Are you finding it hard to pay for food and other essential household costs?
Christmas can be an expensive time of a year, especially if you’re already struggling to make ends meet. If you need some extra help this winter, the government has provided Buckinghamshire with a Household Support Fund (HSF) to help those most in need with food and warmth support.
Buckinghamshire Council’s Helping Hand team is available to help individuals or families in need, those on low incomes and those who are experiencing a financial emergency or crisis.
Whether you get in contact by phone (01296 531151) or the online form, they will ask you a few questions about your situation so they can offer the best support or advice.
I hope that you have all had a good summer and as we head into winter, I thought I should again update you on some key developments in Buckinghamshire.
Whilst most of us have seen life return to something approaching ‘normal’ over the past few months it is important to remember that Covid has not gone way and remains a threat to many in our county. You may have seen in the news that Covid infection rates are rising again nationally. This is also true in Buckinghamshire. Here we now have an infection rate of 699 per 100,000 population. This compares to just 440 a few weeks ago.
It is important to stress that infection rates are not the same as serious illness. Infection rates reflect the number of people being tested and also will include many people who do not display any symptoms at all. More than half of Covid infections in Bucks are either school age children or live with school age children. With our national vaccine programme, it is also more likely that anyone catching Covid will not suffer severe effects. Nevertheless, the trend is concerning and we are seeing more cases amongst older aged people who may be more vulnerable to serious illness. This is especially true if they have not been fully vaccinated.
The current Covid-19 figures for Buckinghamshire can be found here:
A concern is that rising Covid cases, when combined with a greater likelihood of catching the winter flu, the need for the NHS to catch up with the large backlog of operations and treatments delayed due to Covid, and higher numbers of people attending Accident and Emergency departments is already putting pressure on our NHS hospitals in Buckinghamshire. None of us want to go back into more restrictions unnecessarily. I am therefore urging all of us to take the basic sensible precautions that will reduce the likelihood of this being necessary.
I would strongly encourage you to:
Be vaccinated if you’re eligible. This is so important.
Have the booster vaccination as soon as you’re eligible. You will be invited by the NHS to book an appointment.
Have your winter flu jab if you’re eligible.
Wear a face mask on public transport and when asked to by shops and in crowded enclosed spaces.
Self-isolate and book a PCR test if you have symptoms.
Keep rooms ventilated if you’re meeting with others inside.
The council has been working hard with other organisations to help keep Buckinghamshire safe. This has included working with the NHS to set up more local vaccine clinics, sending mobile testing vans into our communities and supporting the vaccine roll out for 12-15 year olds in secondary schools. We have come a long way since the difficult lockdown days earlier this year. Let’s keep working together to keep each other safe.
Support for the vulnerable
Our Helping Hand team are available to help individuals or families in need, those on low incomes and those who are experiencing a financial emergency or crisis.
Whether you get in contact by phone or the online form, we will ask you a few questions about your situation so that we can offer the best support or advice.
Help with food and food costs – If you are struggling to afford food, our Helping Hand team can make referrals on your behalf to a local food bank.
You can also use the Buckinghamshire Online Directory to find organisations in your area who can help you with food. Many of these organisations are providing food and meals during the school holidays.
Help with household bills –If you are unable to pay your energy costs and are struggling to keep your home warm, please contact us.
We can discuss the options available to you and help you apply for grants from third party organisations. We may also be able to help with any other essential bills.
Help with essential items for your home –Please contact us if you need help with essential furniture. We can explore the best support for you.
Some external charities can help with essential furniture if you are on a low income:
High Wycombe Central Aid: Help local people who are in need and/or on a low income with basic essential furniture and electricals.
Thomas Hickman Charity: Can help people on low incomes with aids for living such as washing machines, carpets, cookers and fridges.
Get in touch –let us know if:
you are struggling to afford food
you cannot keep on top of your bills
you are in debt
you are struggling to pay for essential goods in your home
To request support from the Helping Hand team either use our online form or phone 01296 531151.
Our phone lines are open Monday to Thursday 9am to 5:30pm and Friday 9am to 5pm.
In an emergency, our out-of-hours team can be contacted on 0800 999 7677.
In the Chiltern and Wycombe areas we are still collecting food waste as general rubbish.
This is because of a national shortage of HGV drivers and a small number of Covid-related cases meaning crews have had to self-isolate in line with government guidelines.
This is just an interim measure and means that residents in Chiltern and Wycombe should dispose of their food waste together with their general rubbish (in the black bin). Brown food caddies will still be emptied if presented on general rubbish week only, but this waste will not be recycled during this time. General rubbish will still be collected every two weeks. Collections in the rest of the county are unaffected.
We will let you know when the situation changes.
Mental health support
The free Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire 24/7 mental health helpline for adults and young people has supported more than 2,000 people since the start of the pandemic.
Contact the helpline anytime if you are worried about your mental health or that of a loved one via 111 online or by phone.
Lastly, please keep an eye on elderly or frail friends or neighbours as we go into the winter months. Vulnerable people may be afraid or too proud to ask for help but it takes so little to enquire if they are all right or need any assistance.
Halloween is a night of innocent fun for many youngsters, but for elderly or vulnerable residents it can sometimes be distressing. To help make the 31 October trick or treat celebration enjoyable for everyone, Buckinghamshire Council and Thames Valley Police are encouraging residents who do not want Halloween callers knocking on their door to display a poster in their front windows. https://www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/news/having-fun-but-staying-safe-this-halloween/
Have your say on early help support for children and families in Buckinghamshire
A public consultation on a new Early Help Partnership Strategy is being launched on Monday 1 November.
Buckinghamshire’s Children and Young People’s Partnership want to make sure that children, young people and their families get the support they need, when they need it, to deal with any problems they may be facing before they get worse.
Online COVID-19 vaccination bookings now available for 12-15 year-olds in Buckinghamshire
Parents and guardians in Buckinghamshire can now book COVID-19 vaccinations online for children aged 12-15 years if they have not yet had their jab at school or have missed it for any reason.
This means children can get vaccinated over the half-term break to make sure they are protected as quickly as possible going back to school. With COVID-19 cases rising highest amongst children in secondary school age groups and young people in general, this will also help to keep their families and loved ones safer from spreading infections.
Buckinghamshire is set to host several fantastic festive events this year, including Aylesbury town centre’s hugely popular Santa’s Sunday Spectacular, which will return to the town on Sunday 21 November to herald the start of Christmas.
The festive parade is made up of local dance groups, professional entertainers, bands and community groups ─ all to give Santa a warm welcome to the town. Previous years have seen over 400 people taking part in the parade, and this time around the invitation has been extended to any local business or organisation that would like to get involved.
The parade will leave late morning and after its finale, the fun will continue with activities and street food throughout the town until 4:30pm, concluding with the Christmas Tree light up.
On 16th Sept. there was a special N W Chilterns Community Board meeting was held to discuss the Reshaped Report (developed by Jim Stevens) on the lorry parking problems in Warrendene Road to Board Members, Cllr David Carroll and Cllr Steven Broadbent (our local Bucks Council Councillors), and HPC Chairman, Cllr Paul Nicholls, for their consideration and initial comment prior going forward to the Board’s Traffic & Roads Issues Group. Also in attendance were some Warrendene Road residents and HVRA members.
As a result of that meeting, we would urge you ALL to read the 31-page Report (see below) and, furthermore, to please pass on all your comments by 30th September to Jackie Binning, all three Local Members of Bucks Council. (see below for contact details)
Last night Jim Stevens asked the Board Members present to accept the following 5 recommendations:
1. NOTE the extent of the work that has been undertaken to investigate the lorry parking issues raised by the residents, the engagement with key parties, including a wider group of residents, all of which have informed the findings of this report.
2. REJECT the residents’ request, as described in their Petition, due to the adverse implications this would have for the local community in Walters Ash/Naphill.
3. NOTE that other ideas have been identified in this report, that could be taken forwards, to reduce the lorry parking problems in Warrendene Road.
4. COMMENT on the ideas set out in this report, including sending any comments by email to the Community Board Coordinator by 30 September 2021.
5. NOTE that this report and the comments made in the Community Board meeting and received by email, will help inform Buckinghamshire Council Local Members decide by 29th October 2021, the way forwards and next appropriate steps.
It is vital that residents make their comments/concerns/objections known by the 30th September via email to:
As the N W Chilterns Community Board’s Co-Ordinator, Jackie needs your comments so that she can pass them on to Board Members on 3rd November where the way forward and next appropriate steps will be agreed:
It is very important that our three Local Members are fully aware of your concerns because ultimately they have to represent their residents in coming to a decision on the ideas/issues raised in Jim Stevens’ Report and the best way forward.
You could also email your comments to the Clerk and Chairman of the Parish Council
There is currently a government led Local Heritage Listing initiative to record local sites, buildings, and monuments that are of community and heritage importance, but have either not met the strict statutory listing requirement, or have simply slipped through the net. Buckinghamshire Council has received funding for this project and we need to get people involved to nominate sites. We are also looking for volunteers to assist with the site surveys and data input.
The Bucks Local Heritage List Project team would really appreciate help and advice in all areas of this project and are looking for all levels of interest and expertise. We wondered if it might be something that you, your members might be interested in, either by nominating somewhere important to you, or by assisting with the process (training will be provided both with the data-inputting and onsite surveying.)
Today is the start of a 10-weekpublic consultation inviting proposals for the number of councillors that should represent the residents of the newly formed Buckinghamshire Council.
Our consultation will close on 2 November 2021.
After we have considered all representations made to us during this consultation on council size, we will then be inviting residents, local authorities, and local organisations to submit their ideas on the ward boundaries within the council area.
We will then hold a further period of consultation on our draft recommendations. Our final recommendations are expected to be published in November 2022.
The new electoral arrangements will come into effect at the local elections in May 2025
If you represent a local organisation or community group in Buckinghamshire, please pass this message on to your members or anyone who you think might be interested in the review. You can share the message by email or through social media by using the buttons at the bottom right of the page.
What is an electoral review?
Our electoral review will recommend new electoral arrangements for Buckinghamshire Council. We will propose:
· the total number of councillors elected to the council in the future;
· the number of wards;
· the number of councillors representing each ward;
· ward boundaries; and
· the names of wards.
How to get involved
We will treat all submissions equally, and judge each case on its merits and against the legal criteria.
If you wish to put forward a view, we would also urge you to ensure that evidence supports your submission. Examples of the kind of evidence that would help support your submission is available on the consultation document we have produced.
There is more advice on our website about how you can get involved in the consultation.
Our website features technical guidance that explains the process and our policies, as well as guidance on how to take part in each part of the process.
We have also set up a webpage dedicated to the review of Buckinghamshire, where you can find all the relevant information.
Out consultation portal portal allows you to comment and upload documents directly to the site.
Buckinghamshire Council is asking residents in Chiltern and Wycombe to carry on disposing of food waste in their general rubbish until further notice.
Residents in these areas have already been asked to throw away food waste with their general household waste for the last four weeks. The Council is having to extend this arrangement because of the on-going national HGV driver shortage.
It means people living in Chiltern and Wycombe should carry on doing what they’ve been doing in recent weeks with food waste – throwing it away with their general rubbish (in the black bin). Brown food caddies will still be emptied if they’re put out on general rubbish week only, but this waste will not be recycled during this time. Collections in the rest of Buckinghamshire are unaffected and these changes impact residents in Chiltern and Wycombe only.
Buckinghamshire’s ‘Summer of Stories’ is well and truly underway – but there’s still time for you to get involved.
This summer, Buckinghamshire Culture and Buckinghamshire Council have been working together to create a Summer of Stories, focusing on a theme of ‘stories of happiness’. The ‘Story Stall’ is part of this multi-stranded project aiming to engage people across Buckinghamshire with stories and creativity. Inspired by our strong literary heritage this project will result in animation of town centres, activity supporting wellbeing, enhancing quality of life and maintaining connection as part of wider Covid recovery. Residents of Buckinghamshire have been invited to share and celebrate their personal stories, and those of the county itself, through conversations with artists, or via ‘Story Postcards’ at artist-led pop-up stalls across the county in markets and local high streets and at various cultural and library locations.
It’s not too late to get involved with the Summer of Stories. If you would like to get involved and share a story of happiness, or a story of Buckinghamshire, you can find the final few pop-up stalls in the following locations:
Winslow Market on 25 August, 8:30am-2pm
Live in the Park, Aqua Vale Park, Aylesbury on 28 August, 9am-5:30pm
Black Park, Wexham on 29 August, 10am-4pm
Beaconsfield Country Fair, Beaconsfield on 30 August, 9:30am-5pm