BRINGING COMMUNITIES TOGETHER TO CREATE ‘DEMENTIA-FRIENDLY’ BOROUGH / SPRING-CLEAN IN CROYDON? / BMW BENEFIT CHEAT JAILED / SUBLETTING LAMBETH ‘CHEAT’ PROSECUTED / WARNING ON POTENTIALLY FATAL DANGERS OF STEALING ELECTRICITY
BRINGING COMMUNITIES TOGETHER TO CREATE ‘DEMENTIA-FRIENDLY’ BOROUGH
Famous arts venues, major supermarkets, and the local football club are just three of the organisations and businesses who are signing up to a council-led scheme to make Southwark dementia friendly.
More than 30 groups have already signed up to Southwark’s Dementia Action Alliance (DAA), meaning when it officially launches in December it will instantly become the largest DAA in London, said the council in a press release.
Everyone who signs up to the scheme, including Southwark council itself, will pledge to do at least three things each year to support people with dementia – such as training staff to recognise and help people with dementia, changing the layout of their premises to be more dementia friendly or fundraising for local dementia charities.
Cllr Dora Dixon Fyle, cabinet member for adult care, arts and culture and Dementia Friends Champion, said: “With an aging population in Southwark, and the rest of the country, dementia remains one of the most significant social challenges we face.
“Hundreds of people are living with dementia in Southwark alone, and the numbers are set to increase, but that shouldn’t mean people with dementia or their carers can’t go out and enjoy life and make the most of the incredible opportunities in Southwark.
“We want to get all our tourism spots, culture venues, sports stadiums, shopping areas and public services on board to learn more about dementia and how they can play their part in improving the quality of life for many people in Southwark who are either living with or caring for people with some form of dementia, as well as raising awareness of the condition in the wider community and the steps people can take in earlier life to mitigate against any future impact.”
Will Holmes, Alzheimer’s Society’s DAA Co-ordinator for London said: “It’s vital that people living with dementia should still be able to enjoy all Southwark has to offer.
“Many people with dementia have reported feeling trapped in their own homes and let down by their communities, with one in three only getting out once a week and one in 10 only manage this once a month. “This is simply unacceptable.
“The Southwark Dementia Action Alliance aims to address the isolation that many people living with dementia can feel and we are delighted to see so many of the borough’s greatest attractions and services committing to helping people in the community live well with dementia.” (Source: Southwark council press release)
SPRING-CLEAN IN CROYDON?
Croydon council have asked their waste contractor Veolia to introduce a new neighbourhood approach to street cleaning from next spring across the borough.
“This will mean that each patch will have its own streets sweepers, refuse collectors and fly-tip removal teams” explained a council spokeswoman.
“These staff will work together to share information and resolve concerns on waste and recycling.
“Working in area-based teams will allow them to get to know their local residents and link in with the council’s area enforcement officers. “That way everyone takes ownership of their area and instills pride in their local environment.”
The announcement comes in a council press release which says district centres are benefiting from four additional cleaners as part of the Don’t Mess With Croydon campaign, which promises that there will be no let-up in the fight to keep the borough clean.
“The cleaners are working from 2-10pm, focusing on areas in the north of the borough, including Norbury, Bensham Manor, West Thornton and Broad Green.
“These areas have previously been criticised for cleanliness by residents, and also identified in a service review by the council.
“The campaign also promised that the council would work more closely with its waste contractor, Veolia, to improve its performance, and the new posts are funded by the contractor.”
This increases the street cleaning service to a 136-strong team, she added.
“The frequency of street cleaning is a key aspect of this approach. “Road sweeper schedules have been reviewed to ensure increased presence in district centres at times of greatest need such as the beginning and end of the day.
Cllr Stuart Collins, cabinet member with responsibility for Clean Green Croydon, said: “We know the public is concerned about the standard of street cleaning in our district centres and have taken on extra support to help improve this.
“The additional cleaners are one of a range of initiatives to tackle the issues of fly-tipping, recycling, street cleanliness and environmental enforcement, under the clean and green agenda.
“Our aim is to make Croydon the cleanest and greenest borough in London.” (Source: Croydon council press release.)
BMW BENEFIT CHEAT JAILED
A property-owning benefit cheat who drove around in a new top of the range BMW and sent her children to private school has been jailed after being convicted of fraud.
The woman, from Thornton Heath, was found guilty of nine offences taking place from 1999 to 2009, where she pocketed £43,000 in benefits and income support she wasn’t entitled to.
Brown, 45, claimed housing and council tax benefits without declaring that she was married to her landlord and failed to tell the council that she owned a property in Thornton Heath.
Jurors at Croydon crown court heard she even managed to get council housing, telling the council that she was homeless and forced to live in overcrowded conditions with a friend.
She was found guilty of eight charges of dishonestly making a false representation and a single count of obtaining property by deception, on Thursday, 6 November.
Handing down a twelve month sentence to the mother-of-two, on Thursday 13 November, Recorder Silas Reid told her she had shown no remorse and that she had deliberately set out to deceive the authority on form after form.
He said her offending was based on greed and the trappings of a lavish lifestyle, and that she had deprived another family of council accommodation.
Cllr Simon Hall, cabinet member for finance and treasury, said: “It is people like Brown who abuse the benefits system that give honest benefit claimants a bad name.
“Her criminal lifestyle went on for 10 years, but this case goes to show that eventually, fraudsters will be caught and punished, and made to pay back the benefits they have illegally claimed.” (Source: Croydon council press release.)
SUBLETTING LAMBETH ‘CHEAT’ PROSECUTED / WARNING ON POTENTIALLY FATAL DANGERS OF STEALING ELECTRICITY
A woman who illegally sublet her council flat, making thousands of pounds profit has been ordered to return the property to Lambeth council and pay over £23,000.
It’s Lambeth council’s first use of an ‘unlawful profit order’ introduced under a new law that came into force last year.
The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act gives local councils far reaching powers to prosecute tenancy fraudsters and recover the profits of illegal subletting.
The tenant was discovered to be subletting her flat to three subtenants in late 2013. She was found to be receiving rental income for the property that was significantly higher than the rent charged by Lambeth council.
Although the tenant denied subletting and defended the case in Wandsworth county court, the judge instructed her to give back immediate possession of the property and to pay £12,000 in costs.
She was ordered to pay an additional £11,624.59 as a result of profits she made from subletting the property. In summing up, Judge Hugman stated that “Any decent honest Lambeth resident would be horrified that someone could behave that way and cheat society.”
Cllr Matthew Bennett, cabinet member for housing said; “ The judge is absolutely right and this case should send a message to frauds and cheats that our fraud team will track them down. “
In a separate incident, Lambeth council has warned of the potentially fatal dangers of stealing electricity after taking possession of a number of ‘short life’ properties in the Clapham area where power had been supplied illegally.
An electrician contracted by the council to make the properties safe said unsecured cables and unsafe connections made it the most dangerous site he’d seen in 35 years and it was a miracle that no one had been electrocuted.
A council spokesperson said: “If you wish to report tenancy fraud or any other fraud against Lambeth please report it online or call 0207 926 1111.” (Source: Lambeth council press release.)