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Introduction from the Leader of the Council

This year sees Slough celebrate 80 years since the town received its charter and became a Borough.

In September 1938, we had a quarter of the population we have today. A national traffic census recorded an average of 11 vehicles per hour – 264 a day, whereas today Slough has an average daily flow of more than 7,500 vehicles.

Throughout our history the strength of our communities has remained a constant across various periods of tremendous change.

I became Leader of the Council in November, and as Leader I am determined to ensure the people of Slough are able to access and take up the opportunities that arise from change.

We have ambitious plans for the town. We are investing in our infrastructure from schools, health and leisure, to transport and housing. The arrival of Crossrail and the potential third runway at Heathrow will make us even more attractive as a place for business and investment.

This will regenerate the town and I want to be clear that the benefits of this will be shared out to our neighbourhoods and to all sections of our residential community. Among this growth and change the Council’s leadership is determined to make sure that Slough nurtures an environment that keeps it a desirable place to live, work, rest and stay.

As well as greater local job opportunities we are working to enable further investment in our transport infrastructure - to relieve pressure on our already overloaded roads as well as tackling air quality. This is important for the health and wellbeing of all of us.

I hope you might consider joining me in signing up to our #BeRealistic campaign to make small changes to improve your health? Read more about it in this edition, along with a feature on our 80 years as a borough.

Councillor James Swindlehurst, Leader of the Council

Full PDF of the edition

Herschel Park

Read the full edition in one place, with this PDF edition.

Customer strategy consultation

As part of our new customer strategy we are consulting with all our key stakeholders. Your views and comments are very important to the council. You can drop off completed surveys at council offices, local access points and children's centres - Landmark Place (High Street), St Martins Place (Bath Road), Britwell, Chalvey, Cippenham and Langley community centres and The Curve.

You can complete the consultation online.

Alternatively, you can save and print the consultation to complete it.

 

Council tax 2018/19

It’s that time of year again when every council in the country issues council tax bills for the following financial year - 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019.

This year an extra 3% has been added to the bill to be used exclusively for adult social care, while the council’s increase is 1.5% - one of the lowest rises in Berkshire.

Every home in Slough gets a council tax bill and the charge is calculated based on what we know about who lives there. It’s important you tell us when things change so the bills we issue are right.

Council tax bills are based on the assumption that two adults occupy the property as their main home. If it is occupied by only one resident, the bill is reduced by a single person's discount of 25%.

Some people are not counted as a second resident, even if they live in the property. Visit our website to see who can be disregarded as residents.

There is also a discount for those with a severe mental impairment.

Remember it’s an offence to claim a discount when you aren’t entitled. We regularly check that our records match details held by other organisations to make sure our charges are correct. We can issue a penalty notice if the details we’ve been given are wrong.

We use enforcement agents (bailiffs) to help us collect unpaid charges and if you help us to keep our records correct we can make sure they only visit people who refuse to pay.

Council Tax Support is another discount for those households struggling to pay council tax. You can apply again if your circumstances have changed, even if you have been refused help before.

Visit the council's website for more details on discounts, exemptions and support available. 

Pay by Direct Debit 

Direct Debit is one of the safest and most reassuring ways of paying your bills, for the following reasons.

  • The right to cancel at any time.
  • Payments are made automatically, so bills are never forgotten, lost in the post or delayed by postal problems and there's no risk of late payment charges.
  • You can set up a Direct Debit over the telephone – call 01753 475111. There are three payment date options of 1st, 15th or 25th of the month.
  • You can set up a Direct Debit online

You can also pay your council tax: 

  • online at the council's website
  • over the phone by calling 0300 456 0480
  • online and telephone banking
  • at any post office or Payzone store with a payment card or using the barcode displayed on your bill
  • at the self-service kiosks in Langley, Britwell and Cippenham libraries and Landmark Place. They provide quick and secure options for residents to pay council tax, rent and other council bills using cash or cards, through an easy touch-screen process. 

Having problems paying? 

If you are having problems paying your council tax, talk to us – the sooner you come to us the more we can help. See the ‘problems paying’ page on the council’s website or call 01753 475111. 

Business rates 

Bills for business rates are also due to be issued shortly.

If any of the issues mentioned here apply to you, and you need to talk to someone, call 01753 772220 for help or advice.

2018/19 budget

The council has achieved the lowest council tax rise in Berkshire, no frontline service cuts and more investment in homes, schools and housing improvements in its new budget.

At full council on 22 February the budget was agreed. It means there will be: 

  • a £283m programme over six years
  • more than £40m invested into school expansion and improvements
  • an £18m investment into James Elliman Homes – to buy properties we can use for temporary accommodation for those finding themselves homeless
  • a £17m investment in improving the council’s existing housing stock
  • investment in two new hotels at the Heart of Slough, with a planning application already in, as part of a £12.8m spend on major regeneration projects this year
  • an investment in the Thames Valley University site.

Rather than cutting frontline services, the council is taking almost £940,000 out of back office services.

The budget also includes more spending on adult social care (£1.3m), waste (£400,000) and housing and environment (£470,000).

The council has increased council tax by 1.5% which should raise around £800,000 to help tackle the rise in homelessness in Slough. There is also a 3% adult social care precept to help our older population and to provide the care they need, where they need it.

Along with the police and fire precepts, the total rise in council tax will be 98p a week for a band C household.

Cllr James Swindlehurst, Leader of Slough Borough Council said: “No-one likes paying more, but the £800,000 raised through this 1.5% increase will go some way to preventing homelessness and deal with the steep rise in temporary accommodation costs we are facing.

“I am proud to say we continue to invest in the future of Slough with £35million planned for improving and providing extra housing and over £25million set to be invested in the education of our children and young people.”

Eighty years as a borough

Slough in 1938

The Slough urban district was incorporated by Royal Charter as a municipal borough in 1938, and the local authority became Slough Borough Council.

As well as the change of name, this meant the council had the right to elect a Mayor, and to have its own Coat of Arms.

We were granted the SBC Coat of Arms and a motto “Fiducia et vi” meaning 'By confidence and strength' on 3 September 1938, exactly one year before the declaration of war.

We elected the first Slough Mayor, Edward Thomas Bowyer, on 9 November 1938, an independent politician representing Upton.

The Official Charter of Incorporation was presented to Mr Bowyer, by the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire. To mark the occasion, a series of events were held from 14 to 17 September. These consisted of parties, variety shows and fairs - including a parade of coaches and horses - as well as ceremonial functions. Official visits were made to schools and hospitals around the town, and there was a carnival on the final day of celebration.

Slough Borough Council moved into the new Town Hall which had been built the previous year, costing £35,000. 

In 1938 the Trading Estate had 214 manufacturers occupying 275 factories, and we were preparing for war again, with the R. Malcolm Company on the Trading Estate manufacturing, amongst other things, “main plane fillets, tail plane leading edges, etc” for the Supermarine Spitfire.

In a 1938 Slough and Eton Express, Slough was described as ‘London’s Industrial Centre’.

We had a reputation at the time as a low wage town, already attracting unemployed workers from other parts of the UK. The Trades Union Congress surveyed the area in 1938 and found wages varied from the lowest £2 a week at DM Davies to the highest £3 a week for skilled work at Black and Decker – a company that still trades here.

A three bedroom semi-detached property sold for just less than £600.

During 1938, the National Council of Social Services set up a group to look at how to meet the needs of the civilian population in wartime – this subsequently led to the Citizen’s Advice Bureaux opening after declaration of war.

Slough Youth centre started its football team in 1938; when a few years later its players returned from national service to discover they were now old boys, they added the initials OB to the club name – and still play as SYCOB, although they have relocated to the north of Slough now.

A population estimate in 1939 identified 50,620 residents in Slough, but in the Official Souvenir for the Slough Charter celebrations it showed there were 54,830 residents, with 14,819 dwellings. This was a significant increase from 16,397 residents and 3,703 dwellings in 1921 and 33,530 residents in 1931.

This mace was used by the town from the borough's chartership in 1938 until 1974, when the borough's coat of arms and regalia were changed to represent the fact Slough had been transferred from Buckinghamshire to Berkshire.

Slough Borough Council crest

Did you know?

  • The arms were officially granted in the 1970s when Slough changed from Buckinghamshire to Berkshire.
  • The swan is the symbol for Buckinghamshire and the top of the crest is derived from the arms of Berkshire.
  • The two brick axes on either side of the stag represent the former brick making industry in the borough.
  • The flower in the swan's beak symbolises horticulture - the dianthus 'Mrs Sinkins' was cultivated in Slough.
  • The black chevrons symbolise modern technology and the manufacture of alloys.
  • The large star surrounded by a golden ring represents the planet Uranus, discovered by Herschel.

Memories from a past Mayor

Lydia Simmons at an Upton Hospital fete with husband Dudley

As Slough celebrates 80 years as a borough, one of our former history-making Mayors, will also turn 80 this year.

Originally from Montserrat, Lydia Simmons moved to Slough in 1960, and was elected to the council in 1979. She became Slough’s first deputy Mayor in 1983 and made history in 1984 when she became the first black female Mayor in the whole of the UK.

As a former central ward councillor, Lydia remembers knocking on constituents’ doors on Saturdays and asking if they needed any help. She sat on police boards, hospital boards and was very involved with young people, some of whom she sees with their own children now.

Lydia remembers a time when there were a lot less houses and Slough was full of fields, including where Wexham Park Hospital is now. She also recalls when the big Tesco was a school and when the Slough Estate was originally part of London County.

Lydia was on the housing committee of the council for 10 years and housing is where some of her favourite memories are. She said: “We changed our housing policy and started housing from the bottom of the list for those most in need.”

In honour of her work in housing, a new development of 11 council homes was named Lydia Court after her.

Below is a stump from a felled tree where Tesco now stands, given as a gift when Lydia left the council.

Slough is a place Lydia is proud to call home and she has always enjoyed the diversity of the borough. She said: “Being multicultural, people got on because they learned about each other’s cultures. I used to say to the children, never give up your culture, be proud and just be yourself.”

Over the years there have been massive developments in Slough in terms of population, businesses, investment and traffic, but Lydia is confident we are the place to be.

She said: “In the next 10 years Slough is going to be the best town in England. I believe when all this work has finished we are going to be the envy of England. I’m looking forward to seeing the new leisure centre, that’s the sort of thing Slough really needs.”

Lydia’s children and grandchildren keep her busy and she is still involved in the community.

As well as celebrating her 80th birthday in July, this year she will be celebrating 60 years of marriage to Dudley.

Lydia, who was given an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list in 2011, said: “He has always been very encouraging. I would not have been able to do it without him.”

Happy 80th to Lydia and to Slough borough!

Women voting for 100 years

New vote logo

The Representation of the People Act of 1918 granted votes to some British women for the first time.

Women over 30, who met a property qualification, were eligible to vote in elections, but men could vote if they were over 21.

In recognition of the 100 years, our four female Cabinet members, who are part of a gender-balanced Cabinet, gave their views on what the anniversary means to them. 

Councillor Sabia Hussain, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for transformation and performance, said: “When I joined SBC in 2012 I was the only young female councillor to juggle full time employment and a young family. I became Slough’s first BAME Deputy Leader in 2016 and one of only a handful in the country.

“So when I think of the suffragette movement I also think about women’s struggle for representation at every level. We’re still a long way off from equality and we must continue to have our voices heard, with a seat at decision making tables.”  

Councillor Pavitar K Mann, cabinet member for regulation and consumer protection, said: “100 years ago, only some women won the right to vote – due to our foremothers shedding blood, sweat and tears for this right, some even paying the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. I’ve voted in every single election since turning 18 and it never loses its magic or importance. Regardless of who you vote for, I urge all residents to use their vote. It is your voice, your chance to have a say and make a difference. We are very lucky to have this right and freedom when there are still so many women (and men) across the world who don’t have the freedom to vote for who they wish.” 

Councillor Natasa Pantelic, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “I am thinking about the stories of ordinary people effecting extraordinary change for women in Britain. From the Great Pilgrimage of 1913, a six week march by the suffragists and non-militant supporters of votes for women who walked from Carlisle to London (contributing to women gaining universal suffrage in 1928), to the 101 Labour women elected to Parliament in 1997 that created laws to better the lives of women and their families. A lot has happened in 100 years to make the world a more equal place but there is still more to do.” 

Councillor Shabnum Sadiq, cabinet member for children and education, said:It is 100 years on from the time when women gained the right to vote, a milestone which did not come without its struggles. As a woman in this century, that struggle will remain a source of motivation for me in my political role.

“Women everywhere are breaking the glass ceiling in politics but their voices still go unheard and their contributions are too often sidelined in Parliament. Fortunately I am part of a cabinet where we have a gender balance; where we are in a position to influence policy directions, change procedure and practices and serve as role models to other women.”

May election

At the Slough election on 3 May there will be 14 seats up for grabs.

The councillors currently in each seat are listed below. Some of them may stand for re-election.

The validly nominated candidates (those who are allowed to stand for election for these seats) will be declared in April.

Current councillors

Ward

Party

Matloob

Baylis & Stoke

Labour

Anderson

Britwell & Northborough

Labour

Ajaib

Central

Labour

Sharif

Chalvey

Labour

Davis

Cippenham Green

Labour

Chohan

Cippenham Meadows

Labour

Cheema

Colnbrook with Poyle

Labour

Arvind Dhaliwal

Elliman

Labour

Bal

Farnham

Labour

Wright

Haymill & Lynch Hill

Conservative

Brooker

Langley Kedermister

Labour

Coad

Langley St Mary’s

UKIP

Chahal

Upton

Conservative

Dar

Wexham Lea

Labour

Polling cards will be sent out in early April, though you do not need to bring this with you on polling day in order to vote.

You can find your nearest polling station on the council's website. 

Children and young people

Apprenticeship opportunities

Current apprentice Courtney Brett

The council has run a successful apprenticeship scheme for more than 13 years and applications for 2018/19 will soon be open.

We are recruiting more than 20 apprentices in partnership with Arvato, where vacancies include business administration apprenticeships and customer service apprenticeships.

Young people aged 16-18, who live in Slough, can apply, taking on two six month placements in different areas of the council.

They receive a wage while learning valuable skills on the job and studying towards a Diploma in Business Administration or Customer Service.

Councillor Shabnum Sadiq, cabinet member for education and children, said: “Our apprenticeship scheme has gone from strength to strength over the years and many of the apprentices have gone on to get a job with us after their placement.

“Not everyone wants to go to university and these placements are a great opportunity to get an insight in the working world, while also gaining a qualification.”

Vacancies for apprenticeships starting in September will open on Friday 4 May.

Applications must be submitted by 31 May and there will be an assessment centre during the week of 25 June, with the placement starting on 13 September.

Anyone interested in applying should email apprenticeships@slough.gov.uk to request a recruitment pack.

Slough Early Years Service

Many families are entitled to free early learning places for their two, three and four year old children.

The council funds the places, which are available through partnership working with private, voluntary and independent sector providers.

Taking up a place at approved nurseries, pre-schools, children’s centres or childminders helps with the development of a child’s social skills and communication. Research shows that children who attend an early years setting do better throughout their time in school and are more likely to get good exam grades at 16.

An additional benefit for family income is that parents who can depend upon flexible, good quality childcare are able to take up paid employment. 

Free entitlements 

Two year olds from families in receipt of certain benefits with low household incomes may be entitled to 15 hours free early learning a week.

Families can apply for a free early learning place during the term of their child’s second birthday and then start attending in the following term.

Visit the council's website or call 01753 476554 to find out more about your entitlement.

Families choose which setting their child is to attend, and they can also choose how many hours per week their child will attend for (up to 15 hours).

For more information about services and providers please contact the Family Information Service on 01753 476589. 

All three year old children are entitled to free early learning in the term after they become three.

The entitlement is 570 hours per year, which is often referred to as 15 hours per week for 38 weeks (school terms). However, parents can request fewer hours per week over more weeks of the year.

Parents should contact providers directly to see if they have places. Find out more at the Slough Family Services website.

Parents of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities can find out about settings and services to support their child by clicking visiting the Slough Family Services website.

Working families may also be eligible for the extended entitlement, which provides an additional 15 hours of free early learning per week, making 30 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year in total.

This is 1,140 hours per year and can be stretched over more weeks of the year and taken over more than one site. The criteria for this entitlement are income based and parents must apply at the Childcare Choices website

Slough’s Children’s Centres

Slough Children’s Centres provide a range of services and support for parents. Pay a visit to your nearest one for a friendly welcome.

  • Chalvey Grove
  • Elliman Avenue
  • Monksfield Way
  • Orchard Avenue
  • Penn Road
  • Romsey Close
  • St Andrew’s Way
  • Vicarage Way
  • Wexham Road
  • Yew Tree Road.

To find out more about what’s on at the children’s centres, visit the Slough Family Services website

Increasing early years places

Cabinet has approved a plan to increase the number of places for Slough’s youngest children.

The council’s annual early years childcare sufficiency report has found there will not be enough childcare places in certain areas of the borough by the summer of 2018.

This is particularly concerning this year as the free extended entitlement for 30 hours of provision for three and four olds is available and there are further developments with the roll out of Universal Credit, together with new homes being completed across the borough.

Councillor Shabnum Sadiq, lead member for children and education, said: “It is excellent Slough parents are taking up the free child care places for the hours they are on offer because every survey shows this early years education can be vital for children, their education, development, social abilities and future educational attainment.

“But Slough also has a growing population and in certain areas it looks like demand will outstrip supply.

“Our children’s centres are providing an excellent service and their work in their communities is second to none, but they can’t do it all and by working in partnership we will be able to provide innovative solutions to the supply challenges we face.

“I think it is excellent we will be working with the early years sector across Slough to see how we can help develop more capacity so all our children can get the best start in life and access all the opportunities our town provides.”

Some of the areas where there may be insufficient places include the wards of Upton, Cippenham Meadows, Centre and Chalvey.

The promotion of child care as a career path for residents is also a focus of development with the council’s workforce strategy and information sessions are planned in the coming months.

Why do people become foster carers?

Deciding to become a foster carer is a big decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly. But there are many people who, for lots of reasons, decide it is right for them and their family. Often, they say it’s the best decision they’ve ever made.

So what is it that drives people to become a foster carer? What is it that makes them take that big step?

Slough Children’s Services Trust asked some of its current carers.

Foster carers open up their home and welcome a child - or children - into their family, providing a loving, nurturing environment where they can flourish and grow throughout their childhood.

For some, it’s in their blood as they grew up in a family which fostered children. Seeing first hand the joys being part of a foster family can bring provided the perfect incentive to follow in the footsteps of their parents and become foster carers too.

One of our foster carers, whose parents only started fostering once he and his siblings had left home, described how “the house came alive again with all the busy-ness that a large family brings. We all really enjoyed going back because there was such a lively atmosphere at home. And my parents really loved fostering.”

For others it may not have been family that inspired them, but friends. When people of your own generation - people who you’ve grown up with and share many of your likes and dislikes with - become foster carers, it plants the idea in your head that maybe fostering could be for you too.

It was “seeing the difference that a school friend who fostered a little boy had made to his life” that inspired another of our foster carers to take the plunge.

“I could see how his appearance, confidence and happiness had improved and grown significantly. I knew I could do the same for another child,” he said.

Sometimes people’s own children provide the inspiration. Seeing them grow up and move on from the family home, leaves them realising they still have a lot to give as parents.

When a home that once buzzed with noise falls quiet, that lack of noise actually speaks loudly. As one of our foster carers said, “when our sons left home, our house felt very empty. It was then we realised it could be the ideal moment to welcome foster children into our home.”

Very often, whether foster carers still have children at home or not, what ultimately helps them take the decision to foster is a desire to offer a helping hand to a child and to know they have made a difference in some way to a child’s life.

As one of our foster carers put it: “I wanted to make a difference and help children and young people change their lives for the better.”

Our foster carers don’t take the decision lightly but they do make an informed decision. They talk to us, ask us questions and look into all aspects of fostering (there are many different types) to see what is right for them.

They come to their decision with a full awareness and the knowledge there is an inherent need for people like themselves to provide a safe and secure environment for children in care to grow up in.

This leads us on to the most pertinent question - why don’t people foster? Recent studies have shown one of the main reasons people choose not to foster is simply that they don’t know about it and haven’t been asked!So, here at Slough Children’s Services Trust we want to change that. We’re now asking: Could you become a foster carer? Why not have a chat with us and see if it’s the right decision or you.

To find out more, get in touch with our fostering team by phoning 0800 073 0291, email foster@scstrust.co.uk, or visit the Trust website.

Making a splash for World Wetlands Day

More than 2,000 pupils from Claycots Primary, Penn Wood Primary, Montem Academy and St Mary’s Primary took part in this year’s World Wetlands Day.

Held every February, this year’s theme was urban wetlands and how they make cities more liveable. Schools ran a range of events which included dressing up as wetland animals, wetland themed mask-making, designing posters and litter art for the WWT competition ‘Stop the Litter Bugs’ and carrying out wildlife surveys in Herschel Park.

Shelley Rowley, WWT’s community engagement officer in Slough, said “We’ve had a fantastic response from our young people in Slough, who have really embraced World Wetlands Day. Seeing hundreds of children dressed as pink flamingos, crocodiles and some of the self-made costumes were incredible – such dedication, thank you!”

Health, care and support

Support for unpaid carers in Slough

Slough Borough Council works with a range of partner organisations to ensure Slough carers access information, advice and support.

If you, or a person you know, are caring for someone, there are a range of services available that can help. You can contact the council’s adult social care team on 01753 475111 or Slough Carers Support service on 01753 303428.

Visit the council's website for more information.

Slough Carers Support

Slough Carers Support offers a great range of free information, advice and access to support groups for all unpaid adult carers.

Their website also includes a wellbeing events calendar, digital resources for carers, and it signposts to other sources of support, for issues such as financial advice and training opportunities.

Slough Carers Support has also been working with local businesses in Slough and surrounding areas to offer savings and discounts for carers.

The aim of the Carers Card is to recognise the contribution unpaid carers make on a daily basis caring for a loved one.

The scheme, which was to launch on 7 March, has already got the support of Sama’s Boutique, offering 10 percent off treatments, and Out & About – offering 10 percent off the hire of scooters and aids or adaptations from Shopmobility.

Visit the Slough Carers Support website or call 01753 303428 to see the full range of support on offer or to register for the discount card. 

Slough young carers 

The young carers’ group provides fun, support and guidance to young people involved in a caring role.

The group meets on the fourth Saturday of each month from 1pm onwards at the YES shop, within the Queensmere shopping centre.

If you are aged between 11 and 19 and have a relative with an illness, disability, addiction or mental health condition - you are a young carer!

Each month the group does a different activity which could range from laser tag, bowling, cooking and art.

So far this year they have held the young carers’ awareness day on 25 January, followed by a focus group, pizza and games session with 12 young carers. They’ve also had the year’s first carers’ session.

Young carers’ coordinator Jemma Zaveri said: “This was a great success. We were able to plan out the year ahead.”

There are many more exciting events and activities planned for throughout the year.

Find more information on the young carers’ twitter page @sloughYC or call 07547 559050. 

Support for carers of people with a mental health condition  

Slough Community Mental Health Team and Slough Older People’s Mental Health Team (Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Slough Borough Council), understand the role of the carer is vital to our community’s health and wellbeing.

They want to help and support carers wherever they can, creating a therapeutic relationship between service user, carers and staff that promotes safety, supports recovery and sustains wellbeing for all involved.

Carers, friends, and family members of those who use Slough’s community mental health services can access a variety of free information and advice, support and information groups, courses and activities, and carer forums.  

If you care for someone with a diagnosis of depression, anxiety, OCD, a psychotic disorder, personality disorder, or dementia, who is working with either of the above teams, please contact the carer support lead, Katie Thresher, for information on support available, carer assessments, and carer direct payments.

Call 01753 690950 Monday to Wednesday, or 01753 635220 Thursday and Friday, or email katie.thresher@berkshire.nhs.uk

Employers for Carers (EfC) 

Slough Borough Council is committed to supporting working carers. It is a member of Employers for Carers (EfC), which is a service for employers wishing to support and retain the carers in their workforce. We are actively encouraging local businesses to be part of our ‘umbrella’ membership meaning businesses with fewer than 250 employees and health providers can access the EfC membership and resources for free.

One in nine people in every workplace is also looking after an older, ill, or disabled loved one, according to EfC. Without the right support one in six carers are forced to give up or cut back on work to care.

EfC, which is part of Carers UK, provides practical ‘hands on’ advice and support for employers.

This includes relevant legal information, practical case studies and template leaflets/workplace surveys; making connections with other employers and benefitting from peer support; and access to free Employers for Carers e-learning.

Practical resources, advice and information is available for both employers and employees online at the Employers for Carers website, register by using the membership code #EFC1769. For more information please contact Sally.Kitson@slough.gov.uk

Council tax exemption for care leavers

Housing graphicYoung people leaving the care of Slough Borough Council will be exempt from paying council tax, following an agreement at the first Cabinet of the year.

The council recognised young adults transitioning from care to independent accommodation can often struggle with their finances. Offering the council tax exemption, up to the age of 25, gives them greater financial stability.

Councillor James Swindlehurst, council leader, said: “I’m delighted we were able to pass this measure and proud to have taken this vital step to support care leavers.”

If the care leaver is jointly responsible for paying the council tax on a property, their portion will be exempt.

Councillor Shabnum Sadiq, cabinet member for children and education, said: “I wholeheartedly supported this measure as care leavers can be a particularly vulnerable group when it comes to council tax.

“When a young person leaves care and moves into independent accommodation, they begin to manage their own budget fully for the first time. Therefore by offering this exemption, these young people have a few valuable years to learn how to manage their finances and have a better chance at avoiding problem debt in the future.”

SEND advice and support service

Slough’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities’ (SEND) advice and support service is a free, impartial and confidential service for children and young people (up to the age of 25) with SEND and their parents and carers.

We provide information, advice and support on:

  • all aspects of SEND, from initial concerns and identification through to ongoing support and provision
  • the law on SEND, health and social care
  • Slough’s local policy and practice
  • personalisation and personal budgets
  • resolving disagreement and mediation
  • the local offer.

How we do this:

  • signpost you to other sources of information
  • help you find, understand and interpret relevant information
  • support you to make your own decisions
  • attend meetings with you
  • provide information about mediation
  • ensure your views are heard and can influence local policies.

What sort of situations can we help you with?

  • Supporting a child, young person or their parents following a diagnosis of SEND.
  • Requesting an education, health and care assessment.
  • Supporting you to work in partnership with your educational setting, the SEND team and other services.
  • Providing support around exclusions.
  • Help to find a suitable education place, including school visits.
  • Support in the SEND appeal processes such as transport, school placements and education, health and care plans.

How we work

  • Slough’s SEND advice and support service is a friendly team of fully trained staff who are experienced in supporting children and young people with SEND and their parents and carers.
  • The service provided is confidential and impartial. This means any personal information you give us will only be shared if we have your consent.

Contact the SEND advice and support service

  • In person at St Martins Place, 51 Bath Road, Slough, SL1 3UF
  • By phone on 01753 787693
  • By email at sendass@slough.gov.uk

Working to improve dental health

Councillor Pantelic with pupils from Penn Wood Primary and Nursery School

An oral health improvement project aims to reduce the number of children who have decayed, missing or filled teeth.

The council’s public health team has been working with the Change4Life public health campaign to raise awareness of good dental health following the release of statistics about tooth decay in under fives by Public Health England.

The project improves the promotion of good oral health, encouraging people to make better diet choices, reducing sugary food and drinks and improving dental hygiene.

To spread the word, the team has been holding information sessions across children’s centres, nurseries and primary schools in the borough to engage with families who have children under five years old.

Cllr Natasa Pantelic, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “We have been investing in the oral health improvement project as just one of the initiatives to try and tackle this problem and have had a fantastic response from all of the nurseries, schools and children’s centres who have taken part in the training.

“I hope it will go some way to improve oral health in young children and their families. It's never too late to make changes to your diet and habits, no matter how old you are but the sooner you start the better. I would encourage everyone to eat more healthily, be more active and brush your teeth at least twice a day!

“We are working very closely with dentists and Public Health England to continue getting these messages out.”

So far more than 160 hours of information sessions have been held, with 4,000 ‘top tips for terrific teeth’ leaflets distributed. All 10 children’s centres have also now reached gold accreditation, for reaching high standards in oral health advice and promotion.

#BeRealistic with diet and fitness choices

 

Ramesh Kukar from Slough Council for Voluntary Services, with Councillor Sabia Hussain

The council’s public health team, in partnership with the Slough Wellbeing Board, has launched a social media campaign to encourage residents to eat more healthily and get more active.

Called #BeRealistic, the main aim is to encourage people to make small changes to their lives that are sustainable and realistic to lead a healthier lifestyle.

In Slough two thirds of adults are overweight or obese. In addition, 40% of children aged 10 and 11 are overweight or obese, compared to 34% nationally.

The campaign is also urging people to move more. In Slough 27.9% of adults do no physical activity at all, compared to 22.3% nationally.

Each member of the Slough Wellbeing Board has made a pledge about the changes they will be making to become healthier.

Councillor Sabia Hussain, chair of the Slough Wellbeing Board, has pledged to reduce her sugar and processed food intake and increase her activity levels.

Councillor Hussain said: “I’m really pleased to be launching this campaign. #BeRealistic is not about an all or nothing approach to diet or fitness. It is about making small sensible changes to your lifestyle that will not only improve your health instantly, but in the future too.

“We are asking people who aren’t already, to get active – research shows that just 10 minutes of walking a day has a marked impact on your health for the better. We also want to spread the message about making small changes to diet, such as swapping some of the foods you eat that are high in fat, sugar or salt.

“The key to this campaign is about making changes that will become part of your everyday life. And we are practicing what we preach - every member of the wellbeing board is making a pledge to make small changes in their lifestyles too. We will also be asking the staff in our organisations to get on board by pledging too.”

Visit the Be Realistic website to find out more about the campaign or look out for the campaign posters @SloughCouncil on Twitter.

Herbert Protocol

A tool to help find missing people, including people with dementia, has been launched in partnership with search and rescue teams across the Thames Valley. Carers – whether family members, private carers, or care home staff – are strongly urged to complete a copy of the Herbert Protocol form in advance, with key information to help find a person if they go missing.

The form may include if the person is on medication, favourite places they like to visit or key people they know.

You can find more information and a copy of the form on the Thames Valley Police website.

GoodGym is coming to Slough

GoodGym is a community of runners that combine getting fit with doing good.

They stop off on runs to do physical tasks for community organisations and to support isolated older people with social visits and one-off tasks they can't do on their own.

It's a great way to get fit, meet new people and do some good and it’s coming to Slough in June. 

What can you do with GoodGym?

Join a local running group and run once a week whilst volunteering as part of your running group session

Join a friend, colleague, family member to run to an isolated older adult to help them with a one off task

Run on your own to an isolated older adult on a regular or semi-regular basis to befriend them and help remove the burden of loneliness.

The scheme aims to reduce social isolation amongst older people and improve their wellbeing, as well as improve the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the volunteer runners.

GoodGym already exists in other parts of the country, and all the older people supported said they felt happier after six months of visits and 98 percent considered their runner a friend after six months.

Joyce from Hackney said: “I was housebound, I was lonely, absolutely, I was on my own, the world crumbled in on me. I hadn't got much of a family, someone coming to see me enlightened me... now I can get out and about, and we're friends.”

Runners benefit too, increasing their exercise by an average of 20 minutes per week, and 57 percent of existing members saying they wouldn’t have joined another running group. 

Get involved

Visit the GoodGym website to find out more and sign up.

Destination of choice

Leisure strategy: More people. More active. More often

This is an exciting year for sports-led regeneration in Slough.

Everywhere you look you’ll see amazing new and refurbished facilities under construction. This summer three of the council’s four outstanding major leisure projects will have opened their doors to the public.

Slough Borough Council’s ambitious strategy began with the development of the new Community Sports Facility at Arbour Park which was delivered on time and on budget – phase one in August 2016 and phase two in June 2017. Arbour Park is a state-of-the-art 1,950-person capacity community sports stadium with a 3G artificial pitch that is also the new home of Slough Town Football Club.

These projects are being developed through Slough Urban Renewal (SUR), a partnership between Slough Borough Council and Morgan Sindall Investments, which is driving regeneration across the town, including leisure, housing and community and school buildings.

This is the biggest overhaul of Slough’s leisure infrastructure in a generation and once finished, will provide a range of state-of-the-art facilities that will attract people who live and work in the town to improve their health and wellbeing.

The council is encouraging people to adopt physical activity as a habit for life – a key outcome of its five year £60million ‘Get Active Slough’ leisure strategy. 

Slough Ice Arena

The original Ice Arena closed its doors in early 2017, having operated for more than three decades, to undergo a complete transformation and extension. On Saturday 28 April it will have its official grand opening to the public as a key landmark along the Bath Road.

The new Ice Arena will include:

  • extensive landscaping and public space, making a strong visual link to the Bath Road and Salt Hill Park.
  • recladding to transform its appearance and impact
  • new ice pad fit for the next generation of skaters and user groups
  • new fully-glazed ice rink barriers (officially called the ‘dasher board’)
  • new specialist chiller plant with replacement of existing mechanical, electrical and plumbing equipment as required – creating a much more energy efficient building
  • fully refurbished changing rooms and toilets
  • new spectator seating and lighting
  • new café and reception area
  • new climbing wall and clip ‘n’ climb feature
  • new mezzanine level complete with lift access, housing a new gym.

Launch event

Join us on Saturday 28 April for the official opening of Slough Ice Arena.

  • Free skating sessions and demonstrations
  • Try out our new climbing wall
  • Free frozen yoghurt cart
  • Children’s ice trail adventure…and more!

Salt Hill Activity Centre

The former bowling alley at Salt Hill Park is currently being transformed into an exciting new family activity centre.

The Salt Hill Activity Centre is nearing the end of a nine month-long refurbishment and will reopen in June, delivering an exciting range of activities and facilities to meet the needs of Slough’s families:

  • trampolining zone with light chase game and battle pits
  • high-wire climbing zone with tight ropes and suspended mid-air tubes
  • large soft play area for six months to nine year olds
  • caving zone
  • six ten-pin bowling lanes in a separate area with its own bar
  • party rooms
  • café
  • additional car parking spaces.

Andy Howell, SUR General Manager, said: “We are delighted to be part of delivering such a huge range of leisure developments that will offer the people of Slough the best facilities in the area. The sport led regeneration strategy is now becoming a reality and we hope local residents enjoy being more active!” 

Langley Leisure Centre

Built in 1997, Langley Leisure Centre is one of the borough’s best used leisure sites, but much of the plant and other machinery was coming to the end of its useful life.

The site is now undergoing a large scale refurbishment to extend the building, improve car parking and renew tired facilities.

When it reopens this June, residents can expect to see:

  • complete refurbishment and upgrade of the building
  • repairs and refurbishment to both swimming pools
  • newly replaced plant equipment and other machinery
  • upgraded ventilation and lighting
  • extensions to the front and rear of the existing gym, doubling its capacity
  • improvement to the activity studios
  • new steam room and jacuzzi
  • increased parking provision.

In February, a group of construction students from East Berkshire College visited the Langley Leisure Centre site to experience a construction site first hand with Morgan Sindall Construction Ltd, who are committed to supporting local skills and training.

Bobby Kumar, construction student at East Berkshire College, said: “Today has been great! The working environment is so different to college, and we don't get to experience this within the classroom. Because it's a live site, the methods we're seeing are the most up to date, so it helps us get the latest outlook on construction. I want to do construction management, and I feel like this has given me an insight into what the job role might include. Seeing Simon and Nick presenting and hearing about their experience has helped me build my experience already!" 

The Centre

We are building a brand new leisure centre on the site of the old Centre on Farnham Road in our most ambitious leisure project to date.

Construction is well underway and our largest leisure facility will deliver:

  • 25m eight lane swimming pool
  • 15m x 10m teaching pool with moveable floor
  • unisex changing village (wet)
  • poolside sauna and steam room
  • four court sports hall with specialist illuminated flooring – we’ll be first facility in the UK to use it
  • 100+ station gym
  • three exercise studios
  • male and female changing facilities (dry)
  • café
  • treatment rooms.

The Centre is on track to complete construction by spring 2019.

 

What's on

Slough Half Marathon

Slough’s half marathon is happening on Sunday 14 October.

Sponsored by Morgan Sindall Group, the 13.1 mile event will take in many parts of the town, starting and finishing at the picturesque Salt Hill Park.

It is perfect for both recreational runners, perhaps entering a timed race for the first time, or competitive runners looking to achieve a personal best.

All finishers will receive a medal and goodie bag and there will be trophies for the top three male and female finishers, plus age group winners.

The race starts at 9am.

Enter today  

Entries are now open for the Slough Get Active Half Marathon.

The entry fee is £30, but there is a special early bird registration fee of £25, which is valid until 1 May.

Get Active Relays

Active Slough logo

A fun relay involving people of all ages has been organised to promote active mental and physical health and team participation.

The council’s Active Slough team has joined forces with local company Runface for the Get Active Relays event at Upton Court Park on Sunday 27 May.

The fun starts at 9.30am and is ideal for beginner runners. It involves teams of four each running a 4km loop of the park in relay.

Categories will be decided on the total age of all four members on race day. The minimum entry age is 11.

  • Juniors (combined age under 65)
  • Seniors (65-159)
  • Veterans (160-199)
  • Masters (200-239)
  • Legends (240+)

Medals will be awarded to all runners and there will be prizes for winners in every category. The entry cost is £8 each, so team entry is £32. Teams can be all male, all female, or mixed. 

For more information and to enter, visit the Runface website.

Get Active programme

For an up to date list of all the activities going on in Slough, visit the council's website.

Cameras at the ready

Keen photographers are invited to take interesting and inspiring photos of the town’s parks and open spaces and enter them into a photo of the month competition.

The council’s parks team will choose the top three photos each month, which will feature on the Love Slough’s Parks Facebook page and Instagram feed, @lovesloughparks.

They will also be entered into the Love Slough’s Parks annual photography competition which will be judged at the Slough Horticultural Show on August 18.

Mary Bagley, head of parks, said: “We are proud of our parks and open spaces in Slough, and we want to celebrate them and showcase all they have to offer, as well as capture the beauty of the parks through the seasons.

“That’s why we would love to see and share your photos on social media. I’m really looking forward to seeing the creativity and talent of our residents who take part.”

To enter your photos, email them to communications@slough.gov.uk. The top three photos will be selected at the beginning of each month leading up to August 2018.

Slough Goes Wild

A photo competition, which aims to get people out into the environment, is open to children and adults in Slough.

The “Saving the Salt Hill Stream” project, run by the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT), is working with local people, community groups and schools in Slough to improve the Salt Hill stream and its surroundings to create a cleaner, healthier watercourse the whole of Slough can be proud of.

Working in partnership with the council’s parks team, young people’s service and Slough Youth Parliament, the WWT is running the competition to encourage people to get outside, exploring their environment and celebrating Slough’s local waterways and wildlife.

Competition winners will have their work shown alongside the stream in Salt Hill Park in the summer. The deadline for entries is 20 April.

Find out more on the council's website.

Adult cycle skills training

The Cycle Experience is running a host of cycle skills sessions.

Adult cycle skills sessions, with basic and advanced groups, will start in Salt Hill Park on 17 April.

Basic and ‘urban’ sessions will run twice a month on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings and advanced sessions will run once a month on Tuesday evenings only.

Cycle maintenance sessions will also be running in April and June.

Sessions are subject to a £5 booking fee, with bikes available to hire for £5 per person per session.

Anyone aged over 16, living, studying or working in the borough is welcome to attend.

Spaces are limited, so must be booked in advance online.

Meet and Mingle

Meet and Mingle is a voluntary non-profit organisation for women living in and around Slough.

They provide healthy living activities, as well as looking after the physical, mental, social, and emotional wellbeing of women.

The group aims to help build self-esteem, confidence, friendships and networking to enhance community cohesion. They also work to reduce isolation, loneliness, depression and stress.

Meet and Mingle hosts a cancer support group in Slough and High Wycombe, a carer support group and a working women group, which runs in Chalvey, Wexham and four different venues around Slough.

The group has been running since April 2013, winning various awards including ‘Group of the Year’, and ‘Volunteer of the Year’ from SCVS and it was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2017.

To find out more about the group, call the founder Aksa Marshal on 07732 632637, email meetmingle@ymail.com or visit their website.

Could you volunteer in Slough’s parks?

Park and bench

Slough Borough Council’s parks team is calling for volunteers to help out in the borough’s parks and open spaces.

There are a range of activities to help with including planting beds, removing weeds, clearing litter and branches from grass and pathways, repairing ponds and even building new pathways.

The council is already very lucky to have a small team of loyal volunteers in some of the town’s parks, but there is much more to help with.

Mary Bagley, head of parks, said: “We are very lucky to have so many parks and open spaces in the borough, and they are there for all residents to enjoy and be proud of.

“It takes a huge amount of time and effort to keep our parks in top condition, which is why our volunteers are so important to us. If you have any spare time and are interested in helping us please do get in touch, we would love to hear from you.”

If you have spare time, want to get outdoors more, get fit or even make new friends and meet people, volunteering in the parks could really benefit you.

To volunteer your time, email parks@slough.gov.uk or call 01753 875514.

What’s on at Herschel Park

Family fun day - Tuesday 3 April, 11am-3pm

Join Basil and Crew in the park and meet the ponies, lambs, chickens, goats, donkeys, rabbits and more. Also join in the other activities and enjoy the park.

Nature Detectives Trail - Thursday 5 April, 2-3.45pm

Meet by the kiosk for a prompt 2pm start

Join us as we lead you around a nature trail, stopping to look at clues left by wildlife, and help to solve some of nature’s mysteries in the park. 

What’s on in Slough Libraries?

Find our more about all the activities below, and book your place, at The Curve website and the council's website

Dinosaurs, pirates and more

This holiday is filled with fun and adventure – meet the Dinosaur That Pooped, try multi-sports with Everyone Active and enjoy a pirates workshop with ExploreLearning.

Plus two authors will be visiting us! Ross Montgomery, author of Perijee and me will be at Britwell, Langley and The Curve on Saturday 31 March and local author Duncan Groves will be sharing his adventurous picture book Where do Ice Cream Men go in winter? at The Curve on Saturday 7 April. He’ll also be back in May visiting all our other libraries. Book your free place in advance.

LEGO® and DUPLO® sessions now available

DUPLO® Sessions:

Langley Library - every Tuesday, 2-3pm and every Friday, 11.45am-12.45pm Cippenham Library - every Wednesday, 10.45-11.45am Britwell Library - every Friday, 11.15am-12.15pm 

LEGO® Sessions:

Langley Library - every Saturday, 10.30-11.30am Cippenham Library - every Saturday, 10.30-11.30am Britwell Library - every Saturday, 11.30am-12.30pm

CityRead London with Slough and Reading 2018

This May, join CityRead London for a month long celebration of one book across London, Slough and Reading. This year’s book is The Muse by Jessie Burton, a story that encompasses 60s London, an art gallery and the Spanish Civil war.

Look out for:

  • Nick Dobson taking us through the Swinging 60s in London Tuesday 15 May, 10-11.30am at Langley Library, in conjunction with Langley Community Coffee Shop
  • Paul Crooks discussing his book Ancestors about tracing African and Caribbean Family History Wednesday 16 May, 5.30-6.30pm at The Curve.

Plus some great chances to have a go with steel pans!

Discover Horrible Science and Mischievous Monkeys

In the May half term, look out for amazing illustrator Tony De Saulles who illustrated the Horrible Science series making a return visit – this time to The Curve and Cippenham Libraries.

Author Duncan Groves will be touring Britwell, Cippenham and Langley Libraries and those mischievous monkeys will be helping ExploreLearning discover shape and measurement.

Plus Everyone Active will be back with more sporty fun and you can also join in with Ten Little Superheroes themed story and craft!

Celebrate World Book Night 2018

Know your classics from your urban fiction? Or just want to join in and have a bit of fun? This World Book Night join Nick Dobson for a book quiz!

Monday 23 April

  • 2.30-3.30pm in the Café @ The Curve
  • 5.30-6.30pm @ Cippenham Library.
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