Buckingham Support for Ukraine

Residents from Buckingham and surrounding villages gathered at The New Inn Pub on Thursday 24th March to come together and create a plan to support arriving refugees from Ukraine to Buckingham.

The meeting was organized by Joanna Ford, who unfortunately couldn’t attend on the day due to covid. Joanna said that she wanted to start the group as “I feel that during covid communities have really come together to support one another. In Ukraine those communities have been ripped apart. By coming together to help those coming to live in the Buckingham area, I hope that we can support them to find a new home, whether temporary or permanent in The U.K. & show them that there is a community here for them. I hope that we can give practical support and a friendly face.”

Around 40 attendees filled the courtyard. After introductions were made pledges to offer support were given by local faith groups, community groups, Council services and the University from room space for support groups and refugee drop-in groups, food banks, tutors, translators, coordinating of welcome packs, job advice and befriending.

One key theme was the need to offer the right support, being conscious that these are individuals and families leaving a traumatic situation. Those present who knew they would be hosting families talked about how anxious the refugees they had spoken to were to be able to get started in Buckingham straight away, including getting their children places at school.

The Buckingham Support For Ukraine group has started a Facebook page, which anyone interested in volunteering, or who is planning to be a host family in Buckingham and the surrounding villages is encouraged to join. They have also started an email newsletter, which you can sign up to via the Town Council.

A great start was made, but it is hoped that many others will get involved to help in whatever way they can, to ensure the welcome and support offered for refugees coming to Buckingham is sustainable and effective.

Cllr. Margaret Gateley, Mayor of Buckingham, who stepped in to Chair the meeting in Joanna Ford’s absence said that: “I am sure that we have all been shocked by what is happening in Ukraine. This meeting was a good way of identifying what support will be available for refugees and their host families. There is a real sense of our community coming together to offer what we can, to provide a warm welcome for people who have fled from their own country seeking a place of safety here.”

Climate Conversations in Buckingham

Climate Conversations in Buckingham

On the 24th March 2022 people from the community of Buckingham attended the Annual Town Meeting which this year focussed on the climate emergency. People gathered together to express their views of Climate Change and to share ideas and suggestions on how to respond to climate change as a whole community. The public meeting brought together representatives from local environmental organisations and over 65 participants, including Buckingham’s MP Greg Smith and Town and Buckinghamshire Councillors.

Residents discussing electric car use

Attendees had the opportunity to visit information stands from the Electric Vehicle Centre, Planet Refill, Buckinghamshire Recycles, The Buckingham & Villages Community Board and Canal Society. There was also a small exhibition of artwork from Buckingham School pupils, made from recycled materials that is now on public display in the Tourist Information Centre.

The Mayor of Buckingham, Councillor Margaret Gateley, opened the meeting, giving a brief on how Buckingham Town Council has declared a Climate Emergency and developed its own Action Plan to drive the organisation toward carbon neutrality by 2030. The meeting had six tables, each with different discussion topic, with people moving around each table.

Participants were asked to share their ideas and consider the creation of a Community Climate Action Group to investigate ways of building a strong and resilient community to tackle the threat of the climate crisis in Buckingham. A full feedback report will be prepared and published within the next few weeks.

The new  Buckingham Community Climate Action Group needs more members.  Everyone is welcome.  You can register your interest and share your views at: https://forms.office.com/r/HrYdp4xvPV or scan the Qr code

Notes

 

  1. For enquiries about the Town Council, please contact Paul Hodson at Buckingham Town Council on 01280 816426, communications@buckingham-tc.gov.uk.

 

 

Buckingham Welcomes Refugees

As families across Buckinghamshire prepare to welcome refugees from Ukraine into their homes through family links or the Homes for Ukraine scheme, community groups, volunteers, hosts and the local councils have come together to offer structured support to incoming Ukrainians and their host families.

Information for host families and refugees

ANY PERSON HOSTING REFUGEES: make sure you have emailed Ukrainesupport@buckinghamshire.gov.uk and told Buckinghamshire Council that you will be hosting. They are told about hosts through the Homes for Ukraine scheme but aren’t automatically notified of family matches, if you let them know they will offer you support. This is also the email address for any queries about being a host or requesting support for the family you are hosting.

Some basic information about moving to Buckingham can be found through our New to Buckingham? page.

Information for individuals and groups offering support

ANY ORGANISATION PLANNING TO RUN A GROUP: asked to register with Buckinghamshire Council so that they can direct refugees in the area to your group.

ANY PERSON WANTING TO VOLUNTEER SUPPORT OR HOST REFUGEES: Please make sure you have completed your details on the Town Council contact form we’ll use this to create mailing lists and ensure all potential volunteers/host families are kept up to date on new opportunities to volunteer or places to find support.

Nest Boxes in Bourton Park

Sharp-eyed residents may have noticed some new nest boxes gracing the Willow trees in Bourton Park. The boxes have been built and installed by Buckingham’s wildlife volunteer Michael Hunt, who has worked for years alongside the Railway Walk Conservation group and an active member of the Buckingham Tree Wardens. The three new boxes contribute to bird conservation by providing additional nesting sites for wild birds such as blue tits, great tits and nuthatches.Volunteer Michael hunt installing nest boxes

All year-round volunteers, such as Michael, keep an eye on the birds at Railway Walk – monitoring them so we can find out which birds visit, which are resident, and which breed on the site. As well as telling us the health of the local bird population, the data also contributes to national bird recording schemes and helps the site to be managed for conservation. Every year, hundreds of volunteers across the UK submit observations of nests they have monitored.  The data is used to assess the impacts that changes in the environment, such as habitat loss and global warming, have on the number of fledglings that birds can rear. (A fledgling is a young bird who is ready to leave the nest). It is hoped that the new nest boxes in Bourton Park, that carry individual reference numbers, will contribute to the growing numbers of the UK’s bird populations.

Chair of Environment Committee, Cllr. Warren Whyte said: We are very grateful for the public spiritedness of Michael Hunt in making these wonderful nest boxes and making a really positive contribution to the town council’s climate action plan to protect and enhance our native species and habitats

For some top tips on putting up your own bird box, visit the British Trust for Ornithology.

 

 

 

Notes

 

  1. For enquiries, please contact Paul Hodson at Buckingham Town Council on 01280 816426, communications@buckingham-tc.gov.uk.

 

 

Report suspicious behaviour after Cemetery thefts

Buckingham Town Council has been liaising with the Neighbourhood Policing Team regarding several decorative items missing from individuals' graves. These disappearances are understandably upsetting for family and friends visiting the Cemetery and the Council is keen to ensure that these incidents stop.

The Council asks that all cemetery visitors ensure no valuable items are left on graves, and that any items that are left are secured in place. They also ask that if any visitor notices anything suspicious this is reported to the police.

Unfortunately, installing CCTV at the Cemetery is not possible as the area is too large for this to be viable and would be intrusive for those grieving.

Mrs. Innes who has had several items go missing from her son Peter Innes’ grave told us that “The distress and shock perpetrated following the discovery that two items, a Celtic stone and statue, placed on Peter’s grave by his brother have disappeared cannot be described.

Five items have gone missing in five years. Police are now involved and any further thefts can be reported online and dealt with seriously. Three items removed, including one returned after being publicised in the local paper and on social media, and a resin kestrel and cat, are inexpensive and available at Buckingham Garden centre. The recent items were placed on the grave by the brother of Peter and had greater significance. We do not understand why anyone needs these items or why they have been taken.

Please could the person who removed the Celtic stone and the statue, or anyone who knows of their whereabouts, place them back on the grave of Peter. The family would appreciate this act.

Following the removal of the Celtic stone and the statue, the family are grateful that the matter has been taken seriously and warning notices have been placed in the cemetery. The matter is being dealt with by the police, Town Council and other visitors.
Please report any suspicious activity in the cemetery to the police and the Town Council.”

Thames Valley Community Police met with Mrs. Innes and the Town Council Cemetery team, and said that “the local Neighbourhood Policing Team will continue to work with our partner agencies and deal with any such offences appropriately. We appreciate the sensitivity of the location and officers will be patrolling in the area. If you have any information that could assist the police, you can contact us online via our website or by calling 101. Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Bee-Friendly Buckingham

Buckingham Town Council is looking at ways of protecting and enhancing native  wildflowers species in order to support our declining bee population. We know that bees are vital to pollinate the food we need to survive and these hard workers need regular ‘snack-stops’ to provide enough energy to fly from their home to fields and gardens where they collect nectar, and pollinate plants in the process. Modern, manicured gardens, frequently lack the diversity of flowering plants that needed to help re-fuel these busy bees.

Buckingham Town Council has already turned over large swathes of its parkland to wildflower meadows and reviews its grass cutting schedule to ensure verges and hedges are trimmed less and later in the year to support more wildflowers and insectsbut this is not enough. Buckingham Town Council’s vision is, eventually, to have a network of bee corridors (which are planting schemes that link up different areas) so bees and other pollinators can travel easily from one area of wildflower planting to another. In order to start on the road toward a more Bee-Friendly town, we are encouraging residents to plant small sections of native wildflowers across Buckingham’s gardens, creating regular nectar ‘pit stops’ for our hard-working pollinators.

Councillors will be handing out free packets of native wildflower seeds at this year’s Celebrate Buckingham event on Thursday 2nd June 2022 from 11-2pm, in Buckingham’s Bourton Park.

The Town Council’s new initiative, Bee-Friendly Buckingham aims encourage the development of Bee-Friendly corridors by handing out free packets of wildflower seeds with instructions on how to create your own Bee-Friendly pot, plot or planter!

Cllr. Schaefer, Vice Chair of Environment Committee said: Pollinating insects, such as bees, are so important for a healthy environment and also for our own food security, yet they are in serious decline. We can all do a little bit to help them by sowing a small area of insect friendly, native wildflowers in our gardens or even on a windowsill.”

You can access more information and resources on how to support our insect pollinators at Buzzing Buck’s fantastic website. They have lots of advice from Creating Wilder Spaces in our communities to resources for helping each of us to get our homes and workplaces buzzing with wildlife.

Climate talks in Buckingham

This year’s Annual Town Meeting will be themed on Climate Change and is open to EVERYONE to attend and share ideas on how Buckingham can respond, as a community, to the Climate Crisis. It is hoped the meeting will identify Buckingham’s key themes for the initiation of a community led Climate Action Group. The meeting will have a series of information stall and six tables, each with different discussion topics on possible actions the community can undertake to accelerate their own response and resilience to ongoing climate impacts.

series of pictures themed on climate change

  • Energy & Housing
  • Transport
  • Waste
  • Food & Land
  • Community & Change for the Future
  • Other Issues within Buckingham

Buckingham Town Council has already declared a Climate Emergency and developed its own Action Plan to drive the organisation toward carbon neutrality by 2030 but how can the town’s population, organisations and businesses to work with us in that aim. This public meeting will bring together stakeholders from the community, local Councils, businesses and residents to:

  • discuss what has been achieved so far
  • share ideas on how we can all take action to achieve net zero carbon Buckingham

All members of the public are invited to come along. Town and Unitary Councillors will be in attendance to answer your queries on any other matters relating to Buckingham. However, if you have a burning question or feel passionately about a local issue that doesn’t get the attention it deserves then come along to one of our weekly Committee meetings. For more information on what to expect from a Town Council meeting please visit our website at: https://www.buckingham-tc.gov.uk/your-town-council/committees/attending-council-meeting/

Notes

 

  1. For enquiries, please contact Paul Hodson at Buckingham Town Council on 01280 816426, estates@buckingham-tc.gov.uk.

 

Three countries come together to celebrate Twinning of towns

Visitors from Neukirchen-Vluyn in Germany and Mouvaux in France will be visiting Buckingham this weekend to celebrate the friendship between the three towns. The Mayors of Buckingham and Neukirchen-Vluyn will sign the English version of the formal twinning between the two towns. The weekend also marks twenty years of Buckingham’s twinning with Mouvaux.

The visiting groups will include the Mayor of each town, and people involved with the twinning association in each area. Guests will be staying with host families in Buckingham and will spend time getting to know the town during the weekend visit.

To celebrate Buckingham Town Council is hosting Twinning in the Market, a light-hearted musical celebration of France, Germany and the UK. Three acts will perform: a mime artist, a German oompah band ‘Edelweiss All Stars’ and local morris dancers the Brackley Morris Men. Each act will be performing in front of the Old Gaol in Buckingham from 10 am until 2 pm on Saturday 19th March.

Part-funding for Twinning in the Market entertainment is being provided by the Government’s ‘Welcome Back Fund’ from Buckinghamshire Council.

Buckingham also hosts popular street and flea market each Saturday, and with French, German and Union Jack flags already out decorating the town centre and sunny weather forecast it should be a fantastic opportunity to get together and enjoy all that Buckingham and its twin towns have to offer.

Mayor of Buckingham, Cllr. Margaret Gateley, who will be welcoming the visitors said “It is a great honour and pleasure to welcome the Mayors of Mouvaux and Neukirchen-Vluyn alongside other guests to Buckingham this weekend for our long-awaited celebration of our three-way partnership. It is particularly important to further such friendships between nations in the light of what is going on elsewhere in our world.

Wildflower Information Boards

As part of the Town Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan it was agreed that the Council should protect and enhance native species and habitats, promoting and supporting opportunities for environmental enhancement and regeneration.

Since 2018 the Town Council has introduced 3 unique areas of wildflowers and, with the help of numerous local volunteers, planted swathes of native woodland bulbs across Bourton Park. All of the species have been carefully chosen by our knowledgeable Estates Manager to ensure they were native to the UK and well suited to the environment in which they were planted.

The wildflower meadows have proven extremely popular with visitors to the park, receiving lots of positive comments across social media and in the local newspaper.

Since the coronavirus pandemic led to restrictions on people’s movements and activities, many have learned to see their surroundings with fresh eyes, and have come to view the streets and parks where they live in a new light, discovering walks, trails and landmarks they had not realised were there before.

In 2020, in order to enhance visitors’ enjoyment of the park the Town Council’s Environment Committee agreed to install wildflower illustration boards, fixed at regular intervals, to the new fencing surrounding the junior play area in Bourton Park. Each board displays a watercolour illustration and short description of a native wildflower species, commonly found in Buckingham.

The panels provide further information or insight into the importance of wildflowers to our environment and entice visitor’s sense of curiosity and discovery and inform people as to the strong cultural bonds that exist with species such as:

Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor)
And where high grasses wave Shall great moon-daisies blink’ With rattle and sorrel sharp And Robin’s ragged pink’–    Robert Bridges, “The Idle Flowers”

Often used to create a bright yellow dye, Yellow Rattle’s striking bright yellow flowers with white lips are a sight to behold. When you brush through a wildflower meadow at the height of summer and you’ll hear the seeds of this flower rattling in their brown pods, this is why it is called Yellow Rattle.

Another excellent example of wildlife education boards can be found in Scott’s Lane, Maids Moreton, where the local conservation group have commissioned local artists to create 12 monthly illustrations raising awareness of the different kinds of wildlife in the environment where the panel is situated. One of the local artists, Fiona Hancock has created 9 beautiful watercolour images of our chosen flowers for use on the Bourton Park illustration boards.

New signs celebrate Buckingham’s friendship with France and German towns

Mayor of Buckingham, Cllr. Margaret Gateley and Stephanie Scrase, Chair of Buckingham Twinning Association met recently to inspect the new ‘finger post’ sign that directs Buckingham visitors 405 miles away to Neukirchen-Vluyn, in Germany. Neukirchen-Vluyn joins Mouvaux, 252 miles away in France, as a twin town of Buckingham with officials and community groups working together in all three countries to make positive connections between the three towns.

As well as the new fingerpost signage, the Welcome to Buckingham signs have also been updated to include Neukirchen-Vluyn, and a new display added to the Council Chamber window with items donated from the Twinning Association and the Town Council archives. These include guide books, visit accounts, photographs, a boules set and a french ‘cheese’ a hollow wooden block used to bang the gavel against during Council meetings.

Stephanie Scrase, Chair of Buckingham Twinning Association said that: “These new signs are a testimony of an incredible and friendly town who has worked hard to promote friendship to its neighbouring countries.

It gives me a warm feeling every time I see the signs linking my home town of Mouvaux and Neukirchen–Vluyn with Buckingham. These three towns are firmly linked on many levels, so many friendships and exchanges have developed over the past 20 years thanks to twinning, long may it last.

The association is run for the benefit of all, to form new friendships or to know more about twinning, please come and join us.”

The new signs were erected ahead of a weekend of celebration including Twinning in the Market on Saturday 19th March - a celebration of our twin towns through music and dance surrounded by Buckingham's fantastic local market traders.