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.
Major Glenn Ridgley will lead a short Remembrance Service beside the Memorial Plaque on the Old Chapel at 11am, after which you can retire to The Gate for coffee and a chat, where parking is available. You are invited to come and take part.
If anyone would like to bring and show old medals old memories can be revived and retold. All Welcome.
During September Jerry Morley and Paul Woodford met with Chris King of Affinity in connection with the drainage issue we have at the pumping station at Hughenden Valley. Chris is a Surveyor with responsibilities for maintenance of infrastructure at Affinity properties.
Chris has agreed to organise a complete site survey at the pumping station, which will involve CCTV checks and, if appropriate, clearance on the two principal culverts under the site which carry the Hughenden stream. It will also involve checking boundaries and cutting back of trees and hedges which have become overgrown.
As a group the DIG are not convinced that these two culverts have sufficient capacity to keep the stream flowing properly when it is in spate. We have seen at least one instance in the last few years of the water in the Valley Road ditch coming right up to the top and threatening to flood onto the road. A simple solution would be for TfB to continue the ditch right along in front of the pumping station so that it could then empty round the perimeter fence of the site into the National Trust field.
Sewer Works in the Valley
One of the biggest problems with the Hughenden Valley sewage system is the ingress of water into the system that typically happens over the winter period. This is common in the country and happens with old infrastructure.
Fractures in pipes and inspection pit brickwork allow ground water to enter the system, whilst road surface water can enter through leaky inspection pit covers. Thames Water have stated in the past that under normal conditions, the sewers in our area run at about 40% of capacity. During a wet winter we know from bitter experience this can exceed 100%, causing spillages.
In the last issue of the magazine, we mentioned that Thames Water was carrying out work on sealing the covers to the sewage inspection pits along Warrendene. Further work was done in the same area in relation to the possible re-lining of the sewer.
This work was of an investigatory nature and Thames Water are seeking to identify leaky areas in our sewage system so that a reactive leak reduction plan can be implemented.
Interestingly, the re-lining of sewage pipes is an established process which can have a major benefit to leaky sewers. Effectively, it is a structural ‘No-Dig’ repair which creates a new pipe within a damaged sewer. A resin impregnated liner is inverted into a defective pipe, it is then pressurised and then cured to form a new pipe. We hope this work comes to pass.
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.
Taken from a Facebook article by Hazlemere Climate Action.
Do you have DIY skills you can share?
We’re starting a Repair Cafe in Hazlemere on Saturday 23rd October 10 till 12pm and we’re looking for volunteers with all kinds of skills and expertise to contribute. Can you help someone to fix for instance broken electrical items? A bicycle? A chair with a wonky leg? Mend a broken zip? Repair an old teddy bear?
If you’re interested and would like to know more we’d love to hear from you. Please contact get in touch with me through Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.