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….