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family

I’m overweight after lockdown, but what’s that got to do with my shoes?

By | children's health, family, footwear and feet
by Kim Jackson M.S.S.F.
Klodhoppers Ltd, Haywards Heath

We have to accept that as a nation we are getting bigger and heavier, and in the light of the Government’s recently updated document ‘Childhood Obesity: Applying All Our Health’ (1st May 2020), it is clear that as a nation we have an obesity problem that isn’t going to go away any time soon.

For many grown-ups and children, lockdown hasn’t helped! Childhood obesity and excess weight are significant health issues for children and their families. There can be serious implications for a child’s physical and mental health, which can then overlap into adulthood.

Obesity is associated with poor psychological and emotional health, and many children experience bullying and stigmatisation linked to their weight. Children and young people living with obesity are more likely to become adults living with obesity and therefore have a higher risk of morbidity, disability, low self-esteem and premature mortality in adulthood.

For some children it can mean more school absences (in order to avoid the bullies) in addition to the obvious health concerns such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, breathing difficulties and bone and joint problems.

So what has this got to do with shoes?
There has been a marked increase in overweight children in the last few years, and this can affect how a shoe is worn and its durability. Members of the Society of Shoe Fitters are trained in many aspects of shoe fitting for children and young people, and one of the factors to be taken into consideration is the weight of a child and the impact it may have on the wear and fit of a shoe.

The most important thing to remember about any footwear is that ‘it is essential to wear the right shoe for the right occasion’, so that footwear will perform correctly and in accordance with its design and manufacture. Shoes are designed to do different jobs and take varying amounts of wear and tear.

So for example:
• Party shoes are not designed for climbing trees.
• School shoes are designed to be worn five days a week within a school environment.
• Wellies and waterproof boots are made for puddles and muddy walks!

Overweight children (particularly boys) often resort to wearing trainers all day, every day, mainly because it’s the only type of footwear that fits and feels comfortable. The construction of a trainer offers comfort for the foot due to all the padding inside, the soft chunky soles and the ability to easily open up wide for a chubbier foot.

Strictly speaking, however, trainers are designed and manufactured to be worn for sporting activities, and not for all day wear. Daily wearing of trainers can be harmful to your feet and general health and can lead to another different set of foot health problems such as allowing the feet to ‘spread’ and become more flaccid. As a result when you go back to wearing a more structured shoe, you may suffer for a while.

Overweight girls often choose fashionable flat ‘pumps’ like a ballet shoe, but with no fastening. Again these are not ideal especially if they are not fitted correctly, as the foot can bulge over the topline of the shoe. This is not just unsightly, it can be very uncomfortable. It can also create the potential for the skin to be chafed and for blisters to develop. The child also has to ‘claw’ her toes in order to keep the shoes on, then the shoes either gradually stretch and turn into ‘flip flops’ or the backs get broken down so there is no support for the heel. Unless the pump is of high quality there is likely to be inadequate shock absorption in the sole and insole which can make the foot prone to plantar fasciitis – which is extremely painful. The arches of the feet become overworked and bear the child’s entire weight, as opposed to a properly constructed shoe which is designed to take weight in specific places throughout the shoe.

Taking a shoe wider and wider is not necessarily the answer to fit a chubbier foot. In fact it often pays to go longer and narrower (although the depth and the style of the shoe would be a greater consideration with an overweight child) as it is all about how the weight of the child’s foot is distributed within the shoe.

Extra body weight puts strain on the arches and muscles in the feet, ankles, legs and hips, affecting your entire physiology. Even migraines can be attributed to ill-fitting footwear.

Finding comfortable and supportive shoes for overweight children is important to keep young people active and mobile. If your feet hurt due to ill fitting shoes, then you exercise less and are likely to gain more weight – a vicious cycle.

GPs, chiropodists and podiatrists inevitably see more foot health problems due to obesity, but their knowledge of mainstream footwear may be limited. Contact a qualified shoe fitter who is more likely to be ‘in the know’ with the latest brands, designs or trends, and who has the knowledge needed for giving the correct fit.

A qualified shoe fitter will always recommend a structured shoe, preferably with a fastening (such as laces, or a Velcro® strap, or a strap with a buckle) for children who need the correct footwear and who need to get in shape.

What adults choose to do with their feet is their concern, however as a parent we have a duty of care to our children to ensure that during the long growing period extreme care must be taken to avoid persistent pressure on the developing foot. Before the bones in a child’s foot have fully formed there is a danger of the bones becoming distorted by pressure due to inappropriate or ill fitting footwear. The additional problem of obesity in a child is another vital factor to be taken into account when getting their shoes fitted correctly.

If in doubt, then always consult a health professional or take advice from a qualified shoe fitter – remember that a child’s formative years shape the future of their feet and the way they walk and can have profound and far-reaching effects on their whole physiology.

Kim Jackson M.S.S.F (Member of the Society of Shoe Fitters & Children’s Foot Health Register accredited) Klodhoppers, Haywards Heath. www.klodhoppers.com

Research reveals it takes 6.5 adults to raise a child in Britain

By | family, fun for children | No Comments

It takes an average of 6.5 adults to raise a single child in Britain, with grandmothers (42%) teachers (37%), grandfathers (30%), aunts (23%) and older siblings (23%) all playing key roles alongside parents, according to the results of a study amongst British parents and children.

A quarter of those surveyed believe it takes as many as 10 people to bring up a child, highlighting the extent of those involved in raising a family in modern Britain.

More than two-thirds of those surveyed agreed that the main attribute needed to raise a child is love, with this ranking higher than being related to the child or regularly looking after them.

The survey, commissioned by My Nametags (www.mynametags.com) suggests that the proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” rings true for families across Britain, with members of the wider family and community playing important roles in a child’s upbringing. For instance, great reliance is placed on grandmothers (46%) and grandfathers (22%) for childcare whilst parents are at work. Children’s older siblings (19%), aunts (14%), and parents’ friends (12%) are also amongst those who are regularly called upon for childcare.

Parents agree that older siblings have the biggest impact on a child’s personality (16%), as well as heavily influencing a child’s bad habits (25%). Grandmothers are also critical to forming the personality of a child, with a fifth of parents believing they have the closest rapport with their children. Additionally, grandmothers are considered to teach them the most of anyone in the family.

The influence of older siblings and grandmothers is also felt by children themselves, with a fifth stating they have the most fun with their older siblings and almost a quarter agreeing they look up to their grandmothers the most.

Interestingly, despite this village mentality, teachers are the only group outside the immediate family that parents are happy to let discipline their child.

According to the study, there are several reasons why parents choose to involve their wider social networks when raising children. In addition to practical reasons, parents suggest that it improves children’s social skills (30%) and helps them build strong relationships (30%).
Commenting on the findings, Bea Marshall, Parenting Expert and Founder of Yes Parenting, said: “Humans are generally social creatures who thrive in communal and cooperative environments. Nowadays it is common for families to live away from their extended families and without the day to day support of their immediate neighbours. However, it is still so important for families to create a network of support as they raise their children. When other people help care for children, it provides parents with an opportunity to recharge, work or play. Those other people also give children a secure set of relationships in which their needs for connection, safety and belonging are met. Children have an opportunity to learn from the different people around them and they receive different things from each person – one may be more playful, another more nurturing, for example. Each person in a child’s life contributes something unique that helps them to grow into a well-rounded individual, while offering crucial support to their parents.”

With everyday life in Britain affected by COVID-19, parents’ usual reliance on the wider community has never been more apparent, with many families losing over two-thirds of their support network.

Commenting on the research, Lars B. Andersen, Managing Director at My Nametags, said: “After noticing a range of family members ordering name labels for children in recent years, we were interested to discover more about the varying roles that family members and friends take on when raising a child. Although every household will have their own approach to parenting, it is interesting to see the importance of the wider community when raising children in the UK, and how each individual helps to shape a child’s life. With the impact of COVID-19 continuing to affect the way families across the UK are operating, it was particularly interesting to speak to parents about how being cut off from their usual support network has affected them during this crisis. We found that, on the whole, although families have adapted the best they can, they want to get back to their normal routine, suggesting that this unusual period has only reinforced the importance of including a range of people in the upbringing of a child.”

To learn more, please visit www.mynametags.com/blog/2020/ 06/it-takes-a-village/

Could you be a school governor?

By | Education, family, Relationships
by Sharon MacKenzie
School and Governance Development Manager
Brighton & Hove City Council

Who are school governors and what do they do?
School governors are one of the largest volunteer groups in the country. They make a real difference to the lives of children, by working with head teachers and leadership teams to improve schools. Governing bodies work as a team to make decisions.

What kind of person can be a governor?
Governing bodies usually have around 12 governors and they need a range of skills and experience. Whilst it’s important to have governors with leadership skills and experience of monitoring budgets, governing bodies also need to understand the needs of the pupils. People from the local community are therefore crucial, as are those who may have experience of working with children and families. If you have time to commit, work well in a team and are keen to learn, then this can be a very rewarding voluntary role.

What’s in it for me?
You will meet new people, develop skills and learn more about how schools work. Above all, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have made a real difference to the development of children, young people, their school and the community.

Do I need to have a child at a school?
Not necessarily. There are different types of governor and being a parent governor is only one of them. If you are interested in being a parent governor, you should contact the school to find out about vacancies. Alternatively, you could be appointed onto a governing body as a co-opted governor, depending on the skills and experience they need. The Governor Support Team keeps a list of vacancies and can help to match you to a school – see contact details below.

What is expected of me?
Governing bodies usually meet together once or twice a term. Meetings are being carried out on online platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic, until it is safe to meet together again in schools. Most also hold regular committee meetings that focus on certain areas (for example, curriculum or finance) and have governors who focus on certain areas of work (for example, Special Educational Needs). You will also be expected to carry out school visits, although this type of monitoring is being approached differently at the moment. The amount of hours varies from week to week, but you should expect to spend around 10 days per year on regular duties, which is an average of half a day per fortnight during term-time.

Is training and support provided?
Brighton & Hove’s Governor Support Team provides advice and guidance to governors and clerks, as well as induction and further training – all this is free of charge to the individual. There are also regular briefings to update you on national and local developments. All this is currently being carried out online, using e-learning and virtual discussions.

We are keen to ensure that our governing bodies reflect the diversity of the pupils in our schools. Therefore, we welcome applications from under-represented groups, particularly from black or minority ethnic backgrounds.

For more information: Email: governor.support@brighton-hove.gov.uk Web: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/governors Twitter: @BHSchoolGovs

A preschool is where a child’s educational journey begins, where key skills are developed and a love of learning is cultivated

By | Education, family, fun for children, numeracy skills, Playing, reading, Relationships
by Susan Clarke
Head of Rowan Preparatory School, Claygate, Surrey

Do you recall your first day of school? If not, your parents will have done, just like you now considering the educational path your child is on. When choosing the right environment, there are many factors to consider yet there is an abundance of choice regarding nurseries, preschools, and schools; so how do you choose?

Primarily we want our children to be safe, happy and enjoy the opportunities provided for them. However, look behind the scenes and there are huge differences in what’s on offer. Below are a few handy tips on what to watch out for.

Children will benefit from a setting that has that perfect home-away-from-home feel, with warm, inviting spaces for them to grow, learn and discover. Take the time to explore nursery and preschool settings with small classes, specialist teaching provision, adventures to the woods and outdoor play areas and you are well on your way to instilling a love of learning in your child.

Experts in the Early Years
Do you know about the importance of cross-lateral movements, singing songs and practising making silly noises together? Not to worry if you do not, experts in the Early Years will be leading you and your child all the way. Finding the right experts for your child is essential, as building supportive and reassuring relationships at this age are vital for successful early development. At some settings, children will be fortunate enough to learn from passionate, specialist teaching staff, who bring out the best in every child. They will discover their interests and develop their inquisitiveness through exploration, investigation, and play. Staff will give you feedback through portfolios so that you feel involved in your child’s learning journey. Sharing milestones, success and moments of discovery are precious and to be treasured.

Learning through play
Like most early learning environments, the Foundation Stage curriculum is considered to be at the heart of all experiences. Skilled Early Years practitioners will deliver carefully curated topics, based on children’s interests and the curriculum, bringing them to life through song, play and observation. This approach will creatively develop the senses, sounds and imagination of their young charges. Within this world of fantasy, imagination and fun are opportunities for learning sounds, numbers and about the world around them. Look out for settings that nurture their knowledge, understanding and confidence.

Going above and beyond
While communication, personal and social education and mathematics are core to any Early Years curriculum, your choice of nursery can offer much more. What else is on offer? Is sport, dance or yoga offered to complement physical development? Is musical theatre, singing and drama provided to help build confidence and a natural ability to express themselves to a range of audiences? Are the children exposed to learning an additional language, having fun with songs, food and their newly expanded vocabulary? It is a joy to celebrate language and culture and these opportunities are all part of developing a sense of self and belonging in this world.

Woodland wanderers
When I think about my two children when they were two and four, I could barely get them out of a puddle or discourage them from climbing a tree, and who would want to at that age! Using the outdoors to develop knowledge, their language and awareness provides opportunity for real-life discovery. Problem solving skills are developed alongside the ability to communicate, these are essential building blocks in their educational journey. Many nurseries and preschools have access to woodland areas and Forest Schools, which children visit weekly and in all weathers. They will don waders, snow suits or sunhats to explore the woods, returning to school with tales of mini-beasts, den building, witling and wandering. How I yearn to be three again!

Parents as partners
You are an essential part of your child’s development; you know their interests, likes and dislikes. Getting to know whether your child likes dinosaurs, or peas rather than broccoli, will help them settle confidently into their setting. An open-door policy is vital in enabling you to work in partnership with staff and allowing you to discuss any concerns you may have. Look for an environment that holds regular ‘Show and Share’ sessions, where children delight in welcoming their parents into the classroom, proud of the learning space in which they feel comfortable and can excitedly share their prized creations and the skills they have learned.

Ready for ‘big’ school
As your little one nears the end of their time in nursery or preschool, they will be more than ready to embrace the experiences of Reception. Thinking about their transition will be key and if you are able to offer them continuity and familiarly through the same whole school setting or through friendship groups this will help ease their way. If your nursery is in a school setting, I know that Reception teachers love nothing more than coming into the Early Year’s rooms and getting to know them for that next big step. Once you have chosen your school for Reception there will be information and activity afternoons, so everyone feels confident and assured about the next stage. Children will radiate confidence from their time in preschool, so much so that Reception in the same environment seems natural and reassuring.

Susan Clarke is the Headmistress at Rowan Preparatory School in Claygate, Surrey, an outstanding prep school and preschool for girls aged 2-11.
The school motto Hic Feliciter Laboramus – Here We Work Happily – is a sentiment embodied throughout the school, where an engaging and inspiring approach to education creates a lifelong love of learning. To discover more visit www.rowanprepschool.co.uk or contact admissions@rowanprepschool.co.uk to arrange a visit.

Divorce is changing for the better

By | family, Finance, Legal, Relationships, Work employment
by Rachael House
Senior Associate Solicitor, Family Law, Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors

What is the current divorce law in this country?
Under current divorce law, if you and your spouse have not been separated for two years or more you can only get divorced by showing that your spouse has committed adultery or behaved in such a way that you cannot tolerate living with them (known as unreasonable behaviour). Only then will a court grant you a divorce.

Adultery and unreasonable behaviour divorces are known as ‘fault-based’ divorces and usually increase acrimony between spouses. For example, to demonstrate that your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot tolerate living with them, you have to write some unpleasant words about them and their behaviour. For your spouse who is at the receiving end of these unkind words it can cause them distress and make them even more unhappy with you, when tensions may already be running high. This type of divorce is especially unhelpful where there are children of the family, as relationships between parents can deteriorate further at a time when it is more important than ever for parents to work co-operatively.

Over the years, the Government has been reluctant to reform divorce law, believing that making it easier for couples to divorce would somehow undermine the sanctity of marriage and increase the rates of divorce.

What is changing?
In 2017, a national survey carried out by the Nuffield Foundation found that in fault-based divorces 62% of petitioners (those instigating the divorce) and 78% of respondents (those at the receiving end of a divorce) said that using fault had made the process more bitter, 21% of respondents said fault had made it harder to sort out arrangements for children, and 31% of respondents thought fault made sorting out finances harder.

In 2020 the Government passed the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill following lengthy campaigning by family lawyers. The Bill paves the way for a new divorce process where blame does not have to be attached to one party.

The general consensus amongst family lawyers is that the changes do not make the physical process of divorce any easier and certainly no quicker than the current system. The huge benefit of the changes, however, is that the process will be far less acrimonious and emotionally damaging for all those involved.

When can I get divorced under the new law?
The new law will come into force in autumn 2021 (no exact date has been set as yet) so there is still some time to wait.

Once the new law is in force, you will be able to proceed with a divorce by providing a ‘statement of irretrievable breakdown.’ The current two-stage process, decree nisi and decree absolute, will remain and a minimum timeframe of six months will be set from the date of the petition to decree absolute. There will also be an option for you and your spouse to issue a joint divorce petition.

What if I still want to get divorced now without blaming my spouse?
If you want to press ahead with a divorce now without attributing blame, then if you have been separated for two years or more you can get divorced on the basis of ‘two years separation’ – provided your spouse consents. If your spouse is not going to consent then you can only get divorced without attributing blame if you have been separated for five years or more.

If the above routes are not a viable option for you but you still wish to formalise the financial matters of a separation immediately, then you can enter into a separation agreement with your spouse – provided they co-operate – to divide up the finances of the marriage with a view to divorcing once the new law comes into force. At the point of divorce, your separation agreement can be converted by a family lawyer into a court order. It will then become legally binding under matrimonial law once a judge approves the order.

What shall I do next?
If you are unsure as to whether to press ahead with your divorce or to wait a while, it is important to find out more about the legal options available to you by contacting a family lawyer for advice.

Rachael House is a specialist family solicitor at Mackrell Turner Garrett, an established firm of experienced Solicitors based in Woking. www.mtgsurrey.co.uk

The winter staycation

By | Education, environment, family, Family Farms, fun for children, Party, Playing

If it’s not possible to escape the colder months here in the UK and jet off to sunnier climes this year, then we might all just need to be a bit more creative in order to make sure we can still enjoy the great outdoors.

Summer staycations have been pretty popular this year, and no doubt some people were probably found moaning about it being too hot, but soon enough we will be longing for warm weather and sunshine again.

“There’s no need to wait for a warm, or even dry day to plan a family trip out” says Nicola Henderson, who is a mother of three and runs family farm, Godstone Farm, in Surrey.

Here are her top tips for day trips to help get you outdoors whatever the weather:
Book online
With reduced capacities to ensure social distancing most venues will ask you to book in advance, and why risk not getting in with excited children in the back seat? Many attractions may offer their best price if you book in advance via their website and often more savings can be made the further ahead you book. That all important booking confirmation is also a valuable chance for the attraction you are visiting to communicate important information to you; in uncertain times its best to get the low-down before you arrive.

Use the website for all important information
Most venues will now have information on their site about their ‘Covid Secure’ measures and any information you need to know. But, let’s not forget the fun stuff – the website will give you all the details of what’s open and what’s on, plus check out the blog and any latest posts on social media. This day out might be a special treat, so show the children pictures and read content to them, even play a quiz in the car about what they think they might see and do. You might not be going on holiday, but you can still escape for a bit!

Arrive early
Let’s face it, the children aren’t likely to give you a lie in on your staycation so make the most of the day. Arriving early means getting the car parking space closer to the entrance (important in bad weather!) and also being first in line for things that might get busier during the day. Whether it’s the front of the queue for a ride, or the first to cuddle a cute bunny it’s always good to beat the crowds, especially on weekends and holidays. Check out opening times before you visit – some attractions have started opening earlier than usual – this seems a popular idea, especially when toddlers get tired and need an afternoon snooze.

Leave the picnic at home
There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, hear the cries of parents up and down the land who are plain bored of making a picnic. All those lockdown walks where daily exercise meant packing up a hamper, going to the green space close by and trying to entertain the children while keeping in line with government guidance. Nicola adds “Certainly with my family, when lots of places were still closed there was an endless snack-packing exercise to go out to the local park.” Secondly, if you are able to support your local business, or small attraction in the area by making a purchase when you are there, then do. Of course, picnics are still fine if that’s what you prefer.

We love wellies!
It’s a fact! Remember that blistering heatwave? Yep, there were still those children that want to wear wellies, and hey, you’re only a child once so why not. If it is raining however, why not make extra fun on your day and do a bit of puddle jumping? If the children are dressed for it, then it makes bad weather into a real positive and provides endless fun. There’s puddle jumping competitions wherever you go in the rain, because you just make them yourself, or even try the puddle jumping Olympics! The only rule is that parents must join in too.

Wherever you go, whether it’s a staycation away from home or day trips out nothing beats the outdoors and the benefits we all know it can bring.

Godstone Farm will continue to provide fun whatever the weather, but it’s always worth checking the website for up to date opening days and times. They have some exciting plans for 2021 including a Day Nursery and Pre-School planned to open in early 2021. www.godstonefarm.co.uk

Outdoor play vs Covid-19

By | children's health, Education, family, Health, Mental health
by Sally-Ann Barker
Potter’s House Preschool

While the country is in a state of limbo and we’re all trying to find the new normal or taking tentative baby steps to the old one, I’ve found myself overwhelmed with awe and wonder at the world that surrounds us. Amongst all the doom and gloom in the press, the media has, on occasion, provided us with heart-warming articles detailing how this unprecedented global crisis has affected nature in a rather more positive way.

Throughout lockdown, nitrogen dioxide levels dropped by more than 50% in some areas across the UK. Road traffic in the UK fell by more than 70% meaning there was a significantly lower toll for road kill and councils delayed the cutting of grass on roadside verges crucially providing more pollen for our bees. Further afield, wild boar became braver in Barcelona, peacocks have been wandering around Llandudno and dolphins have been spotted frolicking in Venice. Closer to my home in Sussex, swans have apparently returned to Storrington duck pond for the first time in 15 years. This was however according to my father-in-law and on closer inspection they turned out to be plastic decoy ones used to deter Canada Geese. Perhaps he should take a drive to Barnard’s Castle to check his eyesight!

I have always had a passion for Early Years education and have spent my career observing the impacts that differing environments have on children’s development. In my experience, I believe that access to outdoor play is hands down the most enriching thing we can give our children and indeed ourselves. As a result of my personal observations and experiences, I try to make sure that my preschool is predominantly outdoor based with access to indoor play and absolutely not the other way around.

The Covid-19 pandemic has inevitably provoked discussion amongst my staff and I regarding how nurseries and preschools should be operating under these new conditions. We’ve been forced to reassess our procedures, draw up reams of fresh risk assessments and develop totally new routines. We’ve been made to think about how we are going to try to keep these precious little people, and our staff, as safe as we can in these difficult times. We recognise that we must maintain the highest levels of care, whilst also ensuring everyone’s mental health remains positive. I began researching a substance called Phytoncides, which are emitted by trees and plants and are widely used in holistic, veterinary and aromatherapy medicines in Russia and Japan. Phytoncides have antibacterial and antifungal qualities that assist plants in fighting disease. When we breathe in these chemicals, our bodies increase the activity of white blood cells, which in turn kills off virus infected cells and boosts our immune system. So, given all of that, surely the safest place for us all is outside. Science says so!

As a rule, as the winter approaches, we inevitably spend far less time outside and are drawn to the warmer areas inside to keep cosy. When I was a child, we had no option but to stay inside at playtime if it was wet or windy which I feel conditioned us to regard wet weather as ‘bad weather’. But really, providing we are properly equipped then there is no such thing. The children in our setting come to preschool all wrapped up in snow suits and boots and hats and gloves and they still choose to be outside making potions in the mud kitchen – using every single one of their senses to explore and learn organically. It sometimes takes some convincing for parents to understand why we are still outside in the depths of the wet British winter, but I know that even the most dubious will come back to tell us that their children went home happy, that they ate well and they slept well – which is the bare minimum we want as parents.

In Sweden, outdoor nurseries are called ‘I Ur och Skur’ meaning ‘rain or shine’ and their children thrive. They are among the happiest and healthiest children as well as achieving academically later on in life. At our preschool we have adopted this pedagogical approach in developing our children – teaching them to be resilient and brave, encouraging them to manage risk and emotion. Ultimately, we want them to explore and respect the nature that surrounds them with their eyes wide and their minds curious.

So, come rain or shine we are always outside and as a result, the children are happy, healthy and developing beautifully. We will continue this practice (with added health and safety precautions because of the pandemic) and we will watch, wrapped up warm, as our children fight off all the nasty winter bugs.

For more information please contact Sally-Ann at sallyann@pottershousepreschool.co.uk or call 07375 379148 www.pottershousepreschool.co.uk

By | Education, environment, family, fun for children, Health, Safety, Sport, Uncategorized

The theme for UK Road Safety Week 2020 has been announced as ‘No need to speed’, following findings that just a quarter of people think vehicles travel at a safe speed on the street where they live. A free Road Safety Week action pack is available to download at www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk for people wanting to take part.

Taking place between 16th-22nd November and co-ordinated by road safety charity Brake, Road Safety Week 2020 will encourage everyone to learn the what, the why, and the where of speed and will highlight that whether someone is walking to school, cycling into town or driving for work, the speed of traffic matters to their safety.

‘No need to speed’ has been chosen as the theme for Road Safety Week 2020 following the findings of the ‘How safe are the streets where you live?’ survey, conducted online by Brake over the past year. The survey of over 1,700 members of the UK public, found that just a quarter believe that vehicles travel at a safe speed on the street where they live. Brake also found that six in 10 people feel that the speed of traffic on their street negatively affects their wellbeing and two-thirds identify motorised traffic as the biggest threat to their health and safety on their street.

The week long Road Safety Week campaign is supported by funding from the Department for Transport and headline sponsors DHL and Specsavers and will use the collective voice of members of the public, schools, communities, organisations and the emergency services to make clear that there is ‘No Need to Speed’ on the road.

To participate in Road Safety Week, people are invited to register for a free action pack at www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk

Everyone, no matter what you do, can take part in Road Safety Week:
• Individuals can learn what a safe speed is, speak with families and friends who may travel too fast and choose technologies,
or modes, which help keep people safe.
• Schools can help young people learn how the streets around their homes and schools can have safer speeds and shout out for change.
• Organisations can step up their policies and procedures to ensure that their employees travel at safe speeds and understand why this is so important.
• Emergency service professionals can enforce speed limits and share their experiences of the impact of travelling too fast.
• Decision-makers can consider what changes can be made to our road environment to encourage safe speeds and healthy streets.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “Road Safety Week provides a unique opportunity, every year, to focus attention on how the safety of our roads impacts all our daily lives. Speed plays a part in every crash and just 1mph can mean the difference between life and death on the roads. This Road Safety Week we want to help everyone understand why speed matters
and to join together to say there is ‘No need to speed’ on our roads.”

Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths, serious injuries and pollution occurring on our roads every day.
We work to make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake’s vision is a world where there are zero road deaths and injuries, and people can get around in ways that are safe, sustainable, healthy and fair. We do this by pushing for legislative change through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK’s flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Legal Solutions

By | family, Legal, Relationships, Uncategorized

All Your Legal Worries Answered

In each issue of ABC one of Brighton’s leading firms of Solicitors Dean Wilson LLP, covers a topic of interest to parents everywhere. In this issue, Julian Hunt, Partner of the Family Department, aims to set out some of the practical issues you should consider if your relationship has broken down.

The breakdown of your relationship is a distressing and emotional experience. The following summary aims to set out some of the issues you should consider if your relationship has broken down. Of course, every individual case is different and therefore it is advisable that you discuss the situation with your Solicitor.

Here are some general tips about issues, which you will need to consider right away:
• Children – decisions need to be made about who will care for the children. Many parents are able to make arrangements between themselves which is always the best way. If you encounter difficulties consider a referral to Mediation. Court proceedings should only be a last resort.
Take note that the Children Act provides a presumption that the involvement of each parent in the life of the child will further the child’s welfare. ‘Custody’, ‘Residence’ and ‘Contact Orders’ are terms which no longer apply. Instead the Court will make a ‘Child Arrangements Order’ to define the amount of time that the child would spend with each parent.
• Inform your children jointly of the decision to separate and emphasise that it is not their fault and that both parents love them equally.
• Child Support – try to reach a voluntary arrangement with your ex-partner for a weekly or monthly payment. Go to www.gov.uk/child-maintenance and use the child maintenance calculator to assess how much your ex-partner should pay.
• Ongoing financial Support – (‘spousal maintenance’) – if you are married you could apply for maintenance for yourself. If you are not married your partner does not have a duty to support you once the relationship ends, only to pay child support if applicable.
• Property – if there are children involved it is always better for parents to come to a mutual decision about who will leave
the home so that it will cause the least disruption for the family. If you jointly own the property you cannot simply change the locks and exclude the other from the property. If you are a non-owning spouse you have rights of occupation and a right not to be evicted from your home. Application can be made to the Land Registry to protect your occupation and prevent your spouse from disposing of the property.

If you have been subjected to
or threatened with physical abuse by your partner you may need to consider making application for a Court Order
to have them excluded.

If you are in rented accommodation and you are moving out of the property, you should see if you can be removed from the Tenancy.

On Separation:
• Contact the Local Authority Council Tax Section as you may be eligible for a Council Tax reduction, or if you are moving out of the property to ensure that you are not liable for any subsequent payments.
• Contact the Benefits Agency if you are in receipt of benefits, as separation may affect your entitlements.
• Contact the Tax Office if you are receiving Universal Credit or Tax Credits to reassess your entitlements, or otherwise to see if you are now entitled to Child and Working Families Tax Credits.
• Contact your banks, building societies especially if you have a joint account. It may be advisable to consider freezing the account to prevent your partner from withdrawing some or all of the funds without your agreement, or at least change the drawing arrangement so that withdrawals require both your signatures.
• Contact all credit card companies especially if you have joint credit cards because you are jointly responsible for any expenses incurred. You do not want a situation whereby your partner could run up further debts because ultimately the credit card company could also pursue you for these as the card is in your joint names.
• Consider changing your Will if you have appointed your ex-partner as the beneficiary of your Estate. If you have not made a Will then you may want to consider making one to ensure that your Estate does not automatically pass to your spouse, or you may want to make specific provision for any children to ensure security for them.

As an ABC reader you can call the Private Client Department on 01273 249200 to arrange a no obligation telephone discussion and, if required, a fixed-fee meeting.

How hard can it be to fit a pair of shoes?

By | children's health, family, footwear and feet
by Kim Jackson M.S.S.F.
Klodhoppers Ltd Haywards Heath

Generally speaking, we only get one pair of feet, and considering the amount of work we ask them to do we really need to take good care of them. Staff at our shop are qualified as members of the Society of Shoe Fitters. They are encouraged to share their knowledge and expertise with their colleagues, thereby ensuring that everyone at the shop should be able to tell how well (or badly) a shoe fits initially by the way the shoe slides onto the customer’s foot (or not!) This is one of the main reasons why we will put the shoes on our customers’ feet ourselves.

The amount of ease on the areas of resistance can be felt as the shoe slides onto the foot and indicates to the experienced fitter how the shoe is going to fit. The customer may not like the style or the design of the shoe once it’s on, but at least the fitter can be honest about the fit. Remember that the size on the box is just a number and merely a starting point for the fitter. As qualified fitters we will always tell you if we think the fit can be tweaked and improved.

Once the shoes are on the feet we will ask the child to walk around so that we can check the fit. We are looking to see not only if the gait appears ‘normal’ (unless of course, that is a separate health issue), but also whether the shoes look as though they are ‘behaving normally’ when worn.

So we are checking primarily that the shoe is not slipping up and down at the back of the heel and there are no big gaps around the ankle. We are also looking to see if the topline of the shoe is comfortably clear of the anklebone – if not it may rub, especially if there is no padded heel collar. In addition we are checking that the vamp of the shoe (where the shoe ends at the top or front of your foot) is not gaping or creasing abnormally, which would prompt us to think that the shoe might be too wide or too deep.

We will also be considering the shape and height of the heel collar – is it complementing the natural contour of your child’s foot? What is the extent of any gaping? A certain amount of space is to be expected, but if the gape is too wide then the foot will not be held in place securely. A style with a higher or tighter topline may need to be selected instead. Also, if there is too much slipping going on at the heel, we may need to play around with a different, possibly narrower brand, or even a different size.

Having over 30 years combined shoe-fitting experience, we could line up at least 10 pairs of the same size shoe, but if they are all 10 different brands, even if they are similar styles, we can guarantee that they will all fit slightly differently on one child’s feet! Some of those fits will be better than others – this is where our guidance, advice, knowledge and expertise comes into play.

A fitter’s hands and eyes are their chief fitting tools, with the measuring gauge being the starting point. Practice improves their precision in dealing with each individual customer, alongside a thorough knowledge of all of the brands stocked. There is absolutely no point in fitting a pair of shoes unless it is known how each particular brand or style fits.

For example, if we are fitting a pair of Dr Martens boots or school shoes we know that this brand is quite true to UK sizing lengthwise, but the shoes more often than not tend to suit a wide, deep foot. There is very little point in bringing this brand out for a slim narrow foot, unless the customer is intent on having them, and is happy to have lots of space taken out with insoles – but that is the customer’s choice and it is likely to be pointed out by the fitter as probably ‘not the best fit’ on offer.

However, if I brought out a specific style of Superfit trainers for a very wide, deep foot, it would more often than not be a complete waste of time, as that style tends to fit slim ankles and narrow feet. A wide foot is going to feel completely squashed and restricted.

Most parents will expect a certain amount of growing room in their child’s shoes, depending on growth spurts, but most fitters will try to allow for at least a three month growth period. Most children’s growth spurts are erratic and do not happen at regular, predictable intervals. Smaller children can grow up to two and a half sizes in one year, so that is why it is very important that for their foot health’s sake they are measured and checked frequently by qualified fitters.

It doesn’t cost anything to pop in and have your child’s shoes checked and to be re-measured on a regular basis. All shoe shops that offer a measuring and fitting service and have qualified fitters will do size checks for you for free, but it is essential to remember that different shops use different gauges – as mentioned previously, the size gauge is merely an indication of the approximate size for the shoe fitter to start with.

It is wise to regularly check the fit of your child’s shoes every four to six weeks for infants (up to three years), every six to eight weeks for toddlers (three to four years), and every 10 – 12 weeks thereafter. It’s likely that a child will need at least four pairs of shoes each year in the formative years while the growth spurts are quite rapid. Any damage done to your child’s feet during these early years can be long-lasting and often irreversible. Most girls will start to slow down foot growth-wise by approximately age 13-14 years old, but boys’ feet can keep growing up to around 18 years old.

An infant requires a style which holds firmly onto the foot and which is easy to put on by the parent. It also needs to allow the foot to develop naturally and which does not restrict the freedom of the ankle.

In a first walker or a pre-walker the most important factor should be that the uppers and soles are soft, lightweight and very flexible which allows the foot to move naturally and enables the child’s foot arch muscles to develop correctly.

There must be adequate toe room in a child’s shoe not only for growth but also for the elongation of the foot when walking.

If there is sufficient room the vamps of the shoe will not become distorted and if there is sufficient depth it will prevent any downward pressure on the toes too.

If the shoes are too shallow there will be no ‘wiggle’ room for toes, and if the shoes are too short then the longest toe(s) will hit the end of the shoes and potentially do damage to the nails and nail beds, as well as cause the formation of a ‘hammer’ or ‘claw’ toes.

Once children start school the bones have started to form and their muscles and arches are developing and being exercised, therefore a child needs a shoe with more protection and support. Their school shoes must be able to withstand the rigours an active lifestyle at school will require, otherwise parents will need to be prepared to replace them more frequently.

On average a school-age child will need a minimum of two pairs of shoe shoes per academic year – if their shoes ‘last a whole year’, it’s more than likely that they are wearing a pair that are much too small for them!

As a parent the most important thing to remember is to get your child’s feet checked. If you take them to a qualified dentist for their dental check ups, and a qualified GP for any health issues, so why wouldn’t you protect your child’s foot health by taking them to a qualified shoe fitter for a shoe check and a re-measure on a regular basis?

Kim Jackson M.S.S.F (Member of the Society of Shoe Fitters & Children’s Foot Health Register accredited) Klodhoppers, Haywards Heath www.klodhoppers.com