Queen Edith's Community Forum

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and advice

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“You’re not stuck at home, you’re safe at home.”

Queen Edith’s is a really good community in which to live, study and work. This webpage is being compiled by a group of volunteers living in Queen Edith’s and who care for our community. We will only make links to information we have tried hard to verify – usually, this means linking to an external website. But we will try to find phone numbers too.

Keeping up to date on the new coronavirus and UK public health responses

Everyone is anxious about the new coronavirus (COVID-19). The important public health measures to slow it impact everyone. They will continue to change. Most of the information is found at national level. If you look at news websites, they are full of information. Also TV and radio. Most of us have information overload now.

There is official information on ‘everything’ from this Gov.uk webpage: What you need to do

and NHS 111 also has simple information about anything to do with health.

E-mailed updates about the Queen Edith’s area

Our volunteer news hounds are constantly gathering information about shops, services and local support. We send an e-mail each evening to our ‘Whats [not] On in Queen Edith’s’ mailing list. It is free and easy to sign up. And you don’t need to live, study or work here. It might be handy if you have a relative living here and want to help at a distance.

Helping yourself – key national advice lines and information

We are trying to making links to mainly NHS- and Government-recommended websites. To save confusion. And use their language.

Top two resources:

The rest – also very good

Helping yourself – key local advice lines and information

The detail on new very local (supported-volunteering) support will come very soon… City and County councils are working with local groups, including in Queen Edith’s, and also co-ordinating with County and national networks.

  • 24 March: Nextdoor have launched a help map. So far, there are just a few people in QE.
  • 23 March: Cherry Hinton and Fulbourn areas have just launched a new supported volunteering scheme What will help to support people. It looks really good and safe to us.
  • Coleridge Residents Association have just launched a mutual aid group with a single point of contact phone number and e-mail, based in a local church. We like the leaflet and poster too.

City- and County-wide advice lines and local support

Staying at home ‘lockdown’

Gov.uk: ‘When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government has introduced (23 March 2020) three new measures.

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes.
  2. Closing certain businesses and venues.
  3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public.

Every person in the UK must comply with these new measures, which came into effect on Monday 23 March. The relevant authorities, including the police, have been given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings. The government will look again at these measures after three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible’.

Gov.uk: 27 March: What you need to do: Stay at home

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Do NOT leave home if you or someone you live with has either:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough

About self-isolating

About social distancing

About shielding

One part of our community will be contacted and asked to ‘shield’ themselves. This is a more extreme form of self isolating for people who are at a higher risk if they become infected with coronavirus.

Employment and financial support

Volunteering – local groups

  • NEW: 26 March. Gov.uk: Coronavirus: How to help safely. Important to read before you think about helping others. Also has links to organisations that need volunteers.

Support groups of volunteers can be within a group of neighbours, friends, interest group or across a larger area. As the health emergency develops they have also evolved ‘everyone is learning’.

  • COVID-19 mutual aid – a network of self-initiating local groups, mainly via facebook and WhatsApp. There are Cambridge groups. Join them if they work for you.
  • 26 March: Cambridge Independent: Phone bank volunteers sought for Covid-19 Network group in Trumpington.
  • Cambs and Peterborough COVID-19 coordination hub. Part of a national network of hubs. “Calling on people across the county to get in touch if they can volunteer their time to help others in a co-ordinated effort which will offer safe support and reassurance county and city wide”. This was requested by Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government. It is working alongside existing groups. This is NOT to ask for help for you or someone you know. They have a new webform to do it, replacing the e-mail. They are recruiting volunteers for all kinds of tasks from communications to helping in residential homes to gardening. 25 March: they have already a really good response from people with really useful skills and are already placing them in residential homes etc.

Volunteering – national schemes

Although these are co-ordinated nationally, most will work locally – some can be done from home.

  • 28 March: Trussell Trust (Foodbanks): are recruiting nationwide. You can put your postcode in and find opportunities – mine found 20 vacancies for social media advocates for people aged 13 years an above.
  • 28 March: Volunteering Matters. National matching of people to volunteering: ‘over 80 UK volunteering programmes to help communities turn local knowledge and energy into action and progress’.
  • 28 March: Do-it. national matching of people to volunteering, including coronavirus-related.
  • 28 March: Reach Volunteering. ‘Our skills-based volunteers support charities as trustees, on short term projects or with an ongoing commitment.’
  • 24 March: NHS Volunteer Responders (via GoodSAM). Now more than 500K. A fantastic response! NHS England: Your NHS needs YOU – Join the NHS Volunteer Responders.
  • 25 March: The Red Cross are also recruiting Community Reserve Volunteers. ‘Anyone can become a community reserve volunteer; no specialist skills are required and quick training is provided at the scene’. You can also sign up as a community group. You only volunteer locally. We think this will be promoted locally soon.
  • 24 March: COVID Symptom Tracker – citizen science from good academic groups. Your daily update of symptoms, or not. It will help map the UK epidemic.

Guidelines and tips on setting up support groups

There are now some excellent resources to help people set up local volunteering groups.

‘Happy to help’ – for individuals

Right at the start of the UK epidemic, QECF volunteers worked in partnership with our two local Church of England churches on a simple, speedy community-response: ‘happy to help’. A neighbour-to-neighbour (or friend-to-friend) scheme. If you live in Queen Edith’s, you should have had a leaflet through your doors in the week of 16 March or soon after.

Happy to help leaflet files – help yourself:

Alternative cards and systems:

Please don’t feel you have to use these ‘happy to help cards’. If you can do better for your area or for your social group, do go ahead. Let us know how you get on. There are other similar versions around and they might be better than ours. Let us know.

Self care for helpers and everyone

We will all be affected by this health crisis. We will all be scared, probably confused, and we have to be kind to each other. And we will spend far more time than we are used to looking for toilet rolls and slots for online deliveries. And if we aren’t kind, let’s apologise next time, put it behind us and do better next time. There will be lots of advice about self help – do find it and use it. And masses of resources online.

Support networks from individuals:

  • COVID-19 Cambridge. A facebook group.
  • 19 March: promoted by local hospital trust, for indoor exercises: We are undefeatable. Lots of TV ads too.
  • 19 March: Helphub. You might have heard about this on the radio. Based near Oxford but would like it to take off in other places. The website isn’t up yet but it would be worth coming back to next week or so.
  • 22 March: excellent TV programme about self-isolation Coronovirus how to self-isolate  – includes looking after your mental health and how to exercise indoors. Well worth a watch – for everyone.
  • Every Mind Matters.’expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing.’.

Other ways to help

There are many people who can NOT self-isolate in a comfy home with help from friends and family and enough toilet rolls. And others who will be really affected financially by this. Let’s be generous to them.

Local fundraising

National fundraising

  • Age UK. Coronavirus emergency appeal.
  • Alzheimers Society. Are fundraising for Companions Call service. I can’ see any information about accessing the service (yet).
  • Big Issue: the vendors can’t sell. But you can subscribe for paper mag, read it online or just give them some funds to tide it over.
  • National Emergencies Trust. 28 March: Guardian article:  ‘This charity is co-ordinating the UK coronavirus disaster voluntary relief effort, providing a single online portal for donations from individuals and companies. The money will be rapidly distributed in the form of small grants to recognised local charities via 46 established regional community foundations covering the whole of the UK. The NET coronavirus appeal raised over £12m in its first week’.
  • Beauty banks – national fundraising call.

Local employment

Some parts of our community are going to be really busy supporting us. Other people will lose their incomes. There seem to be lots of opportunities in supermarkets and delivery. Well worth just phoning shops.

Businesses helping

  • Neighbourly: ‘helps businesses make a positive impact in their communities by donating volunteer time, money and surplus products, all in one place’. They are fundraising and gathering surplus to help groups already known to them: Neighbourly Community Fund. Microfunding up to £400 for existing member groups. Not easy to see if any are local to us.

Food services

If you are even thinking about developing a hot or cold food service during this health emergency, do watch this excellent video. It is much, much more difficult than offering a communal meal service during normal time. This because of the extra precautions needed for staff, volunteers and delivery services. It is probably only for trained staff in a professional kitchen.

  • Made in Hackney ‘We need each other now’: How to run a food service – video – really good. Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene (need regular training)! And physical distancing. Fewer chefs than usual. No communal eating. Hot food sealed and airtight plastic (sorry!) takeaway containers (stackable on courier’s bike). Or cooled down quickly and then sent out. More like labs than kitchens with deep cleaning after every shift. Adequate cleaning materials. Cycle courier team in close geographic area  – just a few meals in a few streets. Couriers need training: masks, hand sanitisers, deep clean bike after shift, deep cleaned vessel. Non-contact delivery service – on doorstep with 2 to 3 m back. Wait until food picked up. Nice to ask if OK and signpost to other services. Mindful of food allergies – database of people and allergies. Aim for no nuts, sesame, sometimes onions, tomatoes, gluten. Couriers will check too. Vegan (plant-based) food is easier for allergens and hygiene and travel better – also stores better in fridges. Less expensive ingredients. Have recipes on their website – worked with NHS dietician. Need public liability insurance and food hygiene certificate. Need to be symptom free. How to identify people – groups refer (list of good entry points) and ‘People who need food’ webform into database. Find a volunteer with Excel experience and need GDPR to ask to store info. Get service up before ask – or will be swamped. Alternatives – grocery delivery. Age UK matching scheme – buddy. Fundraise. Professional kitchens. Foodbanks.

Other Queen Edith’s groups

We are mapping (for our own use) very local ‘helping’ groups. Do contact us by e-mail if you’d like to be included on this ‘map’. It won’t be shared with others.

Residents associations

Locally, we know of ones for Babraham Road; Hills Rd; Lichfield Road; Ninewells; Queen Edith’s Way; Red Cross Lane Area. Ask your neighbours for information – or maybe set up your own?

Local faith groups:

We are working on this – apologies if we have missed some off. Let us know. They provide a lot of support to our community in general, often by older volunteers, and their finances can be rather fragile. They are having to change the ways they work but might be developing new ways to support people.

Local interest groups with many members:

  • Friends of Rock Road Library. Charity to support the library – but also does great work for our community.
  • Rock Allotment Society (unofficial webpage). Hundreds of plot-holders on four sites. They have reviewed safety on their plots and also safe use of the trading centre on Sundays and have e-mailed a message to Members. Many of the plotters will be in vulnerable groups and it is really important that physical distancing is maintained – especially if children are down there too. Please keep them close to you – use parks for running off excess energy. 24 March: Mr Gove on TV this morning said allotmenting was allowed on individual plots with physical distancing (National Allotment Society have also reported this).  We will try to find a link.

Using technology for groups and just staying in touch

The most obvious ways to connect are:

  • Collecting e-mails and making an email group;
  • Using phone/computer apps like Google hangouts, Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp;
  • Making groups within community websites/apps like Facebook, Helpfulpeeps, Neighbourhood Watch and Nextdoor.
  • Phones are probably the most useful tool.
  • Webex and Zoom is being used for meetings too. We suspect more of these will be developed and promoted. Let us know of any you find useful and we will add them to this list.

We advise you to be very cautious about how you use ‘technology’, especially if you don’t know all the people on the group.

  • Be really careful about sharing your own information.
  • Be even more careful about identifying people you think are at risk and sharing their information.
  • Not everyone on the group might have their best interests at heart or they might unintentionally put themselves or the person at risk.
  • And they are very effective ways of spreading unhelpful or wrong information.

Communication links

Local health services


The way our pharmacies work is likely to change… we will try to keep you up to date. We need to do some local research ourselves.

  • Royal Pharm Society: Coronavirus (COVID-19). Masses of information for your pharmacist.
  • Numark on Cherry Hinton Road, on the corner of Rock Road. The shop is small so they have two customers only (which felt really good). They are delivering to their regulars.
  • Kay’s Pharmacy, Wulfstan Way. 26 March: currently open 10 to 12 and 2 to 4pm.
  • Boots on Cherry Hinton Road. Have a delivery system, which costs £55/year. 26 March: currently open 10 to 12 and 2 to 4pm.

GP practices:

The NHS, including primary care is under a lot of pressure at the moment – and we all want to keep their staff safe and available for the most needy people. Most appointments are by phone now. Check their websites for up to date information.


At least three local hospitals have a ‘no visitor’ policy now… do check before travelling.

School closures, education and childcare

For those affected by school closures, we assume there will be advice about replacement educational resources and support. Those home educating are in a good place to advise about online resources – they are easy to find with a good search engine. There are groups local to Cambridge too.

We have at least two providers of early year’s provision in the area but they might be closed.

There is masses of information online about supporting children and young people

General help for vulnerable people and people ‘staying at home’

  • Cambridge City Council – Community alarm service. At least one Forum volunteer highly recommends this for anyone who might have a fall in the home – or even if they just live alone. The person wears a wristband or fob around the neck, presses it if in trouble (it works for a distance outside too). It links to the phone – with a test each month. It has a monthly fee but it can give the whole family a massive benefit. There are other private services or ones run by charities (they can be more expensive). The City Council one links up with your health record and social services records. You can have a key box by the door (with a code) and also nominate local people to be first responders. And the people are really nice too.

Local business services

This might move to another page…

We have been impressed at how our local businesses are responding, partly out of need but also to support their community. But also distressed that so many are shutting their doors, hopefully temporarily.

Public transport


Local taxi companies are often very supportive of our community. We will add info here as we find it. They are also changing what they do to make it safer for both passengers and staff. A couple of companies, via their twitter accounts, have offered delivery services – best to check with them on the phone.

  • Camcab
  • Panther cabs – 25 March: can now book collection and delivery via their phone app.

Local supermarkets

Lots of changes here. 23 March: I couldn’t find any supermarket registering new people and also having slots (I spent a long time making a list for at Tescos but no slots for their delivery or collection for the next 3 weeks). I hear Sainsbury’s are reserving slots for the over 70s (at least). I think they might have a priority service for disabled people by phone?

Supermarkets will also be working to prioritise the extremely high risk groups and I think also keyworkers. Best to check their websites for updates.

Independent shops

  • Cambridge local shops. We are excited by this – free listing, good simple flyer to put through doors. Delivery companies for shops to use.
  • 23 March: the market is still open for food but use it VERY wisely and carefully.

For food and useful things. Let us know of any that might take phone, e-mailed or written orders and deliver. The delivery could be via someone ‘happy to help’. They might need volunteers to help prepare the orders too. It is quite early days for this kind of thing, so we should be a bit patient to let them change the way they work.

  • Al Amin’s on Mill. Are working on a delivery scheme. Ask in the shop.
  • Balzanos, Cherry Hinton Rd.
  • Budgens, BP Garage, Cherry Hinton Rd.
  • Cherry Hinton Rd Post Office (and local store), 206 Cherry Hinton Rd, by Balzano’s.
  • Daily bread. In North Cambridge are open, apart from the cafe, 9 to 3 with the first hour reserved for priority groups.
  • Essentialz, 146 Hills Rd (across from the Leisure Centre) – also has a post office.
  • Express General Convenience Store, Wulfstan Way. 13 March: they are not doing deliveries at the moment (short staffed and not safe to go into homes) but they will prepare requests for someone else to pick up. We are just checking the details (like payment) and then we will put the phone number up.
  • Luxa Sparkles, 103 Cherry Hinton Rd (by Rock Rd).

Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs)

There are a few of these in the area but for some you need to go there. Have a search and let me know if there is anything really good we should know about. Nationally, they are getting a bit overwhelmed I think.

  • Waterland Organics – the ‘Cropshare farm’. You sign up in advance and locally grown fresh veg and fruit and stuff arrives on your doorstep. They also supply COFCO (above). They are planting a lot more this year to try to keep up demand!

Deliveries via ‘milk people’ and fruit people

  • Cambridge Fruit Company – local, family business – needing to change what they usually do for business into services for homes. Morning deliveries of two sizes of fruit and veg: £15 or £30. They have a warehouse in the science park for collection. People are also using their system to donate boxes to Red hen a local charity and NHS staff at Addenbrooke’s. 26 March: ‘massively overwhelmed by demand’…
  • Fresh in a box: fruit and veg delivered to your door from Hilary’s on Mill Rd. Tested locally. Can pay online or at the door.
  • Milk and more – this delivers to at least one postcode in our area. You order via website or app. 25 March: they aren’t accepting any new registrations.
  • Plumbs – this didn’t deliver to the postcode I tried but does in other QE postcodes.  You order online.

Online ordering for deliveries

Many online companies are not taking on new customers.

  • Abel and Cole. Weekly veg box. Minimum order: £12.
  • COFCO. Weekly local veg box and more. 20 March: message saying they are swamped so not taking new orders or answering the phone for a bit. They will catch up…
  • Deliveroo: aren’t listing the Co-op Perne Rd but still have Histon Rd Co-op listed and a new Essential service. A delivery charge is payable.
  • Donald Russell. meat but also other things. 27 March. taking orders but slower than usual.
  • Full Circle: from 28 March are going click and collect into paper bags from Norfolk St. It looks like they have porridge!
  • Oakhouse foods. 27 March: ‘We are super busy at the moment, and therefore can only accept orders from existing customers. We are really sorry for the inconvenience. If you are a new customer, please register and we will update you as soon as a delivery slot is available’.
  • Ocado. Minimum spend: £40.
  • Riverford. Weekly veg boxes and more.
  • Scandinavian Kitchen. Based in London, for Scandi food. 27 March: Taking orders for delivery after Easter. They also prioritise NHS staff and vulnerable people. One of our web editors loves their food.
  • Wiltshire Farm Foods. Very popular frozen ready meals – good for people with dietary needs or small portions. 27 March: ‘not taking orders from new customers at the moment’.

Gift cards and vouchers

These might be a good way to pay for goods people need:

  • Co-op do gift cards. Can order online, top them up in the store. We will check if you can buy them in local stores.
  • Love to shop – the only grocery store is Iceland but it could be good for other goods.
  • Sainsburys – probably do them.
  • Tescos – do them.

Online or phone ordering for take-aways

Do carry on supporting our local businesses. From 21 March they won’t be doing eat-in but some are already offering takeaway food and drink, which is still possible.

  • Cambridge Cookery School and Bistro – now closed.
  • Deliveroo.
  • Just Eat.
  • The Coffee House Cambridge (Facebook page). 25 March: has just closed…
  • Khang’s Fish and chips, Wulfstan Way. 27 March: now closed.
  • Pickwick’s Sandwich Bar, Cherry Hinton Rd. They do takeaways and you can pay contactless.
  • Queen Edith Pub: 23 March: ‘The Queen Edith will be closed until further notice. It has been great serving this fantastic community over the last 5 years but the time has come to support you in a different way. Keep on doing your bit and staying in, call on the amazing support being offered by the community if you need it and do your best to look after each other. Thank you all for your best wishes and support. It is with a heavy heart and a tear in our eye that we say goodbye… for now’.
  • Taj Tandoori – is now closed.


Some science

The science base is changing all the time. And there is a lot of it. Here will will list a few publications and people that we think are especially important to a community response – sometimes they haven’t yet been translated into policy or guidelines. Some of them are also useful in the context of ‘rumours/fake news’ circulating on social media.

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