Village Agents' December Newsletter

Father Christmas and his Village Agent

Father Christmas was reading through some of the Christmas letters which had been arriving thick and fast. He had so many to get through that he felt quite snowed under. He began to reminisce and think about how things had changed since he first launched his international delivery business - with the slogan "Let the sleigh show the way. Order by Christmas Eve for delivery next day". It had taken many years for the stores to catch up with that idea. He allowed himself a wry smile as he thought about how the children used to be happy with an apple and an orange. &qout;Maybe," he mused, "things haven't changed that much. They still want apples and oranges - only now it's computers and mobile phones!"

Father Christmas himself had to keep up with technology as so many requests were sent to him via email, text, and other means. He had taken advice from his Village Agent and signed up to the Connect course, run by GRCC, to help over 55s - most definitely so in his case - use computers and get online.

However, for those still preferring traditional methods, cost might be a problem. Royal Mail has started publicising a scheme to sell Christmas stamps at last year's prices to people on benefits. Customers in receipt of pension credit, employment and support allowance or incapacity benefit will be able to buy 36 first and second class stamps at 2011 prices: 46p and 36p. Stamp prices increased to 60p and 50p in April. The scheme will be launched on 6th. November, so plenty of time to get those cards and letters sent to friends, relatives and Father Christmas.

At that moment, Mrs. Christmas came through from the kitchen pushing a trolley with a plate of warm mince pies and some hot drinks. She was finding daily life much easier these days with the trolleys, walkers and other aids which the Village Agent had sorted for her, and she wasn't even worried any more about being left on her own on Christmas Eve, not now she had the Linkline and could get help at the push of a button if she needed to. All in all, at a time of life when things could become a bit of a struggle, the support and advice from their Village Agent had meant that they were able to retain their independence and enjoy, as I wish you all, a very Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year.

Put the Phone Down

Village Agents across the Forest are getting reports from people in their villages about worrying phone calls. One caller claimed that the householder had a pension payout of £1,000 owing to them. The householder wisely refused to disclose any pension account numbers or information. Another caller wanted to know if the householder was aged 60 or over – and also any of the neighbours. The householder could see no genuine reason for anyone wanting this sort of information, decided that the caller was crooked and put the phone down. The Telephone Preference Service can only filter out calls which originate in this country. Unfortunately, they can do nothing about calls which are made from centres in other countries. Bear in mind that these callers are invading your privacy so you are not obliged to answer their questions or enter into a conversation; nor do you have to make polite excuses – just put the phone down.

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