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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:-  8 May 2006

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HELP the Aged is teaming up with Help Broadband to launch a user-friendly broadband package that focuses on providing a premium level of customer support.  With Help the Aged Broadband, the aim is to make the internet accessible to everyone, regardless of their level of experience using a computer. The package therefore offers a very high level of customer support, provided by internet experts over the age of 50. This means that the advice given is guaranteed to be devoid of any ‘techno babble’ and is relayed in a manner that is easy to understand and at a pace that suits, all on a local call rate number.

The Help the Aged Broadband package provides up to 8Mb Broadband for a monthly price of £16.99. It offers the flexibility of a monthly agreement with no cancellation fee, allowing users to experience all the benefits of the internet without being tied into an annual contract, as is the case with many other providers.

Moreover, the internet connection is via a router rather than a modem, which is much simpler to install, more secure and typically more reliable. The router is even preconfigured with the user’s unique user name and password so that it can simply be plugged in and is ready to use.

Mark Christopher, Senior Manager at Help the Aged comments:- “The internet can be a great way to access vital services, information about health, hobbies and employment, purchase products – and take advantage of exclusively online discounts – as well as keep in touch with friends and family. However, many older people tell us that they started using a computer only to give up shortly afterwards due to a lack of ongoing support. Moreover, around a third of adults that currently don’t use the internet, feel they lack both the confidence and knowledge to do so!  The thinking behind Help the Aged Broadband therefore, is to help demystify the internet and provide customers with the sufficient level of support required to use the web with confidence and reap all the benefits it offers. Help the Aged Broadband is the ideal option for those who are keen to get online, but feel they require help getting connected, as well as ongoing assistance to avoid any hitches and make the most of their time on the internet.”

Karen Darby, CEO of the independent price comparison and switching service, comments:- “Anything that encourages older people to get online is a good thing, but those entering the broadband market for the first time should be aware that there are many other more competitively priced products available.

The Help the Aged broadband deal does have some advantages as it does not tie customers in to a year’s contract and it offers a premium level of customer support charged at local call rates. However, at over £80, the set up costs are significant when compared with other providers – most of whom offer this for free.  When looking at first year costs alone, consumers can get a 1mb connection for over £100 less than the Help the Aged deal. The advertised 8mb headline rate won’t be available in all areas and a 1mb speed is more than adequate for most people – particularly those new to broadband.

Broadband prices have dropped significantly in recent months. Over the course of the next year, prices are set to fall even further while the number of homes connected will continue to increase. I would be wary of signing up to a product with high set up costs in such a competitive market.”

Help the Aged Broadband Package Specification:-

· Premier Package of up to 8Mb Broadband: £16.99 per month

· One-off setup price (for those new to Broadband):- £49.99

· One-off migration price (transfer from another Broadband supplier):- £14.99

· Router price:- £34.00 (1 Port Router with microfilter, configuration, and postage)

· Local rate customer support line

· Monthly agreement (no annual tie in)

· No cancellation fees

For more information on Help the Aged Broadband or to get connected, simply call 0845 363 5051 or log on to


WE ALL wish for the perfect work and life balance. But for many of us happiness in the work place is a distant dream, according to a recent national survey undertaken for Lifetime, one of the UK’s leading leisure training providers.

Only 40% of the 2,000 people surveyed said they were happy in their career. But this gloomy reality helps explain why more and more people are leaving office based jobs and re-training instead for vocational careers. Over half said that having variety was the most important part of their job and 26% favoured helping others over sitting behind a desk.

Careers that involve helping others, like teaching, fitness instructing and policing, came out on top, ahead of office jobs such as accounting and insurance, which scored the lowest. This reinforces a trend which sees vocational careers which involve meeting new people and high levels of social interaction becoming an increasingly attractive prospect for those wanting a career change. When asked directly, around 25% said a career in health and fitness appealed to them.

Heather Frankham, Managing Director at Lifetime, said:- “People spend a significant proportion of their lives at work, so it’s vital they should want to get the most from their careers. Workers who can enjoy their job and maintain a good work/life balance hold the key to long-lasting happiness. Those who work for long hours in offices are usually too busy or tired to exercise and watch what they eat. As a result they often pay the price, with their health, work and relationships suffering.”

Gone are the days when a job was for life - over 70% of those questioned have already changed their career more than once. Today, people want more from their jobs and realise there are many alternative options available to them. Interestingly, nearly 20% said they were not qualified for their dream job, but when considering re-training for a new career, most said they would prefer part-time training or distance learning to a shorter full-time course.

Heather said:- “Our flexible home study programmes recognise that for many individuals in full time jobs, it’s just not practical to take several weeks off to re-train or enhance current skills. This survey simply confirms what we are already seeing on a daily basis. Increasing numbers of disillusioned office workers are re-training as fitness instructors and personal trainers because they are searching for job satisfaction and a healthy work/life balance. There’s never been a better time to be working in health and fitness. The 2012 Games are now just 6 years away, and as a nation we’re becoming increasing focused on the impending obesity crisis and what people can do to help themselves and their children stay active and healthy.”

Whilst quality of life is important for happiness, over a third of people said a large salary was most important for them in their job. Many people may be surprised to find that it’s possible to get both these things in the leisure sector, as a separate survey recently has found that Fitness Instructors are predicted to be one of the highest earners by 2020, with the top instructors earning £80,000.

More than 80% of people’s lives are affected by a bad day’s work. Over half said their energy levels suffer and 26% said their love lives dwindled. With doctors warning that unhappiness in the workplace can lead to stress which increases the risk of illnesses such as heart disease and some cancers, it can only be good news that trends are changing and more and more people are making the step into vocational careers to achieve a healthier and happier working life.

Government report admits extending Sunday shopping hours will not create extra jobs

THE independent cost/benefit analysis of Sunday opening hours, released by the DTI supports the view of retail union Usdaw that extending Sunday shopping hours would not create any extra jobs.

Supporters of longer opening hours had claimed thousands of additional jobs would be created by extending the current 6 limit hour on large stores opening.

"Supporters of extended hours have peddled the myth that it will mean extra jobs but the report finally nails that idea as misleading and not based in reality.  Stores will simply shift staff from weekday shifts to weekend working, but those workers will have their weekends ruined as they come under extra pressure to turn in and staff the stores." Usdaw general secretary John Hannett.


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