Our exciting regeneration plans for Peterborough are the most ambitious this city has seen for decades and a real source of personal pride.
A key part of these plans is ARU Peterborough, the city’s new £30 million university and this week marked the very start of its construction.
On Tuesday I gathered with James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of ARU, for a special sod cutting ceremony at the site.
Despite the freezing conditions this event really warmed my heart because it felt like such a significant moment in the project, which has been several years in the making.
I can’t wait to see ARU constructed and the benefits it will bring to our city and the region will be enormous and last for generations to come.
Our ambition is to launch a job creating, employment-focussed university that will deliver courses targeted specifically towards industries across Peterborough where demand currently outstrips availability of skilled workers.
The university is on track to open in September 2022, catering initially for 2,000 students, with numbers projected to rise to 5,000 by 2025 and 12,500 by 2030.
In the first five years after opening, it will create an initial 170 university jobs and 300 supply chain jobs, in addition to 50 temporary construction jobs while it is being built.
The ARU is part of our commitment to ensuring Peterborough is a great place to live, work and relax for years to come.
With the Fletton Quays development progressing at pace, the city centre recently transformed and the regeneration of the Station Quarter, North Westgate and Northminster all in the pipeline, the city’s time really is now.
Covid-19 immunisation programme underway
The news that the first Covid-19 vaccine has been approved for use has given everyone a lift and I doth my cap to all the scientists involved.
The immunisation programme is getting under way across the country and teams of trained vaccinators are starting to vaccinate patients at Peterborough City Hospital this week.
People aged 80 and over as well as care home workers will be the first to receive the jab, along with NHS workers who are at higher risk.
Teams will be contacting residents who fall into the priority groups to book appointments and you can help the NHS to deliver the programme effectively by sticking to the following advice:
The team will contact you when it’s the right time, so please do not contact the NHS to seek a vaccine before then.
Please act on your invite when it comes and make sure you attend appointments when you arrange them.
Finally, please continue to abide by all the social distancing, wearing face masks and hand hygiene guidance, to control the spread of the virus.
You can find out more by visiting the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG website.
Council to offer Winter Support
The effects of Coronavirus on communities have been far-reaching, so we are ramping up our efforts to help those struggling with food and finances this winter.
The council will be using the government’s Winter Support grant to provide packages to families to make sure that no child goes hungry whether they are eligible for free school meals or in a range of other categories, and also that families and individuals who might struggle with other essential bills, such as utilities, are supported.
The food support will come via a voucher sent to families automatically, using a system many schools are already using. Each eligible child will receive a £15 voucher for each week of the school holidays (two weeks at Christmas and one week in February).
To find out more, visit the council’s website.
The council’s coordination hub is continuing to support families in need of help and everyday essentials. You can contact the hub by visiting the Peterborough City Council website or by calling 01733 747474.
Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery re-opens
Following the recent end of lockdown it is heartening to see businesses and shops re-opening and on that note I am delighted that Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery has re-opened to the public.
The museum has a wealth of stories to fascinate and enthral the whole family, so if you need a break from the Christmas shopping why not pop along, but remember to follow safety measures in place which includes wearing face coverings inside the building.
This follows the news that the majority of the city’s libraries have also re-opened their doors.
Central Library as well as libraries in Bretton, Hampton, Dogsthorpe, Eye, Orton and Werrington are now re-open with Stanground, Woodston and Thorney libraries expected to open in January.
As ever, you can rest assured that we will continue to work hard to keep you safe and to keep the city moving forward.