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Free swimming sessions for local teenagers this summer to aid water safety

Young people aged 13 to 17 years old will be able to enjoy free swim sessions at two popular leisure centres during the school summer holidays, thanks to a water safety initiative.

Leisure Focus, our leisure operator, in collaboration with local partners including the council itself, is launching its “Safe Summer Swim” initiative, with a mission to reduce the risk of young people getting into trouble in lakes and rivers.

The programme offers free one-hour fun swim sessions for 13- to 17-year-olds at Windsor Leisure Centre and Braywick Leisure Centre (weekdays only), from Monday 24 July to Friday 1 September, making swimming accessible and promoting water safety.

With up to 40 spaces available per session, this initiative seeks to provide local teenagers with an opportunity to learn essential water safety skills, improve their swimming abilities, and foster a greater appreciation for water-related activities.

Safe Summer Swim is funded by Leisure Focus Trust, Louis Baylis Trust, Shanly Homes, Baylis Media CIC, and the Royal Borough.

Read more about Safe Summer Swim on our website and see below for more on water safety.

Royal Borough to take action to address serious financial challenges and set new priorities

Next week, Cabinet will discuss the scale of the financial challenge facing the council. Two reports about our current and future budget position will be discussed, along with work to address the financial challenges.


These show a forecast overspend of almost £5m against this year’s budget, set in February – and over £10m over the next four years.


Whilst the Royal Borough faces particular challenges, local authorities across the country are struggling to balance their budgets. Next week Cabinet will discuss these challenges and launch the budget process for 2024-25. The council is already working hard to close the budget gap for this year and taking action to address overspend in areas including adult social care and environmental services.


We are also improving the way in which we manage contracts and procurement and looking at ways to get more value from our assets and from investment partnerships. 


Over the next few months, we will be developing proposals to balance the budget for the future and to agree a new set of priorities for the borough. These will be brought to Full Council next February, where we will be agreeing our new Corporate Plan and Budget for 2024-25. 


The council will work in partnership with our communities, businesses and voluntary and community organisations to address these challenges.


We will be holding a series of discussion events over September and October, to shape our priorities and generate ideas for future ways of working. This will be followed by a wider public consultation in December. More information about how to join these conversations will be shared over the coming weeks. 


Read more in our press release.

Cabinet to consider demolition of Broadway car park

Cabinet will be asked next week to agree demolition of Maidenhead’s closed Broadway car park, to remove safety risks posed by the failed structure, while reducing the potential for anti-social behaviour and town centre blight. 

Since closing it for safety reasons in December 2022, we've worked with contractors and specialists to fully assess the structure. The 1960s concrete structure is unfortunately now beyond its economic life and in significant structural failure, due to water ingress eroding the reinforced steel.

Demolition is the recommended way forward to make the site safe. If this is approved by Cabinet, work will take place as swiftly as practically possible, supported by traffic management, to minimise disruption on the town centre. We will also be looking at options to create a temporary car park once it has been demolished.

For the time being, ShopMobility can continue to operate from its temporary location within Nicholsons Shopping Centre, while the council liaises with People 2 Places and other stakeholders over plans to relocate to a more suitable alternative location.

We'd again like to thank everyone for their ongoing patience, and for continuing to play their part for Maidenhead town centre by shopping locally and supporting traders.

Broadway car park is within the wider footprint of the proposed Nicholsons Quarter redevelopment, which would involve the council re-providing a new multi-storey car park in this area. 

Read more in our press release.

More fun this weekend as Maidenhead Library turns 50 

Maidenhead Library is celebrating its 50th anniversary this week - and there are still plenty of free, fun celebrations to look forward to this weekend.

Our Library Service organised a full week of community celebrations to make the golden anniversary of this Grade II-listed landmark and community hub.

Already, we have seen guest appearances by The Wombles, who are celebrating 50 years since their first TV appearance, as well as exhibitions, author talks, a murder mystery evening, and fun for children and the older generation too.

This evening, the library will be transformed into a silent disco, offering the unique opportunity for those lucky people who've bagged tickets to bust their moves on the library dancefloor. Sorry, the disco is now fully-booked.

The fun continues over the weekend, with live musical performances on the library balcony tomorrow from 11am, plus an Immersive Experiences dome in Library Square on both days, offering fun for children and adults alike. These weekend events don't require advance booking - so just come along.

Visit our website for more.

Making sure the life buoys are ready to use in an emergency


Next Tuesday is World Drowning Prevention Day and we're playing our part locally by sharing advice on how to stay safe around open water, through our awareness campaign, Be #WaterAware this summer.  

The orange lifebuoys, positioned along the Thames and at private lakes, have a long rope attached and can be thrown into the water to help a person in trouble to stay afloat.

Our Community Wardens have been checking lifebuoys to make sure they are ready to save a life in an emergency. Sadly, some of these lifesaving devices are frequently vandalised. Please respect these lifesavers and leave them intact to do their job in an emergency.

The Community Wardens now carry throwlines so they can help save a life if they come across a water emergency during their routine patrols, which include riverside locations.

This week, they've been getting expert training and practice in their effective use at Bray Lake.

This important advice may save a life - it could be yours

If you get into trouble in open water this summer, would you know what to do? This important advice from the RNLI could save your life - please make sure you share it with family and friends.

Float to live

If you find yourself struggling in the water unexpectedly, your instinct would tell you to swim hard. But cold water shock could make you gasp uncontrollably. Then you could breathe in water and drown.


  1. Tilt your head back until your ears are submerged in the water which forces your body up to the surface. Facing upwards also protects the nose and mouth from the water, giving unobstructed access to air
  2. Try to relax and regulate breathing
  3. While floating on your back, moving your arms gently helps you stay afloat and it’s ok if your legs are not level with the rest of your body
  4. If you can, get your legs to the surface, spread your arms and legs like a star as it improves stability
  5. Once panic has passed and controlled breathing returns, you can then call out for help.

Helping someone else in trouble

If you see someone in trouble in the water, shout to them and encourage them to tilt their head back to float on their back.

Locate a nearby lifesaving ring to throw it to them, call 999. Lifebuoys in our borough will soon have QR codes on them to help you pinpoint where you are when calling emergency services.

South Central Ambulance Service and Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service do not recommend getting into the water yourself.

New solar panels at Braywick Nature Centre will help showcase renewables

We've fitted solar panels at Braywick Nature Centre to create our own clean and renewable energy and help educate visitors about their use.

The panels were installed after we launched and registered last year with the borough-wide group purchasing scheme, Solar Together, along with 1,200 residents and businesses.

Along with the solar panels, a battery unit has been installed to store energy for use in the evenings. Our new infrastructure will also be a teaching tool for groups visiting the centre.

The Solar Together scheme has reopened for applications this year, with the Royal Borough joining forces with neighbouring unitary authorities to group bid for cheaper installation of solar panels for all.

Residents and businesses (with permission from the property owner to install panels) can also join to benefit from clean and renewable energy, while becoming more energy-independent, cutting energy bills and carbon.

Read more in our press release.

Could you volunteer at Braywick Nature Festival?

Our natural environment team organising this year’s Braywick Nature Festival, on Saturday 5 August, is seeking volunteers to help out at the event.

They’ve plenty of tasks available such as car marshalling, face-painting, setup and packing up, helping with pond dipping and minibeast safaris, as well as running stalls promoting wildlife.

The free event at Braywick Nature Reserve runs from midday to 5pm. If you’re interested in helping out, even if it’s just for a few hours, email Tom Hall to find out more.

Or simply come along with the family

The festival is a chance to experience your local nature reserve, with pond dipping, live music, nature trails, workshops and more.

If you've never visited before, the address is Braywick Nature Reserve, Hibbert Road, Maidenhead, SL6 1UU. Pushchairs and wheelchairs are welcome. Well behaved dogs on leads welcome too.

There's no parking available on-site, so we recommend parking at Braywick Leisure Centre car park, which is less than a five-minute walk away.

Look out for the World Cafe in Oldfield


Pop along to Larchfield Community Centre, Desborough Crescent in Maidenhead, next Wednesday 26 July, from 5 to 7pm.

Meet fellow residents and community groups to brainstorm ideas to help combat the cost of living in Oldfield, as well as other local issues worrying you.

As always, there’ll be free refreshments and goodies. And there’s no need to book – just turn up.

Our award-winning World Cafes are informal. They’re all about working together to find solutions that are right for your neighbourhood.

For more details about our World Cafes as well as what’s been achieved at others across the borough, visit the World Café section on RBWM Together.

Could you be a GoodGym volunteer helping isolated older people?

GoodGym volunteers help combat loneliness by paying social visits to isolated older people across the borough, as well as helping out by doing practical tasks in their homes and gardens.

As becoming a volunteer can seem daunting, GoodGym is holding a series of informal drop-ins next week starting tomorrow. These sessions will highlight how easy and rewarding volunteering can be, as well as how it can boost your own wellbeing in addition to the people you help.

The sessions are being held at Maidenhead Community Centre, in Marlow Rd (enter from the car park side) on the following dates:

  • Saturday 22 July, 11am to 12.30pm
  • Tuesday 25 July, 10am to 1pm
  • Thursday 27 July, 9 to 10am
  • Friday 28 July, 9 to 10am

You can also find out more about GoodGym nationally on its website or on its Windsor and Maidenhead GoodGym Facebook

Results of the Sunningdale Parish by-election

Yesterday, a by-election took place in Sunningdale over one contested vacant seat on the parish council.

There were two candidates and the results are:

• Robert Morgan (inde) - 531 votes

• George Booth (inde) - 111 votes.

The turnout was 15.92%. Thank you to everyone who supported this by-election.

Royal Borough Community Spotlight

Here are just some of the upcoming community events and volunteering opportunities in the Royal Borough:

  • Maidenhead Festival (22 and 23 July) at Kidwells Park, Maidenhead. The family-focused event will feature live music, fairground, stalls and side shows and if you're lucky you might spot a friendly clown or acrobat. Tribute headliners on Saturday night are Taylor Swift and Inferno, a tribute to ABBA, and on Sunday George Michael and A Million Dreams. Festival goers can also enjoy the free fireworks display on Saturday night. Admission is free, charges apply to refreshments and some activities. Visit the festival website for more

  • Free cricket this summer (25 July for six Weeks) at Furze Platt Senior School, Platt Road, SL6 7NQ. Dynamos 8 - 11 years – 10.15 to 11.15am (sign up here and use the code KTJ87U). All Stars 5-8 years – 9 to 10am (sign up here and use the code N4RERU)

  • Volunteers wanted at Thames Hospice – Local charity Thames Hospice are appealing for volunteers to join their eBay commerce team, including packers, listers and researchers. The roles are easy with full training given, and are a great way to add online sales to your CV. To learn more, please visit the Thames Hospice website 

  • Indoor short mat bowls club (every Thursday 7pm) at Braywick Leisure Centre, Maidenhead. New members who have never tried their hands at bowls before but would like to give it a go are welcome. Short mat bowls is a game that can be played by anyone of any age or any ability, as a starter you can try the game using the club's bowls. Experienced players who are looking to join a new or additional club are also welcome. For more information contact Tony on 07985583295 or just come along and watch. 

  • Nature’s Haven is creating a community healing garden with opportunities to engage as many people in our community as possible as we nurture and promote a feeling of connectedness and wellbeing. We are inviting volunteers to gain practical gardening experience. Sessions run every Thursday 5.30pm to 7.30pm and Saturday 10am to 12pm at the Community Centre, 4 Marlow Road, Maidenhead, SL6 7HY. Fully accessible and parking available. Learn more at

  • Volunteer driver for King George VI Day Centre, Clarence Road, Windsor. We are a small charity supporting the local elderly, providing social activities and lunch. We currently need a volunteer driver one day a week. For more information, visit the centre's website.

If you have an upcoming not-for-profit community event or appeal for volunteers you’d like to promote in this newsletter, simply send basic information about your event to and it could be shared with more than 21,000 local residents.

You just need to include a brief description, when and where it takes place, and a link to a website/social media page/contact where people can find out more.

Local Travel Updates

The RMT union has announced nationwide strike action involving 14 train operators, including South Western Railway (SWR) and Great Western Railway (GWR), on Saturday 22, and Saturday 29 July.

In addition, there could be further disruption from Monday 17 to Saturday 22 July and from Monday 31 July to Saturday 5 August due to industrial action short of a strike by the Aslef union. 

For updates, visit the GWR website and SWR website.

For details of council works on highways, visit our website. For full local roadwork details, including work by utility firms, please visit the One Network website.

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