’ and then South Cambridgeshire.
The Government is asking people who run community facilities and businesses to remove signage that has been used since March 2020 to promote the measures to prevent the spread of the virus during the pandemic.
If you wish to make visitors aware of your expectations in terms of COVID-secure measures after 19 July 2021, the suggestion is to use updated signage to do this. This is because signage that has been around for the past year will be ignored, as people will assume it is now out of date.
Any new signs that are displayed should also make it clear what the expectations are: the more explicit the signage, the fewer people will confront each other based on their own assumptions or interpretations of what is the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ thing to do. If you need some support to create signage, please contact email@example.com.
Translations of easy-read COVID-19 vaccination leaflets
Public Health England (PHE) has published translated versions of easy-read leaflets on the COVID-19 vaccinations. The leaflets, which include information on what to expect after your vaccine and information for women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding their baby, are now available in 21 languages including English, Arabic, Urdu and Polish.
If you are speaking with residents who have concerns about the COVID-19 vaccination programme, the best source of information to share with them is the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) website.
The CCG is responsible for the vaccination programme in Cambridgeshire. As well as being able to provide trusted information for people who have concerns, residents can also find the latest information about how to book a vaccination appointment.
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