Senior Forum meeting minutes 18.11.2015

The latest meeting of the Senior Forum took place recently, download the full meeting minutes HERE.


Highlights included:

Senior Health Fayre 1.10.15.

 Please find below a report received from Usman Ashiq:-

I’ve sent the stats for the event to Mike Smith. I can report that we had a good turnout from residents and a good variety of organisations in attendance that provided a range of information and advice. Feedback was well received and we are hopeful of running a similar event next year and would welcome everyone to be part of the planning process. The event this year was organised by Plus Dane, Cheshire East Council and Age UK Cheshire East. Funding was a big barrier initially however Cheshire East kindly funded in excess of £600, Age UK was successful in gaining sponsorship from Siemens and Pus Dane paid for the marketing and promotional materials. The main aim of the event was to highlight what health and wellbeing services were available to senior residents. Every year we tend to do something different so next year’s event could have specific themes which I believe should tie into current priorities of the GP’s, NHS CCG’s and the local communities to help insure that senior residents are aware of key health and wellbeing services.”

Members also reported favourably and the general consensus was for running another event next year. MS to send out a copy of Usman’s report with these minutes

V.Lockett to contact Donna Peddie (CEBC)  and L.Malkin (Everybody Leisure) re support and a venue (Leisure Centre suggested).

Next Meeting 12th Jan 2016


Projects and Finance Committee meeting minutes 23.11.2015

The latest meeting of the Projects and Finance Committee took place recently, please download the full meeting minutes HERE.


Highlights included:

New Project Ideas.

Community Orchard Accessibility.

Copy of Patti and Matt’s proposal e-mailed out before the meeting. The committee agreed in principal that the project would be a real benefit to the site and the In Bloom effort. Est cost around £2K to £2.5 K. It was requested that Patti give a more detailed presentation at the Exec meeting 8.12.15 including plans for maintenance. MS to contact PP regarding this request.

Cycle Shelters.

This is being picked up by Phil Mason CEBC Environmental. 1 shelter to be sited at or near the Library, other sites to be considered. No action required currently by The Partnership.PM has been in discussion with CEBC Public Realm team regarding the grant and its conditions. As of yet no further information has been received from PM, MS has tried contacting him for an update.

Heritage / Bear / Town Walk Trails.

P.Aston to chair this through, team to include I.Doughty, J.MacArthur, M.Smith and V.Cutcliffee.

Could be we look at 2 maps. Heritage trail to be attached to the sites along the trail and a general trail map sited on some of the destination map poles showing Cycle routes, walking routes and possibly play areas (health and Well-being) . Need an initial meeting to scope out the project. We have a starter fund of £2.5k that has been set aside for some time. PA to call a meeting in the near future.

Car Park Destination Maps / Signage.

Jackie talked us through a project plan which included the general geographical area to be covered, siting locations, map illustrations and a key plan to identify various landmarks / important services. She is working on permissions with the local authority and costings with a map provider. JM to approach CEBC car parking department / ward members for financial support as per National Government guidelines on car parking revenue and surplus fund usage.

Moody Street Green Area.

MS has confirmed with J.Byrne that the S106 money is secure for the site redevelopment.

Site visit planned for 30.11.15. Detail to follow at the next P&F Meeting (25.1.16)

Mountbatten Way – Green Boulevard.

BE suggested this project to remove the railings and create a green boulevard. BH to discuss the idea with David Brown. This will now be raised at the Public Realm meeting 28.9.15. BH confirmed that the issue was raised.

No further update received as yet.


Download the full minutes for all the news!

Senior Forum – Bob’s Blog Part 8

 Bob’s Blog Part 8 – Appears first in Congleton Chronicle 

By my calculations there are now 28 shopping days to Christmas –so if you have 10 pressies to buy you need to buy one every 2 3/4  days …..    So I’ve made a start!  One of our relations would only shop at Woolworths for his presents, bought what he liked the look of and then decided later who would have what!  There was always a bit of swapping going on Christmas morning –“ who wants the amaryllis in a pot??”

Christmas is a lovely time if you have friends and family to share it with.   But I was reading something recently that said more than a million older people in the UK say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member!   They have a petition that they want people to sign.   I’m getting good now at finding things out – I went onto my computer and looked for the Age UK Cheshire website and filled in their petition – 13,269 have already signed it, so I made it 13,270.  If you can use a computer make sure you do the same – asking the Government to take action to tackle this major problem that affects the lives of millions of older people – to get local and national government to understand that older people’s loneliness really matters; that it’s a serious health problem, not a normal part of ageing, and to say they will do something about it.
When I was on the website something else caught my eye,

‘A shed is to a man what a handbag is to a woman. Both contain all the essentials to survive the modern world.’ Oh SO RIGHT!
I agree with Age UK Cheshire when they say that every man needs access to a shed.   The nearest one for guys in Congleton is the one  in Crewe, Unit 16, Brierley Business Park, Mirion Street, Crewe, CW1 2AZ. Tel: 01270 748645  open from Monday – Thursday 10am-4pm

The shed is actually an industrial unit where men can meet and do stuff like  woodworking, metalworking, art and computers –  like a youth club for the over 50’s! Steve Thrower is the  Men in Sheds Project Officer, he says,

“Some people are using skills they’ve used all their lives, at work and at play. Some have never picked up a saw, power tool or operated a lathe.  It’s a chance to learn new skills – or just pop along for a brew and a chat! Men find it far easier to chat around doing something, and with other men than they do in more formal surroundings.  The guys have come together to form new friendships, men from all walks of life.  They’ve even been known to meet outside of the shed socially.”


So, if it sounds like you, give it a go.

But –thinking back to Christmas.   I know that not everyone has money to splash out on presents – if you or someone you know is struggling right now, there may be help available.   There is a scheme called ‘Supporting You’.  This free service focuses on helping people to get the right welfare benefits and to make the most of their income.  Age UK Cheshire staff  book an appointment in advance and carry identification badges.  They also offer home visits for people over 55 who can’t get to one of their offices . For more information contact Age UK Cheshire on 01606 720434

Cheshire Community Action Community Agents also provide help with financial matters like completing forms, applying for benefits, tax advice, and  pensions advice, For more information ring Alyssa Baines, Community Agent, 07901 787272

That’s it from me – stuff to share about keeping warm in Winter in next edition!

Bob Bear signing out till next week….


Senior Forum – Bob’s Blog Part 7

Bob’s Blog Part 7 – Appears first in Congleton Chronicle Bob's Blog Senior Forum

It’s been a difficult week  – we have had a death in our family – it’s never a good time I know, but when it’s coming up  to Christmas it somehow feels worse!   Christmas is a tough time for a lot of folk, for those who are remembering times gone by, missing those who have passed away, or just thinking about time flying by and somehow wanting to put a marker in the sand, to do something that makes a difference!   Well that’s how I feel!   And it’s my birthday  this week, another year under my belt!    It put me in mind of a local charity that’s also celebrating a birthday. CVS Cheshire East (Community Voluntary Services Cheshire East) is celebrating its 5th birthday, and inspired by this, have just released a new campaign to encourage people to Give5 back to their communities.


Give5 is a really good way to give something back, to feel you can make a difference.  So what can I do? I’m not as young as I was but I’m still useful?  I could cook 5 meals for some of my older neighbours – there’s an old guy up the road who doesn’t get out of the house – I could make some of my famous lobby, take tea  round  and stay for a chat   – It might not change the world but it would change his world just for a day! Or I could give £5 to a local good cause; volunteer at the charity shop for 5 hours;  help at the luncheon club for 5 sessions.  I wonder if I could  offer to help with reading at the school just out of town – not all children have granddads and grandmas and I reckon  it might just fill a gap in a child’s life!  I do think I have a lot to give out of my life’s experiences and now I live life in the slow lane I have time to notice the important things in life  – I bet you do too, so come on, Give5
Want to know more? Just email or call the CVS Cheshire East team on 01270 763100 Nikki will give you some good ideas of other things you can do.


There’s another lovely way you can Give5.   You could help to make a child’s Christmas!  Over the last 4 years, CVS Cheshire East has been working with Storage Boost in Crewe and staff from AstraZeneca’s Alderley Park site to provide Christmas presents for families in real need across Cheshire East.   This year they want to give 3000 toys and gifts to local charities and organisations that work with families who are facing a hard time this Christmas.  You could donate £5 to the appeal or you could buy a toy for £5 or you could buy 5 toys, or 5×5 toys if you are feeling generous!!.   If you don’t have children to buy for in your own family, send your love and a gift to a child who might have a Christmas without any presents at all.

Sally at CVS Cheshire East says that all toys donated need to be in excellent condition, suitable for babies and children up to 18 years.   She asks that you please don’t buy violent types of toys like swords, guns or toy soldiers.

Please take your donations by Monday 14th December at the latest, to the Congleton toy collection point at the Disability Information Bureau, Municipal Offices, Market Square, Congleton, CW12 1EX.  Tel 01260 295725.  They are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays between 9.30am and 4.00 pm (closed on Wednesdays)

Congleton Sustainability Group Meeting Minutes 2.11.2015

Congleton Sustainability Group meeting took place recently on 2.11.2015 download the full minutes HERE.

Highlights included:

Apple Juice.

Apple Day was very successful with over 100 people turning up throughout the event.

Appears to be a good harvest this year.

Already produced 714 Apple juice / 54 Cider and sold 20ltrs of Draught to Olde Kings Arms.

Olde Kings Arms keen to have exclusivity for the cider in the town. Possible further development on this with Titanic Brewery PA attending an event at Burslem (1 to 7pm selling AJ and Cider) in the near future. PA will put a feature in The Chronicle around this subject.

The manager of The Olde Kings Arms is a keen conservationist, PA to look at how to develop a working relationship with him.


Eco Schools – P.Pinto.

We had 13 schools awarded Green Flags in Congleton & District Eco cluster, three schools at silver (W. Well, EBA, CHS) working towards GF. Bosley, Daven & Havannah have lapsed to silver.

  • Marton was awarded their 2nd GF on 1 October, Congratulations
  • Schools due to renew their Green Flag status in 2015 are:

Astbury (to renew by 10.01.16),

Havannah, Bosley, Daven (working on GF topics in the Autumn term);

  • Schools working towards their first Green Flag: Congleton High School, Eaton Bank Academy, Woodcocks’ Well Primary
  • 6 Oct: PP assessed primary school in Northwich for 4th GF
  • 20 Oct: JRO training at Cong Town Hall, 7 of our primary schools attended
  • 21 Oct: PP ran What’s Under Your Feet sessions at Saint Mary’s

Congleton Cider and the Olde Kings Arms come together

congleton cider an Congleton Kings ArmsMost people know about the Congleton Apple Juice project that since 2009 has collected resident’s surplus and windfall apples, sent them to be pressed and juiced at Dunham Massey Apple Juice to make bottles of juice and for the first time last year bottles of cider.


Well this year we have joined forces with the Olde Kings Arms so that the town can enjoy the cider on draught, cheers!


The cider is a still cider and is available as either medium dry, medium sweet or mixed with blackcurrant, so there’s one to suit all tastes.


Dominic Irving, new landlord of the Kings Arms welcomed the opportunity create a centre for CSG projects in the town for the first time: potentially hosting events and workshops for people in the town to explore more sustainable living with a good pint to ease the thinking!


The unique logo for the cider on draught in the picture above.


The Olde Kings Arms is one of the oldest pubs in the town, dating back to at least the 17th Century; legend has it that condemned prisoners would be brought through tunnels and the cellar to have one last drink. No wonder stories of the pub being haunted abound! The pub one of 9 locally owned by Titanic Breweries based in Burslem, founded in 1985, now run by brothers Dave and Keith Bott, whose ethos is still the same; to brew great beer locally for local people.


Titanic Breweries are holding an open day at their Burslem premises, Callender Place, Lingard Street, Burslem, ST6 1JL on Saturday 14th November where Congleton Cider will feature alongside their great beers. People will be spoilt for choice!


The Congleton Apple Juice is one of Congleton Sustainability Group (CSG) projects, formed in June 2009 entirely of volunteers to nudge the Town towards a greener, more climate change friendly way of living.


At one of their first events – a Seed Swap in October 2009 – amongst all the bartering of plants and seeds people bought apples to swap, but many apples were left – they weren’t very pretty apples!


In conversation it was said that surely they could be used to make apple juice?


CSG contacted Eddisbury Fruit Farm, they then made Cheshire fruit juices commercially, who agreed that if CSG took more than 100 kilos of apples they could be kept separate through their production process and be bottled and labelled just for Congleton.


Congleton Apple Juice was born!


The apples varieties given are many and varied, cooking and desert apples, all shapes and sizes, good and unremarkable but all donated by Congleton residents. Everyone who donates apples receives a free bottle of juice.


Profits from the juice and ciders together with funding from Congleton Inclosure Trust and The William Dean Trust have enabled CSG to plant over 240 apple trees to create mini-orchards in all 16 Congleton Schools. In 2012 a Community Orchard was planted at Astbury Mere Country Park.

Congleton Sustainability Group

In 2013 Eddisbury Fruit Farm closed down so now Durham Massey Apple Juice have stepped into the breach with the added bonus that they produce modern craft ciders too!


Hence, the appearance of Congleton Ciders at the Olde Kings Arms, go and try a pint secure in the knowledge that you’ll be enjoying cider made from apples that would otherwise go to waste and that will provide funds for future food schemes in the town.


Senior Forum – Bob’s Blog Part 6

Bob’s Blog Part 6 – Appears first in Congleton Chronicle Bob's Blog Senior Forum

My friend Mike from Congleton Senior Forum sent me a flier about the Beartown Bus.  They we were offering free trips during half –term so I thought I would try it out. Every 30 minutes serving B Farm , Buglawton and Mossley.

Just hop on board at your nearest stop and enjoy the ride!  The easy access buses run half hourly throughout the day – and leather seats and free wifi mean you can travel in comfort.  Don’t forget to enter the competition to name the two Beartown Buses while you’re on board and win a further 6 months free travel too!

Beartown Bus routes are: 90 to Bromley Estate, 91 to Mossley and 92 to Buglawton. On Monday 2 November fares will return to normal: Adult £1.80 single, £3 Day, £11 Week; Children £1 single, £1.50 Day or £6 Week. For timetables and route details visit www.

Bob tried it out during half term – went to Alison’s for some Cong gingerbread and then got in my 30 min walk and had a look at Bromley Farm internet café

offering an invitation to Seniors who my wish to come along to raise issues/concerns, make proposals for activities/events or whatever.

9.53 from f ground got to Alison’s for 10.00 10.33 back to f ground f r caught the 11.05 to B Farm to have a look at internet café Caught the 11,42 back to town

Something for Bob to know- the Age UK Hub in Congleton is closing the shop and café from the 1st of December. As far as I know they are going to try and keep the classes and other services going.

  1. It’s every Wednesday and Friday at Fellowship House
  2. It costs £3 for a meal – and that includes main, pudding and tea and coffee
  3. Meals are served at 12 noon – people normally arrive around 11.50
  4. Ideally it’s best for people to book in so that they know how many to cater for – people can book by ringing Visyon on 01260 290000
  5. Yvonne – the cook – can cater for vegetarian – but would usually buy in so best to advise that will want vegetarian when letting Visyon know.


Commenting on the ‘Stay Well This Winter’ campaign, Keith Willett, National Director for Acute Care for NHS England said: “We are making sure we give people the information they need to help them to look after themselves and also to know where to go for urgent advice – whether it’s pharmacies, NHS Choices, NHS111 or A&E.

“It’s also critical we do what we can to help others stay well.  The elderly compose the largest group admitted to hospital in the winter.  Half live alone and one third never or only occasionally socialise with family or friends.  They, as a result are slow to seek help, and once ill often get too unwell.  This is a golden opportunity for us to look out for our neighbours and ensure they get any help they need.”

The NHS ‘Stay Well This Winter’ campaign urges the public to:

  • Make sure you get your flu jab if eligible.
  • Keep yourself warm – heat your home to least 18 degrees C or (65F) if you can.
  • If you start to feel unwell, even if it’s just a cough or a cold, then get help from your pharmacist quickly before it gets more serious.
  • Make sure you get your prescription medicines before pharmacies close on Christmas Eve.
  • Always take your prescribed medicines as directed.
  • Look out for other people who may need a bit of extra help over winter.


Projects & Finance Committee meeting minutes 28.09.15

The Projects and Finance Committee meeting took place recently, please download the full meeting minutes HERE.

Highlight’s included:

New Project Ideas.

Community Orchard Accessibility.

Pathway, Signage, Improve accessibility. Partnership working with In Bloom / Astbury Mere Trust /CEBC rangers. P.Pinto and M.Axford working on design and costs.

Cycle Shelters.

This is being picked up by Phil Mason CEBC Environmental. 1 shelter to be sited at or near the Library, other sites to be considered. No action required currently by The Partnership.

Heritage / Bear / Town Walk Trails.

P.Aston to chair this through, also to involve Congleton Museum. The Every Step Counts trail map is a good place to start. P.Pinto looking to incorporate a gardens trail. Trail map to be sited on one side of the town destination boards.

Car Park Destination Maps / Signage. Get Involved Booklet.

Jackie showed the meeting a selection of maps currently being used. Price ranges from £2k to £3k for the artwork. Possible approach EPH artist as an alternative designer. Looking at 5 sites, boards cost around £1.5k each (double sided) Jackie to find out about the requirement for planning permission. A project cost / proposal to be put together, Glen Williams will then take to Cheshire East.

Moody Street Green Area.

Once Antrobus St Gardens is completed there should be some S106 money left to refurbish the Moody St ‘green area’ up to Antrobus St Gardens standard. Partnership to work with CEBC (Julie Byrne) on this.

Mountbatten Way – Green Boulevard.

BE suggested this project to remove the railings and create a green boulevard. BH to discuss the idea with David Brown. This will now be raised at the Public Realm meeting 28.9.15

Youth Hub / Transport.


Youth Hub.

This subject is currently on the backburner.


Transport/ Mini Bus.

Issues regarding long term admin and parking/storage being dealt with (may have a second bus soon) currently.

New bank account being opened at Natwest as a standalone minibus account. We can then start invoicing organisations for usage and also promote the scheme.

Monday 23rd November, Spencer Suite , 9.30am

Congleton Sustainability Group are on Twitter!

Congleton Sustainability Group (CSG) are on Twitter! During the last 2 meetings we have been ‘twittering’ with Cathy Dean (@ibdcath) who has been providing some training.

Follow us on @CongoGreen to keep up-to-date with all the projects CSG is involved in. We hope Twitter will give us the opportunity to keep in touch and make lots of new connections who are interested in the work of CSG and helping to keep Congleton green!

Join in the conversation using the hashtag #congogreen

Congleton Partnership has their own account, follow @CongoPar to keep up-to-date with the wider news from the Partnership.

Look forward to receiving your tweets!

Senior Forum – Bob’s Blog Part 5

Bob’s Blog Part 5 – Appears first in Congleton Chronicle 

Bob's Blog Senior Forum

Remembrance Day is the time of year when lots of us older folk think back to war time – but it’s nice when youngsters mark the occasion!   My grandson was at my house the other evening and his pal called to collect him. He was wearing a poppy for his night out on the town– he’s just signed up for the army, starts his basic training on Monday .  Good on yer lad and God speed!

I was still a kid in the Second World War, but I remember my cousin signed up – he was accepted, though he was barely 18.   Turned out to be a crack shot – a natural – and he volunteered for the Airborne Division.    Not long after he was really in the thick of it –  caught up in the Battle of Arnhem Sept 1944..

The history books tell of how the 1st British Airborne Division was part of  the plan to  advance into Germany’s industrial heartland.  However,  they encountered far more resistance than was expected.   A night-time evacuation of the remnants of the 1st British Airbourne Division rescued 2400 men.   Unfortunately my cousin wasn’t one of them.   He told me,

“We were holed up in what was left of a house in the outskirts of the town, when we heard the rumble of an advancing tank coming ever closer.   It stopped outside the house and swung it’s turret to face the house – we were looking down the barrel of a very big gun – that was the end of my war! “

It’s incredible to imagine that these things have happened in my life time! Anyway, there was a happy ending to the story…  When my cousin got home he visited his best pal, who he’d met in basic training  and spent most of the war with, and fell head over heels for his sister –they’ve  just celebrated 69 years of marriage!!   Now that’s a nice ending!

When I think of Remembrance Day I think of the Royal British Legion .  The Legion was set up to help those returning from the First World War. Almost a century on, they’re  still there helping Service people, Veterans, and their families. The Royal British Legion  volunteers have been out in force selling poppies  But that’s not all they do.  Gillian McKinnon from the Royal British Legion was telling me that they have funding from Cheshire East Council and are all geared up to identify and address social isolation for the elderly in the area.  They want to work with other organisations that have links to the armed services in any way –  Gillian wants people to know that the Royal British Legion  are there to support anyone in the area who may have served or are currently serving and who needs some support .   I also discovered  that my dear cousin could apply for a free ‘Care Phone’  – they’re worn on your wrist or around your neck and if they are pressed , a call goes through to a 24 hour response centre who will get help.   He’s 90 now and some days is a bit wobbly  – it would be great for him.   And it’s all free for  Service and ex-Service persons

Gillian says they always need more volunteers,

“We are really keen to encourage local people to volunteer for us, to help support local heroes.”

Volunteers are trained to be caseworkers, visitors, information volunteers , fundraisers and much more.   To find out more have a look on their website or ring  0808 802 8080