Important Brexit information for businesses and EU nationals in Bucks
As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, Buckinghamshire County Council is urging both individuals and businesses to make sure they are prepared.
For EU, EEA or Swiss citizens and close family members living or working in in the UK, the government has set up the EU Settlement Scheme. Successful applications mean individuals and their families can carry on living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021, remaining eligible for public services such as the NHS, school education and public funds including pensions.
The EEA includes the EU countries along with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Residents with Irish citizenship and residents who hold an indefinite leave to remain in the UK don't need to apply to the scheme.
For business, Buckinghamshire Business First offers information and advice on how to prepare to operate under different economic circumstances and there is also funding available for those businesses that need to prepare for new trading relationships.
Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council Martin Tett said: “EU nationals are highly valued members of our communities in Buckinghamshire, and that will of course continue to be the case after Brexit.
"As preparations for leaving the European Union are stepped up, I would strongly encourage all EU, Swiss or EEA nationals living or working in Bucks to apply for settled status. Settled status gives you the right to work in the UK and to access a wide range of benefits and services. The process of applying is quite straightforward and our libraries and registrars are on hand to provide help and advice if you need it.
"For businesses, I'd urge you to find out exactly what implications leaving the EU has for your day-to-day operations so that you don't encounter any unforeseen problems. Extensive information is available from both the government website and from our own Bucks Business First, who can offer you advice from a local perspective, with possible funding if your business requires specialist advice or critical change."
Details of the support and advice available through libraries and registrars for those applying through the EU Settlement Scheme can be found here
Information on support, advice and funding available from Buckinghamshire Business First can be found here.
Paving the way for your new Buckinghamshire Council
Plans for the new Buckinghamshire Council, which will be replacing the five current councils (Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe district councils and Bucks County Council) on 1 April 2020 are continuing.
You can keep up to date with the latest news about the new council on the Shadow Authority website, Twitter or Facebook
Local contact points across the county
Plans for a network of new 'Council Access Points' have been agreed by the Shadow Executive - the body overseeing the creation of the new council. These new access points will be in existing buildings like libraries and council offices at the heart of local communities. They will help the new unitary council be close to communities and the network of council access points will spread across the county stretching from Buckingham in the north to Burnham in the south.
You’ll be able to get information, advice and support on a range of topics at a location close to where you live or work. Staff will be on hand at each council access point to provide face-to-face help, signpost people to the right places to get help and offer support with online services.
The five current council main offices in Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Amersham and Capswood will become ‘Access Plus’ centres, offering extra services from Monday to Friday for residents who have more complex enquiries.
The locations of the other council access points will be confirmed and promoted as part of the launch preparations for Buckinghamshire Council.
Find out more here
Council invests in major new centre for people with additional needs
Buckinghamshire County Council has approved a £3.5million investment for a new improved residential centre in Aylesbury which will provide high quality short breaks for people who have a learning disability, autism or physical and sensory disability.
The decision means while the current day service will be retained at Beaconsfield, the overnight short breaks service will move into redeveloped premises in Aylesbury.
Lin Hazell Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said,
“Buckinghamshire is in the fortunate position of already having a suitable site at Aylesbury Opportunities Centre which will be upgraded to provide a state of the art facility. The building currently used is not fit for purpose and the new site gives us the opportunity to make significant improvements such as more bed capacity and the additional offer of nursing care.
“We have listened to families who use the service and taken on board their concerns about how changes would affect them, and would like to thank those who have been involved in the consultation process.”
The Council’s decision to develop a new short breaks centre does not affect the Day Opportunities Service which Seeleys provides for residents with a range of disability needs.
During the development of the new centre, the services currently offered at Aylesbury Opportunities Centre will be relocated, and all affected clients and their families will continue to have access to support and services.
Dr Raj Bajwa; Clinical Chair for Buckinghamshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group said,
"We welcome the decision by Buckinghamshire County Council which will ensure the provision of a short breaks facility which is fit for the twenty first century. It is a first for Buckinghamshire to have a service which is jointly commissioned and brings together both the resources and the funding in a partnership between health and social care. Being able to offer an improved respite facility across the whole county for people who have multiple needs which are complex, or who have additional behavioural requirements, is a very positive step.”
What do you think transport in the region should look like in the future?
There’s still time to have your say on the future of transport in our region - not just Bucks but a wider area across a larger part of this area of the UK.
Regional transport body England Economic Heartland’s engagement on its Outline Transport Strategy lasts until October 31. The views of residents and businesses will help shape next year’s overarching transport strategy, which will set out the region’s infrastructure needs to both Government and the private sector.
Mayor Dave Hodgson, chair of EEH’s Strategic Transport Forum – which includes elected leaders and cabinet members from authorities across the region - said: “I’d encourage anyone with an interest in the region’s future to have their say and help shape the detail of our future transport system.”
Buckinghamshire County Council is a member of England’s Economic Heartland, which stretches from Swindon across to Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire down to Hertfordshire. EEH provides leadership in the long term planning of strategic infrastructure, in order to realise the region's economic potential in a way which improves accessibility and inclusivity, quality of life and the environment.
For more information log onto www.englandseconomicheartland.com
1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem this year...
World Mental Health Day took place on 10 October and our thoughts turned to those who are currently experiencing a mental health problem as well as their families and friends.
Take a look around you, whether you see friends, family, colleagues or even people you don’t know, one in four of them could be experiencing mental health problems right now.
These days, talking about mental health is becoming much easier but when you are feeling low and aren’t sure where to turn, talking about it can be the last thing on your mind.
You don’t have to be an expert to listen to someone, just knowing you care can be enough to encourage them to talk and if you use open questions – the ones that start with who, what, where, how, when or why, you can help them even more.
There is so much support available for anyone facing the challenges mental health problems bring. One way to start recovery is to speak to your GP, however, in Buckinghamshire there are also lots of organisations offering support including Bucks Mind, CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably – support for men) and the Samaritans.
By looking out for those we care about and talking to them when we first feel something isn’t right, we can help them get the help they need sooner rather than later. Let’s share the message that “It’s okay not to be okay.”
Where can I get help?
To talk about your feelings you could contact your GP or one of the local support organisations – you can find their details on the Health and Wellbeing website.
Accessing All Areas!
Following last year’s success Access All Areas is back for 2019 on Tuesday 22 October.
Access All Areas is an all day event for adults and young people aged over 14 years with learning disabilities and autism, as well as their carers, relatives and friends. Visitors, who can come anytime between 10am-4pm, will be able to explore stalls from over 50 organisations who deliver support and services to this specific group of people in Bucks.
From information about health and housing to advice on safer sex and cancer screening - all stalls are interactive and staffed by experts in their field.
They will be joined by accessible sport and activities leaders, who will be running a range of workshops and sessions throughout the day. As well as cookery demonstrations there will be a few surprises like a virtual reality healthy eating game. So there’s always something new to try!
The event is specially designed to be accessible for those with learning disabilities and autism, and features a “chill out space” [provided by the Buckinghamshire Disability Service] as well as stalls designed to be relevant and easy to understand.
The Access All Areas event is the result of a partnership between Buckinghamshire County Council, health and community services. The overall aim is to narrow the health inequalities gap between those who have learning disabilities and autism and others in Bucks [people with a learning disability live 10-15 years less than the general population]. Access and awareness of what’s on offer is a key way to help address this and encourage everyone to keep well for longer.
FREE tickets are still available for the event which runs 10:00am-4:00pm on Tuesday 22 October at Stoke Mandeville Stadium.
Tickets can be booked online through www.buckscc.gov.uk/access-all-areas
Helping Bucks' mature drivers to keep driving safely for longer
The number of over-70s holding a driving licence exceeded five million for the first time in 2018 and there are now over 200 centenarians still driving.
Driving is an important part of life for many residents of Buckinghamshire, enabling independence, especially for those living in rural areas - but as we age, driving can become more stressful.
That’s why, throughout October, Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) is promoting safety awareness for older drivers.
To support mature drivers and their families, TfB has developed an online e-learning module. The module contains all the information you need to retain independence and continue driving safely for as long as possible.
The module covers:
Fitness to drive – recognising how changes to eyesight and age related conditions may affect your driving
Ability - recognise if and how your driving is changing
Medication – the law relating to drugs and medication
Improving your skills – developing your hazard perception skills
Vehicle - choosing a car and knowing what vehicle adaptations are available
Licencing - information about licencing and DVLA rules and procedures
Driving assessments – which can restore confidence and offer reassurance to families of older drivers
The module can be accessed at www.buckscc.gov.uk/olderdrivers
Call for volunteer drivers for Community Transport schemes across Bucks
Many people who cannot drive themselves or can't catch the bus rely on volunteer transport services - often to get to important medical appointments.
In fact, over 25,000 journeys are made by Community Transport car and bus schemes across Buckinghamshire each year.
Since the closure of Red Cross and Royal Voluntary Service transport schemes in Bucks, demand for help from those unable to take a bus has risen significantly.
Could you help? We are looking for volunteer drivers to join an existing car or bus scheme, or to set up a new group, to help provide an essential service in your local community. Volunteers are particularly needed in Aylesbury and Wycombe where there are no existing schemes.
As one Community Transport bus volunteer stated: “The best thing about our scheme is that we can offer a service around our villages that means people can get out. Our bus group helps not only to tackle loneliness but also helps people be independent for longer.”
Volunteer drivers can claim 45p per mile for all journeys undertaken on behalf of the scheme, plus any parking costs. All you need is a car, driving licence, references and agree to a DBS (police) check.
For more information or to volunteer, click here, or contact Community Impact Bucks’ Transport team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 0300 111 1250.
Have a say on how local health services are run
Today’s NHS faces big challenges as it continues to develop modern health services that meet the needs of an ageing and growing population with more complex needs.
Here in Buckinghamshire we have made major strides in providing joined-up care closer to people’s homes – with many GP surgeries now offering access to a much wider range of services..
This focus on a more community based health and social care system is overseen by Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which buys in health care and services for local people.
We have to make sure valuable NHS resources are used wisely to support people to live longer, happier and healthier lives
The way Buckinghamshire CCG has been working with its neighbouring CCGs in Berkshire West and Oxfordshire has changed in recent years. By working more closely, they have been able to maintain a focus on local services while making sure effort and resources are not duplicated.
Together they have put forward proposals for new ways of working.
We’d like to know what you think about these proposals.
There’s more detailed information on www.buckinghamshireccg.nhs.uk/about where you can post your comments.
Or you can email your feedback to email@example.com
The closing date for your comments is Sunday 1 December 2019.
Autumn days - and Halloween - at Black Park
Black Park is hosting a spooky Halloween trail during half term.
From Mon 28 - Thu 31 October you can go along and follow the map to see if you can find all the hidden characters in the woods and around the park, from giant spiders to flying witches!
You can get tickets here
Awesome Animal Handling!
From Friday 1 November you can come face to face with all kinds of creepy crawlies and reptiles - if that's your thing! Get the chance to meet, handle and learn all about some fascinating creatures.
Sign up here
Find half term and Halloween activities...
Schools break up for October Half Term on Friday 25 October 2019. There is plenty to see, do, make and bake over this half term and Halloween including Autumn Craft Workshops at Family Centres, The Terror Trail at Black Park Country Park, Half-term Holiday Workshops at Queens Park Arts Centre and shows at Norden Farm.
Find all these and much, much more including camps and courses on the Buckinghamshire Family Information Service website
Take a look at October Half Term activities now.
If you need childcare over the half term find Ofsted-Registered holiday schemes too.
About The Buckinghamshire Family Information Service (BFIS)
Find Childcare, Childminders, Family Centres, and Family Activities in Buckinghamshire and access free, impartial information covering a range of topics relating to family life including the Local Offer for SEND.
Phone: 01296 383 065
Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm
Ooo...aahhh.... Bonfire Night is approaching!
Love or hate it, Guy Fawkes Night is coming up. Find local displays in towns all over Bucks and on the borders with the annual Firework map by the Family Information Service. The map is regularly updated with new displays being added as they are confirmed so keep checking and share to spread the word!
View the Bucks Firework Map here
Last year the map featured over 70 local displays in Buckinghamshire and was again highly rated by the Fireworks Magazine. So far, displays start from the 1 November 2019 with many falling on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 November 2019.
Little Bang - Shorter, quieter display
Did you know the Beaconsfield Cricket Club hold a Little Bang display, which is shorter and quieter - perfect for young children and those who prefer less noise.
Want a Display Featured?
If you know of an event not listed, or you are an organiser of a firework/bonfire event, send the details to FISdigital@buckscc.gov.uk including the name, date, time, address, price and a website for more information.
What's On at Bucks County Museum...
Festival of Lights Celebrations
Saturday 19 October
A family event on the theme of light with drumming, dancing, crafts and lots of activities. Check website for more details.
Reincarnated Rubbish – Endangered and Extinct Recycled Art Exhibition
On now until 2 November
See some amazing animals including Caspian the War Horse, sea creatures, dinosaurs and birds, all created from recycled drinks cans and other junk material by recycling artist Val Hunt. Work is for sale.
Qigong, Chinese exercise session
Wednesday 30 October, 12 noon – 1.15pm
Join us for Qigong, an ancient Chinese exercise that involves meditation, controlled breathing and gentle movements. Open to beginners. Feel free to wear whatever you’re most comfortable in. There is no charge for the session, but donations are welcome. For more details contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Halloween Family Craft Activities – October Half Term
Drop in 10am until 3pm. No booking necessary. First come first served. Suitable for ages 3+.
Monday 28 October: Spooky Spiders
Practice the art of pom-pom making and take home your very own creepy-crawly Halloween decoration. £3.00 per participant.
Tuesday 29 October: Disgusting Googly-Eyed Mugs
Create your own creepy mug with dangling eyes to surprise your friends this Halloween. Yuck!
£4.50 per participant.
Wednesday 30 October: Trick or Treat Totes
Get creative with your Halloween designs on a fabric bag to take treat-or-treating. £4.50 per participant.
Thursday 31 October: Gooey Gloop
Come along to the museum and follow the witch’s spell for some hands-on slime-making fun.
£3.50 per participant.
Friday 1 November: Science Fun Friday!
Join us for some science tricks 10.30am-12.30pm in our Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery. Included in the price of your entry ticket to the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery.
Bucks County Museum PRIDE
Saturday 16 November, 4pm - 10pm
Join us for our second ever Bucks County Museum PRIDE. There will be workshops and drop in craft activities during the afternoon: create your own Pride Pledges and decorations, learn a new song and dance moves, gain new make-up skills, make Pride badges, share stories, and donate your LGBTQ objects to our collection. Evening entertainment (from 7.30pm) with a variety of burlesque and live performances. All events are drop in, however please book your place online for the evening entertainment. In partnership with Aylesbury Town Council, Bucks County Council and Bucks Pride Committee.
Katie Surridge Residency Exhibition
9 November 2019 – 4 January 2020
This year’s Muir Trust Artist in Residence at the Museum has been Katie Surridge (pictured left), an exciting mixed media artist specialising in metal casting. During her residency, Katie has been exploring the archaeology collections and creating her own artworks inspired by her finds. Come and see the fascinating results of her residency in this special exhibition.
Off the Wall Art Fair
16 November – 7 December
Popular selling show of high quality and affordable art to buy and take away. Organised by the Friends & Patrons of Bucks County Museum in aid of Bucks County Museum.
Drop into our shop and see the beautiful jewellery and ceramics made by members of the Bucks Craft Guild as well as local books, gifts and greeting cards. After your visit take a break in the Museum Café and garden.
For full details visit www.buckscountymuseum.org or call 01296 331441.
Bucks County Museum & Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery
Church Street, Aylesbury HP20 2QP.
Love your Library
Book of the month
World Mental Health Day took place earlier this month, and in keeping with the theme this month’s selection comes from the Mood Boosting collection, chosen by readers in 2018. The health benefits of reading have been well documented over recent years. You can see our full Reading Well collection here:
Our book of the month is The Stranger on the Bridge by Jonny Benjamin.
Reserve the hardback book here:
Reserve the paperback book here:
Download the eBook here:
Download and listen to the audiobook here:
In 2008, 20 year-old Jonny Benjamin stood on Waterloo Bridge, about to jump. A stranger saw his distress and stopped to talk with him - a decision that saved Jonny's life. Fast forward to 2014 and Jonny, together with Rethink Mental Illness launch a campaign with a short video clip so that Jonny could finally thank that stranger who put him on the path to recovery. More than 319 million people around the world followed the search. ITV's breakfast shows picked up the story until the stranger, whose name is Neil Laybourn, was found and - in an emotional and touching moment - the pair reunited and have remained firm friends ever since.
'The Stranger on the Bridge' is a memoir of the journey Jonny made both personally, and publicly to not only find the person who saved his life, but also to explore how he got to the bridge in the first place and how he continues to manage his diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder.
“In my world, the word inspirational gets bandied around a lot, but Jonny Benjamin is truly deserving of that adjective.” - HRH The Duke of Cambridge
“A personal appeal against the cultural entrenchment of the stigma that still surrounds male mental health.” - Men's Health
“Important and life-affirming memoir.” - The Bookseller
“Jonny Benjamin is the most inspirational man I know. His book shows us how remarkable the human spirit is.” - Bryony Gordon, bestselling author of Mad Girl.
We have a very large selection of books and other items that can be borrowed, but there may be occasions when you would like to buy some titles, either for yourself or as a present.
You can help support our library service when you order items such as books, CDs, DVDs, electronics, toys and games through Amazon at this link.
Every time you buy from Amazon using this link a portion of the price will come back to Buckinghamshire Libraries, helping us to improve our services across the county.
Amersham Temporary Library
Amersham Library has now moved and reopened at its temporary location in the Chiltern District Council building on King George V Road. This is following news that the Chiltern Lifestyle Centre development in Amersham has been given the go ahead.
We are excited about the prospect of being part of the new Chiltern Lifestyle Centre and of designing a brand new library for Amersham. We will keep customers up to date with designs for the new library as plans progress.
This is a large project so the development works will take some time. The temporary relocation will be for the duration of the build.
The temporary service operates on slightly different opening hours which are as follows:
Monday - closed
Tuesday - 9am - 5pm
Wednesday - 9am - 5pm
Thursday - 9am - 5pm
Friday - 9am - 4.30pm
Saturday - 10am - 4pm
Sunday - closed
Cards for Good Causes
It's never too early to get into the festive spirit! So why not start thinking about Christmas cards now - especially if it helps to spread the costs around Christmas.
And we've got a great idea - send a festive message this Christmas with our popular Cards for Good Causes. Browse and purchase hundreds of charity Christmas card designs in branch today and help spread the Christmas cheer. Available at the following libraries:
Leading better lives
Try an Adult Learning course for FREE this November
Buckinghamshire Adult Learning is offering you the opportunity to try their courses for free this November.
TRY IT, LOVE IT, LEARN IT week will run from Monday 25 – Saturday 30 November 2019.
You can try an existing course ranging from arts and crafts, languages, floristry, health and fitness, cookery and digital photography.
Enrolments open on Monday 4 November until Friday 15 November at 12noon. The list of participating courses you can try will be posted on the adult learning website on Monday 4 November.
Have your say - on Gluten free food prescriptions
The Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is reviewing guidance for GPs about prescribing gluten free foods and needs your views.
The CCG is looking to bring the prescribing of food items for people with Coeliac disease more in line with other patients that require a special diet. The NHS does not provide food on prescription for all patients that require a specialist diet including those with food intolerances (lactose, wheat) and food allergies (egg, fish, shellfish, peanut, sesame, soya and tree nut). Therefore it is looking to stop prescribing gluten free foods.
In 2018 the cost of the NHS providing gluten free food on prescription to people in Bucks was £111,000.
Around 350 patients in Bucks currently get gluten free foods on prescription. However, gluten free foods are far more easily available on the high street than when the prescription guidelines were originally developed.
Dr Shona Lockie, Clinical Director for the Medicines Management Team, said: “The time is right to review gluten free prescribing. There are a lot more options available to people now - so it seems sensible to take a fresh look at our current guidance.
"Everyone knows the NHS has a limited amount of money to meet people’s health needs so we are looking to reduce costs, without reducing people’s access to the foods they need to stay healthy. There are lots of cheap, naturally gluten free carbohydrate food alternatives available. These include rice, potatoes, lentils - as well as lots of flour alternatives such as rice flour, millet and corn flour."
Dr Lockie continues."We accept that some people may still struggle to find affordable gluten free foods from their local shop. For this reason we want to understand who they are and what things we should consider before making any decisions.
“We would like as many people as possible to give us their views, whether they need to use gluten free food or not.”
People can give their views through Let’s Talk Health Bucks, an online public forum which people can join to give their views on healthcare in Bucks.
The survey is available here: www.letstalkhealthbucks.nhs.uk
What does it take to become an adoptive parent?
To coincide with National Adoption Week (14-21 October), the County Council has launched its new online Adoption Ready tool that lets people considering adoption find out exactly what's required.
In Bucks there are 22 children waiting for adoption because, for different reasons, their birth families are unable to care for them. Many have had a difficult start in life and they need a loving, stable home where they can grow up safe and secure.
Being an adoptive parent can be challenging but also brings great rewards. However, people willing to take on this special role often worry that some aspect of their lifestyle or life history means they might be deemed unsuitable. This is rarely the case.
Collaboratively designed with adopters and staff, Adoption Ready provides clear, honest and practical advice in a format that reflects the needs and concerns of potential adopters. By answering a series of simple questions, users can check whether their particular circumstances make them eligible for adoption, and lets them go on to create a personalised readiness plan with practical things they can do to prepare to adopt.
With the knowledge and assurance provided by Adoption Ready, prospective adopters can feel more confident in attending an adoption information evening. These sessions are held once a month, and offer the opportunity for people to meet the Bucks Adoption Service team and hear the experience of other adopters.
The Adoption Ready tool and details of adoption information evenings can be found on the adoption pages of the website:
Celebrating our fantastic foster carers
Foster carers dedicate so much time, love and effort to caring for young people and the annual Buckinghamshire County Council Fostering Awards are the perfect time to celebrate what these unsung heroes do.
The awards evening event, hosted on Friday 4 October at The Dairy, Waddesdon, recognised the huge commitment from our carers to children in their care. With surprise entertainment, tasty food and an array of well-deserved awards and certificates, the event was a fantastic occasion for carers to take the spotlight.
In addition to certificates awarded to foster carers for long service and training achievements, there were also four awards for special achievements: Best Newcomer, Foster Carer of the Year, Willow Award (celebrating the courage and dedication that foster carers bring to their role each day) and the Emergency Award. Nominations for these awards were submitted and the winners were decided by a panel of judges.
This year’s awards went to:
- Best Newcomer: Sam Hines and Aidan O’Neil
- Foster Carer of the Year: Rachel and Barry Porter
- Willow Award: Denise and Michael Wiles
- Emergency Award: Rose and Ted Farrar
Photo: Foster carers of the year Rachel & Barry Porter with Councillor Warren Whyte, Cabinet Member for Children's Services
Warren Whyte, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said: “Our fostering awards evening is just a small way of showing appreciation for all the fantastic commitment from our carers day in, day out. Without this brilliant group of carers, many children’s lives just wouldn’t be the same.
“We are extremely proud of everything our carers do to change children’s lives for the better and would like to personally thank each and every one of them.
“As lucky as we are to have our current group of foster carers, there are still children out there in need of a foster home close to their local community and we need more foster carers to look after them.
If you have ever considered fostering, or know someone who could, please get in touch or join us at one of our information sessions.”
To find out more about fostering in Buckinghamshire go to www.buckscc.gov.uk/fostering