Hammersmith United Charities to take part in Open Garden Squares weekend – June 18th-19th

hucflowerAs part of Open Garden Squares Weekend, the residents of John Betts House and Sycamore House invite you to enjoy their special gardens.

logokeyThere are over 200 gardens to explore across 25 London boroughs ranging from the historic and traditional to the new and experimental.

Tickets for the whole weekend cost just £12 and children under 12 go free, from Open Squares.

Tickets on the door for John Betts House and Sycamore Gardens are £4 for each garden. Proceeds go to London parks and open spaces.


Rylett Road W12 9NJ

The gardens are a platform for workshops and social events enabling people to work in their own part of the garden, or to simply relax and enjoy.

Last year, they were placed third with a Silver Gilt in the Small Community Garden category of the London Garden Society’s 2015 competition.

• Open 2pm – 5pm

• Homemade cakes and plant sale

• Disabled lavatories on site

Sycamore Gardens W6 0AS

The sheltered housing gardens continues to win awards. Sycamore House won the Large Community Garden category of the London Garden Society 2015 annual competition.

• Open 2pm – 5pm

• Tea, coffee, homemade cakes, plant and craft stall.

• Disabled lavatories on site

About Hammersmith United Charities

Helping local people in Hammersmith

They support local people to build their confidence and resourcefulness, develop their own talents and skills, connect people together and strengthen relationships and neighbourliness within and across diverse communities.

They do this by managing vibrant sheltered housing communities for older people, funding a community based grants programme, including the Wormholt & White City Big Local, and by working with local people, organisations and businesses.

A great way to show your support for their work for the next 400 years is to leave a legacy.

Contact HUC at : Sycamore House, Sycamore Gardens, London W6 0AS Tel: 020 8741 4326

Info@hamunitedcharities.com Charity number: 205856

Also taking part in the Open Garden Squares Weekend in Hammersmith and Fulham are the following:

All Saints Vicarage Garden, Fulham
Saturday: 11:00–16:00
+Sunday: 14:00–17:00

Fulham Palace
Saturday: 11:00–16:00

Fulham Palace Meadows Allotments
Saturday: 11:30–15:30

Ravenscourt Park Glasshouses
Saturday: 10:00–16:00

The River Cafe

William Morris Society
Saturday: 14:00–17:00

More details here.

H&F Council is failing to protect elderly residents from shingles

shingles250,000 people a year in the UK suffer from shingles. It is a very unpleasant illness. Victims can die from it, although that is rare – about one in a thousand cases.  But what is commonplace – approximately 100,000 cases a year – is to develop “postherpetic pain” when the virus damages a nerve. The pain is typically excruciating. 20 per cent of shingles patients remain in pain after three months. For those admitted to hospital the average stay is 14.6 days. More often the infection means the elderly can stay at home but are unable to look after themselves.

The good news is that there is a shingles vaccine (called Zostavax) that is available. There is a phased introduction. It is currently available free on the NHS for those who were 70, 71, 72, 78 or 79 years old on the 1st September, 2015. If you are eligible – or you know someone who is – it is something to be contact your GP about.

Apparently it costs the NHS around £55 a shot – which is rather high for a vaccine. But not only will it avoid a lot of misery, it is also good value for the taxpayer.

The bad news is that the take up in Hammersmith and Fulham is less than half the national average. Between September 2014 and May 2015 it was 27.7% in Hammersmith and Fulham for the routine vaccination at age 70 years. The uptake for England was 52.8%. For 78-year-olds it was 25.5% against 53.8% nationally, 21.0% against 52.5% nationally.

These figures are a disaster. The statistics represent a terrible human toll. There will be vastly more misery for the old people of our borough from this disease than for the country as a whole. This is avoidable.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council is doing nothing about it. The Public Health Department tells me:

“The shingles vaccination programme is commissioned by NHS England (NHSE), who is responsible for the commissioning of local provision of immunisation services and the implementation of programmes through general practice and other providers. As this is not a local authority responsibility no financial contribution has been allocated from the H&F public health budget specifically to increase the shingles vaccination uptake rate.”

Remember the Council spends £22.7 million a year on Public Health – most of this spending is currently wasted. Also consider that this is a Council that spends £88 million a year on adult social care – including providing carers for those residents unable to look after themselves due to shingles. So the Council’s indifference is not only callous but financially inept.

Other councils have been active on this – which may partly explain the higher vaccination rates.

The Council should use Public Health funds to write to all qualifying residents to urge them to take the jab. They should back this up with visits. It should be made as easy as possible – for instance offering the vaccination on site in sheltered housing accommodation and indeed in residents’ private homes. What about also paying for the vaccine itself for borough residents aged 73-77?

Cllr Lukey: Indefensible

Cllr Lukey: Indefensible

According to the last census the borough population is 183,000 with around 3% of us aged 70-79.  So perhaps 5,000, and perhaps 2,000 aged 73-77.  Of course not all of them will take the jab – it is a matter of personal choice after all. But supposing half of them did at a cost to the Council of £50 a time and thus a total bill of £50,000. I suspect that would be money rather better spent that most of current £22.7 million current Public Health budget – with teams of people writing reports for other people to file.

I have written to Cllr Vivienne Lukey, the Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, asking for the policy to change. She has a wide remit and I actually think it is understandable if she was not aware of the current policy on shingles vaccination. But I do hope that having been made aware of the policy she will not seek to defend what seems to me to be indefensible.

Victory! Funding for Lunch Club+ 4 The Blind reinstated

shirleyhibOften being a local councillor can be frustrating in battling away against bureaucratic obstruction. Bill Gough wrote on this site about how Lunch Club+ for the Blind were turned down for council funding purely over spurious complaints about the form filling.

I was very heartened to get the following email from Bill this afternoon:

“At last. We all, from the Lunch club, wish to thank you deeply for your input to gain us a grant award from the council’s ‘fast tract grant’ scheme. As you know, our first application was denied but thanks to your input we finally received a small grant of £2000. 00 with our second application {which incidentally was filled out identical}. I’ve attached a photo from Shirley Hibberd – the lady you initially spoke to – holding up the grant certificate; to use as you wish. Thanks again. Bill

Kind regards.

Bill Gough

Project Manager.

Lunch Club+ 4 The Blind

Help for/Visually Impaired/Elderly

66A, Uxbridge Road

London W12 8LP”

Council rejects funding for Lunch Club+ 4 The Blind – for bureaucratic reasons

A guest post from Bill Gough, Project Manager, Lunch Club+ 4 The Blind

Christmas LunchThis social lunch club ‘Lunch Club+ 4 The Blind’ has been in existence sense the seventies. During this time the Club has had to close from time to time because of the ever present difficulty of fund raising. The reasons often given, and were given this time round for our unsuccessful application to our council, are:  “because we are not a new project”, or “we are not unique”, or new reasons like, “the application form wasn’t filled out go enough.”

We have received grants from the council’s ‘Fast Track’ in the past with no problems. We just need a couple of thousand pounds to pay for the mini bus, provided by Westway Community Transport, to take poeple to and from the lunch. I do the driving myself but the cost of the mini bus hire has been put up to £75 a week.

Other charities are helpful and let you know if they require further information or clarity. But it does seem like the local council are cutting back on grant awards. ‘Lunch Club+ 4 The Blind’ is entirely run by experienced volunteers.

The presents management volunteers have kept the club going sense 2010. The club is an ongoing concern, therefore, for our club/service to continue, our efforts are always constant to find funding from charities and local authorities etc. We managed to keep the club going last year with a grant from a blind charity, a donation from a friend of the club’s, and donations from a club member and a management member. It was a real struggle to keep going.

It would be so helpful if we could find some good charity to cover our transport cost on more of a permanent basis.

We started with little help in 2010, and we remain needing to be financed each year, especially with the accessible minibus transport cost. We offer our service to Blind, Visually Impaired, Disabled Elderly people who would other wish be stuck in doors. The Club gives our service users an opportunity to socialise and forge friendships with other residence in the local community. This Club is much enjoyed and appreciated by our service users who attend our weekly lunches at the Elgin Close Resource Centre. Obviously this kind of service is vital, for the good service provision and spirit of our society.

If you would like to make a donation – or you know someone who would benefit from joining the Lunch Club – then contact Bill on 079868-25655 or goughbill@btinternet.com