A selection of readers’ letters from the Bury Free Press of Friday, June 5.
WHAT IS THAT AWFUL SMELL?
I think that when the sugar beet factory is on during the winter months we have to put up with the smell and yes we do know that at that time of year it’s going to happen.
But please, what is that awful smell? And it isn’t even winter. At least in the winter we can have our windows closed, but we are having to close them as the whole house is being polluted.
It’s not good, and we haven’t even been forewarned that this would happen. Not a decent move on the part of the factory and they need to be named and shamed on this account.
-- Valerie Lee, via email
CARAVANNERS RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT
RE proposed caravan site at West Stow.
I have been a caravaner for over 40 years and in all that time and staying at hundreds of sites and during all that time there has been a visible increase in wildlife due to people feeding the wildlife and respecting the environment around then.
Caravaners also respect their dogs and abide by the pet rules of the caravan site.
-- Sheila Weston, via email
ACT PROTECTS 100% OF US
As Quakers, we are called upon to ‘seek to understand the causes of injustice...’; ‘to work to bring about a just and compassionate society’ and to be ‘alert to practices here and throughout the world which discriminate against people on the basis of who or what they are or because of their beliefs’.
We are therefore concerned that although the government appear to have temporarily rowed back on replacing the Human Rights Act with a ‘British Bill of Rights’, the Queen’s Speech still expresses an ‘intent to legislate’.
The Human Rights Act protects us all. It underpins every public body in this country – including hospitals, police and schools. We may be unaware of the protection it gives us, perhaps believing some of the high profile falsehoods which have been published about it. We are unlikely to engage with its realities until our own rights are infringed and we, or someone close to us, may need its protection. The elderly couple, who would have been housed in separate care homes; the mother who left her abusive husband, and would have had her children taken away from her; the young girl with learning disabilities who needed help to get to school; the victims of trafficking: these are people who have been thankful for the way they have been able to get justice in the UK through the Human Rights Act, usually without even needing to go to court. Without it, they would have faced a long, difficult and costly process to challenge the infringement of their human rights at the European court in Strasbourg.
Human rights are exactly that – rights for all humans, not just for those who meet with the approval of a particular government. And because the Act is supra-national, it protects us from governments who might prefer interpretations which serve their own policies. It provides a democratic and humane bulwark against the self-interest of the UK executive in a way which a British Bill of Rights obviously would not.
The present government was returned to power by 25 per cent of the electorate. It is probable that similar arithmetic will obtain in the future. It is a matter of concern that the human rights of 100 per cent of us should adjudicated upon in this manner.
-- Bury St Edmunds Quaker Meeting, St John’s Street, Bury St Edmunds
TRUST HAS BEEN A GREAT HELP
Say the word ‘dementia’ and what images does it conjure up? A highly anxious and/or often aggressive person who becomes a shadow of their former selves, unable to function on even a basic level , dying in a care home or hospital and often not recognising their nearest and dearest, whose lives have also been turned into a nightmare trying to care for them..
It doesn’t have to be this way. Both my parents had dementia. My father was diagnosed with vascular dementia 15 years ago and we followed the inevitable path described above. By contrast, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years ago, and we had a totally different experience – she lived in a contented state, able to fully communicate, and (with assistance) to carry on as normal a life as most 80-something year olds. And she died at home. The difference? It was all down to a tiny charity, the Contented Dementia Trust, (known as the ‘best kept secret in dementia care’), whose aim is to promote lifelong well being for people with dementia. They gave me what every carer needs – a positive, effective way of understanding how the dementia was affecting my mother’s memory system, and then showing me the simple methods I needed to alleviate my mother’s anxiety and to communicate with her and to keep her in a ‘good place’.
It worked so wonderfully well that I decided to train as a practitioner with the trust, and I am now working with families of people with dementia and see the same amazing results time after time.
I believe that this information and help should be available to every carer.
Once you actually grasp what the person with dementia is going through and what to do, then you can improve not only their quality of life but also your own.
I will be running a free three hour session for carers at the library, Sergeants Walk, in Bury St Edmunds on Wednesday, June 17 (in conjunction with Lime Skills in Ipswich, and funded by Realise Futures). To book a place or to get further details, cobtact Lime on 01473 407330 – www.limeskills.co.uk
The number of people being diagnosed with dementia is set to rocket (there are already over 800,000 people in this country with the condition) creating a financial burden for the already over-stretched NHS and putting a huge strain on families. Let’s not impose such horror on all these people when there is a much kinder and simpler way of doing things.
-- Lynne Kentish, Bury St Edmunds
FUND COULD BE PUT TO BETTER USE
I am absolutely astonished that Mildenhall Parish Council is seriously considering spending £750,000 of the Sainsbury fund on refurbishing its own buildings. As far as I was aware, and this made clear at a public meeting, the fund was to be spent on community-based capital projects, within the parish, and we were invited to submit proposals, and vote for whatever was on the table.
That is not the point really though. It is the sheer absurdity of spending large sums of money to make a redundant changing rooms building more eco-friendly. The only use for this appears to be as a temporary meeting room whilst the main Jubilee Centre is being refurbished. Spending £750,000 on a refurbishment is absolutely uneconomic. The argument that there is no decent return on the money available maybe true, but even if the parish council can save £7,500 per annum on costs, this means that the project has a payback period of 100 years.
Putting in new LED lights and a kitchen should cost no more than £10,000 in my opinion. The whole project seems capricious to say the least.
What the parish council should do is turn the Jubilee Fields into a nature park/reserve, and maybe turn the changing rooms into a visitor /education centre. All the area is used for is to host a few fairs, circuses and the annual Lark in the Park. Also, if the Hub project really is going to get off the groud, perhaps a capital grant for some community based facility, such as a 3G sports field would be a better use of funds than wasting them on two parish-owned buildings, one, which by their own admission, is redundant.
-- William Flynn, Mildenhall
LEARN FROM PAST MISTAKES
Following the reminder from Val Fletcher (Letters, May 29), I would also like to remind readers and planners that the traffic generated by the additional 500 dwellings to be built on Moreton Hall and the new secondary school (whether this be in Rougham or on Moreton Hall – depending on the boundary yet to be determined) will also add to the congestion.
The existing infrastructure and that planned is totally inadequate and it is time the planners learnt from past mistakes.
-- Joyce Kirk, Moreton Hall
WHAT IS THE POINT OF TOWN COUNCIL?
With the same councillors as St Edmundsbury Borough Council, the new leader stating that nothing has been done for two or three years, and 75 per cent of its funding going to running costs, what is the point of the town council?
-- Ian Campbell, Bury St Edmunds
CAMPAIGN TO ‘SAVE THE NHS’
Open letter to NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group.
I’m Dr Ron Carter and am involved with 38 Degrees NHS Campaign in Bury StEdmunds, where a group of 20 or so activists have collected over 2,000 constituency signatures supporting the ‘Save Our NHS’ campaign, including Mike Hope, who sits on the West Suffolk CCG Clinical Engagement Group.
Nationally, 38 Degrees petition signatures are approaching 700,000, highlighting public concerns about how under-funded and corporatised their national service has become. As a group we will continue to be active post-election, probably through the Health and Well-being Board, as we have grave concerns over the new Government’s commitment to the Stevens’s plan.
Merging health and social care is long overdue, but, as ever, is seen as a cost-cutting exercise by central government.
Investment in primary care looks to be linked to seven-day opening, and local cancer screening, both of which were vote-chasing policies; premises investment looks likely to be targeted towards supporting these.
Competition in the healthcare market through the tendering process will inevitably favour large commercial providers leading to increasing corporate privatisation chasing economies of scale, unless there is a genuine commitment to assessing the often hidden social values inherent in truly local and independent self-employed contractors providing personal care to individual patients according to need.
Suffolk commissioners have an appalling track record to date (N+S MHT, SERCO community care, Care-UK homes etc) and already both Ipswich and West Suffolk Hospitals are chasing funding to rebuild. Evolving good secondary care services historically has only succeeded in creating demand, often grossly inappropriate, for hospital care at ruinuously expensive cost, most especially since 2005/6 with the reciprocal contraction of primary care funding. This has to change radically and soon to prevent the collapse of the NHS as we know it, committed to free treatment at the point of need.
So, what am I after? Given that we all want the best for patients, I need your help to ensure public engagement becomes much more pro-active in determining integrated health and social care policies right down to individual patient level as an essential pre-requisite of commissioning decision-making.
Clearly we need to move on from patient preferences surveys and questionnaires supporting decisions that, once made, trigger relevant and reactive negative responses.
Mike Hope tells me that the West Suffolk CCG has been quite progressive in engaging with the public, which gives us something to build on, especially around transparency of intent.
I look forward to any proposals you may have to establish a constructive dialogue with the 38 Degrees NHS Group and its petitioners.
-- Dr Ron Carter, 38 Degrees
TELL PUBLIC ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE
I read the article Why El Niño could get you all in a froth (Bury Free Press, May 29) with great interest.
However, I am puzzled.
Peter Gudde mentions the really cold winter we had in 2012, the major flooding in 2013, and the two-year drought we had five years ago. Why does he not mention that scientists are more certain than ever about the impact of global warming on these more extreme weather events?
If we,the public, are more informed about climate change, we will be more able to do something about it, and help in the struggle to keep it to 2 degrees.
-- Denise Mawhood, via email
MYRIAD OF ISSUES TO DEAL WITH
I would like to belatedly thank all my friends and neighbours, for their great help in getting out the votes on my behalf for borough and town council.
Sadly I lost by 22 votes for the borough of St Olaves, however I am proud to say I am now a town councillor.
Now I am dealing with a myriad of problems on behalf of the community, they range from residents garages being blocked by poor parking, dog mess, street lights out, or on all day, adult cyclists on the pavement, and cycling through pedestrian areas, more seats for the elderly in the arc, broken pavements and potholed roads, along with litter, far too much litter, just to mention a few items.
-- Tom Murray, Town councillor, St Olaves ward