Agenda and minutes

Venue: Virtual Teams Meeting

Contact: Liz Hornby 

No. Item


Confirmation of Chairman and Vice- Chairman


Ms P Birchley would take on the role of the Chairman as bestowed by the Leader of Buckinghamshire Council.  Ms J Macbean had been appointed by the Chairman as Vice-Chairman of the board.  Ms H Cavill had been appointed as the Community Board Coordinator and Ms A Williams was appointed as the Committee Assistant.


Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received from Mr A Garth, Mr N Varley, Ms H Farrelly and Mr C Sulley.


Declarations of Interest


There were none.


Overview and Vision for the Board

Introduction, membership and vision to be presented by The Chairman.   Overview of the Board and the role of the Community Board Coordinator to be presented by Ms H Cavill, Community Board Coordinator.


The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and highlighted that additional attendees were Mr G Williams, Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Health, and a representative from Public Health to deliver a presentation to the board. The first meeting was open to parish councils and members of the board to discuss priorities and arrange sub groups.  Statutory partners would be invited moving forwards from September 2020. 


The Community Board had already allocated almost £20,000 worth of funding to various projects and organisations in the area in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.  It was highlighted that the services offered by local parish councils and voluntary groups had been highly appreciated by shielding residents. 


The newly established Community Boards were a new service and would operate differently to the previous Local Area Forums (LAFs). The new unitary council viewed the board as a local voice for matters of community.  Across Buckinghamshire Council the community boards had been allocated a budget of £3.9 million and could therefore achieve more on a local level than the LAFs.  The role of the Community Board Coordinator was to support the board, gain local knowledge and work alongside members and partners through sub groups. 


Each board would have different priorities and set direction of Buckinghamshire Council.  The Police Inspector would attend two meetings annually to cover community safety.  Public health and environment could be part of the same remit.  Meetings would last roughly 90 minutes and would reach as widely as possible to residents, allowing residents’ preferences to be heard.


The following point was highlighted during questions and comments from the board:


  • Issues of speeding needed to be addressed in conjunction with inappropriate movement of heavy goods vehicles down narrow lanes.



Public Health Profile pdf icon PDF 1 MB

 To be presented by representative from Public Health

Additional documents:


Mr D Fleckno, Public Health delivered a presentation (appended to the minutes) and highlighted the following:


Indicators were difficult to measure and were only helpful when synthesised with local insight from the board.   The importance of place had become increasingly emphasised and the impact of the area in which individuals were raised.  The impact of Covid-19 meant that community support was key to resilience during height of pandemic and recovery. 


Non modifiable factors included genetics, age and gender.  Modifiable factors included lifestyle, community and economy and could have an impact on wellbeing. 


The ways in which Local Government could influence factors were highlighted:


  • Demographics, population of area (assets and issues)
  • Natural environment,
  • GP records around local health behaviours, long term health conditions. 
  • Council information around local vulnerable groups and member knowledge of population.


Not all communities were affected in the same way by the pandemic.  The health impacts were greater for older people, males, ethnic minority groups and individuals with long term health conditions.  Indirect impacts would have a greater long term effect on young people who were developing.   All impacts were amenable by strong community support.


Nationally the Chesham and Villages area was mid-range in terms of vulnerability.   The public health profile was intended to be a high level overview made up of a wide variety of data sources.  Combined with the knowledge of members, the information could be used to shape the priorities of the board.  Nationally, Buckinghamshire had overall good health outcomes.  


The five public health recommendations based on analytical data were as follows:


  • High levels of smoking
  • Childhood obesity
  • Substance misuse
  • Food poverty
  • Higher than average levels of diabetes and heart disease (increase risk of Covid-19)
  • Covid 19 economic recovery- benefits etc.


The Chesham and Villages profile was varied.  Local knowledge was key as to where input on particular variables would be most helpful. 


The following points were highlighted during questions and comments from the board:


  • Successful health checks had previously run from Chesham Mosque.  This had resulted in residents identifying the early stages of various illnesses.  The health checks had been received positively and appreciated by residents.
  • The statistics and factors in the report had to be read in context to local knowledge.
  • The indicators could often be complex and “Deprivation” and “Vulnerability” could be contradictory.  “Deprivation” had the potential to be misleading and was made up of different factors such as postcode average, income and car ownership.  These were not always accurate based on the area, for example urban or country.  “Vulnerability” takes into account number of other factors including deprivation. 
  • Chesham town appeared to be less deprived than the villages.  Public health were still in the early stages of quantifying the mental health impacts of lockdown.  Some people would have been a lot more isolated than usual and mental wellbeing would have suffered as a result.
  • The board were aware that in Chesham wealthy and deprived areas were very close to each other with eight to ten years difference of life  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Sub Groups

To be presented by The Vice-Chairman


The Vice-Chairman led a verbal discussion in which the following suggestions for priorities were made:


Chesham Town- economic development and regeneration. 

“Town Team” was put together several years ago.  Previous funding had been allocated and was yet to be spent.  Several local groups were involved such as Chesham Connect, Economic Development Officer and Chesham Renaissance Community Interest Company.  This would be a great opportunity to formalise the work already completed over the last couple of years.  There were exciting opportunities with this project as well as challenges such as change of retail on high street and the impact of Covid 19.  The work would directly relate to the Villages.  It was highlighted that it was important to have wide representation in this group, including a Buckinghamshire Councillor, an officer and the Chairman of the Planning Committee. The planning would influence the next five to ten years of regeneration.


Village Forum

The group was keen to ensure that the views of the villages were understood in terms of decision making.  The first meeting of the forum had already been held with high levels of attendance.  The work carried out would feed into the board so that there was an emphasis on village activity. 



HS2 would have a heavy impact on some villages but would affect all villages and Chesham town to an extent.  The previous Chiltern District Council liaison group was successful at holding contract liaison officers to account.  It was suggested that the Chesham and Villages board could liaise with Amersham and Missenden Community Boards to tackle the issues and hold officers to account.  

Mr Williams highlighted that a meeting had been set up with the HS2 Community Engagement Managers and an emphasis was placed on engagement with Community Boards.  The HS2 sub group chair would meet with the group on a regular basis.   It was highlighted that knowledge across the group was crucial and it would be in everyone’s interest to share knowledge across the Community Boards.


Chesham Resilience Response Group

Chesham Action Volunteer Group had been set up several years ago and was actively working with issues and helping local residents.  The Covid-19 crisis had made it clear that the fastest and most proactive response came from local community organisations.   Chesham Support for Coronavirus had been a fantastic model of how the group responded and allocated various tasks.  A lot of learning has come from this response and it would be beneficial to capture the information in the case of a second peak or another crisis. 

In response to concerns that this could demonstrate the council attempting to oversee the organisation of the local voluntary groups directly, it was clarified that this was not the intention.  Member involvement was on an informal capacity and during the Covid-19 crisis Buckinghamshire Council Area Co-ordinators had reached out to local groups to offer support with best practice, safeguarding and information.  The concept of the group would be to offer support and funding when needed, not dictate the activity carried out.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Covid-19 Reflections

To be presented by Ms Cavill, Community Board Coordinator


The Chairman led a verbal discussion in which the following reflections were made:


The Covid-19 Chesham Support Hub had delivered 228 services to local residents alongside information sent to shielding residents by Public Health.  As a result of the pandemic there had been a significant increase in the use foodbanks. 


Concerns of residents going forward were redundancy and the end of furlough schemes.  Volunteers had begun to return to work resulting in a struggle to meet local demand.  It was predicted that the ease of lockdown restrictions would result in an increased demand for services including domestic violence and mental health.


The Chairman praised the local community response and the efforts of volunteers.


Local Priorities Discussion

Discussion to be led by The Chairman


The Chairman led a verbal discussion in which the following suggestions for priorities were made:


  • Health and fitness classes in the villages
  • Town regeneration
  • Public Health- health checks, reducing loneliness
  • Outdoor Wellness Facility- previously received grant from Chiltern District Council but was subsequently short on money. A contribution from the board would be appreciated. 
  • Local Societies for each village
  • Youth and young people
  • Public Transport- Unsatisfactory due to infrequency of services and lack of passengers.  Buckinghamshire Council was focussing on doubling the number of school buses to provide social distancing and unable at present re-allocate public buses.


It was highlighted that all priorities would incorporate environment and climate change.