Letters to the editor: 21/09/17

(21 September, 2017) Letters

This week's topics include: suicide prevention; a free event for leaseholders; and Southwark Carers' lift issues

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Strong partnerships to tackle suicide

Suicide prevention is a high priority for councils, which already provide a range of vital services that support the health and mental wellbeing of our communities.

However we need a root and branch overhaul of mental health services, which focuses on prevention and early intervention, particularly for children and young people.

It is also crucial that we have the right investment in mental health and suicide prevention services. Councils support the £1 billion being invested in the NHS by 2020 to address mental health, but there needs to be a similar commitment to invest in local government to help tackle mental illness and prevent suicide.

Councils have in place community-based suicide prevention plans but we can only really tackle the issue alongside other public and private organisations, such as schools, railway operators, supermarkets, hospitals and police stations.

Suicide is preventable, but it needs to be everybody’s business to work together to tackle this tragic loss of life.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board

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The leaseholders roadshow is coming

Flat owners struggling with leasehold issues in Southwark will be offered specialist advice at a free drop-in event on 26 September.

Market-leading leasehold experts, Leasehold Solutions, will present the Leasehold Roadshow in Southwark to help flat owners in the borough to get free expert information and money-saving advice on a comprehensive range of leasehold issues.

The free-to-attend event, which is taking place at the Avonmouth House Training Venue, 6 Avonmouth Street, SE1 6NX on Tuesday 26 September from 3pm to 8pm, will give flat owners the opportunity to discuss leasehold issues with legal, valuation and project management professionals who specialise in leasehold issues.

We have worked in Southwark helping leaseholders for the last 15 years and during that time we have seen evidence of every single leasehold issue and scandalous tactic possible going on in Southwark.

Leasehold has recently become a very hot topic and the issues leaseholders have to deal with are detailed in the press and media on a daily basis. Promises to end these abuses have been made by the Prime Minister and were even included in the Queen’s speech earlier this year, but the reality is that until we have meaningful reform to the leasehold system flat owners will continue to be exploited.

Leasehold is a complex area and it can be very difficult for flat owners to get access to the information they need to defend themselves. That’s why we’re bringing the Leasehold Roadshow to Southwark, to provide flat owners with free, impartial advice to help them take back control of their property.

We see many cases where flat owners get exploited by unscrupulous freeholders, who raise their ground rent and service charges, or offer them informal lease extensions, where flat owners end up with no legal protection whatsoever. The only way that flat owners can defend themselves against these underhand tactics, and spend less money in the process, is to fully understand their rights as leaseholders.

The Leasehold Roadshow in Southwark will feature a series of seminars and workshops covering a range of topics, including how to challenge rising service charges, the implications of owning an ex-local authority flat, and what is really involved in extending a lease or purchasing the freehold on a property.

The sessions will be delivered by specialists including leasehold expert Louie Burns from Leasehold Solutions, valuation expert Steve Jones from Leasehold Valuers and Chi Collins, head of Leasehold Enfranchisement at CBG Law to help flat owners understand the complexities of leasehold issues.

www.theleaseholdroadshow.co.uk for more information or to book a place at this FREE event.

Louie Burns, Managing Director of Leasehold Solutions

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Disabled Entrepreneur of the Year now open

Entries for this year’s Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs are now open.

Eleven years ago, with the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability, I set up the award which recognises the many talented, ambitious and inspiring disabled people who have set up their own businesses, charities or social enterprises. The award is also open to start-up and not-yet-registered companies.

I’m now calling for people to apply or nominate someone they think is eligible for this year’s award. There is a cash prize of £70,000 – the largest of its kind – and the overall winner can invest £30,000 in their business in any way they choose, while another four finalists win £10,000 each.

The 2016 winner, Alex Papanikolaou, a young entrepreneur from Glasgow, won with his Freedom One Life design of a next generation power wheelchair. Previous winners have been drawn from the building, hospitality & tourism, as well as IT sectors.

This award is open to anyone with a disability – as defined by the Equality Act – which includes all disabilities and long term health conditions.

Apply now or nominate someone, before the deadline on 6th October, www.leonardcheshire.org/stelios, and liking our Facebook page Stelios Philanthropic Foundation.

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, c/o Leonard Cheshire Disability

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Beware carers’ lift out!

I would just like to warn anyone who is thinking of visiting Southwark Carers, the lift has been out of action for at least two months – and as its location is on the third floor – be prepared to climb at least 60 stairs.

I find it absolutely disgraceful, that no attempt is being made to mend the lift. Somebody there said they are not bothering – so Walworth Methodist Church, what are you proposing to do about this appalling situation?

The church doesn’t look its best anyway, without the added stress of walking up the stairs. Southwark Carers is a wonderful organisation – so why are they being treated like this.

Name and address supplied  

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