This is what you have been writing to us about this week.
To send your own letter, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note, any letters sent to the Bucks Free Press office are only being picked up periodically as all staff are still working from home.
'No comparison between Covid and war restrictions'
In the Nov 13 edition of the BFP, Wycombe MP Steve Baker likens the government’s Covid restrictions to the tyranny threatened by the second world war, and then acknowledges that the restrictions are to “save life itself”.
I am lucky enough not to have been born before the war but history informs us that there is no comparison between the second world war restrictions that extended through the 1940s and 50s to those which we have to manage in our lives today, and to suggest otherwise is both misleading and an insult to those who sacrificed so much for our benefit.
Steve Baker then states that he has formed a ‘Covid Recovery Group’ of like-minded Conservative MPs who have three guiding principles:
1) To undertake a full-cost benefit analysis of the restrictions. This Business School approach will only confirm what we already know, that the costs of the pandemic are frightening, which ever way you look at it. However the inevitable problem of this approach is that it will be necessary to establish a monetary value for a human life.
Please Mr Baker, do start this conversation by quoting the value you would put on your own families lives, best to ask if they agree, only then can it be judged whether the cost of keeping them Covid free is “beneficial”.
2) The Monopoly of Government Scientists. Every day we hear from leading scientists from around the world they often differ in what may be the best next nuance to strategy. Your suggested panel will be no different, but it is the Government that has to decide.
3) NHS Test and Trace. Changing to Local Heath teams will make no difference whilst only 40 per cent of the population download the APP and for what ever reason large numbers are making themselves unavailable to the Tracers.
You need to be calling for more obligation not suggesting less.
With respect I suggest that you rename your group the Pin the Tail on the Donkey Club.
All that as likely to be achieved is to add further confusion, mistrust and perhaps create false hopes for those who wish to believe Covid can be managed without cost and commitment.
Clive Gough, Buckland Common
Helping families in need over Christmas
Inner Wheel is an organisation set up in 1924 by women for women.
It is now an international organisation with clubs on all continents, and High Wycombe Inner Wheel Club, founded in 1945, is a proud member of that organisation.
Our three objectives are to promote true friendship, encourage the ideal of personal service and foster international understanding.
To this end, we raise funds for charities at local, national and international levels, usually by holding events to which friends and friends of friends are warmly welcome.
Sadly, because of Covid-19 and the lockdowns, we have been unable to hold such events but we continue to hold our monthly meetings via Zoom and have held competitions via Zoom as well, which has enabled us to continue to raise funds, albeit in a limited way.
For 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 our presidents chose four local charities for their respective years, in addition to other deserving bodies.
We are very pleased to say that, for 2019/2020 we raised over £7,000, of which £6,800 went to those four charities. One of our very deserving charities at the time, was the One Can Trust.
Our members were pleased to be able to present to One Can Trust donations to help fill Christmas hampers for families who might otherwise not be able to enjoy their Christmas.
Kate Williamson, Membership and Development, Inner Wheel Club of High Wycombe
'Blundering project for road designers'
We read in the BFP last week the latest chapter in the saga of very expensive “improvements” to the stretch of Oxford Road, High Wycombe, by the Jobcentre.
Recently large ugly grey Lego type blocks were sited on the central reservation to replace big wooden boxes filled with earth.
Those boxes were put there just a few years ago when expensive alterations were made to this busy road in and out of the town centre.
That work was bitterly condemned by motorists as the end result was a road with one lane running in each direction instead of two lanes each way which had probably been there almost back to the days of horses and carts.
Four lanes had been made into two lanes which severely led to traffic congestion.
Those alterations went on for several months and must have cost a fortune.
No doubt it was a big blundering project for well paid road designers and builders. (I wickedly suspect that since then they’ve been transferred to the health sector to work on the muddled and failing Covid test and trace scheme).
Now we know that the blocks cost £130,000 and so far one of them has been uprooted by a vehicle and will need resetting. The blocks look like WW2 anti-tank obstructions.
Lots of precious public money has been spent on this road in recent years. Overall it’s clear that the original four lane layout let more traffic through with less congestion. Madness?
Meanwhile health, social welfare, education and other vital services desperately need more money.
Name and address withheld
Armed services are essential for the nation
Well Covid-19 certainly put paid to the usual service of Wycombe remembrance service and with it the preceding collections for the Royal British Legion.
Please let us not dismiss this, much, if not most of the Royal British Legion day to day working capital derives from public collections/donations all of which have been severally hamstrung year.
In our busy lives we can easily forget the work that the Royal British Legion does for incapacitated serving and ex-service personnel and their families, both those with physical and mental health injury’s.
The C19 lockdown has further complicated this precluding, in many cases, the face to face counselling and direct hands on assistance that the Royal British Legion provides.
At our last Zoom meeting (yes, we use technology) Wycombe Rotary made a unanimous decision to collect from our members the same amount we collected last year and to be top this up by personal donations.
A simple example being the provision of the Nightingale Hospitals, manning the C19 testing Stations, the Emergency Logistics needed to move the equipment and eventually the vaccines about the country and so on.
Our country’s service personnel sign up to putting their lives on the line so we can sleep safely at night. The last war being the most horrific example and in this, the Royal British Legion have always been there to support, to help and provide care.
Can we at Wycombe Rotary thank the Royal British Legion for all their work and ask you as individuals to ensure their work continues to the current high standards by supporting them.
If you can’t give directly or do not know where or how to help, you can use our giving page at our website www.rotaryclubofhighwycombe.uk, marking your donation Wycombe Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
Anthony Mealing, President, Rotary Club of High Wycombe
Why should kids breathe dirty air?
I write to you on behalf of leading respiratory health charities about the dangers of air pollution around schools in Buckinghamshire.
Recently we commissioned the first national research into levels of fine particulate matter around all British schools and colleges. Known as PM2.5, this type is the most worrying form of air pollution to human health.
Our analysis showed more than a quarter of all schools in the country are in areas that are above World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for PM2.5.
Further analysis of the research has shown the problem to be far worse in some parts of the country and in Buckinghamshire, over half of all schools and colleges (54%) are in areas with very high levels.
Air pollution is linked with tens of thousands of early deaths each year and impacts certain groups more, including children and people with lung conditions. It is also linked to long-term illnesses including lung cancer and cardiovascular disease.
It is fundamentally unfair that children are forced to breathe dirty air that could be putting their health and futures at risk. For the 1 in 11 who already have asthma, the risks are far greater, as exposure to air pollution can trigger asthma attacks, which may even leave them hospitalised.
Current legal limits for PM2.5 in the UK are inadequate, they are double those recommended by the WHO.
Over the next few weeks, MPs will be debating the Environment Bill in parliament and government has the opportunity to commit to tougher laws on PM2.5 in line with WHO guidelines. This commitment could make them world leaders in tackling air pollution.
But we need to make sure that they know how important this is.
We would like to ask your readers to show their support for stronger targets on air pollution by emailing their MP using the quick and easy tool on our website: www.blf.org.uk/take-action/campaign/clean-air/environment-bill.
Sarah MacFadyen, Head of Policy, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation
Charity's plea after shop closures
Following the Government’s announcement of a second lockdown, we were forced to close our shops in the South East until Thursday, December 3.
We expect the current shop closures across England to cost us millions of pounds. This adds to the already devastating impact of the coronavirus on the charity’s income.
Our funding for new research is expected to be halved by £50 million next year, which could limit future funding and delay important scientific breakthroughs that could help save lives.
Our charity shops run purely on the support of the public, which is why we are urging the local community to support us, either by shopping online or donating smaller items via post.
Our eBay store remains open for those looking for quality, unique preloved items and our online shop is the ideal place to find Christmas cards, accessories and festive gifts.
You can also support the BHF by donating smaller, quality items to us by post - as part of essential shopping trips – such as branded clothing, jewellery, vinyl records and cameras.
The support of the local community – whether it’s donating unwanted quality items or buying a festive gift for a loved one – will help us continue to fund research that saves and improves lives in the South East.
For more details on how you can support the BHF please visit www.bhf.org.uk/shop.
Louise Harbour, Regional Director for the South at the British Heart Foundation
Help children cope with bullying
Every year thousands of children contact Childline about being bullied online and tell us how it can feel impossible to escape.
Lockdown has intensified these feelings for many and since April we’ve counselled more than 1,500 children and young people across the UK and Channel Islands about online bullying.
Children have told us about people sending threatening text messages and being pressured into engaging in sexual conversations.
Others have shared how they’ve been excluded from online games by other children, whilst some spoke of online identities being stolen to embarrass or cause trouble using a child’s name.
Before lockdown measures were first introduced, from January to March there were on average 134 counselling sessions with children about online bullying.
That monthly average has increased by 84% to 246 counselling sessions from April to September.
This is worrying, especially as we continue to adhere to strict coronavirus restrictions in England, and children continue to spend more time online.
This Anti Bullying Week, it’s important to reinforce the long-term impact bullying can have on the mental wellbeing of a child, and how important it is that every child knows who they can turn to for support.
If a parent thinks their child is being bullied online, it can be hard to remain calm, but it’s crucial not to overwhelm a child with questions.
Taking their device away is likely to make them feel like whatever has happened is their fault; instead it’s helpful to listen to their worries, suggest they take some time away from certain apps, and provide them with reassurance.
There are more tips about how to help you and your child cope with bullying on the NSPCC website.
We know that long-term bullying can lead to long-term mental health issues and this still remains the top concern of calls to Childline with over 43,000 counselling sessions taking place in regard to mental health since the lockdown started.
Bullying can happen for any reason and that’s why Childline launched its ‘Nobody is Normal’ campaign this month to highlight that no matter how you feel inside, you’re not alone and there’s no need to suffer in silence.
If you’re an adult concerned about a child, please call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000. Childline is still here for children on 0800 1111 or www.childline.org.
Anna Collishaw-Nikodemus, NSPCC Local Campaigns Manager