Agenda and minutes
Venue: Via MS Teams
Contact: Clare Gray
Welcome and Introductions
At the start of the meeting Cllr Santokh Chhokar welcomed Members and guests to the first meeting and gave a presentation on community boards. The following points were noted:-
· The Board covers 7 parishes; Chalfont St Giles, Chalfont St Peter, Denham, Fulmer, Gerrards Cross, Hedgerley and Seer Green
· Community boards will bring the Council and Community together to find creative ways of improving their local area, tackling local issues together by building strong connections with communities, responding to local needs and improving outcomes for residents.
· The Boards will create community conversations and the Boards will enable all local voices to be heard, helping people to work with the Council, local agencies and other organisations to make a difference within their communities. Covid has highlighted the community spirit that is present and it will be really important for areas to reflect about their recovery plans
· There will be a mixture of formal and informal meetings with focused sub-groups to explore and deliver projects on specific issues. Everyone in the community is welcomed to be involved in the community boards. Engaging with the public and working with partners will be a key element of this.
· The overall budget for community boards is £3.9m; £1.5m Community Area priorities fund (for this Board £99,260), £500k Health and Wellbeing Fund (for this Board £27,040) and £1.9 Local Infrastructure Fund (for this Board £27,300). These budgets are based on population, level of deprivation and proposed housing growth and will be allocated to projects that directly address agreed local priorities. There will be no allocation per parish.
· In early April £250k of Community Board health and wellbeing funding was allocated as a Councillor Crisis Fund to meet urgent coronavirus need. Some Boards have allocated their crisis funding, while others have yet to explore their full allocation.
· Highways and network improvement conversations will take place outside of the formal meetings in new focused sub groups with 2 meetings each year in the north, central and south where there will be an opportunity to speak to senior highway officers.
· Aniqah Sultan is the Community Board Co-ordinator will be the first point of contact for this Board and will be dedicated to championing the local area.
Notification of Chairman and Vice-Chairman
To note that Santokh Chhokar is the Chairman of the Denham, Gerrards Cross and Chalfonts Community Board and Jonathan Rush, Vice Chairman
The Chairman of each Community Board are appointed by the Cabinet Member for Localism and the Vice-Chairman is nominated by the Chairman and confirmed by the Cabinet Member.
Members noted that Cllr Santokh Chhokar was the Chairman of the Denham, Gerrards Cross and Chalfonts Community Board and Jonathan Rush, Vice-Chairman.
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
To note the terms of reference.
The terms of reference for the Community Board were noted.
To discuss reset and recovery
The Chairman welcomed local community groups who provided feedback on how they had assisted residents during the Covid pandemic.
The local community groups were invited to speak first as follows:-
· All Together CIC – this Group helped provide shopping and delivering fresh food (including non-perishables) and prescriptions. They provided for 1,484 people which covered 460 households and there was still a continued need for support.
· Denham Community Support – they had received a grant from the council and had 40 volunteers providing support to the community with shopping etc.
· Gold Hill Baptist Church – they had become partners with Chiltern Food Bank which covered Denham, Chalfont St Peter and Chalfont St Giles, and Gerrards Cross and provided vouchers once a month. Between 23 March and 19 June there had been 52 food parcels for 91 adults and 49 children accounting for 1,260 meals (3 a day). Reference was made to businesses who had donated food such as Cook in Gerrards Cross. Care packages had also been given to older vulnerable people. A contact for the food bank would be provided to the Community Board Co-ordinator for circulation.
· WeAreGX – this Group helped older vulnerable people by delivering food and were also supported by local businesses such as Tesco. Local businesses also helped provide food for staff at Wexham Park Hospital. The Town Council helped find 50 volunteers to support the community.
· The GX Support Group had 100 volunteers who were split into 5 zones as this was easier to manage. Since lockdown had eased slightly there had been a 10% attrition rate. Volunteers were collecting/delivering the same day often with a 2 hour window. The majority of requests were for prescription collection and shopping with about 100 collection deliveries every week. Support included talking to people who felt socially isolated.
· Chalfont St Peter Community Support Group – social media was used to promote their services which was supported by local councillors. They had 100 plus volunteers and the pandemic highlighted older vulnerable people who required support. They emphasised the importance of GDPR (General Data Protection Rules) when dealing with residents.
Sincere thanks was expressed to the work of the local community in terms of organisation and volunteering as their support was invaluable. Members then made the following points :-
· It was important to co-ordinate local groups to ensure value for money from council grants and no duplication or gaps. The Chairman commented that the Community Board had a valuable role to play in this area to ensure that funds were distributed to groups in need including promoting websites and links to social media.
· A suggestion was made to link this support with Good Neighbour Schemes. Another suggestion was made to use the local church infrastructure as local churches met regularly to discuss community issues and could help co-ordinate groups in local areas.
Public Health Community Board Area presentation
Dr Rishi Patel, Consultant in Public Health gave an overview of the Public Health situation within the community area. He referred to the local health profile of the Community Board. Health indicators are important markers for the wellbeing of local communities and help inform priority setting. These include:-
· Local data
· Natural and built environment
· Health behaviours
· Long term conditions
· Covid and local recovery plans
Buckinghamshire Council have used an index designed by Liverpool University and have highlighted the following issues:-
· Reducing smoking and obesity and increasing fitness
· Being dementia friendly
· Reducing self isolation
· Improving mental health
During discussion the following points were noted:-
· Concern was raised about C2 developments (use for the provision of residential accommodation and care to people) which attracted older people into an area which could mean that there was imbalance in age groups and put a demand on medical services.
· A Member raised a question about meat eaters versus vegetarians/vegans. Dr Patel commented that diet did impact on outcomes but it was difficult to connect red meat with any health conditions as there could be a huge range of factors.
· A Member commented on working on resilience in the community and to treat the symptoms rather than the problem. It was important to be more in control of the environment and to encourage lifelong learning.
· Dr Patel informed Members of areas of commissioned services across Buckinghamshire including areas such as sexual health and vaccinations. The Health and Wellbeing Strategy was available on the website. The local health profile would help the Community Board to develop local initiatives for their area to target specific problems.
· Reference was made to access to medical services and the need for transport because of the lack of GP surgeries in some areas.
· There was a notable loss of confidence and mobility during the lockdown which would not be easy to re-acquire but residents should be encouraged to exercise and go out. However, this may only happen for some people when a vaccination was available.
Dr Patel was thanked for his presentation.
To discuss the Denham Gerrards Cross and the Chalfonts Board profile and whether any Sub – Groups should be set up .
The Community Board considered what the priorities for the Community Board moving forward should be. The following sub-groups were discussed and areas suggested as possible priorities:-
· Health and wellbeing particularly social isolation
· Community safety particularly provision of CCTV, anti-social behaviour and vehicle crime
· Community transport particularly hospital visits and promoting cycling
· Devolved services including co-ordinating venues across the community board area which could be used for dedicated projects
· Promoting we are GX website further across the Community Board to help hold information in one place on businesses, local charities, community groups, local events and information on local issues such as local crime.
· Air quality and climate change
· Youth provision and providing leisure facilities
A Member asked a question about promotion of community boards and it was noted that the Board Co-ordinator would be using Facebook Live, Instagram polls and questions, online forums and video conferencing. Members also emphasised the need for strong links into Parish Council and community group websites etc. Another suggestion was made that promotion needed to be age specific to ensure that information was available to all.
Members were asked for any feedback on priorities and Sub-Groups to be fed back to the Board Co-ordinator. Once priorities had been agreed by the Community Board the Chairman would forward his recommendations to the Cabinet Member who would make the final decision. A Member asked about funding for previous schemes relating to Bucks County Council Local Area Forums and it was agreed that information on this would be brought back to the next meeting.
A Member highlighted that a consultation was being carried out on bus Route 104 from High Wycombe – Beaconsfield – Slough and asked that this information be circulated to Members.
· Ani to liaise with chairman and members to establish sub-groups and agree membership
· Ani to formulate action plan with priorities and circulate prior to September meeting.
Questions and Answers
A Member asked whether the Board could influence the Community Infrastructure Levy and Section 106 funding for their area and it was agreed that a protocol on how this money was distributed would be sent to Members
Dates for next meetings
To be confirmed.