The April/May Forum Focus is now out

It should be with you by now. Forum Focus is one of the many benefits that membership of the Forum brings.

This issue leads with an article on the issues that really matter to older people and what we, as older people in Enfield, really think would improve our lives. If you are interested in any of the activities of the Forum, browse this site, read the newsletter or contact us. If you are not yet a member, visit the membership page!

Meanwhile, to view or download Forum Focus, click here.

Local Voices Needed

Now is the time to get involved if you want to influence the final version of Enfield Council’s New Local Plan!

Enfield, a borough with a rich history and a vibrant community, is at a pivotal moment. The decisions made today will reverberate for generations. Enter the New Local Plan, a blueprint that will guide Enfield’s development, housing, and environment until 2041.

The clock is ticking. We have just a month to make our voices heard. This is your chance to influence the future, to advocate for homes, green spaces, and sustainable growth.

Before the Local Plan debate at the Full Council meeting on March 6, 2024, our elected representatives should reach out to their constituents. They should discuss aspirations for homes, the environment, and the delicate balance between progress and preservation. It’s a crucial conversation – one that bridges the gap between policy and people.

We encourage members to contact their ward councillors to request a ward forum where the plans can be discussed. A summary of proposals for each ward can be accessed here. Just click on the links in the document to see your councillors’ contact details.

In 2021, the draft Local Plan emerged and received 7,267 written responses. The need for additional housing, and affordable housing, was undeniable, but so were concerns about deliverability, the lack of infrastructure to support the growth proposed, the number of tall buildings proposed and the release of Green Belt land.

The revised plan is targeting 35,000 new homes by 2041. That’s a staggering leap from the draft proposal in 2021. These numbers are far in excess of London Plan targets and would mean one new home for every four existing ones. Building these homes would require building on green belt land, roughly 40 times the size of Enfield Town Park, justifying residents’ concerns about the sufficiency of infrastructure such as roads, schools, primary healthcare, and green space for health, leisure, and well-being.

Enfield is not alone – the Council should consider its strategic role within London, as directed by the Mayor through the London Plan, whereby each borough, including Enfield, has a role to play and a housing target to reach. The London Plan targets can be met without building homes on green belt land. Furthermore, data provided by EnCaf indicates that, far from being balanced, consultees’ support for releasing green belt land for housing development is very limited indeed.

Enfield stands at a crossroads. Let’s ensure that our legacy is one of foresight, compassion, and sustainable growth. Together, we’ll build a future that honours our past and embraces the promise of tomorrow. A web search on “Enfield’s New Local Plan” links to the relevant page on the Council’s website. Appendix C (parts 1, 2 and 3) at the bottom of the page reveals detailed site allocations.

Living with Arthritis

On 26th April, Leah Boylan of Arthritis Action gave us a talk on living with arthritis. She described techniques for managing the huge range of conditions known as arthritis. She also described some of the resources on their website that are open to all. The site is at https://www.arthritisaction.org.uk/.

Here is a recording of her talk on our YouTube channel:

The December/January Forum Focus is out now

Topics covered this month include what to do to keep safe from Covid over the winter, how the Forum is working with other organisations to help older people understand the challenges related to climate change, and the suspension of the pension triple lock. Plus, all our regular news of activities and events open to members.

Christine Whetstone RIP

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.

Continue reading “Christine Whetstone RIP”

Annual General Meeting + Light-hearted survey on censorship – Tuesday 29th June

We will hold a short AGM at 10.30am, including presentation of the annual report and accounts for 2020 – 2021, election of Executive Committee Members and any other business that members wish to raise.

Then we will be treated to Peter and Christine Padwick giving us a light-hearted survey of banning and censorship over the past 100 years or so with pictures, songs & anecdotes touching on George Formby, Reith and the BBC, cricket, Marilyn Monroe, Sooty, G.B. Shaw, Donald McGill, the Crazy Gang, Dr.Crippen, Alfred Hitchcock, Eartha Kitt, Thomas Hardy, Henry Hall, adverts, Frank Sinatra, D.H. Lawrence, Max Miller, George Gershwin and much more along the way.

To join the meeting and talk, use the following link at 10:30 on Tuesday:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89012632769

Monty Meth RIP

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.

Continue reading “Monty Meth RIP”

Tackling the wider impact of Covid-19 (article)

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.

Newspaper clip of the article

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.