Copy
Local news brought to you by Buckinghamshire County Council
View this email in your browser

Buckinghamshire County Council News - Risborough and the Ridgeway

Welcome to the March edition of Buckinghamshire County Council's newsletter for this area, where your County Councillors are Bill Bendyshe-Brown (The Risboroughs division), David Carroll (Ridgeway East) and Carl Etholen (Ridgeway West). Kimble, Great Kingshill and Stokenchurch are also included within these divisions. Please email Adam King at aking@buckscc.gov.uk with upcoming events you’d like included. The next edition will be out in May.

Hughenden chosen as pilot for scam-busting group

Eight villages in the Hughenden area have been chosen for a pilot scheme to combat loneliness, isolation and fight doorstep scammers.

Local Resident Associations and the Neighbourhood Action Group, supported by the parish, district and county councils along with Thames Valley Police launched the Hughenden Street Association scheme last month. The scheme covers the communities of Great Kingshill, Naphill, Walter's Ash, Hughenden Valley, Widmer End, North Dean, Bryant’s Bottom and Cryer’s Hill.

The launch event attracted more than 30 residents with more than half signing up to become members.

Stan Jones, Chair of Hughenden Street Association, said ‘The interest so far has been fantastic although we’re a great distance from covering the wider Parish. Long-term, we intend to sign up every street and create a sustainable Street Association where residents feel they are part of a safer and stronger community.’

The villages, all in Hughenden parish, have been chosen because of the unusual age profile of their population. Between 2001 and 2011 the number of residents aged between 25 and 45 fell by a third and the number over 60 rose by 50%.

Senior Trading Standards Officer Chris Holden, one of the County Council's scheme co-ordinators, said: "We want this scheme to make people feel safer and encourage neighbours to look out for one another, especially our more vulnerable residents," said Chris. "Dementia plays an increasing role in susceptibility to doorstep crime and, sadly, proportions increase with an ageing population."

In the past two years seven doorstep scams were reported in Hughenden parish, but Chris emphasises that these figures represent the tip of a community crime iceberg, with “only one in 10 incidents ever reported”.

However, this initiative is not only about preventing crime.

Natalie Judson, Community Links Officer with the County Council and steering group member added: “Equally important is the support Association members can make in improving the wellbeing of residents across the board, not least at times of ill health, bereavement and isolation”. 

For an information pack to help your street, please contact HughendenStreetAssociation@gmail.com or 07392 683500
New freight strategy to reduce load on communities

Minimising the impact of freight travelling through Buckinghamshire was the subject of a special summit which brought together community leaders from across the county.

Organised by Buckinghamshire County Council, the debate focused on the key issues that directly affect local communities from lorries and trains carrying freight. These included noise, road safety, damage to roads, lorry routing and congestion.

The session, marked the start of the process to refresh the Council's existing freight strategy originally published in 2010.

Workshop chairman and the County Council's Deputy Cabinet Member for Transportation, Paul Irwin said: "This session was all about fact finding and listening directly to the views of our local communities. We covered a range of potential solutions from weight restrictions on roads to better sat-nav technology to help HGV drivers."

The new strategy is expected to be finalised in 2018.
Cllr Margaret Aston
Risborough tourist info to merge with library service

Tourist Information Centres in the Wycombe district are to merge with the library service from 1 April – saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds.
 
The information centres in Princes Risborough, High Wycombe and Marlow have moved from their own buildings into their respective town’s library in recent years – but until now they retained separate service points with their own dedicated staff.
 
The merger will provide a more resilient and improved customer experience, with a single team able to check out books and DVDs, answer questions about council services and give advice to visitors about places to visit in the Wycombe district.
 
Wycombe District Council’s Cabinet member for Community Cllr Julia Adey said: “Residents will benefit from an improved experience, with a single team able to deliver all three services throughout the duration of the libraries’ opening hours.
 
“The full integration of the services not only saves the taxpayer money but means people will conveniently be able to approach a single member of staff for advice about council services, such as benefits or council tax, find out what events are going on at the weekend and take a book out at the same time.”
 
Wycombe District Council will pay Buckinghamshire County Council Library Services to run the information service, with the more efficient arrangement saving the district council about £200,000 over the length of the initial five-year agreement.
 
Margaret Aston, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement at Buckinghamshire County Council, said: “It makes absolute sense to join-up these services, improving the customer experience, saving taxpayers big sums of money and bringing in an additional income to the County Council.
 
“This is an important milestone in our plans to make Buckinghamshire’s libraries the focal points of their communities – while also ensuring they are more financially sustainable.”
Meet the teachers - Richard (History Teacher)
Wycombe High School teacher Richard Binks talks about his job
Recruitment drive for more teachers

Buckinghamshire County Council has launched a recruitment drive for more teachers – just weeks after unions wrongly suggested the number of teachers in Buckinghamshire could fall.

With more than 100 teaching and support roles to fill, the council has created a new website, which includes the stories of local teachers who swapped careers in the likes of banking, journalism and tourism for the classroom.

The website highlights the many different routes into teaching and the financial support available, with bursaries up to £25k on offer. 

Zahir Mohammed, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “The NUT and ATL’s recent suggestion that funding cuts could mean a reduction in the number of Buckinghamshire’s teachers was based on wrong assumptions and as this new recruitment drive shows, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Buckinghamshire is investing in its teachers to ensure schools in the county remain amongst the best in the country."

Cabinet member welcomes tougher mobile phone penalties

Mark Shaw, Buckinghamshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Transport, has welcomed tougher sentences for drivers caught behind the wheel on their mobile phones.

He said: “I see so many drivers in Buckinghamshire using their mobiles at the wheel, and it makes my blood boil! The fact that some drivers think it is acceptable to focus even a part of their attention on some text message, call, or – even worse – social media while they are driving, is terrifying.

"My message to drivers is: put the phone away while you are in the car. It is not safe – no matter how good a driver you think you are, you are 50 per cent less focussed when you are on your phone. To think anything else is pure arrogance, and it could cost a life.”

We've created a jargon-free website explaining proposals for a new single, county-wide council for Buckinghamshire, which would save £18m a year, improve services and strengthen local decision-making.
www.futurebucks.co.uk contains:
> The business case, plus a summary of its key points.
Case studies from other areas which have a county-wide unitary council.
> An at-a-glance comparison with the district councils' proposals.
> Answers to more than 50 frequently asked questions.
Get Easter covered

The Easter holidays will be here before you know it but Buckinghamshire Family Information Service has got things covered on its Leisure and Recreation section where you can find hundreds of activities and things to do.

The website also includes information on childcare including Ofsted registered clubs, camps and courses.
If you like local history, then make sure you follow the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies on Twitter (@CenBucksStudies). They post lots of fascinating material from their archives, including this photo of lace making in Princes Risborough. Once a major cottage industry in Bucks, it started declining soon after this picture was taken in around 1900.
50 day countdown until elections

March 16 marked just 50 days to go until the County Council elections on May 4.

The elections give local people across Buckinghamshire the chance to choose the 49 councillors they want to represent them and to make the important decisions about millions of pounds of public services.

Both the County Council and the four district councils are busy making all the necessary arrangements so that everything runs smoothly between now and voting day itself and for the subsequent counting and declaration of results. 

To be able to vote, you must be on the electoral register. Poll cards will be sent to all those already registered at the end of March, but if you're not sure whether you are registered, contact your district council. You can apply to register by visiting www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. The deadline for the County elections is April 13.

There's also still time to think about standing as a candidate to become a county councillor, with the nomination period opening on March 27. Again, your district council will have all the details about this and they can send you all the relevant forms. Completed nomination papers will need to be returned by hand to the district council in the area you wish to stand by 4pm on April 4.
Together we can prevent child sexual exploitation

Being aware of the signs of child sexual exploitation and knowing where to go to raise a concern are two simple but important things we can all do to help Buckinghamshire's young people stay safe.
 
The National CSE Awareness Day, held on March 18, was supported by partners in Buckinghamshire who work together to protect children as part of the Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board.
 
Child sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse that happens when a child or young person is tricked or forced into doing something sexual in return for things like attention, money, drugs, gifts or alcohol. It is illegal, although young people might not always see it that way, because they are groomed and manipulated by their abusers.

Grooming and sexual exploitation can happen to any child or young person both in real life face to face situations and online, with online grooming playing an increasingly large part in exploitation.
 
Visit www.RUWise2it.co.uk to find out more.
 

County Council joins Apple and Google on awards shortlist

Buckinghamshire County Council and its property consultants Carter Jonas have joined Apple, Google and UBS on the shortlist for a national award after a project to make public services more efficient.

The project reviewed more than 500 buildings owned by the Council, alongside NHS, central government, blue light, and district, town and parish properties. It has been used to examine where public services can share buildings, resulting in tax payer savings. 

Judges at the Property Awards 2017 have now put the Council and Carter Jonas through to the final six in a category which recognises excellence in estate management.

The winner of the award, which was free to enter, will be announced on April 4.

John Chilver (pictured), Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “To be in the company of Apple, Google and UBS demonstrates just how highly judges thought of our work, which will help ensure that public services in Buckinghamshire are far more integrated and efficient.”

County Council leader comments on budget

Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council, on what the budget means for...

Social care
"I am very pleased that the Chancellor has listened to county and metropolitan councils and acted on the crisis in Social Care. The rapidly ageing population and the rising costs of providing care for those in need is pushing many councils' finances over the tipping point. We will need to see the detail but the initial commitment of £2 billion over the next three years is welcome. Much will depend on how this money is distributed around the country. It needs to come where need is greatest, not just allocated on some historic formula. Also how much will be maintained in funding to councils' budgets into the future?"

Transport
"On transport it was good to see a commitment to an extra £690 million to tackle urban congestion but this will be allocated by 'competition'. We need to know what will be the criteria for this competition and over what period the money will be available? Councils preferably need certainty to plan roads over a long period of time, not annual announcements. The fund also needs to focus on areas with high future housing growth not just existing town centres."

Economic growth
"Disappointingly, whilst there was much reference to the so called 'Northern Powerhouse' and 'Midlands Engines', there was little or no mention of the South East. Whilst it is important to ensure that all parts of the country prosper, it is also vital to remember that the South East of England is the true 'economic heart of Britain'. We are one of the few parts of the country with a net contribution to the national Treasury and we provide the money to fund investment elsewhere. We need to see investment in the South East, particularly given its high housing growth targets if it is to remain successful."

Grammar schools
"Lastly, as a County Council committed to Selective Education we welcome the proposal that there will be the opportunity for more parts of the country to benefit from a 'Grammar style' education. Providing the next generation with the type of opportunity that their predecessors had will be great for the country's productivity and for social mobility."

Active Bucks activities taking place in your area

 
Do you know you can access a voucher to attend a local activity session for free? There are over 2,500 weekly activities to choose from across Buckinghamshire, and you can filter by distance, day of the week, time of day and activity type.  Visit www.activebucks.co.uk.  
 
Active Bucks is also offering a number of new activities across Bucks based on the feedback of over 3,500 Bucks residents. Many activities target beginners and Active Bucks are particularly keen to encourage residents who do little or no activity!
 
Click to view all the activities Active Bucks are offering in the North West Chilterns and South West Chilterns area 
 
Can you help us to promote Active Bucks to your residents?  Active Bucks can provide all the tools needed to make it as easy as possible.  This could include:
  1. Promoting www.activebucks.co.uk on your website or newsletter/magazine – we can provide text and images if required
  2. Show your support via your social media channels  
  3. Distributing Active Bucks posters/postcards in local venues – let us know what you require
Call for suffrage pioneer nominations

International Women's Day on March 8 marked the launch of a national project to find and honour 100 pioneers who helped change the course of history nearly a century ago to make sure women received the vote.   

The influential Women’s Local Government Society, chaired by Buckinghamshire County and Wycombe District councillor Lesley Clarke OBE, is calling on local people from across the country to identify, research and nominate those women and men who were active in the campaign to extend the vote to women.

She said: "We're looking for 'suffrage pioneers' - those ordinary people who did extraordinary things to bring about changes in the law. It's so important we tell their stories, both in the run up to 1918 and beyond.

"We really want people to travel back in time and unearth these potentially untold stories. Perhaps your grandparents or other family members might have been activists? Perhaps there's a local statue of someone or folklore about a person who helped bring about the change? Whatever it is, we want to know about it!"    

Local people and organisations have until October 31 to submit their nominations. Full details, including the nomination forms are available on the www.suffrage-pioneers.net website. 
A free MOT for your health

Everybody wants to have an active and healthy life for as long as possible, but as we get older the risk of developing serious disease and illness increases. With early intervention and treatment however this risk can be reduced.

This is what the NHS Health Checks are designed to identify.

All eligible residents in Buckinghamshire aged 40-74 have a Free NHS Health Check every five years.

The Health Check is a very straightforward 20 minute assessment where blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI and lifestyle are assessed by your GP or healthcare professional.

Afterwards you’ll get an info/ results pack which includes advice and suggestions on what to do next should you need it.  

How do I book one?
You may get a letter in the post from your GP in the next few weeks asking you to attend a Health Check at your surgery, but you can also contact your GP directly or visit the website to book one locally

*To be eligible for a Health Check, you must:
  • Be aged between 40 and 74 
  • Be a Buckinghamshire resident
  • Not been diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or had a stroke
  • Not had an NHS Health Check in the last 5 years
To subscribe to this email contact Adam King aking@buckscc.gov.uk

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list