|Are you looking for a new challenge after a well-earned summer break, or looking to increase your activity, but lacking motivation?
Buckinghamshire Council is encouraging all its residents to be active and start making positive lifestyle changes that can improve your health. 1 in 5 adults in Buckinghamshire is currently inactive – spending less than 30 minutes a week being active. A lack of physical activity can lead to serious health concerns, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and can have a long-lasting impact on mental and physical wellbeing.
Residents in Buckinghamshire can get rewards when they choose to be active. BetterPoints Bucks launched earlier this year to motivate and incentivise local residents when they walk, wheel, cycle, run or visit a leisure centre. The easy-to-use app rewards its users for making healthy choices that boost their wellbeing and encourages good behaviours. With the free to download BetterPoints app, residents can not only earn points while being active and making simple changes in their day-to-day life, but also be entered into prize draws. These points can be redeemed and spent at local shops or donated to local charities and foodbanks. Extra points are on offer for those residents who wish to lose weight or give up smoking when they access support via Be Healthy Bucks.
Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Angela Macpherson, said:
“Making small lifestyle changes can bring big health benefits to all of us, but sustaining the changes can be difficult and require motivation. With the free BetterPoints app, we are hoping to motivate our residents and ourselves to move more during the day and make little changes that make a big difference – it can be as simple as doing the school run by foot or taking a longer route when walking the dog. Small changes can lead to better health and even better rewards.
“We are proud to work with BetterPoints and be able to offer the app to our residents. Getting active can prevent illnesses before they even develop, which is better for us in the long run and also helps our NHS and local GP surgeries.
“We want to support our residents in Buckinghamshire to make and sustain healthy lifestyle choices, which is why I am encouraging anyone keen to improve their health, or anyone looking for a way to earn discounts, to download the BetterPoints app to get started.
“There are only three simple steps to cash in on your rewards – download the app, get active to collect some points right away and then you’re ready to spend your vouchers!”
Council’s new ‘Energy Doctor’ scheme is helping low-income households save money
|Buckinghamshire Council has introduced a new ‘Energy Doctor’ scheme as one of the initiatives funded by its allocation of the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).
Buckinghamshire has been allocated £5.8 million of UKSPF money to spend until the end of March 2025. Councillors approved plans to use the funding to support local businesses and drive skills training, as well as creating a new Domestic Resource Efficiency Service – the ‘Energy Doctor’ scheme. The Energy Doctor initiative is already helping some households struggling with energy costs.
Under the Energy Doctor scheme, domestic resource efficiency officers from the council are visiting qualifying homes to assess and advise on measures that can reduce energy consumption and costs.
The team also implements suitable low-cost measures such as:
· draught proofing
· hot water cylinder insulation jackets
· reflective radiator panels
· secondary glazing film
· LED lights
The scheme is initially providing a helping hand to low-income households living in privately rented homes. It’s hoped each household taking part in the scheme will save around £100 a year in energy costs as a result.
The Energy Doctor scheme compliments the support already facilitated by Buckinghamshire Council under the Sustainable Warmth programme where the energy performance of over 200 homes has been improved and the Home Upgrade Grant 2 which will run until March 2025. The measures under the Sustainable Warmth and Home Upgrade Grant 2 programmes involve major work to the building fabric (such as external wall insultation) and take much longer, whereas the measures provided under the Energy Doctor scheme are smaller scale but still help to cut down on energy use and bills. They are quicker and easier to put in and can be removed if needed.
Gareth Williams, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said:
“The Energy Doctor initiative is a really important scheme that we’re pleased to bring forward in Buckinghamshire to directly address the cost-of-living pressures.
“We all know that current high energy costs are one of the biggest pressures on household budgets at the moment. Reducing energy use is an important way to reduce bills, so I’m really delighted that we can bring this programme in alongside the others already in motion that are all aimed at helping low-income households reduce energy use and cost.”
To qualify for an Energy Doctor visit, your home must meet all of the following criteria:
Visits will be prioritised for those who meet these eligibility criteria and live in Opportunity Bucks areas.
To find out more about the Energy Doctor scheme, and to request a visit, go to the council’s website.
In addition to the Energy Doctor scheme, funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund is also be used to provide extra support for businesses around energy costs and consumption. This programme is initially prioritising businesses in ten Buckinghamshire Council wards in Aylesbury, High Wycombe and Chesham as identified in the council’s Opportunity Bucks ‘Levelling Up’ programme. This support will help those businesses to reduce their energy consumption.
|Buckinghamshire residents are being urged to ensure their electoral registration details are up to date through the annual canvass.
All residents will be contacted during July and August, and will receive an email or a letter from Buckinghamshire Council asking to confirm that the names of people listed as eligible to vote in their household are correct.
Being on the electoral register means that you can have your say and vote in future elections – plus it can also help with your credit rating. All you need to do is to read the email or letter carefully and follow the instructions on how to respond, if necessary. It’s very quick and easy!
If you’re not currently registered, your name will not appear on the messages we send. If you want to register this can be done as part of the canvass (a follow-up step is required).
The easiest way to register is online at: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
Nick Graham, Buckinghamshire Council’s Returning Officer and Director of Legal & Democratic Services, said:
“We will begin emailing residents from Monday 3 July. Please be assured that emails coming from ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ with a subject line of ‘Electoral Registration – Response Required’ are legitimate, and not part of a scam, which we know was a concern for some residents last year.
“We strongly encourage residents to respond to their email or letter promptly, and preferably online if possible. This will reduce the amount of printing, postage, and transport usage, all which impact negatively on the environment, which the council is striving to protect as part of the Bucks Climate Challenge.
“Finally, please note that as a result of the Elections Act 2022, voters now need to provide an accepted form of photo identification to be able to vote in person. This includes voting on behalf of someone else as a proxy vote.”
Further information on registering to vote can be found on the election pages of the council’s website.
Any residents who have any questions can contact the council’s Electoral Registration team at email@example.com or 01296 798 141.
Council launches £1.8m grant scheme for rural businesses
|Buckinghamshire Council has announced the launch of the Bucks Rural Business Grant fund, which will provide crucial support to small rural businesses in the county. This initiative, made possible through the Government’s Rural England Prosperity Fund, will deliver £1.8 million in capital grants over two financial years.
The Bucks Rural Business Grant fund focuses on small-scale investment in micro and small enterprises in rural areas. Its primary objectives are to create jobs, support business growth, and drive economic prosperity within Buckinghamshire.
Eligible businesses can apply for grants ranging from £2,500 to £300,000, with a requirement to match-fund a portion of the grant amount.
The application process involves an Expression of Interest followed by a Full Application, which will be assessed and then go to a funding panel. Successful applicants will enter into a Grant Agreement and will be closely monitored on their outputs and outcomes. This will include due diligence checks and site visits to ensure the effective use of the grant funds.
Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, stated:
“Small and medium-sized businesses are the bedrock of our local economy, so it’s great news that the launch of our Bucks Rural Business Grant fund will help foster the growth and prosperity of small rural businesses across the county.
“By providing targeted support and resources, the new fund will help empower local entrepreneurs, create employment opportunities, and stimulate sustainable economic growth.”
To reach as many local rural businesses as possible, the council is working closely with Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Buckinghamshire Business First. In addition, the grant application process will be communicated through the council’s website and detailed guidance will be provided to all applicants.
The Bucks Rural Business Grant fund received £1.8 million from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.