The SDSAF committee hereby gives notice that the AGM will be held on WEDNESDAY 24TH MAY 

from 2pm to 4.30pm 

at the offices of  Sevenoaks Town Council, 

Bradbourne Vale Road, Sevenoaks, TN13 3QG


This year we have booked our meeting room for a little longer than usual to allow us to provide Members with a tea.  This will be better than just tea and biscuits!  Please let our Membership Secretary, Roger Bryan, know that you are coming using the contact details on the final page of this newsletter.  


Matthew Scott

This year’s main speaker is Matthew Scott, Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner.  Members have consistently told us about their concerns on crime and the Police.  People have talked about a lack of police response when they report problems.  Ann Barnes, the previous Commissioner told us we had to shout loudly and clearly about cuts in government and local spending.  She told us that there would be cuts in Police activities.  So… is that what’s happening now?  Do we have enough Police personnel?  Is crime increasing?  This is your chance to meet the Commissioner and tackle him about Kent’s Police Service.


Do you feel strongly about the buses?  Norman Kemp of NuVenture represents bus companies in Kent.  He can tell us what is going on with services and why.  We have invited representatives of local companies to be our panel on bus transport.  SDSAF member Veronica McGannon of Hartley will talk on her experience with Arriva and their routes through her village.  Veronica is a very experienced worker for her local older population firing off emails and questions to Arriva and her local MP.  She is an example to us all about how to bring pressure on the powers that be.  Join her in firing some questions about buses (or the lack of them!).


This year we are hoping to do a little better at our AGM than our usual tea and biscuits!  We are going to provide enough for something more like ‘Tea’ – not sure exactly what yet but we hardly ever get a chance for a real chat so this might be it!

We want to provide enough food band prefer to minimise waste!  So, please let us know if you are coming so that we can plan accordingly.  Please email, send a note, or call Roger Bryan, our Membership Secretary by Wednesday 17th May – details on the last page. If you find that you can come but have missed the 17th, don’t worry, come along, but try to let us know.


When you signed up to become a Member, we probably asked you whether you would consider being a Committee Member and some people said YES.  We have now arrived at the time when we really need to ask those of you who said YES - and anyone who feels the time is right to expand their CV – to come forward and talk to us about the groups who run SDSAF.  


The next county council election is on Thursday 4 May 2017. 81 councillors will be elected from 72 electoral divisions. Brexit?  Trump?  Both votes had huge turn-outs and interest in politics has never been higher but the whole thing depends on people getting out to vote.

At this time of worsening public services and reducing budgets in so many of the areas of life that concern our Members, it is surely essential that we all think about our voting intentions and question the candidates who will stand for election.  SDSAF is a non-party political organisation and would never try to influence any vote BUT all the concerns that Members bring up, Health, Transport, the Roads, the Police and so on, are all areas of life dominated by political decisions.  The very least we can do is to make sure that there is a good turn out of voters who place their X in the box of the Councillors who will truly represent you and your needs.

Before 2013 the parties stood at Cons 74, LibDem 7, Lab 2, 1 Other.  In 2013, Conservatives won 44 seats (141,192 votes), UKIP 17 (102,813), Labour 13 (89,935), Liberal Democrat 7 (37,214), Green 1 (14,531), and 1 other.


KCC has given us our grant figures for this year.  They specifically state in their paperwork that this is the last year that we will be given our grant.  At a meeting we had with our top County Councillors they said that this was not correct and they had no knowledge of that email.  We showed it to them.  They were confused.  So will we get a grant in 2018?  Ask the candidates standing in your local election.


Well, it seems there’s nothing new under the sun and the only people who might not have said that were Adam and Eve!

The Office for National Statistics has been gathering information since 1898, that’s before any of our members were born!  Trends in fraud are difficult to track because the way that the police record these scams has varied over the years.  What we do know is that it has been getting worse and worse. The old films of our youth had dodgy gentlemen selling Snake Oil – elixirs that cured everything!  The scammers of today make the same promises.

The National Crime Survey shows that we are 17 times more likely to be robbed by credit card fraud than to be robbed by someone breaking in. People aged 45-54 are twice as likely to be victims of fraud than people over 75.  In general those between 16 and 24 suffer most violent and property crime.

What is as frightening though is that Police forces across the country do not treat fraud crimes in the same way.  Some forces will investigate if you lose your life savings of £5000 whereas others don’t.  What does Kent do?  Ask the Police and Crime Commissioner (photograph below) at the AGM in May.

Matthew Scott and crowd


Sevenoaks Magistrates Court are looking for volunteers to join their team who support witnesses and victims giving evidence. If you have ever been in that position or if you have done jury duty, you will know that being a witness and standing up in court in front of all those official people is very hard for most people.  The volunteers help to settle people and make this difficult experience a little easier.  For further information on this and other volunteering opportunities at the Witness Service in Kent, please contact Emma Manwaring on emma.manwaring@citizensadvice.org.uk, or call on 07584 489294 or visit https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/citizens-advice-witness-service/ 


You must have read this kind of story in our helpful national press!  All the financial evils of the nation have been laid at the door of older people in recent months.  Well, let’s be clear, as our politicians have been telling us for a couple of years now, older people are NOT a drag on the country.  Poor resourcing and/or managing of public services cause the problems.  In 2010, older people contributed £40billion to the economy.  In 2014, AgeUK showed that, rather than being a liability, older people contributed £61 billion to the UK economy (that’s 6 times MORE than local authorities spend on social care) and by 2030  the estimated contribution is £80billion.  So whilst politicians look for scapegoats, WE are NOT to blame.

Consider how the economy would collapse if grandparents no longer looked after grandchildren so that the middle generation can go to work.

SWANLEY AND NORTH DOWNS LIONSare looking for a ‘regular, competent and enthusiastic social media user’ to publicise what they do on a web page and on Facebook etc etc.  No payment, but all the satisfaction of knowing that you would be helping people in need. Email Colin at cjmcrobert@btinternet.com

Membership Forms are available online at:   


PS.    Thanks to all our Members who offered to help the BBC tv programme Rip Off Britain.  It was good that the BBC came to us.  We do hope that some of you will appear as TV stars!  Should we do our own X-Factor  series?  Tell us of your experiences on the show.

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