5 Jan 2021 Changes to Buckinghamshire Council services due to new national lockdown
Following the announcement of a new national lockdown in England, Buckinghamshire Council has made some urgent changes to several of its key services.
Library staff will be deployed to assist with the vulnerable and shielding programme, so from Wednesday 6 January all Buckinghamshire libraries will be closed until further notice.
Loans have been extended and no fines will be charged during the lockdown, so customers are advised to keep their books at home and to not worry about returning them at the moment.
On site access to Buckinghamshire Archives will also remain closed – see this page for more information: http://bit.ly/BucksArchives
The online library is still available for eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, eNewpapers and online reference services such as Ancestry, and new members can join online at : www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/libraries
Internet access as well as ‘emergency assistance’ will be available for residents through the Council Access Points located at:
- Walton Street, Aylesbury
- The Gateway, Aylesbury
- King George V House, Amersham
- Queen Victoria Road, High Wycombe
Schools and colleges
All have now switched to remote learning. However, children of key workers and vulnerable children can still go to school.
Funerals and weddings
Funerals can still take place with up to 30 guests. Weddings and equivalent ceremonies will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances and with up to six people.
Household bin collections
These will continue as normal, and residents can check their bin collection dates by going to: www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/bin-collection-recycling-and-waste
Household Recycling Centres
All sites will remain open during the lockdown.
Road repairs and street cleaning
These services will carry on as normal.
Parks and green spaces
Buckinghamshire’s three country parks will remain open.
Leisure centres and sports facilities
In line with current restrictions, all Buckinghamshire Council leisure and sports centres – with the exception of playgrounds – will remain closed during the lockdown. This includes The South Buckinghamshire Golf Course and outdoor sports courts and multi-use games areas.
Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Communities & Public Health, said:
“I know that many people will find the new national lockdown difficult to deal with, but in order to stem the rise in coronavirus cases in Buckinghamshire, it’s vital that we all continue to play our part by only going out when necessary, and sticking to the government’s ‘Hands, Face, Space’ guidance.
“Hopefully, with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines across the county, we will soon start to see the tide turning on coronavirus cases. Once this happens, we can then look forward to beginning a return to normality.
”If you need to contact the council during the lockdown, please do so via our Contact Centre either by calling 0300 131 6000 or going online to www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/your-council/contact-us.”
For the latest information on Buckinghamshire Council services, please visit: www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk
A helping hand over Christmas & winter
Buckinghamshire Council launches its winter food voucher scheme this week. This will give our most vulnerable families support to buy food over the Christmas holiday.
This is being funded from the government COVID-19 Winter Grant Scheme and the first part of the scheme will be to provide food vouchers. It is being run through schools and targeted at families with children and young people eligible for free school meals.
Schools will be contacting parents before the end of term to give them the details of how to claim and activate the £30 digital food vouchers which can be used at Asda, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose or Marks and Spencer Food. They can split their voucher across multiple supermarkets, if they wish.
Councillor Anita Cranmer, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills said: “Christmas can be an expensive holiday for families, and that is particularly so this year with the impact of COVID. These vouchers will be a helping hand to those families who need additional support over the Christmas holidays to buy food. I want to thank our schools for working with us on this to ensure we get the vouchers out to families before the end of term.”
The Council has also set up a dedicated Helping Hand phone line to provide support to households worried about food or warmth over the winter season. This help may come from the voluntary and community sector or directly from the council.
Councillor Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Health said: “Buckinghamshire has a strong voluntary and community sector which has been active in supporting families and households during COVID. A number of groups are running additional programmes over the Christmas period. To find out what is available in your area, please put your postcode into the online directory directory.buckinghamshire.gov.uk.”
Anyone worried about food or warmth over the Christmas holidays, and not sure what help is available, can contact the council’s Helping Hand support line on 01296 531151 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
This line is open 9am – 5.30pm Monday to Thursday and 9am – 5pm on Friday. The support line is closed on Christmas day, Boxing Day, Monday 28 December and New Year’s day but our out of hours team can be contacted in emergencies on 0800 999 7677.
Check out our website for further details – https://www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/get-support-food-and-energy-bills-over-winter/
Recycling Centres switch to winter hours
Full details about recycling are on the Household Recycling website
Climate Change & Air Quality Strategy for Buckinghamshire
Residents Survey at: https://yourvoicebucks.citizenspace.com/environment/ccaq-public-survey-2020/
Your council is changing
The new Buckinghamshire Council replaced all five of the district and county councils in Buckinghamshire on 1 April 2020.
What does the new council mean for me?
- The same services, better together. For most people there will be no change to the day-to-day services you use. This includes bin collections, looking after our elderly and young people, libraries and parking. The focus for the future will be on improving these services as a new council together.
- One council. Getting in touch with the council will be simpler because you’ll only need to contact one council for all the services currently provided by the county and district councils.
- Face-to-face advice, support and information from your council through a network of 17 local Council Access Points based at the heart of your local community – in current council offices and libraries across the county. The five council offices in Aylesbury (Walton Street and The Gateway), High Wycombe, Amersham and Denham will be ‘access plus’ points, geared up to handle more complex enquiries.
- Stronger links with local communities. Buckinghamshire Council councillors will work closely with local people and community organisations to understand and respond to the key issues affecting their local area through 16 Community Boards.
Who will be my local councillor on the new council?
There will be 147 councillors elected to Buckinghamshire Council. Elections for the new council will take place on 7 May 2020. Until these newly elected councillors take up their posts, your current elected members from the five existing councils will continue to serve your communities. ELECTIONS POSTPONED UNTIL MAY 2021
How can I find out more?
For regular news and updates, follow @BucksCouncil on Twitter and Facebook or find out more at Buckinghamshire Council’s website.
Other useful links:
Environmental Health issues: https://www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/environment/
Highways are the remit of Bucks County Council which deals with potholes, road signage etc: https://fixmystreet.buckscc.gov.uk/
Rights of Way, footpath issues: https://www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/environment/public-rights-way/
The Mike & Claire Griffin Charitable Trust: https://www.griffintrust.org/ – supporting good causes in Bierton & Hulcott.