Digest November 2023

Digest November 2023


                                 “Digest “- November 2023

Joke:  Another good thing about being poor is that when your 70, your children will not have you declared legally insane in order to gain control of your estate. (Woody Allen).

Issy Isaacs.

 Our Committee Member and financial Independent Examiner, suffered a stroke in Rayleigh on Monday, 30th. October. He was rushed to Southend University Hospital and treated there for a week. Discharged home on Sunday, 5th. November, Doreen has been caring for him with a daily visit from a speech therapist. Issy appears to making a slow recovery, and we ask for your thoughts and prayers to be with him at this time.

In Committee: 

Further to last month’s news, Jean met with Jodie Bennett and the boss at Garda  to further discuss our marketing strategy.

 We are keen to attract younger pensioner members in their sixties who may hopefully become active in our outreach to the public and on the internet. Our website needs to be updated and reorganised in order to attract our target audience. 

Jean handed us a full programme of Speakers for next year. Jill will not be attending the future meetings of the South East Essex Alliance. It seems to be a talking-shop and meets at lunch time only.

Jim Folwell very kindly volunteered to act as our Independent Examiner of Accounts until Issy has recovered enough to take back the job. Jim has been our Independent Examiner in the past, so he knows the ropes.

Last Month’s Meeting

We were pleased to welcome back the “Ladybirds” song group who serenaded us with a variety of popular songs which many of us knew and sang along with. Our Chair, Jill again danced with her husband Alvin to the delight of all. We hope to see and hear them again before too long


We are continuing to campaign to persuade the City council to elect or appoint a Councillor to be an “Older Person’s Champion”.

The Committee agreed that our Treasurer, Bob Howes would be putting a question regarding this in person to the Council Leader at the Full Council Meeting on Thursday, 14th, December, 2023. It seems to be only way to get answers from the current Administration.

Later on we intend to ask the Council to advise us of their plans to replace the Southend Travel Centre with a building which is fit for purpose, clean and with bus service information available when buses are running.

Jean advised that we hope to have our display board at the Westcliff Library on Tuesday, 5th March, 2024 and at Leigh Library on Monday, 18th. March, 2024 from 10am till 12noon. Members are invited to help us meet pensioners at both events and to encourage them to join the Campaign

Slipper Swap Project:  

Southend City Council are offering older residents the chance to collect brand new slippers designed to reduce the risk of tripping, slipping and falling. They have secure fastenings and robust soles. The events are being held as follows between 10am and noon.

Tuesday, 21st. November     Shoeburyness Library.

Tuesday, 28th. November    The Forum, Southend.

Havens Community Hub – Age Concern Southend.

There is a new timetable available for classes at the Hub. An example is the  Falls Prevention classes which aim to strengthen your core which are on Monday 10.30am-11.30am, Tuesday 11.00am-11.45am and Wednesday 11.15am-noon. Jean is going to try it in December, why not join her? First lesson is free, after that £6 a session.

Community Café at the Community Hub

The KB Café is providing a Community Sunday Roast every Sunday from 26th November. Three courses for £14.99. call into the hub for more information.

They also are running an Over 50s Lunch Club every Friday 1pm-3pm  Set Menu with two courses with tea or coffee for £9.99

The Library:  

Did you know you can visit the library for 1-1 assistance in using your IT devices? Our friendly Digital Officer team are available to provide advice and guidance to help you make the most of your tablet or laptop in our Tablet Taster Sessions.

Choose between our drop-in session at The Forum held every Tuesday from 10.30 – 11.30am, or our bookable session at Westcliff Library held on alternate Mondays from 10.30 – 11.30am.

Bring your device with you and we’ll do our best to help!

For more information, or to book your place on our next session at Westcliff Library, please email: digitalofficers@southend.gov.uk

Thank you to Mr, Ali for this information from the Library Service.  

Trapped by the App. :

 (I am grateful to our Member, Sue Stacey for this contribution on the Digital Divide).

Recently on a dark and wet Saturday evening, I had to contact my national breakdown service as my little, reliable, well maintained car just wouldn’t start. Telephoned the given number, which I have since been assured is manned by a human 24/7, to be told that the ‘office is now closed until 7am the next day and to go via the internet or the APP, to log a call.

‘Not having the APP, I spoke with my son who came to my assistance. He had to install the APP on his smart phone and logged a call out. We received a text message that ‘someone will be with you between 9.24pm and 9.54pm.’ Thinking that this was really efficient we sat and waited and waited and waited. There was no way to contact the breakdown service as the message sent only asked if you wanted to ‘cancel’ the call, which we didn’t.

Telephoning the service, again the recorded message was that the office is now closed until 7am the next day, use the internet or APP. It was discovered that by withholding your telephone number you could actually get through to speak with a human. We were told that the job had not yet been scheduled as the service was very busy, and that we could wait many hours. We decided to leave the car and sort it out in the morning. Someone did telephone me at about 12.30am offering to reschedule the job for the next day between 7am and 12noon, which we accepted. We were called at around 8.30am by the mechanic and we met him at the car. He was a very welcome sight. He quickly sorted out the problem and fitted a new battery.

I have no problem with being prioritised and expecting to wait but accurate information is vital to allay any anxiety. Not all of us have a smart phone or have the APP and speaking with a human is reassuring. I completed their survey, needless to say it was not very complimentary. I have subsequently been contacted by the service and they are investigating.

Poverty trap!   

(Grateful to our Member Cllr. Alan Hart for this contribution).

‘The recent Echo piece on winter fuel allowance highlighted a pensioners poverty trap which may be worse than imagined and is worthy of an approach to our MP’s !

In simple terms an income related benefit such as Universal Credit and any of those previously separate now under that banner, is the gateway to optical and dentistry treatment.

Without a means tested benefit, and it doesn’t take much, there are no glasses and no teeth, unless you can pay £85 for a filling !

Nice to know that a minimal private or company pension means that one is well- off enough to pay private charges.

 Dates for Your Diary:

Jazz Centre UK. Live concerts on most Saturday afternoons. 2pm till 4pm. Beecroft Art Gallery, Victoria Avenue, Southend. Tickets £10-15.

Southend Central Museum. Victoria Avenue, Southend. Free. A stunning display of recent finds from the “London” wreck is now on show permanently from Wednesday to Sunday each week, from 11am till 5pm.

Southend Council Concert Series. Monthly serious music concerts continue at Plaza Centre, 600 Southchurch Road, Southend. SS1 2PT.  Friday evenings. From 8pm. International professional music musicians. £10 per person.

Seafront Fireworks. Every Saturday from 30th September to 18th November. From 8 pm till 8.15pm

Focal Point Gallery. The Forum, Southend, SS1 1ND. Open Wednesday to Saturday, 11am to 5pm. Exhibition:  “Storm Warning“  What does climate change mean for coastal communities? 4th October till 6th January, 2024.

Wednesday, 15th November.  Age Concern (Southend).   AGM. Haven’s Community Hub, Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff. 7pm (with drinks) for 7.30pm start.

Saturday, 18th November. Southend Christmas Lights switch-on. 6pm. (Pier Hill area).

Saturday, 25th November. TrustLinks Christmas Fayre. Prittlewell Chase/ Fairfax Drive. Westcliff. 11am -2pm.

Saturday, 25th November.  Southend Bach Choir: Tribute and Memorial Concert for their late Musical Director, Colin Edwards who died suddenly recently. The Faure Requiem at St. Alban’s Church, St. John’s Road, Westcliff. Probably 7.30 pm.

Thursday, 30th November. From 8pm. Alan Barnes on saxophone and clarinet. One of the kingdom’s greatest jazz musicians will be playing at Sands by the Sea restaurant, Icon Building, Adventure Island, Western Esplanade, Southend. SS1 1EE. Dinners served from 7pm.

Wednesday, December, 6th.   SDPC Lunch – The Harvester, “The Shore House”, Shoeburyness. 12.30 pm.

Contact Margaret to book your place 01702  295008 or 07814 714937.

Monday, 11th December: Older Veterans “Get together”   Havens Community Hub, Hamlet Court Road For any veterans who have served in HM Forces. 3.pm-4.pm call 01702 or booking@acsos.co.uk

Friday, 15th December: Christmas Concert  Havens Community Hub, Hamlet Court Road featuring The Sound of Memories Adult Choir and Dementia Day Centre Choir.  4pm-5pm.

Saturday, 16th. December. Southend Bach Choir: Carol Concert in aid of HARP.St Andrews Church,  Southview Drive, Westcliff. 7.00pm.

Wednesday, 20th December .  SDPC Meeting: Christmas Social with Mince Pies. Balmoral Centre, Salisbury Avenue, Westcliff on Sea. 2pm-4pm.

Change of Address:  Our email address has changed to southenddistrictpensioners@gmail.com  

 Please use this address, and respond to a message to ensure that all future messages go straight into your inbox.

Editor’s request.

If you would like to contribute any items to your “Digest”, please send your articles, poems, or jokes to Bob Howes at 91, Brightwell Avenue, Westcliff on Sea, Essex. SS0 9EG, or email howes01702@outlook.com. Many thanks.