What makes a virus clever?

Hema Tasker of EHCP Services has kindly provided this information and worksheet PDF which you are free to download and use with your own child when schools are closed.

Viruses are tiny, 500 million can fit onto a pinhead! They contain genetic material which is either DNA or RNA and are surrounded by a protective coat. They can live inside other animals and make copies of themselves.

Viruses are not alive because they do not complete all of the seven life processes: Movement, Respiration, Sensitivity, Nutrition, Excretion, Reproduction and Growth.

Click on the image above to view/download the four-page PDF

Hema Tasker’s ehcpservices – “Effective, helpful, caring and personal service helping children and families with STEAM and SEND support, tutoring, home schooling and more” – can be contacted by email through this link or by phone on 07976 512 506.

No area is an island unto itself

Our knotty problem 

The traffic debate in our area is long-standing and at times it deteriorates into a fierce joust. Traders need to receive deliveries and some people blame them for creating congestion.  Many vans and lorries mount the pavement to allow motor traffic to flow which worries pedestrians, particularly the elderly and the parents of toddlers, both of whom are likely to be the traders’ best customers.  What we rarely do, when trying to reason on this difficult issue, is to think of the impact of activities and decisions outside our area.

 Beyond our borders but only just 

In January planning permission was given for a new 153 bed Premier Inn in East Road. How will this impact upon us? The hotel has no parking facilities. What this will bring to the Mill Road is difficult to predict. Premier Inn expect that their guests will use public transport. Good.  It is likely that many will arrive by train but what about the journey from the station to East Road? Will the Petersfield stretch of our road be clogged by more and more taxis?

Picture: Keith Heppell, linking from Cambridge Independent website

The upside of the decision is that trees will be planted along East Road and pavements will be widened. Petersfield’s restaurants are likely to thrive as long as visitors are not put off by unruly traffic. 

Our Councillors were constructively critical

City councillor for Petersfield, Kelley Green, Labour, expressed concern, at the meeting, about the environmental impacts of the hotel and asked whether it should be ‘future-proofed’ in its design to mitigate against any change in demand. She was talking about the application of the hotel policy, officers said it contained no upper limit on hotel provision.

‘Future-proofing’ comes from the premise that there is carbon embedded in building construction, so we should avoid building and then demolishing buildings wherever necessary. Councillor Green was also concerned about congestion on East Road, air pollution and the impact of having a newly located bus station within East Road, without any traffic management policy in place for the local area. Mike Davey, city councillor for Petersfield, Labour supported Cllr Green’s reservations about congestion.

Charlotte de Blois
Mill Road resident, Editor Mill Road News.

This post is an edited version of an article in Mill Road News Nº25 Early Spring 2020.

It Takes A City

A Cambridge Homelessness Partnership

By Hema Tasker

Statistics indicate that there are 160 homeless people in the city centre, of which 130 are in temporary accommodation. This means that one would expect there only to be 30 homeless people with nowhere to go at night. Walking down Mill Road one questions this statistic. Some street people shy away from Jimmy’s as they need to hand over “details” – while others are fiercely independent in their response to welfare cuts, job loss and possibly addiction.

I had the pleasure to chat to Lee outside the church who explained how he wanted to change his life and liked to say “I’m homeless but not phoneless”.

Lee has, with the help of the people around him, managed to set up his own business: It Takes A City – A Cambridge Homelessness Partnership. He patiently explained why he advocates for It Takes a City. Looking at this website I can finally  answer the question how can I help? Well click on It Takes a City and find out who you can donate tampons, socks and furniture to. Or how you can cater for an event, or get your garden cleaned, while developing skills for homeless people in Cambridge through various social enterprises.

Hema Tasker
STEAM and SEND specialist tutoring and consultancy services

This post is an edited version of an article in Mill Road News Nº25 Early Spring 2020.

East West Rail plans go on show at Ross Street

Friday 20th March, 2:30pm – 6:00pm

Ross Street Community Centre, Cambridge, CB1 3UZ 

Following the publication of the preferred route option for the section of the line that will run between Bedford and Cambridge, community events enabling the public to study and give feedback on the East West Rail plans are under way.

On 30th January 2020 the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt. Hon. Grant Shapps MP, announced the preferred route option for East West Rail, between Bedford and Cambridge.

The Preferred Route Option links existing stations in Bedford and Cambridge with communities in Cambourne and the area north of Sandy, south of St. Neots, and was chosen following detailed analysis over several months.

Between February and March we’re hosting 14 community events to answer your questions and discuss what’s next for East West Rail.

East West Rail
Click the image to download a PDF. Click here for an interactive map.

You will be able to find out more about East West Rail, talk about the next steps for the railway, share your views, and meet experts.


Save our local chalk stream!

Those of us who have ventured to the far end of Mill Road to Burnside, and along Snakey Path during last summer, will have seen the poor state of Cherry Hinton Brook. This was highlighted in a YouTube video by local citizen blogger Antony Carpen.

Cam Valley Forum reports:
During the 2019 summer, the dry weather reduced our River Cam to little more than an elongated pond with a pathetic tickle over the weirs at Jesus Green. Some of the Cam tributaries dried up, many only flowing because they have been augmented by water from sewerage works.
How to Save Water, and the Cam posted 9th December 2019

Whist BBC journalist Mark Williamson Tweeted about the Granta/Cam at Grantchester.

And Feargal Sharkey reported Environment Agency information.

We are indebted to Cam Valley Forum for some of this information.

Cam Valley Forum Newsletters can be viewed/downloaded here.

Mill Road and the reason why it is so good to live here!

By Lorenza Brock

According to the 2019 World Happiness Report, Finland is the happiest country in the world, with Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and The Netherlands holding the next top positions. What’s even more interesting is that the Nordic countries persistently top the chart year after year! So, what knowledge do they have and what cultural ethics do they live by to make them so happy? 

What we learn from the Nordic countries is that from a societal point of view we need to look at building a well-functioning infrastructure where people can feel supported, valued and taken care of.  It is therefore not surprising that the Cambridge’s Mill Road area is such a lovely place to live.

The Mill Road Bridges Community of Communities has long been investing time and efforts to bring together different community groups, independent traders and residents to promotes the interests and rich cultural diversity of this neighbourhood. There is a real sense of community here making it such a great place to live, work, visit and be entertained!

It is worth remembering, though, that as individuals we also have a duty to ourselves to actively try to be happy. It requires a constant effort of positivity and willingness. As Miek Wiking, founder of the Happiness Research Institute, explains, we have the power within ourselves to build a bank of happy memories. So, what are you waiting for? Get involved with the community!

Lorenza Brock is a Well-Being Consultant and founder of Wellness & Purpose, based in the Mill Road area.

A longer version of this article THE FINE ART OF BEING HAPPY can be found here, on Lorenza’s website.

Projector screen

Thanks to the Trash Nothing site and app – and the generosity of a donor in Shelford, Mill Road Bridges now has a small projector screen.

So Mill Road Bridges can be generous, too.

We can lend this to non-profit community groups in and around Mill Road.

It would be suitable for small meetings, of up to 20 people (maybe 30 at a pinch). See the image and dimensions, below.


Screen width: 95 cm
Screen height: 98 cm
Height from floor to top of screen: 166 cm
Extended leg radius: 43 cm

Could be positioned on a table-top for extra height (if you’re careful).

Terms & conditions

Email us, using this link, as far in advance as you can.
You/your group is responsible for collection and return.
There is no fee.
If you damage the screen, you/your group are responsible for finding a replacement of similar standard (2nd-hand, not perfect, but passable).

Greater Cambridge Local Plan

Open meeting, in the Mill Road, Wednesday 19th February 2020 7:30pm

And see, further down, about another meeting on the previous evening.

This public meeting was be led by Katie Thornburrow, Executive City Councillor for Planning.

Were you there? Please send us a report?

This plan will affect the way we live, work, travel and play in Cambridge over the next 20 years and beyond.

The shared planning department are committed to growing our economy, and planning for new homes and jobs which meet the needs of all our community, and meeting the challenges we face.

But it’s not just about the economy or development: the Local Plan is an important tool to help us become a net zero carbon society, and to meeting our target of doubling biodiversity in the area.

Click for more information about Greater Cambridge Shared Planning
An introductory video from Greater Cambridge Shared Planning

The big themes: biodiversity, climate change, wellbeing, homes, jobs, infrastructure…

Where to build?

Greater Cambridge Local Plan – The Big Debate

An evening of quickfire presentations from local groups and lively debate about the future of Greater Cambridge.

Tuesday 18th February 2020 18:30 – 21:00 GMT
Cambridge Corn Exchange, 2 Wheeler Street, Cambridge CB2 3QB

As part of the ‘First Conversation’ consultation on the new Greater Cambridge Local Plan, local groups were invited to share their ideas about the future of the Greater Cambridge Area. Eight local groups presented and debate their ideas.

If you attended either event, please send us a report using this link to email us, and we’ll add your report to the post.

Shorter comments are also welcome, below, but should be polite.

Reduce, reuse, repair, recycle – what does it mean in practice?

We thought it would further our subscribers’ understanding to take a look at a recent blogpost from Antony Carpen, aka A Dragon’s Best Friend.

Responding to world record consumption of resources and materials
Click to view.

If you’re not already a subscriber to Antony’s excellent, thoughtful blog scroll down to the foot of his homepage and enter your email address.

You could also investigate his ‘Donate’ button…

You could also take a look at our Tread Lightly On The Earth page, and even add your own comments.