© 2017 The Harpenden Society

Lend A Hand…

Spring 2015 Newsletter

‘Lend a Hand on Land' was one of the many rhyming and other tongue-tickling injunctions issued during World War II to exhort the civilian population to greater efforts. The cause may not be so critical nor the tasks so crucial, but The Harpenden Society is in need of a few more hands. Last year we asked for money for a fighting fund, particularly to help in our campaigns to have the Red House refurbished and the sustainability of the town defended from promiscuous over-building. You gave generously and in the region of £2,000 was quickly raised. Thank you very much. It will be gainfully utilised.

Now, as we look to our spring annual general meeting and the advent of a new year the call is for voluntary help of a more hands-on kind. The Society has become more and more involved in the actual business of the town's civic activities – and this can become quite time-consuming. The most overt example is the group of dedicated volunteers who guarantee that the library is open on Wednesday afternoon and early evening. But there are other instances – the Red House campaign; the schools competition, the new 'arts hub' project, the varied efforts to galvanise the high street into a higher tempo, the work involved in The Harpenden Society Annual Awards process, the strenuous efforts to protect Harpenden and its green belt from building exploitation...and there is much more that could be achieved with more hands being loaned.

Thus there is quite a range from getting quite heavily involved to being one of a 'virtual' advisory team...so: 'lend a hand'.

Contact The Society's Secretary, Bob Fletcher:


The Harpenden Society's declared policy of basing its public meetings on issues close to Harpenden He(a)rts scored another brownie point on 29 January when another all-ticket full house listened attentively to a first-rate NHS presentation.

David Radbourne of the Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)  and Dr Jill Bartlett, GP Locality chair St Albans and Harpenden presented the structure of the ongoing review of services. David Radbourne is Programme Director of the West Herts Strategic Review which aims to find how well current health and social needs are met, what opportunities exist to meet future needs, how services should be accordingly configured and what would be the best methods of delivering them.

Above:  From L2R; David Law Chief Executive, the Herts Community NHS Trust, Harpenden Town Mayor Cllr Mary Maynard, David Radbourne, the Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG);  Dr Jill Bartlett, GP Locality chair St Albans and Harpenden, Chris Marsden Chair of The Harpenden Society.

As well as joining intently in the discussion, those present were asked to complete a questionnaire relating to the Your Care, Your Future programme.  There was a warm response for David Law, Chief Executive of the of Herts Community NHS Trust. He reiterated the Trust's belief in the plan to redevelop the Harpenden Memorial Hospital site as a Health and Wellness Campus and hoped that it would be up and running in 2018, in spite of the several hurdles that had to be surmounted.

David Law has been a sympathetic and courteous attender at meetings of the Red House Forum, the ginger group established by The Harpenden Society. Both Davids, Radbourne and Law were encouraged by the discussion, particularly in terms of the emphasis placed by several speakers on the value of preventative and wellness, advice and the priority that should be given to local community involvement and voluntary support.

Wellness not illness

Alan Jackson, The Society's Public Order Working Group Convenor, provides another series of anti-crime pointers, beginning with a couple that arise from our delight in technology.

'Ransomware', while not yet viral, is increasing in intensity. Scammers disable your computer and demand a ransom to restore access, not that they always can or do even if you pay. Sometimes they shame you by threatening to reveal you use illicit material, claiming they come from a law enforcement agency. Keep your security software updated.

Then there are those missed calls with numbers beginning 070 or 076; you are asked to call back and you find you have been charged at a high premium rate. Report such scams to the premium rate regulator, Phonepay Plus on 0800 500 212

Back in the old-fashioned arena of crime with a human presence, if alarmingly so, an ex-offender  kindly, and doubtless to the dismay of his fellow burglars, advises us thus: any anti-burglary device is likely to be a reasonable deterrent, keep your valuables in the bathroom, as no self-respecting burglar looks there (and it is unlikely that any such will be reading this newsletter and learn what he or she is missing) and don't confront a burglar in your home; go into a room with a window overlooking the street and shout through the window loudly; apparently burglars hate such noisy intrusion to their craft.

Crime marches on...if we are not careful

Nowadays mobile phones are awash with private data; hence they are additionally tempting to the thief. You may need a tracking device to locate your stolen phone. For advice:


Finally, and again on the human front, have no truck with those door-to-door salesmen with a sob-story about being unemployed, just come out of prison, on probation, just left the army or whatever. Few, we are advised, are genuine; most are professional salesmen dropped into the area for a spell to see how much they can sell  - and some may be using their sympathy engaging guise en route to distraction theft.