Newsletter 14

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Apr 302014

Issue 14   Christmas/New Year 2013/14

                  The gathering place for the interests of people aged 50 plus

UPDATE ON DEFIBS       The Defibrillator Project continues to raise interest and awareness of these life saving devices across the District.  Prior to imminent installation, a number of Parishes, Towns and Villages are deciding where precisely the defibrillators should be placed for maximum benefit.  Our team is happy to visit Parishes to offer further information and advice; contact us and we’ll help. We should see the first machines installed soon.

 MEMBERSHIP       20 NEW MEMBERS FROM HARTLEY MEETING BRINGS US TO 350 – UP 100 IN THE LAST YEAR!  Are your friends and neighbours Members?  Give Roger Bryan a call on 01322 664 754 for details.  The bigger we are, the stronger we are – the over 50s tend to vote!   If everyone recruited one new member we would be over 700!  Can you recruit one more Member?

KENT YOUNG CARERS             Kent Young Carers is a countywide service for children and young people aged 5-18 living in Kent who provide support for a family member who has an illness, disability, mental health problem or substance misuse issue.  KYC offers respite, activities, events and support. To find out more or make a referral to the service, contact on 0300 111 11 10 or email  Kent Young Carers are on Twitter (@KentYoungCarers) and on Facebook.

  BE A STAR ON TV           Swanley Town Council forwarded to SDSAF an email from a film company;      … we are looking for over 70′s with a great character to participate in a documentary series for a major uk broadcaster discussing issues that affect older people…   contact as soon as possible…  0207 266 4646  193 Praed Street  London W2 1RH   

 We have met many fascinating people at our Members’ Meetings and we know a number of people who have strong views but you have to be over 70.  Why not take the chance and let the country know how you feel!  Go for it!

FOOD BANKS        …a small update on the mention that Food Banks had in our Newsletter. There is now one in Sevenoaks and one to open soon in Swanley.  Outside the District, there are Food Banks in Orpington,Dartford and Gravesham.  If you would like to support one, come back to SDSAF.  At a later stage we may be able to publicise contact details.

FIND THE MAN IN THE BEANS         This is bizarre.  Bizarre that someone should actually create this and, well, just bizarre!  He really is there.  I don’t know, some people have nothing better to do all day… but I still found him, eventually… and the next article is about KCC budgets!


KCC BUDGETS      KCC has been told by the Government to save £273 million over the next three years. SDSAF has been asked to raise awareness of their Budget Consultation.   The exercise is open until Friday 13 December 2013 and Kent residents are being asked for their views on KCC’s spending proposals.  This is hugely important in shaping KCC’s future decisions.  If you visit you can read something of the proposals and give your views.  They don’t offer a postal version of this exercise on this web page apart from the general KCC County Hall address and you may not agree that the two questions are the only questions they could have asked.  You may or may not be satisfied that the choices offered are the only choices available.  You may prefer to contact yourCountyCouncillor on how KCC might deliver these savings or you may prefer to argue with the Government.  Lots of choices for you, even if there are few in the consultation exercise.


HOUSING MATTERS - from the District Council  As time goes by, people can find themselves in homes too big for their needs or in ones that can make day-to-day life very difficult.  In such cases, the best option might be to downsize to a more suitable home.  The thought of moving can be a very daunting one, however, the District Council and its partners can offer some advice and support to make things a bit easier.  Many people don’t think of contacting their local council for this kind of help but we can advise on a new home more suited to your needs.  If you need a stair-lift, grab-rails, or bathroom adaptations, we might be able to help.  If you could do with a hand around the house or garden, we might be able to point you in the right direction.  If you are living in poor, cold and unhealthy housing, the District Council may well be able to advise.  Consistently, older people tell us that these services are important to them.

The Elderly Accommodation Council’s ‘First Stop’ service – is a particularly good source of help and advice which could better prepare you for your changing housing and support needs.  Their list of current accommodation specifically designed for older people is available on their site.  Put your desired postcode, town, or area into their website for a range of properties and tenures to suit most needs.  If you’re feeling brave, their interactive tool shows how well your current home suits your needs.  It’s free and can help to identify housing most suited to you – see or call them on 0800-377-7070, or the District Council’s Housing Advice and Standards Team on 01732-227000.  See for more on housing.

SIGN POSTS          We want to improve our web site by giving our Members more signposts to organisations that help people over 50.  Do you have a favourite organisation that should be on our lists?  Tell us who they are and we’ll check out how to help.  By the way, the other arm of this sign post in the Surrey Hills says ‘Somewhere Else’.

 PING (PONG)        A Forum like ours in Brighton emailed; I’m contacting you to let you know that as year end approaches, the Ping! Project has quite a number of kits they can pass on to community groups such as mine and yours.  The project encourages active ageing and includes a DVD of the film ‘Over 80′s World Table Tennis Championships’ and a portable table tennis net useable on any table and small bats.  For more details, contact SDSAF or see×402.jpg.

 KENT COMMUNITY HEALTH NHS TRUST   With all the changes going on with the NHS, who can keep track?  Even within the NHS, I suspect that people only really know the bit they are working in at the moment.  If you use the web, look at  The list of services they offer is massive.  I gave up counting in the thirties and that was only up to the letter C (I sneaked a look at Z and there was nothing there).  Our area is covered by West Kent and by Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley and many services are offered.  Too much information for us to give here so contact 0300 123 1807 or email to ask if you can have what you need.

LARGPRINT        Did you know that we produce several copies of the newsletter in a bigger font than you see on this page?  We have Members who have some difficulty in seeing smaller print so we produce specials for them.  Would this help you?  Let us know.

DO YOU USE THE CHEAPEST GAS AND ELECTRICITY SUPPLIER?  Most energy suppliers claim to have the cheapest tariffs, but whenever you see these claims, they are usually based on a very specific type of user. What really matters is which is the cheapest gas and electricity supplier for you.

The “Big Six” suppliers have raised their prices (or are about to), so it’s a good time to see if you are getting the best deal. Start by running a personalised cheap gas and electric comparison to find the best gas and electricity deals for you – you may be pleasantly surprised! The first step, is to compare your energy bills and prepare to save maybe hundreds of pounds, is to log on to and enter your postcode! USwitch is on 0900 051 5493.  There are other comparison sites.   If you use a comparison site, you may be surprised about who the cheapest energy supplier for you is. Gas and electric suppliers frequently change their prices so it’s worth regularly comparing what’s on offer.

Which is the cheapest gas and electricity supplier on average?  Again, finding a cheap plan will depend on your specific circumstances. An energy plan which provides the cheapest utilities for one household might not necessarily provide the same gas and electricity rates for another.

SWANLEY PARKING       Just a short note on this as we have emailed Members already but for those of you not on email, a new parking charge has been imposed in the Swanley Shopping Centre without consultation recently.  The car parks are off Nightingale Way between the two surgeries and the owners have refused to meet with SDSAF.  There is no free time and Blue Badge holders have no concession.  ASDA and ALDI parking is free (and even busier).

“WHEN I GET OFF THE PHONE I FEEL LIKE I BELONG TO THE HUMAN RACE”.  Silver Line is a new telephone helpline for the elderly.  Esther Rantzen is behind this with Lottery funding.  If you are feeling lonely and would like a chat, call any time, 24 hours a day, 0800 4 70 80 90.  It’s free, confidential and may transform lives. is a national organisation.

More than half of all 75 year olds live alone. Can you be a friendly neighbour this winter?

 In this last Newsletter before 2014, let us take the opportunity to wish everyone all the very best

for the season and for the coming year.

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