Welcome to Voices & Choices
Voices and Choices is a Registered Charity and Community Interest Company (CIC) based in Chesham, Buckinghamshire. It has been set up to provide information and advice to help people to remain in their homes with the help and support of community services and other agencies. It will also provide reassurance to family carers living outside Buckinghamshire.
Safe and Sound at Home
It is often the little things that go wrong which affect whether we feel in control of our lives. It could be the cobwebs, the garden, our hair, or the family insisting we can’t cope.
Whatever matters to you, we will help by offering friendly, impartial information, advice or advocacy which helps you stay safe and sound in your own home.
Need our help?
Whatever you need: a trusted tradesman, access to a leisure or social activity, advocacy to talk to a health provider, or any other impartial information, advice and support, we can help you find safe services to maintain your independence in your home. If you are elderly, or have a physical or learning disability, a mental health problem, or you are living alone, and you live in Amersham, Chesham, Gt Missenden or Prestwood and surrounding parishes, we are here to help.
We need you
Will you join us today to help us provide a service that will touch a need in the lives of most families at some point? Could you volunteer a couple of hours of your time to visit people in their own homes, answer telephone queries, or help populate our information hub? Would you give a few pounds a month to help provide the support necessary for people to remain living independently? Our aim is to ensure people feel safe and sound enough to stay in their own home.
Voices & Choices News
The Great Get Together
Voices & Choices is holding The Great Get Together at the White Hill Centre, Chesham, on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd June.
Come along and meet new friends and find out what events and activities are at the Centre and in Chesham including:
Blue Haze, Bucks Mind, Alzheimer’s Society, Stay Steady Stay Strong, Fire Station Safety Officer, Churches Together, Chiltern Society and information from many more.
Everyone is welcome! Refreshments will be available
Support Voices & Choices through the
Chiltern & South Bucks Lottery is a fun and effective way for us to raise funds. Visit the Voices & Choices page on the Chiltern & South Bucks Lottery website to enter and we’ll collect 50% of all ticket sales made.
All supporters will get the chance to win prizes of up to £25,000 for just £1 per week. Every ticket has a 1 in 50 chance of winning a prize every week! That’s better than the National Lottery and the Health Lottery.
Sharp rise in fake TSB text messages and phishing emails
- Action Fraud is warning the public about a sharp rise in fraudsters sending out fake text messages and phishing emails claiming to be from TSB.
- Since the start of May, there have been 321 phishing reports made to Action Fraud – an increase on the previous month where 30 reports were made.
- In the same reporting period, there have been 51 reports of cybercrime to Action Fraud which mention TSB – an increase on the previous month, where 24 reports were made.
- Action Fraud and TSB are working together to combat fraud and help keep all consumers safe.
Spring into Action – Crime Prevention Advice
As we see an improvement in the weather, we thought it would be beneficial to provide some crime prevention advice in relation to burglaries and theft from motor vehicles.
* Keep all valuables and keys out of sight and out of reach of doors and windows.
* Keep front and back doors locked, even if you are in.
* Ensure all windows are closed when leaving your property, it may be tempting to leave upstairs windows open, but we have previously had reports of burglars using ladders.
* Consider joining a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.
* If you are going away on holiday, try and make your house look occupied. Timer switches and fake TVs are a good way of making it look as if someone is in. Ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye out, and pull the wheelie bin back in if you leave it out before you go away.
* Ask a neighbour to park their car on your drive if you are leaving it empty.
* If you have a gate on your driveway, please close it. Side gates and access to the rear of your property should be secure and locked to prevent burglars sneaking around the back so that they won’t be seen.
For more top tips please visit the crime prevention advice on the Thames Valley Police website.
Theft From Motor Vehicle
Vans have been broken into and tools taken; this includes gardening equipment and power tools. Please remove all valuables from your vehicle at the end of the day, or park so that access into the van is restricted. The Neighbourhood Policing Teams can mark your property using CRE Marking, if you would like this service please contact your local team.
When parking your vehicle please ensure you remove everything. Laptops that are left on standby are still traceable using a Bluetooth search: an example would be if you have left your laptop in the boot of your car, a criminal can search nearby Bluetooth connections, if it comes back nearby the likelihood is there is something in the boot of the car; criminals will then break windows and take your property.
Sunglasses, satnavs, phones, handbags and wallets are often left in vehicles and, on occasions, with the vehicles unlocked or windows left open. Please remove your valuables as soon as the car is left unoccupied.
If you would like any specific advice regarding crime prevention, please contact the local neighbourhood team, or check on the TVP website when your local team are holding a Have Your Say meeting.
False Telephone Preference Service Calls
Fraudsters are cold-calling victims, falsely stating that they are calling from one of the well-known UK telecommunication service providers. They call victims claiming to provide a ‘Telephone Preference Service’ – an enhanced call-barring service, which includes barring international call centres.
In all instances, direct debits are set up without following proper procedure. The victim is not sent written confirmation of the direct debit instruction, which is supposed to be sent within three days.The fraudsters ask victims to confirm/provide their bank account details, informing them that there is a one-off charge for the service. Victims instead see monthly debits deducted from their accounts, which they have not authorised. The fraudsters often target elderly victims.
On occasions when victims attempted to call back, the telephone number provided by the fraudster was either unable to be reached or the victim’s direct debit cancellation request was refused.
During 2017, there were 493 Action Fraud Reports relating to this fraud.
- There is only one Telephone Preference Service (TPS). The TPS is the only official UK ‘do-not-call’ register for opting out of live telesales calls. It is FREE to sign-up to the register. TPS never charge for registration. You can register for this service at http://www.tpsonline.org.uk.
- You will receive postal confirmation of genuine direct debits. If you notice unauthorised payments leaving your account, you should contact your bank promptly.
- Always be wary of providing personal information, or confirming that personal information the caller already claims to hold is correct. Always be certain that you know who you talking to. If in doubt hang up immediately.
If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.
How you can help
Join our Newsletter Today!
As we develop this exciting new service why not stay in touch? We can bring the website to you every month keeping you up to date on what information and services are available and other news.
Would you like to learn more about what we do? Perhaps you would like to participate in some way? Send us a message and we can get back in contact with you.
Make a difference to people that live in or near your community. We have a number of exciting roles ranging from advocacy advisor to website development. If you are willing to provide a few hours a week to help people remain independently in their own homes then we have just the role for you.
Can you help us to raise funds? Would you like to make a donation to help Voices and Choices develop services in Buckinghamshire? We need your help to build this service.
Case Study: Just a Gardener!
Just a Gardener!
Mrs G was recently widowed. She lives in a family house with a large garden that was her husband’s pride and joy. She is distressed she cannot keep the garden to the standard he did, but does feel closest to him when she is there. Her children who do not live close by, are worried that the house may be targeted if it looks uncared for and are suggesting that she move to sheltered accommodation. She would prefer to stay safe and sound in the family home. She needs someone to talk to and help her explore her options. Voices and Choices can help Mrs G work through the plethora of choices: a gardener; male or female: the garden maintained or changed: a shared vegetable patch? Would she like Voices and Choices to advertise for a gardener to protect her privacy? Would she like a volunteer to sit alongside her when she talks to prospective gardeners?
Voices and Choices can help at any of these stages, from providing a list of local gardeners, visiting her at home to support her through the entire process and, if it goes wrong, to help her complain about an unsatisfactory service.
Following our work with Mrs G, we ask her whether we can provide some reassurance to her family. With her permission we contact the family, in Durham and Sydney, and tell them of our work with Mrs G. Both children are concerned that family commitments and distance mean they cannot drop everything if Mrs G requires further help. We can offer the family a number of choices to give them peace of mind. We can ring her on an agreed timetable to see how things are going. We can contact her immediately there is a local problem, snow-fall, flooding, etc. We can help problem solve if the family ring to say there is something we can help with, or we can send the families our newsletter so they have can keep up-to-date with what we do. At this stage the family decide they would like the newsletter and would like us to contact Mrs G monthly to see how things are going. We are aware that both children have lasting powers of attorney and in the event of a deterioration will contact them immediately with details of local services.
Case Study: Who will feed the cats?
Who will feed the cats?
Jane has multiple sclerosis. She lives alone, supported by her sister who lives locally but has a young family. Jane has the opportunity to go away for a fortnight on a holiday arranged through her support group. Jane has not had a holiday for a long time and the logistical problems of her MS means she has not found a trip she feels she can go on alone. The love of her life is her two cats. Jane lives in a ground-floor flat with access to a small patio but no garden so the cats are house cats. Jane does not feel she can go away and leave her cats for a fortnight and it is too much to ask her sister to cope with the feeding – and the litter-tray. Jane rings Voices and Choices to ask if they have any suggestions. The office volunteer provides details of a couple of services that can help. Jane can either ring them herself or we can do it on her behalf – whichever she prefers. Jane rings the services and finds one that is right for her and her cats. She can go away with a quiet mind.
Case Study: My Doctor does not listen to me
My Doctor does not listen to me!
George has been upset since the breakdown of his marriage last year. Although he is coping at work, he finds the weekends very hard and sometimes spends the whole time in bed. He has been to see his doctor but she seems to be very unsympathetic. Because he is managing at work, she doesn’t believe he is becoming depressed, and has hinted that he stays in bed at the weekends because his wife is no longer around to cook for him. He contacts Voices and Choices to see whether we can offer any support for him. A volunteer visits George and together they work on writing down some evidence to show what is happening for George. The volunteer goes to the GP with George and supports him with his discussion with the doctor, at one point giving George a gentle prompt. George is aware that he has put on a lot of weight and one of the options the GP suggests is a prescription for weight watchers or slimming world which might also help find him some new friends. The GP also provides a couple of treatment options for George to consider.
Voices & Choices CIO
The White Hill Centre, White Hill
Chesham, Bucks. HP5 1AG
Tel: 01494 784566
Copyright ©2016 Voices & Choices CIO
Voices & Choices CIO is a company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales. Company No: 9374009
Registered Charity No: 1172724 CIO
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