Citizen

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Welcome from Councillor Sohail Munawar

A traction engine ride at our annual canal festival

Welcome to the autumn edition of Citizen. Although it doesn’t feel like two minutes since we welcomed in summer, maybe because there’s not much change in the weather?

Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed your summer, whether that was spending time away with the family or taking advantage of some of the many activities the council organised across Slough.

For many young people across Slough the summer was far from relaxing as they took their GSCE and A-level exams at the start and then had the long wait until the back end of August for results.

Our initial results showed some excellent performances by our students at GSCE level, made even more impressive against the backdrop of a new grading system. At A-level we have also seen positive results and an improvement in performance from last year.

Slough is committed to helping our young people achieve their potential and all of us at the council are extremely proud of the dramatic improvement our schools have made in recent years. Over the past 12 months we have invested more than £18 million in school improvements and expansion and we continue to support Slough’s Youth Parliament in ensuring the voice of our young people is heard.

It’s right to celebrate success, and I want to congratulate our schools, teachers and support staff for providing the support, encouragement and motivation our young people need to reach their potential.

As you read through this edition you’ll come across some of the council’s successes over the past 12 months, achievements we are rightly proud of as we meet the targets we set for improving Slough for all our residents.

Enjoy your read, and please get in contact with us if you’d like more information about the articles in this issue of Citizen.

You can email me at Sohail.munawar@slough.gov.uk or find me on Twitter @SloughLeader.

Download full PDF 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.

The October / November PDF edition.

Highlights from our annual report 2016-17

Introduction from council leader, Councillor Sohail Munawar.

Our annual report summarises key achievements during 2016-17 and how we are ‘growing a place of opportunity and ambition.’

We have refreshed our Five Year Plan for the council and set out our priority outcomes which are about putting people first.

We continue to feel the squeeze of government austerity cuts to local government services and it is more important than ever we are focused on the right priorities.

We have a sound financial strategy in place that means we are able to generate income to the council to help pay for frontline services and protect the most vulnerable in our community.

We are also working with our partners in the public sector, with businesses and with the voluntary and community sector to join up what we do to improve the lives of people in Slough.

Perhaps our greatest strength as a place is our communities and I am proud to lead a council which represents people from a very diverse range of backgrounds who get on well together.

Our economy remains strong and the opportunities presented by major infrastructure developments such as Heathrow and Crossrail means we are attractive as a place for business to invest.

We will continue to use these opportunities to generate benefits for local people - whether through the provision of jobs, training or apprenticeships; or generating income to provide improvements in local services.

In this annual report you will be able to see key statistics and evidence of the progress already made against the Five Year Plan.

Our success is down to the hard work and commitment of our workforce and I thank them for the service they provide every day to Slough.

Outcome 1 - Our children and young people will have the best start in life and opportunities to give them positive lives

The Claycots expansion

  • In 2016 Slough was 9% above the national average of pupils achieving A*-C grades in maths and English at KS4.
  • At KS2 pupils in Slough were 2% above the national average in their achievements in reading, writing and maths.
  • Cabinet approved £18.75 million in an ambitious school places strategy to create 840 new places via school expansion.
  • 96% of children in Slough got one of their top three choices in reception schools and 94% in secondary schools.
  • Education Services transferred back to SBC and we appointed a Director of Children's Services for first time in three years.
  • Every nursery and Children's Centre in Slough is rated as good or better by Ofsted with 84% of under fives registered.

Outcome 2 - Our people will become healthier and will manage their own health, care and support needs

The outdoor gym equipment

  • We increased the number of health checks carried out in Slough to more than 2,300 and completed 301 falls risk assessments.
  • In 2017 Slough launched a one-stop shop for healthy lifestyle advice reaching 450 people including 50% from deprived wards.
  • Our £55m leisure strategy continues to move forward with work underway on our new leisure centre and ice arena.
  • We also opened and fully completed our community sports stadium Arbour Park with help from Roy Hodgson.
  • Our adult social care team won an award for Transformation of Support Services.
  • We hosted Slough Fest to celebrate World Mental Health Day and supported more than 900 people through our recovery college.

Outcome 3 - Slough will be an attractive place where people choose to live, work and visit

  • We brought our libraries back in house and had 579,834 visits to our libraries including 212,579 at The Curve.
  • 518,066 books borrowed including 293,857 children's books from Slough Libraries and 4,800 kids took part in our Big Read.
  • It's not just books at Slough Libraries - 49,434 children and families attended more than 2,300 events across our libraries.

Outcome 4 - Our residents will have access to good quality homes

The Lydia Court housing launch

  • We launched a new housing strategy setting out our ambition to regenerate neighbourhoods, improve quality and supply.
  • Work has started on 104 new homes in Wexham Green through joint venture with Morgan Sindall Investments.
  • We started new council homes at Lydia Court - named after former Mayor Lydia Simmons, the country's first black lady Mayor.
  • With Slough Urban Renewal we completed the Milestone development on Ledgers Road including 23 new council homes.
  • We moved into phase two of our small sites housing strategy which will deliver 120 new council homes across Slough.
  • We opened our first emergency housing facility in over 40 years - providing 12 double bedrooms and kitchen facilities.
  • We signed an RMI contract with Osborne to improve service for council tenants – more than £100m will be invested.

Outcome 5 - Slough will attract, retain and grow businesses and investment to provide jobs and opportunities for our residents

The Curve

  • We opened our new flagship library and cultural centre at The Curve which had more than 212,000 visits and held 518 events.
  • We held our first property investor day - demonstrating our economic strengths and connectivity to London and the world.
  • We purchased the old TVU site which will deliver £550 million into Slough including 1,400 new homes.
  • Our two year programme to upgrade our streetlights to LED lights has already seen more than 7,500 of our 11,000 lights replaced.
  • We delivered a balanced budget with no front line service cuts despite the cuts we continue to receive from government. 

Baylis Park award nomination

A project which transformed a muddy pond into an attractive space for wildlife and park visitors has been nominated for a Living Waterways Award.

Slough Borough Council and its contractor Amey worked on the Baylis Park pond restoration project in 2015/16, investing around £80,000 (completed project pictured above).

During the project, the pond was drained, cleared of silt and rubbish, and new banks, islands and trees were added. The pond before the work is pictured below.

A number of other improvements were made, including: 

  • resurfaced paths
  • replanted beds, borders and walled rose garden
  • new seating, toddler play equipment and gym apparatus
  • CCTV cameras
  • repaired and refurbished war memorials
  • a tidier Lido walled garden
  • improvements to entrances.

Amey’s landscape architect Steve Handley entered the project into the Living Waterways Awards competition in March.

The project has been shortlisted for the restoration and historic environment category, which recognises excellent restoration or conservation projects, or work to preserve historic waterside structures.

Councillor Joginder Bal, cabinet member for environment and leisure, said: “I am delighted we have been nominated for an award which recognises the months of hard work on the Baylis Park pond project.

“It has transformed the park and made it much more attractive for visitors who enjoy seeing the wildlife on the pond. Well done to everyone involved.”

To carry out the work, (pictured above) the project team had to temporarily stop water flowing from Salt Hill Stream into the pond, while leaving enough water for the ducks, geese and fish.

Resident-led Slough Neighbourhood Action Partnership (SNAP) had campaigned for the pond to be given some much-needed attention.

The project was judged in June by an independent assessment panel of experts drawn from the environmental, engineering, architecture and regeneration sectors. The judges met the project team, members of SNAP and members of the public, while also spending time looking at the pond and the historic walled gardens.

Councillor Bal added: “We have a lot of fantastic parks and open spaces in the borough and any projects which make them more attractive to visitors are welcomed. Even being nominated is great recognition for the work of everyone involved.”

After being told they were through to the finals, members of the project team and community were filmed for a short film about the project, which will be shown along with the film clips from the other 18 finalists at the awards ceremony in Birmingham in September.

Royal Albert Hall performance for dance students

Students from Creative Academy will have the honour of performing at the Royal Albert Hall in the Dance Proms.

Dance Proms is a partnership project between two of the world’s leading dance training and awarding bodies: the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD), as well as the Royal Albert Hall, working together in celebration of dance and inspiring creativity.

After an online selection process where there was a shortlist of 150, students from Slough’s Creative Academy were chosen as one of only 20 to go through to the live performance.

A board of highly respected dance practitioners - Darcey Bussell CBE, Michael Nunn OBE and John Partridge – did the judging.

George Kirkham, Creative Academy manager, said: “This is an amazing opportunity for the Creative Academy to perform alongside the best in young dance talent in the UK. We are really excited to share our work at a world class performing venue!”

Creative Academy pupils will take to the stage on 5 November, in front of an audience of thousands.

It will top off another successful year, where a National Student Survey audit showed Creative Academy had a 100% satisfaction rate, higher than the regional comparison of 84.14%.

Creative Academy is a dance degree managed by the council and validated by The University of West London.

A few other highlights from the year are below.

  • 96% of the graduating BA (Hons) Dance 2016/17 students were offered employment, representation or higher education before graduation.
  • 100% pass rate on ISTD Modern Theatre, with 63% achieving a distinction.
  • 100% pass rate on ISTD Tap, with 69% achieving a distinction. 
  • First time the new module ‘Jazz and Commercial Performance’ was delivered with all students achieving 2:1 and first grades.
  • 3% increase from the academic year 2015/16 to 2016/17 in those gaining a first class honours degree awarded from London College of Music – The University of West London.
  • The Creative Academy ‘Five Gold Rings’ was the first full production held at The Curve and was sold out.
  • Created a new partnership with DK ProDuKtions offering graduates and current students professional pantomime performance work.
  • Started Creative Kids Saturday dance classes funded by Active Slough.
  • Sold out graduation showcase 2017 at Sadler’s Wells Lilian Baylis Theatre.
  • Pupils Alex Watson, Tama Czernuska and Kaireen McDonald won awards at the London College of Dance Network Awards. 

Electoral registration canvassers visit residents

Your vote matters

The council’s electoral services team has tasked canvassers with visiting properties that have not responded to the household enquiry form.

A new register of electors will be published on 1 December and the council needs to ensure all properties have responded to ensure the register is up to date.

Those who haven’t sent back their household enquiry form with details of who is eligible to vote at a property will receive a visit from one of the council’s canvassers between 25 September and 3 November.

All canvassers wear high visibility jackets and carry identification.

Councillor Sohail Munawar, leader of the council, said: “It’s important residents respond as soon as possible, so we can make sure we have the right details on the electoral register for every address in Slough.

“To make sure you are able to have your say at the elections next year, simply check the form when it arrives and respond as soon as you can.

“If you’re not currently registered, your name will not appear on the enquiry form. If you want to register, the easiest way is online, or we’ll send you information explaining how to do this in the post. In any case, you will still need to complete the enquiry form and send it back to us.”

If people are at home when one of the canvassers visit they will offer help to complete the household enquiry form, as well as register any new residents on the doorstep. Anyone in the household who is 16 or over can respond to the form.

People are required by law to complete and return a household enquiry form and anyone who doesn’t could be fined up to £1,000, and could also be refused credit if their name doesn’t appear on the electoral register.

Fighting violence against women and girls

The Safer Slough Partnership is asking Slough professionals to stand up against the destructive effects of domestic abuse.

Letters have been sent out across the borough to recruit motivated ‘champions’ who will form a local network to tackle domestic abuse by educating, supporting and empowering people across the communities of Slough.

Champions will be committed members of an organisation who are looking to expand their knowledge around violence against women and girls.

Councillor Arvind Dhaliwal, cabinet member for regulation and consumer protection, added: “We are arming key members of our communities with the skills needed to identify and support victims of domestic abuse so we can reach and help the people who need it most.

“It is encouraging to see a rise in the number of domestic abuse crimes recorded by the police in recent years, but as more victims and survivors come forward it is even more important they receive the support they need.

“To do this we need to make tackling violence against women and girls everybody’s business.”

Volunteers will be invited to attend a free two day in-depth training course which will support them to understand the dynamics of domestic abuse and the available services and support; becoming part of the wider network of knowledgeable professionals who can help Slough residents.

The recruitment of a network of champions follows the council’s adoption of the national strategy to end violence against women and girls, and forms part of a wider campaign to address domestic abuse in Slough.

Training courses are scheduled to run on 23-24 November this year and 15-16 February 2018 at The Curve. Sessions are limited to 20 people.

Following their initial training, champions will be kept up to date and can share information through the network as well as via network meetings, e-bulletins and continuing professional development.

Champions do not need to have previous experience of working in domestic abuse services, but should work or volunteer for a Slough organisation and be willing to participate in empowering people to access support.

Find more information on the benefits of becoming a champion. Applications can be made by emailing communitysafety@slough.gov.uk  

Strive for success

Photo by goldenlightphotography

The council’s employment and learning advice service has helped residents looking to start their own business through ‘Strive Further’ – a small business start up course providing all the skills and information needed.

Participants benefited from the advice and experience of a team of business professionals, with expert guidance, mentoring, and networking opportunities.

The course culminated in a Dragon’s Den style finale, giving participants the opportunity to pitch their business. Each person presented their business model and business plan and received feedback from the ‘dragons’.

The course covered topics such as fundraising, conducting research, marketing, sales, financial planning and website and social media development.

Twenty three people received training and 17 completed the project, with 16 participating in the dragon’s den event.

Sixty three per cent of respondents to a follow up survey said Strive had ‘very much’ changed their life. The remaining 37 per cent said it had changed their life ‘quite a lot’.

Across the board, participants reported greater confidence and knowledge at the end of the course.

The 12 week course ran from April – July and was facilitated by Slough Borough Council, Thames Valley Housing, Housing Solutions, and Enterprise Cube, a social enterprise whose vision is ‘creating and unlocking business for everyone’.

Further business start up courses are planned. For details, please email ela@slough.gov.uk or call 01753 476611.

Family fun at the canal festival

Slough’s annual canal festival attracted more than 4,000 people over one weekend.

Bloom Park in Langley was filled with activities including traction engine train rides, falconry displays and Hazelmutts dog obedience displays.

There were also canal boat rides, a mobile farm, ferret racing, face painting and glitter tattoos, inflatables, bungee trampoline, mobile bar, food stands, and charity stalls.

The council run festival was sponsored by Slough Urban Renewal (SUR), with Slough Express as a silver sponsor.

Event organiser Lynsey Hellewell said: “It was a really great two days. There were a lot of boats on the towpath, the more the merrier, and year on year it seems to be growing.

“The festival is for the benefit of the community and families. I think they liked the duck herding as they had a mind of their own, the falconry display got the public involved and we had a number of different things for visitors to do.”

The Canal and River Trust (CRT) was also involved in tidying up the canal before the event and the SUR ran a raffle, with proceeds going to the Mayor’s charity.

Mayor Councillor Ishrat Shah visited the festival on the Sunday and had a tour around, meeting stallholders and the display teams.

New environmental services contract

There are just two months to go until Slough Borough Council takes back its environmental services.

From 1 December, environmental services will no longer be a contracted service, but will be brought back in-house; run directly by the council with a directly-employed workforce.

The service includes: 

  • bin collections – refuse, recycling and garden waste
  • Chalvey waste and recycling centre – including the commercial weighbridge
  • street cleaning – including litter picking, fly-tip removal, mechanical sweeping
  • grounds maintenance – grass cutting, hedge trimming, weeding, flower beds
  • highway maintenance – pothole repairs, pavement repairs.

Councillor Fiza Matloob, commissioner for highways and transport, said: “This will be the first time the environmental services workers will be directly employed by the council for more than 15 years.

“By bringing environmental services back in house we have greater control over the operations, the priorities and will be able to be more responsive to the needs of residents.”

The image shows the livery of the vehicles making up the new fleet – which includes the town’s crest.

Councillor Matloob, added: “The crest represents the whole of Slough in a way no other icon can and we are proud to use it for the livery of the new fleet for the new in-house service.”

Help us recycle correctly

We appreciate the efforts of those in Slough who take part in the recycling scheme.

Every area has its own recycling rules, so please take time to study what Slough Borough Council can accept in the red bins.

Putting the wrong items into your red bin can lead to a bigger cost to the council.

Items such as black sacks, dirty nappies and wet food containers spoil the entire recycling load and it is rejected. It then has to be sent off to landfill, which costs the council more money in disposal. 

Do NOT put these in your red bin 

  • Black sacks – if you use plastic bags to keep your recycling in, then empty the contents of the bag into the recycling bin and place the plastic bag in the rubbish bin or reuse it.
  • Food – this gets mixed in with all the other recycling. Put it in the black bin.
  • Garden waste.
  • Clothes and textiles – these can be taken to the Chalvey Household Waste and Recycling Centre (HWRC) or in one of the bring banks. You can call and have them collected from your home every Monday,or hand them into charity shop.
  • Batteries, small electrical appliances – these are recyclable but not in the red bin. Take them to the HWRC, SBC bring sites, or larger stores who offer recycling points.
  • Plastics (non bottle shaped) – everything that is NOT a plastic bottle made from plastic should go into your black bin.
  • Nappies – not recyclable in Slough, dirty nappies get mixed with all the other recycling.
  • Polystyrene.

Everything should be loose in the bin, not in plastic bags.

Find out more about recycling in Slough

Winning photos chosen

Amateur photographers enjoyed exploring Slough’s parks and open spaces while taking photos for the Love Slough’s Parks competition.

The council organised competition aimed to find 12 of the best photographs which showcased the parks and could then be printed on a large canvas to be displayed in an exhibition at The Curve.

After the exhibition each winner will be able to take their canvas home and will receive a complimentary calendar which will be created from all the winning images.

Entries were judged by the council’s parks team.

To see the winning photos announcement, visit the Love Slough's Parks Facebook page.   

Police non-emergency

You may already know you can call 101 to report non-emergency issues to Thames Valley Police.

However, there is also an online form which you can fill in at your convenience, and you can also fill it in on behalf of someone else.

Visit the Thames Valley Police website to report a non-emergency issue online.

 

Children and young people

Apprenticeship recognition

All apprentices

The apprentices with interim Chief Executive Roger Parkin (back), Carl Rayner, Head Of Talent, Development and Resourcing at Arvato (right) and Councillor Sabia Hussain, deputy leader of the council (left).

 A record number of apprentices are celebrating their graduation from a programme run by Slough Borough Council and Arvato.

This year’s class of 24 apprentices, all aged between 16-18 years’ old, have spent the last year training towards qualifications in business administration, customer service and youth work, with almost two-thirds going on to secure permanent roles with both the council and Arvato.

Certificates were presented to the apprentices by Roger Parkin, interim Chief Executive at Slough Borough Council and Carl Rayner, Head Of Talent, Development and Resourcing at Arvato, at the ceremony hosted at The Curve in September.

Councillor Sabia Hussain, Deputy Leader of Slough Borough Council, was also in attendance to present a special award to the scheme’s “Apprentices of the Year” - Charlotte Keel (Slough Borough Council) and Lauren Reardon (Arvato).

Roger Parkin said: “We take a lot of pride in the joint apprenticeship programme and it’s great to see our latest graduates really benefit from the opportunities on offer. “The scheme provides a varied, challenging route into the world of work for local young people and regardless of whether they continue their career with us or take their experience elsewhere, they’re now well equipped with invaluable skills for the future."

Launched in September 2012, the joint programme has already helped 120 apprentices into work. Arvato was included in the government’s Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer List in 2017, which recognises organisations with the highest standards of excellence in employing apprentices.

Young people aged from 16 to 18 can apply for the 2018 programme via email to apprenticeships@slough.gov.uk and request a recruitment pack.

Slough Youth Awards

Winners of the Slough Youth Awards will be announced at a ceremony on 2 November.

Now in its second year, the awards aim to recognise the contributions young people make to our community, and showcase their talents.

Nominations ran from June to September for those aged 11 to 19, with six categories: Young Artist, Sportsperson, Inspiration, Environmentalist, Entrepreneur and Volunteer.

This year’s ceremony at The Curve will be hosted by Callum Fullam, 15 and Raakhi Sharma, 15, from Slough Youth Parliament. 

Slough Voluntary sector awards

 Slough Youth Parliament has been shortlisted for group of the year at the Slough Voluntary Sector Awards.

Youth reps have also been shortlisted for young volunteer of the year, with the ceremony to be held on 17 November.

For the past two years, youth reps have won the young volunteer of the year award.

Make your mark consultation

Young people are being asked what issues matter the most to them in the Make Your Mark ballet.

Slough Youth Parliament has signed up every secondary school in Slough to have their say in the largest consultation of young people in the country.

The ballot, which runs until 6 October, enables young people aged 11-18 to decide on the issues which will debated by the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) in the House of Commons on 10 November.

Ten topics including mental health, support for young carers, votes at 16, protecting LGBT+ people, making public transport cheaper will be available to choose from on the initial Make Your Mark ballot paper, with the five most popular topics among young people going on to be discussed in the November debate, chaired by the Speaker of the House of Commons Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP and broadcast live on BBC Parliament.

Slough will be represented at the debate for the third year running, as Alaa Fawaz, 16, member of the UKYP for Slough will be participating.

Alaa (pictured) said: “It’s exciting as this is the first year Slough’s Youth Parliament has already registered every Slough secondary school to take part so we can capture the views of as many students as possible. We aim to make 2017 our best turnout yet, the more voices we get, the harder it’ll be for anyone to ignore us.”

Slough’s Youth Parliament is supported by Slough Borough Council’s young people’s service.

For more information on Slough Youth Voice initiatives email sloughforyouth@slough.gov.uk

Launching Spectrum

Slough young people’s service has launched a new group called Spectrum in response to wide-ranging evidence of relative disadvantage experienced by LGBTQ young people.

Spectrum will have two main branches:

  • a peer support and PSHE group (PSHE is personal, social, health and economic education)
  • a youth voice group - focused on campaigning, local events, ‘youth-proofing’ policy.

The work of Spectrum will feed into Slough Youth Parliament. As well as this there will be opportunities for young people to take part in celebrations for LGBT History Month, trips, and events run by the British Youth Council. 

Why Spectrum is needed

More than half (55 per cent) of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people experience homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools.

One in three gay pupils who experience homophobic bullying change their plans for future education because of it.

More than half (54 per cent) of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people don’t feel there is an adult at school who they can talk to about being gay. One in four don’t have an adult to talk to at school, home or elsewhere. (Source: Stonewall) 

Find out more  

Spectrum launched with an away day in August (pictured). The group is run on a self referral basis. For more information please email Carla.conte@slough.gov.uk or call 01753 875510. 

Health, care and support

Talking about mental health

Mental Health Awareness Day is on 10 October. This year’s theme is mental health in the workplace.

Slough's mental health team would like to invite residents to attend a special event to mark the day. Join the mental health team and guests from 11am - 4pm at The Curve, where there will be different stalls related to mental health.

Visit the website for more information on mental health awareness day

The council’s public health team is sharing the five, evidence based, ways to wellbeing below.

Connect

There is strong evidence that indicates feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need. Social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health for people of all ages.

With this in mind, try to do something different and make a connection, such as:

  • talk to someone instead of sending an email
  • put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is.

Be active

Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. Exercise is essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and for promoting wellbeing. It doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good - slower-paced activities, such as walking, can have the benefit of encouraging social interactions as well providing some level of exercise. Check out the Active Slough programme for some ideas.

Take notice

Reminding yourself to ‘take notice’ can strengthen and broaden awareness.

Learn

Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life. The practice of setting goals has been strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing. Why not sign up for a class or read the news or a book?

Give

Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy. Research into actions for promoting happiness has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.

Top tips for mental wellbeing

  •  Talk about your feelings
  • Keep active
  • Eat well
  • Drink sensibly
  • Keep in touch
  • Ask for help
  • Take a break
  • Do something you’re good at
  • Accept who you are
  • Care for others.

Autism Hour

Autism hour

The National Autistic Society is inviting shops and businesses to take simple steps to help make a more autism-friendly world.

Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.

For 60 minutes from 10-11am on Monday 2 October, celebrate ‘Autism Hour’ by taking some of the following actions.

  • Turn down music and other noise: Overwhelming noise is a common barrier to autistic people accessing shops. Where possible, in-store tannoy announcements and other controllable noise should be reduced.
  • Dim the lights: Lighting, particularly fluorescent strip lighting, can be overwhelming for autistic people. Wherever possible, whilst maintaining safe premises, lights should be dimmed or switched off.
  • Share information about autism: The National Autistic Society can provide information.

Autism noise

In the week of Monday 2 October, the National Autistic Society will launch the ‘Too Much Information’ campaign.
For people with autism, information overload can be a significant problem.

Research shows 64 per cent of autistic people avoid going to the shops because of their autism and 28 per cent have been asked to leave a public space because of behaviour associated with their autism.

Small changes to support people with autism can make a big improvement to their quality of life. Help spread the word and encourage local shops and businesses to sign up for Autism Hour.

You can find more information about autism and local support on the council's website, or look at the Autism Community Engagement Slough Facebook page.

Slough launches The Daily Mile

Slough Borough Council and the Slough School Sport Network are proud to formally launch ‘The Daily Mile’ across Slough.

This unique programme sees primary school children (and their teachers) walking, jogging and running one mile, every single day. The aim is to increase attainment in schools, help with concentration, get people more active and reduce levels of childhood obesity.

Priory School were the pioneers in Slough back in September 2016 and St Ethelbert’s weren’t far behind starting in June 2017.

Lee Molland, PE lead at Priory School, said: “Doing The Daily Mile at Priory brings a real school spirit and togetherness to the school. My favourite part of The Daily Mile is seeing the older children helping the younger children. It’s so simple, yet so beneficial!”

The public health team is now pleased to offer tailored help and support to all Slough primary schools to help them embed this exciting idea into their daily lives.

They will be hosting a formal launch event in late autumn and will be working with all Slough primary schools to get involved.

Don’t forget you can now follow the public health team on twitter for all your local health and wellbeing news, local events and opportunities. Follow @SloughPH

For more information on the initiative, visit the council's website, or email timothy.howells@slough.gov.uk

Commemorative plaque marks funding win

An outdoor gym, which was funded by the Tesco Bags of Help scheme, has had a commemorative plaque installed.

The council bid for funding for the project titled ‘healthier and more active people and communities’ and were successful in gaining £10,000 funding.

This led to the installation of an outdoor gym at Chalvey Recreation Ground. The plaque was delivered following a one year evaluation of the project.

Councillor Joginder Bal, cabinet member for environment and leisure, said: “The outdoor gym equipment is a great way for residents to get fit for free. I was delighted when we received the funding and it was great to visit the park one year later to see the installation of the commemorative plaque and how well the equipment has been used and welcomed.

“We want to get more residents using outdoor spaces to improve their health and wellbeing and outdoor gyms are a great way of making that happen.”

Slough now has more than 11 parks providing this type of equipment for all residents to participate in sport and physical activity.

The Bags of Help funding was raised from the 5p plastic bag levy and distributed to environmental and greenspace projects throughout the UK.

Find out more about opportunities to get active in Slough.

Award for Slough nursing home

Oxford House Nursing Home on Stoke Road has achieved a prestigious award.

The national Gold Standard Framework provides training and a rigorous accreditation process for care homes, improving the quality, coordination and organisation of care, and leading to better patient outcomes.

The Platinum Award is given to homes that demonstrate their credentials for the second time in a row, showing they have embedded all the necessary elements to meet 20 quality standards, ranging from leadership and support to dignity and respect.

Andrea Aboud, registered manager at Oxford House, said: “We are delighted to receive this award which acknowledges the fantastic effort put in by each and every one of our team on a daily basis.

“We were particularly pleased the home achieved the maximum score, with many areas of excellence. Some of these areas are to be showcased by the GSF as examples of best practice within the sector. We are one of only two homes in Berkshire to achieve this award and it is a credit to the whole team.”

Councillor Sabia Hussain, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “It is fantastic to know we have a nursing home offering such a great service to the residents living there. Looking after people in the town as they get older is a key focus for the council, as well as helping people to access personalised care suited to their needs.”

Everyone in the home, ranging from nurses to the activities coordinator and catering staff, is involved in regular reviews with the residents. All aspects of their lives are considered including spiritual beliefs, personal interests and care preferences.

Staff talk to the residents about their end of life care, giving them the opportunity to make decisions and say what they want. This means the residents and their families feel secure that they will be comfortable and know their preferences will be taken into account at all times.

As well as greater satisfaction for families and residents, following best practice standards helps reduce incidences of hospitalisation, resulting in significant cost savings.

Staff from the home were due to receive the award at a special ceremony in London on 29 September.

Men’s Matters – ageing with purpose

A weekly drop-in session which offers men friendship and social activities has launched in Slough.

Radian Housing created the Men’s Matters initiative, and after a successful launch in Windsor, has expanded the sessions into Slough. Radian will be hosting the weekly drop-in at their Longwood Park Resource Centre in Langley

Councillor Madhuri Bedi, cabinet member for children, education and families, was involved in bringing the group to Slough.

Cllr Bedi said: “This new charity has made significant steps in supporting older men by offering friendship and organising activities that contribute to their health and wellbeing.

“Men's Matters is greatly needed in Slough, my hope is it will provide our residents with the same support and positive outcomes that Windsor residents are already benefiting from.”

A launch event was held in September where Slough MP Tan Dhesi and Slough Mayor Councillor Ishrat Shah cut a ribbon. There were also free activity taster sessions provided by the Workers’ Education Association (WEA), NHS health checks by Solutions4Health and refreshments and music for all.

The drop-in for older men runs every Tuesday from 2-4pm at Longwood Park Resource Centre, Common Road, Langley, SL3 8TN.

For more information, visit the Men's Matters website, email contact@mensmatters.org.uk or call 07843 554734.

Destination of choice

Construction begins at Langley Leisure Centre

Work to turn the run-down Langley Leisure Centre into a facility fit for the future has begun.

Construction started in August to extend existing facilities and renew tired equipment and amenities.

The centre is expected to open in summer 2018 and will include:

  • a single-storey gym extension to both the front and rear of the existing gym (doubling the gym’s capacity)
  • repairs to the existing roof structure
  • new flooring and wall tiling to both the swimming pool and the changing village
  • new fit out of the dry changing rooms
  • replacement of the existing mechanical, electrical and plumbing equipment
  • a new pool filtration system.

Langley Leisure Centre was first built in 1997 and is one of the borough’s prime leisure sites. It closed to the public in May so survey work, condition checks and testing could take place prior to construction.

The current refurbishment and extension of the centre is being carried out by Slough Urban Renewal (SUR), a proud partnership between Slough Borough Council and Morgan Sindall Investments Limited.

More than £55 million has been invested by the council to regenerate leisure facilities across the borough including new facilities at the ice arena, Arbour Park community stadium, the construction of The Centre – a new leisure centre facility on Farnham Road, green gyms in parks and the refurbishment of Salt Hill Park activity centre.

Councillor Joginder Bal, cabinet member for environment and leisure, said: “The pre-construction work is over and now the major work begins.

“I am really excited to see the site develop and can’t wait for it to open next year.”

Andy Howell, General Manager at Slough Urban Renewal said: “There is so much positive change taking place in Slough. The improvements underway at Langley Leisure Centre will ensure the borough and its residents have access to a superb new facility, which is both accessible and brought right up to date”.

When complete, Langley Leisure Centre will be operated by Everyone Active, the council’s new leisure partner.

3G pitch accreditation renewed

Arbour Park’s 3G football pitch has been granted FIFA quality pro certification for the second year running.

Representatives from the football governing body visited the stadium in Stoke Road in July to re-test the pitch to ensure all was in order.

The pitch passed with flying colours and retains the status for another year.

Councillor Joginder Bal, cabinet member for environment and leisure, said: “Arbour Park is an amazing facility for the whole community. Having renewed accreditation from FIFA is another milestone in the project which has brought a community stadium back to Slough.

“This enables a high standard of FA recognised and accredited football to be played at Arbour Park. We are one of only 28 3G pitches in the country to receive such accreditation. We are so proud to have created a facility of such quality in Slough.”

Find out more about Arbour Park and the facilities available.

 

Ice arena extension takes shape

Andy Howell (SUR), Councillor Joginder Bal (cabinet member for environment and leisure), Alison Hibbert (SBC), Fin Garvey (SBC) and Karl Hoffman (Morgan Sindall's project manager)

There are big changes at Slough Ice Arena as three huge wooden arches have been installed.

The two-storey extension brings the arena closer to the Bath Road and will house the new entrance, reception, gym, café and climbing wall.

It is part of a multi-million rebuild of Slough Ice Arena which includes:

  • extensive landscaping and public space
  • cladding to improve its appearance and impact
  • new ice pad fit for the next generation of skaters and user groups
  • new fully glazed ice rink barriers
  • new specialist chiller plant with replacement of existing mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) equipment as required
  • new changing rooms and toilets
  • new spectator seating and lighting
  • new café, reception area and climbing wall and clip ‘n’ climb feature
  • new mezzanine level complete with lift access, housing a new gym area.

The new arches are 30m wide and 12m high, each weighs five tonnes and they are bespoke to the ice arena.

Councillor Joginder Bal, cabinet member for environment and leisure, said: “This new extension not only increases the size of the building but opens it up onto the Bath Road where, with the new landscaping, it will provide a much more welcoming entrance and public area.

“And this new extension will house much of the extra facilities we are including in the new ice arena complex; the gym, café and the excellent climbing wall with its clip n climb feature.

“These features will make the arena so much more than just a place to skate and I can wait to see it all being used.”

The Slough Ice Arena rebuild is being undertaken by Slough Urban Renewal (SUR) a partnership between Slough Borough Council and Morgan Sindall Investments Ltd.

The Slough Ice Arena is due to reopen in the spring next year.

Housing

More council homes being built

An artist’s impression of the homes which are now going to replace the Lynch Pin pub

New homes for people on the housing waiting list are being built across the borough as work starts on phase two of the council’s small sites.

In 2016, the council identified 24 small development sites to be used for building new, and extending existing council homes. In total 120 new properties will be built.

In January, work started on four sites in Wexham and now work is beginning on phase two – six sites in Britwell and Northborough.

The sites in phase two include redundant garages and the site of the old run-down Lynch Pin public house and will deliver 16 new homes; a mixture of semi-detached houses and wheelchair accessible bungalows.

The new developments are being undertaken by Slough Urban Renewal (SUR) - a partnership between Slough Borough Council and Morgan Sindall Investments Ltd, which is driving regeneration across the town including in leisure, housing, community and school buildings.

Councillor Zaffar Ajaib, cabinet member urban renewal, said: “These six small sites, in addition to the four nearly complete, are the reality of our strategy to utilise small plots of land – garages, derelict properties and infill – to provide desperately needed, quality council homes for people of our town.

“With 120 new properties being built just in these small sites, alongside ones in the SUR’s new developments, we will be offering even more people on our waiting list access to decent quality affordable homes.”

The sites are: 

  1. The former Lynch Pin public house - six new semi-detached houses with parking
  2. Land to rear of 40 Pemberton Road - a new wheelchair accessible bungalow on old garage site
  3. Land to rear of 14-26 Gascons Grove - two new semi-detached homes with parking on old garage site
  4. Land to rear of 8 Egerton Road - two new semi-detached homes with parking on old garage site
  5. Thirlmere Avenue - four new semi-detached homes with parking on a redundant parking area
  6. Land to the rear of 35-45 Wordsworth Road - a new, wheelchair accessible bungalow with parking on an old garage site.

Work by the SUR and Borras Construction started in September and will be ready for new council tenants by next summer.

Andy Howell, General Manager at Slough Urban Renewal said: “We are delighted that by working in partnership with the council, we are able to make a real difference to the people of Slough, providing much needed new council housing for those on the current waiting list.

“By transforming various small sites, we are improving local communities and contributing to the council’s demand for housing which will benefit all.”

What's on

Events in our libraries

Build the Change @ The Curve

Did you take part in Build the Change last year? It’s back again this October half term! Join us to celebrate the one year anniversary of The Curve with a Lego: Build the Change event. Monday 23 October and Tuesday 24 October at 9.30am, 11am, 12.30pm, or 2pm.

This is a free event open to children over the age of six. You must have a ticket to attend – book on The Curve website.  

Curve Celebrates: One year on

It’s been a year since we opened our doors to the public and we’re celebrating with some amazing events this October half term!

Keep an eye out for our special Curve Celebrates: One year on programme, available at your local library, for details on how we’re celebrating. 

3D printing @ The Curve

3D printing workshops are back! Did you miss out last time? Now’s your chance to take part. Create your very own personalised key tag with guidance and knowledge from Thames Valley RepRap User Group - open to ages 8+. Tickets cost £5 - book on The Curve website

Horrible Sciences illustrator visit

Join Horrible Science illustrator, Tony De Saulles and learn how to draw things like 'Nasty Nature' and ' Microscopic Monsters'! This event is free to attend.

Tuesday 24 October at Britwell Library, from 12.30-1.30pm, and at Langley Library, from 3-4pm.   

Meet your favourite Paw Patrol characters!

Skye and Marshall are visiting Slough Libraries this half term. Don’t miss out on this amazing photo opportunity at your local library! 

Library @ The Curve - Monday 23 October, 2-3pm

Langley Library - Wednesday 25 October, 2.30-3.30pm

Wexham Children’s Centre - Thursday 26 October, 10.30-11am (Please note: This will only be Marshall)

Vicarage Way Children’s Centre - Thursday 26 October, 11.30am-12.30pm (Please note: This will only be Skye)

Cippenham Library - Thursday 26 October, 2.30-3.30pm

Chalvey Community Centre - Friday 27 October, 10.30-11.30am

Britwell Library - Friday 27 October, 2.30-3.30pm

Test your detective knowledge with CSI workshops 

Dress up as a CSI agent to solve the crime in the library at The Curve - we’ve got lots of activities to help you crack the case! Join us on Friday 27 October at The Curve from 10am. This is a pay on the day event for children over the age of 5. Tickets are £4. 

Tropical rainforest experience  

Ever wondered what it’s like to walk through the Amazon Rainforest? Well, wonder no more! See the sights and hear the sounds of a tropical rainforest this October at The Curve. Once you’ve experienced the rainforest we’ve got some fun activities for you to do. Age 5+

Saturday 4 November with sessions throughout the day.

Tickets are available from The Curve website priced at £5 per child, £6 per adult and £20 per family.

What's on at Herschel Park

Herschel Park

Sunday 15 October, 7pm

International Wave of Light service

The Vishaal Foundation has organised the Wave of Light service for anyone touched by the loss of a child through miscarriage, neonatal death, or other tragic circumstances. Join them at the lake within Herschel Park to collectively release lanterns on the lake to accompaniment of Pop Goes The Choir. All lanterns, lights and pens will be provided by the Vishaal Foundation. For more information, call 07980 493314 or email vishaalfoundation@gmail.com 

See the Wave of Light poster for full details.

Tuesday 24 October, 11am-3pm

Family fun day

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. 

Saturday 28 October, 2-4pm

Toadstool hunt

Our session will start with a simple introduction to the life of toadstools and some guidance to help identify common ones before we go out to find fungi growing in the park. This is suitable for adults or families and accompanied children. Meet inside the Bentley Centre promptly at 2pm. 

For more information on the fun day or toadstool hunt, contact Ian Judd, Herschel Park management officer, on 07771 973035 or email ian.judd@slough.gov.uk

Pyar Actually - comedy

A sparkling new comedy is coming to The Curve in October.

Rifco Studio presents Pyar Actually, by Sukh Ojla, in association with Watford Palace Theatre. Polly has a reliable husband, two bright children, a well-paid job at the council and detached house with a double garage. She’s got it all. She may not be living the life she dreamed of back when she was a teenager, but who does?

Bali is a successful businessman. Loving his jet set lifestyle he swore he'd never return to the small town he grew up in. So why is he back? Is it too late for second chances? And is love, actually, all you need?

Sukh Ojla is part of the Rifco Associate programme, set up to provide support and guidance to British Asian artists in creating original and new work. Tickets for the show from 5 -7 October are unreserved seating, and cost £12.

To buy tickets, visit The Curve website. If you have any additional access needs, please email thecurve@slough.gov.uk 

What's on at The Curve

Curve logo

Event

Day

Date

Time

Audience

AnimAlphabet

Sat

30/09

11am & 2pm

Children & family

Pyar Actually

Thurs

05/10

7.30pm

Comedy for 12+

Pyar Actually

Fri

06/10

7.30pm

Comedy for 12+

Pyar Actually

Sat

07/10

3pm & 7.30pm

Comedy for 12+

Creative Collective Showcase

Tues

10/10

6.30-9.30pm

 

3D Printing Workshops

Sat

14/10

All Day

Makers

Paw Patrol Storytime

Mon

23/10

2-3pm

Children & families

Lego Build The Change

Mon

23/10

3x sessions

Children & families

Explore Learning

Tues

24/10

11.30am-12.30pm

Children & families

Lego Build The Change

Tues

24/10

3 sessions

Children & families

CSI Workshops

Fri

27/10

All day

Children & families

Tropical Rainforest Dome

Sat

04/11

All day

Children & families

 

Town centre events

Toen centre partnership logo2 October - Film Club

4.30-6.30pm at the YES shop (next to Robert Dyas)

Youth Engagement Slough's weekly filmmaking workshop led by Resource Productions - offering young people aged 11 to 25 opportunities to make and watch films.                                    

7 October – Empoword

3-5pm at the YES shop (next to Robert Dyas), before moving to The Curve

Youth Engagement Slough's monthly spoken word event, led by Aik Saath - offering young people aged 11 to 25 opportunities to write and share poetry.    

20 October – Link4Coffee

9.30-11.30am at Natasha Cosmetics & Café, 305 High Street

The Link4More coffee networking event is a relaxed open event. 

28 October – Spooktacular Halloween

11am – 4pm at Queensmere Observatory Shopping Centre. 

22 November - Slough Town Partnership meeting

Retailers and businesses will meet to discuss town centre improvements, issues impacting their businesses and measures to attract more visitors and shoppers into the town centre.                             

 

Talking Therapies - stress less workshops

Free NHS workshops to help you manage stress are being run by Talking Therapies, an NHS service.

The four week sessions enable adults of all ages to:

  • talk about problems and find out the best treatment and support
  • learn techniques to manage stress effectively
  • bring along a family member or friend for support
  • see a multilingual therapist.
  • Experts from Talking Therapies run sessions throughout the year in different venues.

There are four weekly session workshops running from 6.30pm to 8pm.

The next course in Slough starts on Wednesday 1 November, at Slough Aspire, 350 Edinburgh Avenue, Slough, SL1 4TU. 

Visit the Talking Therapies website for full details on the courses available.

You can also call 0300 365 2000, quoting ‘stress less’, or email talkingtherapies@berkshire.nhs.uk

Family fun events

More than 300 families have been getting active outdoors this summer taking on new mapping challenges in Herschel Park and Salt Hill Park.

The council’s active communities team worked with British Orienteering on a free participation project called ‘Xplorer’.

Five designated ‘Xplorer’ events ran across August with families taking on different navigational challenges each week.  

Co-ordinator Ciaran Crean said: “The project combines a healthy mix of physical activity and decision making and is something the whole family can enjoy together. Using a simple map, the aim is to find a number of markers located around the park. At each marker, children identify what animal is pictured and learn an interesting fact.

“It’s just been brilliant to see so many families out together exploring their local parks. The response from everybody who has tried ‘Xplorer’ has been really positive, both children and parents!”

There are plans to deliver more ‘Xplorer’ days, including Halloween and Christmas themed events.

To keep up to date with plans for future ‘Xplorer’ events and other sport and physical activity opportunities, check out the Active Slough Facebook page or follow the Twitter page.

You can also contact the Active Slough team on 01753 875784. 

Slough bonfire and fireworks spectacular

Find out more on the council's website.

Aladdin pantomime

Aladdin

Aladdin is coming to The Curve in December, where guests will be treated to a show packed with hit songs, comedy, plenty of audience interaction and pantomime’s favourite dame, Widow Twankey.

Aladdin will be performed at The Curve, William Street from 13 – 23 December, with public tickets from £12 each, conditions apply.

This year there are six school time performances.

Book your seats online or by calling the booking agent on 0333 666 3366. 

Christmas events

Christmas lights switch on

Join us to kick off the Christmas period with the Christmas lights switch on.

The event will be on Saturday 18 November in the town square, High Street, Slough, from 1pm, with fireworks going off around 5pm.

Meet Santa, be in with the chance to win prizes and enjoy a programme of entertainment, including singing and dancing. 

Christmas tree

The 40ft Christmas tree will be installed in the town square the week after the switch on event. There isn’t room for the stage and the tree at the same time in the town square, which is why the tree comes in afterwards. 

Festive fun

A weekend of family fun on 16 and 17 December will be held in the town square.

There will be stalls, face painting, glitter tattoos, balloon modelling, a Christmas trail and other activities.

More details will be available on the council's events page closer to the time.

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