October 2015 newsletter

For October meeting on 21st

We shall be starting a half an hour earlier in future in order to use the big hall. Tea and cake will be served after the talk.Please arrive from 1pm so that the meeting starts promptly at 1.30pm. Because we have more space we ask you to invite friends and neighbours; we are keen to get the group better known.

September meeting

The lunch on September 16th was very successful. It was sociable and we were able to get to know one another. Hopefully having a larger space will make it possible for members to chat with one another at future meetings.

Copies of the current National Pensioners Convention (NPC) manifesto were available that listed five demands.

· Raising the basic state pension for all above the poverty level of £175 a week, and ensuring existing pensioners were not penalised by the new single-tier state pension

· Reintroducing the Retail Price Index alongside the Consumer Price Index, earnings and 2.5 as a measure for increasing pensions each year

· Maintaining universal pensioner benefits (bus pass, winter fuel allowance, free TV licences for the over 75s and free prescriptions) without any means-testing

· Creating a National Health and Care Service which is free at the point of use and funded through taxation (merging the NHS and social care)

· Introducing a legally binding Dignity Code to improve the quality and standards of care for older people in hospital, care homes or their own home.

Our meeting sought to find out your views.

Round table discussions began with small groups each allocated a topic. A Committee member was at each table and reported their views at the end. People were asked to raise problems and what they thought could be done about it. There will be a list published: problems and suggested actions. For a while we can keep that open, inviting more of you to contribute your views. Please let us know.

The reports from each table are paraphrased. They did not need to restrict their concerns to their topic.
Money Matters

Support was agreed for the NPC campaign for a decent state pension but nobody claimed to be short of cash to live on. Concerns mentioned were the 5p charge for shopping bags, reduction of staff in shops, banks, and stations, with increased use of machines. PIN numbers need to be remembered. Queues for travel and other services with no provision to sit while waiting. Problems of local high house values making expensive wills with trusts necessary to protect beneficiaries. Slow response from local authority for very urgent house modifications.

Keeping Well

Recommended to keep walking. Concerns included problematic access, with long waits for doctors, clinics, blood tests etc. with one’s own preferences observed. Lack of preventative care – physiotherapy, podiatry, avoiding falls – we must take care! Dodgy busy pavements. Expensive Dental and Eye care expensive, yet related to other health issues. We need to eat well.

Outside Experiences

Concerns included availability of toilets, need to dodge riders and scooters on pavements, barren appearance and lack of comfortable seating at the space outside the Everyman Cinema, community safety at night with infrequent buses, crossing safety, uneven pavements.

Leisure Activities

Finding out what is available – yet much to offer with U3A, clubs, choirs etc., funding problems yet we have free access to Park Road pool, importance of local libraries, how to overcome computer antipathy. We should encourage engagement sensitively and befriend.

Comfort at home

Concerns were cost of heating, having peace & quiet, avoiding scams/cold calls and loneliness, managing house cleaning, repairs, shopping, and cooking. The group suggested solutions to all of these and recommended being safe from fire, keeping a fire blanket in the kitchen and having smoke alarms.

For you to do

Any of the suggested actions could be put as a motion to the Annual General Meeting in January 2016. Your ideas will guide how we write letters and respond to consultations in defence of pensioners.

We must also be thinking of motions for the Greater London Region NPC AGM March 31st 2016. HPAG is asked to put forward suggestions by December 10th HPAG has recently made a group response to the Haringey Consultation on Adult Social Care deadline Sept. 30th. The letter is available for you to read.

Also we must formulate what London pensioners want from the Mayor of London to be elected May 2016. Soon there will be hustings as we should have our manifesto ready.

Notices

Ann attended the NPC Transport Conference on Sept. 24th.

United Nations’ International Day for Older Persons. Thursday October 1st.We held an afternoon stall outside Hornsey Town Hall near the W7 bus stop to publicise our group.An HPAG article was published on October 1st in Ham & High Broadway-see our News and Views Page on this website.

NPC Lobby of Parliament November 4th

Pensioners will gather outside the Houses of Parliament before 12 noon for a photograph. There is a rally in Committee Room 14 with speakers. HPAG are planning to lobby Catherine West MP. Contact us to join the group.

At some date around November 29th,(TBA) London Pensioners will release black balloons, the number to indicate the number of excess winter deaths.

Local activities.

Monthly Jacksons Lane Social Lunch Club, Jacksons Lane Social Lunch Club (you need to book – contact Stuart on 8341 4421)

‘Senior Citizen Coffee Morning’ also every Thursday morning at 10.30 a.m. in Alexandra Park Library

Jackson’s Lane Coffee & Computers, (also on a Friday morning) enquire Stuart Cox Participation Manager, 269a Archway Road, London, N6 5AA, Tel 020 8347 2411

Re-launch of the Cinema Club. ‘True Story’, Mondays 12noon to 2 pm Vue Cinema Hollywood Green, opposite Wood Green Station. £3.29 including tea and biscuits. [email protected]

West London Seniors Exercise Class.Tuesdays 2.15 to 3.15 Hornsey Vale Community Centre. £3.50. Contact Ann Anderson

Help getting to meetings.

Many members may be eligible to be a member of Dial a Ride. This service is very helpful. Write to Dial a Ride, Passenger Services, PO Box 68799 London SE1P 4RD or phone 0343 222 7777 to request an application form.