Carers Rights Day 25th November

Carers UK are a charity that highlights the plight of carers in the UK and protects their rights. Each year they hold Carers Rights Day to bring organisations across the UK together to help carers in their local community know their rights and find out how to get the help and support they are entitled to. Carers Rights Day 2016 is on Friday 25 November, and this year’s theme is: Missing out? Know your rights as a carer

carers-ukThis is how Carers UK describes the state of carers in the UK and their organisation:

Across the UK today 6.5 million people are carers, supporting a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill.That’s 1 in 8 adults who care, unpaid, for family and friends. Within our lifetime, there will be 9 million carers.Our loved ones are living longer with illness or disability, and more and more of us are looking after them. Whether round-the-clock or for a few hours a week, in our own home or for someone at the other end of a motorway – caring can have a huge effect on us, our lives and our plans. Caring is such an important part of life. It’s simply part of being human. Carers are holding families together, enabling loved ones to get the most out of life, making an enormous contribution to society and saving the economy billions of pounds.Yet many of us are stretched to the limit – juggling care with work and family life, or even struggling with poor health ourselves. We often find it difficult to make ends meet if we’re unable to work or if we’ve reduced our working hours to care.

Every day 6,000 people become carers. Many don’t know how or where to get help. It can be frightening and very lonely.For some it’s sudden: someone you love is taken ill or has an accident, your child is born with a disability. For others, caring creeps up unnoticed: your parents can’t manage on their own any longer, your partner’s health gets gradually worse.Looking after someone can be tough, but you’re not on your own. Carers UK is here to listen, to give you expert information and advice that’s tailored to your situation, to champion your rights and support you in finding new ways to manage at home, at work, or wherever you are.

Their website offers lots of help & advice for carers so they know their rights and to find ways to get support for this important role in families and communities. We meet lots of carers in our line of work and it is a great charity to support. If you know anyone who could use some help, point them in the direction of the Carers UK website so they too can learn their rights and get the most out of life while caring for a loved one.


Winter Proof your Home

Now fully in to Autumn, we can appreciate the beautiful colours, the warming meals and the holidays of the season. Yet Winter is coming and this is the perfect time to start preparing your home for it. Here is our top list of things to think about to make sure you keep nice and warm this winter with your bills down and your spirits high.

1. Check the roof

Split or missing tiles can give rain access to the rooftop, possibly bringing on dampness and decay, but even worse, serious flooding and damage. On the off chance that you can’t see the rooftop or you would prefer not to climb a ladder, get an expert to review the rooftop for you.

2. Clear gutters and drains

As the trees turn to orange, brown and red, leaves, plants and other debris can rain down and quickly clog gutters and drains, which can lead to water damage, and damp. A clear out before winter is essential and checking that the junctions are watertight.

3. Inspect your pipes & service the boiler

Ensure your boiler is in working to the best condition before winter sets in and get a professional to check it. he service should be carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Visit to find a suitably qualified engineer in your area. Ensure your property’s downpipes aren’t broke or split (you can check behind the channels with a mirror). Likewise, expel any vegetation that has settled around the funnels as it can cover up problems and stop water is running freely from pipes and drainage paths.

4. Bleed the radiators

On the off chance that you have a boiling hot water warm radiator that is not warming the cause is generally caught air, and disposing of it is straightforward. At the highest point of your radiator, search for a little valve. Use a radiator key, 1/4-in. 12-point attachment, or a level screwdriver (dependent upon your valve type) and gradually turn the valve counterclockwise until water begins trickling out. This will discharge caught air and let boiling point water into the cold sections. Repeat the procedure with all your radiators. Draining the radiators will bring down the water in your system, so you may need to gradually add water to build it back up. Do this by opening, then shutting, the valve on the water pipe above the boiler. Actually, you may need to include water while draining the radiator to remover the air from the framework.  If you’re new to your system, call an expert.

5. Switch energy tariff

Our utility bills are bigger in the winter, but that’s no reason to pay over the odds for your energy. You can easily compare energy tariffs online and it is much more competitive now that offers must be extended to existing not just new customers. It is much easier to switch then previously as well. You could save a significant amount but you need to take the time to research it properly.

6. Sweep the chimney

A thundering fire can be a delight in the winter – unless it’s a chimney fire. People frequently think little of the dangers of chimney flames, yet they are regular problems around this time of year and can be expensive to fix and incredibly dangerous for you and your family. You need to use an expert to thoroughly clear the stack before you light the main fire the first time this year. If you have a chimney yet don’t light the fire, think about using a fireplace inflatable to stop hot air getting away upwards and icy drafts clearing down in to your rooms.

7. Insulate your home properly

Satisfactory protection can lessen the warmth loss from your home, subsequently saving energy and cutting bills.The loft is a decent place to begin as you can lose a fourth of the warmth in your home through the rooftop if the space is not appropriately protected. You may also need to consider cavity wall insulation, if your property is suitable. And you can also, bear in mind protecting the water tank and lagging the pipes to ensure minimal heat loss.

8. Check windows and doors

If your doors and windows are in a poor state of repair they can let in cold air and rain water, increasing your energy bills and damp in your home. It therefore makes sense to carry out any minor repairs now in the Autumn before you have to pay to fix a serious problem later on in Winter when the damage is irreparable and the repairs can cause misery in Winter. You should check the woodwork both inside and out on all floors and opt for UPVC when replacing them to get maximum heat saving benefits and they will last longer.



Green Prescriptions & the Impact of an Allotment on Health

There has been a new wave of thinking when it comes to visiting the doctor and health. GPs in the UK can now prescribe so called ‘green prescriptions’ which advises patients to attend leisure centres, parks or start gardening. This new type of social and medical care is primarily there to encourage exercise and reduce the strain on NHS services from preventable illness and diseases caused by the obesity epidemic.

The prescriptions could provide free visits to national parks or gardening sessions at National Trust properties, match patients up directly with a leisure centre and on to fitness courses. There are already trials of these ‘social prescribing schemes’ in Devon, Dorset and Liverpool, with hopes for more across the country.  However, The Royal College of General Practitioners’ Spokesman Dr Steve Mowle said: “Social prescribing schemes can certainly be beneficial to a patient’s overall health and wellbeing – as some pilots have shown – but to be effective, there needs to be better integration between health and community services, so that GPs and our teams can signpost our patients most appropriately.”

Patients can be recommended to allotment and gardening groups where the benefits to both physical and mental health are extraordinary. In The contribution of allotment gardening to health and wellbeing: A systematic review of the literature , findings showed “Allotment gardening provides a stress-relieving refuge, contributes to a healthier lifestyle, creates social opportunities, provides valued contact with nature, and enables self-development.”

Information from NHS Choices indicates that people who do regular physical activity have:

  • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • a 30% lower risk of early death
  • up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
  • up to a 30% lower risk of depression
  • up to a 30% lower risk of dementia

With all these benefits, maybe it is time you picked up your pitch fork and get digging!

Further Reading

The contribution of allotment gardening to health and wellbeing: A systematic review of the literature

The Impact of an Allotment Group on Mental Health Clients’ Health, Wellbeing and Social Networking

Doctors urged to offer ‘exercise outdoors’ prescriptions – BBC

Green prescription needed to tackle ‘cradle to grave’ health crisis – National Health Executive

Benefits of regular exercise – NHS Choices