Last Friday saw Richard Benyon MP openly discuss his experiences, knowledge and interest in our older community in front of an audience at Stoney Lane, Thatcham, last Friday 3rd March. Kennet School had done a wonderful job in hosting the event with registration, staging and organisation designed for this exciting event. As well as a good number of Senior Citizens there were representatives from West Berkshire Council and Thatcham Town Council along with leaders from interested groups in our area.
Mr Benyon spoke sincerely, about the dangers of Isolation, Loneliness, Separation from family and being marginalised from the Community. All this means greater costs as well as a degrading in the quality of life for the people involved. In the worst cases it is not unusual to see a 26% increase in mortality – that’s equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes each day!With Local Government under extreme pressure because of changing demographics and lack of money; there is an increasing role for voluntary services and a need for groups like Thatcham Vision to help with a leadership role in bringing, Healthcare / Social Care / Mental Health / Housing and volunteer services together.
Brandon Hale (a Kennet Sixth Form Student) expertly interviewed the MP about issues like Independence, the relationship between National and Local Government and the Perceived Fear of Crime felt by our community. The audience then joined in with questions on service cuts and the retention of skills from recently retired folk.
David Conquest chaired the event with David Brazier from our Senior Citizens Group and Diane Donohue ‘signed’ the entire day with British Sign Language useful for the hard of hearing. Feedback forms and notes taken, give Thatcham Vision new insights for the way ahead.
Author: Martin Cook Thatcham Vision, Marketing Team.