Dementia Action Week

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Don’t be afraid to talk in Dementia Action Week

Research by the Alzheimer’s Society shows that many people are worried about saying the ‘wrong thing’ to someone with dementia or including them in a conversation.

In this, Dementia Action Week, (20th to 26th May) the society is running its #AskUsAnything campaign to break down the awkwardness and anxiety many people feel.

Someone in the UK develops dementia every three minutes and research shows that despite many of us knowing someone affected by the condition, two-thirds of those living with the condition say they feel isolated and lonely.

In Dementia Action Week, Alzheimer’s Society is encouraging people to start a conversation with someone living with dementia they know, whether that be to speak to a relative or visit a neighbour.

Alzheimer’s Society has produced a booklet with advice on how to start a conversation with someone living with dementia, explaining what they may experience and how you can help make talking to them easier.

Tips include:

Give the person with dementia your full attention and try to speak to them face-to-face, be patient and give them time to answer

Keep to questions with a yes or no answer or give a short list of options with your question

Speak clearly in a friendly and chatty way and make sure you are relaxed

Try to laugh about any mistakes or misunderstandings

Try to talk to the person about something they have an interest in or that makes them laugh

There are many ways you can help and starting a conversation is just the beginning.

You may choose to become a dementia friend and join 2.5million others who are helping in just that way by supporting people in your community with dementia; there are lots of opportunities to volunteer for Alzheimer’s Society; help with fundraising such as holding your own cupcake day on 13th June or sign up to one of the campaigns.

There are events taking place all over the country during Dementia Action Week.

 To find out about these and how you can get involved visit Alzheimer’s Society

Chilterns Walking Festival

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There are a wide variety of walks to enjoy – however you like to take yours – as part of the Chilterns Walking Festival from Saturday, 18th May to Sunday, 2nd June.

Are you an ambler? Do you like to saunter? Would you consider yourself to be a plodder or are you a trekker?

However you like to stroll, trudge, wander or roam, the Chilterns Walking Festival is the right route for you if you like to put one foot in front of the other. The 16-day event offers spectacular views, local stories and fun activities to enjoy as you get out and explore the countryside on one of more than 50 guided walks and special activities this month.

There’s a wide variety of walks to choose from, ranging from short gentle ambles to more challenging hill hikes, all to the backdrop of the stunning Chilterns countryside. The walking festival offers the chance to meet artists, craftspeople, farmers, food producers and storytellers.

You might choose to “meet the maker” with an art and craft walk from Nuffield, visit a blacksmiths and a furniture maker and be inspired by the scenery around you or perhaps you’d like a walk to a woodland camp where a simmering kettle and chance to cook lunch over a campfire await?

For something rather different how about discovering “powerful places in the Hundreds of Aylesbury”: an Iron Age fort, a medieval castle and the Prime Minister’s country residence at Chequers. Discover Henley, explore its history and go on the trail of Midsomer Murders and filming locations – you’ll hear personal anecdotes and details not found in the guide books.
There’s lots of history to enjoy along the way, too. Follow in the footsteps of your ancestors along the Tuddingway, a medieval route along the Thames corridor with divisions up into the beechwoods and take a guided tour of the historic Jordans meeting house (complete with tea and cake at the end) in the company of a life-long resident of the Quaker-founded village of Seer Green.

How ever you decide to walk the Chilterns, there’ll be a trail for you with walks for different ages, interests and levels of fitness; walks for young families, those with limited mobility and dog walkers. Each walk is guided by an experienced knowledgeable leader.

The main event sponsor is camping shop Complete Outdoors. Managing director Andrew Inkley said: “For over 35 years, we’ve been helping people to prepare for their adventures, whether walking in the park, or climbing a mountain. As a Chilterns company we loved the idea of supporting a local walking festival that helps people to discover what’s on their doorstep.”

The festival is also sponsored by family-owned and run brewer and pub company Brakspear and many of its 132 pubs are located along the routes of the Chilterns, so why not pop in to in and enjoy a well-deserved pint along the way?!

  Most of the walks and events are free but must be booked in advance. For full details and to book head to Visit Chilterns

Gardening: Abundance of colour

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Spring is coming to its glorious end, and summer is nearly upon us.

Long sunny days (fingers crossed) and an abundance of colour and produce are just around the corner. Now is the perfect time to:

– Deadhead spring bulbs but resist the temptation to cut back the foliage. The bulbs need the nutrients from the leaves to put on a good show next year

– Divide hostas as they come back into growth

– Tie in sweetpeas, and climbing and rambling roses

– Prune spring flowering shrubs such as Hibiscus and Laurel

– Top dress permanent containers with fresh compost

– Apply weedkiller to lawns and feed with a high nitrogen fertiliser to promote healthy growth

– Lower the blades on your mower to their regular summer-cut height

– Delay mowing newly-sown lawns until they are 3” high, (and raise the mower blades)

– Keep on top of weeds to stop them taking valuable moisture and nutrients from the soil

– Put up netting to protect soft fruit from the birds

– Protect strawberries with straw – placing it around the plants prevents weed growth and protects the berries from wet soil

– Plant up hanging baskets and patio containers with summer bedding such as pelargoniums, fuschias, petunias etc, but keep an eye on the weather forecast and bring them in or protect with fleece if frost is forecast

– Continue successional sowings of annual herbs, beetroots, carrots and radishes

– Direct sow or plant out French beans, courgettes and pumpkins when you’re sure we’ve seen the last of the frosts

Plants looking fabulous now include:

o Allium ‘Purple Sensation’
o Aquilegias
o Ceanothus (Californian lilac)
o Choisya ternata (Mexican orange blossom)
o Early peonies
o Iris sibirica
o Syringa vulgaris (lilac)

Why not visit some gardens for inspiration?

My top picks for May are:

Rookwood Farm House, Stockcross, Newbury (National Garden Scheme, 5th May)

Sandleford Place, Newbury (National Garden Scheme, 12th May)

The Old Mill, Ramsbury, Wiltshire (National Garden Scheme, 19th May)

West Green House, Hartley Wintney, Hants (Wed-Sun, plus Bank Hols)

Chenies Manor House, Bucks (Wed-Thur, plus Tulip Festival on 6th May)

  Call Hannah Fraser, Bloom Gardens on 07768 041929 or visit Bloom Gardens website

Let’s Rock the Moor

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Get ready to rock the moor in Cookham

It’s festival season and there are so many to suit every musical taste – if retro style is your thing then Let’s Rock The Moor in Cookham is for you.

Celebrating 10 years this year, Let’s Rock The Moor began in 2009 as a charity event attended by 1,200 people and headlined by Nick Heyward (who remains part of the Let’s Rock family). In 2019, almost 10 times that audience will be treated to non-stop entertainment and hits from many of the biggest names from the 80s including Erasure’s Andy Bell, Marc Almond, Shalamar, Jason Donovan, Go West and Nik Kershaw.

This is the first of 12 Let’s Rock festivals taking place over the summer, expected to attract in excess of 150,000 party goers who will be entertained by some of the biggest names of the era, with different line-ups.

Let’s Rock organisers Nick Billinghurst & Matt Smith said: “We’re really proud of what we’ve created with Let’s Rock and it’s such a thrill to work with so many iconic artists.

“What makes Let’s Rock truly special is our amazingly loyal and up-for-it audience, and every year we strive to improve their experience. Here’s to our best Let’s Rock summer yet!”

Let’s Rock continues to work with many amazing charities including Child Bereavement UK, The Wooden Spoon, and The Link Foundation. They also work with local charities wherever possible. To date almost half a million pounds has been raised for children’s charities by The Let’s Rock brand.

Let’s Rock is a family-friendly festival; children can enjoy complimentary activities within the ‘Kids’ Kingdom’. For adults, there are multiple bars and a ‘Club Tropicana’ VIP area, plus of course the all-important posh loos.

To find out more and book tickets go to Let’s Rock the Moor

Pacific row

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Picture: From left, Emma Rogers, Jess Shuman, Kat Butler, Anna Campbell

Girls dreaming big: Crew preparing for 4,000km row across Pacific aim to inspire others

Kat is one of four ordinary girls bidding to do something extraordinary to try to encourage girls to dream dare do.

She and three others, Emma, Jess and Anna, are part of the Girls Who Dare crew who will be rowing in the Great Pacific Race in May 2020.
Described as the “world’s toughest endurance challenge”, the girls will row 24 hours a day, living on a 24ft boat as they row the 4,000km across the Pacific from California to Hawaii, with the aim of breaking the world record which stands at 50 days.

Kat who rows at Wallingford Rowing Club, has been rowing for about six years having taken it up after being inspired by the 2012 London Olympics.

She works as a trauma and orthopaedic registrar and admits it has been hard fitting in the training around 14 hour days/nights but says it has been going well, but added: “Jess has just had an appendectomy (better now than half way across the Pacific!) so her training is a little stilted at the moment but she’s getting back into it.”

The four girls had not met until Emma put the idea of the challenge out on Facebook, where Kat admits she “jumped at the chance”.
She said: “For me it’s the mental and physical challenge, and such an amazing once in a lifetime opportunity. We then further advertised on social media and found Jess and Anna.”

The girls will sleep in cabins at either end of the boat with rowing space in the middle. The cabins are the size of a single bed, although there is no bed or mattress, the floors are padded and sleeping bags will keep the girls warm during their rest periods.

They’ll spend two hours rowing and two hours sleeping; food will be mostly freeze-dried meals and energy bars; a change into less wet clothing; quick wash with a baby wipe and into the sleeping bag.
Kat admits the physical side does not particularly worry her but that the mental challenge will be tough.

She says: “I have no idea how I will respond to the fear of a 40ft wave and being so sleep deprived all I want to do is cry, having sores on my hands and bottom that cause unresolving pain and to top it off the potential for being hit in the head by flying fish! Who knows how you will respond to that?”

But it the team work and the aim of inspiring others that will drive Kat and her crewmates on, “I am hoping as a team we can work together, supporting each other and driving each other on to complete this amazing challenge and hopefully setting a new world record as we go. Dream big!”

For more information and to support the girls, visit Girls who dare

Fulham artists & potters exhibition

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Spring art exhibition at Fulham Library

Paintings, ceramics and sculptures by local artists will be on display at Fulham Library in the Society of Fulham Artists & Potters spring art exhibition.

The exhibition which begins today (14th) runs until 19th with much of the work on sale for the six days.

Membership of the society, which was founded in 1952, is open to anyone over the age of 18, living working or studying within the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and neighbouring boroughs.
Artists practise in all media and the exhibition is one of two held every year.

Entry is free and the exhibition runs from 10am to 8pm Tuesday to Thursday, 10am to 5pm Friday and Saturday and from 11am to 3pm on Sunday.

For more details visit www.sofap.co.uk 

Foster Care Fortnight

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Foster carers are part of what’s often termed “the team around the child” who are responsible for the wellbeing and development of a fostered child.

More than 65,000 children currently live with almost 55,000 foster families across the UK. This equates to nearly 80% of the 83,000 children in care away from home on any one day in the UK.

The Fostering Network estimates that fostering services need to recruit a further 6,800 foster families in the next 12 months. Foster Care Fortnight™ is the charity’s annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering and help recruit families.

Ilse who has been a foster carer for more than 10 years thought being single would exclude her, but she says all you need is to be patient, open and have fun. Her children are as involved and act as role models for the foster children she helps. She says: “The benefits are seeing them grow into confident children. They will ask for things and they shine, lift their chins up and become confident little people.”

Thousands of new foster families are needed every year to care for children, with the greatest need being for foster carers for older children, sibling groups, disabled children and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. All are welcome as potential foster carers – all that matters is that you can provide a stable and caring environment for a foster child. You don’t need to be married or in a relationship, or to own your own home, and your sexual orientation or any disability should not hinder your application. Whichever route you choose to go down, you should rest assured that there is a support network to help anyone who is committed and willing to foster a child.

This year has seen the number of children looked after continue to rise in Bracknell Forest. While some can be looked after by friends or family “connected persons”, many others require a caring, local family unknown to them to give them the support they need to thrive. However, the local authority’s not-for-profit fostering service, which is responsible for finding homes for all vulnerable children from within the borough, has a shortage of carers. Bracknell Forest Foresting carers receive a weekly allowance of up to £425 per week, per child (up to £19,000 per year, per child), state-of-the-art training, 24/7 support and free use of local attractions. Not to mention the reward of helping change a child’s life.

Foster Care Fortnight

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Every year thousands of new foster carers are needed to help young people to flourish in life. Perhaps you could be one of them?

More than 65,000 children currently live with almost 55,000 foster families across the UK. This equates to nearly 80% of the 83,000 children in care away from home on any one day in the UK.

The Fostering Network estimates that fostering services need to recruit a further 6,800 foster families in the next 12 months. Foster Care Fortnight™ is the charity’s annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering and help recruit families.

Ilse who has been a foster carer for more than 10 years thought being single would exclude her, but she says all you need is to be patient, open and have fun. Her children are as involved and act as role models for the foster children she helps. She says: “The benefits are seeing them grow into confident children. They will ask for things and they shine, lift their chins up and become confident little people.”

Thousands of new foster families are needed every year to care for children, with the greatest need being for foster carers for older children, sibling groups, disabled children and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. All are welcome as potential foster carers – all that matters is that you can provide a stable and caring environment for a foster child. You don’t need to be married or in a relationship, or to own your own home, and your sexual orientation or any disability should not hinder your application. Whichever route you choose to go down, you should rest assured that there is a support network to help anyone who is committed and willing to foster a child.

Hannah and Kojo Ntow have been foster carers since 2008, and last year they won a Fostering Excellence Award from The Fostering Network. Initially, they started out as respite carers before eventually progressing to full-time. For the last three years, they have been caring for a four-year-old boy who has a very rare life-limiting condition. Meeting all of his daily needs can be challenging – it can take over an hour to feed him a meal – meaning Hannah’s background as a nurse (Kojo is a bus driver) is particularly useful. Hannah and Kojo’s supervising social worker, Susan Harrisi says: “The Ntows have radically changed their lives for the little boy in their care and have looked beyond his disabilities to care for the child within.”

Find out more

Visit The Fostering Network

Foster Care Fortnight

Round & About

Foster carers are part of what’s often termed “the team around the child” who are responsible for the wellbeing and development of a fostered child.

More than 65,000 children currently live with almost 55,000 foster families across the UK. This equates to nearly 80% of the 83,000 children in care away from home on any one day in the UK.

The Fostering Network estimates that fostering services need to recruit a further 6,800 foster families in the next 12 months. Foster Care Fortnight™ is the charity’s annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering and help recruit families.

The campaign which has been running for almost 20 years, showcases the commitment, passion and dedication of foster carers. Thousands of new foster families are needed every year, with the greatest need being help for older children, sibling groups, disabled children and unaccompanied asylum seeking children. Foster carers come from all walks of life and all backgrounds.

Ilse who has been a foster carer here in Oxfordshire for more than 10 years thought being single would exclude her, but she says all you need is to be patient, open and have fun. Her children are as involved and act as role models for the foster children she helps. She says: “The benefits are seeing them grow into confident children. They will ask for things and they shine, lift their chins up and become confident little people. Those are the moments when you think ‘wow, we’re doing a really good job’.”

Thousands of new foster families are needed every year to care for children, with the greatest need being for foster carers for older children, sibling groups, disabled children and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. All that matters is your ability to provide a stable and caring environment for a foster child. You don’t need to be married or in a relationship, or to own your own home, and your sexual orientation or any disability should not hinder your application. Whichever route you choose, you should rest assured that there is a support network to help anyone who is committed and willing to foster a child.

Find out more

At an open evening on Wednesday, 15th May, at 6.30pm at 4400 Nash Court, John Smith Drive, Oxford Business Park South, OX4 2RU

Visit www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/fostering or call 0800 783 5724. You can also contact Family Tree Fostering on 01235 250235 or  head to the Family Tree Fostering Facebook page.

Find more information too at the Fostering Network

Foster Care Fortnight

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Foster carers are part of what’s called “the team around the child”. As we approach Foster Care Fortnight, between 13th and 26th May, we encourage you to consider it.

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