In this section we will be including colour or higher resolution versions of some of the photos included in the current issue of Willingham News magazine. From time to time we may also include items which had to be left out of the magazine due to lack of space. This page will also have any corrections to errors in the magazine not spotted before printing.
South Cambs District Councillors report
Community Chest Grants increase
The council has increased the maximum amount of Community Chest funding that can be applied for from £1,000 to £2,000. These grants are available to voluntary and community sector groups, charities and public sector bodies wishing to further improve quality of life in their communities. More information is here: www.scambs.gov.uk/community-safety-and-health/grants/community-chest-grants/
A significant sum of the Community Chest pot has been ring-fenced to fund the development of Community-led plans, which are intended to allow communities to determine and specify what things are a priority for them. Willingham has already taken up the challenge and a village group has already issued a survey to take the views of residents.
More information on Community-led plans and a tool-kit can be found here: www.scambs.gov.uk/community-safety-and-health/community-action/community-led-plan-toolkit/
Call back feature on South Cambs District Council’s new “Golden Number” phone line
The council’s Contact Centre has moved across to a single “Golden” number for most of its services. The number is 01954 713 000 which replaces 03450 numbers. This service does not cost any more money in call charges than the previous numbers did and the Contact Us website page contains all the details. www.scambs.gov.uk/your-council-and-democracy/contact-us/ There is also a new call back feature which is useful for when answering times are longer than usual; if the customer has to wait for more than five minutes the call back function will automatically be offered to them.
A webchat service is planned for 2022 which will allow residents to message the council at their convenience online – further details will follow early next year.
Business Support and Development Team
Since the onset of the pandemic, the Council’s Business Support and Development Team has interacted with over 3,000 small businesses to give support with guidance on Covid safety and regulations. It has paid out more than £38 million in Government funding via business support grants, as well as providing general business support and advice to both existing businesses and start-ups.
To help the hospitality sector, which has been particularly hard hit by lockdowns, it has set up a new website that highlights the wealth of local food and accommodation businesses, and the attractions of the area, to boost both local and visitor trade. Local hospitality and leisure sector businesses can have a free listing on the website via the link: visitsouthcambs.co.uk/
The Council also supports and showcases local businesses and traders on its social media channels under the banner #OnYourDoorstepSCDC. The campaign shines a spotlight on what local hospitality and retail businesses are offering seasonally. It is built around the idea of encouraging everyone to ‘shop local’, which supports local business owners, local jobs, and is positive for the planet too.
In South Cambs, the COVID case rate is at some of the highest levels we have seen throughout the pandemic, with a large proportion of cases in younger residents. Following the half-term break, case rates reduced but is again on an upward trajectory which officers at the Public Health Team at County Council and our own officers at South Cambs are monitoring. The vaccine programme is having a huge impact on health outcomes and hospital admissions for COVID are significantly lower than the pre-vaccine days. However, general hospital admissions are rising, which is adding to the pressures already on the NHS with the winter respiratory season now underway. The new Omicron variant is now present and spreading in the district and, at the time of writing (early December) scientists are monitoring it to see how infectious it is and how it responds to current vaccines.
Continued pressure on local health and education services has meant that the period of ‘enhanced response area’ status has been extended. This is to accelerate the 12-15 vaccination roll out to key areas and schools where infections are highest, to accelerate booster vaccinations for eligible groups and in areas with the lowest uptake. The ERA also allows the local authorities to enhance controls and testing in schools. The authorities will continue to promote messages about the importance of maintaining Covid-safe behaviour.
The government’s vaccination advice seems to change on an almost daily basis and the best place to check what is happening is on the County Council’s website: https://www.thevaccinators.co.uk/ and/or www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccination
Our Willingham & Over Facebook page
We have revamped our Willingham & Over Facebook page and now refresh it frequently with local content. We amplify relevant posts from the Comms Teams at South Cambs DC and other local authorities and our Lib Dem County Council colleagues also contribute. Every Monday, we post a summary list of outstanding planning applications for the two villages, which is already proving to be very popular. www.facebook.com/libdems3rdMay18 Why not add the site to your friends list to stay connected with what is going on?
A Happy New Year to all Willingham Residents.
Bill Handley and Dawn Percival, December 2021 Cllr.email@example.com 01954 200287