October 2000 News Letter

Watford Elders Steering Committee .

The self-managed group, had it's first meeting on 14th September when the petrol crises was in full swing. Our taxi service was not available, illness, holidays and absence away at BGOP national meetings caused a fall in the usual numbers attending our monthly meetings. In spite of the low attendance we established four ad-hoc working groups to investigate various issues raised by the Phoenix conference. Minutes of the meeting will give details.

The meeting raised again the name of the group suggesting that this could be improved. Suggestions are awaited. Currently Forum instead of Committee has been suggested as this would appear to line up with the latest suggestions on Area forums which are to be part of the new arrangements from the government in the way local authorities are organised.

Can You suggest a suitable name for this new committee / group / forum? Rude ones not accepted, Or are you happy with what we have?

The New Partnership

The Elders Steering Committee will become part of a larger partnership for older people, with Watford Council, Social Services, Health Services and provider Voluntary Agencies. The first meeting of the full Partnership will be held on 9th

November and every quarter thereafter.

A report has been produced and issued. The issues raised formed the main part of the agenda for our first meeting on the 14th September.

Contributions to the Newsletter

Has anyone a joke, tip, anecdote etc. to contribute. How about your favourite quick fix recipe ?
Please contact the Town Hall Team with your contributions.

Time Swap

A Time Swap ad hoc working group was formed at the meeting on the 14th Sept. They will be meeting with Council officers to discus how to involve the wider community in its activities.

HELP Wanted

Further time swappers are needed to assist with the monitoring of various frontline services across the borough.

The principle task would be assistance around checking standards of cleanliness achieved within your neighbourhood, e.g. local streets, shops, parks and open spaces and the effectiveness of our refuse collection services. (Other types of sites and tasks can be included to suit)

Anybody can help carry out observations which can be adapted to meet personal circumstances, for example just by walking along an everyday route. Once a route has been agreed then ideally the checks need to be taken once a week, normally over a period of 4 to 5 weeks. A break may then occur followed by another 4 to 5 week session.

The Council is particularly keen to get people involved in looking at certain areas

where there is the potential to review the way tasks are being carried out and obtain ‘before and after’ observations to help measure the impact of trials.

The following areas are currently of interest:

West Watford

North Watford



If you think you can help out with any of the above or would like to do something similar in your own neighbourhood then please contact The Time Swap Team.

Work at National Level

Shirley Sanders represents us at various national conferences in her usual enthusiastic way.

She is now a member of the Older People’s Advisory Group (OPAG) and finds herself pretty busy. There is a meeting every other month, usually in Wolverhampton, and it is spread over two days, unfortunately, it sometimes clashes with our meetings. She is a member of the Active Ageing sub group. Some of the areas that are covered are Inter Generational work, Information Technology and Volunteering. Individual members do all the necessary research on a subject and them makes recommendations to the appropriate Minister concerned.

Shirley's remit is Volunteering, she thinks based on her Time Swap commitment. She is currently working on the problems of getting insurance for older volunteers, and after a lot of research on the subject is waiting for a reply from Paul Boatang the Minister, and several chairmen of insurance companies.

Shirley attends Evaluators Workshops in Edinburgh and Warwick University, where at every oportunity she promote the interests of our Watford Pilot

Despite being very tired after these meetings, she always find them interesting and enjoyable, but always very aware that she is there on behalf

of the people of Watford. The 38 members of the OPAG come from all parts of the UK and finds it is nice to be able to network with them, and to promote Watford. A lot of interest has been shown in TimeSwap, and has told many people about it.

There are a series of national events coming up in various parts of the UK and, so far is scheduled to go to Liverpool, and Belfast, but there may be more!

She says she is so glad that she learned to use a computer, as it is now an essential tool of her ’trade’ not only for typing up reports and lots of letters, but for researching may various assignments on the Internet.

As well as all the OPAG work she is still jointly running the ‘Allsorts Club’ for children aged 8 to 12 years old she says "as part of my TimeSwap commitment". Shirley and another volunteer have just applied for a grant for the club, as at the moment it is run on a shoestring. Fingers crossed!

All in all, she obviously has a very busy life, and a hefty workload ( and she is supposed to be retired! ), but is very glad to do it all, and to be able to promote Watford, and all of our projects.

All this is in addition to her activities on Time Swap and her extended family commitments. How does she do it ?

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Town Hall Team
Sandy Knight - 226400 ext 2304
Greg Taunton - 226400 ext 2538
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Updated 6/10/2000