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Project to help isolated residents given biggest chunk of cash in ‘Amersham Decides’ competition

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Amersham decides award presentation : (L-R) Noel Brown (Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health at Buckinghamshire County Council), Farrukh Siddiqi (Citizens Advice Service), Gareth Williams (LAF Chairman), Gary Gotch (Amersham Mobile Museum), Steve Catanach (Old Amersham Memorial Garden) and Chris Holden (Savvy E-Safety).

A home visiting service from the local Citizens Advice Service is to receive the biggest share of Buckinghamshire County Council money being divided between four local initiatives in Amersham.

The four schemes, all of which benefit the Amersham community, were shortlisted as part of the ‘Amersham Decides’ competition, which has seen local people vote for their favourite project to decide how £9,000 of Buckinghamshire County Council funding should be allocated.

The results were announced at a meeting in Amersham on Wednesday 8th August 2018. The Chiltern Citizens Advice home visiting service polled the most votes, meaning it will get £4,000 to help reach particularly isolated and vulnerable users to give them valuable advice on anything from money matters to community activities, reducing isolation and improving well being.

In second place was Old Amersham Memorial Gardens, which will be granted £2,500 to create a sensory garden for residents and visitors to enjoy and a safe haven for wildlife.

Amersham Mobile Museum came third and will be given £1,500 towards creating a mobile exhibition to bring the museum exhibitions to vulnerable and isolated people who can’t get there themselves.

And a ‘Savvy E-Safety’ scheme will get £1,000 of funding towards setting up courses in Amersham where local tech savvy young people pair up with their older peers to teach them how to stay safe online and how to avoid falling victim to online scams.

Amersham Decides has been run by the Amersham Local Area Forum (LAF), one of 19 LAF areas across Buckinghamshire set up by the County Council as a way for local people to decide for themselves how money should be spent in their area.

County Councillor Gareth Williams, who chairs the Amersham Local Forum, made the announcements last night. He said: ‘I’m thrilled that we are supporting all four of these projects in this way, each of which is making a valuable contribution to life in Amersham, especially for residents who might need extra help.

It’s been a real pleasure to find out more about each scheme and I’m delighted for the Chiltern Citizens Advice Service who will be using the £4,000 award to really make a difference to the lives of people in the Amersham area who find it especially hard to access advice services.

It’s really satisfying to know that it’s local people who made the decision about how the £9,000 should be spent – this is what the LAFs are all about – handing power to local residents so they choose how money is spent where they live.

He added: ‘It’s also been heartening to see how engaged our young people have been and that they overwhelmingly chose to support the Citizens Advice service to support our older and vulnerable people.

Farrukh Siddiqi from Chiltern Citizens Advice said: ‘We are very appreciative to have been awarded £4,000. The Advice Service project will really help combat loneliness in the Amersham area, especially for our elderly people.

Further details on the 2018 ‘Amersham Decides’ competition and a video of the presentation can de found at https://twitter.com/CommunitiesBCC/status/1027493083557097473.

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