Wellbeing Wednesday: Parents Edition

Do your children like the outdoors? Maybe they do but you can’t get them away from their technology? Well why not let them try these apps by themselves or with you, their family and friends. They are fun, competitive and really cool! Let them experience all the new and exciting things that could be found in the local area.

Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go is a free smartphone app that combines gaming with the real world. The game uses location tracking and mapping technology to create an ‘augmented reality’ where you can catch and train Pokémon characters in real locations.

If your child is 13+ then they can sign up and enjoy seeing who they can catch. If they aren’t, you will have to sign up for them on your behalf. Permission permitting for all ofcourse!

What is Pokémon?

Pokémon (short for pocket monster) is a franchise owned by Nintendo and began life in the mid 90’s as a game for the Game Boy. The game is centred on fictional characters known as Pokémon which you can catch and train to battle each other.

How to sign up?

There are two options for signing up to the game. You can use a Google account to sign in, or you can create a Pokémon Trainer Club account. On the sign up screen, tap the Google icon, Enter your Google username and password. If you don’t already have an account, tap Create account and follow the instructions. From there, you can learn about Pokémon Go from Professor Willow, and choose a starter Pokémon. Once the account is set up, you can give yourself a cool username and then you’re ready to play.

How to play?

You have to walk around the real word and find the Pokémon characters that appear on the game map. When you come within a close enough range the Pokémon will appear on the device screen and then you can throw Poké Balls at them to capture them. The aim is to collect as many different characters as possible.

The map is an anime-style version of Google maps that replaces real street names and landmarks with Pokémon specific buildings so don’t get confused if your child comes home saying that their mates house has turned into a battle club or a mystery dungeon because it hasn’t!

Another feature of the game are Poké Stops which are real life locations where you can collect free Poké Balls. You can also find Pokémon eggs that hatch into Pokémon which can be added to your collection.

What would Pokémon want?

When playing Pokémon Go, it is advised that all users remember to be sensible when going to places new or meeting new people. Pokémon would want everyone to have fun but not get hurt so do ensure that you and your children stay safe!

If you or your child has any concerns regarding safety, please visit https://www.pokemongolive.com/en/faq/.

Buxplore

Download Buxplore from the Google Play store!

When you are out with your children, have they ever wondered what that strange looking building is? If you download the Buxplore app and take it with you on your walks, it can tell you all about these things and more! There is even a whole dedicated route for primary age kids, great right? Heritage for Kids is a fantastic trail to get you and the rest of your family out exploring. Starting at the Chantry Chapel, explore the oldest parts of Buckingham – find, touch and imagine icons from Buckingham’s thousand-year history. This short route passes by Chandos Park which is great to stop and have a sweetie break!

The app has clear maps, flagging locations to explore and audio options which make these routes really easy to follow. Simply use your mobile phone to access the app (don’t forget to turn on your mobile data and location tracking) then head out to the first stop on your chosen route.

Learn and explore Buckingham’s wild spaces from Bourton Park to Buckingham Canal. Connect with nature and learn more about Buckingham parks and the river Great Ouse. The explorer route is designed to be explored a little at a time, it is the perfect way to find some of the hidden green spaces you might not know about. Most of this trail is well away from roads and has lots of activities to try at every stop so you, mum and dad, don’t have to worry.

There’s been a murder! Can you solve the puzzles and find the culprit?

Buckingham murder mystery trail is a totally free interactive detective mystery. Start on Moreton Road at the Old Police Station and meet Sergeant William Jeeves! Solve puzzles to unlock new locations and discover clues as you take a tour around the scary side of Buckingham’s history. Don’t worry – hints are available if you get stuck.

Did we mention it’s free? No pocket money needed! Thanks to a £10,000 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Buxplore is completely free to use and will remain live for the next five years, with new routes added throughout.

How to download the app and start using Buxplore?

Start by visiting Buxplore.web.app on your mobile phone and click the white box at the bottom of the screen to download the app. Then simply pick a route and visit the first location to get started!

Apps not your thing? How about you try playing games that don’t require devices or added platforms but rather just your imagination. The games that I am inferring here are I Spy, Stop and Go and Spot the Swan – a safer alternative to Yellow Car! There’s no time like the present to try these out, what can beat good old fashioned fun anyways? Let’s see how they work;

I Spy

First you need to designate who is going to be the spy. Then they will need to select an object that everyone can see but they mustn’t reveal what it is. The spy will then hint at what the object is by saying something like "I spy with my little eye something beginning with B."

Tip for the spy: Try not to look at the object when you are hinting at what it is. That would be a big giveaway!

Depending on how many people are playing, take it in turns to guess the object the spy has hinted so everyone gets a fair chance at guessing. Finally, once the object has been guessed, change the spy to the first person who guessed the object correctly and repeat the previous steps. To make it more fun, why not try changing the characteristics of the clues. For example, have your family guess objects that are a certain shape or begin with a certain colour.

Stop & Go

If you have a family of fairly small children, why not teach them their stop and go commands? It won’t be like home-schooling, it can just be an imaginative way of letting them pretend to be everyday objects like cars, trains or buses. They can even pretend to ride a pony if in desperation! All you have to do is act like a signal and shout ‘STOP’ or ‘GO’ when you want to change direction etc.

Spot the Buckingham Swan

Like the game Yellow Car, Spot the Buckingham Swan is where you have to tap another person in your group when you spot the Swan statue in Buckingham. The force of the tap should only be hard enough to ensure that the intended person knows that they have been hit, we don’t want any tears or bruises!

Remember to always be aware; the game is always on, unless otherwise agreed by everyone that you are taking a well-earned break.

If someone calls out ‘Swan’ the Buckingham Swan must be in view otherwise the tap will not count. Therefore, if you call out ‘Swan’ and tap another player but the statue is not in view, that player can tap you back. This also means that you cannot call ‘Swan’ before you see it even if you know where it is!

Winter Wellness Spotter Sheet

To help brighten up your daily bit of exercise and to recognise Children’s Mental Health Week this year, which runs from February 1st to February 7th, Buckingham Town Council has put together a Winter Wellness Spotter Sheet for young children. Download and print the spotter sheet and see if you can spot some or all of these seasonal nature signs on your walk today. Please take part responsibly and follow government guidelines on social distancing. For more fun, we've added some extra activity sheets to be completed at home.

Getting outdoors has taken on added importance in recent weeks and most people would agree that a walk in the fresh air is a sure way of clearing the head. The weather may be rubbish but encouraging your children to get back to basics and have fun playing outdoors can make a huge difference to their overall mental health and wellbeing. Even in winter, nature is still alive and there are lots of green spaces to see and explore within our lovely town. The spotter sheet can easily be completed around Bourton Park and Chandos Park and we hope it will make your daily walk even more enjoyable.

For more information about Buckingham walks and maps, visit our Walks and Maps page. Here you can download pdf copies of local walks and maps to help you explore beautiful Buckingham.

We would love to see some photos of you out and about completing the Winter Wellness Spotter Sheet! Please send your photos to us via private message on Facebook, or tag us on your post using #WinterWellness #SpotterSheet @BuckinghamTC and don't forget to tell us what you thought to be entered into a prize draw to win a reusable water bottle. We will do our best to share as many of your photos as possible. Happy hunting!

Possible Family-Fun Locations

Bourton Park Footpath and Trees
Children Playing in Edible Woodland
Close Up Shot of Buckingham Canal and Reeds

Winter Wellness Spotter Sheet

Heading outdoors for some fresh air?

To help brighten up your daily bit of exercise and to recognise Children’s Mental Health Week this year, which runs from February 1st to February 7th, Buckingham Town Council has put together a Winter Wellness Spotter Sheet for young children. Download and print the spotter sheet and see if you can spot some or all of these seasonal nature signs on your walk today. Please take part responsibly and follow government guidelines on social distancing. For more fun, we've added some extra activity sheets to be completed at home.Winter Spotter Sheet

Getting outdoors has taken on added importance in recent weeks and most people would agree that a walk in the fresh air is a sure way of clearing the head. The weather may be rubbish but encouraging our children to get back to basics and have fun playing outdoors can make a huge difference to their overall mental health and wellbeing. Even in winter, nature is still alive and there are lots of green spaces to see and explore within our lovely town. The spotter sheet can easily be completed around Bourton Park and Chandos Park and we hope it will make your daily walk even more enjoyable.

For more information about Buckingham walks and maps, visit our Walks and Maps page. Here you can download pdf copies of local walks and maps to help you explore beautiful Buckingham. If you cannot get out and about due to self-isolating, you should check out the Buckingham Community Heritage app Buxplore. Remote access has currently been enabled so you can choose your route and take a visual tour around the streets and parks of Buckingham, completing activities, questions, and mysteries from home.

We would love to see some photos of you out and about completing the Winter Wellness Spotter Sheet! Please send your photos to us via private message on Facebook, or tag us on your post using #WinterWellness #SpotterSheet @BuckinghamTC and don't forget to tell us what you thought to be entered into a prize draw to win a reusable water bottle. We will do our best to share as many of your photos as possible. Happy hunting!

 

Wellbeing Wednesday: Adults Blog

How are you feeling about this year? Your personal wellbeing is one of the most important things to help you get through tough times. Now, this isn’t another new year’s resolution blog telling you that you have to go on a diet. In fact, it’s a blog to help inspire you to try something new this year within Buckingham or surrounding areas.

Here’s some inspiration from Buckingham’s Office Apprentice:

I know that getting out and about might seem like a chore, but we all know that we feel better after we having some time outdoors. So why not try out these apps to see if you can incorporate some fun and invigorate your daily walk or outing.

Couch to 5k

NHS Couch to 5K will help you gradually work up towards running 5km in just 9 weeks.

Couch to 5K is a running plan for beginners. It was developed by a new runner, Josh Clark, who wanted to help his mum get off the couch and start running, too. The plan is really simple to follow and has clear objectives that you can work towards over the 9 weeks. You even have rest days each week, giving you lots of opportunities to try other activities and to tailor your exercise around your existing schedule.

How does Couch to 5K work?

The biggest challenge a new runner faces is probably not knowing how or where to start. Often when trying to get into exercise, you overdo it, feel defeated and give up when we're just getting started. But, Couch to 5K is different. It works because it starts with a mix of running and walking to help you gradually build up your fitness and stamina. It helps you create realistic expectations and by starting off slowly at week one, the challenge feels achievable right from the start.

Who is Couch to 5K for?

Couch to 5K is for everyone. Whether you've never run before or you just want to get more active, Couch to 5K is a free and easy way of getting fitter and healthier. Sounds perfect, right? Lots of local runners started this challenge and then joined Buckingham Park Run, one of the most local and popular running groups around!

What are the benefits?

If it’s your wellbeing you want to improve, then there are plenty of reasons why you should take part in this challenge. Running helps to improve your physical health as well as your mental health. You could lose weight if combined with a healthy diet or have a surge in confidence and self-belief, as you prove to yourself that you can set a target and achieve a goal. Or, because it’s been an exceptionally tough year, you might need to relieve some stress and running can do just that. It has been shown to combat depression which is something that a lot of people have faced.

How to get started?

  1. Download the Couch to 5K podcasts to your mobile device or computer.
  2. Work out a schedule that fits in with your home life to ensure you can stick to your running plan.
  3. Plan your route. It can be stressful to know where to go so why not be prepared and look at a map to plan a familiar route first.
  4. Make sure you are safe when running. If you find it easier or more relaxing to exercise with headphones, then do it but just be aware of your surroundings. Another tip I have found is to watch out for people or objects. It’s obvious but, try to stay a good distance away from others and make sure you look and or stop when changing direction or terrain on your travels. When running in the dark, make sure you can see where you're going and that other people can see you. Street lighting and High-Viz are your friends!
  5. Don’t compromise, be comfortable! The most important piece of kit is a pair of running trainers.

Strava

Strava is a free fitness-tracking and social media app designed for runners and cyclists with three main features: Tracking, connecting, and competing. You can track your fitness via GPS within the app, or log it manually. Strava helps you connect with other people in your area who share the same fitness interests as you and it allows you to even discover local clubs and athletic challenges together or alone.

How do I track my exercise?

You can record your exercise and choose from a wide variety of exercise options like running, e-bike riding and canoeing, including things like distance, pace and details about how you felt about the experience. You can also create posts and add photos, in addition to exercise logs which are all saved to your personal feed. The app can also sync to devices, like your phone, GPS watch or heart rate monitor. You can even view your exercise stats for running, biking or swimming.

Who can I connect with?

You can follow other users on the app, as well as athletes who use the app, to see their posts, photos and workouts. Why not find Buckingham Park Run on the app and connect with them? Those who follow you can also see your activities, and give you "kudos" - Strava’s definition of Likes - or leave comments on a post of yours.

Can I compete?

Strava users can also use the "Explore" tab to find local challenges, like upcoming half-marathons, or compete against themselves or other local athletes using segments. The "Explore" tab is also where you'd be able to connect with local exercise clubs and organise activities.

How to get started?

  1. Download the app and click the “Open Strava” button to show the login site where you can then sign up.
  2. Once you’ve have created an account by entering some basic personal data, make sure to click “YES” to confirm that you allow location access for tracking your activities.
  3. Then choose the “Let’s go” button to continue into your dashboard area. Once you’ve done that, you are ready to start tracking and recording your activities.

Geocaching

Are you looking for an adventure? Or just a change from the same old scenery? Here are 3 steps to help you begin.

  1. Create an account online or through the Geocaching app to view a map of geocaches near you.
  2. Find a geocache by using the app to navigate to a geocache nearby. Don’t forget to bring a pen!
  3. Once you find the geocache, sign and date the logbook. Place the geocache back where you found it and log your experience online.

How it works?

Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Don’t act like you are too old for a treasure hunt, everyone needs a bit of fun once in a while!  All you need to do is navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Then sign the logbook and return the geocache to its original location. It’s simple yet effective, brilliant for all of you that need an escape from a boring cycle and even more so for those of you that want some excitement back in your life. New and exciting should be the way forward!

Ingress

Ingress is a mobile app designed for all of you who enjoy to dream and game. The game takes place in a universe much similar to ours but there are some ultra-realistic and obvious differences along the way. Just like Pokémon Go, Ingress it based on geolocation and you interact with the environment around you.

What is Ingress App?

Ingress is an online game that lets you play with lots of people all at once. It is based on a sci-fi universe with a narrator that guides you around your local area to explore.

What is Ingress About?

The Ingress universe mostly acts like real life. However, within the game there seems to be mysterious aliens called Shapers. There isn’t much to know these shapers but one thing is for sure, they can be a serious threat to your online world!

Picture this; the battle takes place between the two factions, the Resistance and the Enlightened, and involves portals found at physical landmarks like monuments, historical buildings, and other places of importance. The point of this game is to capture, destroy, damage, link, recharge, or protect portals in your area. You can also battle other players of the opposing faction in real time, destroying or rebuilding portals and creating control fields.

What’s Ingress Gameplay Like?

First of all, the Ingress world is presented as a map of your actual surrounding area, without any markings or labels. On this map, you’ll be able to see all the portals, links, items, and control fields in the surrounding area. Your location is displayed as a small arrowhead that travels in real time with you.

This means that you walk around to collect items, strengthen portals, or try to destroy the enemy ones. The more active you are, the more action points you earn and the stronger your items will be. You’ll also be able to recharge portals for a longer time. You can also join in on missions, which include secret instructions!

You can also earn multi-tiered badges, going through the standard bronze to platinum and if you are good at the game, you have a chance to win the onyx badge, the highest-ranking tier. You will win a badge after proving your ability and loyalty to your faction. What a great way to win bragging rights from your friends by winning all the badges!

If you fancy something free, motivationally fun and spontaneous then these are some activities you need to try. Embrace life as we now know it and get back out there – safely of course – and feel like you again. Don’t do it for me, do it for yourself.

Possible Exercise Locations

Bourton Park Footpath Near Trees
Chandos Park Roundabout FootPath
Railway Walk Footpath With Archway of Trees

Flooding: could you be a flood volunteer?

On 23rd and 24th December 2020, at the end of a difficult year for many, the River Great Ouse burst its banks amid extremely heavy rainfall, and serious flooding hit Buckingham.

Many local residents immediately jumped to the aid of their neighbours. From turning up with buckets or supplying water pumps to help clear water to opening their homes to those in need, many people did what they could to help. Buckingham Free Meals, led by 14-year-old Sulayman, coordinated free hot food and drinks and ongoing food parcels. The Bard of Buckingham, Dean Jones, launched a fundraiser to support those flooded with rebuilding their lives. The more than £17,000 raised will be held and distributed by the Town Council based on decisions made by an independent panel.

Staff from Buckingham Town Council joined those from Buckinghamshire Council and Transport for Buckinghamshire to help close roads, deliver sandbags and clear up the mess. It took over a week to sanitise and reopen play areas and the public toilets, as well as clearing large amounts of debris from across the parks. The Council’s Shopmobility unit was flooded, and some equipment damaged.

The Council passed on a flood alert from the Environment Agency in the morning of 22nd December. Unfortunately, the EA’s flood gauge does not appear to have been working correctly, and no Flood Warning was issued.

The Town Council are reviewing the Community Flood Action Plan. Any suggestions for changes would be gratefully received. The Council are also looking to sign up Flood Volunteers to help with future floods and other emergencies. Residents from homes NOT at risk of flooding are ideal for this role, as those directly affected are less able to immediately help others. If you are interested in volunteering please email admin@buckingham-tc.gov.uk

The Town Council now has a direct arrangement with the Bucks and Oxon Response Group (BORG) who will again be prepared to use their 4×4 vehicles to help with any future events.

National Lockdown: impact on Buckingham Town Council services

As of Tuesday 5th January, Buckingham, and the whole country, have entered a new National Lockdown. There is a summary of what this means on our Coronavirus pages, which also contain signposts for local help or a raft of issues that may be impacting on your life at this time. For detailed guidance about the lockdown restrictions please visit the government website.

There are some additional changes to Buckingham Town Council services due to the National Lockdown:

  • Play areas will remain open, however, multi-use games areas and outdoor gym equipment are now closed. Please be patient and do not use equipment while we arrange signage.
  • Buckingham market remains open for essential items.
  • The Food Fair, Pancake Races and other upcoming public events in January and February will be cancelled.
  • Shopmobility will be closed, the Shopmobility building was also impacted by the flooding just before Christmas.
  • Public toilets will remain open.

As in Tier 4 the following additional services are running differently:

  • The Tourist Information Centre and the Tourist Information Centre phone line are closed.
  • Lace Hill Sports and Community Centre is only open for a very small number of allowable bookings.
  • Town Council staff are largely working from home, apart from the Green Spaces Team who continue to work out and about. The green spaces team have worked extremely hard clearing up after the flooding on Christmas Eve. Please help keep our team safe and well by not approaching them while they are working. If you have a query, please call or email the office team, and we will help you.