Buckinghamshire Councillors Report July 2023

Join the plastic pollution solution revolution!

Buckinghamshire residents are being urged to become part of the plastic pollution solution and see how far they can go in reducing their use of single use plastic during the global, month-long initiative, Plastic Free July.

With awareness of the problems plastic pollution is having on our planet at an all-time high, Buckinghamshire Council is taking the opportunity to remind residents of the many local initiatives aimed at reducing all types of waste and showing the many simple things all of us can do to make a difference.

One of the easiest ways to start, is to take a look at Buckinghamshire Recycles Zero Waste Map. This handy tool provides an online directory for all the local places where you can reduce your waste including re-use shops, community fridges and upcycling schemes as well as listing all recycling points around the county and details of the household recycling centres.   

Another way to make a change, for those with babies and toddlers, is to switch from using disposable nappies to reusable cloth nappies. Disposable nappies are made from plastic, paper pulp and a variety of chemicals and glue. Babies have around 5,000 nappy changes up to potty training, which is a lot of nappies to put in the bin. Cloth nappies can be 40% better for the environment, even with the extra washing machine cycles. Find out more information about the Buckinghamshire Nappy Scheme online.

Last September, Buckinghamshire Recycles introduced its new Reduce Single Use Plastic schools initiative which encourages schools to sign up to a pledge to reduce single use plastics within school. Haddenham Community Infant School became the first school to achieve a gold award for its efforts. Currently aimed at primary schools, the scheme will be opened up to secondary schools from September.

There are numerous, easy ways we can all try to reduce single use plastics and waste:

  • Use refillable water bottles and coffee cups
  • Avoid using bathroom and cleaning products in single-use containers – there are lots of places you can refill existing bottles again and again. Check out the Zero Waste Map for locations
  • Consider using more environmentally friendly sanitary products
  • Make use of reusable bags when shopping 

And where it is impossible not to use some plastics, make sure you recycle as much as you can. Check our Waste Wizard tool to find out what you can recycle and where

Find out more about Plastic Free July online

Summer Reading Challenge 2023, ‘Ready, Set, Read’ is kicking off at your local library this weekend

​This summer, children in Buckinghamshire, aged 4-11, are being invited to visit their local library to join a superstar team and their marvellous mascots by getting involved in the annual Summer Reading Challenge.

This year’s challenge launches on Saturday 8 July and runs through to Saturday 16 September. The theme centres on the power of play, sport, games and physical activity with the children taking part, encouraged to keep their minds and bodies active over the summer break. Over the course of the ten-week period, children are encouraged to read six books of their choice and follow the adventures of the themed Ready, Set, Read characters on their summer adventure.

Through activity challenge cards from the Youth Sport Trust, and an exciting, themed book collection, the Summer Reading Challenge aims to keep imaginations moving over the school holiday. By participating in the challenge, children will have the opportunity to explore new reading material, develop skills, and discover new interests. The characters in this year’s challenge are brought to life by children’s author and illustrator Loretta Schauer. The children taking part navigate a fictional summer obstacle course and track their reading as they go, rewarded by free incentives along the way, including stickers.

Libraries across Buckinghamshire will be hosting a range of additional activities and events for children and families throughout the school holidays, many of which are free. This includes a poetry workshop with Simon Mole across several libraries. The acclaimed children’s author will perform his well-loved picture book ‘I love my bike’ followed by some fun games to unlock children’s creative powers.

To take part in the Summer Reading Challenge simply pop into your local library. More information including details of linked events can be found online: Summer Reading Challenge 2023 | Buckinghamshire Council 

Visit bit.ly/BucksSummerReadingChallengeEvents to find details of events and activities in libraries across Buckinghamshire.

Watch our trailer: Ready, Set, Read! Summer Reading Challenge 2023 | Bucks Libraries 

Enthusiastic older children, aged 14+, who are passionate about reading are also being sought to take on the role of a Young Volunteer for the Summer Reading Challenge. The role involves encouraging children to complete the challenge, listening to the children talk about the books they have been reading and taking part in related activities. It is a great opportunity to get some volunteering experience and learn new skills. To find out more about becoming a Young Volunteer email library@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

We need adopters for children from Black African and Caribbean communities

Buckinghamshire Council is calling for people who may be considering adoption to get in touch. Adopters are needed for all children in Bucks, but those who are looking to adopt a child or young person from Black African and Black Caribbean heritage are particularly sought after.

National evidence shows that children from black communities typically wait longer to find the right family and so spend more time in care than some other children. Data from 2021-22 shows that on average, black children and children from other ethnic minority groups wait 100 days longer to be adopted*. In a bid to encourage more people to consider adoption, the council is launching a new campaign to raise awareness.

Council receives highest award in Defence Employer Recognition Scheme

Buckinghamshire Council has been awarded ‘Gold’ in the 2023 Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS). This is the highest level of award offered by the scheme, which is organised by the Ministry of Defence.

The ERS encourages employers to support defence and the armed forces and inspire others to do the same.

The scheme encompasses Bronze, Silver and Gold awards for employer organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the armed forces community, and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant.

Examples of how Buckinghamshire Council provides extra support for local armed forces families as an employer are through measures such as:

  • Guaranteeing job interviews for ex-armed forces personnel and serving reservists where they meet the essential criteria for a role
  • Offering extra leave for reservists to attend training
  • Providing a supportive work environment for employees who are members of the armed forces community, including facilitating a staff network

Councillor Derek Town 

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