Wednesday, 21 January 2015

HRH The Princess Royal officially opens city centre fire station development

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal today (Wednesday 21) officially opened a Cambridge city centre community development.

Princess Anne unveiled plaques at the new Parkside Place Community Fire and Rescue Station and Hundred Houses Society affordable housing scheme Chester House, located on the development.

HRH was greeted by Cambridgeshire civic dignitaries and was then welcomed onto station by Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service's Chief Fire Officer Graham Stagg and Chairman of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority Sir Peter Brown.

The Princess enjoyed a tour of the fire station and housing development, meeting fire service staff and residents. Schoolchildren from St Matthew's Primary School and Parkside Federation Academies, who created artwork for the fire station, also met Princess Anne, and the children of two firefighters presented her with a posy.

CFO Graham Stagg said: "It was an honour to meet The Princess Royal and to mark the official opening of this building, which has been over a decade in the making.

"We hope by meeting firefighters, community safety workers and our support staff based at the fire station that The Princess Royal has had a good insight into not just the operational service we provide for Cambridge but also how preventing fires in the community is just as important in this modern fire and rescue service."

Sir Peter Brown said: "It was an absolute pleasure to welcome HRH Princess Anne to our state-of-the-art fire station and to mark the official opening of a project we are all incredibly proud of.

"It has been a real team effort with our partners to create this development and that theme has continued on today as it pleased us to see so many organisations join in what has been a momentous celebration."

Fire crews moved to the new fire station, which is built on the same site as the former Cambridge station, in June 2013, following the completion of the two-year-building project. Parkside Place residential development, which provides 100 new homes including 39 affordable flats managed by Hundred Houses Society, was finished in 2014.

Addenbrooke's worker Rebecca O'Shaughnessy and her husband Steven, who works for Cambridge University, proudly welcomed HRH The Princess Royal into their Hundred Houses Society affordable home today.

Chris Jackson, Chief Executive of Hundred Houses Society, said: "I'm delighted the Princess Royal had a chance to see how Hundred Houses is providing homes for local people who have been priced out of the Cambridge market, particularly for key workers such as Mrs O'Shaughnessy.

"The Princess was interested to learn that the O'Shaughnessy¿s found their new home warm and conveniently close to work, when they previously had to travel 45 minutes each way. I think Princess Anne appreciated how important it is to provide affordable homes in cities such as Cambridge."

Members of the Encore Estate Management team, which took over management of Parkside Place from developers Grosvenor in 2013, also met HRH.

Carole Kelly, Encore's Estate Manager for the development, commented: "The official opening by HRH The Princess Royal was an important event for those who live here and we were only too happy to ensure the site looked great not just for the visit but for all residents and tenants all year round.

"It was a great honour for the team, including Head Porter Matt Place and Porter Ben Phillips, to be presented to HRH The Princess Royal. Matt and Ben provide a friendly face and assistance to all the residents and we're happy they were able to provide this to Princess Anne too."

Following the visit, guests enjoyed refreshments and a buffet to mark the occasion.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Delivery partner appointed to help develop Restorative Justice in Cambridgeshire

VICTIMS of crime in Cambridgeshire can now request to meet their offender in a restorative justice conference thanks to Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

Such conferences have been proven to help repair the harm caused by the crime by allowing the victim to explain to the offender the impact of their actions. It also enables the victim to understand why the offender behaved the way they did.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Graham Bright and Cambridgeshire Constabulary have pledged to work in partnership with other agencies to develop restorative justice in the county.

The move has seen Sir Graham appoint a not for profit Community Interest Company Restorative Solutions as a delivery partner to provide advice and expertise in the early days.

The Ministry of Justice has provided all PCCs with an initial two years’ funding, as part of the Victims’ Services Grant, to facilitate victim-initiated restorative justice.

Sir Graham said: “It is great to be able to yet again improve the experience for victims of crime in Cambridgeshire. This work follows hot on the heels of the launch of our police-led Victims’ Hub and we expect the Victim Care Co-ordinators will be instrumental in explaining to victims what is now available.

“While I have asked the Constabulary to lead this work for me, they can’t do this alone and we have already been having conversations with existing restorative justice providers in the county about how we can work together. I was also keen to ensure we had access to real experts in this area which is why I appointed Restorative Solutions to support the Cambridgeshire approach.”

Deputy Chief Constable Alec Wood has championed the use of restorative justice in the Constabulary and says it could make a “real difference” to the lives of those who choose to get involved. “The evidence is clear that victims of crime who take part in restorative conferences are more likely to be able to move on from the crime committed against them. Offenders are less likely to offend again – so it’s a win-win situation.”

Chief Executive of Restorative Solutions, Gary Stephenson, said: “Our joint approach will ensure that victims will be given the opportunity to have their say and get answers to the questions they are left with after being the victim of a crime. We know that Restorative Justice helps victims and others affected by the crime to find closure and move on with their lives. We also know from rigorous academic studies that following a restorative meeting offenders are motivated to change their lives for the better and this means less crime and fewer victims in Cambridgeshire.”

Restorative Justice (RJ) is a process which “brings those harmed by crime or conflict, and those responsible for the harm, into communication, enabling everyone affected by a particular incident to play a part in repairing the harm and finding a positive way forward”.

The process is carefully managed at all stages by trained facilitators.

Sir Graham will be launching ‘Developing Restorative Justice in Cambridgeshire’ at a conference being held on Monday February 9 – 13.30-17.00.

Monday, 19 January 2015

New firefighters pass out to serve Cambridgeshire communities

New faces can be seen riding in the back of fire engines across the county as Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) welcomes a group of new firefighters into its ranks.

Ten new recruits began their operational careers with the Service at the start of the month (January) following an intensive 10-week training course in Cardiff, delivered by South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

Chief Fire Officer Graham Stagg said: "We are thrilled to welcome this group of new firefighters to CFRS to begin what is hopefully a great career with the fire service.

"Being a firefighter in a modern fire and rescue service is not about being the strongest, the biggest or the bravest anymore. With such a small percentage of crews' time spent at operational jobs, the role of a firefighter is about serving the community in so many different ways. We wish this cohort of firefighters the best of luck and hope they enjoy helping us to protect the public of Cambridgeshire."

The new recruits are:

Dogsthorpe Fire Station:

Kevin Gilbert (28), of Whittlesey, was most recently a firefighter at Marshall's Airport in Cambridge before joining the wholetime service in Cambridgeshire. Prior to this, he has also worked as a firefighter in the RAF and in Afghanistan. FF Gilbert is also an on-call firefighter in Whittlesey.

Jason Keal (27), of Market Deeping, left a career in leisure management to join the fire service. He has also been an on-call firefighter in Market Deeping more than three years.

Cambridge Fire Station:

Sarah Lamming (26), of Peterborough, worked for the Environment Agency in flood risk management before successfully joining wholetime. She also has experience as an on-call firefighter in Cottenham.

James Pearce (24) of Saffron Walden, previously worked for a delivery company based at Stansted Airport. He was also an on-call firefighter in Essex before joining the wholetime service in Cambridgeshire.

Huntingdon Fire Station:

Ross Turner (25), of Cottenham, used to work for a sound and audio technology firm in Cambridge. He has also been an on-call firefighter in Cottenham for 18 months.

John Woolfe (27), of St Neots, left his old life as an IT systems engineer to join the wholetime service. He is also an on-call firefighter at St Neots.

Andy Ellis (28), of Hampton, Peterborough, joins the Service from a business background working at an engineering company.

St Neots Fire Station:

Adam Hanney (23), of Ketttering, was previously a manager at Tesco.

Wisbech Fire Station:

Jasper Vidot (27), of Wisbech, used to work in hospitality management and was an on-call firefighter in Huntingdon.

Callum Faint, Group Commander responsible for training, said: "These are the first wholetime firefighters to be recruited by CFRS in eight years and the selection process was tough. We have some brilliant people who all have different strengths, which this group emphasised when they successfully completed the intensive training course in Cardiff. We now look forward to supporting them while they grow and develop not just as firefighters but also as people, in their careers."

Ian Greenman, Head of Training and Development at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, added: "We have been working closely with our colleagues at CFRS to deliver an initial trainee course, in partnership with Babcock International, for 10 firefighters from their Service at its Training Centre at our Cardiff Gate training facility.

"The trainees undertook a 10-week course which included risk critical training that a modern firefighter needs to maintain their own safety and equip them with the necessary skills to meet the challenges they will face serving and protecting their communities. We also trained nine firefighters from our own area as part of the same course, which proved to be a successful joint training initiative and all trainees appeared to benefit from this joint approach."

The Service will be recruiting for wholetime firefighters again, with the recruitment process starting on February 21. Log on to to find out more.

Cambridge MP calls for better protection for university students against sex attacks

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert is calling for university students to be better protected against the danger of sexual assault after figures revealed that one in three had been assaulted.

He has joined a cross-party group of MPs and representatives from the National Union of Students and Rape Crisis calling for action as the country meets the deadline for university applications.

In an open letter to the Telegraph he called on Universities UK and the government to work together to draw up guidelines on how universities should respond to complaints of sexual assault.

“This would send a clear message to universities that sexual assault cannot be ignored and must be addressed sensitively and thoroughly,” the letter says.

Julian acted after the Telegraph reported that one in three women experience sexual assault at university and told how students were not given proper support when attacked by a fellow student.

A Home Office report in January 2013 also found that full-time students have an increased risk of experiencing sexual violence compared to other women.

The letter says: “But unlike employees, who are given clear protection from employers, many university students have no recourse other than the police when sexually assaulted by other students. Some universities refuse to investigate claims or discipline attackers, leaving students to study and live alongside their attackers. Many have poor counselling services, unclear policies on how the university will respond to sexual assault complaints, and no obvious member of staff who handles concerns about sexual assaults.”

Julian said: “It is appalling that we are leaving young women vulnerable in our universities because there are no clear and uniform protection policies in place to make sure they are safe.

“Imagine how frightening it must be to have suffered a sexual assault, not know who to turn to for help and then find that your complaint has not been taken seriously and you are left living and working next to the very person that subjected you to the attack in the first place.
“We have come a long way in protecting women in the workplace and in other areas of society but we have a long way to go.”

Friday, 16 January 2015

Cambridgeshire County Council Bar Hill by-election candidates announced

Five candidates standing for the Bar Hill seat on Cambridgeshire County Council have been announced.

The by-election will take place on Thursday 12 February for the seat formerly held by John Reynolds, a Conservative county councillor for 33 years, who passed away in December.

The five candidates are:
  • Martin John Hale – UK Independence Party (UKIP) 
  • Lynda Harford – The Conservative Party Candidate 
  • Claudia Roland – The Green Party 
  • Alex Smith – Labour Party Candidate 
  • Fiona Elizabeth Whelan – Liberal Democrat 
On Thursday 12 February polling stations in Bar Hill, Boxworth, Dry Drayton, Girton and Lolworth will open at 7am and close at 10pm.

If you are not registered to vote and want to in this election, you must register by Tuesday 27 January. Postal vote applications must be received by 5pm on Wednesday 28 January.

For more information about how to register to vote, or apply for a postal vote, You can also contact the South Cambridgeshire District Council elections team who are running the election on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council on or 03450 455 214.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Life saving advice for elderly and vulnerable in the expected cold weather

A cold weather warning have been issued with the Met Office expecting that temperatures will fall below freezing.

During this time, the elderly and those who are vulnerable are reminded of the simple life saving tips about how to stay warm and well in colder weather.

In Cambridgeshire alone there are an average of 182 deaths per year linked to cold weather.

Keeping warm in colder temperatures is particularly important for older more frail people, those with ongoing illnesses such as heart and lung conditions and the very young as the cold can affect their health. Icy ground is also a hazard that can lead to falls and broken bones.

There are six top tips to help keep you warm and safe this winter. Some may seem obvious, but they could help you to stay healthy during the colder winter months.

1. Heat your home well 

By setting your heating to the right temperature, a minimum of 18 ºC (65 ºF) day and night, you can keep your home warm and your bills as low as possible.

2. Get financial support

There are grants, benefits and sources of advice available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills. It’s worthwhile claiming all the benefits you are entitled to. To find out about grants, services and organisations that call help you, your family or neighbour, please call 0345 650 0280.

3. Eat well and have plenty of fluids

Food is a vital source of energy which helps to keep your body warm. Try to make sure you and your family have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day.

4. Get a flu jab

People are more likely to catch flu in cold weather. It’s not too late to get a free flu vaccination if you are: aged over 65, pregnant, aged six months to under 65 years with an on-going illness such as a heart or lung condition or are a carer. Flu jabs are available from your GP or some local pharmacists. All children aged two, three and four years are also entitled to a flu immunisation delivered by nasal spray at their GP Practice.

5. Look after yourself

Keeping active is important for your health. If you do go out in cold weather it is important that you wear extra clothes to make sure that you are wrapped up warmly. During very cold and icy weather conditions it is safer for older people, very young children, and anyone with health problems to avoid going out where possible.

6. Look after your family and neighbours

If you have an older or vulnerable relative or neighbour look out for them during winter to ensure that they are warm and safe and avoid the need for additional medical care.

Dr Liz Robin, Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "Cold snaps can be life threatening if you are elderly and frail or if you have an ongoing health condition. You are more susceptible to colds, flu, pneumonia and circulatory problems when the weather is cold, and icy ground can cause people to fall and break bones. Please take notice of these simple tips to help you or a vulnerable relative or neighbour to stay well, over the forecast period of cold weather."

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Kilian Bourke, Chairman of the Council's Health Committee, added: "No one should take the cold weather lightly as it can kill. We will be working with local health services and local community organisations to make sure those at risk are helped, supported and receive advice. We can all play our part though. If you have a vulnerable person living near you, I’d urge you to check on them to make sure they are okay during the cold snap.”

Dr Fiona Head of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "It's important that patients with long term conditions, who are old or vulnerable keep themselves well hydrated and eat well. If you are concerned call 111."

Dr Keith McNeil , CUH chief executive, said: “Colds are called ‘colds’ for a reason. It is important that the frail and elderly, especially those with multiple health conditions, keep warm and well during this cold snap. Following these tips for dealing with cold weather, and checking up on family and neighbours, will help keep vulnerable people well and out of hospital. The hospital is always extremely busy when the temperature drops, so keeping warm and well helps everyone.”

More advice about staying healthy during cold weather is available on the winter health pages of NHS Choices

See the list of local pharmacies providing flu vaccination jabs

Stop the rot: new campaign highlights how cigarettes ‘rot’ the body from the inside

Stop smoking experts are urging smokers to stop the rot and quit cigarettes for good by calling Camquit, Cambridgeshire's Stop Smoking Service.

The call for smokers to take immediate action comes as part of a powerful campaign from Public Health England showing how cigarettes “rot” the body from the inside.

The campaign highlights how smoking damages the body and causes a slow and steady decline that can be compared to rotting. It coincides with a new review that highlights how smoking not only causes cancers, lung and heart diseases but also damages many other parts of the body.

The campaign includes a special message for those smoking roll ups, which warns it is a misconception that they are safer than other cigarettes when they are just as deadly.

Bones and muscles are affected causing an increased risk of broken bones and chronic back pain. There is an increased risk that smokers will have their ability to think and remember affected and to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Smoking also increases the likelihood of teeth decay and can damage eyesight.

The use of roll-ups has increased significantly. In 1990, 18 per cent of male smokers and 2 per cent of female smokers said they smoked mainly hand-rolled cigarettes but by 2013 this had risen to 40 per cent for men and 23 per cent for women. However new figures show that around half of smokers who only smoke roll-ups wrongly believe they are less harmful than manufactured cigarettes In fact, hand-rolled cigarettes are at least as hazardous as any other type of cigarette

To help smokers who are thinking of quitting, Camquit, Cambridgeshire County Council's Stop Smoking Service, has stop smoking clinics running throughout the County in GP surgeries, pharmacies, and community settings. To contact Camquit call Tel: 0800 018 4304, e-mail:, online:

New clinics across Cambridgeshire include:
  • Moat House Health Centre, Warboys 
  • St Neots Health centres 
  • Queen Mary Centre clinic, Wisbech – Wednesday evenings 
  • Comberton Clinic (alternate Monday afternoons - Comberton patients only) 
  • St Phillips Church Centre, Cambridge (on alternate Monday evenings) 
  • Staploe Medical Centre, Soham - Wednesday afternoons - changed from Mondays. 
Val Thomas, Consultant in Public Health at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “This campaign is highlighting the many ways smoking can damage your health. There is clear evidence that you are more likely to die younger or suffer from ongoing diseases like coronary heart disease if you smoke. Camquit can quadruple your changes of giving up and their advice and help is free. They can put together a plan with you about how to quit and support you along the way. Give them a call.”

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Kilian Bourke, Chairman of the Health Committee at the Council, said: “There can be no complacency when it comes to smoking.Tobacco is a potential killer not only for smokers but also for those who are close enough to be affected by the smoke. The cost to the public purse from ill health caused by smoking runs into billions of pounds. Our message is simple, give up tobacco and live a healthier and longer life."