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After Prince Philip’s car crash, one local charity says mediation is the answer

The debate as to when individuals should end their driving careers was highlighted again following the road traffic crash that involved Prince Philip, on 17th January near to the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk.

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One local charity, West Sussex Mediation Service, has been helping families deal with this dilemma, and many other tricky subjects that result from our ageing population.

The Charity launched its Elder Mediation service in 2016 having recognised that we have an ageing population in the UK and families with older relatives are facing various difficult issues to resolve. This extends beyond driving careers to caring duties, living arrangements, dealing with change, wills/inheritances and powers of attorney.

Mediation helps everyone involved to hear and understand one another and to work together, with the aim of finding the best solutions that suit all those involved. West Sussex Mediation Service offers this service free, with an invitation to make a donation to help sustain the charity.

Service Co-ordinator for the charity, Nick Handley said,

“We know that this can be an emotive subject, as the ability to drive provides great independence. However, there can be positives out of hanging up your car keys. With free travel on buses and subsidies on trains, there could be a financial saving. Accepting lifts from friends/family can sociable events and most of us would agree that driving is very stressful anyway and not great for your blood pressure.”

By 2020 the number of people aged over 80 will have doubled. In 2016 18% of the population were aged 65 and over and 2.4% were 85 years or older. The over 65’s will account for roughly a quarter of the population by 2046.   If you would like any advice on this or associated issues, the charity can be contacted on 0300 200 0025 or via info@wsms.org.uk

Lifestyle

Crawley Council appoints new contractors to manage council homes across town

Crawley Borough Council has appointed two new contractors to manage the maintenance of council homes around the town.

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Cabinet agreed recommendations to appoint Mears Group and Wates Property Services at their meeting on 27 November.

The two new contractors will be managing responsive repairs, planned maintenance and empty dwellings for Crawley Homes properties from 1 April this year.

The contract, which is valued at £167 million over 10 years will split the town into two areas, with Mears delivering maintenance in one area and Wates in the other.

Existing staff will be moved over the new contractors, ensuring no disruption to council tenants and the same familiar faces at appointments.

The chosen contractors came top in both quality and price, scoring highly for their approach to the environment and their commitment to the community.

Cabinet member for Housing, Councillor Ian Irvine said:

“This is great news for our council tenants, who will continue to receive top quality service. Here at the council we have a thorough process to ensure we get the best possible deal for both the organisation and our residents.”

Colin Middlemass, Chief Operating Officer at Mears, said:

“I am very pleased we will continue to build on our relationship with the council. We place social value at the heart of our business and we look forward to working with them to develop shared objectives as to how we can contribute back into the community. Mears is not just a contractor but a local employer and our operatives are members of the community in which we will be working.”

David Morgan, Managing Director of Wates Property Services, commented:

“Crawley Borough Council has a very clear strategy to provide an efficient and high quality service across its housing portfolio, an ambition to which our expertise is perfectly suited. “We very much look forward to working with the borough again over the next decade, and our priority is to enhance service delivery and working closely with the client to develop a seamless customer journey, ensuring we provide an exceptional service from day one.”

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