Archive for the ‘Older citizens’ Category

by Natalie Bennett

There was much excitement in a packed Kentish Town Community Centre on Saturday when the completed building project was officially opened.

The line-up of buggies outside looked like it was competing for a Guiness World Record, and inside many of their usual occupants were hard at play in the walled garden as their parents listened to the speeches inside the spacious, airy main hall.

Tribute were paid particularly to the staff who had stayed through the temporary move to Greenwood Place and back, and Cathy Crawford, the Chair of Centre, pointed out particularly to the politicians present (including Camden’s mayor, Abdul Quadir, whose chain proved a great attraction with the younger set, and local MP Frank Dobson) how the centre had listened to its users in designing its new shape, and how successful that listening had been in its growth in recent years.
Upstairs was a fine selection of artwork, including Kim Cunningham’s Portrait of a (London) village, a telling series of portraits of local people, and Jason Shenai’s hyper-real photos of local shops.

Pleasingly, the centre is committed to using china plates and proper cutlery, not disposables, and to that end has acquired two dishwashers, one from that excellent recycling source eBay, so that they can manage the flow. They were doing an admirable job keeping up with demand on Saturday – as a fine selection of finger food was whoofed down at great speed.

Anyone looking to get involved might want to look to the gardening club, meeting on the 1st Saturday of the month from 10-12. A fine board display discussed possibilities – from a haybale permaculture version to raised beds for wheelchair gardeners.

Part of the crowd at the opening.


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by Cllr Maya de Souza

The Camden New Journal report on Sir Derek Jacobi’s plea to save services provided for our older citizens by charitable giving brings home just how badly services for the elderly are likely to be hit by cuts in Camden’s budget.

Services are provided through different departments and through voluntary sector bodies such as Age UK. Cuts in these different budgets are chipping away at our services and are already forcing the voluntary sector to concentrate on fundraising, rather than providing services.

The impact on the health and well-being of the elderly is much more serious than the “granny tax” that led to a general protest earlier in the year.

To date, Camden has had a good provision of services from luncheon clubs to exercise classes. But the combined effect of central government cuts and cuts in the Council’s revenue through freezing Council Tax for around six years is likely to be severe. Years of freezing the council tax below the rate of inflation has meant a loss of revenue of about £15m a year, a sum which would have made a major dent in the £80m cuts that are now required.

Leaving aside the issue of whether the cuts are necessary on a national level considering the potential to save money from unnecessary wars and Trident nuclear weapons and to raise it by addressing tax avoidance by large corporations and wealthy individuals, at a local level Greens will be seeking transparency and dialogue as to how best to fund these services, as well as cross-party pressure on central government. That’s the sort of politics we would like to see – open and honest dialogue with residents and cross-party working so that the Council and residents together can do our best to protect services.

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