Letters, Saturday, December 22

Have your say

Time to advertise public meetings

ONCE again I have just returned home from a public meeting focussing on furthur developing the Health and Well Being Strategy in Sunderland.

 Once again I was disappointed at the public’s attendance on the very important matters which were discussed. And although the competent representatives of voluntary organisations along with the local authorities were more than capable of airing issues, there’s no better substitute than the people who are experiencing these problems direct.

 This meeting was to highlight methods for interested partners to strive to work alongside each other and improve the quality of people’s lives in the city of Sunderland. Some of the issues discussed were:

l Time Banking, which focuses on people skill-swapping. A very interesting topic, I thought, which I’m sure most of us presently accomplish successfully in some form or another and if so this could have been shared with us.

l Helping Communities to help themselves in a positive way by creating camaraderie renown in the northern communities in times of need.

l Supporting children throughout their journey and transition to adulthood, imperative to our future.

l Supporting people with long-term conditions by highlighting good practise and maybe advising where things could be improved.

l Sharing good health practise in a working environment or advising where things could be improved.

l Advice on how to strengthen social networks.

 These were just a few initiatives discussed and I’m sure apply to all of us in one way or another.

 I feel if we are to get through the next few years of austerity everything we can do to help each other is vital and sharing predicaments along with suggestions of improvement and good old perseverance to see it through will eventually achieve the much-wanted outcomes.

 However, I wonder if all is being done to advertise these events as it’s only due to my own initiative that I manage to keep up with these very important meetings.

 Maybe the Council could show more initiative by displaying calendars of the forthcoming public health events in bold advertising in popular places such as supermarkets, doctor’s surgeries, shopping malls or even pubs. That’s if they are genuine in their task to accomplish their mission. Once again, may I advise this is my own personal view and I do not speak on behalf of any other interested party.

Audrey Polkinghorn


Party pays for its own newsletters

G Liddle’s frivolous letter on December 6 accusing Labour councillors Stuart Porthouse and Darryl Dixon’s newsletters of being paid for by all of Sunderland is completely wrong, misleading, and mischievous.

 St Chad’s Branch Labour Party newsletters are paid for by local Labour Party members who regularly contribute to branch funds.

 It begs the question, how does G Liddle know Sunderland Tories pay for their newsletters?

Councillors Stuart Porthouse and Darryl Dixon

Plain packaging could backfire

I WRITE in response to your article titled ‘Row Over Tobacco claims’, published on December 1.

 As someone who has worked in the packaging industry for over 40 years I can assure you that the introduction of plain packaging for tobacco products would undoubtedly make it simpler to copy and consequently increase the volume of counterfeit and fake cigarettes coming onto our streets.

 When people look at packaging they often think it is simple, but to those who know the manufacturing processes, tobacco products feature a number of sophisticated and complex markings, some easily identifiable and some for those who need to know.

 It stands to reason that a plain package without marks specific to a brand and product will be easier to reproduce.

 Imagine a £20 note without the hologram, water mark and other security features. Would it be easier to forge? Of course it would.

 While the Government’s aims of reducing the number of young people smoking should be supported the effect of plain packaging could potentially have the opposite effect.

 Easy-to-copy packs will increase the number of fake and counterfeit cigarettes on our streets, sold by criminals to anyone who will buy, most likely at a very cheap price.

 Will they ask for ID? Will the police and law enforcement agencies welcome the increased work that this will involve? Of course not.

Mike Ridgway

Donate to Grace?

WHY doesn’t Sunderland City Council dedicate the annual Festival of Running – and donate the money raised from the three races – to the Grace House Hospice of Hope appeal?

Frank Johnson