A round-up of your views and opinions from this week’s Gazette
A record of my appreciation for our nurses
I am writing to praise the work of our local community nurses.
I have a disability and so need their care regularly. I want to thank all of them, but the names I know are Amber, Moyra and Nicky, Theresa and Debbie. When I needed urgent help and rang their out of hours number, someone came to my aid within 10 minutes, then spent 40 minutes sorting out my problem.
The community nurses have an enormous amount of work to get through each day, so I just wanted to record my appreciation of them.
Caroline Langdon, Address supplied
Cookie sale a sweet success
We at Tudor Primary School would like to thank the public for supporting us and donating their money to Macmillan Cancer Support.
Our teacher challenged us to sell cookes for charity – we might be entrepreneurs.
We first made cookies, then decorated them in Rolos and Smarties. After that, we made boxes to put the cookies in. Next, we made stickers to put on the boxes. Soon after we made some posters to let the public know we were selling them. We successfully sold the cookies in the Marlowes Shopping Centre and made £103.15. I felt 50% miserable because we could’ve raised more if we made more cookies, but on the other hand I was thrilled at the amount raised.
Donny Pinto, Year 5, Tudor Primary School
‘Amazon is no local friend’
In last week’s paper the editor praised Amazon’s UK operation, after visiting its Hemel distribution centre.
However, readers should know that Amazon’s efficiency is based on a particularly ruthless version of modern capitalism. Amazon has been heavily criticised by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee for avoiding payment of corporation tax by alleging that its UK business is actually managed by the tiny number of staff at its Luxemburg HQ. Between 2009 and 2011 it paid no UK corporation tax on £7 billion of sales. After an outcry it voluntarily paid £2.4 million (not billion!) tax in 2012. If it paid tax at the same annual rate that I do (as a pensioner), I estimate that an extra £735m would be available annually to fund health and social care!
The majority of its ‘valued associates’ (i.e. workers) are employed on zero-hours or part-time temporary contracts, hired via agencies to minimise them accruing employment rights, and paid the minimum wage. A recent secretly-filmed television documentary showed workers typically walking nine miles per shift, often in semi-darkness, filling crates with orders at a relentless rapid pace set by a bleeping machine.
What can be done ? Many of us are now boycotting Amazon, and have signed up to the petition run by Change.org. (See www.amazonanon ymous.org).
Please make an effort to support local businesses, who pay decent wages and taxes, and thereby make a real contribution to the local economy.
Sadly I can’t agree with Roger Hawes that ‘Amazon has become real local friend and part of the town’s economic history’.
Diana Woodward, Tring
Sign petition to bring back town’s cultural heart
Hemel Hempstead is experiencing a great boost, with the renovation of the Old Town, to be followed by the new Jellicoe Water Gardens, the development of Dacorum College, and the enhancements to Marlowes.
DBC are also proposing developments that will include a multiplex cinema in the Marlowes. Would not this be a wonderful opportunity to build instead an entertainment venue for all manner of events? It could still host films, but also orchestras, bands, dance, theatre, and community events, private functions and corporate events, as did the much-lamented Pavilion.
The extra value of a multi-function venue compared to a multiplex cinema would be easily justified by the boost to Hemel Hempstead as a whole, particularly as I understand the cost will be born by a private developer.
If you agree with this idea, please sign our petition to Andrew Williams, leader of DBC at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/help-bring-back-the-heart-of-hemel-hempstead.
We are calling our campaign the Hemel Hempstead Hub. Let’s bring back the cultural heart of Hemel Hempstead!
Mike and Christine Ridley, Halsey Drive, Hemel Hempstead
Shop and save lives with British Heart Foundation
I am writing to encourage you and your readers to visit your local British Heart Foundation (BHF) shops in the South East this Christmas.
By doing your festive shopping with the BHF, you can spend a little and buy a lot.
The profit from items bought in BHF shops will help fund essential, life-saving research into heart disease.
After losing my husband to heart disease, I know how vital the BHF’s research is.
It’s amazing to think that just by buying a thoughtful, low-cost gift, you are helping the BHF’s fight against coronary heart disease - the UK’s single biggest killer.
BHF shops in the South East offer a real variety of items that will make the perfect present this Christmas, from stocking fillers and Secret Santa presents to thoughtful, unique gifts. Some of the items on offer include clothes, accessories, toys, shoes, DVDs and books, mirrors, glassware and vintage china tea cups!
Join the fight for every heartbeat by visiting your local BHF shop today and give a gift that really makes a difference this Christmas.
To find your nearest BHF shop visit bhf.org.uk/shops.
Esther Rantzen CBE, BHF Ambassador
It is worrying to see the increased use of real reindeer in Christmas parades, ‘Santa’s grottos’ and other festive activities.
It is undoubtedly fun for young ones to see animals from films and storybooks in the flesh. However, uprooting reindeer from their natural habitat, bringing them to a life of captivity in the UK, transporting them up and down the country and subjecting them to the stress of being on public display causes reindeer significant health and welfare problems.
Our warmer weather and the food they are forced to eat here differ enormously from the climate and diet to which they are adapted.
These magical and majestic creatures shouldn’t be used as props in garden and shopping centre displays, or forced to traipse along high streets pulling a sleigh behind them.
They belong in the tundra, eating lichen and roaming the wilds in freedom.
Claudia Tarry, Animal Aid campaigner
Action for children
Thanks to Herts residents for your support in 2014
This has been a landmark year for me and for Action for Children. I became the chief executive of this wonderfulcharity in March, and in July we celebrated our 145th anniversary.
That’s 145 years of supporting the most vulnerable children and young people in society. I have spent my first year really getting to know Action for Children, and I have been humbled and inspired by the impact of our work through services in Hertfordshire such as West Hyde and The Pines, which offer short breaks for young people with learning disabilities and complex health needs.
As well as providing innovative and effective services, Action for Children also speaks out on behalf of the most vulnerable children in society and I am pleased to say we had some important wins in 2014.
In June, the success of our campaign to change the law on child cruelty to include emotional as well as physical harm was announced in The Queen’s Speech. This change will save lives: emotional abuse may not leave visible scars, but its impact both long and short-term, can be devastating.
We also held a whole host of entertaining, unusual and sometimes challenging events this year.
Beloved children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar celebrated its own anniversary – its 45th – and together we held the Giant Wiggle, a fundraiser that saw children from across Hertfordshire join thousands across the UK for a sponsored wiggle that was enjoyed by all.
I would like to thank your readers for everything they have done for Action for Children this year – from making donations, to backing our campaigns, to taking part in fundraising challenges.
Together we have achieved a lot, but sadly there is still more to be done. Our frontline services are increasingly supporting children and families on issues such as depression and self-harm.
We’re committed to doing everything we can to stop situations getting worse and to transform lives – but we need your support. To find out more about how you can help Action for Children make 2015 a happy New Year for children in Hertfordshire and across the UK, please visit actionforchildren.org.uk.
Sir Tony Hawkshead, Chief executive of Action for Children, Watford
Call for hospice charity trustees
Could you use your skills to help local people affected by cancer and other life-limitingillness?
Rennie Grove Hospice Care is looking for two experienced trustees to join its board and
help shape the charity for the future.
The charity is seeking a Fundraising trustee as well as a Financial and Commercial trustee. The ideal candidates will need experience either in the commercial or charity sectors and a commitment to Rennie Grove and its aims.
David Parkins, out-going Fundraising Trustee, explains why he decided to volunteer as a trustee 10 years ago: “When I became a trustee I hoped that I might contribute positively towards the charity’s future. Little did I realise just what immense personal satisfaction the role would provide.
“Through contact with a wide range of wonderful nurses and other people involved in the work of the charity, you appreciate just what a difference Rennie Grove Hospice Care can make to so many local families at times of great need.”
As well as attending meetings there are a host of social occasions to join in with too ranging from our sporting challenges to fundraising events. More details can be found at http://bit.ly/RGTrustee or email Rozina Ahmad, Director of HR and Volunteering on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01442 890222.
Rennie Grove Hospice Care, Herts and Bucks