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Letters to the editor: 12/01/17

Aid is in self-interest

Reg O’DonOGHue writes feelingly about the plight of the elderly in the UK, but I am sorry he takes aim at our government’s modest contribution to overseas aid.

Development aid is not only humane and charitable: it is in our own long-term self-interest.

It is not just that improving standards in poorer countries reduces the incentive for their citizens to migrate here.

We simply could not survive just on what we can produce in this small island: we need to trade, and for that we need customers who can afford to buy our exports of goods and services.

If pump-priming aid to countries in Africa, for example, leads to a rise in prosperity, that means a wider market for us.

Without buoyant overseas trade, we could never afford our present high standard of living, nor those advantages which every old person here enjoys: a basic income from the state, free health care and such benefits as free travel and free TV licences.

Peter Bavington, (age 75), Bermondsey


Remove the stigma

At last the Government, Media and TV are talking about the injustice of the mentally ill.

For the past few years, I have attended many scrutiny meetings, etc, and have had to listen that it is difficult to help these people because of the Stigma.

Good caring people have fallen into the trap of believing this is why more has not been done for people in crisis.

I believe authorities have used this as an excuse for not providing places where these people will be welcomed to get help.

Sadly, my words at these meetings have fallen on deaf ears.

The ex Maudsley A&E being one example. A busy hospital A&E will never, ever, be where these people should attend.

Ringing your GP should be the first thing you should do if you need help. But without being dramatic, getting through to your GP surgery is not always easy these days.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but getting rid of most of our day care centres was never a good idea.

My final plea is, if you know of someone suffering from depression, etc, tell them to get help, and explain there is no shame, and there are many in the same plight.

If in doubt, go to the Southwark Pensioners’ Centre in Camberwell, and they will point you in the right direction.

Tom White, Southwark Pensioners’ Centre


Helping aged veterans

Now that the festive season has drawn to an end, and while many of your readers will have enjoyed a very happy Christmas with family and friends it is important to remember those who have struggled with loneliness, depression and anxiety over the holidays, and continue to do so.

This time of year can be particularly hard for the elderly with many men and women suffering from depression, which can be the result of bereavement, marital problems or a whole host of other issues, and yet receive very little help from the NHS.

Aged Veterans Counselling, a government backed organisation supported by veterans’ charities, offers a free counselling scheme across the UK to anyone born before 1950 who was in the military or completed National Service. Incidentally, most men over the age of 66 did complete national service and will therefore qualify.

Aged Veterans Counselling are able to offer vital support to those in need, providing up to 6 free counselling sessions in the comfort of their own home, provided by accredited professionals, which has proven to have an immensely positive impact on those who participate.

So can I ask your readers to spare a thought for loved ones, friends, neighbours or someone in their care who might qualify and benefit from this free counselling service. They can contact, in confidence, Aged Veterans Counselling on 0300 0120 247 or online at www.agedveterancounselling.org.uk

Josephine Bey, Programme Director


Lap between two continents

Can you swim 22 miles – the equivalent of the English Channel – in your local pool?

Get sponsored to swim the 22 miles and with every length you complete you’ll be funding research into new treatments, techniques and the search for a cure for diabetes. The money raised by Diabetes UK will help fund campaigns which secure better care and help for people with diabetes.

Join the challenge on your own, as part of a team, club or school and swim the 22 miles in your own time. So whether you are a solo swimmer or part of a team, it’s time to get your goggles on and go to great lengths for people with diabetes.

Swim 22 will run from 22 February and 22 May and anyone who signs up will be able to track how far they’ve swum, collect milestone swimming and share their  progress with friends. To sign up or find out more email swim22@diabetes.org.uk or call 0345 123 2399.

Claire Lubbock, Diabetes UK


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