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Conference Report - The Audacity to Dream

 

The Audacity to Dream - SW04 Area Day Conference

Salisbury. Saturday October 6th 2018

After weeks of wonderful, sunny early autumn weather 120 NWR members from far and wide arrived at Sarum Academy, Salisbury in pouring rain. What a good thing we had a bucket for the umbrellas!! Good humour was the order of the day however and the rain failed to dampen spirits!

The day, ‘The Audacity to Dream’, was planned with the 70th Birthday of the NHS in mind and with such a vast brief we honed in on a few unusual and perhaps lesser known aspects!

The proceedings began with 2 presentations of Singing for Health and Well Being. Liv Mclennan brought a few of her local ‘singing for lung health’ group along and soon had the entire auditorium on their feet making amazing faces and other contortions and then singing….even those who thought they couldn’t!!

This was followed by Kate Edgar who runs several local choirs. She spoke of the health benefits of singing and camaraderie and general ‘happiness’ factor and then members of her ‘Amici ‘ choir gave a rendition( with actions)of Tuxedo Junction and soon, once again the audience were on their feet singing their hearts out. What a lot of smiley faces…

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Then came our main speaker, the Right Honourable Ann Widdecombe (just call me Ann!) who spoke on ‘NHS - Dream or Nightmare’. Her presentation was amusing and much laughter filled the hall. It was also serious and thought provoking and a salutary warning that the NHS has to change dramatically to survive. Nye Bevan did not, and indeed could not, envisage or foresee the future back in 1948. The advances in medical science, the increase in average life expectancy and the growth in population and immigration all play their part in making the original ‘Dream’ into today’s unwieldy and underfunded ‘Nightmare’. Ann said she had no magic formula but felt strongly that an open discussion involving all political parties alongside professionals in the medical field must take place to come to any workable solution. Each political party in power has to stop passing the buck and blaming the next. There was ample question time and as usual NWR ladies were not backward in coming forward!

Then before a wonderful lunch, Laura Drysdale from the Restoration Trust gave a fascinating insight into The Human Henge Project which took place last year using the Stonehenge Landscape with English Heritage with a group of people with mental health problems. A few of the participants came along and read poems and one lady played a penny whistle for us! Part of the presentation was by Yvette Staelens who managed the Human Henge project and she presented a very moving and emotional and insightful audio visual record of the project.

After lunch everyone repaired to their chosen workshop on various aspects of health and well being after which each group reported back to a plenary session with a question or statement to ponder.

Then our Trustee Josephine Burt introduced our brand new Patron, Marion Molteno (incidentally she was a speaker at our last SW04 conference!) Marion introduced herself and asked that as Patron she might be involved as much as possible with area and national events in the future. She is a super, approachable, kind person with a wealth of experience and knowledge, so I urge all members to include her in NWR activities and to make her welcome.

We finished our day with more music, this time the glorious voce of Katie Ereira . Katie is hoping to gain a place at the Welsh Conservatoire next year and we wish he well. Her voice is truly ethereal and I think many attendees were close to tears as she filled the auditorium with 3 songs including Abba’s ‘I Have a Dream’ which seemed totally appropriate to the title of our day. Katie’s mum is one of our Salisbury NWR members.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of our day. The Dream Team of Organisers was, and still is, well pleased!! The one common thread that came from all ideas and views expressed in the varied presentations is that we must all take some responsibility for our own health. The NHS turns up trumps in an emergency situation but has to deal with far too many unnecessary and avoidable pressures on its time, expertise and funds.

Sailsbury conference

Look after yourselves!

 

Vanessa Moulding

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Top tips from the Chester Team

Chester conference lunch

 

Well the dust has finally settled on the Chester Conference 2018 - and what a success it was. Huge 'thank yous' once again to all the organisers. As the baton is firmly passed on to the organisers of Plymouth 2019 we asked Penny and Jill for the five top tips for running a successful conference, and here is what they said:

  1. Have enough people on the committee to do everything so as much as possible is in house and have frequent meetings.
  2. Book relevant speakers to the theme who will give food for thought and discussion.
  3. Plan activities that are a mixture of light and serious, also active both physically and mentally.
  4. Pay lots of attention to detail, check and check again on bookings, the booking system, communications and budget, and still be prepared for criticism.
  5. Have fun and look forward to a celebratory post conference lunch with new friends made...

Judging from the photograph it certainly seems that number 5 was taken seriously!

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Rubbish visit by Harrogate NWR!

resized Harrogate NWR members and friends at Allerton Waste Recovery Park

UK households bin more than 27 million tons of rubbish each year and we are running out of space in our landfill sites. Since spring 2018, waste from homes in North Yorkshire and the city of York is not dumped, untreated, in a hole in the ground but is processed at a brand new waste recovery centre.

Many local residents, including some members of Harrogate NWR, were concerned at the thought of an industrial waste processing plant near their homes. Contractors Amey, no doubt conscious of the need to win over local sceptics, have built a visitor centre on site and welcome adult groups and school parties. We decided to visit Allerton Waste Recovery Centre and see it for ourselves.

The top half of the shiny new building is easily visible, sitting amongst the fields beside the A1 road, but as it is built inside a disused quarry much of the site is hidden. The grounds have been landscaped and the, now obsolete, landfill site that was already there has been grassed over. First impressions on arrival were that the plant was surprisingly quiet and it didn’t smell. We learnt later that the building is kept under negative pressure to stop any odours escaping.

Debbie, our guide greeted us at the visitor centre and after coffee we took our seats for her presentation, explaining the workings of plant. The facility is not a recycling centre, it handles what’s left after householders have removed the recyclables. Bin lorries from the local area empty their load directly into the plant, waste from the more distant parts of the county is brought to site in large, sealed, containers. The waste is then sorted, the first material to be removed is food waste and other organic material. This is fed into an anaerobic digester where a colony of micro-organisms feed on the waste, excreting methane gas which is used to generate electricity for use on site.

Although householders should have removed recyclable materials before putting their waste in the bin, some gets through. A combination of magnets, eddy currents, light beams and jets of air are used to recover the recyclables. Then, just to make sure that nothing useful is left in the waste there is a final check by human operators. In case we had concluded that we could forget about recycling and go back to chucking all our waste in together, Debbie emphasised that the metals, glass and paper recovered this way are dirty, broken up and less useful and valuable than the nice clean material from our recycling bins.

Once all the useful materials have been recovered from the waste, the rest is burnt at extremely high temperatures, in the “energy from waste” plant, generating enough electricity to power 40,000 homes.

After Debbie’s presentation it was time to visit the plant itself. We had been instructed to wear long trousers and sensible shoes to which we now added bright yellow hi vis waistcoats.

When we got inside the processing plant it was a little smelly, but less so than a bin lorry on a hot day. It was also very quiet as the sorting equipment was not in operation; a householder had chucked something into their bin which had jammed up one of the trommel drums which are used to screen the waste at the beginning of the processing. None the less the equipment was still impressive to see.

We invited friends and partners to join our visit which proved so popular that a second visit is planned for those who couldn’t attend the first time. There are several similar sites around the country, maybe your group would enjoy a visit to your local one.

Sue Howes

Harrogate NWR

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Last few places for 'Audacity to Dream' regional conference

This day conference in Salisbury is organised by the SW04 NWR area and offers a mix of keynote speeches and though-provoking afternoon workshops celebrating 70 years of the NHS.  There will be coffee on arrival and a delicious buffet lunch with wine and fruit juice included. There are just a few places left, so please do book soon.

Venue: Sarum Academy, Salisbury

Date: 6th October 2018

For bookings and further information please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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Egg-citing news for NWR!

Eggheads Team

As you know, we tried to get a team onto the Eggheads TV quiz last year, but didn’t get through to filming. Well, NWR members are nothing if not tenacious, and I am DELIGHTED to tell you that as I type this our team of ‘Lively Minded Women’ are at the TV studios in Glasgow being filmed for the latest series of Eggheads.

We don’t yet know when it will be broadcast, but I’ll let you know as soon as we know the date. Please don’t ask us for any more details as we are legally bound not to give away any more information. But to say I am EGG-cited is an understatement (sorry, couldn’t help myself...)

Here’s a little more about the team of six (five of them will be filmed):

Susan has been a member of NWR for 22 years. She first joined when she moved to Cambridge as it was a good way to meet new people. Susan is 63 years old, and is a part time visitor guide at Kings College. She enjoys gardening, quizzes, and vintage cinema and really enjoys the variety of topics discussed at the Cambridge group NWR meetings.

Valerie lives with her husband, Dave, daughter Beth, and two cats, Smudge and Shaggy, in Luton. Valerie also has a son, Alexander, and three grandchildren. She has been married nearly 40 years and will be celebrating her Ruby anniversary next month in Jersey. Valerie works in administration and as an invigilator, but her social life is very important, and she enjoys a number of activities with NWR as a member of the Luton and South Beds Villages Group.

Isabelle lives in Dunfermline, Fife, with her husband and adult son and is a member of Dunfermline NWR. Whilst her career in Higher Education as an Effective Learning Advisor was enormously satisfying, recent early retirement has given Isabelle the opportunity to enjoy more time outdoors, walking and gardening.

Jan lives in the hills to the east of Manchester and is the Treasurer of the Mellor NWR group. She is married and enjoying retirement following a career in HR. An erstwhile equestrian, she is still very much involved with horses and has a keen interest in National Hunt racing. She enjoys walking with her two Border Collies and is an active gardener. Jan also likes to travel and indulge in the many cultural activities that the North West offers.

Anne is an Essex girl and is a retired optometrist. She loves opera, ballet, animals and amateur dramatics. She has been revising very hard for the Sport round on Eggheads by watching the World Cup and Wimbledon - this has of course been a terrible hardship for her!! Anne is a member of the Hadleigh NWR group.

Georgie is one of the 2 Essex girls in the team. She was for many years a member of Dronfield NWR in Derbyshire, but 4 years ago moved back to the village where she grew up, to look after her elderly mother. She now helps to run the local community bar, and has spent the last two weeks swotting up on US Presidents and capital cities! Georgie is a member of the Harwich and Dovercourt NWR group.

I am sure you will all join us in wishing the team the very best of luck!

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