It’s Blooming Spring!

This Saturday 20th March 2021 is the Spring Equinox. The Spring Equinox marks the beginning of spring and from this day forward the day is longer than the night which means extra daylight. After the cold and gloomy winter, springs warmer weather puts a smile on everyone’s face. There are many reasons to enjoy spring including, brighter days, colourful flowers, green trees, birds return, bees and butterflies reappear, the list could go on and on!

Spring is the perfect season because it’s not too cold and not too hot to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air. With this in mind, we have put together a Spring Spotter Sheet for young children to enjoy while on their walks. Buckingham has some lovely walks, for more information, visit our Walks and Maps page. Here you can download pdf copies of local walks and maps to help you explore beautiful Buckingham. Don’t forget to check out Buckingham’s Community Heritage app Buxplore. Remote access has currently been enabled so if you are still self isolating you can still enjoy a visual tour around the streets and parks of Buckingham, completing activities, questions, and mysteries from home.

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

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@buckingham-tc.gov.uk

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!

Flooding: could you be a flood volunteer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Lockdown: impact on Buckingham Town Council services

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

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

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

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

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

 

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.