STOP PRESS Saturday Feb. 6 1999

Our entry to Best Practice Awards for "Listening Brings Results"
has won the National Award!!

This was presented to Council Leader Vince Muspratt by Prime Minister Tony Blair today. Mr Muspratt said "I am delighted our work has been recognised by this award. This project has really taken off and winning the award is great news". One of the ideas that impressed the judges was our Time Swap club idea.

Other News and what happens next

Presentation of Award

The Award "Listening Brings Results" was presented to the project at our meeting on the 11th March by Council Leader Vince Muspratt along with a £250 award to the project. Our local MP, Claire Ward, was present. Ideas were canvased for spending the award, sugestions included another computer in a Sheltered House and a night out across the road at the Southern Cross?. The new computer won.

Food Fair

We held our Food Fair on October 1st last year. This was the day that the United Nations launched the Year of Older People. They thought it would be a good idea to follow us!

About 300 older people (out of total of 400) attended our event most of who took advantage of transport, which was provided to us, by Arriva, although not exactly free, but at a very good rate. A private mini-bus was hired to provide transport for any older resident who needed this outside the main timetable.

The aim of this fair was to take forward issues regarding the food aspects of the project. A comment from a Watford older resident, who took part in the open discussions

"We appreciate that something has been organised specifically for us."

We feel that this says a lot.

Various Watford stores and societies provided stalls and free food. Participants in this area were Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's, The Co-op, Tesco, Yate's Wine Bar, Boots the Chemist and Express Dairy. Stalls providing information for older people included Shopmobility, most of the local societies dealing with care of the older residents not forgetting the Watford Council stalls who provided useful information on what is available from this source. The whole project was financed and organised by the Council as part of the Better Government for Older People project.

Many questionnaires and "post-it" notes with comments were completed. These are now being studied and analysed by the Council Officers.

An Evaluator from the Development Centre at Wolverhampton, who is acting on behalf of the Cabinet Office, also attended. We await their report with interest.

Impressions from the Food Fair

Older people -

"It was well worth coming and thought provoking"

"I feel heard and listened to "

"Impressed and pleased that the Fair took place"

" Enjoyed the company"

" You need to get to those who cannot get out at all"

"Useful to be informed on a wide range of topics"

Members of the Steering Group -

"We were victims of our own success, could have done with a bigger space"

"Need another name for ‘workshop’ as people thought it is where you make things"

"The format did work as people could make a contribution"

"Overwhelming sense of busyness, involvement and participation"

"People remarked that it was the first time anything had been held at the Leisure Centre which was aimed at their age group. Clearly they appreciated the fact that something had been organised specifically for them"


Stallholders also joined the discussion sessions and were therefore able to hear first hand the concerns of local people and able to give a response. For example in the Shopping session, major local food retailers attended, as did the local bus provider.

Two stallholders were amazed at how receptive the older people were to the process of writing their comments up and said,


" We've done this type of work in our own in-house training but we never thought it would work with members of the public".


General news

A poem by one of our older person volunteers. TIME SWAP It's going to be called Time Swap And it will give us an opportunity To use the many skills we have To better our community You say that you haven't any skills? Now that is really just not true Just have a think and you will see There's loads of things that you can do They don't expect brain surgeons Although they would be welcome You could do a very simple thing That would cheer the life of someone Make a cup of tea, have time for a chat To the housebound would be a ray of light An hour of your time would be well spent To make someone feel a little more bright Each and everyone has some skill Although they may not know it Just help out in a simple task To prove you care- and show it And there is something else, you know It isn't all one sided For every hour of your time spent You will be rewarded It's a straight hour for an hour It really is as simple as that Because the hours that you, put in Someone else will be able to give you back The more people with skills who come aboard The more varied the ways to get time back Young or old, it's all the same You put time in and you get time back So give it some thought, it's a great idea To give and get help so easily If we all play our part, we will see An improvement in our community. Shirley Sanders, Dale Court, Watford.

We have asked Shirley to be our Poet Laureate, and she has agreed.

Watford Senior Citizens Forum ( ne BGOP )
As we said last month the self-managed group has finally been established and it's terms of reference agreed at the Partnership meeting in June. The committee will operate independently but in partnership with Watford Council and the associated Statutory Agencies. We would like senior representatives from VOLUNTARY organisations connected with older people to become permanent members of the committee. We now need to look at Time Swap and how it will operate under the Watford Senior Citizens Forum banner. An ad-hoc working group has been formed to look into this and report back to the main committee. Don't forget this is our organisation and that we are all learning so do not be frightened to step forward and be counted.

Link Back To: Who We Are. How to Contact Us Time Swap project.
Up-dated 19/12/00