Letter from the Chairman
Doesn’t time fly! Looking at the May/June Newsletter, we can see that nearly half the year has gone by, and what have we achieved thus far? Our Staff and Trustees have all been busy organising future events, and bringing things up to date. Some of us have been busy attending events and generally sorting things.
BREXIT and Health and Social Care
Have you ever considered how BREXIT might affect us when fully implemented? According to research by Independent Age, 84,000 social care workers are EEA workers, 78,000 of whom do not have British Citizenship, and are thus deemed to be at risk of exclusion. In fact anyone, sorry, everyone who cannot produce ID of British citizenship, is at risk. This is now the trend. We know that the great majority of care workers are migrant workers, so when they return to their homeland, a chasm will be left, which will be difficult, if not impossible to fill. This will affect the level of care provided for us, should we need it. And talking about care, did you know that Jeremy Hunt has assumed the responsibility for social care, and has promised that the long awaited Green Paper which will address the issue of the unfair charging system that treats dementia and cancer patients differently. He will also introduce a cap on care costs and look at risk proofing in delivering a stable and vibrant market. He also promises to integrate the NHS and social care. Conversely, Barbara Keeley, at the TUC conference last month, posited that if Labour came back into power, care would be free. So there is something to look forward to. Enough said, but there is more to come.
“The Windrush Generation”
Quite topical at the moment, although it has been going on quietly for years, is what is happening to people who arrived in Britain in the Windrush era or before. At that time, people from the British Colonies were encouraged even recruited – to come to Britain to work at various jobs such as London Transport, and in the NHS. Are you one of those, or do you know anyone who might be? We were all happy to come here to work. On arrival some found employment, but most could not find truly compatible work. At that time, however, it was an open door policy; you just organised your fare and jumped on a boat or a plane. Once you landed and settled in, you went to the unemployment office where you were given your National Insurance Number (I hope you’ve memorised it). The children who were brought here at that time were registered at a school, and they progressed through the education system, and later found employment. Many never returned to their homelands, as they adopted Britain as their home. And many were not aware that even though they were British they had to Naturalise. For a nominal fee we registered at the Home Office after we had been resident here for five years, and received a document showing we are British.
Since the BREXIT vote the immigration laws have been intensified, as a result of which certain people trying to get treatment at hospital have to produce ID, or prove you are British. To give two examples, one 46 year old male at age 10 arrived with mother who was a nurse. He went to school and later worked as a mechanic. He was diagnosed with cancer. He said that he was told at the hospital that he would have to pay £54,000 for his treatment because he could not prove he was British. The resulted in him losing his job, his home, and his right to live. He found himself living in a shack without running water and electricity, at the mercy of friends where he would tidy himself and have a hot meal.
Mr Braithwaite arrived here in similar circumstances at age 9, went to primary and secondary school, college, trained and worked hard as a Teaching Assistant. From all accounts, he was liked and did well at his work. He, too, was dismissed, and is now living on his savings, for a while under threat of deportation. These two, and other very recent cases, caused a furore and a plethora of petitions, most of which I have signed, so Amber Rudd had to face questions and outbursts in the House of Commons to bring about recognition for their wrong doings and, as I am writing this, has now resigned and been replaced by Sajid Javid.
That’s just a snapshot of the predicament in which many people find themselves. Not only do they lose their material possessions, they lose their dignity. They are not entitled to benefits. They are sometimes placed in holding areas, ready for deportment to places and people they do not know. I think it important for anyone who thinks they can find themselves in that situation to get naturalised as soon as you are able to. Details of how to do this are changing daily as the Government is being forced by the outcry to review its procedures—so check with a reliable source on what action to take and start things moving without delay.
“From the Windrush to Lewisham”
Even before this scandal began hitting the headlines plans were in place for a wonderful event in the Broadway Theatre, on Thursday, 21 June, put on by the Windrush Foundation (Arthur Torrington has been a regular speaker at Pensioners Day and our Black History Month events) and hosted by the Mayor of Lewisham. This is billed as “an evening of inspiration and heritage” and will include tributes, music and song. Tickets are free, but need to be booked. This is “on- line” through the Theatre website, but if you would rather not do that just get in touch with the Forum office or call in at the Monday Project for a paper ticket as I have been speaking to Arthur and have obtained a special allocation for Forum members.
And let us hope that by then the Government will have gone much further in sorting out past injustices so that we will truly have something to celebrate.
And the following day in Westminster Abbey there is a service of thanksgiving at 12noon, “Spirit of Windrush”. Again, this is free, but tickets need to be booked in advance and on-line. Just search on key words and you will find the link.
Sadly and inevitably over the years and months the Forum Office receives notification of LPF members passing away and the request to remove their names from the mailing list. These are acted on to the best of our ability: we know how upsetting it is to continue to receive post for a departed loved one – but I am now feeling that more should be done and that Forum members are a special group of people who are entitled to news of each other. Space in the newsletter, as you know, is very limited, but we have decided to initiate an “In Memoriam” section. If specifically requested by friends or family we will print the name and dates of any member who has passed away, together, if you like, with a few brief words (but no more than 20 please).
And finally—we don’t want to lose touch with you! If you have not renewed your membership for 2018- 2019 this will be the last newsletter we send you. So do either post a cheque to the office, call in at the Monday Project or come by at our special stall in the Riverdale on Friday 25 May. Alternatively you can phone the office and ask to be sent a Standing Order form. And e-mails can be important too—so make sure you respond when the office e-mails you asking you to “confirm” that you still want to hear form us this way.
Bridgit Sam-Bailey Chairman
The trip to Polhill was a sell out
— and for our July trip you will also need to book early, a unique opportunity to see close to the restoration work on the Painted Hall in the Old Naval College in Greenwich. Currently one can get up the scaffolding on special tours (lift access is available) but this comes down in September. The cost will be £10, payable when we make the booking, but get in touch as soon as you can to find out more and reserve a place.
June is simpler (although also needing a head for heights)
— on Wednesday 6 June we plan to meet up at the DLR terminus in Lewisham at 11 a.m. take a train to the Royal Victoria Dock and then take flight with Emirates in the Cable Car over the Thames. A little while checking out what’s happening with the O2 nearly twenty years on and then a return “flight” and the DLR home. The return trip in the Cable Car is £7—but the views are wonderful. Let the office know (020 8690 7869) if you plan to join us.
An ICE pack in your pocket
You might have heard of ICE — “In Case of Emergency” numbers that you can pre-load into a mobile so medics and others know who to contact in the event of an accident or other emergency.
This seems such a good idea, but the mobile might be out of power or the number given just goes to voice mail, so we’re providing all our LPF members with a more reliable paper version.
Fill in the yellow form enclosed with this newsletter. Don’t worry about your blood group if you don’t know which it is, but do complete the contact details, saying what relation the person is to you—spouse, son, daughter, daughter-in-law, friend, neighbour, or other, and complete all three sections in case the first people phoned can’t be reached. The last one, if you like, could be your GP surgery.
At the bottom of the form set out any allergies you have and any on-going medical conditions. The whole back of the form is available for more information on your medical history and current medication—which needs to give full details, like dosage and frequency.
And you should regard this as a working document—to be updated whenever your emergency contact details or medication change—in some ways out-of-date information is worse than no information at all!
New forms will be available on request from the Forum Office or call in and ask at the Monday Project. And also find enclosed with this newsletter a bright yellow wallet that we’ve bought for you, as a valued LPF member and to prompt you into making proper use of this form. (The colour is so that it stands out if anyone has to look through your pockets or hand bag.) Just complete the form, fold it into half and half again horizontally, and you can tuck it into your easily identifiable yellow wallet across the centre hinge.
And make sure you have it at all Forum trips—saves us having to ask each time.
Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?
Would you like a safe place to discuss managing your long term health condition?
Self Management UK have been commissioned by the CCG to offer FREE courses for Lewisham residents who live with long lasting conditions (e.g. diabetes, arthritis, pain or mobility problems, mental health issues, etc.). Courses run for one afternoon a week for six sessions and cover such topics as: managing medication, emotional health, pacing, healthy eating and exercise guidelines, relaxation exercises.
Self Management say: “We have courses starting in mid-May in venues across Lewisham, so don’t waste any time phoning us to book if you think this might apply to you!
“Once again courses are FREE and refreshments will be provided. To find out more details and reserve a place on a course please phone our team on 0800-988-5560.”
Some quotes from recent participants:
“It’s the kind of course that everyone should attend at the age of 50!”
“It was a safe place to share and I didn’t feel that my problems were less than anybody else. This course has been a positive burst of energy and beginning of changes”.
“This is so well structured, equipped, framed. The group is like an entity itself. I can’t believe how much I enjoyed it”.
“This course is a ray of sunshine”.
Call quickly to avoid disappointment- courses are filling up fast!
You’ve Said your Say and Now Let’s Move Forward
A big thank you to everyone who filled out our survey and welcome to those who joined LPF this year. We are listening to what you want us to do and be involved in, although in order to continue with present projects and get started with the new ones you have suggested we do need more funds.
We feel it is vital to continue to represent the views and needs of older people even at a time when sources of money are not easy to find.
Please help us by:
- joining up if you haven’t already done so;
- encouraging others to sign up to membership;
- consider donating (however small or large)
In the meantime we are making good headway with one campaign issue identified. Our Toilet Petition is being sent out to groups and sheltered schemes around the borough—check with any venue you go to that it is out and available for folk to sign. And if you can gather a page or two of signatures yourself ring the office and we will send you some sheets.
Local and National NHS Campaigning
Many Forum members, when completing our recent survey, clearly had the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign fresh in their minds—the “Dream Team” that combined the expertise of the likes of Louise Irvine (who two years later took the battle to Hunt in his own Surrey Constituency) and Tony O’Sullivan (now National Co-Chair of KONP) with the practical support the LPF, long-term campaigners, were able to offer. A base in the Saville Centre right next to the hospital and staff whose day job is campaigning!
And we’re still in business. Come to the next SLH General meeting on Tuesday 22 May (phone the office or check their website for the venue) and get up-to-date information on what is going on locally and nationally, both above and below the radar. Key current things are the Naylor Report (on the face of an estates sell off—but not all bad news if handled properly) and revised commissioning intentions.
For the Forum’s part—the “Save our NHS” sub-group, founded back in 2008, is not at present meeting because members are so busy keeping a watching brief at other meetings (the CCG, the L&G NHS Trust Board, Primary Care Commissioning Committee and the Health and Wellbeing Board) and reporting back to the Forum and the SLH. But there is room for others to help in this important work. Get in touch with the SLH direct or contact the Forum office. And we are taking time out from all these meetings to have one of our own—the SLH and Forum jointly invite you, your friends and family and neighbours, to a Public Meeting on Tuesday 19 June at 7.30 in the Civic Suite which is part celebration of 70 years of the NHS and part a protest at the on-going and relentless threat of underfunding and privatisation. (A flyer is enclosed, so note the date to come yourself and pass the flyer on to a friend or neighbour.)
The second date on the flyer is Saturday 30 June—a national march in Central London: rally at Portland Place at 12 noon and proceeding to Whitehall. Please let the office know if you plan to attend and, with enough people, we can get out the LPF banner to have a visible presence.
Another celebratory local event will be a gathering outside Lewisham Hospital on Thursday 5 July (the actual anniversary of the Act) to support the celebrations that the L&G NHS Trust are organising inside—times to be confirmed but do join us if you can.
The July Forum is a pre-retirement event and we need your help…
This day is aimed at recruiting new members and giving anyone shortly stopping work an idea of how they can look forward to an active, healthy and fulfilling retirement.
Everyone has a different experience moving into retirement: what things have helped you most in making that significant life change?
Please contribute 200 or 300 words of what you wish someone
had told you 5, 10 to 15 years before you retired — health, finances, support networks, housing, transport or whatever else occurs to you. Your words of wisdom (under your name or anonymous if you wish) will be included in an info. pack to be handed out to those attending and put up on our website.
Your experience is valuable—share it and help others.
Dates for your diary
- Every Monday, except holidays
- Monday Project
- Every Thursday
- Chair exercises
- Friday 11 May:
- Forum Table in the Riverdale Centre, Lewisham
— come along to say “hello” and pick up latest survey, flyers, petitions etc. 10.30 to 12 noon
- Friday 18 May:
- LLHS Book Launch “Dear Old Blighty” Methodist Church Hall, Albion Way, SE13 6BT at 7.45 Saturday 19 May:
Plant Fairs Roadshow Telegraph Hill Centre, SE14 5TY—unrestricted parking and on the 343 and 484 bus routes with the 171 nearby
- Tuesday 22 May:
- Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign General Meeting 7.30pm (phone office for venue)
- Friday 25 May:
- Membership Renewal at the Riverdale as well as the usual information if you call by between 10.30 and 12noon we can issue this year’s membership cards
- Wednesday 30 May:
- Forum Meeting – see below
- Wednesday 6 June:
- Fridays 8 & 22 June:
- Riverdale Table (see 11 May above)
- Thursday 14 June:
- PosAC Meeting Civic Suite 11am-1.30
- Saturday 16 June:
- Keep Our NHS Public AGM (see page 3)
- Tuesday 19 June:
- Public Meeting SLH and LPF: NHS @ 70 (see page 3)
- Thursday 21 June:
- From the Windrush to Lewisham Broadway Theatre (see page 2)
- Saturday 23 June:
- Hilly Fields Fair
- Saturday 30 June:
- National NHS March (p. 3)
organisers: Health Campaigns Together, the TUC and Health Unions
- Sunday 1 July:
- Blythe Hill Fields Fair
- Thursday 5 July:
- NHS @ 70: gather outside UHL (see p. 3)
- Saturday 7 July:
- Lewisham People’s Day come along to check out the latest the Forum table and SLH stand.
- Sunday 22 July:
- Phoenix Festival Forster Memorial Park
- Wednesday 25 July:
- LPF Retirement Event (see page 3)
- Wednesday 3 October:
- Pensioners Day the Broadway Theatre—Save the Date!
dd>Social Group trip on Thames Cable Car (see page 2)
Forum May Meeting – Wednesday 30 May
10 a.m. (meeting starts 10:30)
Civic Suite, Catford SE6 4RU
Campaigning with the Council
It’s a time of change—new Mayor, new Councillors and new CEO.
Come along for an overview of the present structure (we’re inviting some former councillors and hardened LPF campaigners to share their experience). Then we will ask you to contribute your views on what works and what doesn’t: what ain’t broke and so is not in need of fixing or where some changes might benefit everyone.
Plus discussion on what’s come out of responses to the Campaign Questionnaire and the way forward for the LPF on campaign issues.
There will also be time to visit the LPF information tables—for you to sign up to outings (we’ll have details about the Painted Ceiling Tour in July), sign the Toilet Petition and renew your membership in time to receive the next newsletter—before the meeting closes at 1pm
“The Legacy Project”
Since coming from the Caribbean and Africa to Britain in 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s many have never had the opportunity to look over their past life, or share their rich personal journey.
In the Legacy Project (courtesy of Hyde Housing) over six weeks this summer participants will share memorabilia, visit the seaside, create a garden, and tell old time stories about childhood, leaving friends and family and the adventure of a new future in Britain. This is project based in St. Mauritius House and a book and exhibition will be produced.
Spaces will be limited, so please contact Tracey in the LPF office (020 8690 7869) if you want to take part.
Chair Exercise in St Mauritius House
With the generous support of Hyde Housing this LPF project is able to extend its outreach.
There is more space available now for more participants!
So do come along if you haven’t tried it before or come back to join with Elena as she leads us gently through low level stretching, modified yoga moves and exercises set at a level suited to your individual needs.
Every Thursday from 2.30pm to 3.30pm – and tell your friends!