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Retired DECEMBER/JANUARY 2011/12

& living in Swindon

Inside ...

MICHAEL ASPEL On how he stepped up to the mike

RICK STEIN Shares his favourite dishes inspired by Flavours of the Med


FREE Please t

ake one


Light your fire

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Special offer ..... Purchase any Greenstar CDi or Si from a Worcester Accredited Installer before 31st December 2011 and you will receive an additional 2 year guarantee on top of the standard 5 year guarantee. That’s a 7 year guarantee for the boiler and 7 years’ peace of mind for you. See page 19 for more information.

Inside... 4-5


Graham Smith has a Twitter But is he right or wrong? Health and Safety and Hot Air! Reading the entire collection of Health and Safety rules which dictate our lives today would be a suitable prison sentence for murder. New ones are added daily by some overpaid barmpot in Whitehall and two I came across recently are worthy of mention.




Under The Tuscan Sun


Places to Visit How to get there

FOOD & DRINK 26-27 Rick Stein Mediterranean Escapes Recipes

INTERVIEW 14-15 Michael Aspel On how he stepped up to the mike.

HEALTH 36-37 Open Your Mind To Alternative Therapies 22-23 Caring for your pet in its senior years with Thameswood Vets. Dear Reader, Welcome to the latest local Retired magazine which we hope you will sit back and enjoy at your leisure. Our journalists Angela Kelly, Graham Smith and Sheila Alcock are continuing to keep you well informed with their celebrity interviews and up to date everyday tips. We know you will also be left with a smile on your face after reading Graham’s observations on life! If you know of an event which would benefit from free publicity please feel free to let us know and we can consider including it in our next issue.

McGrath Media. Unit 6 | Moses Gate Workshops Gladys Street | Bolton | BL3 2QG. T: (01204) 796 494 | F: (01204) 791594 e:

In the beautiful Bronte village of Haworth there is an annual event in June to celebrate the 1940s. Everyone and their granny descends on the village, some villagers have been known to move out for the weekend to avoid the crush, and many dress in period costume singing “We’ll Meet Again” increasingly loudly as the local brew takes effect. Until three years ago part of the spectacle was a fly past by retired World War Two aeroplanes, usually a Spitfire, a Hurricane or a Lancaster Bomber. Now these planes are still air worthy after seventy years but some clown in Bradford Council’s Health and Safety asylum decided there was a problem. The Spitfire won the Battle of Britain. Hitler and his army eventually chucked the towel in because they couldn’t down enough of the planes to win. It’s a good job Bradford Council wasn’t on his side or he’d have won. The organisers of the Forties Weekend had to conduct a Health and Safety and feasibility study and here was one of the questions:“What was the likelihood of one of the planes crashing onto the village during the flypast?” Now we don’t see many Fokkers or Messerschmitts over Haworth these days and the Home Guard was disbanded some years ago. The only aerial threat we have is from rooks and the occasional duck with a dicky tummy, which might necessitate wearing a tin helmet on windy days. I think we had the greatest confidence that the pilots would have successfully cleared the village without a mass slaughter of the population, but, no, we couldn’t have a fly past. 10,000 people squeezed onto our tiny cobbled streets that weekend. Traffic management had a pink fit as the hordes parked their cars anywhere and everywhere. Hermann Goerring was spotted having a pint in The Fleece but we couldn’t have aeroplanes using the only empty space in the valley…the sky. Were all flights from Leeds-Bradford airport suspended for the day in case the lunch time Ireland plane crashed in Central Park? They were not. There was a famous wartime phrase which said, “Your country needs you”. I suggest the same does not apply to the Health and Safety nitwits of today.


Under the Tuscan Sun


trung along 18km of serrated cliffs between Levanto and La Spezia, the Cinque Terre is one of Italy’s treasures. These five higgledy-piggledy villages Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore are cut off by mountains, choked with olive groves and dry-stone-walled vineyards, where farmers have eked out a living over the centuries. The Cinque Terre became a Unesco World Heritage site in 1997, which includes a protected marine area, and became a national park (Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre) in 1999. Wine growers still use monorail mechanisms to ferry themselves up and the grapes down these unique lands, and in some cases have to harvest by boat as access is restricted. If the terraced hillsides are not worked, they will quite literally slide into the sea. National park status has spared the area from a propagation of tourism and the tacky souvenir stands that come with it and saved it from environmental destruction. Cars and motorbikes are not allowed in the villages, instead they are connected by train. In the villages, electric buses scale the sheer streets. Park authorities close walking paths when numbers become too great, so it’s best to arrive in the cool and relative calm of the early morning.

EATING/DRINKING Grapevines and olive trees cover the hillsides, so wine and oil are a must on the restaurant tables. They prove excellent companions for the salted anchovies of Monterosso served in olive oil as well as the many specialty fish dishes and authentic gastronomic delights.


The cuisine of the Cinque Terre almost perfectly conserves the characteristics of yesteryear; the respect for the flavours and fragrances of the primary ingredients. Trofie is a kind of pasta made from chestnut or wheat flour, It’s condiment is still pesto sauce, an original Ligurian sauce made from basil leaves, extra virgin olive oil, grated parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Torte di verdura - vegetable pies -are prepared with a stuffing containing parsley, marjoram, wild local herbs, artichokes, zucchini, potatoes and leeks, combined with egg and ricotta cheese or with stale bread soaked in milk or béchamel sauce and parmesan cheese. The pie crust is very thin, because flour was a very precious commodity. Torta di riso - rice pie - is a specialty of every Italian grandma in the region. Frittate - flat omelettes - are popular today as the ‘frittata’ has been rediscovered as a tasty antipasto. Another important dish on the tables of the Cinque Terre population was cotoletta di acciuga, anchovies stuffed with a breadcrumb based filling and then fried. The fritelle di bianchetti, fritters made from tiny newborn anchovies or sardines, were also highly appreciated. Following the seamen’s gastronomic traditions, other dishes included stewed cuttlefish, stuffed calamari and spiced octopus.

SLEEPING Numerous villagers have rooms to rent: look for signs reading camere (rooms) or affittacamere (rooms for rent). Accommodation booking offices in Riomaggiore are really helpful and can help you organise a room ahead of time. The town of Levanto is bigger and has a lot of accommodation including hotels, bed & breakfasts

T R AV E L and even camping areas where you can rent a tent with two beds and linens for very low prices! Note: Breakfast in an Italian hotel or B&B will be some slices of bread and a croissant, butter, jam and coffee with orange juice if you are lucky. This is a typical Italian breakfast so if you can get a room without breakfast and head down to the nearest cafe where there is a larger choice.

GETTING AROUND Take the train to La Spezia and change onto the regional (“Regionale”) train that makes all the local stops in the Cinque Terre mostly through tunnels. All the Cinque Terre towns have their own train station. Almost all the trains from La Spezia stop in Levanto. The train represents the best way to visit all the villages of the Cinque Terre. Until the end of the 19th Century these towns were completely isolated and reachable just on foot or by sea. In 1860 (works ended in 1874) the first tunnel of this track was built connecting Genoa with La Spezia and crossing almost entirely all this territory through tunnels (32 tunnels were built here!). This means of transportation gives you the possibility to visit the villages in a discreet and easy way and as the train emerges from another tunnel you are treated to another stunning view of one of the best secrets in Italy.

DONT LEAVE WITHOUT… The Cinque Terre boasts some of the best coastline hiking trails in the world. The path from Riomaggiore to Manarola is called the Via Dell’Amore - or ‘Lovers Walk. The beautiful trail along the shore is very easy to hike. Along the way, you’ll witness where lovers have written their names on the rocks and trees surrounding the walk. In the middle of Riomaggiore and Manarola you will come across ‘The Lover’s Lock’ which is a place to seal your eternal love. At this point there is a concrete throne in the shape of a male and female locked in a kiss, where many people duplicate this creating a lovely photographic opportunity. The next hike from Manarola to Corniglia is also easy. However, there is an up hill hike and a large zigzag shaped staircase with 385 steps which can be quite a mission in the midday sun! The trail from Corniglia to Vernazza offers incredible views of shore and is only steep at certain places. The trail from Vernazza to Monterosso is the steepest (you need a reasonably good level of fitness - there is over 250m of climbing over very uneven rocks, totalling approx. 750 ‘steps’ - not easy!), winding through olive orchards and vineyards and offering dramatic ocean views. The paths are narrow, with a very real danger of falling 12 to 15 feet if you lose your footing. If you attempt this hike, take some water, and be prepared to build up a sweat.

Monarola at Sunset

The walk between all the villages takes the better part of a day. For those that would rather not walk (or not walk the entire trail), a pedestrian ferry service runs seasonally to all five villages, plus Lerici. The price is reasonable, and gives a nice view of the villages from the water. The milk train that connect all the villages is also a quick way to hop among towns. It is advised that you attempt the walk as early as possible to avoid the hottest part of the day during the summer period. Sneakers or suitable walking shoes are essential. You must purchase a pass for the hike. It is also possible to purchase a hiking and train pass in one if you wish to catch a train to the next town. Hiking Times around the Cinque Terre: Monterosso - Vernazza: 90 minutes. Vernazza - Corniglia: 90 minutes. Corniglia - Manarola: 45 minutes. Manarola - Riomaggiore: 20 minutes. Manarola also has its own beautiful vineyard walk.


Italian and although English is spoken widely, the locals always appreciate your small efforts to communicate in their language. Currency: Euro (EUR) Time zone: GMT + 2    


Places to Visit How to Get There

and maybe take the Grandkids too! Hundreds of Bargains for all the Family at Blunsdon Indoor Market, Abbey Stadium, Lady Lane, Swindon - Bus Route 24 Market OPENS FROM 9AM TILL 3PM WED, SAT, SUN CAR BOOT OPEN FROM 6AM TILL 2PM WED, SAT, SUN

Get to know Cricklade Bus route 53

Whatever you want to find around Cricklade, there are shops, businesses, hotels, pubs, restaurants, clubs, cinemas, theatres, etc.

Coate Water Country Park Marlborough Road, Swindon. Bus Route 13, 14, 18, 24, 30 Country Park/Nature Reserve A wonderful country park whose centre piece is a magnificent lake (originally built as a reservoir for the Wilts & Berks Canal) which is a haven for wildlife. The park also has a children’s play area, pitch & putt and mini golf, cafe, bird hides and nature reserve. The park provides a perfect environment for walking, cycling & relaxing. The park rangers offer educational talks, walks & various other activities through the year. Paddling Pool tel. 01793 610507. Some features such as the paddling pool are seasonal.


We’re conveniently located near to Swindon town centre only 90 minutes from London. Kemble Drive, Swindon To make your visit easy and comfortable, there is a wide range of amenities – including a Customer Information Desk, special needs services, a children’s play area, baby-changing rooms and ample parking. Please note that only guide dogs are admitted.

Hungerford is a small historic town located in the midst of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Bus Route 46, 46A

The town’s historic market status is retained by the significant number of small independent retail and commercial businesses providing visitors and residents alike with personal service across a wide range of products. Hungerford has an excellent variety of eating places. The town today is surrounded by open common land, five minutes walk from its centre where visitors may enjoy a relaxed walk and an abundance of flora and fauna. The Town hosts a number of unique annual events, including Tutti Day, a 3 week Arts Festival (including Carnival Day) and a late night Victorian Extravaganza in December.

Lambourn - Valley of the Race Horse. Bus Route 47

Lambourn Church was a Saxon Minster, and Lambourn Minster is still its official title. It is first mentioned as such in 1032, but is known from documentary evidence dated 1017. It is thought it dates from the reign of King Alfred who mentions the village in his will. The present building is mostly Norman in origin. In fact the street plan around the church is circular and shows the line of the old enclosure around the building. Circular enclosures, called Llans, are associated with early Celtic churches and possibly former Pagan Celtic Shrines. The dedication of the church to St. Michael who overcame the Devil (ie. Pagan Religion) makes this quite likely. It lies on the so called ‘St. Michael Line,’ a supposed ley-line crossing places associated with the saint, and stretching across the country from St. Michael’s Mount (Cornwall) all the way into East Anglia.

The Link Centre Whitehill Way Westlea Swindon Bus Route 1, 1A, 19, 19A, 22, 53 Free 60 and Over Swimming From 1 April 2009 everybody 60 and over will be entitled to swim for free at published public swimming sessions at Swindon Borough Councils’ leisure centres. The scheme is part of a national campaign to promote swimming, general fitness, more active lifestyles and well-being.

Lydiard House and Park Lydiard Park, Lydiard Tregoze Swindon. Bus Route 1, 1A Lydiard House and Park is a Swindon treasure. Lots to see, lots to do Lydiard House, the delightful yet little-known ancestral home of the Viscounts Bollingbroke, lies in beautiful 18th Century parkland. Fantastic childrens’ play areas, a lake and woodland, along with the 18th Century ornamental Walled Garden, make it a perfect place to relax and enjoy yourself.

The STEAM Story - Museum of the Great Western Railway Kemble Drive Swindon. Bus Route 1, 1A, 19, 19A STEAM - Museum of the Great Western Railway is housed in a beautifully restored Grade II railway building in the heart of the former Swindon railway works. The Museum tells the story of the men and women who built, operated and travelled on the Great Western Railway - ‘God’s Wonderful Railway’ - a railway network that, through the pioneering vision and genius of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was regarded as the most advanced in the world.

Town Gardens Quarry Road Old Town Swindon. Bus Route 22 Picturesque town park, with formal gardens, aviary, play area, tennis courts and cafe. Concerts take place in the bowl and bandstand during the Summer, as well as the annual Asian Mela Festival. The Town Gardens are open dawn to dusk daily.

Other place of interest are Aldbourne: Bus Route 46, 46A, 48, 48A Marlborough: Bus Route 48, 48A Oasis Leisure Centre: Bus Route 15, 15A Purton. Bus route 53.

For details of bus times contact Traveline on 0871 200 22 33.

is coming soon to Route 66... Swindon to Oxford

Get set for a more luxurious travel experience. A brand new fleet of high-specification buses is coming soon to a bus stop near you. Complete with stylish, comfortable Lazzarini Transito Italian-designed, high-back leather seats and a cleaner, greener engine.

To find out more, visit: or call 0800 917 7103 (lines open 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri)

From early 2012!

gets even better! £1.5m investment in your service 9 new buses Striking new livery Still running up to every 20 minutes (Monday–Saturday)

there’s more to see in... Chippenham • Calne • Lyneham • Wootton Bassett Swindon Designer Outlet • Swindon website megarider ticket sales

FREE Walks in Swindon


Keep Active, Keep Healthy! Whether you want to keep active or if you want to try something new, Swindon Borough Council Leisure Services are here to help.

Walking is ideal exercise, particularly for older people. It’s good for your heart, can help control your weight, strengthen your joints and improve your mood. And … it’s free! Joining a walking group can also be a great way to get out of the house and socialise.

Free Sociable Strolls Walking Group This leisurely walking group meets once a month for a one-hour gentle country walk on a Tuesday afternoon. The walk is followed by a tea break (buy your own).

When? Tuesday Tuesday Tuesday Tuesday

If you want to get Healthier, Meet New People and have Fun then why not join our Steps to Health Programme?

What is it? • • • • •

A GP Exercise Referral Scheme 12 weeks of CHEAP Leisure Activities For all Ages, for Everybody! Free support from trained lifestyle consultants Walking Groups, Specialist Gym Sessions, Cycle Rides, Master’s Fitness Classes, Dance Classes and Much More!

How does it work? • You must be referred by your GP. • Your GP must complete an Activity Recommendation Form, sign it and stamp it with the surgery’s details (which you bring to your 1st appointment). • You then phone Danielle Miche on 01793 465407 to book an appointment with a lifestyle consultant. • You can access CHEAP leisure for 12 weeks, with phone and face to face support. • At the end of 12 weeks you have a consultation to help you stay active! FAQ’s

6th December 10th January 7th February 6th March

Where? Meet at Broome Manor Golf Complex at 1.50pm (ready to walk 2.00pm – 3.00pm).

For more information about this group, our free weekly health walks, or other opportunities to walk locally contact Amanda Rothwell on 01793 465413 or email Or visit

1. Will I be able to do the exercise- surely gyms are full of people who are young and covered in spandex? Answer: We have a whole programme with at least 3 different activities per day specifically designed for the over 50’s. They encourage you to go at your own pace and the instructors will go out of their way to make you feel welcome. The spandex is strictly optional! 2. Help! My GP has never heard of Steps to Health! Answer: Have them (or anyone from the surgery), call/ email Danielle Miche on 01793 465407 or and a pack containing all you need to know will be sent out. Alternatively you can call Danielle yourself for more information or details. Also look online for more tips on staying active

Could it be time to take to the floor? Dancing can be wonderful to watch, but joining in really does you good, Strictly legends Ann Widdecombe and Anton du Beke tell James Pringle


trictly Come Dancing stars Ann Widdecombe and Anton du Beke are leading the way in helping thousands of older people to dance their way to better health. Less than 10 per cent of over-75s get enough exercise, according to a new report by care home provider Bupa. Even in the 65-74 age group, that figure is under 20 per cent. The report concludes that dancing, no matter how gentle, is beneficial to the health, fitness and emotional wellbeing of older people. It improves co-ordination, reaction times, muscle endurance, flexibility, gait and strength – which all reduce the risk of falls. It can also play a part in the prevention or treatment of conditions as diverse as dementia, arthritis and Parkinson’s disease.

have to do it too fast. It’s great for the mind and body, but to me it’s the social interaction that’s important. “I love to dance socially. I enjoy the whole element of taking hold of a girl and having a bit of a dance around, whether she can dance or not. It’s terrific fun. “Often I hear stories like: ‘Fifteen years ago my wife passed away and last year I went on a cruise and met Doris, we had a dance and we’re together now. We’re getting married next year, and I’m 84.’ That’s brilliant!” Nobody should worry that they are not as agile as they once were, Anton believes. You can do as much or as little as you like, at any speed, and if you have a partner, you can hold onto them. “Don’t feel you’ve got to do it wonderfully,” he stressed. “Just do it for your own enjoyment.”

Bupa’s Shall We Dance? PIC CAPTION: Elmstead Home’s Kathleen McIlroy and campaign is urging Clifford Morgan from the Sidcup Centre partner up with Anne Widdecombe added: policy-makers to pay “When you’re my age [63] Anton du Beke and Ann Widdecombe. special attention to dance you do quite a lot. I walk, I when looking at ways to swim and a lot of people my promote fitness in older age still play quite active sports. In 20 years’ time that’s people. It’s also encouraging dancers, dance troupes not going to be quite so feasible, but you still need to and dance teachers – of any style – to contact their local keep all the bits and pieces moving – and that includes Bupa care home to share their passion for dance by the brain. performing for residents or offering dance classes to “With dancing you can move at your own pace, people who have a range of mobility issues. whatever suits you. Because you have to remember a Residents and staff from three of company’s Kent routine and know which step comes after what, it keeps homes – The Sidcup Nursing & Residential Centre and the brain active – and it keeps you sociable, because Abbotsleigh Mews Residential & Nursing Home, both in you can’t really dance on your own. Sidcup, and Elmstead Residential Home in Chislehurst – “It’s a great way for the elderly to keep a little bit in attended the campaign launch in London at the National trim. I don’t think anybody’s going to worry about Theatre. They were welcomed by Bupa Care Services making fools of themselves – they’re not going to do medical director Dr Clive Bowman and took to the floor what I did on television in front of eight million people! with the Strictly stars after the former government Anyway, most people are quite confident, they’ve seen minister and her professional dance partner had given a it all before. demonstration. Anton told Retired: “This campaign is a great initiative. When you get to a certain age it’s easy to do nothing, but the thing about dance is that it’s very social. It gets you involved with lots of different people of a similar age and you can dance at your own pace – you don’t

“While I was doing Strictly, people kept coming up to me and saying ‘You’ve inspired me to take up dancing’, and some of them were well beyond my age.” Kathleen McIlroy is a sprightly 86-year-old who could pass for 20 years younger. The Elmstead Home resident is a fine advertisement for the benefits of dancing and 11

yoga. Her fitness helped her survive an extremely serious setback. “Mum was marching to the Cenotaph with the last year when she had a major heart attack,” her daughter, Kathy Avery, explained. “The hospital told me she wouldn’t pull through. She was in intensive care for three and half weeks, but she made it. The doctors couldn’t believe it, and I think it was purely down to the fitness of her body with the dancing and yoga she did.” Kathleen told Retired: “I’ve been dancing since I was about 15 – ballroom and Latin – and I thoroughly enjoy it. I’m coming up against arthritis now, but I just work round it. “It’s a good thing for old people to get out and go dancing. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know a lot – it’s amazing how you pick it up, and it brings people together. It’s just a matter of getting over your inhibitions.”

Perpetual motion for dancing stars After last year’s Strictly series, Anton and his regular partner, Erin Boag, went on their third national tour and they are now planning a show for mid-January to late March 2012. Tour titles to date, Cheek to Cheek, Stepping Out and Putting on the Ritz, identify Fred Astaire as a major inspiration. “I love him,” said Anton. “Everything we do is a nod in his direction.” These days he and Erin cannot find time for ballroom dancing competitions. “I miss them. I miss that level of dancing, that intensity and that drive to meet the next man. I enjoyed the competitive side of things.” Anton’s Strictly success has seen him branch out into TV presenting, with the shows Step Up to the Plate and Hole in the Wall. “Hole in the Wall was just hysterical. I don’t think we’ll see it any more, sadly. I wish they’d bring it back, because it’s fun. Half an hour of nonsense and we loved doing it.” Other programmes are in discussion and Anton hopes there will be more opportunities. Meanwhile, he looks forward to this year’s series of Strictly.

Many viewers were surprised when former Westminster big hitter Ann Widdecombe joined the 2010 line-up. “All the time I was a politician, it would not have been appropriate,” she said, “and that is why I turned down Strictly every year from 2004 to 2009. “I wouldn’t have had time and, in terms of dignity, I couldn’t have done it as an MP. My constituents would not have expected it and I wouldn’t have done it to them. But once I retired there was no obligation to conduct myself as if I was still a Member of Parliament. I can do anything now!” Ann’s harshest critic during the TV series was judge Craig Revel Horwood. For the live national tour of the show, someone came up with the masterstroke of making Craig and Ann dance partners. “Oh it was such fun!” said Ann. “We both enjoyed it so much that we’re doing pantomime together in December.” For a moment, your reporter thought she was joking, but it’s true. The unlikely pair will be appearing at Dartford’s Orchard Theatre in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Ann will be lady-in-waiting to the Wicked Queen, played by Craig. “We enjoyed the tour so much,” Ann added. “We were getting a huge reaction from huge audiences. Sure, when you do it on television you’ve got millions of viewers, but you can’t see ’em. All you can see is quite a small studio audience. But when you’re playing Wembley and the O2, you’re stacking up tens of thousands and the reaction is just overwhelming. “I danced every day for five weeks, and twice a day when we were doing matinees.” Ann confessed that she was never a serious competitive dancer on Strictly. “I was doing a pantomime act. On day one, Anton said to me: ‘The less time you spend with your feet on the floor, the better’. Hence all the lifting, spinning, dragging, flying – anything to avoid actually doing the steps! “The flying was Anton’s bright idea. I said to him: ‘We’ve got to do something, because I’m never going to win on dancing. He said: ‘Fly off the balcony’. I’ve got terrible height phobia, but I did understand the potential, so I flew off the balcony.”


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How Michael stepped up to the mike When the young Michael Aspel headed for Cardiff, his father thought it was to develop his career with a bedding company, but Michael had other ideas, as James Pringle discovered Who would expect a highly experienced broadcaster like Michael Aspel to be dogged by moments of doubt?

“There was just this one gigantic dinner suit between all of us. We wore whatever we liked below – it could be tennis shorts or whatever, because the picture never cut below the waist.

“For some years I was very cocky and full of myself, yet I’ve always been very nervous,” he tells Retired. “Luckily I was able to handle awkward situations, but you get less and less confident as you grow older.” Such feelings are not helped by television’s fondness for young faces, and Michael is now a wellpreserved 78. But when the 100 Years of Us series earlier this year highlighted changes in society during the first century of the National Census, he was “well qualified to be the front man, having been around for most of that time”. Indeed, for many of us, Michael has always been on the airwaves, but he was a teaboy for a London publisher before National Service in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps in the early 1950s. “When I came out of the Army, I wanted to be an actor,” he recalls. “My father was very sympathetic. He said: “Get a job or get out’. I took a job with a bedding firm that had contacts in Cardiff with a big store there. I went down there ostensibly to learn the bedding trade and the sales business, but that wasn’t my intention at all. I auditioned for radio drama at the BBC in Cardiff, and they gave me occasional work while I waited for a place to come up on the BBC drama repertory company. I did all sorts of jobs – including drainpipelayer and gardener – that I could drop at a moment’s notice when they required me for a freelance broadcast. I would rush straight from the building site and be in things like the Children’s Hour serial.

“That was a wonderfully happy time. It was quite different from Lime Grove or the later Television Centre – partly because it was news only and partly because it was such a historic place, where television began, and physically cut off from the rest of the BBC, and you could not get a better bunch of workmates.” Michael remembers a time he made news himself. “I went on one night with a black eye. I’d been playing in a charity cricket match the day before and got the ball in my eye. The response was incredible – it was even in the papers in France and America.” Michael never did become an actor – except that “occasionally theatres let people from the telly do plays, to put bums on seats, and I’ve done a few”. He hosted Ask Aspel, Crackerjack, Aspel and Company, Miss World, Come Dancing, Give Us a Clue, The Six o’Clock Show, This is Your Life and Antiques Roadshow and his mellow tones were also heard on the radio.

Michael joins Lance England in the studio of community station Brooklands Radio

“I intended to pursue acting and in the mid-50s I was on the radio in London, but then someone told me they were looking for continuity announcers at the BBC TV’s Lime Grove Studios. 14

Lime Grove was the BBC TV’s main London base, but the news department was at Alexandra Palace. When Richard Baker was indisposed, Michael was drafted in to read one weekend’s bulletins and ended up staying for eight years.

On the Light Programme’s Family Favourites sound engineers were at the controls, but Michael learnt to self-operate a studio as part of the launch team of London commercial station Capital Radio.

“When I did something for the BBC after that, they asked if I’d like to self-op and I said I would – but their controls worked the other way round and I said

I N T E RV I E W ‘Good morning’ and switched myself off. “Capital was exciting and I did things I never dreamt I would do. There was a brilliant young producer called Simon Booker and the station’s chairman was Richard Attenborough, who would get us tremendous guests with his contacts. “That kept going with the television chat show, although, to be honest, that was a great disappointment to me. It didn’t compare with the shows I did on Capital, because there were various restrictions and I wasn’t as confident.

to the researcher, who would type it out and give it back to the person as a script. “They would then try to learn it, and come stumbling on, trying to remember the script of their own story. That didn’t always work, so you would have to gently nudge them, hopefully without giving away the joke.” Michael lives near Weybridge, Surrey, with his partner Irene Clark. Retirement has never figured in his plans. He will be among the stars at this year’s Parkinson’s UK charity Christmas Concert at Central Hall, Westminster.

“At the radio station my researcher – a woman who had a PhD in mediaeval French – provided me with information on people and I would then prepare the interview. When I started the chat show on Thames, I found there was an agreement between representatives of the guest and our people as to what line the interview would take.”

Recent years have seen him guest hosting Have I Got News for You and making a documentary about his wartime evacuee experiences. He has taken to the stage in a Rocky Horror Show tour, as well as appearing in several pantomimes.

Who were the most difficult people to interview? “Actors like Elliott Gould – he was utterly impossible – and others just weren’t very good at it.

“Because of some kind of imaginary gravitas that you bring to the stage, the thing works and you can still have the time of your life while being this old codger.”

“Tony Curtis was every interviewer’s gift most of the time, but occasionally he would lose interest and he did that on one of my shows. When I said: ‘Did this make you the happy man you are today?’ his reply was: “Who said I was happy?’ Then he said: ‘And with that, I bid you goodnight’ when we’d only had about three minutes. He walked off and we had to fill in.” Another live show guest was an inebriated Oliver Reed. “I wasn’t as horrified as I was reported to be,” Michael points out. Always at the back of your mind, in a situation like that, is that ‘This is good telly’.

Feeling festive in a good cause The Parkinson’s UK Christmas Concert is at 7pm on December 9 at Central Hall, Westminster, with music, poetry and celebrity guests including Michael Aspel, Jane Asher and singer Paul Potts, first winner of Britain’s Got Talent.

“The worst experience was the very last chat show we did. It was taken over by Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis, who’d put money into opening a restaurant in the West End. The whole thing became an advert for that and it was just ghastly. I lost control of it and felt very low by the end.” When Michael hosted Crackerjack and This is Your Life, his laid-back style contrasted the anxious manner of his predecessor, Eamonn Andrews. “For a big burly man and an ex-boxer, he was amazingly sensitive and easily embarrassed,” says Michael. “When This Your Life and guests wandered from the point, I tried to laugh it off. But it was the most silly, unnatural arrangement. Someone would originally come in with a good anecdote and tell it

Tickets available from September, via or by calling 020 7963 9319.


WHAT IS AN INTERIOR DESIGNER? By Sheila Alcock Sometimes, it’s a raw new house which needs a designer touch. Or a beautiful old home which needs interior remodelling and modernising. Sometimes, a change of lifestyle has created the need for a new look for your home, or maybe your home is looking tired and old fashioned and could do with a serious update. But you have a busy lifestyle, and very little time. The thought of sourcing builders, plumbers and decorators is overwhelming. So where do you start? Simple. Bring in an expert. Bring in an Interior Designer/Project Manager who can lead you through the intricacies of finding reliable tradesmen, and leave you free to consider ways in which your home can reflect your personality and lifestyle.

Not Just About Cushions and Curtains The title Interior Designer can be misleading, and in fact, anyone can give themselves the title of Interior Designer by taking a six week study course on how to build a samples board. This does not cover the skills

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acquired from undergoing a degree course in Interior Design and Furniture. Louise Putman BA (Hons), MCSD, is a graduate from Middlesex University, having completed a four year degree course in Interior Design and Furniture. This covers the full design process from concept to completion, and she also provides project management, which includes liaison with electricians, builders, furniture manufacturers/ suppliers, fabric and lighting. This is followed by costings, quote comparisons, a programme detailing time scales and completion dates. After graduating, Louise worked on a number of large corporate Headquarters and hospitality projects, including hospitality areas for All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon, and Executive areas at the London Headquarters of Royal Bank of Scotland. In 2009 Louise set up her own design consultancy, Recreate Interiors.

Eureka Moment “My first priority is to understand my client’s taste and vision for the style they want to achieve. Recently, I had a client who wasn’t sure of the sort of interior she wanted,” Louise told me. “The Eureka moment arrived when she studied my mood boards, beamed, and said, “ I didn’t know what I wanted, until you showed me.” That was the moment when I could really focus on the work in hand, and establish rough guidelines on general style, budget and timescale. My work begins with the creation of a mood board, which shows a variety of interiors of different styles

and colour schemes. This is accompanied by samples boards showing fabric swatches, wallpaper samples, carpets, finishes and options. These are discussed, the client makes a choice and at that point, I can set up a detailed summary of costings for each room to be treated by providing a detailed schedule of works to obtain ‘like for like’ quotes from tradesmen, followed by a cost plan including furniture, window treatments, finishes, fixtures and fittings, and my designer’s fees.” “So there’s a lot more to interior design than sourcing fabrics and carpets,” I said. Louise smiled.

Create a Whole NEW LOOK WITH EXCALIBUR REPLACEMENT DOORS We also design & install full Kitchens

“We’re the ones who plod across the site with the builders. We produce detailed space plans to indicate now the space can be better utilised. We’re the ones to sort any problems with decorators and plumbers or the electricians. We discuss their problems and resolve them quickly, so that everyone knows exactly where they are, and completion dates are as stipulated.” We’ve all heard horror stories of missed completion dates, shoddy workmanship and nerves at screaming point over incorrect fittings and soaring costs. A qualified Interior Designer will ensure this never happens. From the update of a single room, to the remodelling of a complete house, an Interior Designer will take the drudgery out of your project, inject flair and creativity to produce the wow factor you’re looking for, and ensure that it’s completed on time, on budget, and exactly how you imagined it.

A HUGE CHOICE Our range of ‘made to measure’ door and drawer fronts are available in solid woods, painted, acrylic and vinyl wrapped.

EXTRA UNITS AND APPLIANCES Additional cabinets can be made to your existing sizes, and we can also supply appliances, sinktops, accessories and worktops.

Mood and sample



Available as supply only or fully fitted by our skilled craftsmen. Installation can include Carpentry, Plumbing, Electrics, Plastering, Tiling, Decorating and is fully insured and guaranteed.


For a FREE computerised design and quotation without obligation call 01793 644600




Modular – Control Your Heating Costs In the era of cheap gas and oil nobody questioned central heating systems. Does it make sense now? If you want to heat your bathroom up for half an hour in the morning, firing up a full central heating system seems a wasteful option. Given recent fuel price hikes, watching a dvd in the lounge with the heat blasting away round the entire house seems crazy. With wet central heating systems we also tend to ignore the high maintenance, replacement costs and servicing.

German and Scandinavian households are turning to long life modular electric heating. Using specialist German radiators, one hundred per cent of the heat can be placed in the room or rooms that are being used, allowing unused rooms to be unheated or placed on very low heat. This means that you have much better control of your heating costs.

At Last! A NEW FORM OF HEATING FROM GERMANY Simple to install, Powerful, and no more servicing - EVER!

In Germany and Austria it can get as low as -20, even -30ºC and a single snowfall can be as much as 3ft or more overnight. To deal with this severe cold they need powerful heating able to cope with sub zero temperatures and sudden climate change. They need excellent control and above all - low running costs without the need for constant servicing and replacement parts. The solution, incredibly... is electric!

Bus to town this winter! This incredible heating could be the answer to help beat ever increasing energy costs and amazingly, it is not gas or oil, or solid fuel - but clean electric! All you need is standard supply and NO

special tariff like economy 7. All over Europe more people are choosing to heat their homes and offices with this very special form of electric heating in preference to oil gas or E7. In our area, more and more of our customers are making that same decision and when you see this incredible heating for yourself you could be next! The heating looks just like conventional radiators, but STOP! it is very different! Put simply, that clunky central heating boiler needing constant servicing and replacement parts isn’t the only choice anymore! Now you can heat your homes, offices, extensions or conservatories with these incredible heaters providing individual control over every room without the need for a central control or wasted boiler space. This incredible German heating simply plugs in! Job Done! You can do just one room or the whole house! This heating, whilst quite NEW in the UK has been mainstream for a very long time in

Germany and Austria. Sunflow Ltd. offer a complete solution which can include disposing of your old central heating system, even oil tanks! Discover for yourself this incredible German heating.

Get your FREE brochure by calling our 24hr Brochure Line on: 0800 158 8270 or email: Replacement Service Sunflow can take the worry out of disposing of old central heating systems. We have a package price that includes the safe and certificated removal of oil, lpg and gas systems, even old oil tanks! Questions? Call Suzanne on 0800 158 8272

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If you would like to advertise your business in the next issue or for more information please contact 01204 796494 email: or visit our website at media

Tis’ the season to be freezing! The nights are drawing in and the temperature is dropping; time to switch the heating on. The last thing anyone wants is this most important of creature comforts breaking down and, with the ever expensive Christmas day creeping closer, saving money on fuel bills is also very important – especially with energy prices creeping up year on year. Mark Krull, eco-expert from Logic4training which trains gas fitters, plumbers and electricians – gives his top tips for preventing heating disasters and keeping warm for less. Frozen pipes: We suffered a particularly cold winter last year with frozen condensate pipes (the black, white or grey pipe coming from the bottom of the boiler to the outside) a common complaint. Frozen pipes means the boiler will stop working completely. To stop this happening again, ideally, you should call a Gas Safe Registered Installer to help thaw the pipe, plus find a solution to the problem. If it’s an emergency and you can’t get anyone to help, use a hot water bottle or heat wrap (like the ones used to ease muscle pain) and hold round the pipe until thawed. Only attempt to thaw a pipe at ground level, which is easily accessible – don’t scale walls or climb on the roof! Once thawed the boiler must be reset. Prevention is better than cure; insulate your pipes with waterproof lagging. Bleed radiators: If your radiators are cold at the top and hot at the bottom this means there’s an air lock and they need bleeding. Unscrew the ‘bleed screw’ at the top, using a radiator key and let the air out until water comes through. If you have a sealed system, make sure you replace air let out with water, using the filling loop (this should have been shown to you when the boiler was installed.) If you’re a landlord, show your tenants how to do this when they move in, it will stop unnecessary maintenance calls. If you keep having to bleed your radiators it probably means there’s a water leak, so you should call a trained installer to take a look. Service: Whether you’ve got a gas, oil or solid fuel boiler an annual service will ensure your heating systems in working to optimum efficiency, plus highlight any problems before they arise. Landlords, this is your responsibility, tenants, make sure you ask for a CP12 Gas Safety Certificate when you move in. New gas safety rules: If you have a boiler where all, or part of, the flue cannot be seen then inspection hatches need to be fitted. You’ve got until January 2013 to sort this out. If you don’t, by law your boiler could be switched-off.

bills included in the rent) go through how the boiler works with your tenants and explain how to use the heating most efficiently. · Don’t switch your heating off in the winter; keep it a low base temperature over-night. It costs more to heat up a freezing cold room. · Do turn your thermostat down. Reducing the temperature by just one degree, will save 8% on your heating bill. · Do make sure all radiators have thermostatic valves (TRV’s); then you can set the temperature in each room. Would you qualify for a grant for a new boiler? There are several grants and subsidies available for central heating. Some depend on your age, or the age of your boiler and other grants depend on your income or health. An easy way to find out what you are entitled to is to contact your local Energy Saving Trust advice centre on 0800 512012. They offer free, impartial advice on grants such as Warm Front, Council run schemes, the new boiler scrappage scheme and more. Order before 31st December 2011 and get an extended guarantee on the Worcester Greenstar CDi or Si boiler. Call Fire Place Solutions on 01793 640485 for more details.

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Keep safe: Install a Carbon Monoxide tester to warn if there’s a leak. If you do have a leak call the National Gas Emergency Service immediately, on 0800 111 999. Keep warm (and spend less) Understand your boiler: Learn how to use your boiler properly and save on your heating. If you’re a landlord (especially one with

*Purchased & installed before 31st December 2011. Terms and conditions apply.


Energy Monitors: to borrow for one week, for Swindon Borough Council residents, who are library members. If you have an illness made worse by living in a cold damp home and have no heating or a faulty system contact the Health Through Warmth coordinator on 01380 735437. Draught proof: Stop your home leaking heat like a sieve; invest in some thick curtains, draught proof round doors and windows and cover the attic hatch with blankets. Make sure your radiators aren’t covered by furniture. Insulate: Up to 35% of the heat in your home is lost through the walls, and up to 25% through your roof. Not all houses can have cavity wall insulation, but every roof should. According to the energy saving trust, insulating your loft could save £180 a year. The Governments ‘Green Deal’ is offering free insulation for some homes, paid back through utility bills. For more information visit the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s website: Is your home insulated? If you pay Council Tax to Swindon Borough Council, and are an owner occupier or rent privately, then you may qualify for grant assistance for cavity wall and loft insulation.  Households in our Safe and Warm areas can access free insulation and grants as detailed above.  Other households, in properties built before 1991 where the householder is over 65, or have a child under 4 living with them or have a house rated as Council Tax Band A or B can only pay £100 for cavity wall or loft insulation.  Other households can access subsidised prices from £175 to £225.  Contact our approved installer Domestic & General Insulation Ltd on 0800 046 9699. Call in the experts If you have any work relating to your gas heating, you must check that the installer you choose is Gas Safe Registered. They should present you with an I.D card. If they don’t have this, then walk away – badly installed or maintained gas equipment could result in death. To find your nearest Gas Safe Registered installer, visit www. Conservatories: If you’re pushed for space, and have considered moving to a larger home, think again. For a fraction of the cost of moving, you could install a conservatory. You’ve acquired a new room, full of light. A fabulous place to have your morning coffee and enjoy views into the garden. You can also reflect on the cheering thought that you’ve added around 15% to the value of your house. The Conservatory Centre based at Cheney Manor have a large showroom displaying a wide range of styles and finishes. They provide a full conservatory package 20

including tiling and furniture all under one roof, using specialist professional teams of surveyors and fitters. The whole project from initial design to completion usually takes only six to eight weeks. Can a Conservatory be energy efficient? Stephen Wright site manager of The Conservatory Centre explains: “A conservatory which is cold and expensive to heat in winter and unbearably hot in summer would represent poor value whatever the price paid. We all would like a room that we can enjoy in the cold winter months and hot summer days. So how do we achieve this? How do we compare what’s on offer? Quite simply the term ‘U-value’ is used as a measure of heat transfer through a given material. The huge area of glass, and maybe polycarbonate in the roof of a conservatory, if not in line with the very latest technology can reduce your investment to little more than a glorified greenhouse! The higher the U-value figure, the greater the heat loss will be; conversely, the lower the U-value figure, the lower the heat loss. Remember! for an energy efficient conservatory, compare U-values and GO FOR LOW. Wall Glass: Total 1.1-1.2 U-Value crystal clear ‘planitherm’, argon gas filled cavity double glazed units. Europe’s top selling solar controlled ‘Low E’ glass made in Britain. This glass really does make a difference to the all year round comfort of the conservatory. Our customers who have experienced the difference tell us this! Ordinary Pilkington double glazed units have a U value of 1.9 and will lose 2 times more heat through the glass. Another type of heat retaining glass, sometimes called low e glass or Pilkington K has a U-value of 1.6 which, although better will still let in 50% more heat than ‘Planitherm’. Furthermore, crystal clear Planitherm Total 1.1-1.2 does not suffer the hazy sheen often associated with Pilkington K glass. As an added bonus, Planitherm Total 1.1-1.2 glass reduces 70% of harmful radiation passing through the glass, protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful effects, and reducing fabric fading. In summer this amazing glass technology with a .74% solar factor and a .85 shading coefficient keeps your conservatory comfortably cool. (g ISO905 M1) Frames: Bowater ‘Esthetique’ 1.1 U-value, 5 chamber PVCu frames. Before the year 2000, virtually all the PVCu frames systems incorporated 3 lateral internal insulating chambers, which gave the frames a U-value of around 1.8 Advances in glass technology resulted in a glass centre pain U- value as low as 1.1-1.2 a clear gap between the energy efficiency of glass and PVCu frames. In many European countries, 1.1-1.2 centre pane u value glass is the norm (Austria, for example is 100% 1.1-1.2 U-value

glass). Taking into account Our ultraframe roofs with the close proximity of the vented eaves and ridge beam glass to the frame, this : 1.2 U-value polycarbonate, clear disparity in u values 35mm thick 7 wall construction presented a problem for comprising of 6 insulating the more responsible PVCu compartments with optional frame designers. Moisture ‘sunshield’ in the air is attracted to the Cheaper typical 25mm thick coolest surface (the frame) polycarbonate, made up of 5 forming condensation, just layered frame walls, with just 4 one reason why frames insulating compartments, has a and glass should have U-value of just 1.6, losing 33% similar U-values. The ideal more heat, straight through the The Conservatory Centre’s Large Showroom at Cheney Manor conservatory will have roof. Should you be concerned 1.4 U-value frames 1.2 about overheating in direct U-value glass. As a major summer sun, The Conservatory European manufacturer, selling frames across Europe, Centre will install SUNSHIELD protection free of Bowater Group Laboratories accepted the challenge charge. SUNSHIELD prevents most of the sun’s heat to match the frame and glass U-values, and in the year passing through the roof. Now as standard for 2011 2000 Bowater announced the development of it’s top of secure ventilation can be achieved through your roof the range ‘esthetique’ - Europe’s first fully sculptured 5 ridge and around the perimeter.Both create thermal chamber frame, driving down the U-value to just 1.4 with air flows in the conservatory, cooling and relieving zero air leakage, an incredible achievement. The majority stuffiness in hot weather, these may be closed as of PVCu frames (even those of many leading brands still required. being sold in the summer of 2010) still incorporate the old Remember - Compare U-values and ‘GO FOR LOW’. 3 chamber design, with a U-value of 1.8, losing 60% more One of the many testimonials from The Conservatory heat through the frame, creating dreaded condensation! Centre, Swindon. Many rival companies who copied the 5 chamber design “Both Joanne and I had to write and let you know have still only achieved U-values of around 1.4-1.5 how happy we are with our new conservatory and are illustrating the technological superiority of the Bowater very pleased we decided to go with The Conservatory Group testing laboratories. Centre. Martin and Joanne Buck.

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Safe & Warm launches in Swindon The Warm Zone scheme has been a big success in Swindon, helping thousands of people make their homes warmer, and saving them money into the bargain. It’s now been renamed Safe and Warm, as it’s been expanded to give advice and help to those who might be at risk of fires, or from falling in their home. As David Miles, the Affordable Warmth Co-ordinator and manager of the Safe and Warm scheme says:

“We’ve expanded the scheme because the new things we can help with are often connected to keeping warm or general wellbeing. For instance, elderly people who are cold are more at risk of injury from falling, and if this happens, it can have a negative effect on their long term health.” In addition to the comprehensive home fire safety service and advice to reduce the risk of falls, the scheme will continue to do what it has always done - provide subsidised home insulation, a free income maximisation service to identify and support people whose finances are becoming stretched, and give independent guidance on how to take control of fuel bills and get the best deals from energy suppliers.

David adds: “Our aim is to have more safe, better insulated homes, with householders who can afford to heat them adequately, through better energy awareness and increased income.” The scheme is open to anyone in the Borough, although it will be specifically targeting nine more wards after initially concentrating on four areas in the borough. If you would like more information on any of the services and support available, please complete the reply slip opposite.

So far the scheme has delivered: Involvement from more than 7,000 households. l Insulation improvements to nearly 1,000 homes l One in four of the homes referred to the income maximisation service were able to claim additional benefits, worth £800,000 in total l The estimated savings on fuel bills from energy saving measures and advice is over £500,000 a year l Local school environmental projects were funded by the scheme in the chosen wards. l


Safe and Warm Takes the Hassle and Cost of Insulating your home

Address:......................................................... ........................................................................ Postcode:........................................................ Telephone:...................................................... Email:..............................................................

I would like further information on the following services available through Safe & Warm: Free or greatly discounted insulation offers Grants for heating improvements Help with reducing the risk of falling in my home l

We have two levels of funding, for owner occupiers and privately rented in the 13 Safe and Warm Areas, which now cover half of the Borough l Free - you are over 70, on certain income related benefits OR if your house was built before 1991 AND you are over 65 OR have a child under 4 living with you OR have a house rated as Council Tax Band A or B. l All other households in Safe and Warm Zone areas, in housing built after 1991, you pay just ÂŁ50 for cavity wall or loft insulation.

Fire safety within my home Free income maximisation check to ensure I am receiving all the benefits I am entitled to Independent fuel guide to help me save money on my fuel bills Free energy saving guide to help me reduce my energy use at home Free water saving measures to reduce my water bills.

Using your Personal Information

Contact our approved installer Domestic & General Insulation Ltd on 0800 046 9699 to arrange a free no-obligation survey. Winter 2011 will be the last Winter households will be able to access subsidised prices like these, so act now.

This form will be processed by Swindon Borough Council (SBC) for the purpose of making homes safe and warm. SBC may share your details with one or more of our partnering organisations who provide energy saving measures, benefits advice, health related services, and water saving measures and they may contact you if you have indicated that you would like more information from another organisation on this form. Signature:..................................................... Date:............................................................. Return to David Miles Affordable Warmth Coordinator, 5th Floor Wat Tyler West, Beckhampton Street Swindon SN1 2JH.

WHETHER we are aware of it or not many local services that underpin daily life in the country’s communities keep going thanks to volunteers. Prime Minister David Cameron is conscious of this huge and valuable regular input and it is one of the central props of his Big Society. In fact, volunteers generally are now so vital, and held in such high esteem in many organisations, that they are often encouraged to take vocational training and enhance their c.v. as a stepping stone to permanent work. As we become older, we may not only be reliant on volunteers at different times and for a variety of help, but also may discover that becoming a volunteer ourselves is a simple way to enrich our own lives and make us valuable once more.

“It doesn’t matter whether people have only a couple of hours a week to spare,” she stresses. “They can offer extremely valuable help to the services we deliver.” Kate adds that the “other side of the coin” is that the organisation recognises the benefits to individuals of volunteering. “There is a feelgood factor, people get out and about, are part of a largescale network. This can be particularly important during retirement when we are used to having this network provided, and need to start again to create a new one,” states Kate.

“We have younger volunteers as Charities large and small both benefit well as older ones but the latter tell from and encourage volunteering. You us that they love the friendship and may well find that your local hospice, companionship that they get when for example, can gratefully use even DIGGING FOR FUN: Volunteer Elizathey meet up with other volunteers. a small amount of your spare time in beth Black gets to work in the ApprenParticularly if your own family network some practical way. tice House garden at the Quarry Bank of people are getting on with their This may be with fundraising, making Mill and Styal estate in Cheshire (Pic: lives, it’s easy to get isolated in your small items to sell, driving, donating NTPL/Andrew Butler) home so it’s very important to get out your time in charity shops or even and meet people” arranging flowers for the wards. Special skills may also be very welcome to organisations One newer area for Age UK which has been proving which have little spare cash and look to donated help to particularly effective concerns digital champions – older improve their services and aid patients in practical ways. people willing to share their skills with others who may And schools regularly welcome in volunteers to help not be online but would like to learn. “Even if people have youngsters with reading skills. very basic skills, their willingness to spend some time with a person with none, helping them make a start with One organisation that relies on its valuable volunteers digital skills, is really very useful,” said Kate. and encourages the practice is Age UK – created by the merging of Age Concern and Help the Aged. It has The National Trust has around 62,000 volunteers across around 70,000 volunteers in its central hub and in local the country with half aged over 65. As Mark Crosby, head Age UK centres which act as its partners. of volunteering there, explains: “We just couldn’t function without them. And when you consider that the organisation has 170 centres across the country and more than 500 shops, that “They bring a vast array of skills, talents and enthusiasm involves an awful lot of volunteers! to the organisation and do a variety of different tasks. These days, we find our volunteers are more flexible and Kate Adams, head of engagement and focused than ever.” volunteering at Age UK, explained that they run a wide variety of vital This voluntary work ranges from the traditional guides at services with volunteer help. These historic properties to gardening, conservation, research, include befriending services going education and involvement as trustees. “They run to see older, isolated individuals in gardens as rangers and project manage various things their homes, driving vehicles from as leaders of a team,” adds Mark. “Older volunteers communities to local centres, helping regularly work alongside younger ones. and running its charity shops including “We’re also particularly keen to involve our older sorting, pricing and serving, delivering volunteers in a variety of activities, including getting information to older people and acting closer to nature with country projects which offer health, as trustees to give strategic governance in individual friendship and a sense of value.” areas. 24

Getting involved in volunteering can certainly enrich this part of our lives, perhaps make it golden. Psychotherapist Josephine Cropper believes that retirement offers special volunteering opportunities. “It might be that an area of interest that you didn’t follow when employed you are now able to follow in retirement,” she says. “Often, people have gained skills in many different areas of life. These skills may either have been hobbies during a busy working life, or a continuation of skills gained from work. These can now be drawn together, not only to enhance the voluntary role but also to maintain self-esteem. We all need to feel valued and appreciated.” Josephine stresses the importance of how new friendships can also bring new outlooks on life and offer opportunities for new conversations. “Although many of us may have dreamed of winning the lottery and doing nothing for the rest of our lives but sitting in the sun with a cocktail, in fact, work gives structure to our lives. “This is still much-needed for our general wellbeing. The benefits of keeping active mentally and physically are just as important at this time of life as any other. The structure voluntary work can bring can keep isolation and depression – sometimes an issue in retirement – at bay.” Certainly, volunteering brings its individual pleasures, as 69 year-old Peter Herriman well knows. He has been volunteering at a National Trust historic property for 15 years. “I’m in three days a week and work as a volunteer room guide, education guide and Victorian costumed guide,” he said. “I love the variety of the job and meeting so many different people. I also get a huge amount of satisfaction from volunteering and would thoroughly recommend it if you’ve got some time to spare.” VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES • Health and social care – Age UK, tel 0800 169 8787, The British Red Cross, tel 020 7201 5164 • Animal welfare – PDSA, tel 0800 854 194 email RSPB,, tel 01767 680551 • Arts and Heritage – The National Trust, tel 01793 817632, email volunteers@ , The Voluntary Arts Network, tel 02920 395395, email • Environment and conservation – BTCV, tel 01302 388883, email, Friends of the Earth, tel 020 7490 1555

Fostering with Swindon Borough Council offers a range of fostering options Temporary: Providing care for children with the goal of returning them to their family.  

Permanent: Where the plan is for children to remain in care until moving to independence. Crisis/Emergency: Very short-term care provided for families in crisis.  This includes “crash pads” in a range of circumstances.

Therapeutic: Specialised care for children with acute behavioural issues. Parent/Child Assessment: Time limited foster care to model appropriate parenting and assess parent’s ability to safely care for  their young children.

Home & Away: Overnight short breaks for children with disabilities. Supported Lodgings: Providing support within a family setting to young people aged 16 – 21 transitioning from foster care to independent living.   You look after them – We’ll look after you!   Foster care is a team effort. Carers are allocated their own Supervising Social Worker, who guide them throughout the process, provide ongoing support and supervision. We offer an extensive and ongoing comprehensive training programme. There is someone available to talk with 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are regular support groups and activities, including an active group for sons and daughters of fostering families. Carers receive financial support.  Rates depend on the age of the child.

“I get total support from Swindon Family Placement Team. They are always on the end of a phone. I would encourage others to give it a go because I enjoy it so much” Lorraine, Foster Carer. Contact the Family Placement Team for more information 01793 465700  

Foster for Swindon viding a Home ro P ou Y e ik L People

Make a big difference to children and young people in Swindon. Foster. 01793 465700




Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escapes Recipes Rick Stein’s passion for fresh well-sourced food has taken him from continent to continent, across magnificent shorelines and to the very best produce the coast has to offer. Rick remarks “My greatest enthusiasm in life has been finding dishes that change my perception of cooking, that reveal a whole new vista of flavour combination. I think we all enjoy that. I’m just someone with an enthusiasm for food and a curiosity that’s sent me sniffing around all over the place looking for lovely dishes in all corners of the globe” Taken from his book ‘Mediterranean Escapes’ (BBC Books, £20) here are two of Rick’s favourite recipes inspired by flavours of the Med.

SERVES 4 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1/4 teaspoon crushed dried chillies 1 mild green chilli, stalk removed and thinly sliced 225g fresh porcini mushrooms, cleaned and thickly sliced 2 large, ripe vine tomatoes, skinned, seeded and sliced 400 g dried spaghetti 1 kg small clams, such as carpet-shell, washed 60 ml dry white wine A large handful flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped Salt 26

Vittorio’s Pasta with Clams and Porcini Bring 4.5 litres water to the boil in a large saucepan with 8 teaspoon salt. Meanwhile, put the oil and garlic into a deep sauté or frying pan and place it over a medium heat. As soon as the garlic begins to sizzle round the edges, add the crushed chillies, green chilli and sliced porcini and cook briskly for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute or two. Set to one side and keep hot. Add the pasta to the pan of boiling water and cook for 9 minutes or until al dente. Heat another large pan over a high heat. Add the clams and the wine, cover and cook over a high heat for 2-3 minutes until they have all just opened. (Discard any that stay closed.) Tip them into a colander set over a bowl to collect the clam juices. Add all but the last tablespoon or two of the clam cooking liquor (which might be gritty) to the porcini sauce, return to the heat and simmer rapidly until it has reduced by half to a well-flavoured sauce. Drain the pasta and return to the pan with the cooked clams, the porcini sauce and parsley and toss together well. Serve immediately.

Pastitsio: Beef and Macaroni Pie with Cinnamon, Red Wine and Kefalotiri Cheese SERVES 8-10 500 g tubular pasta, such as rigatoni, tubetti or tortiglioni 2 eggs, lightly beaten 50 g finely grated Greek kefalotiri cheese or parmesan cheese 2 tablespoons melted butter 10 g fresh white breadcrumbs For the white sauce 115 g butter 115 g plain flour 1.2 litres full-cream milk, plus a little extra 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg For the meat sauce 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium onion, finely chopped 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 celery sticks, finely chopped 1kg lean minced beef 200 ml red wine 400-g can chopped tomatoes 2 tablespoons tomato purĂŠe 10-cm piece cinnamon stick 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1 tablespoon dried oregano, Greek if possible 2 tablespoons fresh copped oregano 3 fresh bay leaves Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the meat sauce, heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pan, add the onion, garlic and celery and fry until just beginning to brown. Add the minced beef and fry over a high heat for 3-4 minutes, breaking up any lumps with the wooden spoon as it browns. Add the red wine, tomatoes, tomato purĂŠe, cinnamon stick, ground cloves, dried cloves, dried and fresh oregano, bay leaves, 100ml water, 11/2 teaspoons salt and some black pepper, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring now and then, until the sauce has thickened but is still nicely moist. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Bring 4.5 litres water to boil in a large saucepan with 8 teaspoons salt. Add the pasta and cook until a al dente - about 13 mins, but take care not to overcook as it will cook a little further in the oven. Drain well, transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool slightly. For the white sauce, melt the butter in a medium-sized non-stick saucepan, add the flour and cook, stirring, over a medium heat, for 1 minute. Gradually beat in the milk, then bring to the boil, stirring, lower the heat and leave to simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper to taste. Preheat the over to 1800C/Gas Mark 4. Stir 250ml (about one-fifth) of the white sauce into the warm pasta with the beaten eggs and half the grated cheese. Keep the remaining sauce warm over a low heat, stirring now and then and adding more milk if it begins to get a little thick. Use the melted butter to grease a large, shallow ovenproof dish that measures about 23 x 33 cm across and 7cm deep. Spread one-third of the pasta over the base of the dish and cover with half the meat sauce. Add another third of the pasta and then the rest of the meat sauce, then cover with a final layer of pasta. Spoon over the remaining white sauce. Mix the remaining grated cheese with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle them over the top. Bake for 40 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.


The charitable thing to do? L

eaving significant sums to charity on death is something that only fairly wealthy individuals tend to consider. Despite the 40% inheritance tax saving for charitable bequests, most people wish to pass their capital on to their next of kin.

As a result of government proposals to introduce legislation from next April, leaving money to charity on death is about to become much more attractive. Under these proposals, if at least 10% of one’s taxable estate (i.e. after exemptions and nil rate bands) is left to charity, the Inheritance Tax (IHT) rate applying to the chargeable estate (net of the charitable bequest) reduces from 40% to 36%. The resultant tax reduction can be substantial as the following example, based on a joint estate of £1.65 million and assuming current levels and bases of taxation, shows: No charitable bequest

Charitable bequest of 10% of taxable estate (old estate rules)

Charitable bequest 10% taxable estate (new proposed estate rules)

£000s £000s £000s

Gross estate







IHT liability




Net estate available for beneficiaries

1,250 1,190 1,226

Charitable bequest (10% of £1m)

Reduction in net distributable estate after charity and IHT


- 60


The combination of tax relief on the charitable bequest and a reduction in the rate on the remaining taxable estate results in a ‘cost’ to the beneficiaries of £24,000 to provide a £100,000 charitable fund. whereas under the old rules, the ‘cost’ was £60,000. The effective rate of tax relief is 76%, as compared to 40% at present. This means that many individuals may now consider making significant charitable bequests (or leaving capital to a charitable trust that members of their family can administer), because charity can benefit from a significant contribution from the taxman, whilst the family loses out to a much smaller extent. The charity route could also be considered in the context of residual pension funds following death, where the recovery tax is still a hefty 55%. This tax does not apply in respect of funds that are left to charity. It may be beneficial to leave funds to charity from a left over pension fund in preference to a legacy from one’s estate, as the rate of tax relief is 55% as compared to IHT relief at 40%. Our Private Client team would be very pleased to help you and your family to plan an appropriate strategy to benefit from this new opportunity. For more information or simply to make a new Will please contact Pooleys Solicitors.

Let it be… A cautionary update for those of you with any interest in residential lettings. From October 2011 there is an obligation on landlords to provide water companies with tenant’s contact details. Although the idea is that this will reduce the problem of tenants leaving properties with unpaid water bills and without having left any forwarding addresses, if you as landlord fail to comply with this new requirement, you become jointly and severally liable for the water bill! To try and minimise this potential liability, you should consider amending your tenancy agreements to specify that tenants must provide evidence that the water bill is being paid otherwise it will be deducted form the deposit. It might also be useful to require tenants to provide an alternate contact, although of course this is only good if they are still there! And what if your tenant has disappeared? You cannot simply assume they have surrendered their tenancy. A surrender does not take place just because the tenant hands back the keys, or moves items out of the property: there must be some agreement by the landlord to make the surrender effective in law. If a landlord simply doesn’t know if a tenant is coming back, great care must be taken as a wrong move could result in the landlord facing civil, or worse criminal, proceedings for unlawful eviction. An abandonment notice may be the helpful to show the Court that all reasonable steps were taken before possession was reclaimed. But that is not foolproof: if in doubt, a possession order should be sought from the Court. For advice or representation on any residential property matters, call us today.

The sun’ll come out … tomorrow?


espite the lack of sunshine in this glorious country of ours, and the worst summer for 20 years (we had our quota in April and late September, remember?), you may have noticed a number of houses in your locality now adorned with solar panels. Solar energy generation has created potential revenue streams through the government’s introduction of the Feed in Tariff Scheme (FITS). Under such Scheme, companies and individuals are guaranteed payments for electricity supplied to the National Grid for a period of 25 years. It seems the best rates will apply to schemes commissioned before April 2012, hence the sudden appearance of the silvery sheets, glistening in the rain if not the sun. So…might this be a good idea for you and what does it involve? Commercial operators are approaching homeowners and offering leases, usually for 25 years, to install solar panels on the roof. The FITS agreements require careful consideration. You may be invited to enter an option agreement. Be very cautious of any exclusivity period of more than 3 months and check the track record of the commercial operator. If a lease is being discussed, you really should take professional advice. Particular regard should be had to the lease clauses on repair, assigning or subletting, low income provision, removal of panels, restrictions on enjoyment, security of tenure and right to break. As attractive as the proposition of an income for nothing may sound, don’t underestimate the effect of such arrangements on long-term property prices and your ability to do what you wish with your own home.

For advice and assistance on this topic, please contact us before you commit!

Pooleys Solicitors LLP will be pleased to help you with l

Conveyancing & Energy Performance Certificates




Probate & Trusts


Tax Planning


Matrimonial & Family Law


Lasting Power of Attorney

10-15 Regent Circus Swindon SN1 1PP.

Tel: 01793 488848 Fax: 01793 511209 email: www.


Sweets, toys, or save for a more secure financial future for your grandchildren... Now that the Government has announced final details for its new Junior ISA scheme, what does this mean for grandparents who’d previously put away lump sums and contributed to Child Trust Funds (CTFs)? And what impact, if any, will the new initiative have on their grand-children’s financial future? David Dawson, Sales and Marketing Director at, explains CTFs, a Government savings and investment scheme that started in 2002, was abolished on 2 January. Recently, the Treasury amended the existing ISA guidelines to enable the establishment of Junior ISAs, which provides a more clear and simple way of saving for a child’s financial future.

Protect the ones you love.

Effective from November 1, it is estimated that around six million children are eligible, with a further 800,000 becoming eligible each year. The Government has raised the limit of annual investment into the Junior ISA to £3,600 from £3,000. A move that grandparents will welcome as it means, potentially, they could help their grandchildren save an additional £19,000. With the main benefit of the new saving scheme being that it is tax free, paying-in up to £3600 per tax year in a Junior ISA could achieve a pot of almost £115,000 by the time the child is 18 (based on growth of 5% net per annum). This enormous figure will be a hefty sum that grown-

Are you guilty of Intestacy? Intestacy is dying without having a legally valid Will. This means that the State writes a Willvalid for you; Intestacy is dying without having a legally Will.your This assets are then distributed according to these Rules. means that the State writes a Will for you; your assets are then distributed according to these Rules. Most people wrongly assume that all their possessions pass on to wrongly their husband, or all other family Most people assumewife that their possessions passmember. on to their husband, wife or other family member.

Many families often face immediate Many families often face immediatefinancial financialhardship hardship simply because no Will has been written. simply because no Will has been written. If your spouse or partner marries after your death, your If your spouse or partner marries after your death, children could receive your children couldnothing. receive nothing.

Make a Will now. Home visits & weekend appointments available. Single Will £99.00 incl.VAT. Couples Will £179.00 incl.VAT. Professional Wills without the cost of a High Street Solicitor.


If you do not have a Will then your assets, including the If you do not have a Will then your assets, including family be sold to pay Long Fees. the home familycan home can be sold for to pay forTerm LongCare Term 69,000 homes soldhomes every are yearsold to fund care! Care Fees. are 69,000 everylong yearterm to fund long term care! If you have children from a previous relationship they could end have up with nothing. If you children from a previous relationship they could end up with nothing. A Professional Will can avoid all this. Call now for a free, no obligation appointment 433705. A Professional Will can 01793 avoid all this. Call now for a free, no obligation appointment 01793 433705.

FORESIGHT WILLS First Floor, 32 – 33 Commercial Road, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN1 5NS Tel: 01793 433705

up grand children are sure to appreciate given the rising cost of higher education and the difficulty of homeownership. Unlike CTFs, there is no Government contribution to Junior ISAs and each child is limited to one cash ISA and stocks and shares ISA. Any UK resident child under 18, who is not eligible for a CTF, is eligible for a Children’s ISA. This includes children who were born before the CTF eligibility in September 2002. A child born between September 1, 2002 and January 2, 2011 was eligible for the CTF, at this time, if a child has a CTF they cannot have a Junior ISA. Any parent or guardian can open an account and anyone can make contributions to it. The management of the ISA passes to the child when they reach 16 and they can only access funds when they turn 18 when it becomes an adult ISA.

Lydiard House decked out for a Victorian family Christmas with traditional trimmings on real trees, handmade baubles and stockings, beautiful floral decorations and a festive feast laid out in the dining room. With brand new children’s quiz trail and live music on Sunday afternoons from 2.30pm. Normal house entry charge applies.

Beautiful Baubles Monday 4 December, 1.30pm to 3pm

At that time, it is anticipated that any responsible ISA provider will advise on alternative saving options available to encourage grandchildren to continue saving.

Adult craft session to create a bespoke decoration using beads and sequins. £5 includes mince pie & coffee! Booking required - please call us on 01793 770401 or email

Soon, many high street banks and building societies will market products. in particular is offering Cautious, Balanced and Adventurous options which will include low cost, actively managed, ethical and sharia funds, which can be opened with a minimum investment of £10

Make an angelic Christmas decoration

Out and About Christmas at Lydiard House and Park Lydiard House & Park, Lydiard Tregoze Swindon, SN5 3PA. Telephone 01793 770401 December: Celebrating A Victorian Christmas The Victorians loved to celebrate Christmas and started many of the customs we enjoy today. In 1843, the Christmas tree was introduced to Britain, the first Christmas card was posted and Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol. This December, you can get a glimpse of how the Victorians celebrated the festive season at Lydiard House. The beautiful State Rooms of this elegant Country House will be decked out in traditional festive greenery and decorations to create the intimate atmosphere of a Victorian family Christmas. Country House Christmas Saturday 3 to Friday 23 December, 2011

Sunday 4 December, 12 to 3pm Make a special angel Christmas decoration to adorn your home this yuletide. £3 per child. No booking required - drop in between 12 to 3pm. Christmas wreath making Sunday 11 December, 11am to 12noon, 12.30 to 1.30pm, 2 to 3pm Make a festive Christmas wreath for your front door, using greenery from the park. £4 per wreath made. Booking required - please call us on 01793 770401 or email Christmas Table Decoration making Sunday 18 December, 11am to 12noon, 12.30 to 1.30pm, 2 to 3pm Make a festive table decoration using natural materials. £4 per decoration. Booking required - please call us on 01793 770401 or email Trees in Winter Sunday 22 January 2012 Lydiard House and Park 10.30am to 12.30pm A brisk morning walk taking on the challenge of identifying trees in winter. Booking required. Visitor Information The grounds of Lydiard Park are open every day (except Christmas day) until dusk. Car parking and

Step back in time to enjoy the state rooms of

Congratulations to A.Gilby, Swindon who wins the £50 Barnes Coaches voucher


New Scams and Old Tricks Last week I got a knock at the door. I put the chain on and opened the door, a man was standing there. “Your fence is about to fall down,” he said, “support posts rotten. You’re lucky I was passing, I can sort that out for you” “Thank you,” I said, “I’ll get some one in to look at that” and I closed the door. “You’ll be sorry” he said. He waited a few moments and when he realised I wasn’t going to open the door he pushed a card though my letter box and stomped off. The card just had a name and mobile phone number on it. Of course, I didn’t get my fence fixed by that caller. Next time my son was over I asked him to have a look at it and it was fine. Even if it had needed some work I certainly wouldn’t use someone who just turned up out of the blue. It is a sad fact that there are many rogue traders around who will turn up unannounced offering to do fencing, roofing, driveways, home maintenance and so on for what seems to be a reasonable amount. However the quality of the work, if any is done at all, will be extremely poor and it will end up costing a great deal more than you were first told. These people appear trustworthy and genuine but they do their homework and target elderly people, often living alone. Often the householder is panicked into having the work done immediately, or are persuaded that having the work done will reduce heating costs or help with reducing global warming. The truth is once they have your money you may not see them again and they could well be impossible to trace. Any trader who gives just a mobile number should be regarded with caution because a mobile 32

number can easily be discarded, and then there’s no way of getting in touch if the repairs are faulty, or badly done. Trading Standards has dealt with cases where residents have lost thousands of pounds because they have agreed to have work done by someone who turned up on the doorstep. The advice from Trading Standards, supported by the police, is that you should never agree to have work done by a stranger who turns up at your doorstep no matter how good a deal it looks. Only use traders that you know or who have been recommended to you. Reputable, professional traders do not go door to door. Another scam to watch out for is known as "distraction burglary." You get a knock at the door and a complete stranger distracts you whilst an accomplice gets into your house to look for money or valuables. The caller could be a couple saying that they have seen some loose tiles on your roof, and while one of them keeps you occupied by showing you the problem the other one gets into your house. It could be someone claiming to be from the Council or a legitimate company pretending to be doing some routine checks e.g. the water board asking you to run the kitchen taps and observe while the workman goes upstairs alone claiming to check the bathroom or boiler. Once they have your attention someone else might be getting into your home. Every one of us is vulnerable to scams. We need to take note of warnings from the Police and Trading Standards and refuse to deal with doorstep callers. Use the chain on your front door, don’t deal with strangers, don’t let them into your home and remember, it’s okay to say “no”.

Locally Swindon Borough Council offers an Approved Trader Scheme "Buy With Confidence" is operated by the Swindon Trading Standards Service. Buy With Confidence is the largest local authority assured trader scheme in England. It is our aim to promote fair trading throughout the Borough of Swindon, by focusing on the businesses that get it right ... .... So don’t delay, if your are looking for a business you can trust - go online at www.buywithconfidence. or call us today on 01793 466155! In order to become a Member of Buy With Confidence, businesses are checked for their commitment to customer service and compliance with consumer protection laws. And it doesn’t stop there, once a business becomes a member of the scheme they are monitored to ensure their continuing commitment to customer care. While we cannot guarantee that nothing will ever go wrong, if you do experience a problem with a member of the scheme, they are required to deal with complaints in a fair and equitable manner.

Remember, reputable traders don’t need to go cold calling. Doorstep trading is the hunting ground for opportunists and scammers. Don’t even give them the time of day.

Then no you further! Looking for look a business can trust? Then look no further! Plumber?













If you are a consumer or a business and interested If you arescheme a consumer or a466155 business in the call us on 01793

and interested in the scheme call us www.buywithconfi on 01793 466155

A new era for consumers and businesses is only a click away ....

A new era for consumers and

Trading Standards Service

They say you don’t know until you ask. Meet Albert - he asked. Hundreds of Swindon residents of state pension age, like Albert, asked the question “can I claim Housing or Council Tax Benefit?” The answer was ‘Yes!” and they ended up, on average, with £20 a week extra money they didn’t know they could get.

You might too.

Make one phone call and our specially trained benefits staff will contact you and work out whether you qualify, then you too could be up to £20 per week better off.

So just ask. If you’re entitled . . . . why miss out? Contact us ... If you need any help, advice or have questions about claiming Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit you can contact us by Telephone on:

0345 302 2316 Writing to us at: The Benefit Service Swindon Borough Council Admail 4144 Swindon Wiltshire SN3 5ZR. Visiting us in person at: Swindon Direct Wat Tyler House Beckhampton Street Swindon SN1 2JH.

If you wish to visit us to make a claim or discuss your claim in person please make an appointment by calling us on:

0345 302 2316 We also offer a Home Visit service for people who have recently been bereaved; have a disability; have learning difficulties; have young children under five years; have a young baby; or if you are of pensionable age. To arrange an appointment for a Home Visiting Officer please call us on:

0345 302 2316

Worried about your bill? Having difficulty paying? The sooner you contact us the quicker we can help. Phone us on 0345 302 2316 to discuss your problem.

Can I get a reduction in my bill? l

We can reduce your council tax bill in the following situations:


If you live alone;


If you are being cared for somewhere other than your main home;


In some cases people with disabilities can get a reduction.

If you think any of these may apply to you and a reduction is not already shown on your bill, please contact us on 0345 302 2316 for more information or an application form.

How to pay your Council Tax Direct Debit the easier way to pay If you have a bank or building society account, then Direct Debit is an easy and convenient way to pay your Council Tax. If you choose this method, we will let you know how much we will ask your bank for and let you know if there are any changes to this amount.To make it easier for you there is a choice of payment days. For a form please call 0345 302 2316 or visit www.

On the internet Just visit the Council’s website at and select Online Payments.

By Debit Card Just phone us on 0845 603 5058 (automated phone service) and have the following information ready: l

Your Council Tax account number; and

Your debit card number, expiry date and name on the card. l

Open your mind to alternative therapies WHEN it comes to treating our ailments these days most people have a more open mind about what can help them and may combine traditional medicine and alternative therapies with great success.

these alternative therapies have been successfully in use around the world for centuries.

Sensible care, as always, needs to be employed in anything health-related and sometimes your GP’s opinion may be needed to check if any particular therapies are not recommended for you or your condition.

The word “acupuncture” means “needle piercing” and the skin is penetrated by special needles in a painless process which is meant to allow the body to transmit energy or qi (pronounced chee) through pathways or meridians to heal and promote wellbeing.

However, there are plenty of therapy options available across the UK and, reassuringly, governing bodies to ensure standards of practice. There are also millions of satisfied customers of alternative – or complementary – therapies who insist these have been successful in dealing with health problems ranging from asthma and migraine to digestive problems and muscle strains. Even though for many of us in the Western world this is a relatively new approach - and there are certainly sceptics about their effectiveness - there is evidence that many of 36

Acupuncture, for example, is an ancient Chinese medical procedure involving the insertion and manipulation of needles at more than 1,000 points in the human body. It’s used to relieve pain during surgery or in rheumatic conditions and also to treat conditions varying from anxiety and depression, to arthritis, asthma, eczema, sports’ injuries, migraine and even gastro-intestinal problems.

A common alternative therapy for which you don’t necessarily have to have an ailment but which certainly helps combat stress and makes you feel better is Aromatherapy. This is a relaxing treatment using massage techniques together with blended essential oils. Usually, explained beautician and alternative therapist Angela Close, there is a consultation prior to treatment “to try and build a picture of which oils would be beneficial to the individual – some have

THRE A LVTEHL bacterial effects, anti-fungal and anti-viral. With the use of massage, the oils penetrate the skin usually after about 20 minutes and have a very calming effect, soothing the mind, body and spirit.” Aromatherapy can be used for a range of physiological and psychological conditions including anxiety, stress and insomnia, muscular aches and pains, headaches, digestive ailments and menstrual problems. It’s also gentle enough to be used on people of all ages. Added Angela: “Aromatherapy is not a cure for disease; its most potent effect helps relax the mind and body, relieves pain and restores the body’s systems to a state of balance in which healing can best take place.” Some people suffering from Parkinson’s Disease have found relief and help from a holistic method of healing called Bowen Therapy which is a hands-on technique exponents say prompts the body to re-set and heal itself. Marie Hurst is a qualified Bowen therapist, and she explains: “It’s like acupuncture without any needles – it can be very relaxing although it may not suit everyone. However, I’ve treated several people with Parkinson’s over the years and they have become very relaxed because Bowen helps the body release stress at a very deep level. Some have also reported a reduction in their tremors during treatment and a sound night’s sleep afterwards.”

healing flows in a powerful and concentrated form through the hands of the Reiki-giver. The recipient simply lies on a couch or bed and relaxes comfortably. There is no need to remove any clothing, and the practitioner gently places his or her hands in a sequence of positions which cover the whole of the body. Each position is held for several minutes and, in some of them, the hand is held closely to the body rather than actually on it. “It involves your body, mind and soul,” added Angela. “Reiki balances the energy in the body, heals holistically, relieves pain and relaxes and reduces stress, among many other things.” Some businesses now bring exponents of Indian Head Massage into the workplace to help stressed out staff to relax and ultimately perform better. Certainly, it’s a safe, simple yet effective therapy that provides relief from aches and pains and stress – and promotes hair growth! The head, neck and shoulders are important energy centres within the body. “If you’re feeling stressed or angry, tension tends to accumulate in these areas,” stated Angela. “The tension can later show up as a stiff neck and shoulders, eyestrain and even hair-loss.” Indian head massage involves working with a firm and gentle rhythm to help unknot blockages and relieve the uncomfortable build-up of tension. Fans say it also works on an emotional level, calming the spirit, promoting relaxation and banishing stress.

Some alternative therapies seem unconnected to the ailments they may treat. Reflexology, for instance, involves application of pressure to the feet and hands using specific thumb, finger and hand techniques to try to effect physical changes elsewhere in the body. The technique dates back as far as the Egyptians and is based on a system of zones and reflex areas that are said to reflect an image of the body on the hands and feet. The purpose is to create relaxation, reduce pain, improve blood flow and post-operative recovery and aid mental health by interrupting stress signals and re-setting the body’s balance. People with nasal problems or with head pains have found relief in an unusual therapy called Hopi Ear Candling. At the very least, this is a relaxing treatment which promotes a feeling of wellbeing. You lie on your side on a heated bed in a peaceful environment, and the hollow candle is placed in the ear with the other end lit. “Certainly, some of my clients have found it very soothing and pain-relieving,” said Angela Close, who has been using the therapy for more than 20 years. Another ancient healing method is Reiki, a Japanese word meaning Universal Life Energy which relates to a system of natural healing. Its ideology is that natural

Angela Close - Bea utician and Alternative Therap ist For more information, go to the Complementary Therapists Association at or the Association of Natural Medicine at 37

Coping with the

Winter Months Cold or Flu?

Colds and flu share some of the same symptoms (sneezing, coughing, sore throat), but are caused by different viruses. Flu can be much more serious than a cold. If you’re generally fit and healthy, you can usually manage the symptoms of a cold or flu yourself without seeing a doctor. Look after yourself by resting, drinking non-alcoholic fluids to avoid dehydration and avoiding strenuous activity. Painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can relieve aches and pains. Some people need to take extra care as they’re more at risk of serious chest complications, such as pneumonia and bronchitis. People over 65 are more at risk of complications. People under 65, including children, are more at risk of complications if they have serious heart or chest complaints, including asthma, serious kidney disease or liver disease, diabetes, lowered immunity due to disease or treatment or have had a stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA).

Flu Flu usually comes on much more quickly than a cold, and symptoms include sudden fever of 38-40°C (100104°F), muscle aches and pains, sweating, feeling exhausted and needing to lie down, dry & chesty cough and sneezing.


Flu symptoms appear one to three days after infection and most people recover within a week, although you may feel tired for longer. A severe cold can also cause muscle aches and fever, so it can be hard to tell the difference.

There are around 200 viruses that cause colds and three that cause flu. There are many strains of these flu viruses, and the vaccine changes every year to protect against the most common ones.

Whether it’s a cold or flu, get medical help if you have a chronic condition (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease), or if you have a very high fever as well as an unusually severe headache or abdominal or chest pain.


Stop the viruses spreading

Everyone in an at-risk group is eligible for a free flu vaccination. This is the best protection against the virus.

Symptoms of a cold include a runny nose, beginning with clear mucus that develops into thicker, green mucus as the cold progresses, blocked nose, sore throat, sneezing and a cough. People with a cold may also suffer with a mild fever, earache, tiredness and headache. Symptoms develop over one or two days and gradually get better after a few days. Some colds can last for up to two weeks. Help prevent colds and flu from spreading by sneezing or coughing into a tissue, throwing the tissue away, washing your hands and getting the flu jab if you’re eligible. According to the Common Cold Centre in Cardiff, a cold is most contagious during the early stages when the person has a runny nose and sore throat.

Information provided courtesy of

Cold and flu viruses are spread by droplets that are sneezed or coughed out by an infected person. Other people can breathe in these droplets or transfer the droplets to their eyes or nose on their fingers. Again protect yourself and others against colds and flu by coughing or sneezing into a tissue, throwing a used tissue away as soon as possible, washing your hands as soon as possible and having a flu jab every year if you’re in an at-risk group.

Please visit for further details.

Five Ways To Stay Healthy This Winter It may be cold outside but winter needn't be the unhealthiest time of year for you and your family. Here are five ways to make sure that even when your body is telling you to hibernate you can keep healthy and fit, no matter what the weather's like:

Eliminate your sleep debt

"On average we sleep six-and-a-half hours a night, much less than the seven to nine hours recommended," says Jessica Alexander, spokesperson at the Sleep Council, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of a good night's sleep to health and wellbeing. But in winter, we naturally sleep more, due to the longer nights. "It’s perfectly natural to adopt hibernating habits when the weather turns cold," says Jessica. "Use the time to catch up."

Drink more milk

You are 80% more likely to get a cold in winter so making sure your immune system is in tip-top condition is important. Milk and dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais are great sources of protein and vitamins A and B12. They're also an important source of calcium, which helps keep our bones strong. Try to go for semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, rather than full fat, and low-fat yoghurts.

Eat more fruit and vegetables

When it’s cold and dark outside it can be tempting to fill up on unhealthy comfort food, but it’s important to ensure that you still keep your diet healthy and include five portions of fruit and veg a day. If you find yourself craving a sugary treat, try a juicy clementine or satsuma instead, or sweet dried fruits such as dates or raisins. Winter vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, swede and turnips can be roasted, mashed or made into soup for a comforting winter meal for the whole family.

Try new activities for the whole family

Don’t use the cold winter months as an excuse to stay in and lounge around. Instead, get out with the whole family to try out a new activity, maybe ice-skating or taking a bracing winter walk on the beach. Regular exercise helps to control your weight, boost your immune system and is a good way to break the tension that can build if the family is constantly cooped up inside the house.

Have a hearty breakfast

Winter is the perfect season for porridge. Eating a warm bowlful on a cold morning isn’t just a delicious way to start your day, it also helps you to boost your intake of starchy foods and fibre, which give you energy and help you to feel fuller for longer, stopping the temptation to snack mid-morning. Oats also contain lots of vital vitamins and minerals.

Asthma In The Cold Cold weather can have a serious impact on the 5.4 million people with asthma in the UK. According to Asthma UK, three quarters of people with asthma say that cold air is a trigger for their symptoms and 90% reckon that having a cold or flu makes their asthma considerably worse. Cher Piddock, a nurse for Asthma UK says: “Hospital admissions for asthma traditionally peak during periods of particularly cold weather. This can be due to breathing cold air into the lungs which can in turn trigger asthma, as well as picking up colds and flu. “People whose asthma is well-controlled are more likely to be able to withstand the risks of winter months and you can help keep your asthma under control by making sure you have a regular asthma review with your doctor or asthma nurse and that you have a personal asthma action plan.”

Five tips for preventing cold weather asthma symptoms... Asthma UK has this advice on how to control your asthma symptoms during the cold weather: 1. Keep taking your regular preventer medicines as prescribed by your doctor. 2. If you know that cold air triggers your asthma, take one or two puffs of your reliever inhaler before going outside. 3. Keep your blue reliever inhaler with you at all times. 4. Wrap up well and wear a scarf over your nose and mouth – this will help to warm up the air before you breathe it in. 5. Take extra care when exercising in cold weather. Warm up for 10–15 minutes and take one or two puffs of your reliever inhaler before you start.

Asthma attacks With the onset of very cold weather, it’s a good idea to make sure you and your friends and family know what to do if you have an asthma attack. The key signs are - coughing more than usual, getting short of breath, wheezing, feeling a tightness in your chest and having difficulty speaking in full sentences. You can find more information by visiting livewell or calling Asthma UK on 0800 121 6244.


A Guide to Dentures .... The Importance of Dentures

Choice of Dentures

The eyes, nose and teeth are the focal points of every face; they give the first impressions of your personality.

There are three main quality standards in denture materials:

Natural teeth grow in proportion and in harmony with your facial features and your dentures should be made accordingly. Your teeth, or your dentures, have many important functions: to support your facial muscles, to help formulate your speech, and most importantly to chew your food and start the digestive process. It is very important to chew food properly, as poorly chewed food will take longer to digest, especially for the elderly who could risk problems in the digestive system.

Difficulties in Constructing a Good Set of Dentures

Denture Base Acrylics: standard quality, high impact much stronger non brittle and the latest thermoplastic. Denture Teeth: 2-layer acrylic very basic and cheap, 3-layer acrylic re-enforced much harder, 4-layer composite extra hard and natural looking. However, good materials on their own will not make good dentures. A skilful and experienced clinician and technician are required. The best results are achieved when the whole job is done by the same person.

Removal Partial Dentures It was long thought that removable partial dentures had to be rigid to be effective. The innovation of the Valpast flexible partial denture allows the appliance to adapt to the constant movement and flexibility in your mouth.

Constructing a functional and aesthetically pleasing set of dentures is the most difficult task in dentistry. We are not only replacing lost teeth, but also lost tissue matter and bone. In other words, we have to re-create your facial features as they were before the loss of your natural teeth.

The preparation is relatively simple as your natural teeth don’t need to be altered. The Valpast flexible partial denture is virtually invisible, no telltale metal clasps and the material itself blends with the tissue in your mouth so that the only thing that shows is your beautiful smile.

In most cases we do not know what your teeth looked like, what size they were or what position they were in originally. We have a few indications but mostly we have to rely on our visual and artistic judgement.

How Long Should Dentures Last?

At the same time we have to use our technical expertise in order to make the denture stable and functional. Denture construction is more art than science.

The question we should ask is, how long will my dentures be functional for? Dentures can last twenty or more years, but will lose their function (chewing ability, proper fit etc.) probably after two years. This will depend on many factors:

1. 2. 3. 4.

Quality of dentures. Age of Patient. General health of patient. Any drastic change in weight.

Dentures Need Regular Servicing Dentures are in constant use almost 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They are also in a pretty hostile environment in the mouth, being attacked by strong acid, bacteria, hot, cold and spicy food. Denture material absorbs liquids and food odour. Daily cleaning is essential as well as professional ultrasonic cleaning in a dental laboratory at least once a year. Due to constant bone resorbtion dentures will become loose sooner or later. Loose dentures will increase damage to the gums and bone structure, and increase the risk of breakage. Have them re-lined as soon as possible to get a good fit. It only takes a day or two.


Have your dentures inspected by a dentist or denturist at least every two years, or more frequently if necessary.

Your Dentures need Attention 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

When they become loose. When teeth or denture base discolours. When tooth surfaces become flat. When denture base does not fit around natural teeth (in partial dentures). When you develop deep lines around your mouth. When your chin sticks out, and the corners of your lips are constantly wet, developing sores. When you stop smiling and feel embarrassed.

WD Edwards Dental Technician


Loose Dentures Can be re-lined by adding a thin layer of the new acrylic to fit the surface of the dentures, making them fit better (takes one or two days).

Dentures with worn down teeth Teeth can be replaced with a new set.

Major improvements in Facial Features Padding dentures to reduce lines and fill up sunken cheeks will require a new set of dentures. It is advisable to have a new set of dentures made every 5 to 10 years.

Should I have a spare set of Dentures made? Yes, it is very important to have a spare set of dentures for emergencies in case of breakage.

l l l l

Where do I go to have a good set of Dentures made? Every dentist can make dentures, but not all of them will specialise in denture making. Denturists will take the greatest care to make your dentures look natural and fit properly. They can give you and your dentures the time and attention you deserve.

Summary 1. Clean your dentures daily with a denture brush and denture cream. 2. Have your dentures inspected every two years, and re-lined or ultra-sonically cleaned. 3. Have a new set made every 5 years if possible. 4. Keep a spare set for emergencies. 5. Remember, dentures do not have to hurt and do not need to be uncomfortable. 6. With a new set of dentures, you should receive a written guarantee, a detailed prescription of the materials used in your dentures, cleaning and servicing instructions, and a cleaning kit. 7. Dentures so life-like you’d think they were real.

l l

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Be safe Do not get into an unmarked Taxi Check it has a licence plate attached to the rear Swindon Borough Council is responsible for the licensing of Hackney Carriages and Private Hire vehicles in Swindon, together with the drivers and operators. Hackney Carriages ply for hire at taxi ranks and are available for immediate hire in the street. Maximum fares are set by the Council. Private Hire vehicles can only be booked in advance through a licensed Private Hire operator. They cannot be hailed in the street or use taxi ranks. Fares are not controlled by the Council. The primary role of the Council as the licensing authority is to protect the safety and comfort of the travelling public. We undertake to ensure that all drivers have been examined medically to ensure their fitness, have a good knowledge of the English language, a thorough knowledge of Swindon and are “fit and proper” persons to hold a licence. Vehicles are rigorously examined at least annually to ensure they are mechanically sound and safe. Each licensed vehicle is issued with a licence plate (hackney carriages are white, private hire vehicles are yellow) which must be firmly fixed to the rear of the vehicle. All licensed drivers are issued with a photographic ID badge which must be worn at all times while acting as the driver of a licensed vehicle.

Safety Advice Only use a licensed Hackney Carriage, or book in advance through a licensed Private Hire operator. Ask who your driver will be and what sort of vehicle he or she will be driving. Make sure the vehicle is licensed – it will have a licence plate, with the Swindon Borough Council logo, attached to the rear of the vehicle. If approaching a vehicle on a taxi rank, make sure it is a licensed Hackney Carriage (there will be a white plate on the rear of the vehicle) and ask the driver to show you his ID badge. If he is unable to produce it, do not get in.

Other Useful Advice Please do not phone several companies and take the first car to arrive. This only makes the situation worse for everyone, including the drivers who have made a wasted journey. Most operators now have caller-ID 42

and you may have difficulty in the future in getting a booking accepted. Do not take a car booked by someone else – they want to get home safely too! If you get into a private hire vehicle without pre-booking it (i.e. if you stop it or find it in the street) you may not be insured. Private hire drivers call this ‘flying’ and they know they are breaking the law. If the vehicle is involved in an accident you will experience difficulty in claiming for any injuries sustained. Have respect for the driver and his vehicle – do not eat, drink or smoke in the vehicle. And finally – do not forget to pay the driver. He has rendered a service and is entitled to the fare. If you do not pay you may end up in court Hackney Carriage fares are set by the Council and a Fare Chart should be carried in each licensed Hackney Carriage. Fares are based on three elements: The time of day The time taken to complete the journey l The length of journey l l

Fares charged by Private Hire vehicles are not controlled by the Council and you are advised to agree a fare with the Operator when booking your journey. Please remember a Hackney Carriage can be flagged down and booked in the street or at a taxi rank. Private Hire Vehicles must be pre-booked through an Operators base. If the journey is not pre-booked, the insurance cover on the vehicle will be invalid.

If you wish to make a complaint about your journey in a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire vehicle please try to obtain the following information: Driver’s badge details Vehicle Plate number l Vehicle registration number l Details of journey (from and to) l The name of the Operator you booked the journey through l Your contact details l l

For your information the types of vehicle licence plates attached to vehicles are shown below: PLEASE CONTACT US TO OBTAIN A COMPLAINT FORM In writing: l Taxi Licensing & Contracts Team Leader Passenger Transport Services Swindon Borough Council Wat Tyler House, Beckhampton Street, Swindon SN1 2JH.

A rear fixed Private Hire Plate:

By Email:


By Phone: 01793 466208


WHEN WE RECEIVE YOUR FORM Your complaint will be allocated to an Enforcement Officer who will make contact with you. The Enforcement Officer will fully investigate your complaint and consider all evidence available before making a decision on the action that needs to be taken. You will be kept informed of the progress of the enquiry and any subsequent action taken and the reasons for that action.

Private Hire Drivers Badge:

A rear fixed Hackney Carriage Plate:

Mobility Vouchers As part of the Concessionary Travel Scheme Swindon Borough Council offers mobility vouchers for people who are unable to access public transport. The vouchers can be used on Dial a Ride Services and Community Transport. People who are wheelchair dependent are able to use their vouchers in some Private Hire and Hackney Carriage vehicles. Vouchers are issued on a yearly basis and each person receives ÂŁ80 a year (pro rata for new applicants). People who require help to travel on Dial a Ride or Community Transport can also request companion vouchers for their helper to use. These are issued in the same way as the mobility vouchers. If you have any queries about Concessionary travel bus passes or mobility vouchers please telephone Swindon Direct Contact Centre 01793 445500 (Mon - Fri 8am to 8pm) or in person at Swindon Direct One Stop Shop, Beckhampton Street, Swindon (Mon - Fri 8.30am to 6pm).

Hackney Carriage Drivers Badge:


Caring for your pet in its Senior Years Dogs and cats suffer in many cases similar age related health problems to their human owners. Regular veterinary examinations are important for overall health at any age. More frequent examinations may be needed, based on your pets health. As a dog ages, signs of potentially serious health problems are commonly overlooked by pet owners as ‘just old age’. Some changes are to be expected, some are not. Watch for and differentiate between the norm’ and possible medical problems. It is much better to err on the side of caution and have anything new or unusual checked out as soon as possible by your vet.

Reasons to see your vet with your senior pet Arthritis pain - There are many medications available today to help ease the pain and discomfort of arthritis. See your veterinarian to discuss what medication is right for your pet.

Bad breath, bleeding gums - Good dental health is important not only for the teeth and mouth, but overall general health. As a dog ages, tartar, gum disease, and tooth loss are all potential problems. Oral cancers, infections, metabolic diseases (kidney disease, Diabetes Mellitus) are also potential causes for bad breath and oral health problems. Sudden blindness, hearing loss, head tilt / staggering - These signs can be seen with a variety of causes - infection, poisoning, age-related, cancer, etc. and your vet should be consulted to find the cause and begin any necessary treatment. Note: some dogs can develop cataracts in just a few days, with sudden onset diabetes. See your vet as soon as possible. Change in weight or appetite - Weight loss or gains should be kept track of, as well as any changes in diet or eating habits. Dogs should be fed a diet appropriate for their age and general health (some dogs require special or prescription diets).

Change in urine output and thirst Dogs should not drink more water simply because they are old, it is summer time, or the heater is on in the winter. The most common causes of increased water intake are diabetes and kidney problems. Urine leakage or having “accidents” also signal problems, either with infection, loss of sphincter control, or other underlying disease. Cognitive Dysfunction - Dogs, like people, can experience age-related dementia. There is a treatment available that may help some dogs. Hair loss, itchy skin - This can occur at any age, and should not be ignored. Dogs can do a lot of damage to their skin by licking, scratching, and biting, so the sooner the dog is examined, the better. This list isn’t all-inclusive - If your dog is “not himself or herself”, then it is time for a check up at the veterinary clinic.

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The Dilnot Report - The Most Ambitious Report into Long Term Care since 1999 Andrew Dilnot’s report takes the view that the existing funding system for long term care is confusing, unfair, and unsustainable. His proposals for change would cost an initial £1.7bn a year, but he claims this is a price well worth paying.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has described this report as an “immensely valuable contribution” but the government would need to consider this against other funding priorities. Ministers considered the plans ambitious and costly, but were impressed with proposals for a simplified means testing system, better national standards, and the cap, which could enable a viable private insurance market to work. Government response will be published next spring, and proposals for the reform of adult social care will be published in a white paper.

At present, anyone with savings and assets of more than £23,250 has no help from the state for care costs. The Dilnot report recommends that this limit should rise to £100,000. No individual should have to pay more that £35,000 towards their care costs, regardless of savings, although they would still be liable for costs of accommodation and food in a care home, but this would be capped at £10,000 a year. If these proposals were implemented, no individual would have to spend more than 30% of their assets on care.

So we wait, and hope, that government acts promptly on this report. Twenty three leading charity organisations issued a joint statement, in which they urged that the government “sets out a clear timetable for change and does so quickly.”

Care a nd support. As you need it, when you need it. Carewatch, a provider of local homecare services, provides care and support to those who wish to retain their independence and to do so in their own homes. Carewatch can support you or a loved one with: • Personal support • Complex care, palliative and respite care • Light domestic duties such as shopping and cleaning • Providing friendship, reassurance and companionship For more information please call:

“ I’mhomestillbutinnowmy ownhave more01793 432666 confidence knowing I have support from my careworker


At present, we cannot insure against future care costs, for the simple reason that we have no idea how much we may need. Once the cap on costs is implemented, insurance companies can become involved, or savings can be considered, so that the worry over where money will come from for long term care can be alleviated. In the meantime, the rules for long term care are complex and confusing. Various factors, such as restrictions on mobility, behaviour changes brought on by the illness, and speed of deterioration, all count in the assessment process, and a patient may not automatically qualify for NHS funding. Over the past ten years there have been many cases where people have been forced to sell their homes to pay healthcare fees, and in some cases, later discovered they were entitled to state support. At present, levels of care and criteria vary from borough to borough and Age UK says that councils are rationing services. The outlook for the elderly looks bleak. We’ve all been appalled over cases where vulnerable older people have been neglected and mistreated, and hopefully, the Dilnot report will help to ensure that this can never happen again However, this will take time. In the meantime, how can elderly people, and their families, ensure that they’re given dedicated care and kindness in their most vulnerable years. 1. It is essential that the correct level of funding is established. Relatives of the elderly should make sure that they are aware of the rules, and that these are correctly interpreted when funding for care is established. 2. Funding can be provided through the Direct Payment Scheme, allowing the individual to make his/her own arrangements for care. Use this tailored to your own requirements. In order to qualify for this, the amount of care you need is assessed, and for more information on this you can obtain a leaflet: Guide to Direct Payments From Local Council, free from the Department of Health. Tel: 0207 972 2000. A fact sheet has also been produced – Paying for Care and Support at Home by Age UK. 3. Be realistic. The number of people over 85 has risen by two thirds since 2004, but local authority budgets for social care are being cut. It is becoming more and more apparent that help in an individual’s later years is, in part, down to their own efforts


in preparation and funding. Good sources for information on this is Age UK. 4. Check out private care agencies. If you need help in the home, but are still mobile, this is the perfect stage in your life to establish a relationship with a care agency. Using your Direct Funding, you can assess if this particular agency is efficient, caring and responsible. You can also assess the capability of the agency to provide more long term care, should that become necessary. A reputable Care Agency will have your best interests at heart. You can build up your trust in your Carers, and relax. Local care company Carewatch Swindon offers the full spectrum of care and support, as you need it, when you need it. Your care and support worker can help in many ways providing assistance, reassurance and encouragement to meet the challenges of everyday life. These include light domestic duties such as shopping and cleaning, and also provide support and friendship for you. Carewatch care and support workers are trained to recognise that there may be a need for more personal care and support and can help you with your more intimate daily routine such as washing and getting ready in the morning. They can provide more intensive care following an illness, discharge from hospital or for long-term caring needs. Our care support workers do this in your home, ensuring that all those being supported can retain their independence within a familiar and comfortable environment. Carewatch also supports those already caring for a loved one. In the UK there are nearly two million people receiving care from family and friends and we recognise the need for these carers to be supported and allowed to retain a degree of independence for themselves.

Our services range from companionship, personal, and rehabilitation through to more complex situations working with other health care professionals to ensure the right level of care is delivered.

BaileyCare and Truecare are both independently run companies specialising in providing professional, qualified Nurses and Care staff to both the residential and home care sectors. From our head office in Wiltshire we cover the counties of Wiltshire, Somerset and Gloucestershire, and are delighted to have recently been successful in gaining Accredited Provider status for the supply of Domiciliary Care Staff to Swindon Borough Council. Care at home allows people to maintain their independence and remain in charge of their lives in the familiar surrounding of their own home. We believe that everyone should have the right to choose to live in their own home, and be given the care and assistance to do so as safely, and securely as possible. Both offer various home care alternatives from half-hour visits to 24 hour live-in care for Private, Direct Payments or Individual Budgets clients.

We strive to provide a high calibre of qualified Nurses and Care staff who all undergo a robust recruitment process where they are CRB checked, have the correct qualifications, experience, and valid references in accordance with the Care Quality Commission regulated standards. For further information please contact: BaileyCare on 01225 709494 Email: Website:

Truecare on 01225 767848 Email: Website:

You’ve worked hard all your life, and need to be sure that your later life will be happy and free 22/7/10 12:33 PM Page 1 from worry. A little forward planning now, can help to ensure that this is the way it will be.Â

Bailey Care 101x8919.7.10 copy

Residential, Domiciliary & Nursing Home Care Residential, Domiciliary & Nursing Home Care

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12:33 PM

Providing professional qualified Nurses and Care Staff Page to the1 residential and home care sectors, covering the whole of Swindon.

Residential, Domiciliary & Nursing Home Care From half-hour visits to 24

hour live in care. We accept Private, Direct Payments or Individual Budgets.

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24 Hour Emergency Lines: 07764 567845 or 07872 601222 email:


Providing Quality Care in the Community

Are you looking to keep your independence and stay in your own home? Or looking for care for a loved one or friend who needs help at home with everyday tasks, personal care or household support? True Care are able to supply dedicated and trained staff to give you the help and support you need to continue living the life you choose in the comfort of your own surroundings. l

Personal Care 24 Hour Live-In l Respite Care l Convalescence l Waking nights l

Registered with, The Care Quality Commission (CQC). Head Office: Bailey Employment Services Ltd. Crown House, Market Place, Melksham, Wiltshire SN12 6ES

Registered , The Care Quality Commission (CQC).

with, The Care Quality Commission (CQC). Members of The Wiltshire Domiciliary Care Providers Association

ley Employment Services Ltd. Crown House, Market Place, Melksham, Wiltshire SN12 6ES

Head Office: Bailey Employment Services Ltd. Crown House, Market Place, Melksham, Wiltshire SN12 6ES Members of The Wiltshire Domiciliary Care Providers Association

We accept Private, Direct Payments or Individual Budgets. True Care, 6 Fore Street, Trowbridge, Wiltshire BA14 8HD Tel: 01225 767848 Fax: 01225 767883 Email:

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Retired & Living in Swindon magazine  

Local magazine for the over 55s.

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