Digest – March 2022

Digest – March 2022


March 2022

 “For us elderly people not owning a computer is like not having a headache”

(Edward Enfield)


It is a fact that those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.  Germany was a case in point.  The country was so badly treated by the Treaty of Versailles ending the Great War that it festered for years until it felt able to take revenge. Currently there is Russia which has endured the Cold War followed by the ongoing growth of its neighbours joining a military alliance that can only be directed at one country!  Now Russia is behaving like a cornered animal fighting for its life.  This may not seem clear from the West but Putin has been in power long enuff to make him an effective dictator so it is in his will to command.  Very recently there is speculation that he has mental problems so the outcome is a man with vast power doing unstable things.  To my mind the unanswered question is what is the long-term objective?  Does he have the recreation of the Soviet Empire in mind?

This month cannot go by without a word about Southend becoming a City.  Does it mean we must build a cathedral?  Maybe St Mary’s should be promoted.  I didn’t attend but it was good to see pictures of the HRH’s and the flag waving crowd.  So where do we go from here?  I see calls to make the Arterial 3 lane (to make it easier to leave).  Also councillors cleaning street signs to make it prettier. Wouldn’t it be loverly if all that plastic detritus was removed from main road verges?

February Talk

Was, Healthwatch – What’s it for? Given by Owen Richards- strategic Manager of Healthwatch and

Jean Broadbent – Engagement Officer.

Jean very helpful provided printed copies of her power point presentation, even with that  our Members were still unclear exactly what  Healthwatch’s role is and how effective it is.

Members thought that their claim to be an Independent and Impartial Champion of  local Health and Social Care is yet to be proven.

Healthwatch do try sort out peoples issues and can organise emergency care but dealing with formal complaints is dealt with by Southend Advocacy.

My understanding from the feel of the meeting is that  providing information and a signposting Service to local health and social care service for people  to make their own minds up is a better representation of Healthwatch’s  main aim.

The presenters were knowledgeable about services that are available and answered questions professionally.  In particular useful answers to a question about assisted testing for Covid 19 for vulnerable adults.

This summary was provided by Jean Howes.  Brigitte Launay was similarly unsure of their specific purpose.  Alan Grubb commented that they offer no open meetings, did not speak if residents participation and felt that their decisions are not accountable their paymasters the tax payers. 

Copies of the presentation are available on request to the Secretary. I have a copy of their PowerPoint presentation on a flashstick available to borrow.

Treasurers Talk

Now we are halfway thru the year I can report we are well solvent.  Collecting subs in the first month of the year along with a much reduced number of paid speakers has created a surplus of £513 and total funding of £2,017.  The funding lunches have proved a great success.  We get good meals at bargain prices so even with the contribution to funds it’s not an expensive do.  Socially the upside is getting to know other members better.  The next chance is on 6 April.  Details below.

The Banks

There was a time when their slogan was, “Our roots are our branches.”  Sadly they are now gradually morphing into Ivory Towers vigorously avoiding contact with real people. Early this month it was reported that Shoebury folk face a 10 miles trip to go to a branch in Southend. 

Kevin Ryan, a candidate in the May local elections has made a bid to create a Community Bank for Shoebury.  No doubt he is looking for support.

Energy supply and Cost

Further to talking % my supplier has turned it into hard cash.  Electricity day rate up to 34p/kWh from 28p and nite 7.6 to 17.6.  The latter is eye watering. Gas rises from 4p to 7.3.  The forecast effect is to up my elec bill by £348 and gas by £416.

 If you need help contact Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133. Lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.  Alternatively try simple energy advice 0800 444 202 M to F 8am to 8pm.

Everyday Annoyances

This is an article I have cribbed from Third Age  Matters, U3A’s magazine as it rings so true:

Ring pulls on food packaging, medicine blister packs and too many controls on white goods are some of the things third-agers get most annoyed about according to a u3a survey.

 The u3a has teamed up with Design Institute to find out what really irks older people. Several thousand members replied to a survey as part of the movement’s Push Back Ageism campaign. The Institute is working with policy makers and providers of goods and services to design or improve the existing design of items aimed at older adults, and is currently compiling a list of the top 25 everyday items that third third-agers find frustrating and difficult to use.

 Top of the list was packaging, with 60 per cent of respondents complaining about food packaging such as ring pulls, clingfilm, peel-back labels and instructions in small print on coloured backgrounds. More than l2 percent complained about medicine packaging such as blister packs, small tablets and child- proof bottles. Other annoyances included changing duvet covers, too many controls on white goods, heavy vacuum cleaners and high kitchen cupboards.

 One member said: “l feel so old and incompetent at not being able to do it myself.” George Lee, founder of This Age Thing, Design Age Institute, said: “Bad design perpetuates age stereotypes. The attitude is that if you can’t do something as you get older, it’s because you are the problem, not the design. lt’s time to challenge that attitude!”

I will publish all the complaints you have.

Dates for your Diary

Until October:  Display of the White Witch’s Chest at Southend Central Museum.  Once Cunning Murrell’s known for his herbal remedies and casting and breaking spells

18 Mar:  Leigh Farmer’s Market at Leigh Community Centre 9 – 1pm.

19 Mar:  6km GLOW walk on the Seafront in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society.  Sign up at www.alzheimers.org.uk/glow.  Don’t care to walk?  Do support it.

Until 4 April:  Consultation on Constituency boundary changes.  Don’t let West Leigh slip into Castle Point.

19 Mar:  The Emma Rawicz Quintet at the Jazz Centre UK at  The Beecroft, Victoria Avenue. 2pm-4pm. Tickets from   £15.  Better info 01702 215169.

25 March: Philharmonia Chamber Players at the Plaza Centre, 600 Southchurch Road.  Beethoven and Mendelssohn. 8pm. £10. 01702 215011 option 3

26 March: Derek Nash Quartet at The Jazz Centre UK,  2-4pm.  Tickets  £12.  Info  susan_may@btinternet.com.

2-18 Apr:  The Seafront Open Top Bus returns.

6 Apr:  Fundraising lunch at the Shorehouse, Shoebury .  Reserve with Jean Howes.  Tel 01702 341047.

6 Apr:  Sowing Seeds of Wellbeing Conference at Trust Links Growing Together, Fairfax Drive. How community gardening improves mental health. Register at bit.ly/3J3PGS2

20 Apr:  Members meeting at Balmoral Centre. 2 – 4pm.  Ann Hardy – Costumier to the stars.

23 & 24 Apr:  Rayleigh Art Group’s Exhibition at the WI, Bellingham Lane.  Free

© JDS/ March 2022.  Tel 01702 472670


Email:  bartonpye@aol.com