Current Newsletter


Newsletter 18      March 2015


SDSAF came into being in October 2010.  Most people, when they join, tell us of their concerns and we campaign on those things.  Recently, we analysed all the concerns expressed by Members on their membership forms.  We looked at what bothered us between 2010 and 2013, and then at the issues raised from 2013 to the present day to see if there was any difference.  The main difference is that the list has grown!  Whenever we meet Members we ask them about their concerns.

It’s time to do a survey of all Members to ask what your concerns are NOW.

This is a VERY important exercise as we have an election coming up, politicians need to be told what bothers over 50s, and this is critical because over 50s vote!

What we don’t want to do is put words into anyone’s mouth, so we are being fairly general in our survey but we’re hoping that you will be specific.

Some Small Examples – let’s imagine that you are unhappy with something about the roads where you are.  That might be parking, or pot holes, or the phasing of traffic lights – it could be lots of things.  In our survey we give general headings like PUBLIC AMENITIES (which includes roads, public toilets, benches and so on) but we want you to be more specific and tell us what it is about the roads or benches or whatever that bothers you.  You might not care about the roads, and your concern might be on health or scams or a dozen other things.  We ask you to rate the strength of your concern.  If it’s really high, no doubt you will give it a 10.  If it’s less important but still bothers you, you might give it four.

We don’t want to put words into anyone’s mouth, and we know that you may need time to consider your response.  We want you to be specific – but take a look at the list of concerns that Members have given us over the last 4 years!!!!!

This survey is so important that we are enclosing for postal members a reply paid envelope.  Whilst this is quite an expensive thing to do, we want you to be able to reply without it costing you anything other than a few minutes of your time.

What Kinds of Concerns Do Members Have?  All of the following have been mentioned to us in the past;

4×4 Drivers Cycle Routes Home Calls
Phone Scams Accessibility Deafness Planning
Pets A25 Cycling and Cyclists
Access Hospital Appointments Housing
Traffic Flow Traffic Lights Pollution
Hospital Parking Transport to Medicals Transport
Police Defibrillators Human Rights
Hospital Transport Dementia Integration
Transport Costs Active Travel Developments
Policing Transport Subsidies Isolation
Adult Education Deliveries Pedestrian Crossings
Potholes Transport to Hospitals Appearance
Allotments Animals Utilities
Disability Prescriptions Kerbs
Public Toilets Vandalism Art Gallery
Labelling Public Transport Quality of Life
Downsizing The Arts Elderly
Traffic Congestion Barter Rail Travel
Elderly Care Package Lakes Rates
Bell ringing Elderly Services Walks
Leisure Wheelchair Access Environment
Vulnerable People Benches Blue Badge
Library Renovations Emergency Planning
Fares Sports Bluewater
Lifts Wildlife Road Safety
Pensions Litter Yoga
Road Improvements Local Travel Loneliness
Crime Fire & Rescue Bus Routes
Sport Feeling of Community Market
Road Signs obscured Road Sweeping Schools
Walking Fly Tipping Rural Life
Bus Passes Cardiac Rehab Medications
First Aid Care Mental Health
Loss of Cheque Book Footpaths Shops
Roads Free Transport Security
Bus Services Food Banks Networking
Rubbish Medical Practices Small Print
SECAmb Help for the Elderly Mobility
Caring for Carers Neighbourhood Watch Graffiti
Sevenoaks Trades people Social Services
Cheque Books Gardens Cinemas
Chiropody Social Care Green Belt
Nature Conservation Community Facilities Over-Development
Traffic Calming HGVs NHS
Pembury Hospital Grammar Schools Communication
Old Age in the Home Speeding Health
Hairdressing Community Traffic
Theatres Parking Council Tax
Computing Health & Safety Care Costs
Pavements Vulnerable Adult Support Clinics
Street Lighting Parliament Voice Health Services
Parks Community Responders Competition

One member described himself as a Happy Bunny.  Good.

Please send your survey back to us and make sure that no one can claim that our Members don’t really care about anything.  Your Committee want you to pile on the work of reading the returned survey forms.  We have already allocated a couple of days for this.

REWIRING PUBLIC SERVICES     Last time, we told you about grass verges being turned into wild flower verges like this one.  They are appearing all over the country but not really in Kent.  Through the efforts of SDSAF, KCC and Swansea local government officers are now in touch to discuss the possibilities for the idea in our home county.  According to the website of the Kent Wildlife Trust, this seems like a very good idea.


SCAMS – YET MORE SCAMS        People claiming to be from the Tax Man, HMRC, phone you up, tell you there is a tax rebate coming your way and ask for your bank details.  Then they rob everything out of your bank account.  Don’t let them fool you.  Take a look at another scam leaflet below.







 We have had reason to carry out work in your area recently due to roof deterioration in relation to varying weather conditions. The manufacturers only give a fifteen-year warranty on performance and durability on properties such as yours. Tiles do not last forever.

This is a scam.  Can you tell?  It isn’t easy, that’s why SDSAF is constantly drawing attention to scams on the website and in the newsletter and public meetings.

EXPERT GROUPS    Geoff Parsons wants to begin an Expert Group on Integrated Care.  We would like to strengthen the opinions we present to the big decision makers and with over 600 Members we have dozens of people who have rich experience and expertise. Could we tap your experience?  Do you have an understanding of Integrated Care and could help to form this Group?  We have Members who have had to deal with someone needing a great deal of care.  Perhaps they, or our Doctors, Nurses and Consultants, retired or not, could advise on how best to communicate Members’ opinions to the right people.  Even if you feel your expertise is a little old hat now, you still know more about it than most of us.  Please help us to be truly effective. As always there is no obligation for anyone to be involved but here’s an opportunity to make our voice even stronger.

AND WHO WANTS YOUR OPINION ANYWAY?   The Chairman of SDSAF has been invited to address a sub-committee of the Sevenoaks District Council in late April on the concerns of older people.  We said we would listen to your concerns and relay them to the decision makers – and we are! 


STREET LIGHTS Members may know that KCC has done a U-turn on switching the lights off.  Kent-wide pressure groups brought this about.

MEMBERSHIP DETAILS       In October, we had 586 Members, up from 304 in twelve months, and wondered when we would reach Member 600. We concentrate on town and villages fairs so the winter months are quiet ones for our Membership drive.  In late February, our membership stands at 636. Members registering their email addresses with SDSAF have risen from 50% to 65%.

FOODBANKS       Swanley Food Bank sends us info but we would be happy to know about the others. Contact c.hatch1@sky.comfor the excellent and quite astonishing Swanley Food Bank newsletter.  I read it and learned a LOT!

ANOTHER STEALTH TAX ON YOU?       Did you know that Life Assurance Premium Relief is being dropped from April?  The Government used to give tax relief on our premiums.  A £10 premium cost £8.75 but from 6th April 2015, we will now have to pay the full £10.  A removal of a previous tax relief amounts to a new tax.

KENT ASSOCIATION FOR THE BLIND       Committee Members visited the Maidstone office of KAB for advice on how SDSAF might best help visually impaired Members.  If you need us to communicate with you in a particular way, please let us know and we will see what we can do.  Meanwhile if you access the web, do look at their very helpful and most excellent website at


 DEMENTIA FRIENDLY COMMUNITIES       The West Kent Dementia Action Alliance is seeking help from people living with dementia, their families and support networks, and from anyone with anything to contribute to the idea of a Dementia Friendly Community.  Even better, if you would like to meet with Project Leader, Tracey Schneider, to share your experiences of living with dementia in our community, what you have found works well and what changes could significantly improve your wellbeing.  The case studies will be anonymous and will significantly help to shape future policy and funding decisions.  In the Sevenoaks Area, you can write your thoughts and ideas on “How to make Sevenoaks Area more Dementia Friendly” on posters in community buildings or contact the group (details below) to add your feedback.

The next Sevenoaks Area Dementia Friendly Community meeting will be taking place on 17th March from 2.30pm at the Sevenoaks DC Offices, Argyle Road.


If you like to find out more, please get in touch with Symone Salwan, co-chair of the Sevenoaks Area Dementia Friendly Community Forum on 01732 759854 or via email



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