March 24 - 30, 2013: Issue 103

 Seniors Week 2013 In Pittwater

Seniors Week has been celebrated in Pittwater this week with a range of activities from local clubs and organistaions on offer. Yesterday, Saturday the 23rd of March the WINGALA LAPIDARY CLUB held an OPEN DAY and sale of members work. Current President of this club, Ian Lee, tells us many of the members are from Pittwater and have great fun going out and collecting these Australian precious and semi-precious stones as ‘grey nomads’ which they then fashion into unique and one of a kind items. New members are welcome, even past Seniors Week. Please contact Ian Lee on 9918 2900 for details.

Boulder Opal

The Seniors Week presentation by Avalon Computer Pals for Seniors (Avpals) showed that seniors want to be up with the latest technology and that computers are not just for younger generations. Held in the large hall of the Newport Community Centre, Avpals staged a range of the latest technologies including tablets, smart phones and the latest touch screen computers. Avpals president Paul Purvis reports that the Seniors day was a great success with many seniors wanting to view the amazing array of new technologies now available.

The hard working Avpals volunteer trainers were kept busy demonstrating the new devices. As expected, trainers were also fielding many questions including from those who may have minor problems that need solving. The most interest says Paul is in the tablet devices including the iPad and the Samsung devices. Avpals trainers used large television screens to demonstrate downloading of apps and how to configure and keep devices up to date.

Seniors have taken to tablet devices and are showing that they participate in the anticipated trend of tablets eventually becoming the most purchased computing device. “Avpals has placed special emphasis on tablet computing” explains Paul Purvis. “Many hundreds of seniors have attended the Avpals training courses held at Newport and Avalon.” “It’s a two hour course and encourages users to extend their knowledge of these exciting devices”. “It’s amazing what these devices can do that is of real benefit to seniors” says Paul who leads a team of experienced  trainers.

There are a few spots left for those who would like to attend in the next school term. If you would like more information, call 8064 3574 and talk to one of the Avpal volunteers.

Picture: Paul Purvis, President Avalon Computer Pals

Pittwater Council - Saving Power in the Home

One of several events staged for Seniors Week by Pittwater Council was a workshop on saving power in the home. With power bills increasing by 50% or more in many cases there is an obvious case for reducing power consumption. Expert presenter Olivia Cavanagh from the NSW Government’s Home Power Savings Program explained how the program will save households up to 20% per year on their power use. Every participating household will receive a home power assessment by an energy expert. A free power savings kit includes a stand-by power board, low flow shower and tap aerators, draft strips and door snakes. These items are installed by a visiting expert. You then receive a personalised action plan to save energy in your home. The Home Power Savings Program is free to pensioners, low income and Veterans’ Affairs card holders. Other initiatives such as the fridge buy-back program are available.

Right: Olivia Cavanagh, NSW Government’s Home Power Savings Program

A key feature of the Council’s Power Saving Workshop is the availability of power save kits run by the Council libraries. Jo Tulau from the Council's Sustainable Environment demonstrated the kit which can be loaned by any library card holder. The kit enables the user to evaluate the home using thermometers including a fancy infra red unit which enables you to detect draft spots in the home or places where heat is a problem. The key device is a meter which is plugged in between the power source and the appliance. The meter then gives a number of readings including the energy cost of the appliance.

Jo Tulau is an  experienced presenter of Council workshops that promote sustainability. Jo explains that the level of governance closest to the people has the responsibility in trying to encourage sustainable development through engaging the local community and leading the way. Pittwater Council is installing solar panels for two reasons to contain the rapidly rising costs of electricity and at the same time to encourage the community to reduce emissions. One of the Council’s key areas is valuing and caring for the natural environment.  This can be achieved in different ways such as compliance, regulation and enforcement. There is also positive encouragement to help people to understand how to care for the environment. Sustainability is one of the underpinning principles that is embedded in the way Pittwater Council wants to operate.

Left: Pittwater Council's Joanne Tulau demonstrates the contents of the Power Saver kit.

U3A Northern Beaches was pleased to open courses to the public in Pittwater during Seniors Week. Non-members were invited to come as visitors and share in the richness and diversity of what U3A offers. In Avalon  80 Years of Jazz was featured. In Newport:  a Lecture on Skippy the Superstar was presented which revealed behind the scenes stories in the making of this popular TV series. Visitors enjoyed a session titled A Romp Through the History of Theatre and others participated in an Art Class. At Warriewood: Alan Saunders’ in his very popular Golden Age of Cinema series screened The Band Wagon staring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse and Seniors enthusiastically participated in Singing for the Joy of It.

Other events this week included A free tour and workshop at ‘Reverse Garbage’ - Australia’s largest creative reuse centre, A trip to the beautiful Pittwater YHA overlooking Morning Bay on Pittwater where Seniors enjoyed a morning tea and the chance to win an afternoon of kayaking by sharing a memorable travel story and a Historical walk from Bayview to Church Point put on by Mona Vale Library.

Still to come is Sailing for beginners with Sailability Pittwater on Wednesday 3 April from 1pm to 4pm. Crew with an experienced sailor in a safe and unsinkable dinghy. Enquiries: 9451 9074.

Words by Michael Mannington, Volunteer Photography, Ivy Edwards U3A and AJG. Photos by Michael Mannington and WINGALA LAPIDARY CLUB, 2013.