Are we returning to bad days of asylums?
I am greatly concerned to read that South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (SLAM) is proposing to locate acute dementia care at Chelsham House at the Royal Bethlem Hospital.
SLAM provides mental health services for Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham and Croydon. Chelsham House is a SLAM facility near West Wickham in the London Borough of Bromley which has mental health services provided by Oxleas NHS Trust.
I am aware that improvements have recently been made in the decor and furnishings of Chelsham House but it remains an institution in the middle of nowhere so far as most residents of Southwark are concerned.
How often would the family of a Rotherhithe, Camberwell or Peckham person manage to get out there to visit a mother, father or close friend suffering with dementia?
It will hasten the isolation and confusion already associated with acute conditions of mental deterioration in old age. It seems to me a return to the bad old days when mentally ill people were hidden away in large asylums out in the country – remember Cane Hill and Darenth Park Hospitals.
SLAM has two specialist care units for older adults – Ann Moss in Bermondsey and Greenvale in Streatham. It would be greatly preferable to retain these two residential homes as centres for acute dementia care as they are at the moment.
They are homely places conveniently located and accessible for relatives. Ann Moss is in North Southwark and Greenvale is in South Lambeth.
You published a letter from me on 9th June 2016 when there was a previous suggestion that Ann Moss Unit would be closed and residents would be moved to Chelsham House.
Subsequently, SLAM undertook a review of the future residential care for older people with acute mental health difficulties. I am pleased that Ann Moss remains open at present but discouraged by your report.
Sally Lynes, Camberwell
Flight paths and a Picnic with a Twist
Plane noise may not make great news. However, increasing numbers of residents in south and south-east London are affected not only by near non-stop Heathrow flight arrivals starting at 4.30am and often continuing until 11 – 11.30pm; but also by City Airport plane activity with planes flying even lower and so more invasively noisily over us. 2 London airports impacting our mental wellbeing with precious little respite and the authorities appearing not to care or be aware.
To make our point in a light-hearted way Plane Hell is joining forces with HACAN East this coming Friday, 28 July when a flight-paths cake will be presented to CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) at their offices on 57 – 63 Kingsway WC2B 6TE. We meet at 4.15pm for the 4.30pm presentation before moving across to Lincolns Inn Fields for a cake and strawberries picnic. Affected communities are invited to bring a cake with the name of their area; or make a banner; but most importantly, to come! This is our opportunity to show the CAA how widely their flight-paths policies are affecting south and south-east London communities and to ask them to make changes.
Bridget Bell for John Ruskin Street residents and others affected by planes.
020 7701 7233 (a/machine, antediluvian but works)
Hooray for hedges
I just want to say: Hooray for hedges.
They look good, they give us privacy and they are very good for wildlife and biodiversity.
Now a study led by the University of Surrey tells us they can help tackle air pollution in our towns and cities.
If we are clever about where we plant them – especially at roadsides – they will help trap the particulates and CO2 pollution from cars and lorries.
Trees are wonderful, of course, and act as our green lungs, but hedges have the advantage of working their magic at exhaust level.
In addition they provide food and shelter for birds, bees, butterflies, hedgehogs and other wildlife.
They won’t cure traffic pollution on their own, but as part of a multi-pronged strategy, hedges can start to make our air gets cleaner and our lives healthier.
So let’s stop hedging our bets and start planting more privet, hawthorn, blackthorn and box.
Syed Kamall MEP for London, Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group www.syedkamall.com
Done the King proud
Congratulations to the organisers and supporters of the Rotherhithe Festival in King George’s Field.
First put on in 2006 it was yet another lovely community event. Lots of smiling faces around on Saturday, and no surprise given the friendly atmosphere, the free children’s entertainments and the high quality of the music. Guitarist Robin Bibi playing in the crowd was a personal highlight.
Money was also raised for charitable causes. All in all a more than good day.
Your readers might like to look out for a new information board in King George’s Field which will be installed very soon.
It will outline the story of how our small, but important park, was developed as a memorial to King George V in the 1930s on the site of the former All Saints Church.
Pat Kingwell, The Friends of Southwark Park
On behalf of Big Local South Bermondsey I would like to thank the organisers of the Rotherhithe Festival.
We were able to showcase the work we do locally and to promote our next Business Enterprise Training Course free to those living in Southwark and our Job Club which will open in September.
The whole event was professionally run and really enjoyed by local people. How they do what they do with limited funding is amazing – so well done all
Ann Clayton, Community Engagement Manager Big Local South Bermondsey
Asthma pilot scheme
I am writing to let you know that people in your area with asthma are being invited to take part in a pilot scheme for a new digital health project aimed at reducing their risk of having an asthma attack.
Asthma UK’s 12-Week Asthma Support Programme, funded by a Department of Health Innovation Challenge Fund grant, provides expert advice, activities and tips sent straight to your smartphone.
The pilot is open to people who have had an asthma attack in the last year, are aged between 18-67, live in England and have a smartphone.
Once signed up to the pilot, those involved will receive personalised digital support that will be available to them via their smartphones.
Anyone who is interested in taking part in the 12-Week Asthma Support Programme pilot can find out more and sign up at www.asthma.org.uk/asthma-support-programme
Michael Clarke, Director of Advice and Content Asthma UK