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Women as Protectors

NSPCC in Croydon appeals for volunteers to deliver a new service to help mothers protect their children from sexual abuse

The NSPCC is launching a brand new sexual abuse service for mothers and other female carers who have a relationship with a man who poses a risk of sexual harm to her children. It could be a current or ex-partner or a member of her family.

Women as Protectors provides education, emotional support and guidance that can keep the family safe. Women take part in group sessions run by an NSPCC practitioner, followed by ongoing individual support through a trained and supervised volunteer. Group sessions last for ten weeks while volunteers provide on-going mentoring for around 12 – 18 months.

The NSPCC needs women who are over 21 years of age to help them deliver this new service in the borough.

Sue Schofield, NSPCC Croydon service manager explained: ”As you can imagine, a woman in this kind of situation can feel isolated, confused and unsure about how to keep her children safe. Having a reassuring and supportive person to talk to can make a huge difference. That’s why volunteers are essential to this programme.

“It’s a challenging role but very rewarding. You don’t need any prior mentoring experience. All you need is a willingness to learn and to help. And we’ll give you all the training and support you need.”

Volunteers will be carefully matched to each mum or carer. They will provide emotional and some practical support, suggest ways she can support her children, encourage her to make friends or take part in activities, and let the NSPCC know if they’re concerned about the children in any way.

To begin with they may meet once a week, but as the woman becomes more confident, visits could decrease to fortnightly, and then monthly towards the end of the programme.

Being a Women as Protectors volunteer can give you a valuable experience and the chance to help a family through a difficult time. To find out more, to apply as a volunteer, or if you wish to make a referral, please contact the NSPCC Croydon service centre on 020 8253 1850 or email croydon.servicecentre@nspcc.org.uk.
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Jackson Hole, Wyoming Gets a Family-Friendly Facelift ~ GP

The awe-inspiring valley of Jackson Hole in northwestern Wyoming is famous around the world for its scenery, its charismatic wildlife, and its Old West heritage. And from downtown Jackson to the white slopes of the Teton Range, activities specially suited for children have just been increasing in number and diversity.

Jackson Hole has emerged as an outstanding kid-friendly destination. Combined with the magical natural delights of nearby Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, the valley and its communities have endless attractions for all ages.

Delights In and Around Town

Children will surely find the town of Jackson enchanting just to look at: From the iconic elk-rack arch to the Old West-style storefronts, they’ll feel like they’re stepping back in time to the days of stout-hearted lawmen and gun-toting desperadoes.

But the family-friendly pleasures of Jackson run deeper than surface level. For example, there’s the awesome Jackson Hole Children’s Museum, or the Clubhouse. Hands-on exhibits such as the Wild Wind Machine, the Magnet Wall, and the Mountain Market provide lessons in science, history, and society. A live bullfrog and map turtle (Gumdrop and Speedy, respectively, the museum’s mascots) entrance visitors to the Creature Corner, while the Backyard Children’s Garden is a real working cultivated plot out back where kids learn how to grow and harvest vegetables. The Clubhouse Kitchen & Community Room renders cooking instruction catered to the pintsized crowd, while you can spend hours of quiet relaxation in the Book Nook. There are also plenty of play areas, including the Imagination Playground and the Tot Spot.

Jackson’s Recreation Center, meanwhile, offers swimming and an open gym. It’s the perfect place for kids to use up some of those unfathomable stores of energy. A full day, meanwhile, can be happily spent touring the otherworldly sights of the town’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum.

Because Jackson’s still delightfully compact, all these in-town attractions are easily reached from most local hotels, such as the White Buffalo Club (WhiteBuffaloClub.com).

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Wednesday- and Saturday-night Jackson Hole Rodeo provides all-ages drama–including a calf scramble choreographed especially for children. Also during the summer, the famous (and free!) Jackson Hole Shootout puts on an exciting Wild West reenactment in the Town Square Monday through Saturday evenings at 6 p.m.

In July and August, meanwhile, the Grand Teton Music Festival at Walk Festival Hall in Teton Village offers occasional family concerts with programs well-suited to kids.

Kid-Friendly Outdoor Activities

Of course, many of Jackson Hole’s greatest attractions lie outside town. Kids will love spotting moose, coyotes, and other free-roaming critters amid the sagebrush flats and woods of Grand Teton National Park. From Junior Ranger programs to canoeing, the park (as well as nearby Yellowstone) provides a precious natural playground ideal for introducing children to the wonders of wilderness.

In winter, kids can enjoy a wagon-ride safari through the National Elk Refuge, which attracts thousands of wintering elk as well as other large mammals. Meanwhile, some of Jackson Hole’s world-famous ski/snowboard areas have expanded their services for younger visitors. The Jackson Hole Resort, for example, has not just added more beginner runs but also lots of off-slope options for families, including indoor swimming pools and a daycare.

Whether you’re playing your way through a science lesson downtown or whizzing down a Teton Range mountainside, you’ll find loads of wonderful activities in Jackson Hole that the whole family will enjoy!

Jerry Williams loves to take his family to Jackson Hole. A father of four and avid blogger, he enjoys sharing his experiences and insights online. Look for his informative articles on a variety of today’s top websites and blogs.

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Leather or fabric: What is the best sofa material for family homes? ~ GP

No matter what the style of your home, there are always going to be practical features that you have to take into account when picking items of furniture or soft furnishings.

For those looking for new sofas to buy, practical choices are particularly important. Children and pets can be one of the most important things to consider as you need to ask yourself what happens if they make a mess? Or what if the cat scratches up the sofa just days after you’ve bought it?
To make the best decision for you and your family you need to weigh up the pros and cons of different sofas styles as well as different materials. Leather and fabric are your two main options here … but which is best?

Cleaning
Leather sofas are a definite advantage when it comes to cleaning, simply wipe the dirt off and the job is done. There are even leather polishes which give them a fresh smell and appearance for after they have been cleaned.
Fabric sofas don’t offer such immediate cleaning results but their cushion covers can often be removed and washed separately to keep them looking at their best. This can offer a deeper, more thorough, clean than is available with leather sofas but the process is more time consuming and the risk of stains more pronounced.

Scratches and damage
Cats are known for scratching furniture – whether we like it or not. Leather sofas are definitely not great at withstanding this sort of damage and once damaged they are difficult to revert back to their original condition unless you know what you’re doing or get it done professionally.
Fabric sofas are very good at hiding wear and tear like cat scratches, but they do fade with time and stray threads can become a real snagging hazard. The best option for either sofa is to discourage pets from climbing onto furniture and using throws, blankets or covers to protect your sofa when you are not around to keep pets off the cushions!

Comfort
Fabric sofas are cosy and warm but you may find that some cheaper materials can feel a little scratchy on the skin. Leather sofas, on the other hand, are typically a lot softer but the material can be a lot colder in the winter and cause bare skin to sweat and stick to it during the summer.

Verdict
Ultimately, only you can decide which material is best for your family sofa but as a general rule leather is the best choice for long-lasting appearances and easy cleaning while fabric is better for hiding damage and scratches and for deeper cleaning.

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Top five British locations that mix rural with urban ~ GP

In the UK today, there are many people who are completely undecided on the kind of area they want to live in. Some people might desire the idyllic lifestyle that comes with living in rural settings but still with easy access to a big cosmopolitan city.
Or, on the other hand, they might want the exuberant city lifestyle with nice walks in the countryside on their doorstep. People often ask“how can I have both” – and here we tell all by highlighting the top five British locations that mix rural with urban.

1. Cambridge

From botanical gardens and sprawling parks, to fantastic shopping, an airport and incredible access to London;new build homes in Cambridgeshire are fit for purpose combining modern living in more rural surroundings.

2. Leeds

There are few places that mix rural and urban better than Yorkshire. With most cities in the county boasting modern living and great nightlife with easy access to natural beauty, it was hard to pick just one.
Leeds is a wonderful example though. The city has been on the up for years now, attracting huge business and a plethora of young professionals living in the city centre. The countryside is on your doorstep and places like Otley really have that rural feel so many of us crave.

3. Glasgow

If Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital city, Glasgow has to be the country’s cosmopolitan capital. From incredible city pads and an impressive nightlife to the upmarket rural area of Thorntonhill – Glasgow really knows how to combine the two.

4. Manchester

Manchester has long been described as the ‘London of the North’. It has an impressive industrial history and many of its inhabitants live right in the centre, whilst the students live in places like Fallowfield. Alongside this you also have the Pennines on your doorstep with incredible properties available in stunning locations.

5. Nottingham

Nottingham has come a long way in recent years. The centre and surrounding areas boast incredible music venues and arenas, along with contemporary theatres and galleries. If you are looking for a more rural setting though, explore the famous royal hunting preserve of Sherwood Forest; a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

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Luck is only for the unprepared

Boy oh boy, Lady Luck seems to be little too generous on me or perhaps my planets are perfectly aligned during this time of the year. Whatever it is, I hope it lasts long! You must be wondering why am I so overwhelmed. Well, I’m on a winning streak and I couldn’t help but share with y’all.

So here’s how it all started. I found an old pair of jeans of mine lying around in my cupboard for an incredibly long time. Just when I thought to give it away to charity, out of the blue I found a £20 in the back pocket of the jeans!

And that’s not all. When I was on my way home from work last night, I happened to buy a scratch card (I usually don’t buy scratchcards). There was this strange voice in my head that much against my will forced me to buy one. I ended up buying three and one of them was a winning one.

That’s all? Nope! So I had registered to a site named GameVillage Bingo after a friend forced me to. I’ve never been much into online bingo. Just for fun I racked up few bingo cards and played a game. And then guess what? I won a whopping £50. Ha! Who could have seen that coming? I couldn’t believe my eyes. Is that really happening to me? Fingers crossed, I hope this lucky charm or my stars or whatever it is, remains the same forever. In fact tonight I’m playing at the site all over again to see how long my good luck continues. Guess I got off on the right foot this morning. Sweet!

GP

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Top ten tips for a stress-free retirement ~ GP

Retirement is supposed to be a time to relax, enjoy new things and live the rest of your life in comfort, but if you haven’t properly prepared for it then it can turn into a stressful time.

Making sure you’ve made plans and have everything covered before you reach retirement will ensure it’s as stress-free as possible.

Here are top 10 tips to help you plan ahead:

1. Be honest about how you want to live

When planning for retirement it helps to have a good idea of how you want to live. Don’t just look at standard figures about the cost of living – tailor your retirement plan to suit the lifestyle you want to lead.

2. Research the area you want to live

If your retirement plan involves moving to a different area or even country, you’ll need to research the costs associated with living in that location. Look at the different retirement apartments for sale so you know whether it’s viable.

3. Calculate the costs

Once you know how you want to live, it is then time to do a few calculations. There are free online retirement planning calculators that can tell you how much you’ll need to save and when you can expect to retire based upon those calculations.

4. Search for the best retirement plan

Don’t choose the first retirement planning account you find. Compare your options and see which offers the best returns.

5. Compare savings versus retirement accounts

Retirement accounts can be a good option, but they do come with a number of risks. The main one is that you might not get back what you have put in. It may therefore be a good idea to simply open a savings account of your own and use that for your retirement.

6. Think of ways to boost your income

Work out how much money you will be receiving for your retirement. This includes any personal savings along with employment based savings you have made. If there is a shortfall, think of ways you can increase your income – such as selling off any assets you may have.

7. Check if you’re entitled to benefits

You may be eligible for various benefits when you retire. Double check exactly what you will be entitled to as it could help make the cost of retirement a lot more affordable.

8. Consider part-time employment
Many people choose to work part time during their retirement. Not only does this ease the financial pressures but it is also a good option for those who feel a bit lost without work.

9. Getting a reverse mortgage

There are many ways to make your retirement more affordable. Taking out a reverse mortgage could be a great idea and is worth considering.

10. Get retirement advice

Before you retire, consider asking for professional advice. You will get all the help and advice you need to make retirement work for you and may learn a few new tricks that aren’t covered here.

Retirement can be a stressful time but it really doesn’t have to be if you start planning in advance.

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