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ACCol News

Issue 49

December 2009

Age Concern Colchester, Globe House, 6 George Street, Colchester CO1 1TP

Inside this issue: Blanket Testing 2009, Age Concern Essex Essay and Poetry Competition, The Big Knit Update


News from Age Concern England— Spotlight on Annuities


News and Events


Things to do in 2010


Catch the Mouse


Winter Warmth Day & Colchester United Community Sports Trust


Toy Boy


Christmas and New Year Closure


The Big Knit 2009 velyn Fowler, a volunteer at the Colchester office, models some of the wonderful woolly hats received from you all.

A New Year Message from the Chief Officer


elcome to our last newsletter of 2009.

Looking forward to 2010 (can you believe we are starting a new decade!), you will find information about some of our services which may help lighten dreary days in January and February. How about joining one of our social clubs or starting a computer course? For early spring, please put 24 March 2010 on your calendars – this is the date of our next Colchester Association meeting.

The Age Concern Colchester office will be closed after business on Wednesday 23 December and will re-open on Monday 4 January 2010

2010 looks set to be an exciting year for us. Our new board of trustees is already looking at the services ACC is able to offer people in later life. To help in this task we would really like to know if you think we are offering the right services and what you would like to see. We want to make sure that the charity’s resources are used to benefit the most people in the best way. All the staff and volunteers wish you, our readers, a joyous and peaceful Christmas. Rachel Fahie, Chief Officer

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ACCol News

Another Successful Blanket Testing Day


lobe House was bursting at the seams for much of Friday 30 October with people bringing in their electric blankets to be tested.

In all some 70 blankets were tested and over 45% of them failed. Following the withdrawal of E-on sponsorship we were unable to replace failed blankets with new ones but we did distribute half price vouchers. Due to the support of The Royal British Legion, we were able to distribute 10 new electric blankets to those eligible through their Forces connections. A raffle was held for those who had failed blankets and 4 lucky winners received blankets donated by local businesses including Debenham's, Colchester. Blankets tested this year were not quite as dangerous as this example from 3 years ago

We have received a number of thank you letters from those who attended. In particular, they were delighted with their new blankets and praised the Age Concern Colchester staff for their friendliness and the efficient way they went about their tasks.

Essay and Poetry Competition

The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning The Age Concern Colchester Coffee Morning raised


ge Concern Essex will be holding their Essay and Poetry Writing Competition again in 2010. Closing date 1 March 2010. The titles for both essays and poetry are Homecoming


Difficult Decisions

for Macmillan Cancer Support Thank you very much for your support

Ambitions Entry Forms are available from Libraries or by telephoning Age Concern Essex on 01245 346106

A big thank you to all of you who took part in The Big Knit. Our 1,171 Veg Pot Warmers and 849 Hats have been sent and we understand they are adorning pots and bottles in Sainsbury’s. When we receive our donation from Innocent Drinks we shall let you know how much you raised. Again a big thank you to all the knitters!

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Issue 49

News from Age Concern England Spotlight on Annuities


head of next month’s Pre-Budget Report‚ Age Concern and Help the Aged are calling for changes to tax rules and a radical shake up of the annuities market to give hundreds of thousands of people with small pension funds a better deal. The recession has thrown the spotlight on annuities‚ with stock market turmoil and falling interest rates hitting annuity rates and reducing the value of pension savings. Yet calls for reform have so far failed to address the needs of those with modest pension savings who cannot afford to wait before cashing in their pensions or who need to draw down their pension early because of redundancy or ill health. In its new report 'Coping with the crunch: the annuity challenge'‚ the charity says people with small pension pots often get a poor deal from annuities due to complex regulations and unfair tax rules which mean they can face a heavy tax penalty when they cash them in. The report calls for changes in tax rules so that people with pension savings too small to annuitise can draw them in cash without being penalised. The report also calls for a radical shake up of the annuities market‚ where the largest 10 firms corner nearly 90 per cent of the sector and more than two-thirds of pension providers only offer annuities to existing customers. Although the Association of British Insurers’ ‘Options’ programme is working to speed up the exchange of information and funds between pension and annuity providers‚ the charity believes more should be done to increase competition and help people choose the right annuity by: Introducing a new online annuities brokerage system to help people choose the best deal‚ with access to independent advice for those who need it Requiring all annuity providers to publish benchmark rates Developing a kitemark scheme to ensure annuity providers meet minimum standards With the introduction of auto-enrolment in 2012 likely to lead to a rise in demand for annuities and an increase in the number of people retiring with small pension funds‚ the charity is calling on ministers to use next month’s Pre-Budget Report to signal a shake up of the annuities system.

Andrew Harrop‚ Head of Public Policy at Age Concern and Help the Aged said: “Despite the impact of the recession‚ the right annuity continues to offer a secure way of turning retirement savings into a stable source of income. But the tax system penalises those with small pension pots and the annuities market is hamstrung by legislative complexity and dominated by a few major players. This adds up to a poor deal for people with small pension pots. The Pre-Budget Report provides an opportunity for ministers to signal a shake up of the system and ensure it is fit for purpose when auto-enrolment is introduced by 2012.”

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ACCol News

News and Events


he Age Concern England Shop (a travelling version!) has called in at meetings of the Autumn Leaves Club, the Marks Tey Thursday Get-Together and Friday Coffee Club. This has been a really good opportunity for members to buy Christmas cards and small gifts which also supports the work of Age Concern Colchester. The shop is planning to get out during 2010 as well.


utumn Leaves Club, meeting out of the Highwoods Community Centre, has met recently to have a presentation by Body Shop, and a Home Fire Safety Talk which was well received. The club met for its Christmas Meal on 9 December with entertainment by Johnny Cashbox.


t is with great regret that the decision has been made to close the Marks Tey Thursday Get -together Club. The last meeting took place with a Christmas Carol session followed by a Christmas Lunch at The Chequers, Great Tey. David Beale, the organiser, is stepping down at Christmas and all of us at Age Concern Colchester wish to express our gratitude for all his efforts. He will be much missed!

News from Tiptree Day Centre Tiptree Edwardian Evening The Tiptree Edwardian Evening was held on Thursday 26th November. The Day Centre was asked by the organisers to run a stall, and it was decided to hold a Tombola. Both guests and staff donated prizes and ÂŁ120 was raised for the Day Centre Social Fund. There was a fantastic atmosphere all evening. Church Road was closed, and there was a stage with entertainment. Four schools, The Salvation Army Band and Carol Singers providing additional entertainment. There was a snow machine along with a multitude of stalls selling lots of Christmas items. Street entertainers and many people dress ed in Edwardian costume added to the atmosphere.


Private Guests at Day Centres

f you would like to join our guests at any of our Day Centres in Tiptree, or Centres at Winstree Court and Grymes Dyke Court in Stanway, we accept Private Guests who do not meet Essex Social Care criteria. For leaflets and further details telephone Globe House 01206 368420.

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Issue 49

Things to do in 2010

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New R eading Circle Meetin g once a wee k At Age Conce rn Ring L in 368 420

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ACCol News

Computer courses for absolute beginners to advanced If you have a computer but are uncertain how to make best use of it then one of our computer courses may be for you !

Computer courses for older people Learn how to use the computer

We do not ask for any previous knowledge and when you book our friendly staff will ask you where you would like to begin - whether you want to know how to switch on or are more advanced.

Levels from “how to switch on� to Advanced

We have 3 new tutors so the current waiting list should fall quite quickly. We are now taking names for 2010. Tutorials will be one hour long and will take place either on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday morning from 9.30, 10.30 and 11.30 am. You will be offered three one hour slots on the same weekday. Monday and Tuesday afternoons will also be offered in 2010.

If you are ex-Forces you may be able claim a free concession

Ring the office on 368420 to put your name down.

Three one hour one to one sessions

Age Concern Colchester supports older people by looking after their interests

Please contact us on 01206 368420 if you have a matter that is causing concern

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Issue 49

Winter Warmth Day Lion Walk Activity Centre Friday 27 November 2009


oncerns over the well-being of older people during the winter months led Age Concern Colchester to hold a very successful Winter Warmth Day at the Lion Walk Activity Centre in Eld Lane, Colchester on Friday 27 November. The purpose of the event was to provide older people with benefits advice and up to date information on home insulation, changing energy suppliers, home safety and keeping healthy. There were a number of display stands and staff from Colchester Borough Council including the Warm Homes Team and Anchor Staying Put, the Hearing Centre, The Royal British Legion, Oakhouse Foods, Age Concern Essex and Age Concern Colchester were on hand to give help and advice. A winter warming soup Tombola was also held for all attending. Lin Roberts of Age Concern Colchester said “Winter can be a very difficult time for many older people with worries about keeping warm and managing on limited means so we were delighted to be working with many other organisations on this project. The Winter Warmth Day was an opportunity for people to get information, help and support so that they can look forward to spring and summer with a greater confidence in both health and financial matters.�

Colchester United Community Sports Trust Do you want to get out of the house, meet new people, try new activities, learn new skills have some fun and feel part of the community? Then Colchester United Sports Community Trust Plus could be just the thing for you.

Football Plus is a new social group which is set to launch in the New Year. The group will meet once a week at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, and we want to know what kind of activities you would like to be on offer. Contact Angie Syrett at the Sports Trust, Shrub End Community and Sports Centre in Boadicea Way, Shrub End, Colchester, CO9 9BG Telephone 01206 572378

Our aim is simple: to help everyone make the most out of later life. We believe that old age should be valued. That choice is important through life. And we believe in your right to stay independent as long as possible.

Globe House 6 George Street Colchester CO1 1TP Phone: 01206 368420 Fax: 01206 500984 Email: Web:

Working for all older people in the Borough of Colchester

So, volunteers give practical support. We have expert information and advice you can rely on. We can insure your house, your travel and give you peace of mind in other ways. And we campaign for your rights.

‘TOY BOY’ by Mary Wiggins I'm looking for a Toy Boy

I'll take such loving care of him

Any size would do

And keep him fit and healthy.

He could be as wide as 5 foot 5

I'll even clean his blessed shoes

Or as tall as 6 foot 2.

Especially if he's wealthy!

I don't mind if he is going bald

I will always look after him

And has to wear a vest

And never ask a fee

As long as when he takes it off

As long as he remembers to make a will

He has a lovely hairy chest!

And leave everything to me!

I must admit I can be fussy As I'm very hard to please But I wouldn't keep him begging long, I merely like to tease!

Newsletter No. 49  

Age Concern Colchester Newsletter No. 49 December 2009

Newsletter No. 49  

Age Concern Colchester Newsletter No. 49 December 2009