IN my capacity of chairing the Dementia Friendly Hambleton action group, it has been brought to my attention that some local cafés and restaurants may be unaware of their legal responsibility under the Equality Act of 2010 not to discriminate against people with dementia, who are covered by the protections of the act.

These organisations may be in breach of the act on three counts – age discrimination, failure to comply with a duty to make reasonable adjustments (to their normal practices), and discriminating against a person requiring a provided service by withholding it.

Equality is in the spirit and the letter of the act to ensure that anyone can make life choices and that, despite their health, disabilities, age etc, can continue to live the life they choose as long as possible. In the hospitality sector, in particular, this is generally well understood and most employers conscientiously train their staff to be able to deal with situations that could become a little fraught if people who are "small-eaters" are denied a compassionate response to their needs or concerns.

In one specific instance a person with dementia was denied a "child’s portion" meal on the grounds of their age.

A lot of people who have small appetites because of age or health issues (remember, not all disabilities are visible) can feel intimidated by inflexible rules and would be deterred from eating out if they had to pay for full-size portions of food they were unable to eat, or where they were made to feel a nuisance.

I am not naming the establishment where this unhappy confrontation occurred as I have been sent assurances that the organisation’s policy was not reflected in the attitude of the staff on duty on the occasion and remedies are in hand to give them sufficient awareness of the issues facing both the person with dementia, and the families/friends/carers who are accompanying them, to enable them to deal better with what is by any standard a reasonable request.

Training can be offered to organisations who want to become dementia-friendly and to help their staff become more aware of the disease and how it affects people.

Dementia is a disease that affects so many people in so many ways and it will have an impact on everyone at some time in their lives.

Hospitality staff may instinctively want to be compassionate but they also need to know they have a legal obligation to comply with the Equality Act and that, in the case of consumables in a café or restaurant, only alcoholic drinks should be the subject of any age limitations.

Janet Crampton, chair, Dementia-Friendly Hambleton.


UNDER the Soviet empire, East Germany was known as the German Democratic Republic, a big lie to cover the total lack of any form of democracy.

The same might be said about the York and North Yorkshire devolution deal.

It's neither devolution nor a deal (assuming that a deal is between two equal parties, not just one party imposing its will on the other).

This Conservative Government, having abolished one level of democracy, in North Yorkshire's district councils, are now moving to strip the unitary authorities of York and North Yorkshire of their (albeit limited) democratic decision making.

Strategic decisions will be taken by a single mayor, not councillors, elected by the archaic "first past the post" electoral system, which gives total power to the largest minority, thereby almost certainly ensuring a Tory monopoly of power over the majority who did not vote for them.

In addition, the small print of the "deal" (specifically paragraph 114) gives the final say over each five-year funding decision entirely with central government.

I quote from paragraph 114 of the "deal": "Funding will be unlocked if the government is satisfied that the "independent" (my inverted commas) assessment shows the investment to have met the objectives."

These objectives are set using central government criteria.

So, neither devolution nor a deal, rather the death of democracy in North Yorkshire and York.

Cllr Leslie Rowe, member for Catterick and Brompton on Swale, Richmondshire District Council.

Carbon capture

I READ with interest your monthly climate column written by Climate Action Stokesley and Villages (D&S Times, Aug 12).

Can I just raise a point please? They mention carbon capture and storage technologies are yet to be fully developed, which suggests it cannot be done.

I would refer you and your readers to www.climeworks.com where an active CO2 removal plant is in action.

For a small monthly fee they will make a company or individual carbon neutral by burying the same amount of CO2 that said company or individual produces.

My company contributes, which makes all our visits and deliveries carbon neutral.

The technology is there and active and should be supported by governments including our own, but this is where the rhetoric outstrips action.

The planet is damned by greed, inaction and a laissez-faire attitude from millionaire MPs who care not a jot about the effects of climate change on you, me and our planet.

They are the people that should force oil companies to spend their surplus billions on many, many more of these carbon capture plants.

But as we know they all have their snouts in the same trough, so, as I said unless we make them, the future looks very bleak indeed.

Richard Baker, Middleton One Row

Tackling off-roaders

RURAL east Cleveland is continually invaded by off-road riders, who converge on us from all over Teesside. Landowners, the police and our council work hard to combat the problem, but it’s extremely difficult to deter or intercept an offender who is literally sitting on an extremely effective means of trespass and escape.

The result is danger to the public, vandalism, noise pollution, the devastation of our countryside and the destruction of wildlife.

For years, the car park on the A171 at the summit of Birk Brow, together with Low Moor, the heathland behind it, has been a choice target for the off-road brigade, some of whom have, repeatedly, torn down the car park fence to get access to the moor.

But, at last, our council has hit back in a big way by replacing the fence with a 90m double-coursed, virtually indestructible boulder barrier.

Too strong for the biggest quad to vandalise, I hope.

At the same time, we are further restricting access via neighbouring Jenny Frisk Lane.

We don’t claim to have solved the problem of off-road riders in the countryside, but we’ve made a very solid start.

Steve Kay, deputy leader, Redcar and Cleveland Council.

Summer fiesta

THIS year, The Rotary Club of Northallerton is celebrating its 75th anniversary and last Saturday, the club organised a Summer Festival in the town’s centre to raise funds for The Dales School and other charities.

From mid-morning to late afternoon the towns folk of Northallerton were treated to live music by, The Northallerton Male Voice Choir, Northallerton Musical Theatre Choir, The Swaledale Valley Stompers jazz band and a crooning "Frank Sinatra".

A Juke box was provided by Betterdaze Music which boomed out many of the hits of yesteryear.

All the entertainment was performed on the elegant and newly-laid white paved concourse leading from the town hall with its complimentary sets of bench seating and back drop of trees giving an air of fun, enjoyment and relaxation.

It is hoped that many more such events might be repeated in the future.

May I thank Rotary for their organising of the fiesta and also thank the town council and staff for providing all the required facilities for this wonderful event.

Tony Eaton, Northallerton.

Electoral reform

SOME would judge the prospect for MPs introducing electoral reform before 2025 to be on a par with that of turkeys voting for Christmas.

A quick check where I live suggests that this may be unduly pessimistic.

Consider a reformed system in which we use the same local constituencies as previously (with the alternative of voting in a UK-wide constituency for those who want to support an Independent or a party not putting up a candidate in their local constituency).

A number of seats is then awarded to each party in proportion to its share of the total votes nationally. The party allocates those seats to its candidates in order of the number of votes they each attracted.

In terms of vote count, Andrew Jones (MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough) ranks 182nd out of the 365 Conservatives returned at the last election.

The economy threatens a less favourable result for the Tories next time, but few would predict their representation being slashed to around half its present level.

On this basis, Harrogate would remain a safe seat for them.

Now consider how Andrew might fare under the present system, which is prone to vote splitting.

In the past he has benefitted from the vote split between the Lib Dems and Labour.

I was at his first count here in 2010. The defeated Labour candidate had the gall to whinge that most of the voters did not want a Conservative MP, when he had personally split the non-Conservative vote.

Suppose that Labour were to raise their moral and intellectual game and decline to field a candidate in Harrogate.

Any vote splitting would then be liable to work against Andrew. His stance of “love bombing” Lib Dems may mean that many who formerly voted for him would be highly receptive to a new party, perhaps one headed by Nigel Farage or Laurence Fox.

Andrew has stated his belief that we should each vote for the candidate we prefer, without tactical considerations.

I am confident that, as an honest man, he won’t allow his campaign to urge us against splitting the centre-right vote.

Another contest under “First Past The Post” may then be a lottery hinging upon who, besides the two leading parties here, chooses to stand.

Andrew can hardly view with equanimity having his continued career determined on such a basis. Nor can it commend itself to us as a system.

The suggested analogy with horse racing must be recognised as naïve or dishonest.

John Riseley, Harrogate.

Rising prices

I’M astonished at the weak-kneed comments to the forecasts of £4,000 per annum fuel costs.

When are local leaders – and newspapers – going to say, “no cash/can’t pay – so come up with Plan B?”

Successive UK governments have caused this problem due to their “capitalism uber alles” style – cheapest from wherever, around the planet, without any regard to UK security, economics, or worthwhile work.

Desperate situations justify desperate measures.

Is £4,000 per annum the point where riots and looting of food stores becomes justified?

Are we supposed to freeze to death or die of starvation and remain law abiding?

Is no-one aware of the Weimar Republic – Germany 1924-29 – and where that led?

The UK is well down the road with worthless money, out of control prices with a government that refuses to tackle either.

I resent being regarded as no more than an expendable grain of sand – anyone else feel the same?

G B Butler, Stockton-on-Tees.

Pricey ices

MY husband and I went for a ride out to Osmotherley last Sunday, stopping for ice creams at a local beauty spot.

We were charged £7 for two small 99s?

Lesson learned – always read the price list before ordering!

E Suthern, Sedgefield.

Pool water

SHOULD there be a ban on filling new private swimming pools, given the hose pipe ban being imposed by Yorkshire Water?

After all, we're all in this together, aren't we?

Alexandra Bailey, Darlington.