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Letters to the editor: 27/10/16

Vote for one of Southwark’s parks

Three of Southwark’s Parks have been nominated for the UK’s Best Parks Awards held every year by Fields in Trust, formerly known as the National Playing Fields Association.

Their  Patron is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and their President is the Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge.

Burgess Park, Peckham Rye Park and Southwark Park are the Southwark Parks that have been nominated for an award.

To cast your vote for one of these Parks log on to;  www.fieldsintrust.org and click on UK’s Best Park, and click on vote here.

To view the London Nominations click on the map symbol for London.

Do vote for one of our parks and ask you friends and acquaintances to do so as well.

Voting is now open and closes  at 5.00pm on Wednesday 9th November next.

Let’s win an award for one of our great parks in our historic London borough..

Ken Hayes, Hon. Secretary of Southwark Civic Assocaition


Being labelled bed-blockers

I notice a couple of national newspapers (who shall remain nameless), having taken to sniping at the elderly again regarding ‘bed-blocking’, come up with that hoary old excuse ‘that they are living longer’.

As if we can help that. Perhaps the present generation of pensioners have lived a healthier lifestyle that includes eating less junk food, taken more exercise and attended a gym on a regular basis, who knows?

But a recent study revealed that pensioners live an average of 77 minutes from their close relatives, meaning that a third of families struggle to cope when elderly relatives are discharged from hospital.

This means that charities often have to fill the gap left by modern family structures.

In some places a fifth of hospital beds are occupied by patients who cannot leave (called bed-blockers), because there is not the right community support. But the report found families were far more worried about early discharge, concerned that elderly patients were made to leave hospital before they were ready.

Recent research, complied by the King’s Fund, found 30 per cent of families could not care for the older relative after they left hospital without extra support.

Your average pensioner stay in hospital is fifteen days and he would be visited on seven occasions. But modern families are less able to provide long term support.

The study of 1,000 people with parents over 75 found 33 per cent said they live too far away to keep up with the daily care of relatives, such as dressing, cleaning and cooking.

Many said juggling work and childcare added pressure and 21 per cent said they felt guilty about not being able to do more.

Some nineteen per cent said they found premature discharge from hospital a problem, compared with just three per cent who said delayed discharge were an issue.

I think that councils should re-visit their care in the community projects and perhaps Southwark’s Social and Adult Care Cabinet member can enlighten us on its latest plans.

Reg O’Donoghue, Walworth


Help me make my Christmas cards

I am seeking the help of London’s schoolchildren to make my Christmas cards this year different and special.

As MEP for London, every year I send seasonal greetings to people and organisations across the city. This time I would like a youngster from one of our primary schools to design them.

If they send me their designs, I will pick my favourite to go on the front of the cards I send out.

The winning school will also receive a £100 book token for their library.

All entries need to be sent to the office of Syed Kamall, 161 Brigstock Road,  Croydon, CR7 7JP by Monday 31st October 2016.

I appeal to your younger readers – as well as their parents and teachers – to get creative and get their schools involved.

Syed Kamall, Conservative MEP for London


Join the trek

I am writing to invite your readers to sign up to one of the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) ultimate walking challenges – the London to Oxford Trek on the 13-14 May or the London to Brighton Trek on the 24-25 June.

It will push you to the limit. If you choose to do the full trek, you’ll have 30 hours to complete the 100k course, walking nonstop through the night. You can also sign up to walk 50km, either in the day or through the night.

This year, I joined hundreds of hikers in the fight against heart disease as I took on the London to Brighton Trek to raise funds for the BHF’s life saving research.

I signed up because there’s a long history of heart and circulatory disease in my family. My dad has suffered from several angina attacks and had a stent fitted in 2007 after doctors discovered a narrowed artery. My grandfather also died of dilated cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle, in 1993 when I was just two years old.

My dad is one of seven million people living with heart and circulatory disease in the UK today. In London alone, there are an estimated 629,000 people living with heart and circulatory disease. But the BHF is fighting back through its life saving research.

I met some amazing people along the way and all the training is worth it when you cross the finish line, knowing what you have achieved physically, all while supporting a worthy cause. Together, the London to Oxford and London to Brighton treks helped raise around £280,000 for the BHF’s vital research into heart disease this year, but we want to raise even more in 2017.

I would encourage anyone to take on a challenge and sign up to become a Heart Trekker – you will be making such a difference to millions of people in the UK living with heart disease. Visit bhf.org.uk/challenges to find out more.

Alex Michael , BHF Heart Trekker and Gogglebox star


Walk to school

Sixteen years ago there had never been a single case of a child being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the UK. BBC’s Panorama revealed this month that there are now more than 500 cases – and rising.

October is International Walk to School Month – not a date many of us will have in our diary but as walk to school rates hit a dangerous low point and child health problems increase, maybe it should be. Walking more can lead to improved physical and mental health, including reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. The journey to school is one that children make every day, so let’s just make it an active one.

Catchment areas can be an issue but Park and Stride – swapping school gate gridlock for parking further away and taking a short walk instead – means children can still get active for part of the journey and stops the school being surrounded by congestion.

If you could park further away and walk the last stretch then ask your school to speak to a nearby supermarket, pub or church about allowing their car park to be used for Park and Stride.

Soaring diabetes, childhood obesity and harmful air pollution mean we need to seek solutions – not excuses – and give them a go. International Walk to School Month is a good time to start.

Tim Fitches, Living Streets


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