Concerning Carers Oct/Nov 2012
Welfare Reform The Government is in the process of making the biggest changes to the working-age benefits system for decades. For families affected by illness and disability this is bringing a great deal of uncertainty and fear as many depend on benefits for their everyday living costs. The overall amount being cut from the welfare budget runs into billions, so it is understandable that people are worried. To try and explain, in plain English, what these changes will mean for carers and their families, Carers UK has put together a list of frequently asked questions about welfare reform. Please go to page 3.
Carers Bromleyâ€™s AGM
Back Care Workshop for carers
Carers Bromley is holding its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 10th October 2012 at 10:00 am at the Verrall Hall, Bromley United Reformed Church, 20 Widmore Road, Bromley.
Do you help someone up from a chair? Do you make them comfortable in bed? These simple tasks can be risky for your back. Come along to a free back care workshop run by Carers Bromleyâ€™s Back Care Adviser, Liz Davies, and learn about the importance of looking after your back and how to avoid injury. The workshop will take place on Tuesday, 30th October 2012 at 10am to 11.30am at Carers Bromley.
Our guest speaker will be Lorna Blackwood, Assistant Director Commissioning, Education and Care Services, London Borough of Bromley, presenting information on PERSONALISATION AND CARERS. Carers will have an opportunity to ask questions. Come and find out how our organisation has been performing over the past year. Meet carers or those who work in the borough to support carers, or who are just interested in the work we do. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, please ring the Carers Freephone Helpline on 0800 015 7700.
To book your place, call the Carers Freephone Helpline on 0800 015 7700 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s On Your guide to events, groups and activities from October to November 2012 To participate in any of these events, you must contact Carers Bromley in advance to reserve a place by calling the Freephone Helpline 0800 015 7700 or by email: email@example.com What?
Carers Bromley AGM
10th October from 10am to 12pm
Bromley United Reformed Church 20 Widmore Road Bromley
Craniosacral Therapy Stressbusting
16th October at 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm
£10 per session
Carers Walking Group 25th October at Kelsey Park 10am Back Care Workshop 30th October from for Carers 10am to 11.30am
Meeting at Kelsey Park Cafe by Friends of Kelsey Park notice board
Craniosacral Therapy Stressbusting
30th October at 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm
£10 per session
Craniosacral Therapy Stressbusting
13th November at 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm
£10 per session
Massage Workshop for Carers
22nd November from 2pm to 4.30 pm
Basic First Aid Training for Carers with the British Red Cross
5th November from 10am to 1pm
Carers Rights Day Coffee Morning
30th November 11am to 3pm
See page 6 for more information
New Respite Service Volunteer We welcome a new ICYE-UK Volunteer, Julian Nazziwa, aged 27, who joined Carers Bromley on 3rd September to commence a twelve month placement with the Respite Service. Prior to coming to England she lived in Kampala, Uganda with her family, and has previously worked as a volunteer in a missionary hospital and more recently as an administrator with a national NGO (a non-government organisation). Julian has said that for the future she would like to be involved in development work in her home community allowing her to make an impact on peoples’ lives. Julian is very pleased to be undertaking a volunteering role in another country offering support and companionship to elderly people and people with disabilities. She hopes this opportunity will allow her to improve her personal development and learn about other cultures. In her spare time, Julian enjoys swimming, singing and travelling.
Any advertisement in this newsletter is for information only and does not constitute a recommendation.
continued from front page
What is the Universal Credit? To simplify the benefits system, the Government has announced that they are creating a new benefit, called Universal Credit, to replace most existing benefits and tax credits for people of working age, and wrap up all these kinds of payments into a single benefit. The benefits being replaced include: • • • • • •
Working Tax Credit Child Tax Credit Housing Benefit Council Tax Benefit Income Support Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance
Universal Credit will be paid either on an individual basis if claimants are single or to couples jointly. There will be a basic rate called the ‘standard allowance’ and extra amounts for people in different circumstances – for example, if they have children, a disability or need help with housing costs.
What will happen to me if I am currently getting one of the benefits being replaced by Universal Credit? The Government plans to move everyone on the benefits listed above onto the Universal Credit within the next six years: • • •
Between October 2013 and April 2014 - people who make new claims will begin to receive Universal Credit instead of the benefits listed above. From April 2014, if you are already receiving one of these benefits or tax credits and it is considered you would benefit from moving to Universal Credit (i.e. new rules which mean people are better off as a result of working more hours) you will be moved. From the end of 2015 all those who have not already been moved onto Universal Credit will start to be moved over. This process will be complete by 2017.
The Government has said that no-one will be worse-off as a result of moving onto the Universal Credit, because the Government will provide ‘cash protection’ when individuals switch over to the Universal Credit. So if you were moved onto the Universal Credit and it looked like you would end up worse-off, the Government has said it will provide a top-up payment to keep your income at the same level as your previous benefit.
What is happening to Carer’s Allowance? There are currently three main groups of people getting carers’ benefits: 1)
Carers who currently do not qualify for means-tested benefits and just get Carer’s Allowance at £58.45 (2012/13 rate) a week. Carers in this group will not be directly affected by the introduction of Universal Credit – this group will remain outside the new system and the Government has not announced any plans to reform the Carer’s Allowance they receive.
Carers who receive means-tested benefits like Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance; with a Carer Premium (an extra amount for carers of £32.60 a week – 2012/13 rate). Carers in this group will have their means-tested benefits moved onto Universal Credit, which will also include an additional amount for carers. So carers who are currently on benefits like Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance will have those benefits replaced by the ‘standard allowance’ of Universal Credit and may get an extra amount for caring, similar to the ‘Carer Premium’ they currently get. If they also qualify for Housing Benefit they may receive other additional amounts, to help with these costs.
Carers over State Pension age, who qualify for Carer’s Allowance but cannot get it at the same time as their State Pension because of the rules of the benefits system. These carers may get a Carer Addition (an extra amount for carers of £32.60 a week – 2012/13 rate) in Pension Credit.
continued from page 3
These carers will also not be directly affected by the introduction of Universal Credit and will continue to receive the same benefits and pension. However the Government has announced that it is simplifying the process for claiming the Carer Addition in Pension Credit. New rules should mean that these carers would not have to apply for Carer’s Allowance (even though they cannot receive it) in order to get the Carer Addition to Pension Credit.
What is happening to Disability Living Allowance? The Government plans to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with a new Personal Independence Payment, which will have a new structure and new assessment process. The Personal Independence Payment will have the following structure: a)
A daily living component for disabled people whose ability to carry out daily living activities is limited by their physical or mental condition. This is similar to the existing care component of DLA.
A mobility component for individuals ability to carry out mobility activities is limited by their physical or mental condition – this is similar to the DLA mobility component.
What if someone is already claiming Disability Living Allowance? The new Personal Independence Payment will be introduced in 2013 and 2014. All new claims will be assessed as Personal Independence Payment claims after this point. From 2013 the Government will start to reassess everyone who is already on DLA to begin to transfer people to the new Personal Independence Payment. Existing DLA claimants will have to apply for the new benefit and evidence will be gathered from a range of sources on their condition. The Government has said that they will give people already receiving DLA plenty of notice, but, unlike with the Universal Credit, they have not guaranteed that people will not be left worse-off.
What can I do? • •
Write to your MP – because the House of Commons makes the final decisions, now is the time to tell your MP what these changes would mean for your family and why they need to speak up for you. Find their details at www.writetothem.org Join Carers UK so that they can keep you up to date with all the latest details and how to get involved with their campaigns against cuts to benefits and services. Join at www.carersuk.org
Sitting Service Our Sitting Service allows carers time to go shopping, have their hair done or visit a friend - and have peace of mind that the person they care for is being safely looked after at home. Sitters sit with the person being cared for to keep them company, and, if requested,
take them out for a walk, shopping, to the park or for a cup of tea. They look after people with a wide range of illnesses, disabilities and needs. Their role is largely one of companionship, and because of this they are, regrettably, unable to assist with spoon feeding, medication, personal care or undertake housework. The current charges are: £6.50 per hour during daytime hours (8:00am to 6:00pm) £7.50 per hour for weekends and evenings (6:00pm to 11pm) £10.00 per hour for Bank Holidays. If you have not used our service before you will need to complete an application form first. If you would like to arrange a sitter, please contact our Carers Freephone Helpline on 0800 015 7700.
Any advertisement in this newsletter is for information only and does not constitute a recommendation.
Carers Advice Board Carers have been sharing how important it is to look after your own health, as well as the person you care for. If you’re new to caring, their experiences and advice on how best to look after yourself, and cope with the demands of caring could be invaluable. For those more experienced, please take a few minutes to share your top tips. To do so, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Freephone Helpline 0800 015 7700. You could also share your tips on our Twitter or Facebook page.
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Free guide to care services in Bromley Finding care services is a little easier thanks to the publication of a free book. The Care Services Directory for Bromley 2012/13 includes an explanation of all available care options alongside listings for providers in the borough. There is also guidance on paying for care and what financial help is available from the Government. Robert Chamberlain, publisher of the Care Choices Directories, said: “When choosing care you should be armed with the most upto-date information. The Care Services Directory is an invaluable source of information for anyone considering long term care.” Get your copy by calling Care Choices on 08003 892077 or by going to carechoices.co.uk/e_books/bromley.html
DATE FOR YOUR DIARY Carers Rights Day Coffee Morning
Unpaid carers being ‘let down by failing social care’ A BBC News article The UK’s “army of unpaid carers” is being “let down” by the failing social care system, campaigners warn. Eight leading charities, including Age UK and Carers UK, have joined together to highlight the plight they face under the umbrella of Carers Week. Feedback from 3,400 carers showed those providing the most intensive care often ended up with health problems themselves. It is estimated that one in six carers either give up work or reduce their hours to look after elderly friends and relatives or younger adults with disabilities. The charities said it demonstrated the hidden effect of the squeeze on council-run social care support. The numbers of elderly and younger adults getting help from councils has fallen in recent years and the coalition of charities said it was the 6.4m unpaid carers who were being left to take up the strain. It asked carers what impact caring and the lack of support had on their health. Most of the responses to the self-selected poll were from those heavily involved in caring for someone, often providing support on a daily basis. Eight in 10 said their responsibilities had caused them health problems, including everything from back pain to insomnia and two fifths said they had delayed seeking medical help with some reporting that this had led to serious consequences. The coalition said carers should be offered regular health checks and there needed to be better information and support available. Carers Week manager Helen Clarke said: “It’s a scandal that carers can’t get the time or support they need to look after themselves which could be jeopardising their health as a result. Carers are feeling the strain of a woefully underfunded system and still we’re seeing more cuts. Unpaid carers save the Government a fortune - £119 billion a year - yet they’re let down in return. It is time for urgent action to tackle the crisis in social care.”
Carers Rights Day will take place on 30th November 2012 with the theme ‘Getting help in tough times’. The day will focus on helping carers obtain financial help, receiving a helping hand, and making the most of technology. Carers Bromley will be holding a coffee morning on 30th November from 11 am to 3 pm at Caritas House, where carers can drop in, meet other carers, and have their benefit questions answered by representatives from the Department for Works and Pensions. Our Carers Support Advisers will be present to offer you support, information and guidance regarding your caring role. Information about telecare services will also be available from Tunstall UK. This technology helps to manage risk and support independence by means of unobtrusive wireless sensors placed around the home which detect possible problems such as smoke, gas, flood or a person falling. Please contact our Carers Freephone Helpline on 0800 015 7700 or by email: email@example.com if you plan to attend.
Community Legal Advice Community Legal Advice (CLA) is a free and confidential advice service paid for by legal aid. If you are living on a low income or benefits, you may be eligible for free specialist advice from legal advisers on issues including: benefits and tax credits; debt; education; housing; employment; and family problems. The advice is independent and confidential. CLA will ask you questions about your problem and find out what help you need. You will be asked a number of questions about your finances to see if you are eligible for legal aid. A free translation service is available in 170 languages. Ring the CLA helpline on 0845 345 4345 Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm or Saturday 9am to 12.30pm.
Any advertisement in this newsletter is for information only and does not constitute a recommendation.
How caring effects men A Carers Direct article The 2001 census showed that about 42% of carers are male and 58% of carers are female. The Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004 aims to ensure that the rights of carers are protected and that female and male carers are both recognised for their roles.
Strains on relationships
Caring can mean a big lifestyle change for anyone who takes on the role, and it can sometimes mean a role reversal within a household. Becoming a carer can mean that you have less time for work, or have to give it up. Pensions and income will be affected, but there are certain benefits available that can help, such as Carer’s Allowance and Income Support. Having reduced finances can add a strain to your relationship. You may find that the caring role also affects your relationship. If either of you is uncomfortable with how much time you spend caring, you may want to use professional care workers instead. To arrange this you should mention it during your carer’s assessment (through Social Services).
Many people view caring as a female role. This may mean that fewer male carers feel it is appropriate to seek support. But without support, you can end up feeling isolated and lonely. This may affect your ability to carry out your caring role.
Help us identify hidden carers Do you belong to a community group, attend a church, belong to a resident association or neighbourhood watch scheme, or work for a local business or charity? Staff from Carers Bromley can come and talk to groups about:
Meeting other men in similar situations can help. It may make it easier if you talk to other men about the emotional and practical challenges of your caring role. If you care for your spouse, you may find that there are issues in your relationship that you only feel comfortable discussing with other men. Roles you had before you became a carer may have changed, so if you have specific needs, have a carer’s assessment to make sure these needs are met. If you find that you need support, contact your Carer Support Adviser or ring the Carers Freephone Helpline on 0800 015 7700 for advice. • • •
What is meant by the term ‘carer’, to help reach more people in the community who are in a caring role The role of Carers Bromley and the services we offer The impact of caring responsibilities
Alternatively, we can give you some of our leaflets to take to your group or add the group to our mailing list to receive the Carers Bromley bi-monthly newsletter on a regular basis. For more information, call the Carers Freephone Helpline: 0800 015 7700 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Communicating with a person who has Alzheimer’s or another Dementia An Everyday Health article
Communicating with a person who has Alzheimer’s disease or another Dementia can be very challenging. Changing your approach to the way you communicate may be helpful. First, make sure the person does not have a hearing or vision problem. Sometimes a person may not respond to you because he or she cannot hear you. Not being able to see well may make the person more confused, agitated, or withdrawn. If you suspect a problem, have a health professional evaluate the person’s hearing and vision.
Use short, simple, familiar words and sentences. Present only one idea at a time, and avoid talking about abstract concepts. Explain your actions. Break tasks and instructions into clear, simple steps, offered one step at a time.
Pay attention to your tone of voice. Be calm and supportive. A person with dementia is still aware of emotions and may become upset upon sensing anger or irritation in your voice.
Maintain eye contact and use touch to reassure and show that you are listening. Touch may be better understood than words. Holding the person’s hand or putting an arm around his or her shoulder may get through when nothing else can.
Pay attention to the person’s tone of voice and gestures for clues as to what the person is feeling. Sometimes the emotion is more important than what is said.
Do not confront the person about his or her denial of the disease. Arguments will not help either of you.
Continue to treat the person with dignity and respect.
Allow choices in daily activities. Let the person select his or her clothing, activities, and foods. However, too many choices can be overwhelming.
Offer a choice of 2 to 3 options, not the whole range of possibilities.
Don’t argue. Offer reassurance and try to distract the person or focus his or her attention on something else.
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FOR SALE Escape Lite Wheelchair with rain mack and bag (buckle missing), asking £15 ono. Also, hardly used standard folding safety Tri Walker, asking £15 ono. Buyer to collect. Call Chris on 07941 510381 Brother Electronic Typewriter, Model AX425, like new. Brought for £139, asking £60. Contact Mr Travers on 020 8289 1235.
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Bromley Lions Fundraising Dance Bromley Lions is hosting a fundraising event to raise money for Carers Bromley and specifically for young carers. The fundraising dance will be held on Saturday 1st December 2012 at Keston Village Hall from 7pm. Tickets are £10 per person and this will include a buffet meal. There will be music from the 1950’s to the 1990’s and a licensed bar. Tickets can be ordered from Jill Thomas at email@example.com or on 020 8462 1138.
Caring and divorce A Carers Direct article
If you continue to care for your spouse through the divorce proceedings and after the divorce is complete, you may find it easier if you have strong personal boundaries in place. This might include conversations you are willing to have or personal care duties that you are willing to carry out. If there is to be a change in the care you provide, you should contact your local authority care services to let them know, as they may need to reassess any support that either of you receive.
If you have children who you care for
With the additional strains of mental illness, disability, frailty or a chronic disease, caring relationships, like many others, can come to an end. Deciding to end a relationship with the person you care for can be stressful, frightening and difficult. Indeed, they may wish to end the relationship with you. If you are divorcing, there are financial, legal and emotional complications. If you have children there will be additional complicating factors.
A major change such as divorce or separation is likely to have a major impact on a child. If a child has special needs that require routine care, such as autism, the impact can be even greater. You can try to reduce the impact by keeping as much structure as possible in your child’s life. If you or your partner has already left the family home, try to make visits as regular and consistent as possible. Unless there is a threat to your child’s safety or welfare, try to make sure they see their other parent frequently.
Divorced but still caring
If you are divorcing the person you care for, you will need to decide if you are able to still carry on in your caring role after the divorce. You may find this easy if your marriage has changed beyond recognition, or you may find it very hard to be around your spouse when you are separating. There is no right or wrong way to feel and no right or wrong course of action.
Going through a divorce can be stressful and difficult so it’s important that you get the support you need. This might be through friends, family, counsellors or colleagues. If you prefer to speak to someone who does not know you personally, there are plenty of organisations and charities who will be able to help you and Carers Bromley can be one of them.
Empower Me has launched in the Bromley Borough Mencap’s Empower Me services provide personalised advocacy support for adults with a learning disability. Empower Me now includes spot purchase services - this means that advocates will be able to provide advocacy support at short notice, to support people with issues as they arise and before they escalate. Spot purchase advocacy includes both Individual and Group services and can support people with a learning disability to resolve issues around social care, health, employment and housing as well as allowing groups to have their say about the things that are important to them. Recent reforms to welfare benefits, cuts to local services and the introduction of personal budgets may leave many people with a learning disability feeling anxious about what effect these changes will have on their life. Mencap advocates will help them speak up and will give them the support to make informed choices in their life, from finding out about the services they receive, accessing different services or raising concerns when things are not working out. If you would like to know more, contact Sally Jones (National Advocacy Manager) on 07766 133 716 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. More information can also be found at www.mencap.org.uk/empowerme
Caring in retirement A Carers Direct article Retirement should be a time where you can focus on yourself and what you enjoy doing. However, if you are a carer, it may mean that you have more responsibility than before - but this does not necessarily mean you have to sacrifice your leisure time. Caring should always be a choice. You may choose to scale down your caring duties or focus more on being a carer. If you’ve become a carer of your spouse or partner recently, or have had to take early retirement because of your caring commitments, you may find it hard to adjust. It might be helpful to speak to people who have experience with caring in retirement. Speak to your local carers’ centre to see if there are any support groups you can join.
Health problems are more likely after retirement age for both you and the person you care for. If you are to continue in your caring role, you need to take care of your physical and mental health. It’s also important that you have the ability and skills to carry out the care that the person you’re caring for needs. For example, if they have a mobility problem that requires lifting or moving, this could put extra strain on your back and shoulders. Speak to your local authority about any aids or adaptations that are available to help with lifting. As you grow older, the chances of you or your partner or spouse becoming affected by dementia increases. If either of you are affected by dementia, it’s important to get specialist support. This may be through your GP, local authority or a specialist dementia nurse. If you are affected by dementia yourself, it is still possible to care for your spouse or partner, but you must be honest about your abilities and get help when you need it.
Having a carer’s assessment will mean that your plans for retirement can still be taken into account as well as any caring duties that you are willing and able to carry out. It’s important to spend time as a couple doing things you both enjoy so that your role as carer does not take over your role as a spouse. Talk about support with arranging activities during your assessment with your local authority.
If you intend to care for your partner or spouse at home for the duration of your retirement you may need to consider the option of extra support through paid carers at home, or a residential home. If you choose to arrange care for your spouse, remember that it does not need to be permanent. You should contact Social Services on 020 8461 7777 to discuss any change in circumstance and potential change in care. Remember that any level of care you provide should always be through choice.
KEEP IN TOUCH WITH US! EMAIL email@example.com WRITE TO US at Carers Bromley, Caritas House, 2nd Floor, Tregony Road, Orpington BR6 9XA CALL US 0800 0157700 “LIKE” us on Facebook at facebook.com/ CarersBromley TWEET US @CarersBromley WEBSITE www.carersbromley.org.uk
Information for professionals Would you like to know more about the services that Carers Bromley can provide to unpaid carers throughout the London Borough of Bromley? Are you a professional who comes into contact with unpaid carers? Would you or any other member of your organisation like to receive a copy of our bi-monthly newsletter? Would you or a colleague like to attend a free information session aimed at professionals to learn more about Carers Bromley and the services provided? If you answered yes to any of these questions, please contact Carers Bromley on 01689 898 289 or email help@carersbromley. org.uk
Useful contacts Advocacy First 0208 460 6712 Age UK Bromley & Greenwich 020 8315 1850 Alzheimer’s Society Bromley 020 8313 3271 Benefits Enquiry Line 0800 88 22 00 Bertha James Day Centre 020 8464 5361 Bromley Asian Cultural Association 07958 658366 Bromley Association of People with Disabilities 020 8663 3345 Bromley Community Counselling Service 020 8460 7711 Bromley Council 020 8464 3333 Bromley Council out of hours service 020 8464 4848 Bromley Council on Ageing 020 8325 9788 Bromley Local Involvement Network (LINk) 020 8315 1982 Bromley Mencap 020 8466 0790 Bromley Mind 01689 811222 Bromley Social Services 020 8461 7777 Bromley Women’s Aid 020 8313 9303 Burgess Autistic Trust 020 8464 2897 Carer’s Allowance Helpline 0845 608 4321 Carers Forum 0800 015 7700 Citizens Advice Bureau Beckenham & Penge 020 8778 0921 Citizens Advice Bureau Bromley & Chislehurst 020 8315 1940 Continence Advisory Service 020 8462 1255 Credo Creative Arts Centre 01689 878225 Cystic Fibrosis Trust 020 8464 7211 Deaf Access 020 8315 2550 Disability Voice Bromley 0845 009 2970 Epilepsy Support Group 01689 600068 Huntingdon’s Disease Support Group (North Kent) 01959 523667 I-Care Day Centre Trust Ltd 01689 862883 Kent Association for the Blind 020 8464 8406 Motor Neurone Disease Association 020 8650 5568 MP for Beckenham - Robert Stewart 020 7219 7011 MP for Bromley and Chislehurst - Bob Neill 020 7219 8471 MP for Orpington - Joseph Johnson 020 7219 7125 MP for Lewisham West and Penge - Jim Dowd 020 7219 4617 MS Society 020 8464 3723 National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000247 NHS Direct 0845 4647 Parkinson’s UK Bromley Branch 0808 800 0303 Relate Bromley 020 8315 1999 Rethink Bromley Advocacy Service 020 8313 3034 Samaritans of Bromley and Orpington 01689 833000 Welcare in Bromley 020 8466 039
Council Tax Benefit is changing The Government is planning to abolish the current national Council Tax Benefit scheme from 1 April 2013. All councils have to replace it with their own local scheme called Council Tax Support. As well as having to create a scheme that is suitable for Bromley, the council will also have to work within a budget that has been reduced by at least ten per cent in total. Under the government’s proposals, the new Council Tax Support scheme has to protect retirement age pensioners based on their current entitlements. The reduction in government funding therefore
means the Council have to make difficult decisions about how much support working age claimants can get. Bromley is proposing a new scheme. These proposals will directly affect all working age claimants of Council Tax Benefit, and also anyone who may pay Council Tax now but who in the future might wish to claim support should their circumstances change. Have your say: complete the online survey at www.surveymonkey. com/s/BromleyCouncilTaxSupportScheme, pick up a survey form from Bromley Civic Centre or call the information line: 020 8603 3478. The consultation ends on 12th October 2012.