Monday, 30 October 2017

Children in Need: BrighterKind

This morning, having scraped the ice of the windscreen, Julie and I popped down to Hamilton House to wish the seven riders from BrighterKind a safe and speedy journey to Banbury this morning at 8am. They are raising money for Children in Need.

So well done Charlotte Fenton, Laura Smith, Rachel Green, Lisa Eldridge, Callum Tunks, Amy Preece and Jaqueline Wilson!! I hope they all stayed warm enough! It is pretty nippy out there this morning but a glorious sunny day for it!

You can make a donation to entire project (it is being done by all 70 BrighterKind care homes in tandem together) by visiting here. I understand that the team of riders from Buckingham have raised a further £200+ on paper as well.

What a great way to start fund raising for Children in Need here in Buckingham. I look forward to hearing about more examples!

The team of cyclists ready to go! (plus Mayoress, bear and indeed, the Queen!)

Colleagues come out to wish them all well

And they are off!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

It's what the skate park is for!

Julie and I enjoyed a super chilled afternoon watching the young scooterists, bmx bikers, skateboarders and even unicyclists make great use of our park down by the bridge.

Well done to George and Jimmy who I brought all this together - and indeed well done to everyone who make today a success! Thank you! I hope the next one is not too far away.

We enjoyed the music, the ambience, the enthusiasm and the raw skill of everyone taking part. And I would like award everyone with a Commendation of Participation and Excellence! It was a delight to see so many young people enjoying a good time together.

Here are some pics. Firstly thank you to the young woman who decorated my face!

The sun begins to set

Graffitti by T

Another shot of the setting sun

Like a modern day Breugel painting

The original Breugel I was thinking of!

Aylesbury Youth Action sparkle!

I enjoyed a fabulous evening on Wednesday with Aylesbury Youth Action for their annual celebration of all the great volunteering that the Young People have been involved with this year.
AYA is a place of opportunities. It is a place where young people aged 14-25 can further develop their skills and step into new and different experiences. A place where you make friends and meet new people. AYA offers an opportunity to volunteer and help the community. The aim of AYA continues to be to improve the life chances of young people and enable them to make a positive contribution to their local community. AYA unique approach to youth and community work results in a double impact for the benefit of the community and the development of the young person who is volunteering.
I met a wonderful bunch of people and was thoroughly impressed with the work that the young people are involved with. AYA supports Young Carers and several other projects around the District. It is mostly Aylesbury focused but one of my reasons for attending was to draw their attention northwards!

So if you are a young person or know a young person who might like to get involved, please contact AYA and make something happen! 

I loved this piece in the Annual Report (and I met Mitchell's Mum on the evening as well - she was a very, very proud and happy Mum!) This is a great case study of the kind of stuff that AYA does with and for young people.

And here is a pic from the event.

And I spent some of the evening learning about the work of an allied organisation: Action for Youth with these two lovely people. Jenifer Cameron (Chief Exec) is on the right and Jan Knight (HR & Admin Manager) is on the left. I will be visiting them soon!

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Shaping rural well-being for the next 125 years: 10/11/17

125 years ago, rural community nursing was born in Buckingham. A conference​ on 10 November​ (see below) has been organised by the Town Council (with sponsorship from NHS England) to look back and look forwards to next the 125 years. This conference will address the core question:

What​ ​now​ ​needs​ ​to​ ​be​ ​done​ ​to​ ​commission,​ ​harness​ ​and​ ​shape​ all​ ​the resources​ ​and​ ​assets​ ​in​ ​local​ ​rural​ ​communities​ ​so​ ​that​ all​ ​can​ ​enjoy​ ​good health​ ​and​ ​well-being​ ​throughout​ ​the​ ​full​ ​length​ ​of​ ​their​ ​lives?

The conference will be addressed by:

  • Professor​ ​Viv​ ​Bennett​ ​CBE​ (Chief Nurse, Public Health England)
  • Dr​ ​Jane​ ​O’Grady​ (Director of Public Health, Buckinghamshire)
  • Lou​ ​Patten​ (Chief Officer of Aylesbury Vale & Chiltern CCG’s, Buckinghamshire)

If you would like to attend, please contact Sam Hoareau on | 01280 812872 | £30 to cover costs and hot lunch with student/old person discounts

This is an event open to all health professionals, professionals from other allied agencies with a role in rural well-being and members of the public keen to get involved in the conversation about the future shape of services in rural areas designed to promote and sustain well being for all.

Health Festival: The Town Council have organised a series of events designed to celebrate this over the course of a whole week (6 to 11 November 2017) including a Health Fair for members of the public on Saturday 11 November. See details of the full week's long Health Festival being organised by the Town Council:

1962 article from the Nursing Mirror giving details of the original conference in Buckingham 125 years ago.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

At your convenience

Last Thursday, I had the enormous pleasure of officially opening the new toilets in the town. I was joined by several Town Councillors and Cllr John Gilbert, Parish Councillor from Great Horwood who sits on the AVDC New Homes Bonus Panel representing the Aylebsury Vale Association of Local Councils. And it was lovely to see Ms Una Robinson who was representing the Buckingham and Winslow Access For All Group (see Accessible Buckingham for more information) who also came along.

Here is the speech I made:
Welcome to all fellow councillors, past Mayors, esteemed guests and town council officers. 
My thanks go to you all, especially the Town Clerk and his team, for navigating us here. Also, thanks of course to AVDC which had the foresight to agree some time ago to top slice the New Homes Bonus monies awarded them by central government for projects such as this in the towns and parishes of the District most affected by new homes. 
So... it has been a long journey to get here. We have had to go down many new paths and some cul-de-sacs, we have to cross (and not cross) many roads, fingers and legs... all in our six year quest to provide convenience and relief to the people of Buckingham and all our visitors.
It is, I am sure, our collective ambition that these toilets will help to make Buckingham an even better place in which to live, visit, work, play, study and spend pennies... lots of pennies and lots of pounds!
And so without further ado, I declare these facilities officially open!
Many people probably won't get to see the inside of the very rare "changing places" toilet that is designed for people with significant multiple challenges. It includes an adult size changing table (that rises and falls like the sink) and a hoist too. The loo comes with a built in bidet tap as well! Here are some pics I took.

 This is a great facility to have in the town!

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

All the fun of the fair!

Along with our Town Crier and Marshal Nichols, I opened the first Charter Fair in Buckingham last Saturday. As always the second fair is coming to town and setting up on Friday (20/10) and will be open on this coming Saturday.

As the Town Council website says "Buckingham’s first charter to hold the annual market/fair was given by Mary I in 1554 and the second charter was given by Charles II in 1658. The charter was only granted to the town to hold fairs on a Saturday and not any other day. [The] showman arrive on the Friday and leave early on Sunday morning for both fairs. Nichols Amusements run the fair and the Town Council organises the road closure and helps to bring the fair safely into town."

Marshal and many of the stall holders are members of the Showmen's Guild. More information here.

Julie and I enjoyed walking through the fair and meeting most of the stall holders who all seemed to be optimistic about the weather and therefore the fair. I had a go on a few stalls too! (My mum now has two halves of coconut hanging from her bird table although the birds seem mostly disinterested!)

So I hope the fair goes well this weekend too - and everyone has a great time!

Here's a pic borrowed from BWMTY (thank you Cheryl Ann Lott!)

And here is Robin's tweet with an acknowledgement that in the first hour each year, disadvantaged and vulnerable children get free rides care of Marshal and the fair stall holders. He also offers sandwiches and pop in the Three Cups. The spread was ravenously consumed this year by lots of children. (Link to the video here)

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Buckingham Almshouses and Welfare Charity

One of the bits of being Mayor is that I get appointed to being one of the Trustees of this body which looks after the almshouses, some allotments and some charitable gifts in the town and Gawcott. I attended my first meeting on Tuesday and was welcomed by all.

Around the table are Cllr Paul Hirons, Cllr Terry Bloomfield, Stephen Townsend, Dr Roger Harrington (Chair), Karen Phillips (Clerk), Cllr Paddy Collins, Revd Will Pearson Gee, Cllr Geraldine Collins, Mrs Mary Russell (Cllr Patrick Fealey had a leave a bit earlier and Cllr Ruth Newell had sent her apologies).

You can find out more about work of this body here.

Opportunities for Buckingham folk

I had a glorious visit to the Buckingham Opportunities Centre yesterday morning. My guides were Jeanette (one of the team of support workers) and Ryan (one of the users of the Centre). Here is a picture of Ryan enjoying the wonderful riverside garden at the Centre. What a lovely spot this is.

(By the way, did you know the Centre can be hired at weekends for parties and family get-togethers? Lots of facilities including a large hall and several meeting rooms. If you are interested, please contact them: 01280 815400)

My tour then took me to the kitchen where I met award winning chef Martin who talked me through the week's menus. Indeed, not many people know, is that anyone can sample one of these meals for the princely some of £5. They looked pretty sumptuous to me! Just give them a call to arrange.

We then went on the meet Louise who is the new operations manager for this part of Bucks County Council Adult & Social Care and she told me about the patch she looks after. (It's quite big!) Then I popped into to say hallo to a group of older people which included Winnie who is aged 101! (She is on the right of the picture) And sitting next to Winnie is Ann who has been volunteering with these services since 1979! Here they all are.

I was told by Sarah (Senior Support worker) that the Centre caters for around 50+ people a week with a team of 16 staff and 4 volunteers. I did not get to meet Jo Fisher who is the manager as she was on holiday. 

But I did meet John (another support worker) who carefully took me through the programme of activities for the people with learning and other complex disabilities. Such a diverse programme which Emily (one of the other clients I chatted me) told me that she enjoyed, especially the craft work. I was able to link them to the Buckingham Rocks project so watch out for some new rocks arriving soon!

Overall, as I was leaving I asked Sarah and Jeanette what the place is all about... They told me it is about, quite simply, providing company and support to a whole range of people. And what delights them is when they go out with the users to visit the town, all they meet at welcomes and smiles from passersby and all the shops they visit. They wanted me to make a special mention of the Meadow Row tea shop who are especially welcoming and Alan at the Woolpack who works closely with them on a whole range of projects. Pam and the Library staff and fantastic too, I understand. But really it is everyone and all the shops! 

Buckingham feels like one big family to the clients and staff of the Buckingham Opportunities Centre! (I am so glad that the County Council is continuing to fund this service: long may that continue!)

Democracy in our Schools

As part of 'local democracy week' the Town Council worked with the Royal Latin School and the Buckingham School to convene a meeting of school students on the afternoon of Friday. And what a great event it was!!

As you can see there were many students from both schools who were joined by Cllrs Lisa O'Donoghue and Robin Stuchbury, PC Chris Stockings, TC events officer Amanda Brubaker and myself. I chaired the meeting, as I would a Town Council meeting, and we worked through the agenda created by both schools. It was a long agenda and we ran out of time (we had just less than one hour). Here is my copy of the agenda with notes I added during the meeting.

And what a fantastic debate it was! There were challenges, ideas, commentary and discussion on the whole range of topics. I know that I left with a number of actions to follow up as did I hope did the students themselves. There will be minutes and I will upload a copy when I get them.

Meanwhile, residents of Buckingham can rest assured that with young people like this, there is a great future for democracy in our town!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

A sparkling evening

Julie the Mayoress was invited to open the new Pasha shop on Bridge Street on Saturday evening. And we were delighted to go along and support this next chapter in shop's life (Pasha was on Well Street before). It was a wonderful and glittery affair surrounded by all the lovely clothes and decorative jewellery that Pasha is known for. Well done Shida for making all this happen!

I reprint here Julie's speech:
Thanks to all of you for coming here tonight. And especially thanks to Shida for inviting all of you and for inviting me. I am Julie and by dint of being married to Jon, the Town Mayor, I am currently the Mayoress. I am delighted to be here on this special evening.
As many of you know, Jon's vision is to make Buckingham an even better place in which to live, work, study, visit and play. And his chosen word for this year is 'ambition'. 
Ambition and dreams are important to all of us, and Shida is fulfilling her ambitions by expanding her shop, and therefore definitely making  Buckingham a better place to shop! 
So I am thrilled to support and rejoice with her and with you by officially declaring the all new Pasha open!!
My photography was limited on Saturday night but here is a brief glimpse of the evening and indeed the shop. But I encourage you to explore the new shop as soon as you can. You will get a very warm welcome from Shida and her colleagues.

Add life to years (as well as years to life)!

I had the pleasure of attending the Library's day for older people last Thursday. Frankly, it is fantastic how much support and groups there are here in our local community for people in their later years. Whilst sometimes the range of help can be bewildering in its complexity, there are people out there who can help you and your relatives / friends navigate through.

So I picked up lots of leaflets and here are copies of some of the key pages for your information. And of course, if you are ever stuck, the librarians are on hand to help guide you as well. What a great team of committed professionals they are!!


And don't forget the Health Festival coming up soon in November which will include a special exhibition in the Library, school projects, a tea for retired health professionals, a professional conference (see below) and the health fair on Saturday 11/11/17. 

My last post on this blog

Last night I handed on the Buckingham Town Mayor's chain of office to my very worthy successor, Cllr Mark Cole. This marks the end of my...