Conference October 17th 2023 – Communities: Enrichment & Resilience

17th October 2023 - 9am - 4.30pm

Oculus The Gateway Conference Centre, Gatehouse Rd, Aylesbury, HP19 8FF

Local Councils play a significant role in shaping our communities which impacts the lives of its residents. Whether devolved or not; local councils are increasingly responsible for delivering services and managing community assets. Many of which will directly affect the health and wellbeing of residents.

The social wellbeing of a community relies strongly on the services, facilities, and activities available and on the opportunity for community engagement, interaction, development of a sense of inclusion and community cohesion.  As the first tier of local government, this is an area where we are best placed to make a positive impact.  

What’s Happening?

During this conference we will be focussing on four key areas Community Support, Partnerships, Funding and Youth.  You will come away with the ideas, skills, and practical tools you need to achieve more for your community.

The event offers delegates the opportunity to build connections, resource anchor organisations and  empower their councils and community leaders to develop and deliver a diverse range of community enhancement projects and support.

Our programme includes peer led keynote addresses, speakers from our principal authorities Buckinghamshire Council and Milton Keynes City Council, panel discussions, peer to peer workshops and Q&A sessions to enable delegates to share best practice and inspire future collaboration while highlighting new opportunities.

Our exhibitors will offer not only practical advice and solutions, but also act as springboards to our  delegates. 

Book Tickets

Members Tickets £25 per delegate

Non-members Tickets £50 per delegate

Book Workshops

At the conference there will be four workshops on during the afternoon session. These are for limited numbers of participants. All workshops are running simultaneously so please book onto your preferred workshop using the links below:

Bookings for the FREE workshops are only available to attendees of the conference with a valid event ticket.



BMKALC’s President will welcome attendees to our first peer to peer led conference and will set the scene for the day.

Speaker: Countess Elizabeth Howe

Steve is joined by colleagues Tash Darling – Youth Manager and Safeguarding Lead and Sean Perry – Community Services Manager

If not us, then who?

Exploring the impact of changes at principal authority and national level and how our sector can make a difference in mitigating these changes, Steve discusses the benefits of local service provision and the changes they make at a truly local level.

How can youth services help reduce demands on the health service?

How does offering advice to residents improve local economies?

How do collaborations bring better outcomes, at a lower cost?

And how can we prove our value?

With examples from where the former NALC Council of the Year has invested in direct services and how this had made a difference in the parish, Steve aims to inspire others to consider how they might make the changes wanted and needed within their communities.


Bio: Steve McNay has been managing Woughton Community Council since 2018, overseeing a diverse range of services and support that make Woughton an essential provider within the parish. Steve previously worked in the NHS and the third sector, primarily managing mental health services, but also learning disabilities, housing and homelessness and youth and community providers. Steve has previously lived within the parish, originally moving there in 1980 as the city was being built, and again in the early 2000’s, where he bought his first house.

 Moving into the local council sector has enabled Steve to take a longer term approach, with the ‘short term’ funding model of charities sometimes making it hard to build sustainable, ongoing support. Woughton offers a huge range of support, Including a specialist metal health and wellbeing officer, advice service, integrated youth services and a range of community support projects.

With a committed and supportive officer and councillor team, Woughton’s approach is increasingly being replicated in other areas and led to them being awarded ‘Council of the Year’ in 2019.  Speak- 


Mark is the Founder and Creative Director at Aubergine and website accessibility expert & champion. 30+ years experience working in the internet.
Author of the NALC Website Accessibility & Publishing Guidebook
Advisor to 300+ town & parish councils on website accessibility compliance
Public speaker & trainer
Parish councillor of 10+ years
Newly ILCA qualified!
Terrible golfer & lover of good wine.


Breakthrough Communications

Daniel Purchese is Co-Director of Breakthrough Communications, specialists in helping local councils communicate and engage effectively and compliantly with their communities. Daniel’s professional background is in community campaigning and training. He was previously Head of People Development for one of the country’s largest campaigning membership organisations and oversaw training programmes for tens of thousands of volunteers. Daniel has previously served as a town, district and county councillor as well as having been a Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services.

15 Minute Masterclass: What’s your council’s community engagement strategy?

It’s never been more important for councils of all shapes and sizes to ensure they are communicating and engaging effectively with the communities they serve. In this 15 minute Mini Masterclass, Daniel will share the crucial questions your council needs to consider in order to shape your strategic approach to community engagement.



Community Partnerships – How to do more with less.

With budgets, staff and time tight, how can local councils still support its residents? Partnering with charities, not-for-profit and volunteer groups gives local councils the know-how, expertise and valuable insight in supporting the community. Partners are already doing the work, supporting them ensures sustainability and an increase in services that can be provided to reach and support more residents. Community Partnerships is not always easy and its can be hard to know where to start.



Newport Pagnell’s Devolution Journey 

Newport Pagnell Town Council started out as a medium sized council about 15 years ago.  It has now grown to a super council with a precept of over E1M and further income that sits outside of its own accounts of around £2M.  It has taken on assets worth £17M, and now has a large leisure portfolio offer to residents.  The Town Council works closely with partnership organisations to deliver a programme that helps both the mental and physical health of our community, and to ensure that all segments of the community are treated inclusively.

Bio:  Shar Roselman has been involved in the parish council world for over sixteen years, both as a councillor and as a town clerk. She leads a team of thirteen staff members but has had experience of staffing numbers of over one hundred, and is accustomed to negotiating financial deals worth millions of pounds.  In addition to staff management skills, she holds extensive contract management experience, and tenders for and manages major contracts for Newport Pagnell Town Council.  Her previous jobs have been an eclectic mix of published author for children’s and young adult books, director of the Sentrachem Leadership Centre, and owner and front of house manager of two restaurants. She once worked for the Natal Rugby Union but is now a strong supporter of the British Lions.  Born in South Africa, with secondary schooling in both Germany and England, she brings a multi-cultural, broad view to council life.       

Enrichment Workshop 

This Enrichment Workshop is delivered in three parts by your peer colleagues from Buckingham Town Council, Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Town Council and  Wolverton & Greenleys Town Council  offering unique insight and first hand expert experience in delivering enrichment projects and provisions for your communities through Art, Events and Youth Programmes.

  • The cost of this workshop is included in your conference ticket.
  • Duration, one hour including Q&A
  • Places are limited book now to avoid disappointment.


Louise Stubbs, Deputy Town Clerk

Sam Hoareau, External Facilities & Town Centre Manager

Topic: Giant Swans: Art and Engagement in the Community

“From giant swans to colourful otters, Buckingham Town Council regularly delivers arts focused events, including two large sculpture projects in 2021 and 2023, the Buckingham Otter Trail and the Buckingham Swan Trail. Louise and Sam will guide you through how the Council uses art to engage with the community, including how to sell your ideas, manage grant funding, sponsorship and encourage a creative environment.”



Delia Shepard Town Clerk

Davina Pancholi-Ifould, Community Events and Support Services Officer

Topic: Understanding the value of community events 

Community events are often viewed as a nice thing to do or something that must happen to meet the trends of a season eg Easter, Eid and Christmas.

One of the more challenging aspects of hosting events lies outside of the logistical organisation and begins with the intention.

  • What is this event for?
  • What will we learn from it?
  • What value will our residents get from it?
  • How will they feel during and after?

At Bletchley and Fenny Stratford agreeing these goals allows us to harness the full power of the gathering of our communities in a way that is more beneficial than just people enjoying one day. We’ll try to illustrate what we’ve learnt from delivering this and other smaller events in conjunction with our community partners.


Andrea Vincent, Town Clerk

Chris Madeley, Community Engagement and Projects Officer

Topic: Youth Provision 

‘My take on parish/town councils is they need to ask the community what they need and then do their best to provide or facilitate that provision. This is what we have striven to do with a wide consultation. The presentation focuses on youth provision as that was what our community primarily asked for but the principles can be applied to any activity.’ Andrea Vincent, Town Clerk


Funding Workshop Conference 2023

Sourcing Funding for Town and Parish Councils

Speaker: Mike Deegan 

This one-hour workshop offers invaluable information about the funding sources available for community health & wellbeing projects in Buckinghamshire. There will also be tips and advice on applying for grants and writing more successful bids.

The session will cover the current main sources of relevant national, local and county funding. It will also consider the beneficial opportunities (and accessibility of resources) possible when working with local partner organisations and health authorities.

Mike over 25 years experience of writing successful funding bids and developing thriving community & environmental projects. His expertise working for a charity, being a parish councillor and delivering local community projects means that Mike fully understands how smaller bodies and organisations operate.

  • The cost of this workshop is included in your conference ticket.
  • Duration, one hour including Q&A
  • Places are limited book now to avoid disappointment.

Social Prescribing Workshop 

Hughenden Parish Council Logo

Speaker: Councillor Simon Keary

Long standing Parish Councillor (Hughenden) – working closely with local communities both to celebrate key parish milestones but also promoting engagement through involvement in parish projects around Heritage and Nature Recovery. Life member of the Chiltern Society leading a board that is looking to the future in terms of organisational development and a sustainable future for the Chilterns wider area  and one that links local communities to local nature.

The day job with the NHS creates a perfect link to delivering health and wellbeing outcomes through social prescribing as well as developing strategic level productive organisational partnerships.

Topic: Social Prescribing 

Recently there has been a lot made of Social Prescribing – the ability of GPs and their teams to link patients to community and national organisations and activities which would benefit them in terms of physical and mental health – and so avoid surgery and drug prescriptions.

But this concept has been around for a long time – its just that most of it is through self referrals and the quality of the experience is a person judgement rather than pre-ordained.

In this session we look at the forms that social prescribing takes, who does it, how town and parish councils can promote and get involved with this and how they can support residents to benefit from these opportunities.

  • The cost of this workshop is included in your conference ticket.
  • Duration, one hour including Q&A
  • Places are limited book now to avoid disappointment.

Buckinghamshire’s Youth Voice Executive Committee and Milton Keyne’s Youth Cabinet are teaming up to provide a youth perspective to BMKALC’s 2023 conference. These young people are actively involved in diverse and creative youth voice projects to make a positive difference to their communities while developing their own skills and experience.

Through their keynote speech, marketplace stall, and spot on the discussion panel, the young people will share their perspectives, experience, and top tips for engaging with young people in your communities and empowering them to make a difference.


Blachere Illumination are global leaders in the provision of Eco Responsible Festive lighting. We now have 2 Eco Ranges BIOPRINT and also our groundbreaking RECYPRINT where we recycle plastic bottles into beautiful decorations. Our patented exclusive innovations have also been recognised by WWF who have asked us to become one of their commercial partners to recognise our achievements in this field. Find out more about Blachere Illuminations 

Introducing ProludicProludic has over 30 years of experience in the design and creation of play and sports areas. The company supplies equipment suitable for all play environments, including parks, playgrounds, leisure attractions and residential areas. Proludic manages all stages of the manufacturing and installation chain. Proludic supplies a wide range of play equipment suitable for children of all ages. Themed multiplay units are available along with more traditional equipment such as springers, slides and swings. These are available in timber or metal. We offer a free design and consultation service using its dedicated design department and nationwide Area Managers. Clients are guided through the creation of their play area. Bespoke solutions can be incorporated where required.

Find out more about Proludic

BHIB Councils Insurance is part of BHIB Insurance Brokers, one of the UK’s largest Independent Insurance Brokers. We are insurance specialists for Councils, Charities and Not-For-Profit organisations and work with Aviva to provide competitive insurance solutions.

Find out more about BHIB Insurance

oneill homerONeill Homer is the leading neighbourhood planning consultancy in England, having supported almost 200 first time and review projects in more than 50 local planning authority areas since 2012, including more than 40 projects in the Bucks and MKC areas. We provide a complete service offer from start to examination and we are also retained by clients to advise on planning applications and Local Plan consultations. Neil Homer is a director with over 30 years’ experience as a chartered town planner and with an MBA and urban design qualifications. Our small team is based in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds but supports projects across the country.

Find out more about ONeill Homer

Breakthrough CommunicationsBreakthrough Communications supports councils to communicate and engage more effectively and compliantly with their communities. Their Council Hive service provides councils with on-demand access to training and guidance, deep-dive masterclasses, resource packs and templates, and one-to-one expert advice, covering all aspects of council communications, community engagement and GPDR and FOI compliance.

They also manage council social media, carry out neighbourhood plans and community surveys, consultations and community engagement campaigns, as well as helping councils with GDPR and FOI matters.

Find out more about Breakthrough Communications

Our thanks to Buckinghamshire Council for the very generous provision of the use of The Gateway Conference Centre facilities.



Aubergine are the UK’s leading experts in purpose-built, WCAG 2.1 AA compliant accessible websites for parish & town councils. Transparency Code-ready and easy to use, our websites are built on a proven, WCAG-compliant framework and include comprehensive training.

Easy-to-use and with council-specific functionality, our websites include templates for agenda and minutes documents, policies, meeting calendars, news, venues, events, councillor & staff profiles, A-Z directory of services, planning application displays and much more.