Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Families Matter

Fire chiefs are calling for people to stay safe this bonfire period, and only use fireworks safely and responsibly.

The calls come following what could have been a very dangerous incident in Ashton-under-Lyne on Sunday, October 14. Crews were called to the incident in the St Peters Area of Ashton at 20.41, and on arrival found smoke coming from an upstairs bedroom.

When they reached the bedroom, firefighters quickly realised a firework had come in through the window and burnt the bed. They used a hose reel to make sure the fire was completely out, and that there was no danger of it spreading.

Group Manager for Stockport and Tameside, Phil Nelson, said: “This is an incident that could have been easily avoided if people weren’t being irresponsible and firing fireworks at each other. Fireworks are explosive devices, not toys, and should be treated as such.

“On this occasion no one was hurt, but, that doesn’t take away from how serious this could have been. A family was inside that house, with small children and they were needlessly put in harm’s way.

“Luckily the house had working smoke alarms so the occupants were quickly alerted to the fire, and were able to get out the house.

“We want everyone to enjoy this period of the year, but please, do it safely. We don’t want any injuries, or needless fires, and this sort of behaviour will quickly lead to them.”

For more safety information, please visit the safe4autumn website and if fireworks are a nuisance in your area phone crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Davis Blank Furniss – the Glossop based law firm – will be holding its annual Lasting Powers of Attorney Week from Monday 5th to Friday 9th November at its Ellison Street office.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) enables you to appoint a trusted friend, relative or professional to make decisions about your finances, property and personal welfare in the event that you are in an accident or you develop an illness that leaves you unable to make such decisions for yourself.

The week long promotion includes both types of LPA: the first covers your property and financial affairs; and the second your personal welfare and health. Special fixed prices for the week start at £150 plus VAT.

Lewis Thompson – solicitor in the Private Client team at Davis Blank Furniss – said: “LPAs are incredibly important. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, more than 1 million people in the UK will have dementia by 2025. That is a scary yet very real statistic which is why we must all plan ahead to ease the potential burden on our loved ones. However, what people often overlook is that they are not just useful for the elderly but also for younger people who may unexpectedly and suddenly become incapacitated through accident or illness.

Lewis added: “Losing your mental capacity is not a nice thing to think about but we want our LPA Week to make people stop and really consider that by arranging an LPA now, you protect yourself and those you care about and avoid costly legal proceedings down the line.”

 For more information – or to make an appointment during the Davis Blank Furniss LPA Week 2018 – please email: lewis.thompson@dbf-law.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Two children (4-7) playing with sparklers at night
WITH just three weeks left until Bonfire Night, Firefighters are asking members of the public to go to organised fireworks displays to enjoy a safe and fun Guy Fawkes Night.

The plea comes as Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and its partners, launch the 2018 Treacle campaign to keep people safe from fires and injuries, and prevent anti-social behaviour.

To mark the launch of the campaign, Elton Primary School were invited to the Bury Safety Centre and given a special, Guy Fawkes Night focused tour.

Following their tour the school children got to speak to a real fire safety expert in Watch Manager Steve Wilcock, from Bury Fire Station. Time quickly passed as the children fired a volley of questions at Steve, ranging from the best way to dispose of sparklers to whether all firefighters had to be bald – needless to say they left the centre with smiling faces and bags of knowledge.

Paul Etches, Fire Service Head of Prevention and Protection, said: “We want everyone to stay safe and have a fun Guy Fawkes Night, which is what this time of year is all about.

“However, it’s also around during the autumn months that we typically see an increase in deliberate fires, firework injuries and anti-social behaviour. That’s why we’re working with partners across Greater Manchester to try to get our safety messages out there.

“We want everyone to enjoy this time of year, but more importantly, to enjoy it safely. We are working hard to prevent all of these incidents and accidents and, so I would urge everyone to go to our safe4autumn website and read our advice on how to stay safe and share this information with your children.”

Inspector Natasha Evans, GMP Force Lead for the Treacle Campaign, said: “We want people to have fun and enjoy themselves on Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night, but we are urging them to behave responsibly and respect others, as inconsiderate actions carry consequences.

“If behaviour gets out of hand and causes distress to anyone then we will take firm action. We treat all incidents seriously and I would remind people to report any antisocial behaviour during this period via our LiveChat facility on the GMP website or by calling 101 if they don’t have internet access.”

North West Ambulance Services Sector Manager for Greater Manchester, Pat McFadden said: “Bonfire Night is a huge highlight in the year, it’s a chance for everyone to get together, have lots of fun and enjoy the fireworks.

“Unfortunately, the evening also brings lots of dangers and it’s important to look out for these and make sure that you don’t end up needing help from us or our emergency service colleagues.

“We advise people to attend organised events where possible as these are often safer, not to mention less expensive (and they usually have the best displays!).

“If you are using your own fireworks, just take some time to think about safety – be sure to follow the instructions and if you’re in charge of the fireworks, it’s best to lay off the alcohol until after they’ve finished.

“More often than not, the firework related injuries we see at this time of year can be easily avoided by taking a little bit of extra care.”

The Treacle Campaign is multi-agency initiative which runs from October 15, the day fireworks legally go on sale in the UK, and is aimed at preventing, tackling and protecting against anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and harm reduction during the Halloween and Bonfire period across the region. The Treacle period is the busiest time of the year for GMFRS who responded to over 2323 incidents in the three-week period last year.

Every year as part of the Treacle campaign GMFRS also run a fireworks amnesty which allows anyone to safely give up or report a firework which could be dangerous. If you have or know of a dangerous firework, call the firework amnesty on 0800 555 815 and GMFRS will arrange for someone to collect the firework for you.

For more information about the Treacle Campaign and to find your local organised fireworks display visit the Safe4Autumn website – http://www.safe4autumn.com

By ‘Frank Massey & Son Ltd, Hyde’s oldest established Family Undertakers

It is something that we have been becoming increasingly aware of for many years, but recently a report in The Guardian suggested that there is a growing ‘national scandal’ involving pre-paid funeral plans. Most customers, the report stated, are completely unaware of hidden fees and commissions charged by middlemen that mean when the time comes to use the plan, they could be faced with an unexpected shortfall running into hundreds of pounds!

One consumer body that has investigated the pre-paid funeral sector believes some disreputable companies offering these plans are operating a ‘quasi Ponzi scheme’ where they allegedly use money from new customers to pay current claimants.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme, that is the official safety net for customers of financial firms that go bust, also issued a warning that individuals could lose out if their provider fails.

In far too many cases grieving families discover that they are being hit with unexpected bills at what is a very difficult time, simply because money has been ‘skimmed off’ the original pre-paid figure.

One funeral director quoted in the article was astounded when a customer showed them a £3,420 plan, but on receiving payment from the plan organiser – only £2,535 was provided for the funeral. There was an admin cost of almost £1000!

Apart from the rip-off fees and commissions charged by unscrupulous firms, we are also very concerned by the way that many of these plans are sold. Tactics include cold calling, along with telephone and in-house sales agents who, it appears, can be very forceful and aggressive in their approach. We have even been told of seemingly respectable age related organisations who are now adopting cold calling techniques to sell their funeral plans.

So what can you do?

The first thing to make clear is that not all pre-paid funeral plans fall into this rip-off category. There are many, such as the ‘Golden Charter’ plans that we provide at Frank Massey & Son Ltd, that have been delivering a totally transparent, secure, flexible and fully assured service for many, many years and which are guaranteed to cover the funeral director’s services you agreed on once your plan is paid for. Golden Charter is owned entirely by over 750 independent funeral businesses throughout the UK and surplus funds are used to increase funds available to the funeral director to cover any additional costs.

If you are thinking of purchasing a pre-paid funeral plan then our advice is to speak to your local independent funeral director, who will give you all the advice you require. Always ask how much money from the funeral plan will be paid towards funeral costs. They will also help you to avoid being ripped-off by unscrupulous organisations whose sole motive is to make as much profit as possible.

If you would like to discuss our Golden Charter pre-paid funeral plans please do not hesitate to contact Frank Massey & Son Ltd. You can be confident that as a family owned and run business, helping families in Hyde and surrounding areas for over 100-years, we are perfectly placed to provide all the advice and assistance you need. You can call us on 0161 368 2565, you can visit our website at: www.frankmassey.co.uk, or you can call into our offices at 49 Mottram Road, Hyde SK14 2NN. (We’re right next to Morrisons.)

 

Many people have heard the name ‘Goody Two Shoes’, but very few people are aware that the story itself is a re-telling of the Cinderella story, which itself tells us that diligence and hard work reaps its own rewards.

That was the ethos of both Amanda and Helen’s business plan when they launch ‘LittleGoody2Shoe’s this Saturday (13th October 2018) in Glossop’s Indoor Market where they’ll offer discerning mums a wide range of genuine, high quality children’s shoes, beautifully crafted winter boots, wellies, slippers, summer sandals…and more! …All at affordable prices.

Open from 9.00am till 5.00pm, on Friday and Saturdays, Amanda & Helen and would like to welcome all visitors and local shoppers to their new little shoe shop, were you can browse a fabulous selection of stylist children and baby’ shoes.

Both have worked in the childcare sector for over ten years. Whilst working together they hit on the idea of opening an online shop and offering an in-home shoe fitting service for children’s shoes – to take the stress out of shopping for parents and ultimately children.

However, we know only too well how quickly a simple task like buying shoes can turn in to a battle of wills and pure determination. As well as offering the online service, they will open a ‘Little Goody2Shoes’ from a small stall within their home town’s traditional indoor market; which allows mum’s and dad’s to see the styles and feel the quality of their shoes.

Amanda told us “Our shoes are UK made or imported from Spain and Italy. All our suppliers are renowned for their unique shoes, with innovative designs and using high quality materials.  Little Goody2Shoes is now bringing that choice to you for those fab little feet!”

Helen added, “We feel that it is important to have a dedicated children’s shoe shop in Glossop that can service the High Peak; and as you will see by viewing our stock of exclusive brands, we are extremely committed to providing high-quality children’s shoes, and an excellent level of customer service.”

We asked why open in Glossop? ‘We want people to shop locally. Glossop now has a fantastic range of unique shops and has many attractions such as the monthly Artisan markets. There are also many other events organised in the town throughout the year which pull in the crowds such as Glossop Christmas Market and Lights switch on.’

Call in this Saturday (13th October 2018) a visit LittleGoody2Shoes on their opening day.

If you can’t make it on Saturday why not simply browse their selection of shoes in the comfort of your own home at www.littlegoody2shoes.co.uk

Don’t forget they will deliver free to your home in Glossop and SK13 postcodes.

 

 

Greater Manchester’s Leaders are calling on employers, employees and others to give their views and help shape the country’s first ground breaking city-region Good Employment Charter. 

The first draft of the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter, which aims to help employers reach excellent employment standards and become more successful as a result, has just been published for consultation. The Charter, which is the first of its kind in the country to be developed by a city-region, follows a consultation earlier in the year on what should be in a Charter, and a co-design process involving employers, employees and others. The proposal will be a key part of the Local Industrial Strategy being developed for the city-region to raise productivity.

The consultation is now open and will close on Sunday, November 18. Share your views on the draft Good Employment Charter here: https://www.gmconsult.org/strategy-team/gmemploymentcharter.

Good jobs have been at the heart of the city region’s resurgence. Many employers are not only innovating, investing, growing but also helping to make Greater Manchester a great place to live.

However, while employment growth in the city-region has been strong, too many residents are in low-paid and insecure roles with little opportunity to progress.  Greater Manchester’s ambition is to extend the excellent employment practice in some sectors and employers, more widely.

While creating the draft Charter, many employers have been clear that engaging employees brings significant benefits like lower turnover of staff, a more motivated and dedicated workforce, and new insights, ideas and perspectives help an organisation succeed. This improvement in working practices in turn helps to raise the productivity of employees, a major challenge for the city-region.  The evidence is that businesses that support and invest in their employees are more profitable, add more value, and are better respected.

The Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter aims to build a movement of employers behind these ambitions to create good work across the city-region – engaging widely at the same time as setting challenging standards. The Charter will also look to harness the power of public procurement to drive up standards across Greater Manchester.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said: “I want Greater Manchester to be the best place to live, work and invest.  The Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter is right at the heart of those plans.

“In this draft Charter we’re setting out a vision of good employment – jobs which are secure, fairly paid and fulfilling, with opportunities to progress and develop.  This has been created alongside employers, business groups, trades unions, professional bodies, campaign groups, and academics.

“But we want to hear from all of our city-region’s businesses, trade unions and employees to make sure this Employment Charter is truly by Greater Manchester and works for Greater Manchester.

“Good employment is a win-win for Greater Manchester’s employers – whether they are in the private, public or voluntary and community sectors – because employers who are the best at engaging and supporting their employees are the most successful.

“As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Trades Union Congress, founded here in Manchester as a voice for working people, I’m determined that we continue to lead the way in improving their lives.  This Charter can be a critical tool as we work with business, trade unions and others to make our city-region a beacon of good and productive work.”

Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor for the Economy, Sir Richard Leese added: “Employers have been central to Greater Manchester’s growth and success.  Many of Greater Manchester’s leading employers ensure they get the best from their workforce through fairly-paid roles, using skills and strengths to the full and providing opportunities to progress.  This helps to drive growth and boost our economy.

“We now want to pioneer an approach that brings together employers behind these values.

“Our Employment Charter can help to make our city-region the best place to work but only if we hear the voices of employers and employees from across Greater Manchester during this consultation.”

Greater Manchester portfolio lead for Education, Skills and Apprenticeships, Councillor Sean Fielding said: “Greater Manchester is establishing itself as the best place in the UK for businesses to grow and succeed. The Good Employment Charter will further carve out our unique identity, helping employers create great jobs and demonstrate their commitment to driving shared prosperity.

“The partnership at the core of the Good Employment Charter is what Greater Manchester is all about – bringing together businesses, trade unions and communities across the region. Combined with great schools and outstanding further and higher education, the Charter is part of making an economy that works for everyone.”

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, Clive Memmott said: “I think it’s really important that we have the courage in Greater Manchester to set out the principles of what good employment practice and effective employee engagement looks like. This shouldn’t be prescriptive, complex or aiming to be the perfect model for all employers. Its purpose is set out a clear vision of what good and fair employment looks like. This won’t be fixed in tablets of stone but will be dynamic and continue to evolve as more organisations become involved and different approaches are recognised and new ideas generated.

“Effective employee engagement strategy is plain common sense. The idea that creativity, imagination and innovation just comes from those at the top of an organisation is nonsense. If we really want our organisations in Greater Manchester to be more productive we need to be fully engage and involve all our people and provide flexible and fair employment. This isn’t always easy but the results can be transformational for both employer and employee.

“This consultation will only be effective if people get involved and send in their views. This is your chance to shape the thinking about what good employment should look like in Greater Manchester and how we should promote, encourage and recognise this. If we really are serious about improving our productivity in Greater Manchester this is an important starting point.”

 

Determined daughter Rachael Thompson is set to scale new heights when she undertakes the challenge of a lifetime by trekking to the Everest Base Camp.

Rachael is setting off on the adventure to raise funds for a charity close to her heart.

The 34-year-old, from Padfield near Glossop, explained: “Everest has always been on my bucket list. I love a challenge and this is the ultimate one for me.

“But I have decided to use this chance to raise awareness of the importance of kidney research to help with transplants, dialysis, medication etc and to raise as much money as possible.

“I have funded the trip myself and 100 per cent of all donations will go straight to the charity.”

Rachael explained that her father, Lee Thompson, 64, a retired chartered building surveyor for High Peak Borough Council, has benefitted from receiving a new kidney just weeks ago.

“I know the importance of such kidney research, and I would like this to be my way of contributing and saying thanks,” she said.

Her father’s treatment has been a long journey spanning back years to initial diagnosis at Tameside Hospital in 2011.

As his kidneys failed he was twice placed on the transplant list – but the average waiting time is three years and eight months before a match is found.

Lee’s kidneys made a slight recovery following medication over the years and he came off the transplant list, only to be advised he would ultimately require a transplant.

Fortunately, after going back on the list he waited only 20 days before a match was found and underwent the operation on September 28.

He has since been discharged from hospital but his recovery will take many months and he will be constantly monitored.

Lee has received care and treatment at Stepping Hill and the Manchester Royal Infirmary renal unit, which carries out more than 200 transplants every year.

“The staff and team of the MRI renal unit were amazing,” said Rachael.

“My dad has nothing but praise for their professional and selfless attitude to their work.

“Without the help of Kidney Research UK none of this would have even been possible, so I’m raising money to help fund further research.

Lee and Rachael

“Whilst my dad was in hospital I spoke to a few people who underwent a similar procedure and each and every one of them are beyond grateful for their donors, and without the selfless act of donors and their families my dad and others would not have had this second chance.”

Rachael, who works at Glossop’s Tesco Pharmacy added: “At first everyone thought I was silly for trekking to Everest Base Camp as I have Raynauds disease, but now they are happy and supportive, even more so because I’m doing it also to raise awareness and money for Kidney Research UK.”

Raynauds disease can cause some areas of the body, like fingers and toes, to feel numb and cold in response to cold temperatures.

Rachael has been busy training for the challenge, as she puts it, ‘in her own back yard’.

“I have always loved being outdoors but my love for the hills probably started properly only about four years ago,” she says.

“Since then I spend most of my spare time hiking somewhere. My training ground for my trek is my own back yard… Bleaklow, Kinder, Black Hill, The Great Ridge and many other areas within the Peak District. I have scaled Snowdon and explored The Lake district. If there’s a hill then I’ll climb it.”

Rachael will embark on the challenge in two weeks time and is attempting to raise as much money as possible for the charity.

If you would like to support her effort she has set up a just giving page which can be found at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Rachael-Thompson84

 

Volunteer Wayne at the recent Willow Wood volunteers' party, along with fellow volunteer Angie.

This week is Hospice Care Week, and Willow Wood would like to mark the occasion with some words from volunteer Wayne.  Wayne was inspired to volunteer after we cared for his mum, and his words illustrate perfectly how our care for our community results in our community caring for us.

“Approximately twelve months after the passing of my Mum in Willow Wood, I began volunteering for the Hospice. There was never any doubt in my mind that this was what I would eventually hope to do as my Mum, myself and my family were so wonderfully cared for, both during Mum’s illness and after her death. I could think of no better way to say ‘thank you’ and, no matter how indirectly, to help the hospice just a little in the continuation of its wonderful work for the people of Tameside and Glossop.

The work I do is varied and always personally satisfying. I have assisted in a number of outside and internal events, the Midnight Walk, various aspects of the annual Light up a Life event and the Summer and Winter Fetes, to name just a few. I also undertake deliveries to local schools and businesses and, whilst doing so, it comes across to me so many times how loved and valued Willow Wood really is.

Raising money for the Hospice is clearly of vital importance. It currently costs around £2.5m annually to maintain free services to Tameside and Glossop residents. I have raised funds by raising sponsorship for my participation in the Morecambe Bay Walk and the IKEA Abseil. I am also presently trying to raise sponsorship for ‘The Ton of Love for Willow Wood’ event.

The perception of Willow Wood as a gloomy or morbid place is completely wrong. The atmosphere is strikingly positive and happy. I have made a lot of friends and I love working here (which is more than I could say during the course of my normal working life!)  I hope I can volunteer for as long as I’m able, because whatever I can do for the Hospice will never compare to what the Hospice has done for me.”

Wonderful words from a wonderful volunteer.

 

Willow Wood offer their sincere thanks to Wayne and all their many hundreds of volunteers, supporters and fundraisers who show their care for Willow Wood in so many ways.

 

 

 

Responding to Theresa May’s announcement yesterday on plans to extend civil partnerships to opposite sex couples, Graeme Fraser, the chairman of Resolution’s cohabitation committee, said:

“The announcement is surely a victory for equality, with the extension of civil partnerships to all, allowing those who do not wish to get married and their children the benefits of a formalised relationship. It is also a step in the right direction as it helps bring family law in line with modern values.”

If a same-sex couple enters into a civil partnership, they will be able to make a financial claim in the event of dissolution. If one of them dies, the surviving partner will be able to claim against their late partner’s pension scheme.

Civil partnerships are infinitely preferable to unthinking and risky cohabitation. Two-thirds of people who cohabit don’t actually realise they are unprotected, as “common-law marriage” does not exist. Cohabiting couples are less likely to formalise their relationship through marriage or a civil partnership, as they do not realise that they are at risk if they separate or if one partner dies without making a will.

Resolution has repeatedly called on the government to urgently provide at least basic rights for cohabiting couples. Hopefully, in time, the government will change the law to allow the justice system to recognise unmarried family units, irrespective of any formal registration, to financially protect the couple and any children.

In the meantime, Keith Bull, head of the family & divorce department at Bromleys Solicitors LLP in Ashton-under-Lyne, recommends that unmarried couples protect themselves by entering into a cohabitation agreement. This will regulate their cohabitation and/or a trust deed stating how their property is to be divided in the event of the death of one party, or their relationship coming to an end, to save substantial legal fees and to give their relationship certainty.

If you need any advice in relation to the above, or any other family matters, please contact our expert family & divorce team on 0161 330 6821 or email:

Keith Bull – kbull@bromleys.co.uk

Denise Pinder – dpinder@bromleys.co.uk

Kristie Fawcett – kfawcett@bromleys.co.uk

Alternatively, you are welcome to attend any of our free legal surgeries. Please click here for dates and times – No appointment necessary.

 

As property values have risen over the years many people who previously did not have to consider Inheritance Tax are now finding themselves in that position.

For those with larger estates it is easier as the rules around gifting favour them, but it is not so easy for those with smaller estates who still need to do some planning. The gifting rules let someone with hundreds of thousands of pounds to give away, takes advantage of the tax breaks that become more generous with the length of time between the date of the gift and the time they die, while those who can only afford to make smaller gifts must live seven years to get any advantage from their gifts.

Everybody has an annual allowance of £3,000 which they can give away. This can be given to one person or divided up for example: £1,000 to each of three children.  This gifting does not count towards the estate for Inheritance Tax purposes.  There are other allowances such as for birthdays, Christmas and weddings.  Larger gifts that are made are known as Potentially Exempt Transfers or PETs.  When a PET is made if the person making the gift lives seven years from the date of making the gift then it falls out of their estate.  This is all well and good if you survive the seven years, but what happens if you don’t?

When you die, the gifts that you have given away in the last seven years are added up and use up the available nil rate band first (currently £325,000). This then reduces the amount of nil rate band available for the rest of the estate.  For those who have gifted over £325,000 however and lived between 3 and seven years there is something called taper relief.

If you die within three years of making a gift then tax is payable at the full 40% on the amount

Gifted over £325,000, however the effective tax rate for deaths after three to four years is 32% then 24% then 16% then 8% for each following year. This taper relief however only helps the wealthy as the gifting must be in excess of £325,000 to qualify for taper relief and not many people have that much available to gift away.

There are other ways in which to gift money without it being clawed back into your estate when you die. For all Inheritance Tax issues the best thing to do is seek advice, particularly when considering gifting.

How we can help

Contact: Laura Stansfield, Sue Darlington or Susanne Furness in our Wills, Probate & Planning for the Future department to discuss how one of our team of experts can help guide you through this process.

Email: lstansfield@bromleys.co.uk; sdarlington@bromleys.co.uk  sfurness@bromleys.co.uk

Tel: 0161 330 6821