‘We desperately want to change the future for Matilda’
At just three and a half Matilda was diagnosed with macular disease at a routine eye test. In Macular Week, her family shared her story.
‘As scientists our ultimate aim is to make people’s lives better’
In Macular Week the society shared Matilda’s story. Matilda is just seven years old and her parents would so desperately like a cure in her lifetime. So, what progress is being made?
‘Exercise can slow or prevent vision loss, study finds”
A new study has found that exercise can slow or prevent the development of macular degeneration and may benefit other common causes of vision loss. Read more…
Bike use during the coronavirus lockdown has surged, with many of us going back to two wheels. But how do you choose the right bike for you, with so many types now on the market.
The British Government has encouraged people to use bikes for commuting and travelling instead of public transport as virus transmission is much less prevalent in open spaces. The spare time people have due to the government furlough scheme and the closing of public gyms are other factors that have encouraged people to get out on their bikes during lockdown.
Halford’s, Britain’s largest bicycle retailer, has said that sales of some bike equipment have risen by a massive 500% since the lockdown. The UK transport secretary has consequently set out a £2 billion scheme to expand cycling and walking, including infrastructure improvements. In this article we will advise on choosing a bike, staying safe and maintenance.
Note: all prices correct at time of publication – but subject to change.
Types of Bike
Commuter Bike This is an all-round bicycle that is relatively light, easy to maintain, and performs best on tarmac and cycle paths. This bike is ideal if you are commuting to work or taking regular rides around your local area but have a limited budget.
Typically these bikes cost between £400 and £800; however they can be upgraded with better quality, more puncture resistant tyres, such as the Schwalbe Marathon Plus Smart Guard. Also disc brakes are preferable to rim brakes as they have a shorter stopping distance and perform better in wet weather.
Things to remember when buying a commuter bike are the challenges you face on your ride. Do you regularly see broken glass or rough surfaces? How hilly is your area? Are you dealing with lots of traffic? Make sure your bike has sufficient gears if you are tackling the Calderdale hills. Even though commuter bikes are often simplified for easier maintenance, they still need to be checked and serviced regularly.
Some commuter bikes we like:
Boardman HYB 8.8 – £750 – ideal for a hilly commute, it is light and has a range of gears
Specialized Sirrus 1.0 – £450 – comfortable and comes with tough tyres: a good entry level bicycle.
Folding Bike Handy if you are limited on space, if you live in a flat or include a train journey in your commute. It is a good idea to buy one of these from a shop rather than online so you can practice folding and unfolding it as some are trickier than others. The wheel size of a folding bike is typically very small which makes them light and storable, but this means they roll more slowly on the road. If you would like a one that rolls more quickly but doesn’t need to be carried far, larger wheels are a better option.
Folding bikes have a big range of price tags, from £200 to over £2000. And as lower priced ones are often heavier and less adjustable, this is an important factor to take into account before buying. Even the lightest models of folding bikes can be cumbersome to hoist on and off a train regularly.
Some folding bikes we like:
Brompton M6L folding bike – from £915 – 11kg and can have several different types of handlebar.
B’Twin Tilt 120 folding bike – £200 – has larger wheels than a Brompton and is quite heavy, can be bought from Decathlon.
Raleigh Stowaway 7 folding bike – £400 – larger wheels but heavier, has mudguards fitted with a pannier rack.
E-Bike As most of Calderdale is hilly or have a long commute, the E-bike is a good option. An E-bike is motor assisted, so some effort is still required to pedal but you can adjust how much help you receive so that you don’t arrive at your destination covered in sweat.
They take 3-6 hours to be charged, depending on the make and model, and can have a range of 50 miles, but more likely 30 miles with relaxed pedalling. They are becoming less expensive but unsurprisingly still cost more than a man-powered bicycle, typically £1,500 to £4,000. E-bikes are generally mountain bikes, commuter bikes or road bikes, however folding E-bikes are beginning to appear on the market.
Hybrid/Commuter ebikes we like:
Specialized Turbo Vado 3.0 electric bike – £2,400.
Giant FastRoad E+ Pro 2 electric bike – £2,749.
Road ebikes we like:
Focus Paralane2 9.8 e-bike – £4,600.
Giant Road E+ 1 Pro – £3,800.
Mountain Bike ebikes we like:
Canyon Neuron:ON 7.0 – £3,899
Cannondale Moterra SE – £6,199.
Perhaps the most famous and well known type of bicycle, road bikes are best for fitness and speed; however a short road ride on quiet lanes is a perfect outing for a beginner road bike rider as the bikes travel more quickly and smoothly on most roads than the bikes mentioned earlier.
Most road bikes are now equipped with disc brakes which are more effective than rim brakes, they have dropped handlebars and can be fitted with either flat pedals or road cleats which are secure clip pedals that connect to a special shoe. Thousands of different types of road bike are available so we will try to break down the different kinds for you as simply as possible.
Most road bikes are carbon fibre or aluminium, carbon is lighter and more expensive but aluminium is sturdier. Most can be put into a low racing position for aerodynamic efficiency but can also have the bars raised for comfort. Ideally in an area like Calderdale, a road bike is best with plenty of gears and some puncture resistant tyres like Schwalbe Durano for £23 per tyre.
For beginner road riders we like:
Boardman SLR 8.6 Alloy – £600 (there is a women’s version of this bike too)
Specialized Allez E5 2020 – £680.
For experienced road riders (carbon fibre) we like:
Trek Emonda ALR Disc 5 – £1650
Giant TCR Advanced 1 – £1900.
Mountain Bike A brilliant option if you want to escape the traffic and head out on to the moors around Calderdale. Mountain bikes are comfortable to ride, have straight handle bars, in-built suspension for more comfort and often flat or cleated pedals (pedals which fix to a special shoe).
They are a good option for beginners, because their larger tyres absorb potholes and bumps more readily than a road bike. They can be easily ridden on tarmac roads as well as the tracks and bridleways, though this will eventually wear down the tyres.
Mountain biking has been a good choice during lockdown as the tracks found locally tend to take you away from our towns and villages. There are two main types of mountain bike: cross country and downhill. Downhill bikes as the name suggests are faster downhill and tend to be bought by more experienced riders. Cross country mountain bikes are more versatile and popular.
Cross country mountain bikes we like:
Trek Roscoe 8 – £1,300
Specialized Fuse 27.5 – £1,000.
Downhill mountain bikes we like:
Giant Stance I – £1,500
Scott Spark 970 – £1,800.
Women’s Bikes Women tend to have shorter arms, narrower shoulders and shorter torsos than men; and therefore bikes tailored towards them can be comfier and more efficient. Women may also need a specific saddle. A lot of bikes are unisex and most of the ones we’ve listed above either have a women’s version or can be used by either sex.
However, for road bikes in particular, where the rider stays in the same position for a long time, comfort is very important and so we recommend that women choose or test a female specific bicycle. Often unisex bikes can be fitted with a female saddle and adjusted to have a different position that suits the rider, which can be a good compromise. If you experience discomfort riding your bike, it is worth investing in a professional “bike fit” to fine tune your riding position.
Some female bike brands we like:
Liv – the female version of bike retailer Giant, these bikes are all tailored to women and include mountain bikes, road racing bikes, E-bikes and commuter bikes.
Trek – they have a very good range of women’s bikes of different kinds and women’s frames too, as well as a large collection of gender neutral bicycles.
Some female saddles we like:
Selle Italia Diva Gelflow Racing Saddle – £50+ – although used for racing it is also a good, light and comfortable saddle for longer rides on all types of bike.
Fizick Luce – £30+ – a lower priced alternative.
Look out for our next blog on tips for riding safely and looking after your bike.
Here are the latest scam updates for West Yorkshire, published 29/6/2020.
Scroll to the bottom for information on reporting scams and unwanted telephone calls.
Non-compliant goods including PPE
Non-compliant consignments of PPE and other goods are coming into the country from outside the EU. WY Standards are working to remove a large number of unsafe products from online websites and advising five district councils within West Yorkshire on the
procurement of safe products for staff across the councils, with particular regard to their Health and Social Care provision.
Withdrawal Notices have been issued to West Yorkshire businesses that have persisted to sell unsafe PPE following advice from Officers. These Notices are statutory Notices effectively banning from the market place goods which can’t be shown to meet the required standard. Guided business big and small through red tape to get safe, compliant products to the market quickly.
Scams trending locally, regionally and nationally
Costco Loyalty Reward Scam Message. Cybercriminals are sending out fake Costco messages attempting to trick victims into visiting a fake link and completing surveys that steal personal and financial information, steal account credentials or infect their devices with malware.
HMRC Job Retention scams. The Job Retention Scheme is being targeted by fraudsters who are attempting to take advantage of it with a subsequent rise in business owners targeted by phishing emails purporting to be from the HMRC.
Bitcoin payments. Emails are on the increase claiming to be from reputable organisations such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or
the World Health Organisation (WHO) and requesting Bitcoin payments.
Reports of doorstep crime in Leeds involving gardening services targeting elderly and vulnerable consumers– overcharging for shoddy workmanship and impersonating a genuine business with the same name.
Beware of Loan Sharks during the COVID-19 pandemic
Anyone working with vulnerable people who is concerned that a client, resident or service user may be a victim of loan sharks can make a referral to the Stop Loan Sharks service 24 hours a day on 0300 555 2222.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), also known as Stop Loan Sharks, is a government funded criminal enforcement agency, working to identify, investigate and prosecute illegal money lenders, commonly known as loan sharks. The IMLT has warned that loan sharks may be looking to take advantage of those who have found themselves in a vulnerable position during the pandemic. Stop Loan Sharks is committed to helping victims of illegal money lending and providing support that is immediate, practical and tailored to their needs during the COVID-19 crisis.
Stop Loans Sharks has launched a number of new services to help it stay in touch during the pandemic:
Listen to free podcast
A new awareness-raising podcast series, including campaigns such as Cheltenham Says No and an interview with a loan shark victim. Your Money and Your Life series is available on all major podcast directories.
Phishing Emails – Tips Never click on links or download attachments from emails you receive out of the blue as they can release malware onto your device or steal your bank details.
Always make sure emails requesting financial or secure information are legitimate and from a trusted sender before you take action.
Try not to panic and feel pressured into making rash decisions.
It is important to ensure your security settings are up to date on all your devices. Never share your screen with anyone you cannot confirm is legitimate.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
Take time to do your research beforehand if you wish to donate to a charity, and always send money through a secure online portal.
Receiving lots of nuisance calls
Have you checked to see if you are on the open register? Your details may be sold on the open register to third party marketing companies. You can contact your local councils’ electoral services department & opt into the closed register if you wish. You can also register with the Telephone Preference Service- it’s Free! – http://www.tpsonline.org.uk
Report scams to Action Fraud: 0300 123 2040
Report complaints to Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline: 0808 223 1133
New mailbox to deal with reports of Covid-19 Scams in West Yorkshire: Covid19.Scams@wyjs.org.uk
For older people venturing out after lockdown, knowing where to find an open public toilet is essential.
However, there’s a new website that aims to address the problem, with our help.
www.lockdownloo.com is a map-based website that shows where public toilets ate open and allows users to submit details of open toilets themselves. If you find a toilet that’s open and it’s not on the website, you simply let them know and it will be added.
On Tuesday 23 June the government announced a further easing of the lockdown measures in England from Saturday 4 July.
The 2 metre social distancing rule will be replaced with a 1 metre rule, allowing pubs, restaurants and hairdressers to open safely – providing they adhere to COVID Secure guidelines.
In summary, the new rules from 4 July are:
two households will be able to meet up in any setting with social distancing measures, and people can now enjoy staycations in England with the reopening of accommodation sites.
In order to begin restoring the arts and cultural sector, some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also reopen, if they can do so safely – this includes outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades, as well as libraries, social clubs, places of worship and community centres.
Following a review, where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, guidance will allow people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’. This means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission.
There are still concerns over the risk of transmission in “close proximity” venues such as nightclubs, soft-play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools, water parks, bowling alleys and spas and these venues will need to remain closed for now.
The Government is continuing to work with these sectors to establish taskforces to help them to become COVID Secure and reopen as soon as possible.
While the infection rate continues to fall, the Prime Minister has been clear that the public must continue to follow social distancing guidelines to keep coronavirus under control. The Government will keep all measures under constant review and will not hesitate to apply the handbrake, or reverse measures, should the virus begin to run out of control.
The Macular Society has reported on groundbreaking stem cell treatment for people with wet age-related macular disease.
Patients who were the first to receive a new treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) derived from stem cells in 2015 have maintained improvements in their vision five years on.
Five years since the trial started, eye-researcher Professor Pete Coffey has confirmed the patients have maintained the improvements in their vision.
Before receiving the treatment the first patient was reading at a speed of one and a half words per minute, but after the operation is able to read up to 80 words a minute. The second patient, who couldn’t read at all before the procedure, is now reading up to 50 words a minute.
Prof. Coffey said the results had far surpassed their expectations and after the UK eases out of lockdown they are ready to treat the next round of patients in the trial.
While it is currently being trialled in patients with wet AMD it is hoped that in the future it will could be used to treat dry AMD – and potentially other types of macular disease.
An update on the scams trending at the moment in West Yorkshire
With many older people alone or in lockdown at home, the threat of scams must be taken seriously. The following have been reported:
Email circulating to businesses purporting to be from the Chief Finance Officer from Local Councils advising them of eligibility for a £25,000 grant. This is not genuine and a scam email.
Criminals continue to take advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to commit fraud, as a scam involving the purchase of pets, such as puppies and kittens, continues to be reported to Action Fraud.
Fraudsters selling fake ‘NHS’ lanyards to purchase online. Obviously these are not genuine NHS items but something to be aware of when we are engaging with elderly / vulnerable residents. Just because someone is wearing a lanyard doesn’t make their intentions genuine.
Supermarket Voucher scams continue to increase. Multiple reports of fake supermarket adverts on Social Media offering vouchers for families to spend in store during the pandemic.
Apple Itunes phishing email claiming that billing information needs to be updated or account will be terminated.
TV Licence Phishing email claiming that direct debits have been cancelled and payment information is needed.
Paypal Phising email claiming you won’t be able to use the service unless you update your information online.
YOUR DOORSTEP YOUR DECISION If you feel pressured, ask the person to leave.NO SNAP DECISIONS Take time to talk to someone you trust before you make any decisions.DO THE CHECKS You can check ID badges and contact associations to check membership registrations yourself. Call the telephone number of the organisation, obtain this number yourself, not from the person at the door.Forward scam emails to email@example.comReport complaints to Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline: 0808 223 1133Report scams to Action Fraud: 0300 123 2040
The Government has updated its advice following the easing of the lockdown restrictions on Sunday 10 May.
Here’s the Government’s advice on safe travel across a range of transport options, including public transport, walking & cycling, taxis and private hire cars and private cars.
From the perspective of a vulnerable person, the Government’s advice is still to avoid transport and travel if at all possible. If you are shielding or self-isolating due to a health condition that makes you extremely vulnerable to Coronavirus, you should not travel and get support for your food shopping from a family member of the NHS volunteer responders
For ALL people, face coverings are now recommended for situations where social distancing is not possible, including public transport (trains, buses and taxis) and in private cars.
You can download the Government’s Safer travel information sheetor read their guidance below.
Does easing restrictions apply to healthy 70 year olds and over?
This specific advice for older people is taken from the Government’s recent (May 10-11th 2020) FAQ on the changes to their Coronavirus advice.
People aged 70 and over should continue to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household.
If they do go out more frequently, they should be careful to maintain distance from others. They and everyone should continue to comply with any general social distancing restrictions.
We know that those aged 70 and over can be absolutely fit and healthy and it’s not the case that everybody over 70 has a chronic health condition or an underlying disease.
But unfortunately, we also know that as you get older, there is a higher risk of coronavirus having a more serious impact with infection. Complications and deaths are more common in the elderly, even those without pre-existing conditions.
Anyone who has been advised to shield by the NHS or their GP, including those 70 and over, should continue to do this until at least the end of June.
How long will shielding be in place?
We’ve advised individuals with very specific medical conditions to shield until the end of June and to do everything they can to stay at home. This is because we believe they are likely to be at the greatest risk of serious complications from coronavirus.
We know this is challenging guidance to follow, which is why we have a support scheme in place to provide help with access to food and basic supplies, care, medicines and social support.