nene local | helen dawson


Category: Peterborough & Elton

Willingness to Take Part in COVID-19 Vaccine Trials Across Region

Thousands of people across the East Midlands are putting themselves forward to take part in COVID-19 vaccine research trials driven by a desire to generate faster results and to help others in their community, according to new research revealed today.

Council and police hold joint patrols to support pandemic restrictions

A survey carried out in the region reveals that more than two in three (69%) people would consider putting themselves forward to take part in research to find a vaccine to slow the spread of the virus.


Amongst those who said that they would consider taking part in vaccine research, the most powerful motivations included supporting research to deliver faster answers (85%) and helping others in my community (59%). Three quarters of all respondents (76%) identified support to help with transport and childcare as something that would encourage them to volunteer to take part in research.


The findings, released by the Centre for Black and Minority Ethnic Health in Leicester, and the NIHR Clinical Research Network East Midlands, come from a survey conducted to understand more about attitudes towards vaccine research and how they differ across different communities.


Research studies are testing the effectiveness of a range of candidate vaccines to determine their safety and efficacy before those that are successful are rolled out to the general public. An essential part of trials is ensuring that they work effectively for people from different communities. The data and responses from this survey are being analysed to inform the creation of content to inform and encourage members of the public to take part in COVID-19 vaccine trials.


The findings show that attitudes towards research participation change over age. Six in ten (62%) of respondents aged 18-44 said that they would consider taking part in COVID-19 vaccine research, rising to three-quarters (77%) of people aged 45+. In addition, the survey found that people from White communities were more likely (76%) to say that they would consider participating in research to find a vaccine than those from Asian (53%) and Black (38%) communities.


Professor Kamlesh Khunti, Director of the NIHR ARC East Midlands and Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester, said:


“We are proud to be delivering vital vaccine research in the East Midlands and we are incredibly grateful to everyone who has signed up to support this important work. It is essential that vaccines work effectively for people from all backgrounds, and the results of this survey are helping us to better understand the different motivations and barriers that can affect participation in research. We will be using the findings to encourage all research sites within our region and beyond to ensure that research is as inclusive as possible.”


The survey results also indicate that people with previous experience of either receiving a vaccine or taking part in research are inclined to do so again. The proportion of people who said that they would consider taking part in COVID-19 vaccine research rose to 74% amongst those who received a flu vaccine last year, and 78% amongst those who have previously been involved in clinical trials.


Professor Khunti added:


“It is extremely pleasing to see that people who have a history of either taking part in research or receiving a flu vaccine are more likely to consider joining the research effort to find a vaccine for COVID-19. This is testament to the positive experience of research that the overwhelming majority of participants have, and shows that people who receive vaccines are clear about the benefits of doing so and the impact that a vaccine for this virus could have.


“The news on vaccines in recent weeks has been incredibly uplifting, but there is more work to do. We need people to continue signing up to support COVID-19 vaccine research so that we can test a range of different vaccines and ensure that we find vaccines that can protect as many people as possible. I would encourage everyone across the East Midlands to step forward and be part of this enormous research effort.”


So far, over 28,000 people across the East Midlands have signed up to support COVID-19 vaccine research through the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry, with over 350,000 registrations from across the UK. The registry enables researchers to quickly contact people who have expressed their interest in taking part in vaccine trials to ensure that studies can be delivered quickly and effectively.


Research teams across the East Midlands have been involved in the delivery of three COVID-19 vaccine trials. To find out more about research and to sign up to support vaccine research, visit

Get into the Festive Spirit with PECT’s New Nature’s School Resources

Get into the festive spirit with PECT’s new Nature’s School resources


2020 has taught us how much spending time with our families in the great outdoors matters. National and regional lockdowns have meant that, more than ever, we have made the most of our gardens and local environment for exercise, entertainment, and to regain a feeling of normality.


This festive season, why not have a go at some of PECT’s Christmas-themed Nature’s School activities? These newly launched resources aim to enhance children’s understanding of the world around them and allow them to discover more about the environment.

Get into the festive spirit with PECT’s new Nature’s School resources

The free downloadable activity sheets include everything from a green advent calendar, instructions for how to make your own reusable beeswax wraps, and creating recycled decorations, festive bunting, bird feeders and much more.


“With the recent news about an extended winter lockdown period and regional restrictions applying, we wanted to support families with activities that enable them to make the most of their time together, and still enjoy a green Christmas,” explains PECT’s Environmental Education Lead Heidi Latronico-Ferris.


She continues: “Our local environment is sometimes an unexplored natural resource, often overlooked for its wealth of possibilities, and not always appreciated or looked after as it should be. Take this time to turn that around and discover natural wonders, learn from Nature’s School, and in return protect it for future generations.”


Nature’s School is not just for families – schools, charities and other organisations can also benefit from this resource and use it to create new ways of delivering the curriculum and learning objectives.


To access the resources, simply visit or find PECT on Facebook @SustainablePECT.



PECT is helping households save this Big Energy Saving Winter

Cambridgeshire-based environmental charity PECT is helping people reduce their energy bills and save money as part of the Big Energy Saving Winter campaign, which runs from November 2020 to January 2021.

Warm Homes

There is substantial evidence about the detrimental impact of inadequate household heating on your physical and mental health. Big Energy Saving Winter is a national campaign to help people cut their energy bills and keep their homes heated for less.


This year, the campaign is also calling on energy super savers – those who have made savings to their own bills – to help their relatives, friends, and neighbours to check, switch, and save on their energy bills. Free resources, advice, and training from PECT will enable energy super savers to help protect the UK’s most vulnerable people.


“With Fuel Poverty Awareness Day taking place on Friday 27th November 2020, we want to ensure we get messaging out there to vulnerable people to show how we can help them keep their homes heated for less this winter,” explains Project Officer Nikki Dekker. “We can provide you with the information and resources needed to stay warm and healthy, whilst cutting costs and carbon. We can also point you in the right direction for further support and funding opportunities.”


Upcoming events include:


  • Energy Awareness Training

25th November, from 2pm

Join PECT’s free online energy awareness session which will help you to understand fuel poverty and what you can do about it. Join via the PECT website at

  • Home Energy Advice Event

27th November, from 11am

Join this free event for energy saving advice, information on how to switch and save, apply for the Warm Homes Discount, details on grant support and free services available from PECT and Age UK Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Register for this online event at


The Big Energy Saving Winter Campaign was launched by Citizens Advice and the Energy Saving Trust in collaboration with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and with the support of numerous organisations, charities and companies across the UK, including the charity PECT.


Find out more about the national campaign at  For more information about PECT call 01733 568408 ext. 313, email or visit


Launch of Doubling Nature Action Plan for Cambridgeshire

This September, Natural Cambridgeshire is launching its ambitious action plan for doubling the area of rich wildlife habitats and natural green space across the region in order to create a world-class environment.


During an online event on the 16th September 2020, attendees can hear from keynote speakers Dame Fiona Reynolds and Lord Chris Smith. Plus, they will discover further regional initiatives to protect, preserve and enhance the environment. These include key landscape projects, local nature recovery plans, individual pledges, and a look at the benefits of nature-friendly farming.


Natural Cambridgeshire will launch four crucial initiatives designed to deliver the doubling nature ambition:


  1. A landscape-led approach, that will put Peterborough and Cambridgeshire firmly on the map of nature recovery as nature thrives across the county. Natural Cambridgeshire has identified five key landscapes with the potential to deliver significant benefits for nature and enhanced access to green open space for residents.
  2. A community approach – a toolkit of small steps that each community can make to double nature close to home – for example, if every parish in the county planted ten trees a year for ten years that would be nearly 40,000 trees!
  3. A doubling nature pledge through which individuals, businesses and other organisations can play their part in the ambition, whether it is planting more pollinating plants in gardens or greening up work-place car parks, there is something that everyone can do.
  4. Natural Cambridgeshire will also be announcing plans for a Doubling Nature Investment Fund, to provide the resources to make all this happen.


The health and sustainability of our environment has never been so critical: the climate crisis and loss of biodiversity has been further exacerbated by the economic, health and social challenges created by Covid-19. However, the pandemic has also brought communities together and enabled people to rediscover a connection with the natural world.


Nature-based solutions will play a crucial role in addressing the challenges of our climate emergency and in the post Covid-19 recovery. A recent survey by Natural Cambridgeshire reveals how 77% of participants said that visiting parks and countryside in the region had been very important to them during lockdown.


The RSPB’s ‘Recovering Together’ report provides clear evidence of public support for putting nature at the heart of our pandemic recovery. 89% of those surveyed believe that increasing the amount of accessible nature-rich green space will help to improve people’s general health, wellbeing, and happiness.


Doubling nature will deliver significant protection, restoration, and enhancement of key wildlife habitats for the landscape we know and love. Improved green space and access to nature will help people to enjoy and appreciate the nature around them, leading to healthier and happier lives.


Doubling nature will create a more resilient countryside and communities, where nature is at the heart of our approach to tackling the climate emergency. It will support a green transport infrastructure, where priority is given to walkers, cyclists, and riders. Doubling nature will also influence sustainable farming practices and tourism.


The achievement of these objectives will create a better quality of life for residents and visitors through a local environment with easy access to rich and inspiring nature.


Lord Chris Smith says: “Over the past six months we’ve re-learned and re-discovered how vitally important our relationship with nature is, for all of us, and how it helps us to grow stronger, wiser and happier. That’s true on a global scale as we face the challenges of climate change; but it’s even more true on our doorstep, and there’s no better place to start than here in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.”


Dame Fiona Reynolds adds: “The urgent need to reverse nature’s decline is well known, but we are making desperately slow progress. The COVID-19 crisis has also shown us just how much we all need access to nature. The ambition to ‘double nature’ in Cambridgeshire could not be more timely or important.”


Richard Astle, Chairperson of Natural Cambridgeshire, explains: “Nature matters to us all – and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have an opportunity to lead the way in helping nature to recover from its catastrophic local declines. Last year we set out the ambition of doubling nature. This year we are setting out detailed ideas for how we can all play our part in making that happen. And if we do, we can make our county an even better place to live, work, and visit. Doubling nature means more wildlife, it also means cleaner air and water and more places for people to walk, ride and cycle and enjoy green, open spaces.”

The ‘Doubling Nature in Action’ event will be held on Wednesday 16th September, 10am-12.30pm, via Zoom. Attendees can register for the event at: