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A time for giving Barbicania


hen you are very young, Christmas and birthdays seem to take forever to come around, whereas when you get to one’s more advanced years everything seems to have speeded up and this year has been the fastest ever for me, but I have found a way to delay the passage of time! I have ruptured an Achilles tendon and recovery

seems to be taking forever – but I fear it’s not something I would recommend to slow down the passing of the years. Six weeks when one is not allowed to put any weight on one of one’s legs seems to be interminable and opens up a knowledge of how much one relies on one’s freedom of movement to handle the simple things of everyday life. What such an injury does do, though, is heighten one’s awareness of the problems

facing those with permanent or long term disabilities and illnesses. Why it is that facilities for the infirm and disabled are so important and how vital it is in a community like the Barbican, where the apartments are accessed from podium level that the means of getting from the street up are maintained in good order But the Christian Christmas holiday is approaching fast and in the UK those who

follow other creeds are happy to celebrate also, but without the religious connotations. Indeed many of the trappings of Christmas as we know it have been adapted from pagan festivals relating to the turning point of the year in the Northern hemisphere from the depths of winter, or the Roman Saturnalia. These ancient traditions involve gift giving – which nowadays has come to mean a seemingly huge excess of consumer spending. At this time, in amongst the spending frenzy, though, one should spare a thought for those charities which rely on public subscription and put some of what you might otherwise spend their way. We cover a few local ones in this issue, not all relating to the sick or disabled. However, there are tens of thousands of worthy causes, big and small, all needing support and Christmas is an important point in the money raising calendar for them. Maybe the dire economic situation may be causing you to cut gift giving expenditure

overall, but even if you do where you can it can be worth apportioning something to charities. For example, there are many of us in the Barbican entitled to winter fuel payment who do not, in reality, need it. Yes, it’s nice to get an extra £200 or £300 at this time of year from the government and it is extremely valuable to those just drawing a state pension and living near or below the poverty line. But few in the Barbican would fall into this category. The Guardian quotes official figures that 5.4 million households are in fuel poverty.

Some estimates suggest that about 25,400 older people died in the UK last winter due to the extreme cold, and it has been suggested that fuel poverty will kill at least 2,700 people in the coming months. There are schemes for those who do not need these winter fuel payments to make them available for those who do. Think about it this Christmas, or give generously anyway, and make it a happier one for those in need.

Lawrence Williams 5

Lawrence Williams Editor

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