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!

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!

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?

Wellbeing Wednesday: Parents Edition

Do your children like the outdoors? Maybe they do but you can’t get them away from their technology? Well why not let them try these apps by themselves or with you, their family and friends. They are fun, competitive and really cool! Let them experience all the new and exciting things that could be found in the local area.

Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go is a free smartphone app that combines gaming with the real world. The game uses location tracking and mapping technology to create an ‘augmented reality’ where you can catch and train Pokémon characters in real locations.

If your child is 13+ then they can sign up and enjoy seeing who they can catch. If they aren’t, you will have to sign up for them on your behalf. Permission permitting for all ofcourse!

What is Pokémon?

Pokémon (short for pocket monster) is a franchise owned by Nintendo and began life in the mid 90’s as a game for the Game Boy. The game is centred on fictional characters known as Pokémon which you can catch and train to battle each other.

How to sign up?

There are two options for signing up to the game. You can use a Google account to sign in, or you can create a Pokémon Trainer Club account. On the sign up screen, tap the Google icon, Enter your Google username and password. If you don’t already have an account, tap Create account and follow the instructions. From there, you can learn about Pokémon Go from Professor Willow, and choose a starter Pokémon. Once the account is set up, you can give yourself a cool username and then you’re ready to play.

How to play?

You have to walk around the real word and find the Pokémon characters that appear on the game map. When you come within a close enough range the Pokémon will appear on the device screen and then you can throw Poké Balls at them to capture them. The aim is to collect as many different characters as possible.

The map is an anime-style version of Google maps that replaces real street names and landmarks with Pokémon specific buildings so don’t get confused if your child comes home saying that their mates house has turned into a battle club or a mystery dungeon because it hasn’t!

Another feature of the game are Poké Stops which are real life locations where you can collect free Poké Balls. You can also find Pokémon eggs that hatch into Pokémon which can be added to your collection.

What would Pokémon want?

When playing Pokémon Go, it is advised that all users remember to be sensible when going to places new or meeting new people. Pokémon would want everyone to have fun but not get hurt so do ensure that you and your children stay safe!

If you or your child has any concerns regarding safety, please visit https://www.pokemongolive.com/en/faq/.

Buxplore

Download Buxplore from the Google Play store!

When you are out with your children, have they ever wondered what that strange looking building is? If you download the Buxplore app and take it with you on your walks, it can tell you all about these things and more! There is even a whole dedicated route for primary age kids, great right? Heritage for Kids is a fantastic trail to get you and the rest of your family out exploring. Starting at the Chantry Chapel, explore the oldest parts of Buckingham – find, touch and imagine icons from Buckingham’s thousand-year history. This short route passes by Chandos Park which is great to stop and have a sweetie break!

The app has clear maps, flagging locations to explore and audio options which make these routes really easy to follow. Simply use your mobile phone to access the app (don’t forget to turn on your mobile data and location tracking) then head out to the first stop on your chosen route.

Learn and explore Buckingham’s wild spaces from Bourton Park to Buckingham Canal. Connect with nature and learn more about Buckingham parks and the river Great Ouse. The explorer route is designed to be explored a little at a time, it is the perfect way to find some of the hidden green spaces you might not know about. Most of this trail is well away from roads and has lots of activities to try at every stop so you, mum and dad, don’t have to worry.

There’s been a murder! Can you solve the puzzles and find the culprit?

Buckingham murder mystery trail is a totally free interactive detective mystery. Start on Moreton Road at the Old Police Station and meet Sergeant William Jeeves! Solve puzzles to unlock new locations and discover clues as you take a tour around the scary side of Buckingham’s history. Don’t worry – hints are available if you get stuck.

Did we mention it’s free? No pocket money needed! Thanks to a £10,000 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Buxplore is completely free to use and will remain live for the next five years, with new routes added throughout.

How to download the app and start using Buxplore?

Start by visiting Buxplore.web.app on your mobile phone and click the white box at the bottom of the screen to download the app. Then simply pick a route and visit the first location to get started!

Apps not your thing? How about you try playing games that don’t require devices or added platforms but rather just your imagination. The games that I am inferring here are I Spy, Stop and Go and Spot the Swan – a safer alternative to Yellow Car! There’s no time like the present to try these out, what can beat good old fashioned fun anyways? Let’s see how they work;

I Spy

First you need to designate who is going to be the spy. Then they will need to select an object that everyone can see but they mustn’t reveal what it is. The spy will then hint at what the object is by saying something like "I spy with my little eye something beginning with B."

Tip for the spy: Try not to look at the object when you are hinting at what it is. That would be a big giveaway!

Depending on how many people are playing, take it in turns to guess the object the spy has hinted so everyone gets a fair chance at guessing. Finally, once the object has been guessed, change the spy to the first person who guessed the object correctly and repeat the previous steps. To make it more fun, why not try changing the characteristics of the clues. For example, have your family guess objects that are a certain shape or begin with a certain colour.

Stop & Go

If you have a family of fairly small children, why not teach them their stop and go commands? It won’t be like home-schooling, it can just be an imaginative way of letting them pretend to be everyday objects like cars, trains or buses. They can even pretend to ride a pony if in desperation! All you have to do is act like a signal and shout ‘STOP’ or ‘GO’ when you want to change direction etc.

Spot the Buckingham Swan

Like the game Yellow Car, Spot the Buckingham Swan is where you have to tap another person in your group when you spot the Swan statue in Buckingham. The force of the tap should only be hard enough to ensure that the intended person knows that they have been hit, we don’t want any tears or bruises!

Remember to always be aware; the game is always on, unless otherwise agreed by everyone that you are taking a well-earned break.

If someone calls out ‘Swan’ the Buckingham Swan must be in view otherwise the tap will not count. Therefore, if you call out ‘Swan’ and tap another player but the statue is not in view, that player can tap you back. This also means that you cannot call ‘Swan’ before you see it even if you know where it is!

Winter Wellness Spotter Sheet

To help brighten up your daily bit of exercise and to recognise Children’s Mental Health Week this year, which runs from February 1st to February 7th, Buckingham Town Council has put together a Winter Wellness Spotter Sheet for young children. Download and print the spotter sheet and see if you can spot some or all of these seasonal nature signs on your walk today. Please take part responsibly and follow government guidelines on social distancing. For more fun, we've added some extra activity sheets to be completed at home.

Getting outdoors has taken on added importance in recent weeks and most people would agree that a walk in the fresh air is a sure way of clearing the head. The weather may be rubbish but encouraging your children to get back to basics and have fun playing outdoors can make a huge difference to their overall mental health and wellbeing. Even in winter, nature is still alive and there are lots of green spaces to see and explore within our lovely town. The spotter sheet can easily be completed around Bourton Park and Chandos Park and we hope it will make your daily walk even more enjoyable.

For more information about Buckingham walks and maps, visit our Walks and Maps page. Here you can download pdf copies of local walks and maps to help you explore beautiful Buckingham.

We would love to see some photos of you out and about completing the Winter Wellness Spotter Sheet! Please send your photos to us via private message on Facebook, or tag us on your post using #WinterWellness #SpotterSheet @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!

Possible Family-Fun Locations

Bourton Park Footpath and Trees
Children Playing in Edible Woodland
Close Up Shot of Buckingham Canal and Reeds

Winter Wellness Spotter Sheet

Heading outdoors for some fresh air?

To help brighten up your daily bit of exercise and to recognise Children’s Mental Health Week this year, which runs from February 1st to February 7th, Buckingham Town Council has put together a Winter Wellness Spotter Sheet for young children. Download and print the spotter sheet and see if you can spot some or all of these seasonal nature signs on your walk today. Please take part responsibly and follow government guidelines on social distancing. For more fun, we've added some extra activity sheets to be completed at home.Winter Spotter Sheet

Getting outdoors has taken on added importance in recent weeks and most people would agree that a walk in the fresh air is a sure way of clearing the head. The weather may be rubbish but encouraging our children to get back to basics and have fun playing outdoors can make a huge difference to their overall mental health and wellbeing. Even in winter, nature is still alive and there are lots of green spaces to see and explore within our lovely town. The spotter sheet can easily be completed around Bourton Park and Chandos Park and we hope it will make your daily walk even more enjoyable.

For more information about Buckingham walks and maps, visit our Walks and Maps page. Here you can download pdf copies of local walks and maps to help you explore beautiful Buckingham. If you cannot get out and about due to self-isolating, you should check out the Buckingham Community Heritage app Buxplore. Remote access has currently been enabled so you can choose your route and take 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 Winter Wellness Spotter Sheet! Please send your photos to us via private message on Facebook, or tag us on your post using #WinterWellness #SpotterSheet @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!

 

Wellbeing Wednesday: Adults Blog

How are you feeling about this year? Your personal wellbeing is one of the most important things to help you get through tough times. Now, this isn’t another new year’s resolution blog telling you that you have to go on a diet. In fact, it’s a blog to help inspire you to try something new this year within Buckingham or surrounding areas.

Here’s some inspiration from Buckingham’s Office Apprentice:

I know that getting out and about might seem like a chore, but we all know that we feel better after we having some time outdoors. So why not try out these apps to see if you can incorporate some fun and invigorate your daily walk or outing.

Couch to 5k

NHS Couch to 5K will help you gradually work up towards running 5km in just 9 weeks.

Couch to 5K is a running plan for beginners. It was developed by a new runner, Josh Clark, who wanted to help his mum get off the couch and start running, too. The plan is really simple to follow and has clear objectives that you can work towards over the 9 weeks. You even have rest days each week, giving you lots of opportunities to try other activities and to tailor your exercise around your existing schedule.

How does Couch to 5K work?

The biggest challenge a new runner faces is probably not knowing how or where to start. Often when trying to get into exercise, you overdo it, feel defeated and give up when we're just getting started. But, Couch to 5K is different. It works because it starts with a mix of running and walking to help you gradually build up your fitness and stamina. It helps you create realistic expectations and by starting off slowly at week one, the challenge feels achievable right from the start.

Who is Couch to 5K for?

Couch to 5K is for everyone. Whether you've never run before or you just want to get more active, Couch to 5K is a free and easy way of getting fitter and healthier. Sounds perfect, right? Lots of local runners started this challenge and then joined Buckingham Park Run, one of the most local and popular running groups around!

What are the benefits?

If it’s your wellbeing you want to improve, then there are plenty of reasons why you should take part in this challenge. Running helps to improve your physical health as well as your mental health. You could lose weight if combined with a healthy diet or have a surge in confidence and self-belief, as you prove to yourself that you can set a target and achieve a goal. Or, because it’s been an exceptionally tough year, you might need to relieve some stress and running can do just that. It has been shown to combat depression which is something that a lot of people have faced.

How to get started?

  1. Download the Couch to 5K podcasts to your mobile device or computer.
  2. Work out a schedule that fits in with your home life to ensure you can stick to your running plan.
  3. Plan your route. It can be stressful to know where to go so why not be prepared and look at a map to plan a familiar route first.
  4. Make sure you are safe when running. If you find it easier or more relaxing to exercise with headphones, then do it but just be aware of your surroundings. Another tip I have found is to watch out for people or objects. It’s obvious but, try to stay a good distance away from others and make sure you look and or stop when changing direction or terrain on your travels. When running in the dark, make sure you can see where you're going and that other people can see you. Street lighting and High-Viz are your friends!
  5. Don’t compromise, be comfortable! The most important piece of kit is a pair of running trainers.

Strava

Strava is a free fitness-tracking and social media app designed for runners and cyclists with three main features: Tracking, connecting, and competing. You can track your fitness via GPS within the app, or log it manually. Strava helps you connect with other people in your area who share the same fitness interests as you and it allows you to even discover local clubs and athletic challenges together or alone.

How do I track my exercise?

You can record your exercise and choose from a wide variety of exercise options like running, e-bike riding and canoeing, including things like distance, pace and details about how you felt about the experience. You can also create posts and add photos, in addition to exercise logs which are all saved to your personal feed. The app can also sync to devices, like your phone, GPS watch or heart rate monitor. You can even view your exercise stats for running, biking or swimming.

Who can I connect with?

You can follow other users on the app, as well as athletes who use the app, to see their posts, photos and workouts. Why not find Buckingham Park Run on the app and connect with them? Those who follow you can also see your activities, and give you "kudos" - Strava’s definition of Likes - or leave comments on a post of yours.

Can I compete?

Strava users can also use the "Explore" tab to find local challenges, like upcoming half-marathons, or compete against themselves or other local athletes using segments. The "Explore" tab is also where you'd be able to connect with local exercise clubs and organise activities.

How to get started?

  1. Download the app and click the “Open Strava” button to show the login site where you can then sign up.
  2. Once you’ve have created an account by entering some basic personal data, make sure to click “YES” to confirm that you allow location access for tracking your activities.
  3. Then choose the “Let’s go” button to continue into your dashboard area. Once you’ve done that, you are ready to start tracking and recording your activities.

Geocaching

Are you looking for an adventure? Or just a change from the same old scenery? Here are 3 steps to help you begin.

  1. Create an account online or through the Geocaching app to view a map of geocaches near you.
  2. Find a geocache by using the app to navigate to a geocache nearby. Don’t forget to bring a pen!
  3. Once you find the geocache, sign and date the logbook. Place the geocache back where you found it and log your experience online.

How it works?

Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Don’t act like you are too old for a treasure hunt, everyone needs a bit of fun once in a while!  All you need to do is navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Then sign the logbook and return the geocache to its original location. It’s simple yet effective, brilliant for all of you that need an escape from a boring cycle and even more so for those of you that want some excitement back in your life. New and exciting should be the way forward!

Ingress

Ingress is a mobile app designed for all of you who enjoy to dream and game. The game takes place in a universe much similar to ours but there are some ultra-realistic and obvious differences along the way. Just like Pokémon Go, Ingress it based on geolocation and you interact with the environment around you.

What is Ingress App?

Ingress is an online game that lets you play with lots of people all at once. It is based on a sci-fi universe with a narrator that guides you around your local area to explore.

What is Ingress About?

The Ingress universe mostly acts like real life. However, within the game there seems to be mysterious aliens called Shapers. There isn’t much to know these shapers but one thing is for sure, they can be a serious threat to your online world!

Picture this; the battle takes place between the two factions, the Resistance and the Enlightened, and involves portals found at physical landmarks like monuments, historical buildings, and other places of importance. The point of this game is to capture, destroy, damage, link, recharge, or protect portals in your area. You can also battle other players of the opposing faction in real time, destroying or rebuilding portals and creating control fields.

What’s Ingress Gameplay Like?

First of all, the Ingress world is presented as a map of your actual surrounding area, without any markings or labels. On this map, you’ll be able to see all the portals, links, items, and control fields in the surrounding area. Your location is displayed as a small arrowhead that travels in real time with you.

This means that you walk around to collect items, strengthen portals, or try to destroy the enemy ones. The more active you are, the more action points you earn and the stronger your items will be. You’ll also be able to recharge portals for a longer time. You can also join in on missions, which include secret instructions!

You can also earn multi-tiered badges, going through the standard bronze to platinum and if you are good at the game, you have a chance to win the onyx badge, the highest-ranking tier. You will win a badge after proving your ability and loyalty to your faction. What a great way to win bragging rights from your friends by winning all the badges!

If you fancy something free, motivationally fun and spontaneous then these are some activities you need to try. Embrace life as we now know it and get back out there – safely of course – and feel like you again. Don’t do it for me, do it for yourself.

Possible Exercise Locations

Bourton Park Footpath Near Trees
Chandos Park Roundabout FootPath
Railway Walk Footpath With Archway of Trees

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.

Anti-social behaviour in Buckingham Parks

With the summer finally here we are all getting outside more and enjoying the outdoors with the towns parks being used more than ever especially over the last few months. Our Greenspaces team have been working hard to keep them clean and well maintained. However, we have noticed a marked increase in problems. The main issues have been graffiti and broken glass being left in the parks and particularly in the play areas.  This is not only unsightly for other park users it can also be dangerous – in one case shards of glass were left on a children’s slide. On another occasion, a disposable barbecue was lit on a park picnic bench, burning a hole through it.

Picture of a burnt bench in BuckinghamThe Town Council has increased the number of times the bins are emptied and parks are litter picked, and introduced a parks check on Sundays, but we can’t be present all the time.

Buckingham Town Council would like to ask if anyone sees anyone acting in a clearly anti-social way in the parks to please report it immediately to the police by calling 101. We are hoping for many more sunny days where everyone can enjoy Buckingham’s unique parks, play areas and riverside walks. To help us, please help Thames Valley Police by immediately reporting any anti-social behaviour by calling 101. Take your litter home, be considerate of others, and don’t forget to refill your water bottles at the new water bottle refill station in Chandos Park.

Our Green Spaces Team are busy cutting grass and keeping our parks and green spaces looking their best – please keep a distance of 2 metres from them. If you have any queries, contact the Town Council office who will be happy to help.

 

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.