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Latest Update from Buckinghamshire Council (12/05/22)

Dear resident,

I hope this email finds you well; I wanted to write with a few updates and to reflect on the fantastic long weekend we’ve all just experienced, celebrating Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

I’ve been delighted to see so many fantastic photos picturing scenes from every corner of the county as communities came together to mark this historic occasion. It was clear how much hard work went into organising events in Buckinghamshire – whether a major get together or a smaller affair; street parties, beacon lighting, cake competitions, garden get-togethers, music and dancing, we’ve had it all.

I want to pay a tribute to anyone involved in putting on Jubilee events in their local community; it was fantastic for people to be able to mark the occasion in this way. The council waived street closure fees and produced activity packs and I am really glad communities were able to make the most of these opportunities.

And the icing on the cake – quite literally – was seeing the incredible entrants into the ‘Great Bucks Jubilee Cake Off’, a Jubilee cake competition between schools across the county whittled down to 13 incredible finalists. We were delighted to welcome our newly appointed ‘Buckinghamshire Swan’ Envoy Lorraine Kelly, one of the judges who decided on the eventual winner Chiltern Way Academy. Congratulations to all budding bakers who took part.

Overall, the Jubilee weekend was a time to come together, to reflect on the incredible service Her Majesty The Queen has given to this country and to enjoy ourselves.  I know there will be many photos capturing these happy memories and we’ve put a few pictures onto our Facebook page for you to enjoy.

Support for residents

I know the cost of essential items and fuel continues to be a significant issue for everyone and we are all making adjustments to manage our finances. I am very aware indeed that for some of our residents, this is a very real crisis. It’s a top priority for us at the council to provide a range of support to both help those most in need, whilst also doing what we can to provide some universal help too – as almost everyone is feeling stretched.

 

We have been sending out the £150 council tax rebates to households in Bands A-D and the council is topping those payments up by a further £25 for eligible households. We’ve also – under our own scheme – widened the £150 rebates out to those households in Bands E-H who are on certain benefits – and have topped these payments up too for eligible households, with a further £25. The £25 top up payments are being made from July for those who qualify.

 

The Government has made further announcements about national schemes that will offset the rise in costs, such as the £400 payments to all households to support with energy bills, a £650 one-off means tested cost of living payment to some people on certain benefits and a one-off £300 pensioner cost of living payment. It was also confirmed that the government will extend the Household Support Fund (HSF) across winter, which is extremely welcome news.

 

In Buckinghamshire, we are using the HSF money to provide a range of support for our residents. We are providing food and household bill support for households in need and digital food vouchers through schools and early years settings to cover holiday periods for families on low incomes. We are supporting local community support schemes providing much-needed assistance to residents.

 

The HSF money is co-ordinated through our Helping Hand service and is being used in various ways to help families buy food and other essentials. We are also supporting new arrivals from Ukraine and Afghanistan through our Helping Hand service.

 

If you need general advice on money matters please check the dedicated pages on our website, and if you’re experiencing financial hardship, please take a look at the Helping Hand webpages and contact our team.

 

As with all Government support that the council administers, we make sure we devise schemes that are pragmatic and that will get the money out as quickly as possible to the people who need it – just as we did with support for businesses during the pandemic. So please do get in touch with the council if you need to reach out. We are here to help.

 

Ukraine arrivals

We continue to support new arrivals from Ukraine into our county, through our dedicated ‘Helping Hand for Ukraine’ team that is providing support as they settle into their stay in Buckinghamshire. It’s through the generosity of Buckinghamshire residents opening their homes to families fleeing the conflict that they are able to come here, and the council is working hard to make sure the families can access schooling, work, practical items and emotional support. So far, we have welcomed nearly 900 Ukrainian guests to Buckinghamshire through the kindness of over 350 Buckinghamshire families. 

 

If you want to find out more about the scheme, please check the dedicated pages on our website which outlines how our ‘Helping Hand for Ukraine’ scheme is working.

 

Household waste collections in the south of the county
I want to offer a sincere apology to those households in the south of the county who have experienced disruption to their bin collection service. We are very much aware that, as we bed in new routes for our lorries and crews in the former district areas of Wycombe, Chiltern and South Bucks, some homes in these areas have experienced delayed or missed collections in recent weeks. We know this is unacceptable and we are working really hard to restore a good bin collection service.

We know too that it’s been hard to get through on the phone to report issues and we apologise for the longer wait times due to the high volume of calls on this and other issues.

The best way to report a missed bin is online via our website ideally within 24 hours of the collection being missed. If you have already reported a missed collection, please leave your bin(s) outside your property where possible, as we are aiming to collect missed bins over the coming week.

We know this has fallen below our usual high standards. We are putting in a number of measures with our contractor to improve things and we thank you very much for your patience during this time.

Carer’s Week and WhizzFizzFest
Before I sign off, I just want to give a quick mention to a couple of other important pieces of information. Firstly, this week has been Carer’s Week – during which we acknowledge the incredible contribution all carers make. I want to both thank our own care staff for the critical care work they do for others and also to recognise the dedication of all our residents who care for loved ones in some capacity. Please do remember that if you’re a carer you can access information, help and support through our Care Advice Bucks website.

And please note the upcoming WhizzFizzFest in your diary, which I’m delighted is returning in its full glory after a couple of years with a different kind of event during Covid. This year’s WhizzFizzFest is happening on Saturday 2 July in Aylesbury Town Centre with a fantastic celebration of children’s literature. We’ve headline authors, special events and a general day of festivities planned so please check the WhizzFizzFest website for full details including how to book tickets for the special events.

Yours,

Martin Tett
Leader of Buckinghamshire Council

 

 

Online Resources for Support for Ukrainian Refugees in Buckinghamshire

The webpage – Community Support for Ukrainian refugees in Buckinghamshire – provides information on the help already available in the county, and also details of where individuals and organisations can register their offers of support. This includes information for:

  • Bucks residents who want to help Ukrainian refugees in the county
  • Charities/ community groups in Buckinghamshire which are offering support or facilities to the county’s Ukrainian refugees
  • Refugees or hosts in the county who want to find out what support is available within Bucks communities.

Buckinghamshire Council established the Bucks Ukraine Partnership, a cross-sector partnership, to coordinate support for Ukrainian refugees in the county. As part of this, Community Impact Bucks is leading the Community Capacity sub-group which is engaging with charities, community groups and individuals in the community who can offer support.

Virus Scams – Advice

  • Don’t be pressurised into making a decision. If someone is trying to rush you or panic you, they are probably trying to scam you.
  • Only purchase goods from trusted retailers.
  • Be suspicious of requests for money upfront.
  • Do not give your bank card or bank details to a stranger.
  • Never write your PIN down.
  • Know who you’re dealing with – if you don’t know the person who’s offering you help, ask to be introduced by someone that you know and trust.

Contact For Advice on Scams

Call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 11 33
To report a scam call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040
Contact your bank if you think you have been scammed.

Covid Vaccinations for Housebound People

If you are housebound and you need your 4th COVID vaccine (sometimes called the Spring Booster), you can now have this dose at home.

The Patient Advice Liaison Service (PALS) can book your appointment and let the vaccination team at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust know when to visit you.
(If you are a carer, friend, or family member of someone housebound, please share this information with them)

Contact PALS: phone: 0800 328 5640  or email: bucksccgs@nhs.net

PALS will ensure you have all the information you need and answer any questions or concerns.
More information can be found here: Local COVID-19 vaccination updates | Buckinghamshire CCG