top of page

HDOPF Newsletter June 2024

Horsham District Older Peoples Forum Newsletter

Issue 2 June 2024


Our supporters enjoyed the first Newsletter and found the brief summary of each guest speaker’s presentation very interesting. We would welcome any suggestions for future speakers.

If any of your family or friends living in the Horsham District are age 60+ or care for someone who is and would like to be on our mailing list, please email or through ‘Contact’ on our website,

A Public Meeting was held on Tuesday, June 11th, 2024, at Lavinia House. We welcomed our three guest speakers and thanked them for finding the time to speak to us and allow attendees to ask questions.

Olive Tree Cancer Support Group Sheri Werner, Centre Manager Horsham.

Olive Tree Cancer Support Centre is a small independent local charity that provides support services to anyone affected by cancer. It is non-medical and does not give advice about the disease or its treatment but offers emotional and social support at a time when people don't know where to turn.

Olive Tree started as the Crawley Cancer Centre in 1990 when a group of people affected by cancer came together for support. The group grew to the extent that charitable status was granted in 1992, and the Olive Tree Cancer Support Centre opened in its current location in the grounds of Crawley Hospital. In February 2023, the Horsham Centre officially opened in Lavinia House with its dedicated entrance and reception lounge.

You do not need a clinical referral to use the Olive Tree services. Individuals affected by cancer can contact the centre directly to arrange an initial appointment to register. After a short registration meeting with the Centre Manager, your support needs are identified, and you are advised of what is available. Free counselling, coaching, hydrotherapy, yoga, complementary therapy, information workshops and group sessions are held at both centres. In addition, Crawley Centre has a free wig fitting and headscarf service and can offer acupuncture.

Complementary therapies are offered on the basis that they are used alongside medical treatment and are not used as replacements. Complementary and alternative therapies are often confused, but they are NOT the same thing. Alternative therapies are intended as alternatives to orthodox medical approaches, while complementary therapies allow for an integrated approach and always prioritise medical advice.

Olive Tree has a monthly drop-in social group and a fortnightly knit and natter crafting group. These groups offer an opportunity for members to connect with others in similar circumstances, which is hugely beneficial. Often, people living with cancer or those who have been bereaved don't wish to burden families but do want to talk about their experiences.

To learn more about Olive Tree Cancer Support Group, please visit their website, Alternatively, you can telephone 01403 627424 or email

Phil Mockett - HDC Community Link Team

The Horsham District Council Community Link Team comprises 7 members who provide a technology service to keep people safe in their homes in Horsham District and Mid Sussex. The largest part of the service is providing link alarms to the home where clients wear a button around their neck or wrists, which they press in an emergency, and which triggers an alarm connected to the alarm receiving centre at Mole Valley. The Centre is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They speak to the client through the loudspeaker on the alarm and will contact the emergency services, or one of the clients nominated emergency contact numbers. A monthly rental fee is charged, which includes installation and an emergency out-of-hours repair service. The service is not means tested, and there are no upfront equipment costs.

The Team collaborates with various partners, which is particularly important so they can signpost service users to them and receive any referrals. Phil gives lots of presentations to various groups throughout the district and will give a talk any other organisations. British Telecom is turning off everyone's home analogue telephone lines and replacing them with digital ones. The timescale was 2025, but this has now been extended to 2027. Phil's team got on board early as the Link Alarm operates through the analogue system, and they need to change over 2000 Service Users equipment to ensure compatibility with the new digital system. They are now about 75% of the way through the changeover. BT have said they will not disconnect any link alarm because of the change from analogue to digital without ensuring a replacement system is in place.

Below is a brief description of their most popular systems. If you require more details or would like to discuss your options and book a visit to discuss the solutions that can help you, please call 01403 215230 or email Visit their webpage

Link Alarms consist of a lifeline main unit (photo below) and an alarm pendant worn around the neck or wrist (photo below). They are water-resistant and can be worn in the bath or shower. They have a range of 300m to ensure the alarm can be raised anywhere in the home or garden. A 40-hour battery backup is included in the lifeline main unit to ensure the service users are safe during a power outage, and it will recharge once the power is restored. All Link Alarm units include a FREE smoke detector linked to the monitoring centre and fitted by West Sussex Fire and Rescue service.

Footprint is a GPS tracker with an SOS button and two-way communication. It pinpoints the wearer's location and provides hands-free conversation through the built-in speaker. Footprint enables independence while providing reassurance and safety.

Ownfone is a handheld mobile telecare solution that allows freedom and independence inside and outside the home. Simply press the “Assistance" button to be connected to the 24-hour monitoring centre. Family and friends can be authorised to call into the device.

Chiptech GO is a wearable device with 3G cellular and GPS. When activated, it sends an alert along with your GPS location to the monitoring Centre. GO encourages you to be more independent in your day-to-day activities, both at home and out and about. You can be confident knowing help is at hand. GO can also be fitted with ‘fall detection’ as an optional extra.

Automatic medication dispenser

It can be easily programmed to alert and dispense the right medication at the right time. The dispenser will provide an audible and visual reminder to ensure you take the right dose at the right time each day. It can be used for over 28 days.

This device can be used on its own, or linked to the 24 hour monitoring centre. If you do not take your medication, they will contact you and find out if you are okay.

The HDC Community Link Team seeks new initiatives to help their Service Users. Recently, a partner service asked if the Team provided interactive pets as one of their clients with dementia would like a pet cat, which wasn’t practical for them. After scanning the market, the team found a company that sells realistic interactive pets, and they showed us the cat en route to the new client. It was shown for all to see. The cat’s eyes open and shut, it purrs, and when tickled in the right place, it responds and meows.

Janet Steed Business Development Coordinator for Community Transport West Sussex

CT West Sussex has 7 Depots working across West Sussex and carries 10,000 passengers monthly. They work with WSCC and Local Primary Care Providers, including Social Subscribers and our members and partners. Horsham Depot is based in Lavinia House, and it has 11 drivers who carry out school runs, dial-a-ride, group hire, and vaccine transport for certain surgeries.

In September 2023, CT West Sussex started the Henfield Electric Car Club, a community-led project that allows villagers to hire and self-drive a car or to volunteer as a driver for non-driving members. Currently, it has 55 members and 11 volunteer drivers. There are three vehicles, one of which has wheelchair access. It has been very successful and is hoped to be replicated elsewhere.

CT West Sussex plays a crucial role in promoting health and well-being, especially for those who have limited access to public transport for vital medical appointments, treatment, and support services. It also allows individuals to stay connected with their communities, such as friendship clubs and family members. The aim is to combat isolation and loneliness, which are known to impact physical and mental health.

Visit for further information about CT West Sussex or register to become a member at Tel 01403 754206 or email

Lyme disease

Lyme disease is an infection that can be passed to people when an infected tick bites them. People are most likely to encounter ticks when doing activities in the countryside or other green spaces, such as woodland or some urban parks or gardens. Lyme disease is an uncommon infection that can be successfully treated with a full course of antibiotics.

What are the signs of Lyme disease?

It is particularly important to look out for symptoms of Lyme disease and check yourself for ticks after you go to green spaces where they may be present. Prompt tick removal can reduce your chances of getting Lyme disease.

Rapidly recognising symptoms can ensure that if you are developing the disease, you can receive the earliest diagnosis and treatment from your GP. If an infected tick bites you, your symptoms will typically develop 1-4 weeks after being bitten; however, they can appear between 3 and 30 days after exposure.

Symptoms include a spreading circular red rash, which may appear as a bulls-eye rash like the image below and non-specific flu-like symptoms. Although many people associate the disease with the rash, one-third don’t report seeing one.

If you have developed symptoms after being bitten by a tick or spending time outdoors, contact your GP ASAP or call NHS 111, mentioning where you have been and if you remember being bitten.

Self-management Course for adults with a long-term health condition

The Living Well Programme is part of the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, Expert Patients Programme (EPP), which helps adults with conditions such as Heart Disease, MS, Depression, Arthritis, ME, CFS, IBS and more. The aim is to aid adults in taking more control of their health by learning new skills to manage the condition better on a daily basis. The free course runs over 6 weekly sessions, each lasting 2.5 hours, and is facilitated by two fully qualified volunteer tutors. The course covers such things as how to manage pain, anxiety, depression, isolation, etc and sets out weekly goals. It helps with solving problems, healthy eating, physical activity, managing medication, preventing falls and other useful aspects. If you think this could help you or someone you know, then contact the EPP on 01403 227000 ext. 7547 or

HDOPF – meeting dates for your 2024 diary

Horsham District Older Peoples Forum is growing thanks to your, Age UK and WSBH support.

Who can attend our meetings?

Anyone aged 60+ who lives in the Horsham district or cares for someone who is. Anyone involved with, knowledgeable about, or interested in issues affecting local older people.

Local HDC, WSCC, Neighbourhood and Parish Councillors are much welcomed.

To ensure you are on our Mailing List and receive our newsletters and updated information via our blogs, please sign up on our website.

When, where, and how much?

All meetings are free to attend, starting at 10 am (finishing around lunchtime 12.30) at Age UK, Lavinia House, Dukes Square, Denne Road, Horsham RH12 1GZ, or you can participate via Zoom.

1. Tuesday 3rd September 2024

2. Friday 6th December 2024 (MP for Horsham, question time,)

What will you gain by attending?

Meeting others in a warm, safe, older person-friendly environment with complimentary tea, coffee, and usually, biscuits.

As always, we will talk and listen to the issues you want to discuss and get answers to. We will have topical and knowledgeable guest speakers who know or need to know the concerns of older people. Are others worried about the same things you are? Certainly!

Would you like to hear about something you didn't know, such as NHS updates, what and where help is available, access to GP services, community transport, and more?

Come and find out for yourself. You will be welcomed, and we guarantee you will learn something new.

221 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page