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If you have difficulty reading this email please access it via the link above the Neighbourhood Watch logo
BULLETIN FOR BURNHAM NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH COORDINATORS TO FORWARD TO THEIR MEMBERS 
     (and for representatives of other community groups to cascade down to their members)   
(Items to me by Thursday evenings please!)

Please update me if you change your e-mail address !

wendy@strathdee.org.uk 

Wendy Strathdee
Area NHW Coordinator, Burnham


 
I'm sending this out a day early in case we lose our internet service in the storm!


STORM EUNICE (UPGRADED TO RED ALERT)
 
Hopefully everybody is as well prepared  as they can be for Storm Eunice on Friday which is due to hit our area between 4 am - 9 pm
 
A few reminders:

 
  • Park cars, wherever possible, well away from trees to avoid damage from falling branches.
     
  • In the event of a power cut, avoid opening fridge & freezer doors to maintain temperatures for as long as possible.
     
  • Keep  mobiles fully charged.
     
  • Put a heavy item on your waste paper box lid to avoid it being blown away.
     
  • Power controlled garage doors or front garden gates won't operate in a power cut unless you have a manual over-ride device.
     
  • Keep windows closed even if you like fresh air. A sudden burst of wind could rip open windows off their hinges.
     
  • Shops may have to close during a power cut as tills relying on a power supply won't function.
     
  • Once it's dark, keep a torch in your  pocket in case the lights suddenly go out. You don't want to be falling over furniture and needing to call an ambulance !!
     
  • If you come across fallen power lines or damage to the electricity network, stay well clear and call 105 (FREE)   to report it. If there's an immediate risk to life or someone is in danger, dial 999
     
 
FROM GREAT WESTERN RAILWAYS
 
A very quick email to check that you have seen media reports confirming that due to the red storm warning there will be significant changes to rail services from 04.00 tomorrow morning.
 
This is expected to last throughout the day, and will mean branch line closures in Cornwall, Devon and Bristol. There will be 50mph speed restrictions, and services will be reduced by 50%.  
 
Customers are being asked to check their journey before setting out.  This can be done through Journey Check on
journeycheck.com/GreatWesternRailway
 
We are also accepting  tomorrow’s rail tickets for travel over the weekend or on Monday, and we will issue full refunds to anyone choosing not to travel.
 
We will need to review and check for any damage before re-opening and there could therefore be further delays and changes to services on Friday evening and Saturday.
 
Anything you can do to help spread the message would be very much appreciated and do please let us know if you need any further information.
 
Jane Jones  
Head of Public Affairs  
Great Western Railway  
 
Toby Elliott 
Head of Communications 
Network Rail Western

A LITTLE LATE FOR HALF TERM BUT SCHEME IS OPERATIONAL UNTIL 31ST MARCH


Press Release from Buckinghamshire Council

14 February 2022

A Helping Hand at half term for families in Buckinghamshire

Buckinghamshire Council is providing £30 digital food vouchers to families with children eligible for free school meals this February half term school holiday.

This scheme is funded from the Government’s Household Support Fund Grant – which was launched to enable households/families to receive additional support during the winter period up to 31 March 2022.
 
Anita Cranmer, Cabinet Member for Education and Children's Services, said:
“We know that this time of year can be a stretch on household finances and the rising fuel costs are adding to this challenge. To help with this, we are providing a £30 digital food voucher to each eligible child for use over the half term period so that families have more money to pay for other essential bills. The digital food vouchers can be redeemed at one or more of the following stores: Asda, Aldi, Farmfoods, M&S Food, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.”
Steve Bowles, Cabinet Member for Communities, added:
“Our Helping Hand team is available to direct people to the support that is right for them. This may be from the voluntary or community sector or direct from ourselves. If anyone is worried about access to food, fuel or other essentials, and not sure what help is available, please contact our Helping Hand support line on 01296 531151 or through our online form and we will be able to help.”

Buckinghamshire has a strong voluntary and community sector which has been active in supporting families and households during the pandemic. As well as digital food vouchers, a wide range of groups are providing residents additional support and guidance. To find out what is available in your area, please enter your postcode into the Bucks Online Directory

–Ends–
Notes to Editor
Helping Hand logo
 
 
WANTED  - CAN YOU HELP PLEASE?

Wanted -  large sheets of cardboard and/or packing for craft project for Burnham Townswomen’s Guild. 
  Large size,  ie for wardrobes, fridge freezers or kitchen cabinets would be preferred.  
 
Please contact Pat on 10628 603694 for collection.
 


VEOLIA REFUSE COLLECTION ISSUES

 

The following may be of interest to you and to share with other interested parties if they have concerns about their Refuse Collection Service:

Veolia Buckinghamshire Community Improvement Group – the next meeting of the group will be held on Google on Tuesday 22 February, 2pm – 3pm. Veolia provide the waste collections and street cleansing services in the South Buckinghamshire area. The meeting will “be discussing the challenges we have had since October - mainly due to covid absences and sharing positive and negative feedback to try and improve the service we provide in all areas”. If you are interested in attending or would like further information, please contact Yasmin Stewart, Veolia Communities and Improvement Officer, at yasmin.stewart@veolia.com  

REMINDER  -   LOST A WATCH ?
 
One of our members found a ladies watch in Windsor Lane (towards the library) on January 29th

If you think it may be yours, please contact Michael on 
 01628- 602310.
 

Press Release from Buckinghamshire Council

15 February 2022

Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet makes budget recommendations

Next year’s spending plans and council tax proposals have been considered by Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet today as part of the overall process to set the 2022/23 budget. 
 
The Buckinghamshire Council budget for 2022/23 has been set amidst a turbulent time for public sector finances, with many competing pressures such as higher inflation rates and the significant costs of providing social care. However, Buckinghamshire Council is in a better position than many local authorities; we are able to balance our books and commit spending to key priorities that our residents have told us matter most to them.
 
Social care costs are projected to rise by around 5% next year, meaning that overall the Council is budgeting for nearly £300 million in total social care spending during 2022/23.

This huge sum means we can go on providing critical services for the residents that need them most but we need to raise council tax to help cover this cost. Last year councils were advised they could raise the adult social care precept by a full 3 % to cover the costs of adult social care. However, we chose to defer some of that rise until this year, to spread the burden for our residents over a longer time. It means that this year we’re proposing a 2% rise in Council Tax to cover the increase in adult social care costs. In addition, we are proposing an inflation increase in our general service costs of 1.99%. This compares to inflation of over 5%. This general inflation increase, combined with the special increase to cover the increased costs of social care gives an overall proposed rise of 3.99%, or £1.23 per week for the average Band D property.
 
This proposal is part of the overall budget plans that have been scrutinised in recent weeks and which have now been recommended by Cabinet, ahead of final consideration by Full Council on Wednesday 23 February. The budget was set following consultation with residents who told the Council which areas they wanted to see prioritised. It means the balanced budget proposal includes plans to spend money on key projects such as:
 
  • Continuing to spend over £100 million on improvements to roads and pavements
  • Tackling the climate crisis including planting more than half a million new trees in Buckinghamshire, one for every resident
  • Investing nearly £25 million in waste services, including vehicle upgrades and a new household recycling centre in the north of the county
  • Cleaning every one of the 85,000 gullies in the county again this year
  • Continued additional funding for litter clearance
  • Adding to the funds available for rolling out high-speed broadband into additional areas
  • Maintaining the Street Warden scheme in High Wycombe
 
Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, said, “Believe me when I say it is not an easy decision to raise Council Tax, especially when we know our residents are facing rising energy costs. But we face increased costs too for everything we spend money on to provide the essential services our residents depend upon.
 
Council Tax now makes up 82% of how we fund these services and given costs such as Adult Social Care are going up by as much as 5%, we simply don’t have a choice. We are doing what we can to keep this to a minimum and are implementing the additional 1% Adult Social Care precept that was deferred from last year. We also know that residents in Bands A-D will also get a Council Tax rebate of £150 as announced by Government recently, so this will reduce the cost for many households in Buckinghamshire.
 
Our budget is formed on behalf of our residents so we must include spend on projects they tell us they want. So overall, I am proud we are in a position to produce a balanced budget that still includes significant spending on improving our roads and infrastructure, improving our environment, and carrying on making Buckinghamshire the best place to live, raise a family, work and do business.
 
“The last two years have been a massive strain on us all, but we remain in a strong position to come out of the pandemic with firm plans for the future and a well-planned strategy to make these a reality.”
 
ENDS
Notes to Editor
 

OPPORTUNITY to HAVE YOUR SAY on a NEW POLITICAL MAP for the COUNTY
 

News Release from the Local Government Boundary Commission for England

Have your say on a new political map for Buckinghamshire Council

A new pattern of wards is being developed for Buckinghamshire Council.
Following a public consultation on proposed council size for the authority, the Local Government Boundary Commission has decided that the number of councillors in Buckinghamshire should be 98.

The Commission wants to hear what residents and organisations think about their local area. A 12-week consultation on the proposals will run until 4 April 2022.

The Commission is the independent body that draws these boundaries. It is reviewing Buckinghamshire to make sure councillors represent about the same number of electors, and that ward arrangements help the council work effectively. It wants to be sure that its proposals reflect community ties and identities.
The Commission is interested in views on which communities should be part of the same ward.
  • What facilities do people share, such as parks, leisure centres or schools and shopping areas ?
  • What issues do neighbouring communities face that they have in common, such as high numbers of visitors or heavy traffic ?
  • Have there been new housing or commercial developments that have changed the focus of communities ?
  • And are there roads, rivers, railways or other features that people believe form strong boundaries between neighbourhoods ?
The Commission will use local views to help it draw up proposals for new ward boundaries.
There will be a further round of consultation once the Commission has drawn up those proposals.
Launching the consultation Professor Colin MELLORS, Chair of the Commission, said : “We want people in Buckinghamshire to help us.
We are starting to draw up new wards for Buckinghamshire. We want our proposals for new electoral arrangements to reflect communities. We also want them to be easy to understand and convenient for local people. Residents and local organisations can help us understand community ties and identities at this early stage of the process.
It’s easy to get involved. Go to our website. Or you can e-mail or write to us. Just tell us what you think and give us some details why you think that. It’s really simple, so do get involved.”

The Commission has a dedicated section on its website where people can give their views : https://consultation.lgbce.org.uk/have-your-say/29857

People can also give their views by e-mail at – E : reviews@lgbce.org.uk, on mobile via https://lgbce.beezer.com, and by post to :
Review Officer (Buckinghamshire) LGBCE
PO Box 133 Blyth NE 24 9 FE
NOTES - An interactive map is available at
https://consultation.lgbce.org.uk/have-yoursay/29857

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is an independent body accountable to Parliament. It recommends fair electoral and boundary arrangements for local authorities in England. In doing so, it aims to :
• Make sure that, within an authority, each councillor represents a similar number of electors
• Create boundaries that are appropriate, and reflect community ties and identities
• Deliver reviews informed by local needs, views and circumstances

 
 
 
"SURGE" PRICING PROPOSED FOR THOSE WITH SMART METERS "

The fact that EDF, Scottish Power and Octopus are amongst energy providers backing "surge pricing" for energy consumption during peak periods of the day will alarm many who have smart meters installed which can track and charge energy use by the clock.

I foresee a rise in the purchase of electric timer devices for washing machine and dishwasher use if your machines don't have this facility inbuilt. Fans of oven cooked stews and casseroles and other meals may find that investing in an electric slow cooker with its own inbuilt timer may reap a quicker return on their investment than might have been envisaged so that meals can be cooked overnight using a cheaper electricity rate  than an electric oven!  Those thinking of purchasing an electric vehicle may want to rethink the options for off peak recharging if this doesn't fit in with their lifestyle activities or work-commute timetables.

(One can only hope that Thames Water don't opt for similar charging practices with water meters and toilet flushing activities!)

If you want to know more about energy prices you  may find the item further down this bulletin from MoneysavingExpert.com helpful.
SECURITY ADVICE OBSERVATIONS
Hi Wendy,
 
The long list of things to do or not do, provided by your security expert is very helpful.  As a couple of observations:
  1. There are a zillion and one attempts to defraud the unwary or even wary citizen.  It would be a pity if people become too nervous to open their emails, answer the phone or generally lead a normal life. 
  1. The key is not how can you be 100% safe but rather what simple things can you do to be very, very safe. A simple rule is NEVER click on a link in an email or text, NEVER provide information to a caller unless you recognise them as fam ily member of friend.
  1. If you are anxious about the call, text or other message, telephone the organisation they claim to represent using the number on your credit card, bill or whatever and preferably from a different number than the one which called you.
If you are worried that you or someone for whom you care may be tricked into withdrawing or transferring money, just keep enough in your current account for this month's needs.  Keep any saving in a "notice account" - even a delay of 7 days in accessing money can give you time to reconsider and maybe talk to a friend or relative about this issue.

Press Release from Buckinghamshire Council

11 February 2022

Ofsted Inspection Outcome – Buckinghamshire Council Children’s Social Care

Between 29 November and 17 December 2021, Ofsted conducted their re-inspection of services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after, and care leavers. The report published today (11 February 2022) says that Children’s Services in Buckinghamshire are no longer inadequate, but still require further improvements to be good.

As part of the inspection, inspectors evaluated:
  • overall effectiveness of the service
  • the experiences and progress of children in need of help and protection
  • the experiences and progress of children in care and care leavers
  • the impact of leaders on social work practice with children and families
Inspectors looked at approximately 350 children’s cases and reviewed over 300 documents and supporting evidence.
They met with staff, partners, children and young people, care leavers, parents and carers, adopters and foster carers. 

Cabinet Member for Buckinghamshire Children’s Services, Councillor Anita Cranmer said: “We are pleased to hear that the majority of our children in care feel settled and safe where they live.
We have made considerable progress in our approach to children at immediate risk of serious harm and prompt action is taken to protect them. Our most vulnerable children/new-born babies are safely protected from future harm, either through care proceedings or through rigorous child protection plans.

We are particularly proud of the progress and improvements the service has made since 2018, no children were identified at immediate risk of serious harm and no widespread or serious failures for children were seen across the services.

Children’s Services are now at the heart of the new unitary Buckinghamshire Council and managers at every level have worked tirelessly and collectively to ensure that children are safeguarded despite the continuing challenges presented by the pandemic.
We are pleased that our fostering and adoption service have received particularly positive feedback around the diligent work on early permanence for children that have recently entered care and that our fostering placements are quickly matched and approved.

Our adoption service has also seen an in increase in the number of adopters that have been recruited this year. Prospective and approved adopters are well supported through regular visits and effective communication.”

Councillor Cranmer added: “We also acknowledge that improvements need to be made, and we commit to reducing the rate of re-referrals and assessments that result in a lack of services being provided for children and families in need.
We are also committed to improving the quality of case supervision for social workers to enable effective working with children.
We recognise that we still need to improve our approach with social workers to maintain consistent and regular contact with our children, this will help to ensure children only need to share their story once and reduces the need for duplication.
As part of our improvement journey, we will continue to adapt and improve the support we provide to children aged 16 and 17 years who present as homeless.
We also understand the importance of engaging with our children in care under the corporate parenting element of the council and how encouraging more participation with our young children will help provide more relevant and effective outcomes for them.”
ENDS../
Notes to Editor
The full Ofsted inspection report can be found on the Ofsted website here: https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/44/825
Background to the Ofsted inspection process in Buckinghamshire
Ofsted are the formal Government regulator of education resources (including schools) and children’s social care across all local authority areas. 
In July 2014 and in November 2017 Buckinghamshire Children’s Services were found to be ‘Inadequate’.
In July 2018, the Commissioner recommended to the Secretary of State that the Council should retain control of its Children’s Services.
An Improvement Board was also established with the purpose of overseeing and driving forward improvement.
Between July 2018 and October 2019, Ofsted completed four monitoring visits. 
The report of each monitoring visit has been published and is available via the Ofsted website – see here - https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/44/825
All monitoring visits reflected progress and also the general challenge in improving services.
The fifth monitoring visit was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Once Ofsted commenced inspection activity again, they conducted a Covid Focused Visit in February 2021. 
For media interviews or enquiries please call Rachel Prance, Communications Manager on 0771 1040 758 /  email Rachel.prance@buckinghamshire.gov.uk or communications@buckinghamshire.gov.uk
 
 
 

I THOUGHT IT WORTH SHARING THIS RECENT MESSAGE FROM MONEYSAVINGS EXPERT FOR THOSE WHO WOULD LIKE TO BETTER UNSTAND HOW ENERGY PRICING WILL OPERATE GOING FORWARD


. In April the price cap will go up by a once-unthinkable 54%, so I wanted to send you an update on the energy situation, and why we’ve not been emailing.

The reason is simple. I originally set up the MSE Cheap Energy Club to help you switch tariff, so you weren’t paying over the odds. Yet right now, for the vast majority of people, switching either from a cheap fix or a price-capped standard tariff means you will pay over the odds - so you shouldn’t do it, and we certainly won’t do it automatically for anyone. There are a few edge cases who may gain (see my Should I stick or fix? video explainer), but in the main, doing nothing is the right call.

We are, of course, constantly monitoring the situation. And as soon as you can switch and save again, we’ll be back on it like lightning.

In case you missed it and want the wider context of what’s going on in the energy market, here are my 10 energy need-to-knows from Wednesday’s MSE email…
 
 
 
 
 
 
1. New. On 1 April the energy price cap rises 54% - you'll pay half again on top of what you pay now (up an average £700/yr)
The vast majority of homes in Eng, Scot and Wales (NI doesn't have a cap) are now on price-capped, default standard variable tariffs - pretty much anyone who isn't still on a fixed deal.

As we've long predicted, on Thursday, we got the hideous news it'd rise an unaffordable-for-many, poverty-inducing 54%, for six months from 1 April. The rise is down to the fact the algorithm is partly based on wholesale energy prices and they exploded during the August to January assessment period. Yet, remember, the price cap is misnamed...
There's NO MAX you can pay on energy. Use more, pay more. What's actually capped are electricity & gas standing charges and kWh rates - the link shows the current and new rates.
To show the scale of magnitude, someone with average direct debit use currently pays £1,277/yr (£1,309/yr prepay). From 1 April, they'll pay £1,971/yr (£2,017/yr prepay) - a £693/yr rise (£708/yr). See more on how the price cap works.
2. If things stay as they are, the October price cap will rise another 20% on top
As most energy decisions are made for at least a year, it's worth knowing what rate the crystal ball currently shows for the 1 October price cap - based on wholesale energy costs over February to July.

If wholesale rates stay roughly where they are right now, we would see a rise again in October of 20% on top of April, taking the rate for someone with average use to £2,365/yr. Though it should be noted, regulator Ofgem is consulting on changing the cap more frequently so the October rate may not last the full six months.

The markets do seem to suggest the price cap will drop in April 2023, and indeed the Chancellor told me that he'd been looking at that data when deciding policy (which I suspect is what the new 'loan-not-loan' in point 4 below is about).

And of course, while a war in Europe is worrying for a whole lot more than just energy prices, if the Russia-Ukraine conflict escalates substantially, that's likely to see wholesale prices ramp up further.
Graph showing the energy price cap and wholesale energy prices - linking to Martin's article asking whether you should you fix or do nothing and stay on the price cap, with it rising 54%
3. There are NO tariffs meaningfully cheaper than the price cap

Before the energy world changed last October, I always said the price cap rate was pants, so switch to something cheaper. Today there are no tariffs meaningfully cheaper than the price cap and the cheapest open-market fixes are all more expensive than the 1 April price cap.

When the rate rises in April, as it's a cap, firms can choose to charge less, but most main suppliers have always priced their standard tariffs within a couple of quid of it. I don't see that changing unless wholesale rates rapidly drop.
4. New. In Oct a loan-not-loan will reduce bills by £200, then raise them by £40/yr for 5yrs from April 2023 (not N. Ireland)
The Chancellor announced three new measures on Thursday. What's looking to be the most controversial is what he called a £200 "energy bills rebate" for ALL households in Eng, Scot and Wales.

There's been much confusion about this, so please watch my 2-min new 'energy loan' video explainer - that's the easiest way to understand it...
Martin's two-minute new 'energy loan' video explainer
In brief though there are two elements here...
  • In around October 2022: EVERY ELECTRICITY BILL will be reduced by a flat £200 (though a consultation may mean it's paid across a few months, not in one go). There is no choice - YOU CAN'T OPT OUT. Prepay users will get the money via their smart meter, voucher, cheque or similar.

    For those with small bills, the flat £200 will have a big impact; for those with big bills, a little one.
  • From April 2023: EVERY ELECTRICITY BILL will have a £40/yr levy added to it, and that will happen for five years to effectively repay the initial discount. And in a reverse to October, for those with small bills, the flat £40 will have a bigger impact than for those with big bills.
While many are calling this a loan, it isn't. It's automatic, not optional. It isn't linked to individuals or households or buildings, it's about bills. You have to take it if you pay for electricity this year. You have to pay extra for it if you pay for electricity in future. It's not regulated via the Financial Conduct Authority. It doesn't go on your credit file.

It's an energy levy (like the green infrastructure levy added to bills). First there's a negative levy reducing bills, then a levy added to them. While for people whose home-situation doesn't change it will feel like a £200 loan repaid at £40/yr, for others there are bizarre outcomes, eg...

- LOSERS: Five people share a house in Oct then separate. They get 1 x £200 discount off their bill. They then all move out and live alone. From the following April all five of them will have bills £40/yr higher. Similar for those moving out of parents' houses in the five years.

- WINNERS: Two singles live alone in Oct, then meet. They each get a £200/yr discount, then they move in together, so they've only one bill, and it'll just have one £40/yr added. 
Ultimately, I believe the Chancellor is taking a big gamble that energy bills will drop rapidly by April 2023. If they don't, this is a lose-lose of high bills with an added levy on top - political dynamite.

I'm already hearing protests. A staggering 80% of 44,000 votes in my Opt out? Twitter poll said they'd opt out if they could (though that poll's NOT statistically representative so more research is needed). I think we may see changes in the consultation.
5. New. Households in England in council tax bands A to D get £150 rebate in April towards energy increases  
The other rabbit the Chancellor pulled out of his hat last week was a £150 council tax rebate for homes in England in bands A to D (about 80% of homes), to be paid in April. We still await detailed rules, but there's full info in our £150 council tax discount explainer.

He chose council tax because energy bills are household bills, so council tax is a decent proxy, and bands A to D reach many lower and middle-income homes. Indeed the independent Resolution Foundation said it's on the progressive side, though isn't without challenges.

The Chancellor admitted to me, it's not a perfect system, as some get it who don't need it - after all, council tax is based on 1991 valuations so there are now some very expensive band D properties in London, and some people with low incomes in band E homes. (Related: See my council tax - challenge your band system.)
He didn't mention though that councils are allowed to increase the tax by up to 3% in April, which would add £57/yr to a typical band D property's bill, eating away some of this.

Scot, Wales & NI: Devolved governments will receive a total of £565 million in funding to be able to put their own schemes in place. We don't yet know what they'll do with it though. 
6. New. Not due the council tax discount but struggling? You may be able to get 'discretionary help'
Many homes are exempt from council tax, as are all-student households and student nurses, and some of those households won't get the £150. So there will be a £144 million discretionary fund distributed via local authorities in England that should cover some of those cases and those who slip through the net, but we don't have eligibility criteria yet.

PS: The Chancellor called me two days before the announcement to get my thoughts. He wouldn't tell me what his plans were but did say: "Sadly no system is perfect". So, mindful of those excluded from Covid support, I said: "Then why not set up a discretionary fund for the edge cases?" He perked up and said: "That's a great idea".
7. Is it time to ditch the price cap and get a fix? (Spoiler alert: for most, no)
For months, for most the right thing to do has been 'nothing' as then you either stay on the price cap or move to it when your cheap fix ends (or your energy firm goes bust). Of course, now we know the new price cap, my mailbag is swamped with people asking what to do now.

Again, it's one of those to talk you through, so do watch my Stick on price cap or get a fix? 4-min video (courtesy of ITV), from Thursday (those on older cheap fixes, you're likely best to stick with them, then watch this video for what to do when they end).
Martin's 'Stick on price cap or get a fix?' four-minute video (courtesy of ITV)
A transcript is also available via the link. To check what tariffs are available, use our Cheap Energy Club and also ask your existing provider what it'll offer. Do remember to compare the actual rates, not the direct debit it's offering to set (which depends on usage estimates).
8. Warm home discount to rise £10, to £150 (woop-de-woop) though wider eligibility criteria will be expanded 
The warm home discount is paid to many on low incomes, including pensioners. The Government says it will continue with plans to increase it by £10 (not exactly huge since it's been the same for eight years, while energy prices have more than doubled in the last year alone).

It also plans to extend the eligibility criteria so an additional 780,000 households will qualify, but we don't yet know who. Likely it'll be more people on means-tested benefits. 
For this winter's scheme, only E.on, E.on Next, Bulb and So Energy still have applications open, so go quick if you may be eligible - see warm home discount help.
9. Energy price hikes will be hell for many. If you're already struggling to pay, some help may be available... 
Even with the Government announcements, as I told the Chancellor directly, I still believe some will be left with the choice of freeze or starve. Citizens Advice reports record numbers asking for energy help, and that's before April's huge hikes.

We've a new What to do if you're struggling to pay your energy bills guide to cover everything you can do, and crucially where to get help.
10. The other way to cut bills, is, obviously, to use less...
Our energy saving tips help with the simpler stuff, such as turning your thermostat down and cutting shower time.

But other ways to use less aren't as clear-cut, such as whether to leave the heating on low all day - we've the pros and cons of this and more in our Energy mythbusting guide. And the team will be working on adding more tips soon.

Thanks,

Martin
 
 
 
 
COMMENT on the JOHN RADCLIFFE HOSPITAL PARKING

Re the information about parking at John Radcliffe we recently received a £75 fine for driving through the barrier on exiting which was up.   We thought it was a mechanical problem with the barrier.

It took an appeal over 5 weeks to get this waived but were told for blue badge holders there is a process whereby you have to record the registration number and blue badge details with SIP who are the outsourced contractors for parking.    Registering your details in advance enables blue badge holders to park for free.
At least we had a happy ending.

VISA CREDIT CARDS  & AMAZON,
 
Following an earlier announcement from Amazon that  they had planned to discontinue accepting Visa credit cards for any online purchases, they have announced today (Feb 17) they have now reached a permanent arrangement with VISA  to continue accepting them.
NEWS on COVID-19 VACCINE for 5 – 11 YEAR OLDS
 
News from the Integrated Care Partnership (ICP)
 
Clinically at risk 5–11 year olds to get COVID-19 vaccine
From this week, thousands of 5 to 11 year old children will be invited by the NHS to get their first dose of the COVID vaccine, either because they are in a clinical risk group or they live with someone who is immuno-suppressed.
In Buckinghamshire, there are just under 1,600 eligible children in this group, which includes those with diabetes, immuno-suppression, learning disabilities and other conditions as outlined by the UK Health Security Agency in the Green Book.
Parents and guardians should wait for the NHS to contact them when it is their child’s turn to get the vaccine, with local NHS teams already contacting those who are eligible via letter and text.   Vaccinations for 5 to 11 year olds are being delivered initially by participating GP practices and hospital hubs. 
GPs may also send a text asking parents and guardians to call their local vaccination centre in Buckinghamshire, Oxford, and Berkshire to book the child's appointment.
This can be done by calling – M : 07826 - 922104 (open every day from 8 am – 8 pm).   This line links to qualified nurses who will make sure you have all the information you need and book the appointment.
When invited, parents and guardians are asked to attend with their children and to read the patient information in advance of arriving for their appointment.
Dr Raj BAJWA, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said :  “We continue to see how vaccines give significant protection against severe illness from COVID, including the Omicron variant, so it is important that our youngest patients, who are clinically at risk or living with someone who is, get protected against the virus.

"Without the vaccine, they are at higher risk because of the conditions they have, or they could also bring COVID home to vulnerable parents or family members.”
All eligible 5 to 11 year olds will be offered two 10 microgram doses of the Pfizer vaccine eight weeks apart – a third of the amount used for adult vaccinations.   However, a child cannot receive any vaccination until four weeks after a positive test for coronavirus.
The latest data shows COVID cases increasing among children aged from 2 to school year 6 – and have increased from school years 7 to 11.
The NHS is also reminding parents and guardians that children can continue to get vaccine protection from flu, with millions of reminder texts, letters and emails going out.
More children than ever are eligible for a free flu vaccine this winter, including all 2 and 3-year-olds and all pupils from reception age to school leavers, to drive up protection from the virus.   Children's flu vaccinations are given via a quick and painless nasal spray in most cases, rather than by injection.
Young people aged 4 to 16 will have been offered the flu vaccination through their school, but parents can phone – T : 119 to find out how to book if their child has missed it. 
 
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Nominate Now For The 2022 Community Policing Awards

 
 

The Community Policing Awards is now in its 21st year, providing an opportunity to recognise and nominate the work of officers, staff, volunteers and partner agencies who have made the greatest contribution to their community over the past year.

Do you know someone who has gone above and beyond in their role? Someone who has made a difference to you or your community? If you can provide examples of this, nominate for the Community Policing Awards today.

There are eight categories this year:
1. Community Police Officer 2022
2. Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) 2022
3. Special Constable 2022
4. Diversity Champion 2022
5. Cadet 2022
6. Volunteer 2022
7. Community Volunteer 2022
8. Problem Solving Award 2022

Don’t miss the chance to nominate your local hero, nominations close on Friday 4 March.
Follow the links above to nominate and to find more information please visit our website.
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Press Release from Buckinghamshire Council

15 February 2022

Keeping active is a walk in the park

Buckinghamshire Council’s Active Communities programme is designed to inspire everyone to add a little more activity into their daily routine. Just by sitting less and standing often as part of our lifestyle everybody can gain major health benefits, today and in the future.

Moving more is even better. Going for a run or to the gym would be ideal but it is not something that appeals to everyone. Regular walks, on the other hand, are achievable for many and the impact on our wellbeing can be huge.

That is why Buckinghamshire Council have launched a series of park walks as part of its Active Communities programme in Aylesbury and Wycombe. These nine special park walks come in different shapes and sizes to encourage all residents to add a little more movement to their lives.

The aim is not to get everyone to walk miles, but to help all residents get used to walking regularly – even if it is only a short distance. For example, one of the walks is only 240 steps. That does not seem much, but if you took that short walk every day and each step was a yard, you would walk nearly 50 miles a year!

This is all part of the Active Communities approach to adding small, regular movement to your day-to-day life.

Making small changes to your routine, such as a short walk each day, can mean an enormous gain in your activity levels. It helps your weight, too. You use 1 calorie on average for every 20 steps you take. The 240-step walk would burn 4,380 calories in a year!
Each walk has markers along the way with details of how far you have walked, as well as a QR code that you can access with your mobile phone for more information about the walk, your health and the Active Communities programme.
Carl Jackson, Buckinghamshire Council's Deputy Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing (Public Health), said:
 
“Walking is an excellent way to maintain and improve your health and wellbeing. Active Communities Park Walks are an innovative way of engaging residents to be a little more active on a regular basis. Whether you take one of the longer or shorter walks set in local communities, exercising little and often can add up to huge and lasting benefits for our health."
 
You can find out about the location of these unique walks on Buckinghamshire Council's website. And for those who like to go on organised walks, visit the council’s Simply Walks programme.
 


 
 
WHICH?  
MoneyWeekly
 
 
This week, we find out how using 'buy now, pay later' schemes could affect your credit score, while our experts reveal how to cut the cost of energy bills.
 
 
Top story
Ease the squeeze - helping you through the cost of living crisis
With price rises already starting to bite, our new mini podcast series sees a team of experts share free tips and advice to tackle the issues hitting your pocket. First up, find out how to cut the cost of your energy bills.
Listen to the first episode
Read about the tips experts shared
 
 
 
Editor’s picks
7 money-saving tips for winter
From thawing water pipes to maintaining your car and protecting your pet from winter mishaps, our tips can prevent avoidable costs.
Credit reports to include BNPL
Credit reference agency TransUnion will soon include 'buy now, pay later' borrowing on credit reports - could it affect your credit score?
 
 
 
Best savings rates revealed
Following last week's Bank of England base rate rise, we've scoured the savings market to find out where you can find the top rates right now.
Stormy forecast for premiums
Home insurance claims for extreme weather damage are on the rise - find out how storms and flooding could affect your premium.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Stories you can't miss
1. Four 'buy now, pay later' firms to make terms clearer
2.
 
Have 'sneaky' online sales tactics ever caught you out?
3.
 
 
Worst telecoms providers revealed
4. Eon email scam exposed: how a scammer tried to steal £1,000
5. How 'ghost flights' can affect your refund rights
6. Masthaven Bank to close savings and mortgages
7. Conversation: have you been misled by debt advice adverts?
8. 'The cladding scandal has made my mortgage unaffordable'
9. What are the best mortgage rates for first-time buyers?
10. Scam warning: British Gas phishing email
   
 
 
Which? Wills
Get 30% off Which? Power of Attorney
We're offering 30% off Which? Power of Attorney services until 28 February 2022. Get the support you need and a full legal review from £97.
 
 
Explore Which? Money
 
Pensions and retirement
Savings and Isas
Credit cards and loans
Investing
Wills and probate
 
Mortgages and property
Insurance
Tax
Banking
Money-saving tips
 
Which? Money magazine
 
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Which? Switch
 
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NEXT COUNCILLOR SURGERY

Paul Kelly

The Emporium, Burnham High  Street,
SATURDAY 26 FEBRUARY,  10 AM - 2 PM

Free tea & coffee
 
David Wilson
 
 
 
Slough Philharmonic Orchestra
Slough Philharmonic Chorus
Richard Uttley Piano

David Wilson Conductor
Gillian Dibden Chorus Director

Tickets 
Adults £16,  Students/U16 £10
(Includes free programme)

Buy tickets online Buy tickets online CLICK HERE
Telephone box office 0300 365 7445 

Venue
Caldicott School
Crown Lane
Farnham Royal
SL2 3SL

For more information about Slough Philharmonic Society and other upcoming events CLICK HERE
CARE AND SHARE NEWS 
 
We have seen numbers drop slightly post Christmas/New Year which was expected but we still maintain support for around 60 people per week at the moment (Christmas Week was 105 people!)
 
We have been very fortunate to receive some amazing support in the last few weeks and would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to donate,  be it in food or monetary donations.
 
Special thanks go out to:
Burnham Beeches Rotary Club & Bucks CC 
Tesco Taplow 
K Lamb
The Ruston Family
The Senior Family 
The anonymous donor who paid for vouchers to be used at Burrowes the Butchers
And Clean Conscience who supplied an amazing amount of toiletries & shopping bags! 
 
We welcome all donations of food & toiletries which can be dropped off to Burnham Park Hall  any time they are open, Cornerstone St Peter's Church, Old Five Bells Pub,  Burnham Library and May's Chocolate Shop. 
If you would like to make a financial donation, please contact Lisa at Lisa@bhpt.org.uk for more information. 
 
If you or someone you know is in need of support, please contact 
Lisa at Lisa@bhpt.org.uk 07852 509075 or Rev Samson on 07771 728826 for more information.

Thames Valley Police 10 February 
 Advice issued after increase in reports of thefts

 
Thames Valley Police is issuing advice to residents following an increase in the number of thefts from persons at cash machines and in car parks.
Victims are being distracted by people, who are offering to help them when in these locations. When the victim comes to check their belongings later on, they have found cards of theirs to be missing. 
Advice to follow and share with friends and family to keep yourselves safe:

 Never share your debit or credit card PIN with anyone. 
 If you see anything unusual about a cash machine or if you suspect it has been tampered with, don’t use it and report it to the bank as soon as possible.
 Don’t get distracted. Be particularly cautious if seemingly well-meaning strangers talk to you or offer to help while you’re using the ATM or car park pay machine.
  Once you’ve completed a transaction put your money and card away before leaving the machine.
 Make sure you store your card company’s 24-hour contact number in your phone. By doing this, you can quickly and easily contact your bank if anything does happen. 

If you would like to find out more information about how to keep yourself safe, please visit our webpage  https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/personal-fraud/banking-payment-card-investment-pension-fraud/
 
Scam Alert service

Eon bill refund scam
This fraudulent communication methods here claim to be from Eon and follows a typical story that all scammers use to worry you and pile on the urgency.
From an Eon phishing email to a phone call with a scammer, we carried out an investigation to expose the tricks and tactics used in this scam. Lucia Ariano, Which? senior presenter played along with a fraudster to show you how the scam works and the sneaky tricks used with this phishing attempt.We would never recommend doing this yourself.
Watch the video to find out what happened and how you can avoid similar scams.

https://www.which.co.uk/news/2022/02/eon-email-scam-exposed-how-a-scammer-tried-to-steal-1000/
 
British Gas phishing email
A phishing email purporting to be from British Gas is circulating, stating that customers’ bills are overdue and need paying. It attempts to extort the recipient’s account details by urging them to click through to fake websites.
Here are examples of the fake British Gas emails – which the provider has confirmed has nothing to do with them – that have targeted customers and we explain how to deal with them.
https://conversation.which.co.uk/money/scam-warning-british-gas-phishing-email/

 

Press Release from Buckinghamshire Council

16 February 2022

Householders warned of the perils of not hiring a registered waste collector

One Bucks resident has learned the hard way not to risk hiring a non-registered waste collector and paying in cash for them to dispose of their rubbish, after being fined by Buckinghamshire Council
.
The Denham resident received a fixed penalty notice after rubbish dumped illegally was traced back to their property.

The warning comes following the sentencing of Harry Stubbings of Priory Gardens, Harefield. On Wednesday 9th February 2022, Stubbings pleaded guilty in court to two counts of illegal dumping in Denham.
The offences took place on 9th and 19th September 2021. Stubbings, 26, dumped the first load comprising floor tiles and builders waste on the grass verge and footpath of Tilehouse Lane in Denham. The second incident was also on Tilehouse Lane but this time in a private driveway.

The first load was predominantly floor tiles and other builders waste which was dumped on the grass verge and footpath of Tilehouse lane and the second, was also on Tilehouse Lane, but in a private driveway.
A member of the public saw Stubbing adjusting the load a short distance from the location where he dumped the second load. She reported the incident to the Council via the Fix My Street online form.

Whilst clearing the second load, Buckinghamshire Council Enforcement Team officers found evidence linking the waste to an address in Denham and also a vehicle.

With the help of Thames Valley Police, the Enforcement Team began an investigation which led to Stubbings being identified as the offender. He was interviewed and stated that his boss had given him cash to dispose of the waste legally, but he had gambled this on fruit machines, so saw no other option than to dump it. He also said that he took cash payment from the Denham resident to take their waste away.

Stubbings received a 200-hour community service order to be completed in 12 months. He was also ordered to pay £2,266.66 in investigation and clearance costs. In sentencing Stubbings, magistrates indicated that due to the circumstances of the two incidents he was close to being given a custodial sentence.

The resident from Denham, who failed in their duty of care in checking if Stubbings was a waste carrier, paid a £300 Fixed Penalty, (reduced from £400 as it was paid within 14 days).
Peter Strachan, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment said:
“This case highlights the importance of householders checking that waste collectors are properly registered. It also shows that the Council, along with our partners will follow up any suspicious incidents to detect this illegal activity.
“I wish to thank the member of the public who reported the incident to us and I would urge others to do the same on Fix My Street.

"I would also warn householders, don't be tempted to pay cash for someone to take your rubbish away, it is always safer to pay online. A registered waste carrier will take online payment and you can check their credentials before agreeing the deal. Cash may seem like the easy option but it is always better to be safe than sorry and pay online.”
To report fly-tipping visit our website.
 
 
Notes to Editor
Fly-tipping Stubbings 1
Fly-tipping Stubbings 2
 
Stay Steady,  Stay Strong  classes
 
An hour long class for seniors, (a combination of standing and chair based)  to help improve your strength and  balance.  

There are currently vacancies for the 1.15 pm class in Burnham Library on Monday afternoons.  £6 per session.   All welcome.   If you haven't exercised for years, come along and work at your own level. This is not a competitive class 
 
Contact: Lucie  Tel. 07951 294 178
 

 
 
JOB VACANCIES at CHILTERN OPEN AIR MUSEUM

Chiltern Open Air Museum are recruiting for a number positions including; part-time Retail Manager, Learning officer, and part-time Museum Assistant. To find more information about these roles then please visit https://coam.org.uk/get-involved/vacancies/

Helen LIGHT
Marketing and General Manager
Chiltern Open Air Museum, Newland Park, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St Giles, Bucks, HP 8 4 AB
T : 01494 - 871117

Follow us on Twitter : www.twitter.com/chilternoam
Like us on Facebook : www.facebook.com/chilternopenairmuseumevents

Chiltern Open Air Museum is a registered charity (no. 272381) inspiring present and future generations with stories of Chilterns historic buildings, people and places.

 

Press Release from Buckinghamshire Council

17 February 2022

Now is the time to start planning your Jubilee celebrations

Buckinghamshire communities are being encouraged to get planning their celebrations to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee later this year.

The official public holiday to mark the historic occasion of The Queen’s 70 years on the throne, falls from 2 to 5 June 2022. The four-day bank holiday weekend is the perfect time for local communities to plan their own celebrations. From street parties to special lunches and beacon lighting to bespoke events there are many ways for communities to get involved.

Peter Strachan, Cabinet Member for Climate Change & Environment, who is leading on the council’s plans to mark the Jubilee, explained:
“As with any event, big or small, planning is key, and we are asking people to think about how they might want to mark this historic occasion in their local area.
"We have added a Jubilee section to our online activities, groups and support services directory. If you are organising a Jubilee celebration, please add your event to the page so that we can create a record of Buckinghamshire’s Jubilee celebrations.”

To support those who may want to hold a street party the Council is waiving the fee for temporary road closures, but it is important that people apply in plenty of time before the deadline of 6 May. See this webpage to find out more.

On 2 June hundreds of beacons will be lit up and down the county to mark the Jubilee. Local communities can register to light a beacon. For more information, visit the official website.
In Buckinghamshire, the council is supporting The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC), a nationwide planting initiative which invites people to Plant a Tree for the Jubilee. The tree planting season comes to an end in March but starts again in November so people can plan ahead. Leading on from this, the council’s 70 Trees for 70 Years project is asking residents to nominate their favourite tree or woodland to compile into a list of the 70 best-loved trees.
Peter Strachan continued: “70 years on the throne is a momentous achievement. Her Majesty is the first British Monarch to reach this milestone. It is a true cause for celebration, and we are encouraging all our residents and local communities to get involved in the range of activities, events and initiatives planned.

For more information on all the projects relating to the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, please visit Buckinghamshire Council's website.


 
 
Dear Resident,
 
It’s been a busy start to the year and I know many families are continuing to juggle lots of challenges such as Covid cases in the family, returning to the office and the impact of rising prices on household finances.
 
The year ahead could be quite difficult for many in Buckinghamshire and I just want to assure you that the council wants to help as much as possible, whilst protecting vital services and targeting help to the most vulnerable. 
 
 
 
Before going into more detail on our Budget and Council Tax proposals, I want to start with a warning ahead of the arrival of Storm Eunice, which is expected to bring exceptionally high winds and bad weather to our region tomorrow from early morning onwards. Please keep an eye on news reports and follow the advice accordingly.
  
  • All country parks operated by Buckinghamshire Council will close from tonight – please check our website for updated opening times.
  • Schools will be open as usual but should any need to close, schools will contact parents direct and you can also check for school closures on our website.
  • Transport for Buckinghamshire crews are on standby to clear debris or fallen trees or to react to flooding. If you have an incident to report please use the FixMyStreet weblink.
  
We also anticipate a challenging day for our waste services teams and would like to ask if you can help our crews as they manage collections in the anticipated stormy weather. Gusts of winds are expected that will be strong enough to blow bins over or into the street. If you’re putting your bins out, where possible, please place them in a sheltered spot and please avoid putting out extra recycling for this week please. There could be some delays or cancellations so please be patient if your bin isn’t collected at the usual time.
  
Please keep an eye on the council’s website and our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) for any updates on how the storm impacts our services tomorrow.

  
Council Tax
On Tuesday, the council’s Cabinet considered the Budget and Council Tax proposals for 2022/23 which will now be put to Full Council next week (Wednesday 23 February). I’ve already written to you about these proposals and what they mean and I wanted to update you on this next stage of the Budget setting process. We have worked hard to balance the books this year with many pressures on local councils across the country, especially those responsible for providing social care.
  
Firstly, we are proposing to make savings and efficiencies internally, along with some small fee increases. These will be worth some £43.7 million over the Budget period. Nevertheless, there will remain a gap between our costs to provide services and our income. Therefore, we are reluctantly having to propose an inflation increase in Council Tax of 1.99%. This compares to inflation of over 5%.
 
In addition, we know the costs of social care to the elderly, and adults with disabilities, along with that to safeguard young children are set to rise by at least 5% next year and we’ve projected a total spend of nearly £300 million on adults and children’s social care in 2022/23. It goes without saying that this is an immense amount of money that’s needed to provide these critical services, so we can give the most vulnerable people in our communities the help and support they need.
  
Whilst the Government is raising National Insurance by 1.25% to help fund social care in the future, in the first three years this extra money will go mainly on helping to reduce waiting times for operations in the NHS. Therefore, Government is proposing that councils who provide social care raise a ‘Social Care Precept’, effectively a small local charge to help fund these important services. Buckinghamshire Council will therefore have a 2% Social Care Precept. This money will be spent solely on social care. In total therefore the Buckinghamshire Council part of your Council Tax bill will increase by 3.99% or £1.23 per week for the average Band D property.
 
Council Tax rebate
Since I last wrote to you about this, the Government has announced that residents in Bands A-D will get a Council Tax rebate of £150 to help with the overall rise in household bills, so this will reduce the cost for the majority of households in Buckinghamshire.
  
A Helping Hand
I know the strains people are facing with the current cost of living – as an organisation our own costs have risen significantly. For those suffering real hardship there are many ways you can seek support and the details are all in one place on our website under our #backontrack pages. Here you can find the details of our Helping Hand scheme, and how it can help families who are in significant need of our support. We’re also again providing digital food vouchers over half term to families who have free school meals during term time – please contact the Helping Hand team via the details in the link above if you think you qualify and haven’t already been notified about this.
  
The final point to note about our Budget is how pleased I am that we are actually able to balance our books going into the next financial year, and that importantly, we’re able to commit funds to key projects that residents have told us they want us to prioritise. Not all councils are in a position to do this, but we can. We’re continuing to spend more than £100 million on improving roads and pavements and we’ve committed to cleaning out every one of the county’s 85,000 gullies again. We are also planting more than half a million new trees in Buckinghamshire – one for every resident in Buckinghamshire. We are proposing to build a new Household Waste site in the north of the county given the population growth there and we will be continuing the Street Wardens’ scheme in High Wycombe. We will also continue to hold HS2 and East West Rail to account for their disruptive schemes across Buckinghamshire.
 
You can read more about our spending plans in detail in the Cabinet papers on our website.
  
Covid update
While Covid cases are high, data nationally and locally is encouraging in that we are seeing hospital admissions and case numbers start to fall. We have seen higher case numbers in young people and I know Covid has impacted schools heavily since Christmas. I thank all school staff for all they are doing to keep education services running during what has been a really challenging time.
  
We are also waiting to find out whether the last remaining Covid restrictions will be lifted shortly, as suggested by the Prime Minister last week. It is encouraging to think that we may soon be at the stage where we effectively live alongside Covid in the way we do with the common cold or flu. It certainly continues to be a challenging winter but I really hope we can all start to see an end in sight, and the success of the vaccine programme has been a key factor in enabling our local health and care services to cope with the heavy burdens of these winter months.
  
With that in mind, please keep coming forward for any vaccine doses you’re eligible for and haven’t yet taken up. Book your vaccine via the national booking system on the NHS website.
  
You can keep up to date with the most recent advice on Covid on the Government’s website
  
Extra help available for businesses
We’ve now extended one of our Covid grants to all sectors, so please come forward if your business has been impacted by the Omicron variant and the restrictions that were brought in this winter.
  
Our ‘Additional Restrictions Grant Booster’ was originally ring-fenced to limited sectors but it’s now open to any businesses that were significantly impacted by the Plan B restrictions. As the funds available for this grant are limited, we are offering this on a ‘first come, first served’ basis so please find out more if you think you may qualify. There are some conditions and the deadline to apply is Wednesday 23 February so don’t delay. All the information you need is on our website
  
On a wider note, please support our fantastic and hardworking local businesses by using Click it Local – it’s like using the familiar large online retailers and allows you to shop from your local high street from home. We are currently piloting it in the north of the county and are offering a £5 discount off your order if you sign up to the newsletter.
    
Children’s Services update
We were pleased with the news last week that, following the recent Ofsted inspection, our Children’s Services is no longer judged to be Inadequate. A huge amount of work has taken place in recent years to raise performance. We know there are still improvements to be made to achieve a ‘Good’ rating but this is definitely evidence that we are progressing and it was especially pleasing to note many extremely positive comments in the full report, which is well worth reading for the full detail and context. It contains a number of recommendations and work is underway now to develop a further improvement plan to respond directly to these.
 
I hope you all stay safe and please do exercise caution in tomorrow's adverse weather.
 
 
Martin Tett
Leader of Buckinghamshire Council
 
 
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