I hope as many of you as possible enjoyed a ‘different’ kind of Easter weekend this year. I am extremely grateful to all Buckinghamshire residents who are keeping up the crucial social distancing measures and who are staying home, other than for essential journeys. Keeping this up is vital as we continue these measures to slow down the rate of infections and to ultimately save lives and protect the NHS.
How to get local help and support during the coronavirus pandemic
I want to keep reminding everyone about our online community support hub if you need any advice or support, or know of a vulnerable person who does. Go online for all the latest information on local support networks available across the county at: www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Also use the Buckinghamshire Council website for all the most recent updates on our services:www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram or like us on Facebook too for up to date information.
Keeping in touch with vulnerable people
Our Adult Social Care team is one of many of our essential frontline services that is carrying on looking after people during this emergency. The priority for the team is to make sure vulnerable residents are safe and are getting the support they need.
One of the ways we are doing this is by making phone calls to over 1,200 vulnerable adults already using our services. This means we can check in on them and assess their needs. Over half are getting calls every day, and everyone gets at least two phone calls a week.
We are also contacting any other residents who may be vulnerable where we know about them, for example through the NHS national referral scheme or through local contact.
This emergency can make our vulnerable residents even more vulnerable. If you are concerned about a vulnerable person or think they may be at risk please call us on 01296 383 204.
How our local businesses are providing fantastic help
We’ve had an absolutely brilliant response from local businesses offering support in so many different ways to help local health and public services. Here are just some of the outstanding examples:
Coronavirus business support
We have paid out almost £36 million in coronavirus business grants to more than 2,700 small local businesses and businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors thanks to the monumental efforts of our business rates team.
Businesses will start to see this arrive in their bank accounts over the next few days as it takes the banks a couple of days to process. New applications are arriving daily and the team is working hard to process the remaining requests as quickly as we can.
If you have a business and haven’t applied yet, you can check your eligibility and apply at: www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/businessgrant.
I know this emergency has created great challenges for many local businesses of all sectors. There is lots of support and advice available – please take a look at the Buckinghamshire Business First website for more information.
Food parcels for the vulnerable over the Easter weekend
Getting food to the vulnerable continues to be a huge priority for the council and we are overwhelmed by the support of local businesses and volunteers to make sure people had food for the bank holiday weekend.
The Aylesbury Morrisons store got in touch via Buckinghamshire Council’s business hub with an immensely generous offer to supply extra packages of food (including fresh fruit and vegetables) to residents already in receipt of food parcels.
Volunteers from the Bucks and Oxon 4×4 Response Group (a team of volunteer drivers who are usually called on in bad weather!) and Aylesbury transport services firm TWK then set about distributing these items and have been out every day this weekend making deliveries.
So far around 150 parcels have been delivered across the county. To find out how individuals and businesses can get involved and help those self-isolating visit our online community hub.
I am genuinely moved by all the efforts our fantastic local businesses and volunteers are making to provide this invaluable help during this national emergency. If you or your business wants to get involved and offer help please again check our online community hub here.
Buckinghamshire Council’s new £250,000 crisis fund for local groups
We’ve set up a special fund to allow local councillors to support volunteer and community groups in their area by applying for grants for them.
Registered not for profit organisations and charities can apply for grants of up to £2,000. For groups who aren’t registered the funding can be paid to the local parish or town council or a local charity on their behalf.
The grants are for groups helping to meet the needs of vulnerable residents or who are carrying out activity to enable people to stay at home, e.g. local groups delivering food etc.
You can only apply for the crisis funding through your local councillor. Find yours here.
Throughout these newsletters I want to be able to share with you some of the great work people in our communities are doing to support and protect the people in Buckinghamshire.
Today I want to applaud our Street Associations for the invaluable organised support they are providing to their communities across the county.
Here in Buckinghamshire we have 290 streets with street associations and 387 street members in total.
With support from around 100 local businesses, our street associations have trained 452 residents in community safety issues, and every road in the scheme has a named contact.
Seventeen new Street Associations formed in March, showing again how our communities are working together during this time of crisis. From doing shopping to collecting and dropping off medicines to making friendly phone calls to people self-isolating, Street Associations know who lives in their area and how to provide the help they need. We are #ProudofBucks Street Associations and thank them.
You can find out more about help in your area here: directory.buckinghamshire.gov.uk.
Check out the #ProudofBucks hashtag on social media to hear more stories of how communities are helping. Please also use the #ProudofBucks hashtag to tell us your own stories or email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay safe and stay well,
Leader of Buckinghamshire Council