From building bridges to pianist wanted: volunteering in Buckingham

Interested in helping your community? There's a huge number of community groups in Buckingham - each one powered by a small army of volunteers.

Whether you want to help build literal bridges, provide fun and support for young carers, play the piano for a panto, greet museum visitors, or be a projectionist at the cinema there's a community group in Buckingham that would love to have your help!

At this year’s Celebrate Buckingham Day, Buckingham Town Council filmed interviews with eight different community groups about their opportunities to volunteer in Buckingham and shared the results on their YouTube channel.

The video makes up part of our fantastic new web page promoting and supporting local community groups – offering them opportunities to recruit volunteers for free, share what they’re doing and apply for grants.

Chair of the Communications Strategy Working Group Cllr. Jon Harvey said that: “Volunteering is the lifeblood of our town. This has been even more apparent during the last few months when many, many people stepped forward to help their neighbours, strangers and the wider community as we all faced extraordinary and difficult times together.

Your Town Council is committed to doing all that we can to nurture, support and develop volunteering in our town. We keep track of local organisations that need volunteers and endeavour to connect people’s desires to ‘do something for others’ with those organisations that need willing volunteers.

Don’t forget research shows that volunteering has a positive effect on our mental health and wellbeing. Volunteering is good for everyone: the volunteers, the people benefitting from the work and our whole community!"

Residents turn out to Celebrate Buckingham

Following the delay in lifting Covid regulations until 19th July, Buckingham Town Council decided to postpone Celebrate Buckingham which was originally due to take place in July, until Saturday 4th September.

Organised by Buckingham Town Council and the Buckingham Society the event was arranged to celebrate the range of voluntary organisations who are serving the town, and to enable local groups to raise funds and recruit volunteers and to bring residents together.  The day also included the Buckingham Society’s annual Civic Day event and award giving.

This was the first time the event had been held – the overwhelming feedback to the Town Council has been that another event should be planned for next year!  The Council are currently making plans for events in 2022, and would be happy to hear any suggestions, and particularly from any groups or individuals who are interested in holding events next year.

The event took place under blue skies in the paddock in Bourton Park.  Members of the public where given the opportunity to see Buckingham’s new Mayor Cllr Margaret Gateley formally robed for the first time.   There was also the presentation of civic awards and the Town Council awards which were presented by The Buckingham Civic Society and Mayor Cllr Margaret Gateley.  Hundreds of people attended the event.  Entertainment was provided by the Winslow Concert Band and the ever enthusiastic Buckingham Ukulele group.  The Council arranged for bouncy castles and food vans to ensure there were plenty of reasons for residents to stay and enjoy the day.

Community groups

Organisations that took part in the event included Bux & Oxon 4 x 4 Response Group (BORG) worked hard all day escorting vehicles safely through the park. Every organisation provided an activity.  The Angling Association held a maggot racing competition.  The Buckingham Society ran a bowling for the pig stall (actually, bowling for butcher’s or supermarket voucher) and the Buckingham Pantomime Group offered pantomime characters in stocks for children to throw wet sponges at.  There were opportunities to splat rats, find treasure and try the lucky dip.  There were 24 stalls in all, each of which were busy all day.

Several groups were not able to attend either because they are still regrouping after Covid, or some members were Covid positive on the day.  So it is hoped that future events will be bigger and better!

Mayor Making

Mayor Making is normally held in the Buckingham Community Centre in the presence of distinguished, invited guests.  This was not possible this year due to Covid restrictions.  So the Council decided to hold the event in the open air for the first time at the beginning of the Celebrate Buckingham event.  The Mayor, Town Clerk and Mace Bearer formally processed the town’s mace across the field to begin proceedings.  Councillor Martin Try explained the history of the elements of the Mayor’s regalia.  The ceremony was watched by more people than is normally possible, and enabled the town’s historic assets to be enjoyed in a more open and inclusive event than is normally possible.

Councillor Gateley said, “It is a great honour to have been chosen as the 256th Mayor of Buckingham. It was wonderful to be part of the amazing celebration on Saturday in Bourton Park, a fantastic setting for the event. I was delighted to be able to present awards to some of our community’s outstanding volunteers, who have made such a difference over the last difficult year. My thanks go to them, and to all the voluntary groups represented. The day was also enhanced by the music provided by the Winslow Concert Band and Buckingham Ukulele Group. Thanks to everyone who came and to the Town Council teams who made all the arrangements."


A number of awards were made to individuals and group who have made a significant contribution to Buckingham. Full details are available on our awards announcement.

Celebrate Buckingham: Awards

The Mayor of Buckingham Cllr. Margaret Gateley was delighted to be formally 'robed' at the first ever Celebrate Buckingham Day.

Margaret went on to award the following individuals in groups with prizes for their exceptional contribution to the town.

Freewomen of Buckingham

The Honorary Freemen/women Award was presented to previous councillors, Ruth Newell and Christine Strain-Clark for their valuable and dedicated service over their 30 and 26 years as Town Councillors. These awards are one of the most prestigious awards which a council can bestow upon a valued member of the community, or upon a visiting celebrity or dignitary. It arises from the medieval practice of granting respected citizens freedom from serfdom.

Friend of Buckingham

Friend of Buckingham is awarded to individuals who have shown exceptional and outstanding contribution to the local community. This years awards were given to:

  • Dr. Roger Harrington for his work with the Buckingham Alms-house charity and the Buckingham Hospital League of Friends
  • Right Hon. Jon Bercow in recognition of his time as Member of Parliament for Buckingham.
  • Beverly Stockill for her work with the Buckingham Community Food Bank

Special Town council Awards

  • Sports & Arts Award: Lace Hill Association
  • Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Organisation of the Year: Buckingham Rotary Club and all the volunteers that supported the Covid-19 and Flu vaccination programmes.
  • Natural Environment and Climate Champion: Stowe Sub Aqua Club for their continued support of the River Rinses.
  • Mayor's Prize for Outstanding Young Person: Sulayman for his exemplary and inspirational management of the Buckingham Free School Meals programme.

The Buckingham Society awarded their annual Trader of the Year award to all the traders of Buckingham in recognition of the difficult times they have been going through. Mary Simonds, of the Traders Association, accepted the award on all traders behalf.

The Buckingham Rotary Club awarded Young Citizen of the Year to Sulayman for his management of the Buckingham Free School Meals Programme and Citizen of the Year to Janet Knicks.

Celebrate Buckingham Day Postponed until 4th September

Celebrate Buckingham has been postponed until 4th September, following the delay in lifting Covid regulations until 19th July.  Buckingham Town Council has decided to postpone the event which was planned for this Saturday until Saturday 4th September.

Celebrate Buckingham is being organised by Buckingham Town Council and the Buckingham Society to celebrate the range of voluntary organisations who are serving the town, enable local groups to raise funds and recruit volunteers,  and to bring residents together.

The event will take place in Bourton Park where you will be able to see the robing of Buckingham’s Mayor Cllr Margaret Gateley.   There will also been the presentation of civic awards and the Town Council awards which will be presented by The Buckingham Civic Society and Mayor Cllr Margaret Gateley.  Two long serving councillors who retired in May will be made Honorary Freewomen of the town.  Bouncy castles, food vans and entertainment will be provided.

Cllr Robin Stuchbury, Chairman of the Town Centre & Events Committee said: “I hope to see as many people in September as were intending to join us in July, so that we can all mark the personal achievements of groups and organisations as well as individuals together celebrating what’s best about Buckingham and its wonderful community.”

For further updates on the event, please check the Buckingham Town Council website or follow the Council’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts using @buckinghamTC.


Bourton Park bridges to close for essential maintenance work

This summer, four Bourton Park bridges will be closed, one at a time, to complete essential maintenance work. While the work is taking place the bridges will be closed to the public. Diversion signs will be in place showing alternative footpaths to cross the river Great Ouse.

Work is scheduled to start on 12th July and last 12 to 17 weeks in total. The schedule of work is as follows, although changes may be made if required:

  • Bridge 3 (near the Bourton Park paddock, also known as Fool’s Crossing) starting on 12th July, closure in place for 2-3 weeks.
  • Bridge 4 (Otter pond) starting in late July to August, closure in place for 3-4 weeks.
  • Bridge 5 (near the footpath to Akister Close) in late August, closure in place for 3-4 weeks.
  • Bridge 1 (Bourton park carpark) in September, closure in place for 4-6 weeks.

The Town Council sincerely appreciates resident’s patience while the work goes ahead, and has taken steps to ensure that as little disruption as possible is caused.

Regular Bourton Park attendees Buckingham parkrun are making alternative arrangements to their usual running routes while the work takes place

Interim Full Council and Planning Working Group 28th June 2021

Members of the Council met last night in person at Lace Hill Sports & Community Centre. The following matters were discussed:

Interim Full Council:

  • Members AGREED to oppose the Amended Planning Application for a residential development of up to 420 dwellings off Osier Way and one new access off Gawcott Road.
  • Oxford-Milton Keynes and Peterborough-Northampton-Oxford connectivity studies – Members agreed a response to the Online Consultation.

Planning Working Group:

  • A Member of the public attended the Public Session to raise concerns over 18/04626/APP Garage site 456999g Overn Crescent.
  • Members considered five planning applications and decided to recommend to oppose four of the five applications received from Buckinghamshire Council.

Town Centre and Events Working Group 21st June 2021

Last night the Town Centre & Events Working Group met to discuss the upcoming programme of summer events and future events ideas.

A member of the public spoke at the beginning of the meeting to raise Councillors’ awareness of a flooding incident at March Edge, Linden Village on the 18th June 2021.

During the meeting:

  • Members agreed to progress arrangements for a promenade between Stowe Gardens and Buckingham town centre, and to explore options for a multi-cultural celebration evening.
  • It was agreed to postpone the Celebrate Buckingham Day in Bourton Park from the 10th July to the 4th September 2021.
  • The next Bardic Election has been arranged for the 5th October 2021 at The Woolpack, Buckingham.
  • Members discussed a draft programme of events for Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June 2022 and agreed to review a further plan at the next meeting
  • The following list of forthcoming events was noted:
    • Buckingham Fringe Week 19th – 25th July
    • Play Around the Parishes 26th July, 9th August, 23rd August
    • Children’s Outdoor Theatre, 16th August
    • Bandjam 29th August
    • Celebrate Buckingham 4th September
    • River Rinse Sept date to be confirmed
    • Dog Show 12th September
    • River Rinse October date to be confirmed
    • Local Democracy Event 15th October
    • Charter Fair 16th October
    • Charter Fair 23rd October
    • Halloween Disco 30th October
    • Bonfire & Fireworks 6th November
    • Remembrance Day Parade 14th November
    • Winter Fair Lace Hill 21st November
    • Christmas Light Switch On 27th November
    • Christmas Parade 11th December
    • Community Fair 11th December

£28,481 given to charities and voluntary groups in Buckingham

In May 2021, the Town Council gave grants totalling £28,481 to projects and activities beneficial to the people of Buckingham.

Due to the profound impact of Coronavirus on Buckingham, some of last year's grant projects were not able to take place and the funding that had been awarded was unclaimed. Unused funding from the previous year was made available to 2021/22 applicants in order to help groups impacted by Coronavirus bounce back stronger than ever.

Two projects from last year are also continuing through 2021 due to changes of circumstances. This includes Swan Community Hub’s Job Club: giving extra support to residents who have lost their job and would benefit from completely free help with job applications, CVs and interview practice.

This year the Town Council is supporting: after school activities for young people, financial advice, palliative and end of life nursing care at home, a classical music festival, LED lighting, installation of a baby change table, bus trips for isolated people and much more.

Mayor of Buckingham, Cllr. Margaret Gateley met the grants recipients’ outdoors on the 14th June to distribute the grant cheques and hear more about the projects that are being funded. Cllr. Gateley said that “It was a great pleasure to meet representatives from many of the voluntary groups which support and enrich our community.  These organisations have been especially important and have made a real difference during the difficult time experienced by many people over the last year. It is good that the Town Council is able to support them as they continue their work in the coming year.”

For full details of the amounts given and to whom, please see the table below:

Citizens Advice Bucks£ 5,346 per annum
(3 year grant)
Free expert advice on a range of issues including financial advice.
Bucks Youth Clubs Ltd£ 5,200 per annum
(3 year grant)
After school youth sessions and trips for young people with trained staff
Buckingham Old Gaol£ 3,000 per annum
(3 year grant)
Maintaining this unique museum and it’s local history exhibits
Buckingham Summer Festival£ 2,000Summer classical music festival
Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity£ 2,000Palliative and end of life care in Buckingham.
Stowe Sub Aqua Club£ 1,500Increasing banked air capacity so more people can take part
Buckingham West End Bowls Club£ 1,500LED lighting to improve environmental impact of building.
Buckingham Area Rural Transport£ 1,200Trips into Buckingham by bus from rural areas
Project Street Life£ 1,200Residential activities weekend away for young people
Buckingham Lawn Tennis Club£ 1,000Repainting and relining of the Tennis courts
Chandos Park Bowls Club£ 1,000Bowling green maintenance
The Slade Recreation Club£ 1,000Replacement of fire doors
Friends of the Old Gaol£ 830Museum bathroom refurbishment including baby changing table
Buckingham Churches Children's Holiday Club£ 750Insurance, copying and other admin costs
Open House£ 600Supports people who are no longer carers. Transport costs for day trips for members
Buckingham & District Angling Association£ 355Repair of fishing areas and access pathways
TOTAL:£ 28,481

Mayor of Buckingham, Cllr. Margaret Gateley, met the grants recipients to hand out their awards in June 2021

Environment Working Group 14th June and Communications Strategy Working Group 10th June

Last night the Environment Working Group met, amongst other matters the following was discussed:

  • Cllr. Warren Whyte as Chair and Cllr. Anja Schaefer appointed as Vice-Chair of the Environment Working Group for 2021/22.
  • Street lighting – Members agreed for a consultation and review of Buckingham’s streetlights to explore putting in extra illumination.
  • The first Draft of the Community Flood Response Plan was noted and Members will seek to establish a Working Group after the publication of Buckinghamshire Council’s Section 19 report.
  • The Estates Team are researching options for commissioning a Holocaust Memorial Stone in Bourton Park
  • Members agreed to support the proposal to set up a repair café in Buckingham.
    Office Recycling facilities to be setup in all Town council premises

Last week the Communications Strategy Working Group met to discuss:

  • Cllr. Jon Harvey was selected as Chair and Cllr. Martin Try as Vice-Chair of the Communications Strategy Working Group for 2021/22.
  • Progress with the Summer 2021 newsletter and content for the Autumn 2021 edition.
  • Progress on developing the Town Council website and ideas for it’s improvement.
  • Annual statistical reports.
  • The purchase of additional signage to advertise Summer events.

New Councillor Fran Davies, Interim Council 7th June and Planning Working Group 8th June

After a meeting of the Interim Council on 7th June 2021, Fran Davies was selected by co-option to join Buckingham Town Council and fill a vacancy in the South Ward that remained after the May elections.

Cllr. Fran Davies said: “I am honoured and delighted to have been accepted by The Mayor and Buckingham Town Councillors as a co-opted member for the people of Buckingham South.

I will be continuing as a Parish Councillor for Radclive-cum-Chackmore and I look forward to the challenges of representing a wider number of people and hope to be able to help them the best I can. I am particularly interested in environmental and green issues and community events and am keen to get involved in both existing and new projects.”

Other topics covered by the Interim Council on 7th June included:

At the Planning Working Group meeting on the 8th June topics included:

  • A resident attended the public session to discuss issues with Candleford Court
  • 3 Planning Applications, all with no objections from members
  • Changes to the Buckinghamshire Council constitution and the impact on planning
  • Enforcement and other planning matters to report around Buckingham.