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Welcome to your November MyBucks

The nights are drawing in and we're already looking forward to Christmas!

In your November MyBucks you can find out what's on in the run up to Christmas across the county, plus read the latest on the decision to create just one council for the whole of Buckinghamshire. 

There's plenty of other news from across Bucks too so happy reading and see you in December!

Latest news

One new council for the whole of Buckinghamshire

The Government has announced a brand new, single council for Buckinghamshire. The new council will be established on 1 April 2020, with elections in May 2020.

This is great news for the residents of Buckinghamshire and an exciting opportunity for all the councils in the county to build a brand new organisation together. One council will be simpler to access, better value for money and more local for residents and local councillors, and will secure a more sustainable future for our county. 

There’s no doubt that this will be a big change for us all and we’re excited at the opportunity to work closer with town and parish councils as we develop plans for the new council. However, there’s a long journey ahead of us and until then we will continue to deliver services as usual.

There will be ongoing discussions with our district council colleagues and Government to plan how we take this forward and we will continue to keep you updated as this progresses.

If you have any concerns or questions please continue to send these to futurebucks@buckscc.gov.uk

We need your views on our future plans

The county council is currently considering changes to some of the important services we provide. 

We're now asking for people to give us their thoughts and ideas on some of these issues:

Home to school transport

We currently take 10,000 children every year to school and other educational settings.This covers a range of different types of transport - it could be a school bus that parents pay towards or a taxi that is currently entirely subsidised by the council. 

We are reviewing the whole service as there are some things we do that no longer make sense - for example providing buses along routes that are served by public transport, which actually limits children to what time they can travel home.

So we are looking at a number of changes and want your views - have your say at:

www.buckscc.gov.uk/schooltransportsurvey

It's important to note that the 5,000 children eligible for free home to school transport will not be impacted by any changes and will still be able to access free school transport. 

The consultation closes on Friday 4 January 2019.

'Early Help' services for families who need extra support

Early Help is about supporting families to do well, stay safe and resolve problems at the earliest possible opportunity before they become more serious.

At the moment too few children and families get support early enough to prevent problems emerging or to stop them from getting more serious.

We know that we must change our Early Help services so that they have the most impact in helping families in need, at a time when we have less money than ever before.

A 10-week consultation on proposed changes to the council's Early Help services is underway

For more information and to complete the online Early Help survey go to www.buckscc.gov.uk/earlyhelp

The survey closes on Thursday 13 December.

Short Breaks 

Many disabled children and adults with support needs can stay in their own homes because of support from their parents, friends or relatives. Short break or respite services support unpaid carers and the people they care for. They provide a new experience that they are not otherwise able to have and give carers time to do things they cannot do while caring for their loved one.

Councils with social care responsibilities offer 'short breaks' (respite services) and Buckinghamshire County Council is no exception. 

The Council now wants peoples' views on its plans to modernise its Short Breaks services for both adults and children,

Short breaks needn't be traditional overnight residential care. It could be a few hours during the day, at weekends or school holidays. Activities can be in the home, community or with a carer.  We want to make sure we are offering more variety, choice and flexibility. 

So please feed in your views at:
www.buckscc.gov.uk/shortbreaksforchildren and
www.buckscc.gov.uk/shortbreaksforadults

The short breaks consultations close on 14 January 2019

Think you might be immune from flu?

Lots of people don't get their flu vaccine as they think they won't catch it - maybe as they've managed to avoid the flu in previous years. 

Unfortunately, this might not work! The flu virus changes every year so if you're exposed to it you might develop the illness. 

The best way to protect yourself is to get the flu vaccine and many people can get it free on the NHS. 

You are eligible for a free flu vaccine if:

  • You're pregnant
  • You're aged 65 or over
  • You are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person
  • You have a long term health condition such as asthma, chronic heart disease, chronic kidney disease, or a condition which suppresses your immune system

Check with your GP or pharmacist to find out if you qualify. 

All children aged 2-3 years are also eligible for a free vaccine, given via a painless nasal spray.

All school children from Reception - Yr 5 will also be eligible for a free nose spray flu vaccine.

Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from catching flu. It's also important to wash your hands regularly and to throw away used tissues quickly to avoid spreading the virus. 

This year there is a special vaccine for the over 65s which gives an extra boost to the immune system. It's being delivered to GPs and pharmacies in phases so don't worry if you can't get an immediate appointment - so long as you are vaccinated before the flu starts to spread (it usually peaks around Christmas and into January). 

www.nhs.uk/flu

World War I remembered

Commemorations took place across the county last week and especially last Sunday (11 November) to mark 100 years since the end of World War One. 

As well as the traditional services and wreath-laying there were other events too including bell ringing, beacon-lighting and bugle playing.

In the afternoon The Gateway in Aylesbury played host to a special Thank You event organised jointly by local councils, the Royal British Legion and other partners.

There was live music, poetry readings, stall and displays, ration lunches and afternoon teas.

(Buckinghamshire Band of the Royal British Legion. photo credit: Marion Mason )

Could your local project get county council funding?

Across Buckinghamshire the county council has 'LAFs'.

"What is a LAF?" you might ask. 

'LAF' stands for 'Local Area Forum' and there are 19 in Buckinghamshire, all set up by the county council. It's through the LAFs that a lot of very local spending decisions are made, for example on local traffic schemes or worthwhile community projects. 

It's a way for local people to decide themselves how county council funding can be best used. 

Community projects can apply for LAF funding - so if you have a scheme that you think could qualify, check out this short video to find out more.

What's on

See here for Festive Family Events across Bucks

Is it too early to start thinking about Christmas?

We don't think so! And neither does our fantastic Family Information Service who have put together their brilliant interactive map so you can start planning for your festive season. 

There’s a dazzling array of Christmas markets and craft fairs taking place too, including the Waddesdon Manor Christmas Fair with 86 exhibitors housed in charming wooden chalets.

Santa’s Grottos are running throughout November and December all the way up to Christmas Eve giving the little ones plenty of time to draft their Christmas lists.

If you are running a Christmas market, fair or other family friendly event, or you know of one that’s not listed, let the BFIS team know by emailing familyinfo@buckscc.gov.uk

https://www.bucksfamilyinfo.org/christmas

Buckinghamshire Family Information Service offers a huge range of information for local families from childcare to events to how to find advice and support:

Website: bucksfamilyinfo.org
Email: familyinfo@buckscc.gov.uk
Facebook: BucksFamilyInfo
Twitter: @Bucks_FIS
Instagram: @bucksfamilyinfo
Linkedin: Buckinghamshire Family Information Service
Youtube: BucksFamilyInfo
Phone: 01296 383 065 or text: 07786 202 920
Monday to Friday 9am to 5.30pm (5pm on Friday)

Last chance for free tickets to leading theatre show - on next week

Last chance for a free ticket to acclaimed Waterside show

NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group has a limited number of free tickets for the acclaimed show Finding Joy, which focuses on the impact of dementia and comes to the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury for a special performance this Monday.

The show, performed in full mask by the Vamos Theatre company, follows the relationship between Joy, who lives with dementia, and her grandson Danny. It has been described as ‘life affirming, funny, deeply touching’ (Plays to See), bringing heart and humour to this sensitive subject.

Valuable for carers and anyone else who is, or has a loved one, affected by dementia, it promises to be a rewarding and enlightening evening.

Suitable for 12 years and upwards, Finding Joy is accessible to hearing and D/deaf audiences alike.

The performance will be at the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury, HP20 1UG, on Monday 19 November at 7pm.

Free tickets are limited if you should book a place but later find you are unable to attend, we would ask that you please inform us or the theatre so the seat can be offered to someone else and make sure as many people as possible can experience the Finding Joy show.

Please click here for a booking form. Please complete one for each person wishing to attend. You can also call 01296 382 752

Your ticket will be allocated once the theatre has received this completed application form, please return either by post Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Exchange Street, Aylesbury, HP20 1UG, by hand, or by email to aylesburyboxoffice@theambassadors.com.

You will receive an email from AWT to confirm your booking, this will contain details of how to collect your ticket prior to the event, or on the night.

Coming up at Bucks County Museum

What’s on at Bucks County Museum, Aylesbury

Drop into the County Museum in the run up to Christmas and enjoy the exhibitions and events. The Museum also has a gift shop stocking gifts, cards, local books, Roald Dahl books and merchandise – perfect for Christmas presents and stocking fillers.

Finish your visit with a hot chocolate in the museum café.

LAST CHANCE TO SEE The Hart Silversmiths: 100 years of Arts & Crafts silver

On now until 8 December 2018

Last chance to catch this beautiful exhibition of silver from the Hart Silversmiths celebrating the remarkable tradition of silversmithing that has been carried out by the Hart family at The Guild in Chipping Campden for over one hundred years. Entry by donation.

 

Christmas Craft Fair
Saturday 24 November, 11am – 4pm

Enjoy browsing a fantastic range of stalls within our historic buildings, including handmade toys and clothing, cards, gifts, jewellery, stocking fillers, art and home décor and seasonal refreshments. Entry by donation.

12 Days of Christmas Science Show
Saturday 15 December, 1.30pm & 3pm
Start your Christmas with a FIZZ and a BANG! Bring the children to our amazing Christmas science show with festive experiments that include dry ice, bubbling potions, flashes and bangs. Our brilliant friends from Bright Sparks Science have come up with a scientific twist on the 12 days of Christmas carol. Lasts 40 minutes. All tickets £6.50. Call to book or visit our website.

 

Christmas Toy Box
15 December 2018 – 19 January 2019
This family favourite is back again with lots of toys to remember from childhood and plenty of toys and games to play with, too. Small charge per child.

 

100 HEARTS: Legacy of War

Embroiderers’ Guild stitched hearts to commemorate the end of WW1

On now until 12 January 2019

Special exhibition marking the end of the First World War and the legacy of war including a display of embroidered hearts by the Embroiderers’ Guild. Entry by donation.


Bucks County Museum and Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery, Church Street, Aylesbury HP20 2QP. Call 01296 331441 or visit www.buckscountymuseum.org

Love your Library

Fascinating local history talks on this weekend!

The Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies is holding its annual History Fair on Saturday 17th November.

Entry is free and there are a series of talks through the whole day.

11am - 11.50am: Uncovering Buckinghamshire's Historic Soup Kitchens

12pm - 12.50pm: Humphrey Repton in Buckinghamshire and Beyond

1pm - 1.50pm: Off The Pedestal - Nancy Astor, Subject and Patron of 20th Century Art

2pm - 2.50pm: Bekonscot Model Village

3pm - 3.30pm: Beacons of the Past - Understanding and Protecting Hillforts in the Chilterns

 

Address: County Hall, Walton Street, Aylesbury, HP20 1UU

Email: archives@buckscc.gov.uk

Social media: @CenBucksStudies

Amersham Library: Amersham at War talk

When: Thursday 22nd November

Where: Amersham Library, Chiltern Avenue, Amersham, HP6 5AH

Time: 11:00am

What: Amersham Museum’s Emily Toettcher will be giving a talk entitled ‘Amersham at War’. She will be covering the experience of living on the ‘Home Front’ in Amersham and also the watercolours of recuperating soldiers, by local artist Caroline Richardson.

There will be a display of a selection of items from the County Reserve’s Rare Books Collection for customers to look at.

These include a large format copy of ‘Newspapers of the First World War’, Volume 1 of Wilson’s ‘Great War’, and a book of maps showing Military Operations in France and Belgium, 1916.

Free of charge. Refreshments will be provided.

Christmas opening times at your local library

Buckinghamshire libraries will be operating at different times over the Christmas and New Year period.

You can find the opening times for your local library at www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/libraries/find-a-library

Leading better lives

Apply now for your 30 hours of funded childcare

If you are a parent who wants to take up a 30 hours funded childcare place for the spring term (starting January 2019) you are encouraged to apply now to help make sure you get your code in good time. The deadline is 31 December 2018. To begin the sign up process, start by confirming your eligibility on the Childcare Choices website.

Reconfirm

If you have already taken up 30 hours and want to continue using it for the next term, you will need to re-confirm your eligibility by signing in to your childcare account.

 

About 30 hours funded childcare

30 hours funded childcare aims to help families with 3 or 4 year olds start back to work or to continue or extend their working pattern by increasing the funded childcare hours from 15 to 30 per week term time. 30 hours can be used at participating:

  • Childminders
  • Day Nurseries
  • Independent School Nurseries
  • Local Authority Nursery Schools or Schools with a Nursery Class
  • Pre-Schools and Nursery Schools

Find out more about 30 Hours and find childcare providers on the Buckinghamshire Family Information Service website.

Tax-Free Childcare

If you're a working parent with a child or children under 12 (or under 17 for disabled children), you can open an online account to pay for registered childcare. This is called Tax-Free Childcare (TFC). Tax-Free Childcare is for working families, including the self-employed, and for every £8 you pay in the government will add an extra £2 (up to £2,000 per child per year). To begin the sign up process, start by confirming your eligibility on the Childcare Choices website.

 

Find out more about Tax-Free Childcare and find childcare providers on the Buckinghamshire Family Information Service website.

Read baby Amber's story


Amber (not her real name or image) is a baby who lives in Buckinghamshire...

Hi I am 4 months old, I was born in the month of May. I have big brown sparkly eyes and shiny brown hair.  I live with my foster carers who take really good care of me. I was not able to live with my mummy as she had a lot of her own problems which meant she was not able to keep me safe. My mummy told the Social Workers that she didn’t know who my daddy was so I have never met him.

I have lived with my foster carers since I left the hospital when I was 4 weeks old. They take really good care of me and this makes me feel safe and happy. 

Amber is one of many children in Buckinghamshire who need an adoptive family, and sadly, right now we have a number of different children in our care who also need a loving home. You can read more about them here:

There are lots of myths around adoption but you can adopt a child regardless of cultural background, employment and relationship status, gender or sexual orientation. 

If this article has stirred an interest then why not come to an information session to find out more. You can find out more whatever stage you're at in your thinking about adoption


How much do you really drink?

Think you know your drink?

If you've ever thought about the amount of alcohol you drink, did you try to cut down? Would you know what the safer drinking levels are?

Thousands of people across the county are trying to cut down or even give up alcohol this year. They are hoping to protect themselves from the damage that drinking too much alcohol can have on your body.

Alcohol Awareness Week runs from 19-25 November. We are encouraging everyone who likes a drink to stay within the recommended safe limits.

It is a good idea to know how much is now considered to be a safe level of alcohol. Once you know, you can try to protect your body from the harmful effects of drinking too much. You can also help someone else reduce their alcohol intake.

How much should I be drinking?

The maximum per week:

14 single measures of spirit (25ml) 40% ABV

or

6 glasses of wine (175ml) 13% ABV

or

6 pints of ordinary strength beer or cider (568ml) 4% ABV

If you're concerned that you or someone you know is drinking too much alcohol, there's a lot of help and support.


Please be careful though as it can be dangerous to stop drinking too quickly. If you have shaking, sweating or anxiety before your first drink of the day you will need medical support. Your own GP is a good place to start and they can help you reduce your drinking at a safe pace.

Here are some useful organisations and their contact details:

One Recovery Bucks          https://onerecoverybucks.org/alcohol-recovery/

Bucks Drink Checker        https://buckscc.drinkchecker.org.uk

Live Well Stay Well Bucks https://www.livewellstaywellbucks.co.uk/Service/28/reduce-alcohol

NHS One You                      https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/for-your-body/drink-less/

Bucks young people can now access counselling online

Kooth is a new online counselling service supporting young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health  in Bucks. The online service can help young people avoid the stigma sometimes associated with seeking help.

Children and young people across Bucks can now access  professional mental health counsellors via Kooth.

People aged 11 to 19 register anonymously on the site, which gives them access to drop-in or booked online chats with British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy certified counsellors, psychotherapists and emotional wellbeing practitioners.

They're encouraged to identify goals and monitor progress with their counsellor, charting movement as progress is achieved.

Kooth is accessible at any time via any connected device.

Find out how you can Foster with Bucks

Did you know that there are currently more than 500 children in care in Buckinghamshire? Between July and September of this year we found foster homes for 55 children with an average age of just over eight and a half.

Our fostering team works hard all year round to find safe and loving foster homes for these children. We have an amazing group of people who already help us look after some of these children but we need more people like them to come forward and become foster carers.

Could you foster or do you know someone who could?

Anyone who may be thinking about becoming a foster carer will undoubtedly have lots of questions. One of the best ways to get those questions answered is to come along to our next Fostering Information Evening.

The next event takes place on:

  • Wednesday 21 November, Mezz rooms, New County Offices, Walton Street, Aylesbury, HP20 1UA, starting at 6.30pm

These informal events give you the chance to find out all there is to know about fostering with us, how the recruitment process works and all about the training, support and allowances. You can ask questions direct to our recruitment team and hear from some of our current foster carers about their experiences.

Anyone can foster, you don’t need to have had children, be married or own your own home. All we ask is that you have a spare room and the time and energy needed to support a young person.

In return we will give you outstanding training, ongoing support and a competitive allowance. Even if fostering is not something you can do, please think about your family and friends, do you know someone who could foster and just needs a nudge? Why not speak to them and ask them to get in touch with us.

For more information on Fostering with Bucks or to book onto the next information event visit our website: www.buckscc.gov.uk/fostering

We can all play a part to improve the health of Bucks residents.

The organisations that run mental health, social care and physical health services in Buckinghamshire have joined together to create an integrated care system. This is a way of working that brings the different organisations that provide these services together.

Sign up here to receive the newsletter for the Buckinghamshire Integrated Care System (ICS).

For more information, click here.

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