Letters, Monday, March 4, 2013

Have your say

Life worth living talks excellent

ON February 20, I attended an excellent conference at the Stadium of Light entitled A Life Worth Living – Suicide Prevention, Life–Listen Actively, Identify Risk, Find Coping Resources, Enable Access to Professional Support.

 The conference was a collation by The New Horizons Partnership for improving emotional health and wellbeing, run by Jackie Nixon and partners, in collaboration with Washington Mind.

 While attending the conference we were welcomed by Gary Bennett, ex-Sunderland football player and now the Patron of Washington Mind.

 The conference was led by Ian Holliday, the head of Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group.

 The conference was delivered by seven speakers. The first speech was by Sunderland Director of Public Health Nonnie Crawford.

 I attended a previous conference where Nonnie delivered an excellent speech, and this time was no exception. The speech was delivered with her usual light-hearted humour, which lightened the mood of the seriousness of the topic.

 More superb speeches were made by Sunderland Councillor Graeme Miller, Executive member for health and ex-Sunderland footballer Kieron Brady. Mr Brady delivered a touching account, entitled A Day in the Life of – My Personal Journey.

 Vera Maw, from the Sunderland Carers’ Centre, delivered a speech entitled A Carer’s Prospective. Val, a listening volunteer from Whitehaven’s Samaritans, delivered a speech entitled Personal Journey – again this was a heartfelt, well-delivered personal account. Further accounts were made by the director of Sunderland Samaritans, Alan Monkhouse, and the Samaritans regional director, Judith Hewison.

 Jacqui Reeves and Kath McKenna, from Washington Mind, ended the conference, which was a real eye-opener for me.

 I wish to thank everyone who took part.

Phil Bradford,

Sunderland Headlight,

Mary Street,


Strange policies

I’M not a political animal, but I feel I must take time to mention some of the tales I have been hearing on the local news.

 For instance, three of the larger councils in the North East have had their funding from the Government reduced while three just outside London have had their funding increased. Surely this is not due to the political leanings of the different areas?

 Now we hear of this “bedroom tax” or to give it its lesser well-known name, and therefore less hated, “the under occupancy tax”.

 Whichever way you look at it, it is no better if you are poor. As with all of this Government’s reverse “Robin Hood” policies, of robbing the poor to pay the rich, there are some strange rules going on about this tax.

 Let us take for example Mrs A is, unfortunately, stuck between jobs and on benefits, has two sons at home in the two other bedrooms. Next door, Mrs B is also on benefits and also has two sons in the two other bedrooms of their respective three-bedroom council homes.

 Nevertheless there is a discrepancy between these two families, Mrs A’s sons have been naughty boys and imprisoned for theft. Meanwhile, Mrs B’s sons are serving in Afghanistan.

 Mrs A does not have to pay bedroom tax on her sons’ empty bedrooms because prisoners will not be required to pay the new tax on empty rooms in social housing, but Mrs B will have to pay for her sons’ empty rooms as serving soldiers are not exempt.

 Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne said the Government was “so incompetent it is hammering soldiers but protecting prisoners”.

 I have to agree with Mr Byrne on this one.

Alan “The Quill” Vincent.

one-bedroom house,

Old Penshaw

Do talking on pitch

NO doubt we are all aware of James McClean’s Irish Republican sympathies after the shirt poppy fiasco.

 But now that his choice of music has been made public, isn’t it about time he was told to do his talking on the pitch and earn his vast wages?

 Shut up and stop dragging the name of our great club through the mud.

 If he doesnt like English money, he’s not forced to stay here.

Ralph Arnold,


Building bridges

JUDGING by the letters in the Echo over the years, I have noticed that some of the people of Sunderland are quite disgruntled about the things that Sunderland Council has wasted taxpayers’ money on.

 The Vaux Site, Ambit and The Seaburn Fountain are just three.

 The latest fiasco is the “iconic” bridge across the River Wear.

 The only bridge this council is capable of building is a wooden one, and it could be done by putting all their heads together.

B Tasker,