Times of Tunbridge Wells 22nd July 2020

Page 10



Community News

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Go the Distance to give thanks to NHS staff and support well-being By Andy Tong

GO THE EXTRA MILE Dr Greg Lawton, Alex Slack, Miles Scott and Bob Cook arrive at Tunbridge Wells Hospital

LOCAL people are being asked to take on athletic challenges to show their support for key workers at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust [MTW] who have battling Covid-19. Participants in the ‘Go the Distance’ campaign can walk, run or cycle either 5km, 10km, a half marathon or full marathon over a maximum time span of 30 days in return for sponsorship. Donations received will go to the MTW Charitable Fund’s dedicated Covid-19 response appeal to support the staff’s health and well-being. The target is to raise £10,000.

Distance A spokesperson for the Trust said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has left us all in unprecedented times. For our NHS staff at Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone hospitals, it has resulted in them working tirelessly around the clock, and this has been physically and mentally challenging. “They’ve gone the distance for us during this challenging time. Now it’s time for us to do the same for them.” Miles Scott, the Trust’s chief executive, led from the front when he ran a marathon from the Crowborough Birthing Centre to Maidstone Hospital on July 15, via Tunbridge Wells Hospital and Paddock Wood. He said: “Our staff here have responded so effectively to the pandemic and gone above and beyond the call of duty, so it’s fantastic to be able to say thank you to them myself by taking on this challenge to support our NHS heroes we have here at MTW.

“Every penny raised will directly benefit our staff by providing a permanent legacy and facilities for staff who have done so much to look after local people during the recent pandemic.” He eventually ran 28 miles, while MTW’s chief of surgery Greg Lawton covered the same distance on his bike. They were accompanied for part of the way by Alex Slack, chief clinical information officer, and Bob Cook, head of strategy and system integration. Double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes from Hildenborough has backed the campaign, saying: “NHS staff have rightly been recognised as heroes during Covid-19. “However, I have always applauded them, especially knowing the exceptional care they gave my mother in her final months. “My mother worked for the NHS for over 30

years and received treatment and care at Maidstone Hospital’s Kent Oncology Centre and on the hospital’s wards. “Appreciation goes further than just at a time of a pandemic and that’s why I am supporting this cause, so please ‘Go the Distance’ and help support Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Charitable Fund.” The closing date for entries is July 31. Those taking part are encouraged to set up their own fundraising page and everyone who raises £10 or more will receive a bespoke medal. A £10 donation can be made via by texting MTWGTD to 70085* or via justgiving.com/ fundraising/mtw-fundraisinggothedistance To sign up to the event visit bit. ly/2020Gothedistance or register your interest via mtw-tr.gtd@nhs.net

New Rotary presidents pledge clubs’ support in difficult times THE Pantiles Rotary Club’s annual presidential handover was held in the unusual setting of a digital Zoom meeting this year because of the lockdown. Tim Davey had the honour bestowed upon him by outgoing president Roy Patey in the virtual presence of club members and assistant district governor Carolyn Bassett. Tim has run his own businesses in the insurance and clothing industries and managed a pub. A keen sportsman, he played rugby for Tonbridge Juddians, completed the London Marathon and ran Tonbridge Angels’ youth football teams, receiving an award for service to the community from the High Sheriff of West Sussex.

LEADING LIGHTS Tim Davey (left) of Tunbridge Wells and Peter Ruck of Tonbridge

Predecessor Roy Patey had held the office during the previous year and he had stepped up to fill the role again following the sudden death of the incumbent, David Buckley. The club has faced further difficulties due to the lockdown with its main fundraiser, the annual Golf Day at the Nevill, having to be cancelled. Last year the event raised more than £10,000 for the Pickering Cancer Drop-in Centre and other local charities. The new president is keen to project an optimistic vision going forward, saying: “We need to improve and expand communication both within the club and with the wider community through a greater use of social media and a closer engagement with local life. “Most of all, I want the club to be at the forefront of supporting the community both by raising funds to provide financial help and

through practical assistance. “Combine that with the fun and fellowship enjoyed by members of Pantiles Rotary Club, and who wouldn’t want to be part of it? An exciting year lies before us.” In Tonbridge the Rotary Club’s handover was held in the garden of incoming president Peter Ruck, attended by his predecessor Phil Higgins, president-elect Barry Ednie and vice president Penny Brandling-Harris while observing social distancing. Past president Andy Blundell made a video of the event which was shown during a virtual meeting of members from Tonbridge and other local clubs.

Peter is a familiar face in the town, having served in the travel industry for more than 50 years - 44 of those in the High Street with Baldwins and then working from home with his own company. Having now retired, he will be driving this year’s international theme of ‘Rotary opens opportunities’ with the emphasis on communities pulling together amid the coronavirus crisis. Peter said: “I cannot wait for face-to-face meetings to recommence at, and in support of, the Rose and Crown Hotel where Tonbridge Rotary Club held its weekly meetings until Covid-19 forced its closure in March this year. I’m so glad to see it opening again now.”

Wednesday July 22 | 2020

Video ‘carephones’ will keep vulnerable and their carers safe TWO thousand elderly or vulnerable people are set to benefit from a unique videophone system as part of an initiative by Kent County Council [KCC]. The council has commissioned assistive care technology provider Alcove to roll out the ‘carephones’ across the county, in one of the country’s largest programmes to support adults during the Covid-19 pandemic. The £1.5million contract means that elderly people who struggle with technology and those with learning disabilities will be able to receive virtual care and health consultations. They will also be able to stay in video contact with friends and family and carry out online requirements such as shopping while minimising the risk of infection to carers. The technology, in the form of a ‘one touch’ secure tablet, is being delivered and set up remotely by Alcove and health and care transformation consultancy Rethink Partners. Clair Bell, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: “This assistive technology will give some of our most vulnerable residents greater independence and help care staff to support them at this very challenging time. “The video phone is delivered direct to the person’s home, ready to go, straight out of the box.

Effective “It enables carers to monitor care needs and check on the safety and well-being of their clients, who themselves are able to utilise the equipment for a variety of online activities such as ordering shopping and prescriptions, as well as connecting with their family and friends by video call.” She added: “The system is proving to be particularly effective during the Covid-19 pandemic, reducing the need for face-to-face contact and limiting hands-on care to just essential tasks. “I am delighted that KCC is investing in this technology, which will bring many benefits to both the care workforce and those we support to live independently at home.” Kent has seen more than 7,600 confirmed cases of Covid-19, making it one of the hardest hit communities in the South East. Founder and chief executive of Alcove, Hellen Bowey, said: “Local authorities across the country have had to navigate an unprecedented demand for services and juggle this with fewer support staff. “Restrictions on movement and a reduction in care workers have left the most vulnerable people in our communities scared, alone and digitally isolated. “Current telecare technologies in this sector lack video, are outdated and send calls to only one number. “With lockdown set to continue for many of the older people in our communities, it’s important that providers take steps to ensure their needs continue to be met.” To find out more about carephones contact karaservice@kent.gov.uk

STAY IN TOUCH: Robert Greenfield, who has Multiple Sclerosis, uses his video carephone