Fun Fact Friday: Shopmobility

Buckingham Shopmobility Service is a scheme that allows anyone with a mobility problem, whether temporary or permanent, to get out and about in Buckingham Town Centre. There are even allocated free parking spaces for Shopmobility users, next to the Shopmobility building.

There are electric mobility scooters and manual wheelchairs available. (Manual wheelchairs are available for a small fee). The wheelchairs can be folded for loading into a vehicle for home use, hospital appointments, visits to local events and places of interest. The service is sponsored by Buckingham Town Council and is free for anyone who wishes to shop or sight-see in Buckingham and the surrounding areas.

If you would like to use this service, find it on the far side of Cornwall’s Meadow Car Park, Buckingham, MK18 1RP. You can also reserve a mobility scooter or wheelchair, by contacting a member of the Shopmobility team on 07738 314 027 or email TIC@buckingham-tc.gov.uk. Currently, Shopmobility is only open on Saturdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and it is closed every other day including Bank Holidays. Hopefully the full service will be able to resume once restrictions are lifted.

Accessibility problems? AccessAble help to provide disabled access information to the area with access guides to 100 venues including shops, restaurants, hotels and parks. Follow the AccessAble link to go to the Buckingham AccessAble webpage.

Buckingham access for all

Buckingham Town Council has worked hard to improve accessibility in recent years, but there is still work to be done.

With a growing population and people living longer, there are increasing numbers of people finding it difficult to get around Buckingham on foot, by mobility scooter, or with a child in a pushchair.  Buckingham town centre was created in mediaeval times and retains many of the narrow streets from those times.  While these streets form part of Buckingham delightful and unique character, they are clearly unsuitable for today’s heavy traffic and lead to many pavements being very narrow.  Many shops and other buildings have steps, or stairs to upper floors, which both require a creative approach to permit easy access for everyone while preserving their historic character.

The town also suffers from disabled parking bays flanked by kerbs and rear vehicle access in the road, along with mis-aligned dropped kerbs in many locations.

In recent years, the Town Council has:

  • In partnership with DisabledGo, we had many properties surveyed for accessibility by the less mobile and included on their website, so that anyone visiting our town could see which shops and services were more suited to their needs
  • But when DisabledGo became AccessAble, we noticed that the web-based service was less helpful and omitted some earlier content about Buckingham. We decided to make better use of your money and seek other means to fulfil our wish to make our town accessible to everyone.  We encouraged developers and others to consider the needs of the less mobile, perhaps along the lines of the sloping access to Lloyds Bank or the portable wheelchair ramp at Esquires
  • We moved some events away from premises with poor access for the less mobile
  • We provide an audio version of our Buckingham Town Matters newsletters
  • “Access” is now a standing Agenda item at our Committee meetings
  • Thanks to donations from Buckingham Access4All, we designed and installed a more accessible picnic table, that is also wheelchair accessible, in Bourton Park

What the Town Council will continue to do:

  • We ensure that our events are as easily accessible as possible
  • We continue to press for easy access to be considered by developers, and lobby existing properties to consider what improvements they might consider (wheelchair ramps, doorbells to summons assistance etc).
  • We report to the appropriate authority when urgent repairs are need to badly worn pedestrian areas – including pavements
  • We plan to install more wheelchair-accessible picnic areas in our parks, starting by adding a tarmac path to the accessible bench in Chandos Park

Councillor Mike Smith, who has chaired the Council’s Resources Committee until standing down at the election on 6th May, said: “The council continues to work hard on behalf of the less able, but it is something of an uphill struggle (no pun intended) as much of what needs to be done falls beyond the Town Council remit”.

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

Wheelchair friendly picnic table in Bourton Park.

Buckingham Town Council have installed a new wheelchair and pushchair accessible picnic benches at Bourton Park, thanks to funding from local group, Buckingham AccessforAll. The bench was designed and assembled by the Town Council’s Greenspaces Team using locally source timber.New picnic bench with John Russell from Access 4 All.

Cllr. Ruth Newell, Chair of Environment Committee, said: “This is a great addition to Bourton Park and we thank AccessforAll for funding this Picnic Bench. It looks great and will be well used.”

Mr. Ed Grimsdale, Secretary of AccessforAll said: Our Access Group wanted to set an example by raising some money to buy something which would be useful both for disabled people resident in Buckingham and the town’s visitors. It decided to buy an accessible park bench because there’s a legal duty under the discrimination acts to make such provision but also it’s fun to be included, to be sat with friends around the New picnic bench with Ed Grimsdale from Access 4 Allsame table sharing a picnic in the fresh air. The Town Council’s Estate Manager responded with enthusiasm and suggested that he and his team could design and make a great bench that would be better value and more durable that anything currently on the market. 

Thus, the new, rugged BUCKINGHAM ACCESSIBLE PICNIC BENCH has been built and installed in Bourton Park.”

 

 

Notice of Review of Polling districts & Polling Places

 
Aylesbury Vale District Council are conducting a review of existing Polling Stations and districts. Submissions are welcomed from residents, electors, local council and local constituency political parties as well as groups and persons with particular interest or expertise in access to premises or facilities for persons who have different forms of disability.
More information, current polling arrangements and a submission form can be optained via aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/council-democracy and a copy of the submission form is linked below.
 
Aylesbury Vale 2019 Polling station and polling district review submission form
Notice of review for Boards 2019

Town Council agrees to fund new AccessAble website and new look Accessibility Guides for Buckingham

Town Council agrees to fund new AccessAble website and new look Accessibility Guides for Buckingham!


Three years ago, Buckingham Town Council paid DisabledGo to carry out and publish detailed accessibility surveys of 65 venues in Buckingham. The Town Council have commissioned the renamed AccessAble to update the surveys each year and to add 5 more each year. In addition, Buckingham’s Access Awareness Group will continue to support the scheme. Volunteers will be trained to carry out and submit additional surveys at a workshop to be arranged in 2019.
AccessAble, previously called DisabledGo, have been working for over a year to develop and launch the new website and App, involving its user community every step of the way.
Councillor Mike Smith, Chair of the Town Council’s Resources Committee, said, “I’m delighted that the Town Council are continuing to support AccessAble.  We are committed to supporting venues across the town that are accessible to everyone, and to promoting the continuing good work to achieve this.”
The website has been completely rebuilt, the search is faster and easier to use and there is inspirational content so you can find new places to explore. The Accessibility Guides themselves are simpler to use and more clearly laid out. If you are after the detail you can navigate to it easily through a side menu or if you would prefer just the key information and photos you can use an ‘easy read’ toggle. The whole website looks totally different with many more photos, videos and icons.
A major part of the development has been working with users of screen readers and assistive technology to make sure the website and App meet the broadest range of accessibility requirements possible.
Another AccessAble development is new Accessibility Symbols. They have increased the number used from 19 to 32, which will enable anyone using the website or App to filter their results by the access requirements that are important to them. This includes symbols that may be helpful for people with autism, visual impairments and learning disabilities. The symbols can also be used to filter by facilities like Changing Places, accessible toilets, Safe Places, hoists and accessible fitting rooms.
Speaking about the development, AccessAble’s  Executive Director, Anna Nelson said, ‘AccessAble exists to provide detailed information to venues throughout the UK and Ireland, so that disabled people, carers and anyone who needs to know more about accessibility can find out if a place will be right for them.
We are passionate about delivering our social mission and helping more of the c.20m people who have accessibility requirements. As part of the launch AccessAble have published an important survey that highlights the vital need for better accessibility information. The survey revealed that 99% of disabled people want to know about accessibility before visiting a new place and 98% search for accessibility information in advance.  You can read more about it and check out the survey here https://www.accessable.co.uk/articles/new-survey-highlights-major-accessibility-gap-for-uk-s-20-million-disabled-people-and-carers
To check out the new service simply visit the website at www.AccessAble.co.uk or download the AccessAble App from the Apple Store or Google Play Store. If you have any feedback you can contact AccessAble at  hello@AccessAble.co.uk, message them on social media or give AccessAble a call on 01438 842710.