Community Connections

Fire and Rescue Services at Coffee Morning in February

We were really pleased to have Emma Fordham, the Positive Action Officer for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, with us for our February Coffee Morning. It was a great way to connect with a vital service in the local communtiy and hear more about fire safety and different roles within the department.

Emma shares; ” A big part of my role is to engage and work with communities to establish and strengthen relationships and break down barriers for different community groups. I help communities to access information, support and employment opportunities from the fire service. This can include details on recruitment, such as explaining the different roles including operational and support and the criteria and skills needed for these roles. One of my key aims is to help with diversifying the workforce to represent the communities we support. I also attend lots of events and meetings to share resources such as around careers, fire safety and safe & well leaflets and leaflets in other languages.”

We always enjoy having the Fire and Rescue service join us at Party on the Piece each year and look forward to welcoming them again in 2020 – and hopefuly having a visit from an interactive fire engine too!

Its always a great reminder to chat to services such as Fire and Rescue and to realise the small things we can do that make a difference to everyone safety. They have information leaflets available in a variety of languages and formats. It was really interesting to hear about the varity of roles within the department – its not just fire fighters! It was also really interesting to hear about what working life looks like for firefighters.

If you have any ideas of how we can connect with local services and help our coffee morning to grow please do get in contact. We are running this pilot coffee morning on the first Friday of each month from 10:00-11:30 and are kindly supported by The Alex, Gwydir Street, who let us use their beautiful Garden Room. There is an optional donation of £1 to cover costs and we always have hot and cold drinks and home baked goods.

Party on the Piece 2019 – Thank you!

WOW! Party on the Piece was a HUGE success this year. Thank you to everyone who came along and made the day so special. Months of preparation and hard work definitely paid off and we have had overwhelmingly possitve feedback from all who took part on the day. What a priveledge to live in an area as wonderful as Petersfield.

A lot of you commented on how many free activities we were able to offer. This is all thanks to our generous sponsorship. In part through a grant from the council and in part through two supportive local businesses – The Alex and RAH.

Getting Involved: East Area Committee Meeting

PACT committee member Karen shares how she found her first experiece of attending Cambridge City Council’s East Area Committee Meeting on 4th April 2019 at Coleridge Community College.

I had heard about these committee meetings through PACT meetings and wanted to go to represent local parents and ask when the play equipment at St Matthew’s Pieces’ playground will be updated. I’d heard it was in the pipeline but having lived in the area for 2 and a half years now I haven’t seen any action on it.

I wasn’t sure what to expect at all. I’ve never delved too deeply into the world of politics and local governement. I’m a proud voter each time I go to the booths but maybe not as informed as I could be. I read the odd article here and there and I have the basics laid out in my mind but I don’t really know much beyond that.

I arrived in good time and walked into a school hall set out cafe style with 2-3 people sitting at each table and a long table with a few table microphones at the front. Most people seemed to have signs infront of them with their names and positions. There were local councillors and county councillors too. I think the idea was to mix up local people with councillors at the different tables so I went up to one table and asked if I could sit there. I was warmly welcomed and then the gentlemen on my table continued their chat, and bingo, it was about brexit.

My first focus was to work out how to raise my point about the playground on the agenda. I wasn’t sure what to do and I was nervous I’d have to stand up and say something during the meeting. Thankfully there was lots of information on the table and I soon found a little piece of paper I could fill in with my question for the committee. I completed it, asked where I should put it and dutifully took it up to the Chair at the front.

Soon after this the meeting got started. I found it really exciting and inspiring. It was a room full of people who were passionate about what they were talking about and really cared about what is going on in our local communities. I felt like I was able to be involved in something at a grass roots level. So often policitcs seems so distant and removed from everyday life and the idea that we an individuals can change things can seem laughable. But this was local government at work on a small scale and it really is having an impact on our streets.

Topics covered ranged from rubbish collections to arts in the community; the condition of our streets to syringes and needles found in local parks; parking issues to communtiy spaces and chairty grants and playgrounds. I was really surprised to realise how much legistation and policy making there is behind every action the council takes. No wonder it takes a while to get anything moving. But this shouldn’t have surprised me. It’s just until I attended a meeting like this I had never really thought at all about how things worked.

I came away with details of who to contact to follow up about our playground.
I really felt that if I hadn’t been there to chase up the developments they would have remained at the back of a list somewhere. Hopefully now they will be encouraged to pursue the improvements which have long been promised. I also learnt how to report problems with roads and pavements (a county council matter) and of course I was shocked to think how many needles are recovered from our parks!

The meeting started at 19:00 and was over by 21:00. I thought it was quite well attended but a few people told me it was a really small turn out. I will definitely be going along regularly and would encourage anyone else who is curious or has any local concerns to go along too. It seemed to me a great starting point to getting involved in local council.

The next meeting will be held at Anglia Ruskin on 11th July 2019. Details can be found at:
https://democracy.cambridge.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=147&MId=3710&Ver=4