Thanet community news: Margate RNLI teams up with Hilderstone Amateur Radio Society, KFRS, Civic Society and more

Hilderstone Radio Society members making contact from the lifeboat station (RNLI Margate)

Margate RNLI

Thanet-based Hilderstone Amateur Radio Society recently operated a Special Event Station from Margate lifeboat station aimed at publicising the work of the RNLI.

Margate RNLI has long had a friendly and fruitful relationship with Hilderstone Radio Society, club secretary Ian Lowe is one of the lifeboat station’s Deputy Launching Authorities and helped organise the week-long amateur radio station event using the special call sign GB1RNLI aimed at publicising the work of the RNLI.

Over 800 contacts were made with fellow amateurs around the UK, Europe and world-wide with the longest distance established being a contact in New Zealand. The focus however was contacts closer to home speaking to UK and Eire amateurs.

The work of RNLI volunteers exists entirely through public contributions and while demands on the lifeboat service have increased over the years, donations have not kept pace to meet the need.

Club members also made a welcome donation of £78 as thanks for being given permission to use the station and the call sign will be aired again during May as part of the RNLI’s annual SOS Week fundraising appeal.

Anyone interested in amateur radio or electronics can contact the Society via [email protected] or visit its website

Peter Barker, Lifeboat Press Officer, Margate RNLI said: “Raising funds to support the work of the RNLI is vital but has to start with raising awareness of the organisation with the public. We are extremely grateful to Hilderstone Amateur Radio Society for this unique way of ensuring the work of saving lives at sea can continue.”

The Independent Vindicatrix of East Kent Association  –  M.N.

We held our annual New Year Dinner on Saturday, January 25, at The Racing Greyhound in Ramsgate with a full complement attending.  A welcoming speech was made by the Secretary including a toast to “Absent Friends” before a presentation was made to our hosts Debbie and Keith as a show of our appreciation for all they do for us over the years.  We then sat down to enjoy another great 3 course dinner ending with coffee and mints to end with.  We held our raffle with thanks to all who donated prizes and who bought tickets which raised £141 so thanks to all.  We now look forward to another year.

Dickens Fellowship in Broadstairs

Wednesday, February 5, 7pm, at the Pavilion, Fellowship Meeting.

Professor Catherine Waters, “Much of Sala and but little of Russia: ‘A Journey Due North’, Household Words and the birth of a special correspondent”.  £5 to non-members.

Saturday, February 8, 3pm, at the Pavilion. “Happy Birthday Mr Dickens!”  Public event. Tickets £10 from Willow Fabrics, High Street Broadstairs, or [email protected]  The afternoon includes a cream tea, a performance of ‘The Bloomsbury Christening’ (from Sketches by Boz by Charles Dickens), by the Dickens Declaimers, and a grand raffle in aid of local charity OASIS.

Margate Civic Society

Following a break in January, our first meeting of the New Year, will be held in the Ballroom at the Walpole Bay Hotel, Fifth Avenue, Cliftonville on Thursday, February 6 at 7:30pm – attendees are requested to be seated by 7:15pm.   The meeting will start with Members’ Notices, after which our guest speaker: Felicity Stafford (MCS Vice President and Margate Museum Trustee) will be giving a talk entitled Topic: “Victorian Holidaymaking” followed by an opportunity for any questions.

As always during the evening, raffle tickets will be on sale (£1.00 per strip or 6 for £5.00) with the draw taking place at the end of the evening.

All are welcome – nominal entrance fee is £3.00 for non-Members.

If you are interested in joining Margate Civic Society, or wish to find out more, please see our website for further details.

Thanet Over Fifties Forum

Thanet Over Fifties Forum invites the isle’s older residents to find out if they could maximise their income or make their money go further at the public forum meeting “Living on a budget.”

The meeting will take place from 10.30am – 12.30pm on Wednesday, February 12 at Margate Caves Community Room, Northdown Road, Margate, CT9 1QH.

Cheryl Giles from the Department for Work and Pensions is the keynote speaker. She will give a brief presentation to provide the most up-to-date information about pensions, Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Access to Work grants and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

The second speaker will be Kara Flynn from Thanet CAP Debt Centre (Christians Against Poverty) who offer debt help, supported by Emma Prentice from TOP Up. TOP Up is a project that helps people to access the benefits they are entitled to incl. assisting them to fill out the necessary forms.

Other organisations invited are Southern Water, SpeakUpCIC, Utility Warehouse and Live Well Kent/Porchlight. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask any of the organisations present questions and talk to them face to face about issues of concern they may have.

TOFFS co-ordinator, Pauline Petitt, said: “Even if you are not a member of TOFFS, you are warmly invited to come along to our bi-monthly forum meetings. They are free, informative and could help support the decisions you make this year”.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service

By working with other agencies we can help people to live safer, more independent lives – whether they are living with frailty, dementia, mental health concerns, a disability or old age.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service has an excellent record in prevention, and is viewed by the public as a ‘trusted’ organisation.  As a result of the success of home safety visits, as part of the national Fire as a Health Asset programme, visits were rebranded as ‘Safe and Well’ and include conversations where there are shared risk factors between fire and health.

A typical FREE visit takes around 45 minutes and currently includes:

Engaging with people to understand their lifestyle, behaviours and motivations

Highlighting any risks from fire to the home owner

Advising them on how to reduce those risks and encouraging safer behaviours

Fitting smoke alarms where necessary

Providing specialist equipment where necessary (e.g. fire proof blankets, deaf alarms etc.)

Identifying and reducing risk of trips and falls

Screening and making referrals to other agencies for support

Telecare assessments

Offering advice about keeping warm in the winter.

Care providers, health practitioners, carers and other agencies who already visit people in their own homes are well placed to identify individuals who may be at greater risk of fire and require extra support from Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

KFRS will accept referrals from any partner agency to arrange for one of our home safety officers to make a safe and well visit where they consider people vulnerable to the risk of fire.

Our home safety officers can make referrals to other agencies where they identify further support is needed, for example to Age UK and other charities, local authority social care, social services, health trainers, care navigators, etc.

To make a referral to Kent Fire and Rescue Service please complete a referral form filling in as much detail as possible and send it to:

Kent Fire and Rescue Service, The Godlands, Straw Mill Hill, Tovil, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6XB; or email [email protected] or securely to [email protected].

For more information, our home safety team can be contacted at [email protected] or call 0800 923 7000.

Kent Community Health Trust

A health trust in Kent is believed to be the first in the country to be pioneering a simple but effective wristband, for patients with breathing problems.

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) is trialling the wristbands with patients at risk of type two respiratory failure. The project involves patients being given a coloured wristband, which tells health professionals how much oxygen they need, should they become unwell.

The wristbands correspond with those being used in hospitals, enabling ambulance and accident and emergency staff to initiate the appropriate level of oxygen for the patient. It also reduces the risk of giving too much oxygen in an emergency situation.

Robin Levett, 79, from Ashford, is just one KCHFT patient who has an oxygen wristband. Three years ago, he was taken to hospital by ambulance from his home after a cough developed into an infection, leaving him fighting for breath and with type two respiratory failure. He is still isn’t in the best of health – he has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – with his condition being managed through regular oxygen treatment. He can be hooked up to the machine at his home in Ashford, for 15 hours a day. But it doesn’t get him down.

He said: “Oxygen has given me my life, it’s saved my life.”

From Robin and his wife Sue’s point of view, what has helped even more is the oxygen wristband he now wears. It means that he never has to worry if he has to go into hospital, as medical teams will give him the level of oxygen he needs.

The oxygen wristbands pilot is a quality improvement project at KCHFT, where the trust is looking at what it does and how it can do things better. There are more than 120 projects under way.

KCHFT’s east Kent Professional Lead Sheilagh McCrossan said: “The results so far are very promising and do seem to indicate that the project has reduced admissions to hospital with type two respiratory failure, and is reducing the length of stay for patients being admitted with a flare up of their COPD.”

It was while Sheilagh was working with Kent Surrey Sussex Oxygen Network that the idea for oxygen wristbands for community respiratory patients was born. The network was beginning to use saturation wristbands in hospitals, something first piloted in the north of England. This initial pilot had shown positive outcomes and it was then Sheilagh questioned whether this work was transferrable to the community.

The pilot began in November 2018. Following a comprehensive assessment, patients are issued with a coloured wristband indicating target oxygen saturations appropriate for them when they are unwell.

For retired Robin, who worked in the oil industry, it has made a significant difference. For a start, it has given him a better quality of life than he may have experienced. Although, he can no longer play his beloved bowls or golf, he can still get out and about with Sue, who he has been married to for 43 years, and their two children, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Sue, 77, said: “It would be really easy to just have stayed at home, been depressed and lost his social life and confidence. Although he was very down after that first hospital stay, the oxygen, motivation and boost from the team, who have become good friends, has meant he’s got to grips with it all and wants to get out.”

The wristband proved its worth when Robin was unfortunately admitted to hospital again in the autumn for a few days. He said: “The teams saw the wristband and knew my target oxygen levels; it was really helpful because too much can be dangerous.

“The wristband is always on and so I know that wherever I am, the medical people will know what oxygen to give me – I’d be unlikely to be able to tell them if I’m breathless.”

Much of the support given to patients in east Kent from the respiratory team is focused around supporting self-management and enabling patients to have a better understanding of their health and wellbeing.

Specialist Respiratory Nurse Lauren Mackenzie said: “Robin has also attended our rehabilitation group and has said how much that helped too.”

Respiratory Nurse Merlyn D’Cruz said: “Robin first came to us after he was admitted to William Harvey Hospital. He was diagnosed with COPD about nine years ago. We have worked with him through self-education and self-management.

“I think what happened was a shock to him as he had not been unwell, but he has coped very well. We taught him what oxygen does and how he can monitor his symptoms, so he can try to prevent further hospital admissions. The wristband is helping with that too.”

What is type two respiratory failure? 

The main function of our lungs is to get oxygen into the body and to release the waste gas carbon dioxide.

Type two respiratory failure happens when there is an increased amount of waste gas in the blood. This build-up is because the lungs are unable to sufficiently clear it from the body.

For some respiratory patients, high levels of carbon dioxide can have serious health complications and in extreme cases can lead to death if left untreated.

If treatment is needed, this inevitably leads to a longer length of stay in hospital. In addition, giving these patients high levels of oxygen can make the lungs further retain the waste gas and put them at greater risk.

Until now respiratory patients in east Kent were issued with an alert card, which identifies and informs ambulance crews and hospital teams that they are at risk of retaining carbon dioxide.

However, when respiratory patients are having a frightening flare up, they become increasingly breathless. This can lead to panic and then understandably the small alerts card often gets lost or forgotten and is not shown to health care professionals involved in their care.

Pilgrims Hospices

Solicitor firms across east Kent this February are kindly donating their time and expertise to write Wills completely free of charge, in return for a donation to Pilgrims Hospices. All money raised through the scheme will be donated to Pilgrims, in order that they can continue to be there for the families who need end-of-life care now and in the future.

Last year Make a Will Month raised more than £23,250; enough to fund over 930 hours of nursing care for people facing a terminal diagnosis and their families.

Sara Scriven, Pilgrims Hospices said: “We are incredibly grateful to all the solicitors who are generously giving up their time to take part in this scheme. 2020 will be our seventh year of running Make a Will Month in east Kent, and over that time it has raised enough to fund a palliative specialist nurse at the hospice for over three years!

“Almost everyone in our local community knows someone who has, or could have, benefited from the excellent work of our specialist medical staff. If you need to make or update your Will, there really is no better way to do it, knowing that you’ll be making a huge difference to the lives of so many people who need our care in the most difficult of times.”

There are eight participating solicitor firms taking part in Make a Will Month 2020: Whitehead Monckton – Robinson Allfree – Prospero Solicitors – Manak Solicitors – Mowll & Mowll Solicitors – Girlings Solicitors – Direction Law – Boys and Maughan.

You can find the solicitors’ details on Pilgrims Hospices website

If you would like more information about leaving Pilgrims a gift in your Will, please call Pilgrims on 01227 782062 or email [email protected]. There is no obligation to include a gift in your Will to Pilgrims as part of Make a Will Month 2020.