Winter 2023 – 24
Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – 16TH OCTOBER 2023
Following a buffet lunch at the Quaker Meeting House in Friargate, the Assembly welcomed Pete Kilbane – Deputy Leader, City of York Council as its guest speaker.
He outlined the new Council’s strategy covering Equality/Affordability/Climate/Housing (EACH) to be addressed over the next four-year period.
Illustrations of this strategy are reversing the Blue Badge car ban implemented by the previous council, increasing the level of really affordable housing with rents at 40% of market value on council owned land and piloting free school meals for all primary aged children at Westfield school.
He emphasised the need for a comprehensive transport plan affecting the city, and the need to review the cost and services delivered by independent care providers. Using his words, he described it as “the wild west!”
He responded to many questions from the audience, stressing the difficult financial position facing the Council, with the reduction in Central Government support over recent years.
YORK 50+ FESTIVAL – 23rd SEPTEMBER – 8th OCTOBER
The Assembly launched the 18th 50+ Festival with 127 events included in the programme brochure. Some 3,900 were distributed citywide. Activities ranged from sporting events with York Council, including guided tours of Energise Leisure Centre in Acomb and Burnholme Sports Centre, to sessions on Wills and Lasting Power of Attorney.
We are indebted to the event sponsors, including SPARK, Age UK York, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Foresters Friendly Society and Harrowells (Solicitors).
In celebration of the International Day of Older People (IDOP), two short films were produced about the lives of older people in York, their memories and hopes for the future. They were shown at the Theatre Royal, the Minster, Castle Museum, West Offices and York Explore Library.
In partnership with Parkinson’s (UK), a novel event was held outside the Mansion House, featuring Eco Angels sculptures, made by residents of Hartrigg Oaks. These were made from recycled materials, including chocolate wrappings and silver foil, amongst other items which residents could lay their hands on.
The pictures show the range of activities being undertaken including the Lord Mayor, who was seen dancing with the Angels!
In addition, a heroic pedal powered screening of the films took place on the patio outside the theatre. The films showed the changing face of York starring some of the city’s older people, including former Lord Mayors, Janet Looker and John Galvin.
NIMBUSCARE – WHAT NEXT?
Following the comprehensive provision of COVID-19 vaccinations at Askham Bar, Nimbuscare is settled at Acomb Garth, delivering a wide range of services, including blood taking, pain management and weight management services. In addition, it provides out of hours service for GP appointments from 6.30pm to 8.00pm including Saturdays. All are available on referral from your GP.
Bringing together eleven practices in York, it is extending its facilities to include ear wax removal (Microsuction). This can be accessed without a referral from your GP, by phoning 01904-943690 to arrange an appointment. See later article for more information. This service will also be provided to those living in both residential and nursing homes within York.
Meanwhile, the former facilities at Askham Bar are having a complete makeover with the intention in the new year of providing a comprehensive diagnostic service, covering all aspects of health care. Ultrasound and scanning facilities are being installed.
An integrated community team to assist the most frail and vulnerable residents of York was set up at the Priory Medical Group GP practice some years ago. Each person receives a named Frailty Nurse and access to a member of staff who can help refer them to an occupational or physiotherapist or a health care assistant as appropriate.
This transferred to Nimbuscare from the 1st of November 2023 and will be expanded to include a duty social worker and voluntary sector representative.
The three main objectives of the Frailty Hub are:
- Pro-active hospital admission avoidance
- Integrated crisis response
- Support early hospital discharge.
The Hub will be run by a GP with special interest in frailty and a dedicated Advice and Guidance Line is available to support the professionals delivering the service.
The service is available to those living in their own home or in a residential care setting. Arrangements can be made for visits to an individual in their own home, where appropriate.
CAFÉ NEURO YORK
Café Neuro York is a charity which provides monthly daytime and evening cafes to provide peer and social support for adults living with or affected by a long-term neurological condition.
The charity, founded in 2020, has become a lifeline for many people living with conditions including brain injury, Parkinson’s Disease, stroke, Functional Neurological Disorder, Multiple Sclerosis and more.
The charity runs two cafés a month, both at the Folk Hall in New Earswick. The daytime café is on the third Friday of each month from 11.30am – 1pm and the evening café is on the first Wednesday of each month from 6 – 7.30pm.
Everyone is welcome and the cafés provide an opportunity to talk to people who have been through many of the same issues. It is a place to share experiences and advice as well as somewhere to have fun and be among friends. The evening cafés sometimes include activities like bingo, crafts or quizzes. We are also hoping to start having speakers in the new year.
For more information about Café Neuro York visit www.cafeneuroyork.org.uk or find Cafe Neuro York on Facebook and X (previously Twitter). Phone number: 07707-708244
CONNAUGHT COURT – IN THE NEWS AGAIN
Marie and Brian Thackray recently celebrated their 28th Wedding Anniversary. Both previously widowed, they met on holiday and Brian proposed when he was 64 and Marie 72. They are now 93 and 100 respectively! Staff at Connaught Court said, “it just shows it’s never too late to meet your soulmate.”
Connaught Court in Fulford provides residential and nursing care for older Freeemasons and their families. Only a year ago we reported on Elwyn Hughes aged 95, who as a professional tailor, created customised waistcoats for fellow residents.
TICKET OFFICE CLOSURES – OVERTURNED
Plans to close railway station ticket offices in England were scrapped in a Government U-turn, reported on November 1st. The Assembly, along with over 750,000 responses to the consultation, overwhelmingly rejected the Government’s proposals.
As reported in the last newsletter, reliance was to be placed on those using smartphones or who have access to online facilities to get their tickets. For people with sight loss, the option to use ticket vending machines is a non-starter!!
The cost cutting proposals affecting over 1000 ticket offices, which would have disadvantaged thousands of older and disabled people, have been stopped.
BLUE BADGE – APPLICATION FORM
As well as restoring Blue Badge access to York city centre, the new Council is also reviewing the current application form for those applying. We drew attention to the current form, which is twenty pages long, difficult to understand and very repetitive.
The intention of the Blue Badge scheme is to help you to park close to your destination, either as a passenger or a driver. It is intended for on-street parking allowing you to park on single and some double yellow lines. There are also some dedicated parking spaces in city centre car parks. For help completing forms, contact Older Citizens Advocacy (OCAY) on 01904-676200.
Entitlement falls into two categories:
- You receive the higher rate of Disability Living Allowance
- You receive Personal Independence Payment – cannot walk more than 50 metres.
- Registered blind
- Receive War Pension Mobility Supplement
- Find walking difficult – due to pain or breathlessness.
- Other disabilities
SPREAD THE WORD!!
PILLS – AND MORE PILLS
As we get older, we seem to have more and more pills prescribed! Most are now in “blister pack” form. What do we do with the empty packs?
A number of GP practices have made provision for the packs to be recycled. Does yours? It certainly is available at Nimbuscare in the Acomb Garth Community Care Centre.
EAR WAX REMOVAL
A number of organisations are now offering not only eye and hearing tests, but also ear wax removal by microsuction. The days when this service was offered at the local surgery as part of the NHS are long since gone. Information is set out below, including prices from a range of providers.
The Hearing Place, tel: 01904-862422, £60, home visits can be arranged for £90.
Specsavers, tel: 01904-530229, £55, reduced to £25 if no wax found.
Stonegate Medical, tel: 01904-631815, £99
Acuitis, Coney St, tel: 01904-307383, £70, plus £25 if hearing test required.
Nimbuscare, Acomb, tel: 01904-943690, £50
The figures above are for both ears being subject to wax removal.
WINTER FUEL PAYMENT 2023
Have you received your correct amount?
If both are over 80, each one receives £300 making a joint total of £600.
If one is over 80, she/he will receive £350 and the Partner/spouse, over 65 and under 80, will receive £250 making a joint total of £600.
If both are over 65 and under 80, they will each receive £250 making a joint total of £500.
For single people or for a household where only one person is eligible, the amounts are
Single person – over 65 £500
Over 80 £600
If in doubt, call 0800-7310160. Have your National Insurance number ready when you call. Payments should be made direct to your bank account during November or December.
Note that those in receipt of Pension Credit or other similar additional benefits will receive extra payments.
DATE OF NEXT OPEN MEETING
This will be held on Monday 15th January 2024 at 2pm. The venue is The Friends Meeting House on Friargate.