Citizen

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Welcome from new Leader

Hello,

Just before Christmas I was elected as the new Leader of the town I have called home for the last 17 years, and I am extremely proud to have been given this responsibility to serve our town and our residents.

2018 sees Slough celebrate the 80th anniversary of the town receiving its charter to become a Borough.

Much as now, 80 years ago Slough was a destination for people to create a better life for themselves - with workers moving to Slough from places like Ireland and Wales to work on the trading estate.

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

As Leader of the Council I am determined to ensure that the people of Slough are able to access and take up the opportunities that arise from change.

Your elected representatives have ambitious plans for the town. We are investing in our infrastructure from schools to health and leisure to 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 across the borough. 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, and tackling air quality.

If you have any suggestions on what we can do better or comments on any articles in this issue of Citizen, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. 

Councillor James Swindlehurst

Leader of the Council

Cabinet members and portfolios

The new Leader has chosen his Cabinet members for the year:

  • Cllr James Swindlehurst, Leader of the Council and Cabinet member for Regeneration and Strategy
  • Cllr Sabia Hussain, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet member for Transformation and Performance
  • Cllr Rob Anderson, Cabinet member for Environment and Leisure
  • Cllr Martin Carter, Cabinet member for Planning and Transport
  • Cllr Pavitar K. Mann, Cabinet member for Regulation and Consumer Protection
  • Cllr Mohammed Nazir, Cabinet member for Corporate Finance and Housing
  • Cllr Natasa Pantelic, Cabinet member for Health and Social Care
  • Cllr Shabnum Sadiq, Cabinet member for Children and Education

Full PDF of the edition

We print a limited number of Citizens, which we put in our corporate buildings and libraries for residents to pick up.

If you haven't got your hands on a hard copy and sometimes don't have the chance to read through this whole edition online, you can download the PDF of the print version, and take a look at your convenience.

February/March 2018 edition

 

Slough half marathon returns - let’s run this town!

Slough’s half marathon is returning after an 18 year break!

Sponsored by Morgan Sindall Group, we’re excited to be bringing this 13.1 mile event back to town on Sunday 14 October.

The half marathon has a brand new course covering most parts of the town’s roads – 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. 

Fancy a shorter run? 

There is the option of a 5km fun run on the day, also starting and finishing at Salt Hill Park. We’d love to see you, your group or family take part. Walk, jog or run – it’s all about being there! 

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.

‘Amazing’ progress at two leisure sites

Andy Howell (SUR General Manager), Councillor Rob Anderson, Nigel Franks (SUR Development Manager) and Karl Hoffman (Morgan Sindall's project manager)

Councillor Rob Anderson, lead member for leisure and environment, took a sneak peek around two of the town’s leisure sites currently under construction; the Ice Arena and The Centre.

The huge extension and main frontage of the new Ice Arena, facing the Bath Road is now complete with its wood and glass façade shining in the winter sun.

And at The Centre, councillor Anderson got to check out the new swimming pool area, complete with submarine-like balancing tanks to regulate water volume when people are in the new pool.

Councillor Anderson, said: “It was really exciting to see the progress on two fantastic facilities that will soon be ready for residents to enjoy.

“These flagship projects will be the spearhead of our efforts to make Slough one of the most active towns in the country and are only the start of a major improvement in all our leisure centres, parks and open spaces that will allow people opportunities at every level to take control of their own health and wellbeing.” The Ice Arena will be opening in April. Check out the next edition of Citizen to find out more. 

Ice Arena fact file 

  • The extension brings an extra 1000m2 to the building.
  • It will house the new entrance, reception, gym, café and climbing wall.
  • It is two-storeys.
  • Created from three huge wooden arches each of which is 30m wide and 12m high and weighs five tonnes.
  • Opening in April 2018 

The Centre fact file 

  • More than 17,000 metres3 of concrete has gone into the build so far.
  • More than 520 tonnes of steel so far.
  • Opening in spring 2019.

New outdoor gyms to be installed

The Active Slough team and Councillor Sabia Hussain at a previous green gym launch

Six new outdoor gyms will be installed in Slough parks very soon.

The council has already installed gyms in Salt Hill Park, Langley Kedermister, Cippenham Recreation Ground and Upton Court Park, encouraging people to get fit in the outdoors.

The new gyms will be installed by The Great Outdoor Gym Company, throughout February and March at:

  • Manor Park
  • Eltham Avenue
  • Rochford Gardens
  • Springate Field
  • Langley Memorial Park (subject to consultation)

Wexham Parish Council will be funding the installation of a new gym at The Cherries.

Equipment in the outdoor gyms includes cross trainers, static cycles, resistance machines, hand cycles, sit up benches, parallel bars and box jumps.

Councillor Rob Anderson, cabinet member for environment and leisure, said: “We are delighted to be able to install more outdoor gyms in Slough parks, especially as the existing ones have been so well used. It is great to be able to give residents even more opportunities to take control of their own health and stay fit and well.”

New year, new career?

This could be the year when we all learn a new skill, improve old ones, get a job for the first time, or get back into work.

Whatever your goal is, the council’s Young Peoples Service and Employment, Learning and Advice (ELA) team can help.

The ELA team run ongoing job club sessions in Slough libraries to help with job searching and job opportunities, and the Young People’s Service also offers information, advice and guidance support for those aged 16-19.

Some of the areas where support can be offered include:

  • CV building
  • employment searching
  • job and apprenticeship applications
  • courses and training support
  • interview skills
  • confidence and self esteem building.

Please get in touch for 19+ support by calling 01753 476611or by emailing ela@slough.gov.uk for more information. Or the Young People’s Service support for age 16-19 by calling 01753 875510 or emailing sloughforyouth@slough.gov.uk

National Careers Week  

National Careers Week is a celebration of careers guidance and support in education, employment and training across the UK and with us in Slough.

During the week, which runs from 5-10 March, the employment, learning and advice team will be offering support to both young people and adults at The Curve. 

Monday

The Britwell Centre, 9.30am-12noon

The Curve, Job Club 10.30am-12.30pm (16-19) 

Tuesday

The Curve, 9.30am-12noon

Langley Library, 2pm-4pm (1 to 1 appointments only) 

Wednesday

The Curve, 9.30am-12noon

The Curve, Information Advice and Guidance, 2pm-6pm (16-19) 

Thursday

The Curve, 9.30am-12noon

Cippenham Library, 1pm-3pm (drop in) and 3pm-4pm (1 to 1 appointments only)

The Curve, Information Advice and Guidance, 2pm-6pm (16-19) 

The team looks forward to seeing you at The Curve during a regular session or during National Careers Week.

Licensing scam alert

The council’s licensing team is warning Slough businesses to be on the look out for scammers purporting to be licensing officers, after two separate incidents.

The team has received several complaints from local licensed premises including hairdressers, off licences and car washes about a man (or men), pretending to be a member of the licensing team, claiming their licences have run out and they need to give him money to renew them.

A man, who calls himself Chris, has visited shops in the High Street. He is a white man with dark hair and a beard and was wearing a grey suit. A man calling himself Mr Richard has visited premises in the Stoke Road area. In both instances the perpetrator appears to show some kind of ID badge and states he is from Slough Borough Council’s licensing team, though shows no other credentials.

He pretends the council cannot take the licence renewal money at the customer service centre and suggests they hand it straight to him.

Unfortunately some businesses have fallen for the scam before checking with the actual licensing team and ended up handing over up to £280 each.

These matters have been reported to the police, who are investigating.

Councillor Pavitar K Mann, cabinet member for regulation and consumer protection, said: “I cannot stress enough that this man in no way represents the council or the licensing team. Although he may show some form of identification, it is not authentic council ID and he fails to carry a warrant card, which all our licensing officers have.

“I am incredibly sorry that some of our businesses have fallen foul of this scam and urge people not to engage with this imposter and to immediately report the encounter to the police on 101 if they are approached.”

Transforming wetlands in Chalvey

Volunteers from the local community have been working with the WWT project ‘Saving the Salt Hill Stream’, to transform a pocket woodland and wetland area in Chalvey.  

The stream starts in Temple Wood, opposite the Hindu Temple on Keel Drive, and runs behind the allotments and Montem Academy down to the Chalvey Ditch.  

In December, volunteers worked over two days to undertake river narrowing activities to improve the natural watercourse and increase the stream’s flow rates. Volunteers also reduced canopy cover to encourage new plant growth.

These activities will help to improve the water quality and provide a better habitat for fish to thrive, which is a great food source for birds such as kingfishers, egrets and herons.

A new river bank was created to improve bankside vegetation, which provides homes for species like water shrews, frogs and toads. Wetland habitats are also important to help protect local housing from flood risks. 

There is a great team spirit among the volunteers and everyone enjoys getting hands-on with the various jobs and donning their waders to carry out activities in the stream.

One WWT project volunteer said: “I wanted to broaden my horizons, meet new folk and learn from other people’s experiences. You can see something every day and not realise its importance. People come up to us and thank us for what we’re doing. It’s a great sense of reward. You can’t beat it.” 

In January, the WWT team, in partnership with community group Paving the Way, hosted a superhero stream clean in Manor Park, where children got their very own superhero mask and helped with a litter pick to clean up their local area.

There are more volunteer days planned for February and March and the project team is keen to get more local residents involved.

For more information, please email shelley.rowley@wwt.org.uk or call 07879 432111. 

River bug safari

Saturday 10 February, 10am-1pm, Salt Hill Park

Come and discover all the weird and wonderful mini beasts that live in the Salt Hill stream! This free, family friendly event will get you and your kids catching these tiny creatures to help understand what lives in the stream and how healthy it is, so together we can encourage new life back into the Salt Hill stream. 

Youth award winner 

One of the Saving the Salt Hill Stream volunteers won a youth award for her contributions.

College student Louise Love, 16, was presented with an award for Young Environmentalist at the Slough Youth Awards ceremony at The Curve in November.

The awards aimed to raise the profile of young people in a positive way by celebrating their achievements.

Louise started volunteering with the WWT team in January last year and has helped with litter picks, vegetation management and clearing and removing invasive species, such as Himalayan Balsam.

Cycle hire scheme

You may have seen commuters riding one of the distinctive Slough Cycle Hire bikes around town.

The scheme launched in 2013 with the aim to encourage commuters and residents to cycle in Slough for less than the cost of a bus journey.

There are 11 docking stations throughout Slough – you can hire a bike from one location and drop it back to another.

A membership card for one year costs £10 and it then costs from just £1 for the first 30 minutes and 50p for each hour after that. Monthly and yearly ‘Power to the Pedal’ tariffs are also available.

There is also a Cycle Hub, just by the train station, which offers secure cycle parking for up to 80 bikes and has toilets, changing facilities, lockers and 24/7 access with CCTV coverage. 

Bike docking station locations

  • Slough train station
  • Burnham train station
  • Leigh Road in the centre of Slough trading estate
  • Montem Lane outside the leisure centre
  • Yarmouth Road junction with Buckingham Avenue
  • Harrow Market, Langley
  • Trelawney Avenue Shops, Langley
  • Sutton Lane junction with the A4
  • Bath Road Shopping Centre
  • Britwell, Kennedy Park shops
  • Chalvey high street

More will be coming soon, including Wexham Park Hospital and Arbour Park!

Special offer coming soon!

Free usage of Cycle Hire Slough in the last week of every month for Pay as You Cycle users! Register as a member and we’ll be in touch with further information. The promotion starts from the end of February.

Find out more

Visit the Cycle Hire Slough website for full costs and details on how to register for the scheme.

Environmental services come home

Councillor Rob Anderson sees off the first of the vans

Slough Borough Council has welcomed the environmental services team back home.

More than 15 years ago, environmental services – including bin collections, street cleaning, grounds and highway maintenance – was contracted out to a private company, but now, in a rarely seen move, the council has brought them back in house.

On 1 December, with X-Factor-style special effects, the new fleet of bin lorries hit the streets of Slough complete with their new livery featuring the town crest.

Councillor Rob Anderson, cabinet member for environment and leisure, saluted the crews as they left the depot as dawn broke.

He said: “We are very excited that this is a new dawn breaking for this vital council service. It was a genuine pleasure to see brand new modern vehicles leaving at first light, fully staffed by our new teams of council workers.

“I am sure people will soon see a difference out on the streets now we have greater control, the ability to be more responsive to local needs and more accountable to residents.” 

Update on the first month         

On 1 December we mobilised 72 new vehicles and 178 staff across waste collection, street cleansing, grounds maintenance and highways maintenance services.

Business as usual saw us make 270,000 refuse collections and 270,000 recycling collections during December. We now collect green waste all year round on a fortnightly cycle, except two weeks over Christmas, seeing 11,000 green waste collections each week.

Core street cleaning services have been sustained and additional one-off cleans completed. We have added a second large mechanical road sweeper to improve the visual aspect of the borough. The transition to a direct services organisation has seen us better able to support housing teams with dealing with waste and cleansing issues on estates throughout the borough, as we move away from traditional approaches and towards a one stop shop.

Grounds maintenance winter works have been sustained while we have redeveloped our Stoke Road depot and additional works have begun. Additional works include public realm initiatives such as improving our tree stock by removing shoots which appear at the base of tree trunks, and supporting initiatives to see land owners cut back private hedges which are obstructing the public highway.

Future activity will include working with the council’s parks team to improve our parks and attract increased public usage.

Our Highways teams have picked up where Amey left - sustaining the road infrastructure works around the Burnham Railway Station redevelopment and a number of other projects. Winter gritting has been maintained throughout the cold spell and our Chalvey depot has been rearranged to fit our new operational model. 

Find out more about the service  

You can find out your bin collection days, learn about the green waste scheme and see what you can and cannot recycle on the council's website.

For missed bins you can complete the online form or call 01753 475111 (option 4).

Recycling plastic

The recycling of plastic material has been in the headlines after China said it will not accept plastics from foreign countries anymore.

We wanted to remind residents about our policy on plastics to ensure we recycle what we can.

The company we send our recycling materials to, Grundon Waste Management, can only accept plastic bottles for recycling, and does not have the facility to recycle other plastic packaging such as yogurt pots or food containers.

It’s important not to contaminate genuine recyclable material with other material that could block the machinery – for example, plastic bin liners.

Other non-recyclable plastic material such as plastic food trays, which should be placed in your black refuse bin, are sent to the Lakeside Energy from Waste facility at Colnbrook.

The council and Grundon are confident China’s ban on accepting mixed plastic polymers will not pose a problem for recycling plastics in Slough, as Grundon has never exported plastics to China. Instead our plastic bottles are sent for re-processing in the UK and Europe.

Richard West, Service Lead – Environmental Services, said: “Both Slough Borough Council and Grundon have a long-standing commitment to recycling and recycling will continue to take precedence over incineration and landfill for plastic bottles.” 

As a reminder, this is what plastic we can recycle: 

Yes

  • Bottle shaped plastics, such as recycled plastic drinks, milk, shampoo or cosmetic product bottles 

No  

  • Plastic bin liners
  • Plastic packaging
  • Food containers
  • Polystyrene
  • Plastic wrappers 

For more information on what other materials can be recycled in your red bin, or to find bin collection dates, visit the council's website.

Children and young people

Ever thought of a career in childcare?

Careers in childcare can be extremely rewarding and there is a huge range of roles you can get involved in.

The council’s early year’s team is keen to show that careers involving work with children are not out of reach for anyone – men, women, people looking to get back into work and young people can all be the perfect fit for a role working with children.

National figures show that men make up only two percent of the early year’s workforce, but there is nothing stopping them from getting involved. If you love the idea of working with children, there will be a role suitable. It could be as a crossing patroller, a childminder, or a teacher – the level of training involved will just be different.

The team host regular information sessions where Slough residents can drop in to discuss what the different roles involve, what training or qualifications they may need, and how to access further support to gain the relevant skills.

You may be thinking of where to start out with your career, changing it altogether, or moving to a different role within childcare. Whatever your aim, the team can help with your aspirations.

Michael Jarrett, service lead for early years, said: “We are prioritising our residents and letting them know they are not alone. We can start the discussion with them.

“We know if parents or anybody interested in working with children has an opportunity to volunteer it could be the deciding factor in whether they choose that career route.

“With changes in Universal Credit on the horizon, parents might be looking for opportunities to get back to work. I’d say come and have a discussion with our team and we can see what might best suit their goals.”

Meeting with the team is a great starting point for planning a career in childcare as they have great links with Windsor Forest Colleges Group, which includes East Berkshire College, as well as Reading University and Buckinghamshire New University. They also have good relationships with other voluntary and community organisations locally, which could potentially help with volunteering opportunities and skill building.

A survey conducted by Pre-School Learning Alliance and other major childcare providers showed that 98 percent of parents wanted men to be involved in childcare.

Information sessions 

  • Tuesday 20 February, 10am - 12noon, at Landmark Place, Windsor Road
  • Wednesday 21 February, 6.30 - 8.30pm at St Martins Place, 51 Bath Road.

Please book a place by emailing earlyyears@slough.gov.uk or by calling 01753 476581 or 01753 476554.

Types of roles 

  • School administrator
  • Childcare practitioner
  • Teacher
  • Site controller
  • Adult tutor
  • Housekeeper
  • Specialist SEND practitioner
  • Nursery manager
  • Cleaner
  • Childminder
  • Social worker
  • Apprentices
  • Lunchtime assistant
  • School crossing patrol officer
  • Sports coach
  • Cook
  • Self employed childcare provider
  • Learning support assistant

Volunteers 

The Early Years service is looking for parents who would like to volunteer as parent champions. If you are interested and able to give up just a few hours a week to talk to other parents about services available in the local area, please contact the Family Information Service on 01753 476589.

Case studies

We regularly run Level 2 Working with Parents courses at children’s centres. The learners on the courses have many stories to tell.

One lady, aged 29, came to the UK from Pakistan 10 years ago with English as her third language.

During the Work with Parents course, the lady grew in confidence, offered valuable insights into parenting within the Pakistani community and reflected on her own transition into western culture. She also uses her language skills to help others. 

Another learner was a lone parent of three children, who had been volunteering with the Home-Start charity for a year to support vulnerable families with young children.

The 40-year-old was keen to gain employment and joined the course to learn more skills, alongside the volunteering. She went on to apply for jobs as a teaching assistant. 

A third learner, 43, had formerly been in administrative roles.

Near the start of the course, the lady was made redundant from her part-time job so she applied for two jobs within schools. She was successful in one role and felt what she had learnt so far on the Work with Parents course enabled her to demonstrate the knowledge and skills required for the job.

Milestone in Wexham School development

Students, teachers and governors marked the latest stage of work at Wexham School with a steel signing ceremony.

Headteacher Lawrence Smith was joined by the school’s students, teachers and governors, as well as representatives from Slough Borough Council, Slough Urban Renewal (SUR), and Morgan Sindall Construction to celebrate this major milestone in the school’s expansion in January.

The Wexham School expansion will include a new 3,000 square metre, three storey teaching block that will house 29 new classrooms for English, Humanities and Languages, three of which have dedicated ICT facilities. The new block will also provide staff workrooms, group rooms, a new student reception and welfare facilities, a new library and a sixth form study centre.

The existing library will be converted into two new science laboratories and external landscaped areas will be provided, along with a new staff car park, to complete the site.

On the day, the school group visited the construction site where Morgan Sindall made a presentation to the group followed by an interactive Q&A session in their site office.

The work at Wexham School is part of the council’s ambitious school places programme – a multi-million pound investment in primary and secondary school buildings, extensions and new schools – to provide enough places for Slough’s current and future young people.

Councillor Shabnum Sadiq, cabinet member for education and children, added: “By providing high quality learning environments and improved teaching spaces like the ones being built at Wexham School, we can help our young people get the best start in life.

“We are working hard to meet the demand for additional school places across our fast growing borough and the work being undertaken on this site forms a key part of the council’s ambitious school places programme.”

Lawrence Smith, headteacher at Wexham School, said: “I am exceptionally proud that Slough Borough Council chose Wexham to invest in. Redeveloping and adding these fantastic facilities to our already impressive science, technology and creative arts – and of course sports facilities – we will really have a school fit for 21st century education.”

The Wexham School expansion project is being undertaken by Slough Urban Renewal (SUR), a partnership between the council and Morgan Sindall Investments Ltd which is driving regeneration across the town.

Andy Howell, SUR General Manager, said: “Everyone involved has worked collaboratively to get this project designed and into construction at a very quick pace – signing the steel frame is a great way for the students to leave a hidden legacy.”

The Wexham School expansion is due to be completed by December.

What does fostering mean to you?

Fostering may be a term you’re familiar with. You’re probably all too aware there are children that need care outside of the traditional family environment, and so are taken in by other families who can provide them the love and support they need to be safe, secure and successful. But what does fostering really mean and what does it actually involve? 

General fostering is perhaps the type of fostering people are most familiar with, however it can in itself be divided into different categories – emergency, short-term or long-term. This is a full-time fostering scheme for children from birth to 18 years. 

Emergency foster care, as the name suggests, is about providing a home to a child at short notice, so carers need to be prepared to take a child into their home at any time of day or night and have them stay for a few days.

Short-term foster care can be planned, but could also be with very short notice, and provides a temporary place to stay until the child can return home to their own family or a longer-term arrangement can be made. 

Long-term or permanent fostering allows children and young people to stay with a family until they reach adulthood if they cannot return to live with their birth family. This follows a matching process, including introductions, so the child and the foster family can get to know each other gradually before the child moves in. This type of fostering can suit carers and their families where they prefer to have longer-term arrangements, and fewer changes of foster placements. It provides stability to that child or young person and enables them to develop a sense of belonging. 

Home from home is a part-time fostering scheme that provides respite care, giving parents or carers a break from caring from their child on a full time basis, and is in a family setting. The child will be matched with a family and will stay with the same carers each time. 

Remand foster care provides a young person a home when they have been remanded into the community (rather than custody) and have to live away from their family while their case is resolved in court. It can be for anything from a few nights to a few months, depending on how long the process takes, and often at short notice. 

With an increased awareness of what fostering means and what it involves, what could you do to support children in Slough who are in need of somewhere to call home? Could you become a foster carer?

To find out more, get in touch with the fostering team at Slough Children’s Services Trust, by calling 0800 073 0291, emailing foster@scstrust.co.uk, or by visiting the Trust website.

Health, care and support

Careline service for independent living

The CCTV and Careline service is there to look out for Slough residents and offer a level of reassurance.

The council’s Careline service means residents who have signed up have individual alarms which connect using the phone line to a 24 hour centre in Slough where professional help is always at hand.

The service is perfect for vulnerable or elderly people or people living alone. When the alarm is activated, depending on the nature of the problem, Careline staff can contact designated relatives or friends, or the emergency services if necessary.

Peter Webster, CCTV and Careline centre manager, said: “Careline is all about independent living for vulnerable and elderly people, and it works really well.”

At the end of last year, we hosted a tweetathon on Twitter to highlight the range of issues the council deals with in a day.

Here are some of the Careline and CCTV tweets from the day, which really show the range of ways Careline can help.

  • Our Careline responder service has just gone out to help a 72 year old lady off the floor after she pushed her alarm following a fall. She's all OK and just needed help getting up so thanks to the responders, no need to bother @SCAS999 (South Central Ambulance Service).
  • Our Careline - alarm monitoring - team has called six of their older and vulnerable clients today to wish them a happy birthday; including one gentleman who told us it was the only call he'd had that day.
  • A lady is able to come home from hospital tonight as Careline will quickly replace her lost pendant which she can use to call for help. The Careline user wouldn't have been allowed home without the pendant.
  • Our Careline responder service has been out to one elderly lady this evening after her carer fell ill and couldn't come round. One push of her alarm and our team are out to her home to help her get comfy in bed for the night.
  • Our CCTV control centre will be monitoring the cameras throughout the night as always, but that's not all they do. Since 1 Nov they've answered 58 anti-social behaviour hotline calls, provided police with 47 DVD evidence packs and dealt with 169 incidents.

The target for Careline is to answer 98.5 percent of calls within one minute, but the team’s rate is better, with calls answered on average within five seconds.

There are currently 2,120 registered users of the service, which was first launched in Slough more than 30 years ago.

Vulnerable and elderly residents can request an assessment to see if they are eligible for funding of their service by adult social care, or they can request a free trial of the Careline system to see how it can support them to live independently at home.

If they decide to become a permanent client, there is a quarterly charge of £44 for the 24/7 service.

Please call Careline on 01753 535622 for an information pack or to discuss your needs.

Change4Life roadshow

Families in Slough will get tips for healthier snacking when Public Health England’s (PHE) Change4Life roadshow visits.

The Change4Life roadshow will encourage parents to “look for 100 calorie snacks, two a day max”. This is because half the sugar children consume, currently around seven sugar cubes a day, comes from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks, leading to obesity and dental decay.

Recent data show 23.2 percent of 4-5 year olds are overweight or obese in Slough, increasing to 35 percent in 10-11 year olds.

The roadshow will be at Tesco in Wellington Street on Monday 5 February.

At the event, families will see live demonstrations of the new Change4Life ‘Food Scanner’ app, which shows the number of calories and how much sugar, saturated fat and salt is in everyday food and drinks.

Parents can find out how to swap to healthier snack options and sign up to Change4Life for additional support, ideas and money-off vouchers.

For more information on healthier snacks, visit the Change4Life website.

More Active Movement in Slough

Celebrating the launch of the Active Movement programme

The Slough Active Movement programme has increased in size, with the recruitment of Claycots Primary School (Britwell and Town Hall campus) and Ditton Park Academy Secondary School.

The programme aims to focus on simple changes in behaviour that empower people to sit less and move more.

These two large schools within the town will add to the five schools already taking part and further increase the community of Active Movement settings that includes children centres, nurseries, primary and secondary schools.

This now represents the highest concentration of Active Movement schools in a single location and the first time there has been a programme that links so many age groups.

Over the next few months, there will be opportunities for these schools to share the Active Movement experience with each other, as they jointly participate in Active Movement events and create long-term relationships that will continue to drive activity for children and parents across Slough.

The addition of these schools now also increases the overall number of participants in the Active Movement to more than 10,000 children.

For more information about Active Movement please email publichealthslough@slough.gov.uk or visit the Active Movement website.

Benefit changes and Universal Credit

The council recalculates housing benefit and council tax support in March each year to include changes such as council rent increases and council tax increases.

We send letters to tell you what we have done so it’s important you check the letter to make sure we haven’t missed something.

Lots of circumstances change at this time of year and we need to know about them if we are to pay the right amount to you.

Changes can affect the amount of benefit you’re entitled to or how much council tax you need to pay. If you don’t tell us we might not pay you enough benefit, or we might pay you too much and you may have to pay it back. If you delay and you’re entitled to more benefit because of the change, you could lose out because the law says you have just one month to tell us.

Here are examples of changes you need to tell us about:

  • a rent increase if you are the tenant of a private landlord
  • any changes to your earnings, or the earnings of others living with you
  • any changes to your private pension unless you get Pension Credit
  • Tax Credit changes.

For more details, visit our website. Use the form on the benefits pages to tell us about the change or telephone 01753 475111. 

Universal Credit in Slough 

Universal Credit is a new benefit which will replace: 

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit.

If you currently receive any of these benefits, you can’t claim Universal Credit at the same time.

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages across the UK. It was originally introduced for residents of Slough who were single or a couple with no children in 2016, however due to changes in the Universal Credit legislation announced in the budget in December 2017, it has been temporarily suspended in Slough.

If you need to make a claim as your income or circumstances have changed and you are not currently in receipt of Universal Credit you will need to make a claim for one or more of the legacy benefits outlined above. Please note you must claim housing benefit from the council and all other benefits from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

If you are currently in receipt of Universal Credit you must inform Universal Credit of your change in circumstances and they will amend your claim and your payment - you do not revert to the legacy benefits above.

If you have claimed Universal Credit in the last six months, even if you are not receiving any money, your claim remains open and for any change in circumstances you must also inform Universal Credit of the change and they will amend your claim and your payment.

Universal Credit is planned to be rolled out fully in Slough in April. At this time, anyone who wished to make a claim for any of the above benefits will need to make a claim for Universal Credit. More information will be available nearer the time.

Scheme launched to support vulnerable people

A scheme designed to provide help and support to people who may feel vulnerable when they are out in their local community has launched in Slough.

The Safe Place scheme is a national initiative that was launched locally at The Curve by the Safer Slough Partnership.

The Safe Place scheme works by asking local businesses, who have signed up to the initiative, to place a Safe Place sticker in their window.

The sticker identifies a business as a place where vulnerable people can seek help should they feel uncomfortable or unsafe when out and about. This usually means making a telephone call on the person’s behalf; to the police, a parent, carer or support worker and providing a temporary safe haven until support arrives. It may be as simple as offering someone a place to sit and a glass of water.

By signing up to the scheme, businesses will be providing reassurance to both users of this service and their carers, enabling people to live independent lives with an increased sense of security in their community.

Alan Sinclair, chair of the Safer Slough Partnership, said: “The Safe Place scheme is an important tool that provides people who feel vulnerable in Slough with reassurance and support.

“Community safety is at the heart of our vibrant borough and we’re proud to support an initiative that gives the people with a learning or physical disability, illness or mental health condition, and the elderly a much needed temporary safe haven.

“We want all of our more vulnerable residents to be able to live independent, full and active lives, safe in the knowledge that help is on hand if they need it.”

A vulnerable person includes someone who:

- is elderly

- has a physical disability, including visual or hearing impairment

- has a learning disability

- has a mental health condition

- has an illness or condition.

Participating businesses are offered free training for their staff which can be delivered at their premises, at a time that suits them.

The Safe Place scheme is supported by Slough Employ-Ability and Thames Valley Police.

Slough businesses are being invited to sign up to the scheme. If you would like to get involved, please call Helen Buckland, risk and exploitation co-ordinator, on 01753 690409 or email communitysafety@slough.gov.uk. 

 

Premises currently signed up to the scheme

  • Slough Borough Council buildings (St Martins Place, Landmark Place, The Curve, Britwell, Chalvey, Arbour Park)
  • Sue Ryder
  • Kingsway Church
  • Boots
  • Santander
  • Shopmobility
  • Tesco
  • Sainsburys
  • Lloyds Pharmacy
  • H Samuel

Diabetes champions

A new community project aims to increase awareness, prevention and self-management of diabetes.

Commissioners in East Berkshire have teamed up with Diabetes UK to recruit ‘Diabetes Community Champions’ who are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of others.

As a Community Champion, they will help to educate and raise awareness of diabetes and Diabetes UK by organising local events as well as delivering presentations and talks. Champions will be able to explain what Type 2 diabetes is, who is at risk, signs and symptoms, myths and misconceptions, complications, and the NHS services available to people locally. They will inspire others to help reduce their risk of diabetes, or to manage their diabetes better.

Champions may be individuals with Type 2 diabetes, carers for individuals with Type 2 diabetes or those who are passionate about community-based health promotion work.  

East Berkshire’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Associate Director for Planned Care, Sangeeta Saran, said: “Diabetes is a significant and growing healthcare issue especially in Slough.

“A good understanding of how to live with diabetes and intensive management at an early stage can significantly reduce the complications associated with this illness, and pressure on some health care services. 

“We know Community Champions elsewhere in the country have had a positive impact on the lives of others which is why we would like to introduce the programme in Slough, where there is a high percentage of people living with diabetes.”

A two-day training course will be made available to all recruited Champions by Diabetes UK.

If you are interested in becoming a Champion, you can either email communitychampions@diabetes.org.uk, call 0800 138 1639 or apply online.

What's on

What's on in the town centre

Tropical Rainforest Dome, Library @ The Curve

17 February, sessions throughout the day.

Experience what it’s like to walk through a tropical rainforest, right here in Slough! Experience the sights and sounds of a tropical rainforest in a visual effects dome with fun rainforest activities included! Age 5+ - Child £5, adult £6, family £20. Tickets are available on The Curve website.  

Lego @ Saturday Curve Club

Saturdays from 11.30am-1pm

Come along for some free Lego activities. 

Writing for page, stage and screen, The Curve

1-3pm on Wednesdays from 21 February – 14 March

Ever wanted to have your work published or performed? Participants must be aged 19 and above. The course is every Wednesday and costs £80, however, bursaries are available. This is led in partnership with Slough Writers. Find out more by emailing oliver@resource-productions.co.uk or by calling 01753 553374. Book a space on Eventbrite.  

Bring Your Own Future takeover

Saturday 24 February, The Curve, 11am – 4pm

HOME Slough and Close and Remote, in association with The Curve, present this event to celebrate your vision of Slough. Join us for a day of free creative workshops and activities as we takeover the Curve to celebrate the launch of a brand-new exhibition Bring Your Own Future. Find our more on Home Slough's website.  

Bring Your Own Future - Exhibition (a watercolour adventure of Slough)

Saturday 24 February - 3 Sat March, Gallery @ The Curve

Experience a new vision of Slough. See your town as never before. Bring Your Own Future’s exhibition of traditional paintings and Google cardboard headsets explores the collision of the art of watercolour and the digital landscapes of virtual reality. Find our more on Home Slough's website

Slough Arts Forum, The Curve

15 March, 7-8pm

A meeting and networking event for amateur, professional and aspiring artists and arts organisations to discuss their work and future collaborations. Register online or find out more by emailing oliver@resource-productions.co.uk or by calling 01753 553374. 

The Curve Films, The Curve      

15 March, 8-10pm

The film shown will be Get Out, a horror, mystery, thriller. Tickets cost between £6 and £8. This event is organised by Resource Productions. Book through The Curve website.   

World Poetry Day with Empoword, The Curve

21 March, 6.30-8.30pm

Join Empoword for an amazing line up of spoken word artists, poets and musicians for an evening of talent that will blow you away. 

Slough Town Centre Partnership meeting

29 March

Retailers and businesses will meet to discuss town centre improvements and issues impacting their business. If you run a business in Slough town centre and would like to attend, email colette.makambila@slough.gov.uk

Adult colouring, The Curve

30 March, 3-4pm

Celebrate World Autism Awareness Week with a special adult colouring session. 

What's on in the libraries?

Valentines in the library

Give someone you care about a handmade card this year. Come along to Britwell Library for an introduction into making decorative cards for adults on Monday 5 February at noon. Book a place online or drop in on the day. 

Spring into stories this half term!

This holiday look out for some awesome chances to meet authors, illustrators and much more!

Illustrator MP Robertson will be coming along for a fun and humour filled session to show us how to draw dragons. Look out for his visit on 10 February at The Curve, Cippenham and Langley.

Local author Shannel Joseph will be holding story time sessions sharing her book “My new baby” in all our libraries.

Peppa Pig and George will be visiting in person, hop along for a story and a meet and greet with the characters. Plus the usual story and craft fun for all and a spring themed creative writing session with Explorelearning. 

Find out about the natural world

Kinetic Adventure is back with some amazing sessions at The Curve where you can enjoy a tropical rainforest experience – without the travel!

Join us on Saturday 17 February, throughout the day. Tickets are £5 child, £6 adult or £20 family (2 adults, 2 children or 1 adult, 3 children).

Zoolab is visiting us with some cute and interesting animals on Tuesday 13 February. At Langley Library you can continue your discoveries about the rainforest and meet frogs, stick insects, and more. While at Britwell you can solve a mystery while meeting some cute and fun animals including a giant land snail. Tickets are £3 per child. Book online at The Curve website

More activities in March

Make your own rebel girl for International Women’s Day! Hear about some iconic women from bestseller ‘Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls’ and colour in some inspirational women this March. Plus look out for World Book Day themed LEGO ® sessions and a visit from Ross Montgomery, author of ‘Perigee and me’, who will also be visiting to show children how to write stories.

LEGO at your local library  

Look out for LEGO® coming to a library near you! Visit The Curve website or keep up to date with our social media to find more details:

Facebook.com/SloughLibraries  

Twitter @sloughlibraries

Instagram @thecurveslough_culture_library  

Snapchat @thecurveslough 

For more information, or to book activities, visit The Curve website or the council's website

Win a voucher - complete the libraries' survey

Free celebration event

A music and dance extravaganza will be held in Slough town centre to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Thames Valley Police and Slough Borough Council, in partnership with local businesses, will host the event on Saturday 3 March, from 1-5pm in Slough Town Square.

Residents are invited to come along and enjoy the free music and dance entertainment on offer.

Look out for more details and timings later in February.

LGBT History Month events

The council’s young people’s service has organised a whole host of events with partners during LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) History Month. Everyone is welcome to go along for information or support. 

Day of stalls and activities

Thursday 15 February, noon-6pm, The Curve

All are welcome for information, discussion and activities. 

Out! Celebration event

Thursday 15 February, 7-9pm, The Curve

All are welcome for performances, talks and cake. 

Need to know session for parents

Wednesday 21 February, 6-8pm, The Curve

An informal information sharing and support session for parents and carers of LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bi, trans, questioning, plus) young people.

RSVP to sloughforyouth@slough.gov.uk or call 01753 875510.

Spectrum LGBTQ youth group  

Slough’s LGBTQ youth group Spectrum is open to young people aged 11-19, or up to 25 with a special educational need or disability, who live in Slough or attend a secondary school in Slough.

There are two types of group - Peer Support & PSHE and Youth Voice group, which meet at St Martins Place.

The Youth Voice group meets monthly, on the fourth Wednesday of the month, and spends time on campaigning, youth proofing policies, organising events and working with the Youth Parliament.

The Peer Support & PSHE group meets every two months, on the second Wednesday of the month, and includes themed workshops and a safe space to meet and support other LGBTQ+ young people in Slough.

For more information on the group, call 01753 875510.

Active Slough timetable

To see the whole programme, visit the council's website.

Man v Fat

A free initiative has launched for men who love football and who want to lose weight.

Man vs Fat is a 15 week weight loss and football programme, which includes playing a 30-minute six-a-side football match and weighing in before the game.

To take part you must be male, with a BMI of 27.5 or above.

Each team will earn bonus goals from the weigh-in results which are added to the score on the football pitch. Uniquely, Man v Fat Football rewards players not just for winning games but for losing weight.

The Slough league starts at Arbour Park on 29 January, but you can still sign up if you hurry. Games are on Mondays from 7-9pm.

Players must pay a £10 deposit, which is refundable on completion of the programme.

For more details, email jack.steadman@slough.gov.uk, call 01753 875784, or visit the programme's website

Slough healthy walks

Our walks are free, fun and friendly, perfect for getting you active and meeting new people.

Simply come along a few minutes early to any of the sessions below and sign up with one of our walk leaders.

Yoga and pilates

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