We are all mourning the loss of a friend and colleague who contributed so much to the Forum and to the community in Enfield more widely.
Our excellent Chair, Christine Whetstone died last month and will be greatly missed and mourned by the Forum and all the many other organisations she played a vital role in from the Writing Group she ran for us to much acclaim, the work she did for the local Youth Offending Team and her tireless contributions to Amnesty International.
It is with great sadness that the Enfield Over 50s Forum announces that the borough has lost one of its most well-known champions. Leader of the Forum for more than twenty years, Monty Meth celebrated his ninety-fifth birthday earlier this month but sadly passed away on 14 March. Although his health deteriorated of late, his mind and incisiveness remained as sharp as ever until the end.
The Forum is working hard during the lockdown to help Enfield residents as this article by Monty Meth in February’s edition of Enfield Dispatch shows.
Monty Meth from Enfield Over 50s Forum on a new project to help address the fallout from the pandemic
The coronavirus epidemic is causing not only record death rates and pressure on our hospitals, but also unprecedented demands on Enfield GPs tackling the fall-out from Covid-19 among older people – loneliness. depression, isolation, stress and anxiety.
I’ve spoken to one local GP about his who told me: “In this third lockdown we are seeing more older people than ever before and having more and more mental health consultations, resulting from increased social isolation. Patients with the mix of financial problems and increased deprivation are of particular concern.
“We are also seeing elderly patients with significant digital isolation, not being able to contact their GP practices, the NHS and other services and this is both causing and adding to their depression.”
Fortunately, Enfield Over 50s Forum has recently won a £9,600 National Lottery grant to help tackle loneliness and help bring people back into the community.
The forum will be battling on three fronts to involve people aged 65 and over living alone, low income pensioners over 75 without a TV Licence, and lastly people over 50 seeking help with their CV to find work, or anyone needing help in applying for Universal Credit.
We are hoping that Dispatch readers, with their special links in the community, will spread the news of these initiatives so that people feel there is no need to be old and lonely in Enfield.
Our membership secretary Jan Oliver who applied for the lottery grant, is planning a unique public display of artistic items created at home by older isolated people around the themes of hope and despair.
It can be a poem, a song, painting or photograph, a video, woodwork, knitting, a cake or anything you can think of.
“It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece and hopefully this special lockdown display will go on public view in June, or when the good times return,” says Jan.
To help combat loneliness, the Forum will also form a telephone friendship group, provide mobile phones to our most vulnerable members, enabling them to have safe contact while chatting with self-isolating friends.
“We shall ensure that those most at risk from isolation are involved – people living alone over the age of 65, Black, Asian and Minority-Ethnic community members and we’ll also be inviting residents from 24 Enfield care homes to participate.”
The Forum will also be encouraging more low-income pensioners aged over 75 to apply for a free TV licence. Jan adds: “With 1.3 million pensioners aged over 75 still not applying for the pension credit entitlement to a free TV licence – at least 400 of them Enfield residents – the Forum sees this as another campaign helping to reduce loneliness among older people.”
When we applied for the lottery grant, I wondered what the government was doing at local level to help prevent this deterioration in people’s health. There have been three government ministers for loneliness since the first was appointed in April 2018 and the current post holder, Baroness Diana Barran, a former investment banker has managed to find a trifling £5million to tackle loneliness since July 2019. It is being shared among nine organisations – one of them is the wealthy English Football League.
So it is being largely left to voluntary sector organisations like Enfield Over50s Forum to grapple with mental health outcomes from coronavirus.
In a separate project, Forum volunteers and a professional job coach will be offering remote support to residents aged over 50 seeking employment.
For more information about any of the above projects, please call the Forum office 020 8807 2076, Monday-Thursday between 10am -2pm.
All members should have received, or be about to receive, eNews issue 296 covering a wide range of health issues such as the NHS reorganisation, Covid and how it affects services. The regular E-news will arrive soon. Read the special Health eNews here.
In the week that celebrated International Older Peoples’ Day, in conjunction with the Enfield Older People Partnership Board, we staged our first Zoom webinar, on changes that will affect the lives of older people in Enfield. This is a recording of the event. (By the way, by playing this YouTube video, you are accepting YouTube cookies!)
The speakers were:
Jan Shortt, General Secretary of the National Pensioners Convention, the country’s largest campaigning organisation for pensioners. She talked about pensions and the threat to the triple lock:
Deborah McBeal, Director of Integration at Enfield at the North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group.
Bindi Nagra, Director of Health & Adult Social Care, on the changes affecting social care in the borough.
All the speakers answered questions from the large on-line audience, mostly after all the talks.
The following links are to the speakers’ notes and slide shows. They are all in PDF format.
The borough’s leisure centres run by Fusion are closed due to the lockdown. They plan to re=open as soon as possible, though probably with limited hours and classes. Forum members need to register to ensure you receive the concessions. See the latest news here.
The proposed health care centre at North Middlesex University Hospital would benefit both Enfield residents and NHS staff.
The proposed health care centre at North Middlesex University Hospital would benefit both Enfield residents and NHS staff.The Forum is calling on local MPs to back plans for a new multi-purpose integrated health care centre at North Middlesex University Hospital that would reduce pressure on the A & E department there and help improve services to residents in the east of the borough.