Council celebrates the decision to keep Buckingham’s last public phone box

Buckingham Town Council are celebrating the decision by Buckinghamshire Council to object to the removal of the last phone box in the town. Objections to the removal were submitted to Buckinghamshire Council by the Town Council and also Buckinghamshire Councillor Warren Whyte.

Buckinghamshire Council officers revealed in their Case Officer Report that
“A leaflet produced by BT about their policy on payphone removals states that no payphones will be identified for removal in suicide hotspots, accident blackspots, where there is no mobile coverage and within 400 metres of the coast. In addition they will not remove payphones where there is a reasonable need. For this criteria they will retain a payphone where it is the only payphone within 800 metres, which has had at least 12 calls in a 12 month period and where the local population is not fewer than 500 households within 1km of the payphone. …The data provided alongside the notification, indicates that the payphone kiosk has 6 uses per month – and therefore on average 72 uses per annum. The kiosk also appears to be in location where there are more than 500 households within 1km. In addition the nearest phone box to the notification site is in excess of one mile away, and therefore it is considered that the kiosk in question may fall into the category of having “reasonable need”, and therefore further justification would be required to overcome concerns raised.”

The phone box in question is on Market Hill opposite M & Co. The nearest remaining phone box would be in Middle Claydon. BT have to follow an agreed process when they remove the last public phone in an area, which includes requesting permission from Buckinghamshire Council.

Buckingham Town Councillors had opposed the removal of the phone box, pointing out that it is in the centre of town and accessible to all; not everyone has a mobile, or unrestricted access to a phone – such as children, vulnerable adults, or those in an abusive relationship who may need to call a helpline without the abuser knowing. The means of calling the emergency services is also vital in a town centre where accidents or medical emergencies may occur. The sparse local bus service may mean that residents of surrounding villages need to call a private hire cab if they miss their bus home for any reason.

Town Mayor Geraldine Collins said, “I am delighted that our last remaining Public Phone Box is to stay and that this vital service remains available to our community”.

Buckingham Wears Face Masks

Cllr Stuchbury wearing a locally made facemaskFollowing the introduction of the requirement to wear facemasks in shops Buckingham Town Council have arranged for the Buckingham Tourist Information Centre to support local businesses by selling locally made face coverings from a variety of different makers. Pin Clothing have a variety of different fabrics in small medium and large for £6. LW Creations are selling a variety of masks for £3.50.   The Town are not seeking to compete with local businesses, but to promote local traders.

Town Council staff will be wearing visors when dealing with members of the public.  However everyone is encouraged to keep maintain a distance of 2m at all times.  Visors are being used because they enable residents to see facial expressions, and lip readers to understand what is being said.

Councillor Robin Stuchbury, Chair of the Town Centre and Events Committee, said, “I am pleased that the Tourist Information Centre is supporting residents in this way by enabling access to locally made masks in the town centre. “

 

Lace Hill, Tourist Information Centre and Chandos Park Toilets to reopen 4th July

Lace Hill Sports and Community Centre

The Lace Hill Community Centre has been closed since the beginning of the lockdown. The Centre will now open for hirers who can meet the current guidelines. Unfortunately, we are not yet allowed to open centre for sporting activities, or to open the changing rooms. A range of safety measures have been put in place, including ensuring hirers can maintain social distancing, and an additional cleaning regime. It is hoped that most hirers will return by September.

Tourist Information Centre

The Tourist Information Centre, in the front of the Old Gaol, will also reopen from Saturday 4th July. The Centre will now be open 7 days a week; it was agreed earlier in the year to trial summer opening on Sundays to improve the service to weekend visitors to the town. Measures have been put in place to prevent and reduce any risks. Queries can also be made via phone during opening hours: 10am-4pm on 01280 823020.

Buckingham Shopmobility is still closed until further notice.

Chandos Park Toilets

After the reopening of most other public toilets in Buckingham on Thursday 18th June, we’re pleased to announce that the toilets in Chandos Park will also be fully reopened from Saturday 4th July.

Additional measures have been put in place to ensure they are as safe as possible for use. An additional daily clean has been introduced and high visibility signage will be prominent, advising users to thoroughly wash their hands and to maintain social distancing in accordance with the government guidelines.

Re-Opening of Public Toilets in Buckingham

Changing Place Toilet Cornwalls MeadowBuckingham Town Council are pleased to announce that from Thursday 18th June the Public toilets will be re-opened in Cornwall’s Meadow along with the disabled accessible toilets in Chandos Park.
Additional measures have been put in place to ensure they are as safe as possible for use. An additional daily clean has been introduced and high visibility signage will be prominent inside and outside each cubicle, advising users to thoroughly wash their hands and to maintain social distancing in accordance with the government guidelines.
At this time the male and female toilets in Chandos Park will remain closed due to the difficulty in keeping the communal areas safe. This will be kept under review and the Town Council aim to re-open these facilities as soon as it is safe to do so.
The Disabled accessible toilets in Chandos Park will be opened from Thursday, as this is a single cubicle, and can be accessed with a RADAR key which is sometimes referred to as the National Key Scheme (NKS). This is a nationwide scheme that offers people with disabilities independent access to locked public toilets around the country.
Councillor Ruth Newell, Chair of the Environment Committee added that she was “pleased that the Town Council was able to re-open their toilet facilities, to assist the public as they use the increasing number of re-opening shops and businesses.”

New Mayor elected online

Buckingham Town Council carried out its first online Mayoral election and robing ceremony on Monday 11th May 2020.  Councillor Geraldine Collins was elected unanimously as the new Town Mayor, and formally robed by her husband Councillor Paddy Collins in their home during an online meeting which was watched over YouTube by residents and friends in Buckingham and overseas.  Paddy Collins will be the Mayor’s consort for the year.

Declaration signing 2020Councillor Collins is the first Mayor of Buckingham to have been elected and robed online.

During the meeting Councillor Howard Mordue – the longest serving Town Councillor – explained the history behind the Mayor’s chain, and the other regalia.

A video of the ceremony can be viewed from the Council’s YouTube channel.

Geraldine is keen to support local groups during these difficult times, and would welcome invitations to take part in events even if they are happening online!

Councillor Collins said:

At this time of year, we usually have a variety of events in our town to look forward to Mayor of Buckingham, Cllr. Geraldine Collinsand at these I would normally be able to meet many of you and your families. Sadly, many of these events have had to be cancelled. At these events we pass around our buckets to raise funds for the Mayor’s charities, I hope we can find some alternative ways to support our local groups and charities until such time as we can all get together again, which I look forward to very much.

I spent many years during my nursing career in children’s nursing and during this time became aware of the emotional difficulties many children and young people face alongside the physical illness. In the adult side I saw the same difficulties and saw the challenges faced in supporting and helping all concerned. This is why the charities I have chosen to raise funds for this year are:

  • Clearly Speaking who are a great support to children, young people and their families, dealing with a variety of emotional needs; i.e. autistic spectrum disorders, learning difficulties anxiety disorders, depression, communication and mental health and the
  • Kit Cat Club who also support children and their families through very difficult times.” Many of these problems have been exacerbated during this present crisis.

 

For more information about the Mayor and her chosen charities, visit the Mayor of Buckingham page.

Easter in Buckingham

A message from The Mayor, Councillor Mark Cole JP:

thank you from buckingham mayor coronavirus“May I say a big thank you to everybody in Buckingham and district who has helped to reduce the risks of Covoid-19, not only those in the front line – NHS staff, carers, postal workers, council staff, refuse collectors, and food, foodbank and prescription deliverers – but to all those who are respecting Government guidelines by staying at home for all but the most essential trips to food and pharmacy outlets, or exercise.

“In line with Government advice, our town parks will be open for everyone to enjoy this Easter, but for obvious reasons the play areas will remain shut. Whether in the parks, the estates, or in the countryside, please keep your distance from others, and if you are a dog walker keep your dog on a lead – notices will remind everyone of this – and together we can beat this contagion.”

Easter Activities

Buckingham Town Council are inviting residents to create Easter bonnets!   If you’re stuck for what to use or may struggle to get materials, try using the things that are already accessible in your house and garden first.

Here are just a few materials you can use to make your very own Easter bonnet;

  • A hatImage of our Happy Easter colouring activity
  • Paper or Card
  • Colouring pens and pencils
  • Cotton Wool
  • Ribbon
  • Glitter or Sequins
  • Flowers
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Don’t forget your can create Easter Eggs for our Easter Egg Hunt too.

Post your creations to the Town Council’s Facebook and Instagram pages and use our #BucksBonnets so everyone can join in.

And why not wear your bonnet while you exercise over the weekend…

Covid 19 Information for Buckingham

Buckingham Town Council has published a Coronavirus web page giving links to local groups providing support, coordinating volunteers and seeking resources to do more in this challenging time.

The page is being updated each working day with any new information specific to Buckingham.  The Council is also using its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages to provide up to date information on its services and those of other organisations in the town.

This includes links to local businesses who are offering additional services at this time.  As well as local groups and services who are providing support to those who need it and who are seeking more volunteers.

Play Areas

The Town Council’s play areas remain closed for the time being, i.e. those in Bourton Park (junior and senior), Chandos Park, Badgers Estate (Otters Brook), Meadway (Ken Tagg) and Lace Hill, along with the outdoor sports and exercise equipment in Bourton Park.  The same applies to the other eight play parks in Buckingham not managed by the Town Council.

Parks and Green Spaces

The Town Council’s parks remain open for exercise for the Bank Holiday weekend, however everyone who is visiting parks and open spaces must maintain social distancing, keeping at least 2m from each other. This means please avoid narrow paths, as well as thinking carefully about activities you may do there. The parks should be used as routes to exercise through, not as places to remain in.

This is particularly important to remember while exercising. If you are moving faster than another individual or household group and are not able to pass someone with a 2m distance between you, you must stop or move to an area where there is a suitable distance. All park users are responsible for ensuring that this distance is maintained.

The Grounds Maintenance Team are continuing to maintain Bourton and Chandos Parks, green spaces and the cemetery.  Grass cutting has started for the new season, including on grass verges and vision splays.

The Team will be checking the parks are safe and emptying bins over the Bank Holiday weekend.  However, members of the public are asked to remember that Town Council staff have been instructed to have minimal direct contact while they are at work, so all questions about Council services should be made by phone or email wherever possible.

The Buckingham Road Cemetery remains open in the usual way but the same social distancing principles apply.

Markets

The town’s Tuesday and Saturday markets remain open to stalls selling essential food and goods.  The market provides people with a low risk outdoor place to shop for essential supplies.

Shopmobility

The Shopmobility Service remains closed temporarily

Tourist Information Centre

Tourist Information Centre staff are still available to answer queries by telephone and email during the Centre’s usual working hours:

Opening Hours
Monday – Saturday, 10.00am to 4.00pm
Contact Us
Phone: 01280 823 020
Email: TIC@buckingham-tc.gov.uk
Web: www.buckinghamoldgaol.org.uk

Coronavirus: if you need help

Coronavirus: what if I need help?

There is always help available in Buckingham.

To keep up to date with current and accurate information about Coronavirus Covid-19 itself, stick to trusted sources; visit the NHS coronavirus page which has information about the virus, symptoms, self-isolating, and travel. Sign Health offers daily updates on Coronavirus in British Sign Language.

General advice

For advice about local services by phone including shopping and transport, call the Tourist Information Centre on 01280 823 020.

The Bucks Family Information Service website is the first port of call for support for families with children 0 to 19 years old (or 25 if your child has SEND).

The BFIS can support our sign post families to help from food parcels to emergency respite in a crisis. To contact the team call 01296 383 293 or email familyinfo@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

The phone line is open 9 to 5 Monday to Friday, except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Monday 28th December and New Year's Day.

 

If you are in isolation or advised to stay at home you may be worried about how to get food and other essentials going forward. As a first option, always choose to ask someone you know personally and trust (or a business you trust) for help with food deliveries or prescriptions.

If you are able to afford food, but having difficulty getting a delivery slot, you can ask the Buckingham Support Network if a volunteer may be able to deliver essentials to your house.

If you are self-isolating and are concerned about opening the door for deliveries, downloadable self-isolating poster and high risk household poster are available.

If you think you may have Coronavirus and need medical help, please use the NHS 111 symptom checker service for help.

If you have questions for The Swan Practice about prescriptions or appointments, please check their website which is being kept up to date with the latest news.

Some people are considered at very high risk of severe illness if they catch Coronavirus (Covid-19) These people should have received a letter from the government highlighting them as vulnerable or extremely vulnerable. There are a number of other groups offering additional help and advice to extremely vulnerable people:

  • Prevention Matters offer help and advice
  • If you are concerned about an extremely vulnerable person who might need help, call Buckinghamshire Council on their a 24 hour phone number – 01296 383 204 – this number is specifically for calls relating to coronavirus only.
  • Buckinghamshire Adult Social Care team are also reaching out to vulnerable people they are aware of. If you know of someone who might need their help, call the Adult Social Care team on 01296 383 402.

new mental health helpline has been launched for those living in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. The helpline runs in a similar way to 111. People can call when they need to find out when and where to get help and to access support from mental health professionals.

Adults: 01865 904 997

Children and young people: 01865 904 998

When someone is seriously ill or injured, or in an acute confused state, call 999.

There have been some changes to bus timetables due to Coronavirus. For updates on bus timetables you can check the Buckinghamshire Council buses page.

Remember, all bus and public transport users now need to wear a face mask.

Please make sure you wear a face mask in enclosed public places. Using a mask in shops, public transport and restaurants reduces the spread of Covid-19 infection, by people who are not aware they’re infected.

Even though we encourage everyone to wear masks, some people are not able to. Please respect that not all disabilities are visibly obvious and those not wearing masks may do so for good reasons.

The Hidden Disabilities charity has a sunflower scheme which allows people with hidden disabilities to obtain lanyards, wristbands or wallet cards that has a sunflower logo on. If you see someone wearing or using any of those items with the sunflower logo on, you may need to give them some additional support, help or a little more time.

The Hidden Disabilities charity has a sunflower scheme which allows people with hidden disabilities to obtain lanyards, wristbands or wallet cards that has a sunflower logo on. If you see someone wearing or using any of those items with the sunflower logo on, you may need to give them some additional support, help or a little more time.

Going into self-isolation can feel intimidating. We've talked about the practical side above, but staying mainly or totally at home for two weeks can still be part of a community effort. Mind has advice about looking after your mental health while in social isolation, and we have seen lots of ideas on social media for ways to keep entertained.

The Town Council may have had to postpone or cancel local events, but there are lots of wonderful group events continuing across social media platforms, from virtual Choirs to exercise classes and art projects. Share your efforts and make new connections with others trying the same things.

We love Isolation Examination! Buckingham's own monthly quiz. Follow them on Facebook to join in every Wednesday at 8pm.

Two facebook groups are also advertising online events:

Video calling is a great way to get in touch with people, with several different platforms offering video calls for free - if you haven't tried them before, do give it a go.

Financial Problems?

Many people's lives have been impacted by Coronavirus and lockdown. If you are now having financial problems and need help and advice there are places you can turn for help.

The long running Buckingham Food Bank are able to provide food to those in financial need through referral systems.

The Buckingham Foodbank is available for anyone in North Buckinghamshire struggling with food poverty. Please visit their website for information about how to apply for a food bank.

As well as being able to refer families and individuals to Buckingham foodbank, Citizens' Advice can also help with any questions or difficulties you may have regarding:

  • Managing money
  • Debt
  • Benefits
  • Housing
  • Employment

If you are concerned about paying your bills, as a first step we recommend contacting your usual providers and asking what support they may be offering at this time.

If you think you might be eligible, we recommend you apply for Universal Credit as soon as possible. We are hearing reports that phone lines are very busy and calling outside of peak times may help. Telephone: 0800 328 5644

Get everything you will need to apply ready for your application before you try and claim.

The government advice pages can tell you more about Universal Credit.

Coronavirus Scams warning

Stay safe everyone, if you are concerned that you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud please contact: Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and contact your bank.

For advice call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 11 33

 

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

There are grants available from the government for self-employed people. Please check the government website for more information and how to apply.

Local advice

Buckinghamshire Business First, Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Buckinghamshire Council have been working on local programs to help support struggling local businesses.

Bucks Business First.

COVID-19 Business Resilience Fund page.

Buckinghamshire Council Business Support Hub.

New grants were made available when the second phase of New Restrictions started in November, including the Local Restrictions Support Grant. Get in touch with Bucks Council to find out if any new funds may be available that you could apply for.

Furlough Scheme

The furlough scheme has now been extended until 31st March 2021. Visit the government website for more information.

Buckinghamshire Council offers a Local Emergency Fund, this can help residents of Buckinghamshire in need with access to food banks, food vouchers and meter top ups.

You can also contact the Council by calling 01296 395000 to ask about government food boxes.

The Swan Community Hub runs a job club. The job club team can support you with refreshing IT skills, fine tuning CVs and recognising the skills you already have to help you get that perfect job.

If you are pregnant or have a young baby and need help with essential baby items, please ask your Midwife or healthcare professional about Baby Bundles.

Are you at risk of homelessness or homeless right now?

Bucks Council homelessness team are able to help you with practical help and advice.

Contact Us

The data obtained will only be used with regards to this enquiry and will not be used for future marketing or passed on to any third parties. This is in accordance with GDPR. By filling in the information you give your explicit consent for your data to be used for this purpose only. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Coronavirus: volunteer

Coronavirus: how can you help?

To keep up to date with current and accurate information about Coronavirus Covid-19 itself, stick to trusted sources; visit the NHS coronavirus page which has information about the virus, symptoms, self-isolating, and travel. Sign Health offers daily updates on Coronavirus in British Sign Language.

Use the tabs below to find out more about volunteering opportunities.

Buckinghamshire Council is implementing a community support hub system. For more information about ways you can be involved, please check their website.

We will update this entry as more information becomes available. 

Buckingham Foodbank are collecting food donations to distribute to those who cannot afford to buy food.

The food bank are looking for donations of soups, tinned meats, tinned veg and fruit, beans, pasta, rice and other similar non-perishable goods. You may see trolleys out for donations at local supermarkets. You can also donate at:

The Centre, Verney Close
10.30 am to 11.30am 
Tuesdays 
(Car park entrance)

Donations are hugely appreciated and make a real difference to those in need.

Being able to self isolate effectively is really important to help stop the spread of Covid-19/Coronavirus. If you can, please volunteer to check on your neighbours and support them if needed. You can do this by:

King's College London is doing research into Covid-19.

By taking 1-minute to self-report daily, even if you are well, you can help scientists identify:

  • High-risk areas in the UK
  • Who is most at risk, by better understanding symptoms linked to underlying health conditions
  • How fast the virus is spreading in your area.

Sign up online!

Going into self-isolation can feel intimidating. We've talked about the practical side above, but staying mainly or totally at home for two weeks or twelve can still be part of a community effort. Mind has advice about looking after your mental health while in social isolation.

Many groups and social activity groups are making use of online facilities including YouTube, Skype and Zoom.

Social media and video platforms are also fantastic ways to keep in touch with family and friends. If you know someone who would enjoy online activities and hasn't yet got connected, why not give them a call and see if you can help them get started?

Discover Buckingham are aiming to fill their calendar with Buckingham based socially distant classes, concerts, poetry (and anything else fun) let us know if you are running an online event and we will add your event to our events calendar.

Two facebook groups are also advertising online events:

If you would like to donate money to a local group or charity, please contact them directly. Many groups that rely on local fundraising to run their services are seeing a drop in income and would appreciate any donations, big or small.

Local hospitals also have their own fundraising groups, and many are giving detailed information about the kind of donations they can and can't accept. Visit their pages for more information.

Members of the public can sign up quickly and easily at goodsamapp.org/NHS to become NHS Volunteer Responders, and can be called on to do simple but vital tasks such as:

  • delivering medicines from pharmacies;
  • driving patients to appointments;
  • bringing them home from hospital;
  • or making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home.

Staff at the Tourist Information Centre are able to answer local enquiries by phone. Please pass this phone number: 01280 823 020 to anyone without access to the internet for help with inquiries about Buckingham, and the team will help if possible.

Do you have an idea for a new project?

Are you running a project now and need help or advice? Community Impact Bucks is a great resource for community groups and can give lots of useful advice, including training videos for volunteers and accessing funding.

Download the NHS Covid-19 App and check in using the QR codes on display in many venues. Checking in everywhere you go helps the track and trace team notify close contacts of the need to self-isolate.

Please continue to support our local shops, restaurants and businesses. Many local businesses will be continuing with the delivery or click and collect sales options they developed earlier in the year. Even if a shop's door is closed, supporting local businesses by placing orders online or over the phone will make a real impact to our community this November. Check out your favourite shop's website, social media or call them if you want to know more about how they are operating.

Don't forget to wear a mask if you can, respect social distancing and wash your hands.

COVID-19 Business Measures

Buckingham Town Council is asking companies, self-employed people and all other traders in the town to help think about what can be done to help businesses reopen when possible, support the high street and develop online sales in the town.

The Council has developed a Contact Form to allow us to understand what help and support local business may need to thrive. Please send your completed contact form to - admin@buckingham-tc.gov.uk

Please make sure you wear a face mask in enclosed public places. Using a mask in shops, public transport and restaurants reduces the spread of Covid-19 infection, by people who are not aware they’re infected.

Even though we encourage everyone to wear masks, some people are not able to. Please respect that not all disabilities are visibly obvious and those not wearing masks may do so for good reasons.

The Hidden Disabilities charity has a sunflower scheme which allows people with hidden disabilities to obtain lanyards, wristbands or wallet cards that has a sunflower logo on. If you see someone wearing or using any of those items with the sunflower logo on, you may need to give them some additional support, help or a little more time.

Contact Us

The data obtained will only be used with regards to this enquiry and will not be used for future marketing or passed on to any third parties. This is in accordance with GDPR. By filling in the information you give your explicit consent for your data to be used for this purpose only. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Information Centre by Phone and Online

Buckingham Tourist Information Centre may have closed its doors for now, but we are still committed to helping anyone that needs it. We have set up a support line for Buckingham residents that don’t have access to the internet and need information on where to find help, essential travel information, local business closures and opening times.

We are currently compiling a list of information that we think people will need, but please let us know if you are doing something for the community or if you are a local business with a change to your circumstances. We don’t know everything, but we will try our best to help in any way we can. Contact us on 01280 823020 or email tic@buckingham-tc.gov.uk

 

Temporary closure of public toilets

Due to the ongoing coronavirus (covid-19) situation, the public toilets in Cornwalls Meadow car park and Chandos Park have been temporary closed.

Our green spaces team have been marking these facilities closed, as well as play areas and play areas run by partner organisation Aylesbury Vale District Council in order to reduce the number of staff needed to work on this task.