We have been asked by West Midlands Police to pass on some information about making your neighbourhood a safer place:
Street Watch is a community-led initiative based on street patrols carried out by members of the public. Groups are managed by a volunteer co-ordinator who keeps a volunteer list and provides advice, guidance and support in consultation with the local police.
Volunteers patrol in pairs or small groups and register each patrol on a website. If volunteers spot suspicious activity they report it to the police but do not get involved. Street Watch is about citizenship by providing visible reassurance and appropriate engagement around local issues that matter most to your community. Research shows that the presence of a capable guardian within a community – i.e. Streetwatch members - reduces crime and anti-social behaviour.
Groups will normally consist of between 5 and 10 volunteers, and members will be subject to some basic police vetting to ensure they are suitable for the role. Training is provided by a police officer before patrols are commenced; this training lasts for about 90 minutes. Initial patrols are carried out with local officers who give guidance on staying safe when out and about. Group co-ordinators will have regular contact with their Neighbourhood Police officers to discuss local issues. Volunteers are required to patrol for only a minimum of 2 hours per month, but more is welcome.
There are now over 30 schemes in operation in the West Midlands region, and we have 3 schemes operational in Coventry. We are very keen to expand that number, so, if you are interested to hear more about Streetwatch, some awareness sessions for potential volunteers are being delivered on Thursday 20th December and Wednesday 2nd January at 6.30pm at Canley Police Station (at the junction of Fletchamstead Highway and Sir Henry Parkes Road).
Please just turn up.If you are unable to attend either of those dates but are interested in hearing more, please contact Sergeant Stuart Randall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last year University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust embarked on a new Patient Involvement Programme and ran a series of “co-development” events.
The first of these, in October, was aimed at staff and local voluntary sector organisations, while the second, in November, was for patients and their carers.
The final event, also for patients and carers, took place at the Hospital of St Cross, Rugby in December. In total 73 people attended the three events.
As a result a new “Patient Partner’s Programme” was launched in April 2018, and recruitment is still taking place. Partners will form a Patient Partners Panel which will report to the Trust’s Patient Experience and Engagement Committee.
If you would like to find out more about becoming a Patient Partner or get involved in helping to improve the quality of services provided by the Trust, please contact the Trust’s Patient Involvement Manager, Julia Flay, on 024 7696 5186 or email: email@example.com.
Gaile Allen is a member of COV's Management Committee, and a volunteer at the Hospital
Many of you will have visited UHCW either as a patient or visitor and if you use the main entrance, one of the first things you see is the Information Desk. This is staffed entirely by volunteers who will direct people to their destinations. This will vary from the many clinics where patients have appointments or to wards when visiting relatives or friends. Additionally, where possible, they will assist with providing wheelchairs.
If you have been unfortunate enough to be a patient, you will probably have come across a volunteer in any number of situations providing assistance to the clinical staff.
There are many roles undertaken by volunteers at UHCW, with currently some 550 offering their services for at least 2 hours per week. Recruitment is very professional, you do require references and will have a police check taken. Full training is given and kept up-to-date. Plans are also underway to provide volunteers with a uniform top in the near future. Roles are so diverse there is usually something for everyone from working on a Drinks Trolley, being a Mealtime Companion to in-patients, helping in a Clinic or A&E, Meeting and Greeting or Survey Collection.
I assist in a case notes library, sorting and filing patient notes. Whatever we do as volunteers there is a satisfaction in knowing we are helping the hardworking clinical staff and providing support to the patients at UHCW. It also provides an opportunity to get involved in something different and meet new people. (Travel expenses are paid).So, if you make use of the volunteers, you're welcome. Alternatively, if you think you might enjoy getting involved either: email here or telephone 02476-965146.
You are cordially invited to join the group for guest entertainment, refreshments and a raffle, at the Royal Warwicks Club, 1 Tower Street, Coventry CV1 1JS, on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month, from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm.
According to Age UK: “More than 5 million people a year in the UK are victims of scams, and one in ten people have fallen victim to financial scams losing hundreds or even thousands of pounds.
If you have fallen victim to a scam, it can be devastating. Scams can have serious financial and emotional consequences for victims, and can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, embarrassment, fear, and anxiety. Please know that you are not alone in falling for a scam.”1
Phishing is defined2 as the fraudulent practice of sending emails, apparently from reputable companies, to trick individuals into revealing personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. A COV member, who wishes to remain anonymous, told us how he became the victim of an email phishing scam recently:
"I received an email that seemed genuine, informing me that I had ordered goods valued at approximately £150 and that I could obtain a refund if the order had not been created by me. Without thinking, I clicked on the link and went through several pages where I entered my personal details, including financial information and personal details – including my Mother’s maiden name! I thought nothing of it, until later that day the penny dropped and I realised that I had given all of my personal details away on an email without even thinking about verifying if it was genuine.
“I felt numb all over and sick at the same time and thought to myself, ‘How could I have been so stupid?’ Once I composed myself I immediately telephoned my bank to explain what had happened but had to go into the branch with proof of identity. Once there the bank confirmed that scammers had tried to take money out of my account several times but fortunately for me they were unsuccessful as they had entered my initials incorrectly!
“The bank changed my account details but I had to wait another 48 hours before I was sure that money had not left my account. I count myself as very fortunate that money was not taken out of my account and I wanted to share my experience with you so you do not make the same mistake!”
What to do if you think you have been scammed:
Call Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, which is open twenty-four hours per day, on 0300 123 2040. They will advise you on immediate steps to take. Reporting the fraud could help them catch the perpetrators and prevent other people from falling victim.
Reporting scams and attempted scams can also help the authorities to build up intelligence on the scammers and how they target people. You can also report scams to he Citizens Advice consumer helpline, telephone number 0345404050.
And you can send your scam letters postage-free to: Scamnesty, Trading Standards, Freepost CV681, Coventry, CV1 1BR.
Being the victim of a scam can be very upsetting, and can have significant emotional consequences as well as financial ones. Advice and support to victims of scams is provided on the Age UK website, here:
How to avoid being scammed in the first place:
There are many scams, with new ones appearing constantly. However, most scams are variations on just a few types of schemes. Coventry City Council issue regular email alerts to provide you with the latest news on scams, Trading Standards news and other relevant information. You can sign up to receive regular email alerts here:
or you can get the same information by clicking on the links on the COV website (at the bottom of the “Latest News” page, here), which are regularly updated.
Lots of good advice from Trading Standards on avoiding scams can be found here:
You can also contact Trading Standards for advice on 03454 040506.
Trading Standards’ telephone lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (except bank holidays). Calls to the helpline cost up to 9p per minute from a landline. If you're calling from a mobile, it'll cost between 3p and 40p per minute - if you have inclusive minutes it's the same as calling a landline.
1 Age UK: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters/consumer-advice/support-for-scam-victims/support-for-victims/
2 Oxford Living Dictionaries: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/phishing/
Here is some useful advice from Gaile Allen, who is a retired HR manager, and still does some part-time voluntary work in medical records. Gaile is a member of the Healthwatch Coventry Steering Group, and is a COV Management Committee member.
As we age, it becomes more and more inevitable that at some stage we will need to have a blood test for some reason or another.
During the last six months many members may have already attended the Phlebotomy Department at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (the old "Walsgave" Hospital), or UHCW. If so, they will already be aware that the system for booking in has changed significantly. For those who have not, then it will be an entirely new experience.
Gone is the old ticket machine, together with the screen displaying the number of the next patient to go through.
And by what has it been replaced? Well, modern technology of course!
In common with some GP surgeries, two digital screens have been introduced. Each screen has two sections, one for walk-in patients and the other for those who have made appointments.
Confused? Please don't be. There are volunteers around to assist.
So how does it work? If you arrive without an appointment, then you will need to press the WALK IN section of the screen and enter various personal details. The screen will tell you how many people are already waiting and will give an estimated time as to when you will be seen. Unfortunately, this is not always accurate. When booking in you will have an option to have your name displayed. If you choose to do this, then initially your name will appear with PLEASE WAIT alongside in red and then it will turn green and advise which cubicle you are to go to. This is accompanied by an announcement of "next patient please" over the loudspeaker. If you elect not to have your name displayed, then you are reliant on a member of the team calling your name at the appropriate time.
Needless to say, certain groups of people are given priority. This includes infants, children, people undergoing chemotherapy and anyone who has booked an appointment online. For this reason, anyone who has "walked In" has to be prepared for their wait to get longer. Sometimes when it is exceptionally busy, this can be up to four hours. Late afternoons can present particular difficulties, as by then the appointments available that day have all been taken up and people will be sent away as the department shuts at 4.45 pm.
There are various alternatives you can consider to avoid a wasted journey or a long wait.
The Health Centre on Stoney Stanton Road is open from 8 am to 4.45 pm Monday to Friday on a drop in basis, although again it gets very busy. Your GP surgery may provide a phelbotomy service. If not, many pharmacies across the City offer appointments and your GP should be able to provide you with an up-to-date list of participating pharmacies (which is produced by NHS Coventry) so that you can make an appointment for a convenient time.Leaflets are readily available to show you how to book on line at UHCW. If you are required to have tests on a regular basis, then you can always book your next one whilst on site, as there is a facility on the screen to enable you to do so. Again, there is normally someone on hand to show you how to do so. Hopefully this advice will help you avoid the frustration that can occur having a blood test.
The NHS are offering free health checks for those aged 40 to 74, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Central Library, and at several other locations throughout the week.
NHS Coventry and Rugby have developed a local eye care service to provide care closer to you. You can get treatment for common eye conditions such as red, sore or dry eyes in convenient locations by fully qualified staff.
The Good Neighbours Coventry scheme is an exciting new initiative developed by HOPE Coventry, Together for Change and Age UK Coventry to improve health and wellbeing amongst older people.
Working collaboratively, they are seeking to engage with isolated older people by developing existing social networks and using community resources to enable residents to help each other. This can take the form of group activities, one-to-one befriending support, or low level practical assistance.
If you know anyone over 50 who might benefit from a weekly visit from a befriender, a local coffee morning or friendship group, or simple practical help, please get in contact with us. Equally, if you have half an hour at any point in your week spare to offer friendship over a cup of tea to a local older person, we would love to hear from potential volunteers too.
Any faith based organisations looking to start an outreach project for over 50s can apply for grants of up to £2,500 to get started, and existing groups are able to apply for up to £500.For more information on grants or Good Neighbours Coventry groups, befriending or visiting, please contact Jess Day-Pollard, Project Manager:
Age UK have produced a report, entitled “Staying Sharp”, about thinking skills in later life. Several COV members took part in the research on which the report is based, and you can read about it by clicking on these links: