Buckingham Otter Trail

Otter-Tastic Summer

The Buckingham Otter Trail will be a free, fun, family-friendly sculpture event with ten individually painted 3ft tall otters, located throughout the town centre during summer 2021.

Why are we doing it?

The town council is organising this event to help drive footfall and economic spend to the town. It will bring the community together and people will enjoy visually accessible public art. It's also an opportunity to create something new and exciting for the Buckingham Fringe Week, even with social distancing restrictions in place. Above all, public art adds enormous value to the cultural wellbeing of a community and it's enjoyed by people of all ages. The trail will be launched during Fringe Week and will continue through the summer.

Become a sponsor

Local businesses, organisations and community groups, are invited to sponsor an otter sculpture for a reasonable price of £175. There are so many reasons to be involved. From great PR opportunities to being part of an amazing town-wide event! Your name  and logo will be used on all promotional material and most importantly your name will be on a plaque. There is limited availability so do not delay and get in touch today.
For more information please email: admin@buckinghamtc.gov.uk

Fun Fact Friday: Lark Rise to Candleford

Larkrise to Candleford is a famous novel that showcases how a young Flora Thompson grew up in the scenic Buckinghamshire countryside. Flora wrote poems and short stories for many years but it was not until 1945 that the Lark Rise trilogy was published. Before that, the stories were published separately as Lark Rise in 1939, Over to Candleford in 1941 and Candleford Green in 1943.

The stories relate to three communities: the hamlet of Juniper Hill (Lark Rise), where Flora grew up; Buckingham (Candleford), where Flora visited and the nearby village of Fringford (Candleford Green), where Flora got her first job in the Post Office.

Candleford is a combination of Banbury, Bicester and Buckingham. Throughout the book, Candleford is highlighted as a special and realistic type of place, showing how typical village life was like at the end of the 19th century. The stories are told in the third person by ‘Laura’, a version of the author’s childhood self who observes events directly, while the adult author is also present as a second narrator, commenting and reflecting on past events.

Due to Flora Thompson writing her account of previous events that happened nearly forty years after, she was able to identify the period as a pivotal point in rural history: the time when the quiet, close-knit and peaceful rural culture, governed by the seasons, began a transformation. This transformation saw the start of agricultural modernisation, better communications and urban growth which you can see in today’s society. This transformation is not explicitly described but it appears as a fable, for example in Laura’s first visit to Candleford without her parents: the journey from her tiny village to the sophisticated town, represented the worldly changes that would affect her whole community in the future. How do you think Buckingham would have appeared back then?

You can still very much feel Flora Thompson’s presence within these locations, Buckingham especially. One reason for this is because her uncle had owned a factory in Markham’s Court where she would make regular visits too. Another reason is because Buckingham’s Old Gaol Museum has an exhibition all about Flora Thompson’s life and works which was formally opened on 25th May 2007 to coincide with the sixtieth anniversary of her death. It is the only permanent, viewable exhibition of Flora Thompson memorabilia in the world. The display has been augmented over the years with costumes and props from the BBC film production of “Lark Rise to Candleford” and many artefacts from the museum’s collections that illustrate the life and times of the local rural communities that Flora wrote about so eloquently in her books.

Buckingham Town Council freezes budget

Buckingham Town Council has voted to maintain the same budget for 2021/22 as the council has provided for in the current year. At the Town Council meeting held to set the budget councillors voted to raise £903,990 through Council Tax in total, the same as for the current year. However, in the coming year the cost will be shared amongst slightly fewer people. This has been caused by an increase in the number of houses claiming Council Tax benefit, and less homes being completed in 2020 than forecast. This means that to maintain the current budget of £903,930, the annual cost for a Band D household will be £173.27, an increase of £4.21 or just over 8p per week.

The Council provides a wide range of services compared to those run by neighbouring councils, including:

• Public toilets in Cornwalls Meadow and Chandos Park
• Tourist Information Centre
• Shopmobility
• Lace Hill Sports and Community Centre
• Brackley Road Cemetery
• Bourton Park
• 5 play areas
• Annual programme of over 20 events including the fireworks display and Fringe Week
• Defending and refreshing the Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan
• Providing grants to local community groups

Councillor Geraldine Collins, Mayor of Buckingham, said: “The Town Council has done its utmost to keep any increase to our residents as low as possible, whilst ensuring our services are maintained at the expected level. I hope you will agree this has been achieved.”

Buxplore is now on Google Play!

Eight months after its initial launch, Buckingham’s very own heritage exploration app Buxplore has been used by a fantastic 2,700 people! To celebrate, the app is now going to be available to download directly from the Google Play store.

Download Buxplore from the Google Play store!

This moment is a fantastic milestone for the community project, which was created by Buckingham Town Council working with local schools, the Old Gaol museum and the Buckingham Society, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players through the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Buxplore is a fun and interactive heritage exploration app. Answering questions you might have had whilst walking around Buckingham from ‘what is that?’, ‘who lived here?’ and ‘what used to be there?’ with interactive trails on a number of themes, including an introduction to local Heritage for Kids, the Stowe House parkland and a challenging murder mystery!

All of the Buxplore app routes can be completed by walking around Buckingham. Lots of users have told us that a trip out trying Buxplore has livened up their daily exercise. You can also use Buxplore from home using ‘virtual mode’ if you are self-isolating.

The Town Council is currently working on several new routes and upgrades to the app. Suggestions from the public about features you’d like to see are welcome. Please email office@buckingham-tc.gov.uk with your ideas.

Cllr. Mike Smith Chair of the Economic Development Working Group who started the project said “The Buxplore project, which has involved inputs by local groups and many individuals, has already proved to be a valuable asset for local people and visitors to fully explore our historic and picturesque town. Indeed, the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic has seen many "armchair explorers" amazed at what they could learn about their home town. Perhaps most pleasing has been the engagement of our younger townsfolk - good grounding for a lifetime of heritage appreciation.

The National Heritage Lottery Fund has certainly enabled us to create a worthwhile and engaging addition to our numerous other reasons to fully enjoy our lovely town and all it has to offer, and we are most grateful to them".

Buxplore logo
Two children touch ammonite set into a brick wall
National Lottery Heritage Fund logo

Download Buxplore from the Google Play store!

Become a Town Councillor: Stand for Election on May 6th 2021

Interested in representing Buckingham as a Councillor?

If you would like the opportunity to represent Buckingham as a Town Councillor or a Buckinghamshire Council Councillor now is the time to stand for election.

Applications to stand are called nomination papers and must be received between Monday 22nd March and 4pm Thursday 8th April. Nomination papers must be handed in, in person, to the election office in Aylesbury. Read this detailed letter to Town and Parish Council candidates for more information about the process:

Town Councillors represent Buckingham is a number of areas from the management of parks and green spaces, to acting as a consultee for planning applications and local events.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Town Councillor, come along to our open information session Monday 8th March 2021, at 7pm on Zoom. For details of how to log on and join the meeting, please email the Town Clerk at townclerk@buckingham-tc.gov.uk, If you cannot attend, or would like any more information about the role, do email us or call the office on the number below.

If you haven't done so before, you may also find it useful to attend a Town Council meeting.

The (Local) Returning Officer will be holding virtual briefings via Microsoft Teams for candidates and agents. For the Aylesbury election areas this is 4pm on Wednesday 10 March. If you’d like to attend one of the briefings please email elections@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

There is more information about Buckinghamshire Council's responsibilities and how to stand for election as a Buckinghamshire Councillor on their website.

Buckingham Town Matters Spring Newsletter

The Spring edition of the Buckingham Town Matters newsletter is now out for delivery and will be with residents soon. This edition includes some topics on the Buckingham survey, flooding, town action commission for trees and everything you need to know about the upcoming local elections.

If you prefer to listen to your local updates, try our audio version. This edition is read by Buckingham Town Councillor, Mike Smith.

We hope you enjoy and make sure to keep an eye out for updates on the next edition; Summer 2021.

Wellbeing Wednesday: Mental Wellbeing During A Pandemic

Taking care of your mind as well as your body is really important if Coronavirus means you are still spending a lot of time at home. You may feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also feel low or anxious, or concerned about your finances, your health or those close to you but it’s important to remember that it’s okay to feel this way. The tips and advice here come from the Department of Public Health and Mind, and are things you can do to help you keep on top of your mental wellbeing.

Stay connected with others

Maintaining healthy relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. Think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family. This could be through a simple phone call, video call or even a text message. Try to set aside some time in your day or week to check in with others because they might need just as much support as you do.

Talk about your worries

Remember that it is okay to share your concerns with others you trust. If you cannot speak to someone you know or if doing so has not helped, there are plenty of helplines you can try instead.

  • Call CALM on 0800 58 58 58
  • Call Samaritans on 0330 094 5717 or text 116 123.
  • Call Mind Infoline on 0300 123 3393
  • Text SHOUT on 85258 to reach crisis volunteers 24/7. Texts are free.

Look after your body

Our physical health can also impact how we feel. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, stay hydrated and exercise regularly. Going for a walk, run or bike ride is a great way to lift your mood and clear your head. Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. But it doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good, slower-paced activities such as walking can be just as beneficial. Need some inspiration? Take a look at some of our blog posts outlining activities that can help you to stay active during this time.

Keep your mind active

Make an effort to focus on your favourite hobby. However, if you don’t have one, picking something new to learn at home might also help to stop feeling anxious or worried. This is because continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and higher levels of wellbeing. So, why not learn something new today? You could read, write, play games, do crosswords, complete Sudoku puzzles or even start to draw or paint. Whatever it is, find something that works for you.

Get as much sunlight, fresh air and nature as you can

Bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. It can improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress, and make you feel more relaxed. There are plenty of lovely open parks and greenspaces within Buckingham that you can utilise on your daily outings; don’t miss out on beautiful free experiences in your local area!

Lace Hill Sports & Community Centre Assistant Job Vacancy

Job Advert

Community Centre Assistant / Caretaker

Maternity Leave Cover (Zero Hour Contract)

Lace Hill Sports and Community Centre

Up to 12 Hours per week (evening and weekend work required)

£9.62 per hour

Note: This role is a five-month temporary maternity cover position. Immediate start for the right candidate.

We have an exciting opportunity for someone to join our team to assist the Lace Hill Sports and Community Centre Coordinator in the smooth, effective and efficient running of the Centre and all associated services.

Tasks will include:

  • Inspections and cleaning of all rooms, ensuring they are presentable, clean and tidy and good housekeeping is maintained at all times
  • Liaising with hirers and setting up rooms - this will involve manual handling such as lifting / moving / setting up / packing away of furniture e.g. tables, chairs, equipment cages
  • Opening, security and locking of the centre

The post will primarily involve evening and weekend working, and we are seeking a flexible person as the days and hours of work may vary depending on the needs and use of the centre. It may be possible to allocate the hours around personal circumstances for the right candidate.

Closing date for applications: 1700hrs on Friday 19th March.

For an informal discussion about the role please contact Sam Hoareau, Centre Coordinator on 01280 812 872. Clink the links below to download and complete the full application pack:

Applications should be submitted by email to: lacehillcentre@buckingham-tc.gov.uk

Successful applicants will be subject to receipt of suitable references.

Collage of events at Lace Hill Sports & Community Centre

 

Wellbeing Wednesday: Accessible for All

Many people struggle with mobility problems which hinders them in being able to do the things they’d like too every day. This doesn’t mean that you have to stay indoors though, you can still reap all of the benefits by doing simple activities that can keep your bodies and minds healthy. Whether you’re someone who has restricted mobility, is housebound or is just looking for easy ways to keep active, here are some things you can try.

SilverSneakers GO

This app is tailored to older adults at every fitness level. When you're doing a workout, you can adjust each easy-to-follow exercise based on your comfort level by tapping your intensity level of choice: easier, standard, or harder. There's also different programs you can do including strength, walking, and meditation which can help you reach any health goals you might have.

How to get started:

  • Download SilverSneakers Go from the Google or Apple play store and then create an account.
  • Log in to your account.
  • Once you are logged in, you will be able to access the main dashboard which shows you Your Activities, Fitness Classes that are run via Zoom, Locations you can Explore and Your Progress.

Alternative Yoga

Staying home doesn't have to mean staying out of shape. Homebound individuals can be as fit and healthy as possible in a variety of ways. Simple calf raises and stretching can be done while watching TV or reading a newspaper. If you have a set of light hand weights or cans of beans and soup in your cupboard, they can be used to maintain their upper and lower body strength as well as aiding flexibility and bone strength. If you can manage getting out for a daily walk, why not try bench yoga? It not only has the benefits of regular yoga, such as helping with stress, pain, and fatigue but it can also help with joint lubrication, balance, and even age-specific issues like menopause and arthritis. So when you are out on your daily walk, why not find a bench and practice some yoga. It’s really simple to do; start by moving your wrists, arms or legs up and down or side to side. You can even try other movements like standing up and then sitting back down for even more prosperity.

Shopmobility

Please note that due to current restrictions, Shopmobility is currently closed but will reopen as soon as we are able to do so.

If you or a member of your family are in Buckingham and are finding it hard to move around with ease, head to our Shopmobility centre where you can access a scooter to drive around on.

The Buckingham Shopmobility Service is a free scheme sponsored by Buckingham Town Council that allows anyone with a mobility problem, whether temporary or permanent, not just Blue Badge Holders, to get out and about in Buckingham town centre.

Worried about parking? Don’t be, there are allocated free parking spaces for Shopmobility users, next to the Shopmobility building that is situated in Cornwall's Meadow Car park, Buckingham. There are electric mobility scooters and manual wheelchairs available and the wheelchairs can be folded for loading into a vehicle for home use, hospital appointments, visits to local events and places of interest.

For more information, please call Shopmobility on 07738 314 027 or email TIC@buckingham-tc.gov.uk.

Online Activities

A computer and Internet connection can help keep homebound individuals fully engaged, and even social. Through the Internet, elderly people can research favourite hobbies, chat with others, and stay informed. There is also an abundance of games they can access too such as interactive Bingo or mental brain training to keep the mind sharp! It’s also very important that housebound individuals keep in touch with family members and see loved ones in real time on their computer screen.

Hobbies

What if I’m not tech savvy or don’t have internet? The internet is a great tool to enhance your daily life but it’s not mandatory to have in order for you to feel fulfilled. For instance, if you can no longer get to your local library because of low mobility, a book lover can subscribe to an online book rental service or host a monthly book club at home to share the love of literacy while socializing. For the gardener out there, they might not be able to access their own green space so rather than give up, they could make indoor potted plants or a mini-garden on windowsills for an acceptable substitute. I would encourage anyone who struggles with their mobility to try exploring new hobbies or perhaps loved past times. You never know, you might have some fun!

Possible Exercise Locations

Chandos Park Circle Path with Bench
Lacehill field and play area with bench
Bourton Park near River

Wellbeing Wednesday: Buxplore Green Route Activities

Outlined below are lots of fun and exciting activities that the whole family can enjoy together both outdoors and indoors from Leaf Art and Willow Crown making to Pooh Sticks and Shadow Tag gaming! You can do these activities in various places around Buckingham like Pooh Sticks from one of the Bourton Park bridges, Building a Den along Railway Walk or maybe even a Twig Maze in Chandos Park; lovely memories can be created anywhere. What will be your favourite activity?

Places to try these activities are highlighted on the Buxplore Green Trail!

Download Buxplore from the Google Play store!

Leaf art can be a fun and easy craft for all children to enjoy outdoors and indoors! The simplest version of leaf art is by using leaves to create wonderful and imaginative pictures whereas, more advanced leaf art requires you to take leaves home and then press and paint them to create cool and colourful pieces of artwork.

What will you need for simple Leaf?

  • Lots of Leaves all different shapes, sizes and colours
  • You can also include stones, sticks or nuts – Forage away!

How to make simple Leaf Art?

  • Collect lots of leaves and stones, sticks or nuts of your choice and place them on the ground
  • With your materials, start positioning them to create a picture
  • Once your picture is complete, take a photo to remember what you made

What you will need for advanced Leaf Art?

  • Leaves
  • Paper
  • Paint
  • Plate or Palette
  • Small Paint Roller
  • Newspaper or Paper Towels

How to make advanced Leaf Art?

  • Choose leaves that are still fresh and pliable. Leaves that are dried will not work, as they usually snap and crumble when pressed or worked on.
  • Lay newspapers down to protect your work surface.
  • Select a piece of paper for your leaf print and then squeeze a little paint onto a small plate or palette.
  • Paint the surface of the leaf with paint. This is best done by placing the leaf on kitchen paper towel and painting over using a small paint roller suitable for craft projects and make sure the entire leaf is covered.
  • Gently flip the leaf paint side down onto the paper and then carefully but firmly press on the leaf to ensure that the leaf touches the paper.
  • Peel the leaf from the paper and then you should have a printed mirror image of your leaf.
  • Repeat the previous steps again with the same leaf and or different leaves. The same leaf can be used up to six times before it ceases to leave an acceptable imprint. And by adding different sorts of leaves, you can build a pretty pattern or design for gift paper, cards, a painting, or any other paper craft project.
  • Let the paintwork dry and then frame your masterpiece!

Dens make perfect bird watching hides, as well as shelters and basecamps for woodland walks. Building a den is also great fun for the whole family and a wonderful way to spend time together, so head outdoors and try building your dream den!

Den making materials:

  • Long, straight branches and sticks
  • Lots of thin, bendy sticks
  • Dried leaves, twigs and grass

Make sure to not break off living branches from trees or bushes to ensure you don’t damage them. If you use any unnatural materials such as string or rope, remember to take them home at the end of the day.

How to build your den?

Coming up with your own den design is part of the fun, but here are a couple of simple ideas to get you started.

Tepee-style den

  • Find a tree with a fork in the branches that's quite low down.
  • Make a frame by propping some long, straight sticks in the fork and fanning them out. Also make sure that any branches are really secure – you don't want them slipping.
  • Weave bendy sticks in and out of the upright sticks to make the walls. Leave a gap at head height for a window.
  • Cover your den with natural materials so it's camouflaged and weatherproof.
  • Then scatter a carpet of dried leaves on the floor to make your den extra cosy.

Tent-shaped den

  • Find two forked trees that are close together and place a long stick between them.
  • Prop a row of sticks against it on each side so you end up with a tent shape.
  • Weave your bendy sticks in and out of the upright and add your plant materials to furnish.

Make a mini den

This activity is a lovely way for very small children to have a go at den building.

  • Simply collect a handful of small sticks and prop them up against a tree trunk
  • Then make the inside of the den nice and cosy with some fallen leaves and then it’s ready for their favourite teddies or dolls to play in.

Don't forget to dismantle your den!

Before you head home, please remember to take your den down. Don’t worry though, on your next visit you can have fun building it all over again, or you can experiment with a different design altogether.

Too wet and cold to go to the woods? Never mind – you can practice your skills by building an indoor hideout instead.

You will need:

  • Four sturdy dining chairs
  • A large sheet and some blankets
  • Cushions, pillows and maybe a duvet
  • Some heavy books
  • Fairy Lights and a few clothes pegs (optional)

How to build it:

  • Start by finding the best place to build your den. This could be against a wall or the back of the sofa.
  • Then place two chairs on each side with the backs facing inwards to form the walls and continue to hang blankets over the chair backs.
  • Drape a sheet over the top to make the roof and put some books on the chair seats to hold it in place.
  • To finish, put a blanket or duvet on the floor and arrange some cushions or pillows around the sides. For some extra optional magic, decorate with fairy lights, using the pegs to attach them to the sheets.

Your indoor den can be the perfect place to read stories together, come up with new games or to have an impromptu sleepover!

Nature crowns are magical things. Weaving branches, flowers, leaves and little bits of nature into a crown, gives children a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature and engage in imaginative outdoor play.Chandos Park River and Willow Tree

What you will need:

  • A few willow tree branches
  • Other bits of nature like flowers, leaves, berries or feathers
  • Scissors

How to Make a Willow Nature Crown?

  • Gather willow tree branches and other bits of nature from the ground and then take one long willow branch and wrap it around your child’s head to measure how big the crown should be.
  • Weave a circle out of the willow branch.
  • Then start to weave or wrap the willow branch around the circle to make a willow crown.
  • Start adding in your flowers, leaves, berries or feathers for decoration by tucking the stems into the willow crown. If you have any stems or bits poking out, use scissors to cut them off.
  • It’s then time to wear your beautiful crown and see what adventures await you!

Fun Fact:

A weeping willow is a deciduous tree that is commonly found in the Northern Hemisphere (North America, Europe and parts of Asia). The tree likes to grow near fresh water lakes and ponds and has long thin branches with light green leaves that can grow all the way to the ground. The branches are perfect for weaving into nature crowns because they are long and flexible.

You may think building a maze out of twigs is hard but after you accomplish it, you will feel so happy with your creation. It’s also a definite game to help you become less bored!

Materials for the stick maze:

  • Paper and pen for the maze planning
  • Lots of long sticks and branches

How to build a stick maze?

  • Draw a Maze design - basic is better.
  • Collect a heap of sticks and branches from outside.
  • Then nominate a leader to help direct where to put the sticks and materials following the design of your map.
  • If you make the outside of the square too small and then have to change the plan, its fine. Builders have to change their plans all the time too!
  • Once it’s complete, enjoy running through the stick maze together.

More fun? Blindfold yourself and ask your children to navigate you through the maze with their voices. You’re not allowed to touch a stick!

Pooh sticks are a simple but thrilling sport, first invented by the famous bear of the same name in the stories, Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne.

What you will need:

  • Two or more players
  • A stick of your choosing
  • A bridge over moving water.

How it works:

  • Stand on a bridge over moving water.
  • Make sure you check which way the water is flowing so that you can throw your sticks in on the right side to ensure that they get carried underneath the bridge with the current.
  • On the count of three everyone must throw their pooh stick into the water below.
  • The stick that floats underneath the bridge fastest wins.

Top secret tip:

Try to choose a place on the bridge above the fastest flowing water. This way you’ll have an advantage over the other players.

This bird feeder is really simple to make, which means they’re a quick and fun project to do with children of all ages. They can be customised in any way you like with string or pretty ribbons, or try using other shapes, like stars or triangles. The birds will love them all!

To make bird seed pizzas, you will need:

  • Lard
  • Mixed bird seed
  • Baking tray or Plate
  • Spoon
  • Round cookie cutter (other shapes are optional)
  • Ribbon

How to make this bird feeder?

  • Gently melt 100g of lard in a saucepan. Add 250g of bird seed, ensuring all the seeds are coated in the fat.
  • Place the cookie cutter on a tray or plate, fill it with the seed mixture and press down with the back of a spoon to ensure its tightly packed.
  • Use a skewer to make a hole through the pizza and then put in the fridge to set overnight.
  • When its set, ease the solid mixture out of the cutter, thread with ribbon and then hang in a tall tree.
  • Once you’ve shaped your feeders make sure you leave them to dry thoroughly to avoid them cracking and crumbling when you try to hang them up.

Top Tip:

Pick a tree near to your window so that you can see your bird visitors up close when they visit.

Shadow Tag is a great, free activity to get children off their screens and moving whilst at home. Shadow tag is similar to other games of tag, like freeze tag, and Marco Polo but with one big difference. Instead of touching other players to tag them, the goal of the person who is ‘It’ is to tag the other players’ shadows, rather than touch them.

What you will need:

  • A bright light for indoor play or a bright, sunny day for outdoor play

How to play shadow tag?

  • Choose a player to take the first chance at being “It”.
  • The player who is ‘It’ chases the other players, trying to step on their shadow.
  • If a player has their shadow stepped on, they are now ‘It’.
  • Repeat the above steps until you want to finish playing.

Shadow Tag for younger children:

Toddlers and pre-schoolers can be fascinated by shadows, but they usually can’t keep up with the pace of the game. So, instead of running, why not have all the players pretend to be slow-moving objects like snails or sloths?