How to stay safe and still enjoy VE Day Celebrations at home – Friday 8th May 2020

Safe VE Day celebrations at home

Ahead of the long weekend and the 75th anniversary of VE Day tomorrow, the message from government remains consistent: the best thing we can all do to prevent the spread of the virus and save lives, is to stay home.

But that doesn’t mean people can’t commemorate VE Day. We know many of your groups are already organising fantastic celebrations from garden to garden, but for any residents who would like additional ideas, there is:

There will also be a number of activities throughout the day on Friday that residents may want to join in with:

11am: A two-minute silence to honour the service and sacrifice of the wartime generation and reflect on the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on so many lives across the world.

11.15am: Join the Royal British Legion’s VE Day 75 Livestream. Grab a cup of tea and tune in as the generations of the Second World War and today are brought together to chat about their shared experiences. Hosted by TV presenter Sonali Shah, the 45-minute programme will feature stories from those who served and sacrificed, as well as recognising the difficulties people are experiencing today.

3pm: The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of World War Two. Take part by raising a glass, cheering and clapping on your doorsteps and saying: “To those who gave so much, we thank you.”

9pm: A pre-recorded address by the Queen will be broadcast at the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address on May 8 1945.

9pm: Fancy a sing-along? After the Queen’s address, the nation is invited to come together in a rendition of Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again on BBC One.

If you would like to share this information with your residents and the easiest way to do so is to share an existing Facebook post, please feel free to share this post of ours with your community groups or personal networks.

The Council is contacting residents

We wanted to keep you informed about efforts to support families that may be vulnerable. The County Council has helped us identify a list of families that may be in need of support, and to ensure these families are offered support as soon as possible we have written to them to signpost them to local help. Inevitably there will be some overlap as your groups may already be in touch with these families – which is fantastic. But we felt it was prudent to write to this group of people to ensure no one is left without an offer of support.

We also wanted to let you know that SCDC staff and the Red Cross will be knocking on the door of people who have not registered after being identified for the government’s shielded list. These people have been contacted by the Government and County Hub a number of times without success.

Information for groups supporting residents

  • A poster is attached that outlines the ‘Steps to help’ that residents should take. We have left a blank space for your group to provide your contact details. You may wish to put these up in local shops, or volunteers may know which homes might benefit from a copy being posted through.
  • In addition to the supermarkets we have previously mentioned to you, Sainsbury’s has provided us with an update on how they will work with community groups. Their stores are working with community organisations on supplying bulk orders that can be collected from stores. If this is something that would be helpful you should contact the local Sainsbury’s directly.
  • Attached is an updated ‘patch map’ showing the name of the staff member from the District Council who is supporting each patch
  • Would you like to set up a Community Fridge in your village? In normal times, a Community Fridge would be filled by a combination of residents and local supermarkets on a voluntary basis, so that families in need of food can help themselves to what they need. Cambridge Sustainable Food’s ‘Food our Future’ campaign is hoping to help additional villages to establish new Community Fridges, although these will work slightly differently during the outbreak. If you would like to find out more about what support Cambridge Sustainable Food can offer you to set up a Community Fridge (including purchase, installation, food safety advice and sorting out of initial food supplies), please let your patch lead know.

Ingredients for a meal delivery service

We wanted to share a short summary of a successful collaboration which has seen a chef establish a ready meal delivery service for families in Melbourn. In this instance the meals are being delivered to families identified by local schools that would benefit from the nutritious, ready-made meals. Working with the Melbourn Coronavirus Community Response the chef, Liz, uses the commercial catering facilities of her business The Modern Table to prepare the nutritious meals, which are then delivered via the Melbourn Community Hub to recipients.

Our Sustainable Communities colleagues used their networks, local knowledge and expertise to connect the chef with suitable facilities and local organisations, and our Environmental Health team provided essential guidance and advice to ensure food safety was paramount when preparing and delivering the food.

If this kind of setup would be beneficial in your area – whether for vulnerable families, elderly residents in isolation, or perhaps for keyworkers struggling to find time to cook nutritious meals for their families – please do chat to our Sustainable Communities team. They will be able to support you in considering how you could implement this locally. In the Melbourn case, a financial benefactor donated funding, but for other groups it could be possible to bid for funding, e.g. from the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation Coronavirus Fund or the National Lottery’s Awards for All fund.

Help with residents’ phone bills

Connecting Cambridgeshire has created a quick guide to phone offers for vulnerable and other customers during Covid-19. This includes a breakdown by mobile provider of the different options and offers residents may be eligible for to help with the financial cost of keeping in contact while staying at home.

Best wishes for the bank holiday weekend.

Bridget Smith

Leader South Cambridgeshire District Council