November local news roundup - free school meals update, foodbank appeal, policing cuts and more

Campaigning leads to free school meals U-turn

Following all the hard work put in by local councillors, community groups, businesses and residents to provide food for our district’s poorest children during half-term (such as this fundraising campaign in Histon & Impington), we were very pleased that the government has done a U-turn on the free school meals issue.

Thanks to immense public pressure spearheaded by footballer Marcus Rashford, the government has now put forward a £170m Covid winter grant scheme to support vulnerable families, and extended the holiday activities and food programme to the Easter, summer and Christmas breaks next year. It’s not yet clear how the funding will be implemented, but it’s a very welcome change of direction.

Over Day Centre to continue providing a lifeline of free meals

A free meals service for vulnerable residents run by volunteers at Over Day Centre can now continue for a further six months due to new funding. Supported by Lib Dem councillors and South Cambs District Council, the Centre was able to access government grant money to keep running the scheme it set up during the first lockdown.

So far it has delivered more than 1500 nutritious weekly meals to around 100 residents in need in Over, Bar Hill, Caldecote, Cottenham, Hardwick, Harston, Longstanton, Swavesey and Willingham. Read more


There continues to be a lot of pressure on local foodbanks as increasing numbers of people struggle to make ends meet under the current circumstances. In the absence of adequate government support, foodbanks have become vital for many. If you would like to make a donation, the Cambridge City Foodbank is currently short of:

• Bags for life (or similar strong plastic carrier bags)
• Rice pudding
• Instant coffee
• Tins of salmon and tuna
• Olive oil 500ml
• Biscuits
• Long-life juice
• Large ham (canned)
• Meals in cans (e.g. chicken in sauce, chilli)
• Tinned vegetables
• Laundry powder

Find out how to make a donation
Find out how to get help from a food bank

South Cambs’ first electric bin lorry now in service

It was great to see South Cambs’ first all-electric bin lorry enter service this month. It’s the first of a fleet of 55 vehicles planned by the Lib Dem district council as part of its strategy to make South Cambs carbon neutral by 2050. Read more about the Lib Dems’ vision for a greener South Cambs

Concerns over proposed policing cuts

Cambridgeshire Lib Dems were very disappointed to hear the news that the Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Constabulary has proposed cost-saving cuts to neighbourhood policing in the county.

The cuts entail halving the number of Police Community Support Officers, removing the community safety team, closing nine enquiry offices, and introducing an appointments-based system for members of the public to speak to police officers.

We are concerned about the impact of such changes on grassroots policing in our communities and are calling for proper public scrutiny of the proposals. Read more

We welcome evidence supporting a green and inclusive Local Plan

South Cambs District Council and Cambridge City Council have published a range of independent studies they commissioned in preparation for developing the next Local Plan. They cover the environmental impact of different strategies, water resources, likely growth rates and infrastructure requirements.

We welcome the publication of all this evidence that supports a green and inclusive Local Plan, and which will allow our communities to shape the future development of our area over the next 20 years and beyond. Read more

An important victory for liberal democracy and the rule of law

Published in The Cambridge Independent, Aidan Van de Weyer, Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, on the US presidential election: "It’s fantastic news that Joe Biden’s victory has been confirmed, putting an end to the nightmare of the last four years with Donald Trump as a world leader.

"The campaign of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris focussed on the issues that affect people’s lives, while Donald Trump attempted to stir up division and hatred.

"And Biden encouraged his supporters to vote by post given the pandemic, which has escalated so far out of control under Trump - while Trump urged voters to turn up in person at polling stations.

"Such contrasting behaviour between the two candidates confirms that the American people have made the right choice. They have chosen the candidate who believed the science and did right by the electorate in this pandemic election - and who upholds the democratic process above all."

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