Sunday, 24 April 2016

Dementia Advice To Help Save You Money

Regular readers of our blog will know that we have been working at Marks and Spencer's to raise money for Approach the local charity that helps those who are affected by Dementia or Alzheimer's.  

Keith the MD, has found out some very useful information, in a chance conversation, which isn't very widely known, for those who may have a family member suffering with either of these.  

Quite a few of us have had family members or have known someone who has signs of a condition like those just mentioned.  It can be quite a burden to help continue to care for them in their own home, when there is a risk, however small, of them not being able to look after themselves.

Castle Comfort Staff - Keith (photographer), Ann Bruce and Dr.Neil Stirling visiting the Carers Cafe in Silverdale
With a simple process, not advertised by the local councils, there is a way to possibly have your council tax bill reduced or even completely eliminated!


Council Tax Exemptions or Reductions

For those With Alzheimer's or Dementia 

If a relative of yours has had a diagnosis of Dementia or Alzheimer's, which can be classed as a severe mental impairment that makes them unable to look after themselves independently 
with out assistance then they may well be able to get a full exemption if they live alone.  

All that is required is that the local council will require a confirmation of diagnosis with the form and it is straightforward to apply.  

It is worth applying also if a family member is a carer as they would get a discount too. 

If the person with such a diagnosis lives in your home with you, and there are just two of you in the house, then you can apply for a 25% discount on the council tax bill.  See this page on the citizens advice website for more information.

Here's the steps to follow for Newcastle under Lyme Council

1)Click Here to download this form (Claim Form for Council Tax)

2)Print it out and complete it with confirmation of the diagnosis (which doesn't have to be from the person's own GP, it can be another suitably qualified individual, consultant or medical professional.) 

3)Post to:
Revenues and Benefits
Civic Offices
Merrial Street

If you are a carer for the person you can make a separate claim with this form and follow the same procedure, and post to the same address. Help with the form is available on 01782 715500 or by emailing 

Here's the steps to follow for Stoke on Trent City Council

1) Download this form that needs to be signed by a medical professional confirming diagnosis.

2) Once completed by the doctor it needs to be scanned into your computer before it is uploaded when you complete the online application form.

3) Go to this page to complete the online application form.

There is advice and assistance on 01782 234234 or you can go online and use this initial enquiry form here.

Here's the steps to follow for Staffordshire Moorlands Council

Unfortunately there isn't a detailed form for completion directly on the Local Council website, though all local authorities follow roughly the same procedure, requiring a medical diagnosis for exemption, however you can enquire online about it, giving your council tax reference number, so at least the process can be started. There is an enquiry form here.

There is also a phone number to call if you want to speak directly to someone in the Council Tax section - 0345 605 3011

More money off!

As well as the council tax reductions mentioned above, there are also cases which a lot of our customers have had success with, where a reduction is made for someone who lives there with a physical disability. This discount is called the "Disabled Reduction."

The only criteria to meet are just one of the following, i.e. you don't need to meet all these criteria, just one. 

  • A room, other than a bathroom, kitchen or lavatory, which is used mainly by the disabled person and is required for meeting their needs.
  • Or an additional bathroom or kitchen which is required to meet their needs.
  • Or enough space for the use of a wheelchair where one needs to be used inside the dwelling.

Once the form is completed your home would be banded at the next rung down in terms of council tax due. For example if you lived in a band D property you would only have to pay the band C rate for it.  So, downstairs wet-rooms or doorway alterations would count as an adaptation, or if you have a main living room or study which is set up to primarily meet just the disabled persons particular physical needs.

So if you have been thinking about an additional bathroom adaptation at home for a physical disability then the money you save could help you afford to go ahead with your plans.

If you want to save more money on helping you to live independently we also stock reconditioned riser recliner chairs to help you to stand and sit more easily.

And finally, for a last money saving method we can put you in touch with grant awarding charities and schemes that can help with the purchase of chairs or stairlifts. Just call us on 0800 007 5060 today to find out if you could qualify.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Happy Easter at Marks and Spencer

It was a Happy Easter for a lot of the customers that met us recently, not at our Bank House showroom as you might expect, but at Marks and Spencers on the Wolstanton Retail Park.  We had had such a successful time in terms of helping people with getting new ferrules on their walking sticks before Christmas, that we repeated the exercise to make sure everyone with a stick had a safe and secure end to their walking aid, and if it wasn't, then we fitted a new one for free. 

When we set up an earlier charity ferrule change with M and S for their Christmas shopping event, we raised a lot of money and also helped to raise awareness by publicising the Approach charity which helps the elderly in North Staffordshire.  This Easter we raised several hundred pounds again in our time there, which will go to the charity.

We also appeared in the Sentinel Newspaper which helped to highlight the good work, and would remind those lucky people that had entered their name for the Easter Draw, that a prize might well be on it's way pretty soon.


The first name drawn who will receive the chocolate basket was Mrs June Belfield of Basford who we will be in touch with very soon.

For our 15 runners up, who are listed below, they will each receive a Castle Comfort China Mug and Saucer as pictured below. 

Mrs Barbara G of Bradwell
Mr Terry B of Milton
Mr Peter M of Alsager
Mr Charles G of Brown Lees
Mr Sydney C of Halmerend
Mrs Eileen D of Kidsgrove
Mrs Pauline K of Kidsgrove
Mrs Joan B of Newcastle under Lyme
Mrs Yvonne C of Tunstall
Mrs Alice M of Clayton
Mr Henry M of Trentham
Mr Jeffrey P of Burslem
Mr Brian M of Leek
Mrs Kathleen B of Leek
Mrs Kathleen S of Hanford

For next draw in 2017 we will be arranging to have one of these special musical Easter chicks, which will appeal to all those who are young at heart in life (Choccy cakes not included!)

Remember that for everyone who entered, there is still the opportunity to take a £50 discount off any of the current chairs, beds or stairlifts in the showrooms at either Wolstanton or Cross Heath. 
Just mention it when you make your purchase.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Castle Comfort at Marks and Spencers Wolstanton

Marks and Spencers Wolstanton join forces with Castle Comfort Centre in aid of Approach

Our December good deeds event this year was held in the Marks and Spencers store at Wolstanton in the run up to Christmas this month. Working together with Marks and Spencers, we were raising much needed funds to support Approach, a North Staffordshire charity that helps elderly people with dementia. Will Boyce the CEO of Approach also presents a radio show on 6towns radio in Stoke and Keith went along to talk about the planned event and about some of the history of how Castle Comfort started off at Hanley Market. You can hear the interview and a great selection of music here.
You can jump to the interview by clicking at the 49 minute mark.

The original fundraising plan was to donate £1 for every ferrule and provide free teas and coffees, but the demand was so great on what was quite a cold weather weekend that the Castle Comfort team kept running out of them and had to go downstairs to the store and bring more.

It was great for some of our staff as they met up with lots of familiar faces from recent customers of the Wolstanton store, and some that remembered them from their Hanley market days nearly twenty years ago!

The event itself was very successful and raised £770 for the charity and around 200 ferrules were changed. More events are planned.   The community room itself is on the first floor of the store and for those readers who missed it Keith took a video tour of the space to get a feel for it.


Photos of the day are below and include the presentation of the cheque for £770 outside the store, which was also featured in the Sentinel to highlight the good deed.  

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Friday, 16 October 2015

Womble in Stone Cleanup Prompts Charity Cheque For Dougie Mac

Stone Town Centre Cleanup Helps Out In More Ways Than One

When Keith from Castle Comfort was out delivering a riser recliner chair in Stone just the other week, the lady receiving it was listening to Radio Stoke. The story they both heard was that a mystery man had been spotted in Stone Town Centre who was going round tidying up all the litter with a grabber - an often used aid that sells well at both of Castle Comfort's Stoke on Trent showrooms and is used to help reach and pick up items around the home as well as outside it. But he wasn't a council worker as was first thought, but a retired member of the public who as part of his civic duty was keeping the local area clean and tidy while getting some fresh air and exercise. There were three reports about it on Radio Stoke over the course of several weeks, (which are all on the video below)  
Once his identity was discovered the story culminated with Keith meeting Andrew the Litter Picker aka "The Womble of Stone", to present him with a cheque for £100 as part of the Castle Comfort Good Deeds Fund. Both a Stoke Sentinel photographer and Emma the roving Stafford reporter on Radio Stoke were there to capture the unmasking of the mystery man and to find out more about how it all started - would you believe it - it began with 3 cows over 16 years ago. Listen to all the BBC footage on the video to hear the story progress. Keen cleanup whizz Andrew can collect up to two full bin liners of litter in a morning's work and admits he doesn't mind being recognised now. As well as the giant cheque for £100 Keith also gave Andrew a new grabber as a backup and to help keep him reaching and picking up items easily as he approaches his 70th year - though he doesn't look like he is slowing down just yet. Andrew told us that he wanted to donate the money to the Douglas MacMillan hospice which celebrated it's annual bring a pound a day fundraiser this week. Here's some pictures from the day taken in Stone Town Centre.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Uniscan Walkers Showroom - handy for Staffordshire and Cheshire folk

Our best selling walking aid is the Uniscan

 3 wheeled walking frame.

Where can I buy a uniscan rollator with a seat?

If you want a local Uniscan Showroom that is in easy reach of both Staffordshire and Cheshire and the wider West Midlands region then call us or visit one of our friendly showrooms in the Potteries.  We also stock other home mobility aids that you could try or maybe just upgrade your walking stick to a newer model at the same time?  The technical specifications of the Uniscan model can be found on our website.

Here's our resident Stairlifts Doctor - Dr. Neil Stirling MBChB who at 86 years old doesn't need one of these walkers yet, but is willingly available to demonstrate how good they look as a helpful lifestyle accessory for some of his friends and colleagues at Richmond Court in Nantwich, Cheshire.

What do you get to help with your walking?

This walking aid is easily our best known and most popular rollator.  It actually has 4 wheels as one of the wheels at the front is a double for durability and stability on turning. Here below on the video you can see Malcolm senior engineer at Castle Comfort Centre showing you how it all works, but don't worry you don't need to be an engineer to drive one. They are very lightweight yet strong and surprisingly simple to operate. If you have ever ridden a bicycle then you will understand how the brakes work.

The brakes click down to secure the rear wheels so it cannot be pushed further forward.  Combine that with the folding catch to secure it and the fold up seat and that's all there is to it - a wonderfully designed piece of equipment to make your life just that little bit easier.  You get a walking stick holder built-in to the frame, and also a handy carry bag to stow away shopping too.

Are they heavy?

Uniscan Walkers were the very first company to market with a foldable lightweight walker with a seat.  Proudly made in Britain they are strong and also light enough to lift with a single hand and stow in the passenger footwell of a motor car, or in the boot for when travelling.

We always carry stock of these walking frames which are more adaptable and have a tighter turning circle than the aluminium zimmer frame that most people will be familiar with.  In our opinion they also look a whole lot better too. Our best sellers are the blue (illustrated on the video) and the burgundy framed models, but they are available in 3 other colours on special order, if you wanted us to match it in to your own car for example.

Alternatively just give us a call on 01782 611411 or 01782 631111and we can bring one out to the home for you to try.  Once we have got the height adjusted on the handlebars for you, and you are familiar with how it folds and unfolds then you can keep it if it suits you. See you soon.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Mobility Products Shop in Newcastle under Lyme near Stoke on Trent

There are quite a few local mobility shops in the Newcastle under Lyme area, but the one with the most branches is of course Castle Comfort Centre. Having a choice of showrooms to visit, allows us to stock more chairs and beds, so there is more available for immediate local delivery for you, unlike other shops where delays of several days or weeks could be the case.

Unmistakeable on the A34 in Newcastle under Lyme are the famous Castle Comfort dancing dummies as seen on the video above. The latest of these to add to the collection is Mr.Bean aka Rowan Atkinson.  What does Mr.Bean have to do with riser recliner chairs you may ask?

Mr Bean driving his car whilst sat in an armchair on the roof - not required for deliveries from Castle Comfort Centre.
Photo:NathanWong CC 2.0

Well one of his most watched scenes is where he went to buy a chair but it would not fit into his car, a small Mini, so he placed the armchair onto his roof and then sat in the armchair whilst steering the car and using the accelerator with the aid of a mop!

Such methods wouldn't be required on buying a new chair or other mobility product from Castle Comfort as everything we do is professionally installed and demonstrated on delivery by our engineers.  Same day delivery is often possible or if you have a hatchback or estate then you are welcome to put one of our takeaway bargain reconditioned recliner chairs in your boot at a special price. Just visit to see what is in stock at the moment or phone to enquire - details below.

You can visit us at
Castle Comfort Centre
Bank House, High Street, Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire ST5 0HE
Phone:01782 611411
Castle Comfort Centre
135 Liverpool Rd
Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire ST5 9HD
Phone:01782 631111

We look forward to helping you choose the right mobility products for you or those you care for.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Walking Sticks - Stoke on Trent Stockist

Walking Sticks Shops and Stockists in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire

Hand me down that walking cane
Walking sticks must be as old as man himself – at least as old as when man evolved to stand on two legs that is.  The first walking sticks would have been branches pulled from trees to assist walking through difficult terrain.  In fact hikers still use sticks to help when they go off the beaten track today and many traditional walking sticks are still made from wood.

The history of the walking stick
Walking sticks over the centuries have been used as much more than an aid to walking, although they have had their place in that area too.

The walking stick has been a symbol of power, a weapon and a must-have fashion accessory.  In ancient Egypt for instance everyone carried a walking stick.  The type of stick denoted your position in society so obviously the Pharaoh’s stick was the most ornate.  But shepherds and priests would also carry sticks and in this culture everyone was buried with their walking cane too.  Tutankhamen had 132 sticks buried with him! 
You won't have to go to Egypt for one though.  See our google map at the bottom of the page or see below for a map of us and local attractions.

By the Middle Ages the royalty of Europe were commonly seen with walking sticks which denoted their status.  Sticks had become quite ornate with carving and added precious jewels.  Some had secret compartments that concealed alcohol or weapons or other things.

Henry VIII and Charles I are both represented with walking canes and Louis XIV and his Court all carried canes, though courtiers were not permitted to bring theirs to Court.  you can read more about Henry VIII and his use of mobility aids on another blog of ours as he is reputed to have owned the first stair lift type device.

Different types of sticks
You can divide walking sticks into several categories:
Ornate – highly decorated sticks were most popular from the 19th to the early 20th Centuries.  Handles were usually made of silver, ivory, porcelain, glass or wood.  Most were elaborately decorated.  These type of sticks or canes were mostly fashion accessories.

Gadget sticks – these sticks had a dual purpose; their secret compartment might conceal alcohol, an umbrella or a weapon.

Country sticks – still used today by hikers, golfers and others taking part in countryside pursuits.  Sometimes these have a built-in compass in the handle.

City Canes – were carried by ‘ladies and gentlemen’ of bygone eras.  Often the handles concealed tobacco or snuff, binoculars or opera glasses and watches.  These were real status symbols.

Professional sticks – related to the profession or rank of the carrier.

Weapons – these canes could be used as a weapon in their own right or to conceal a weapon such as a sword, pistol or a blade.  Nowadays it is illegal almost everywhere to carry a concealed weapon like this.

Dancers’ canes – used as a prop on stage à la Fred Astaire.  One theory is that singers and dancers often had to catch their breath to sing and leaning on a cane made it look as though it was all part of the act.

Many of these sticks and canes are collectible items and several famous people have been collectors including Queen Victoria and Napoleon.

Modern walking sticks and canes
Currently walking sticks are used either by hikers covering difficult terrain or by those with an injury or an infirm step that need the stick as an aid to balance and mobility.  To get the best support from your walking stick, it must be the correct height for each individual.  A measurement from the ground (user in shoes) to the wrist bone ensures this.  Wooden sticks can be turned upside down to mark this measurement so that the stick is cut at the correct height, allowing for the tip or ferrule to be added.  Metal sticks come in a number of pre-measured heights.

Crook handles are not always the most comfortable to walk with, but can easily be hooked over the arm when not in use.  However a right angled handle is often easier to use and gives good support.  A strap which attaches around the wrist can help to keep it by the user’s side when not in use.  Shaped handles help to spread the weight and often feel safer to the user.

Wooden sticks as we mentioned, are cut to height.  They usually have crooked handles and come in a variety of thicknesses to take different weights.  These need a ferrule added to the tip so that the stick doesn’t slip; these are often made of rubber.  They aren’t as flexible as other types of sticks.

Metal sticks are usually stronger than wooden ones, but come in a variety of fixed lengths rather than being ‘made-to-measure’; however most are height-adjustable. They invariably have a non-slip finish on the end to avoid slippage.  Foldable, light weight metal walking sticks can be useful to fold away when not in use.  The metal sections are connected with strong elastic.

Walking sticks with seats attached can be useful for those with heart or breathing difficulties who need to rest every so often.  Of course a certain amount of strength is necessary to open the seat on these sticks.  They are usually also a fixed height so it is important to get the correct one.

Walking sticks for those with sight impairment are available so that the user can feel where obstacles are to give them an idea of their immediate surroundings.  These walking sticks can also be rigid or folding, have different handgrips, reflective markings and roller tips which improve the cane’s sensitivity.  Sticks for those with little or no sight are usually white which also helps others to realise and make allowances.  Those who have both sight and hearing impairments can have red tape wrapped around the white stick for awareness.

You can find more information at the Disabled Living Foundation website and also here.

Famous people who have used canes or walking sticks:
·         Moses
·         Pope Benedict XVI
·         Oscar Wilde
·         Benjamin Franklin
·         George Washington
Public Domain

·         George Bernard Shaw
·         Prince Albert
·         Crown Prince Hirohito
·         Harold Lloyd
·         Charlie Chaplin
·         Winston Churchill
·         Prince Charles
·         Halle Berry, Brad Pitt, Courtney Cox, Jennifer Anniston and other stars have all been spotted with walking canes after injuries
·         Dr House played by Hugh Laurie


And we can now add another not quite as famous person, but who did appear in the local news - Sheila Aston of Tunstall Stoke on Trent.

Nearly 80 years old and shopping in Marks and Spencers, she had taken a break in the Café there. However after going back to her table later she realised that she didn't have her walking stick with her.

She looked and asked all around for it. It had been pinched!

This was quite an ordeal for an older person that relies on a walking stick to bear their weight perhaps because of troublesome knees, ankles or feet.

Not only is such a stick a safety aid, but it can make a person feel safer, in fact in earlier times they could be used as a self-defence item for more vulnerable people.

Also people get quite attached to their walking stick. It becomes worn and grooved to their own hand and could have been a memento from a special trip or tour, or a gift from a loved one. For these reasons they become indispensable for the folk that need them.

A specialist stick to suit arthritic hands can be difficult to locate but here at Castle Comfort Centre when we heard about Sheila's plight we arranged to give her a new stick, and for free. 

Because she relied on it for walking it was a really welcome relief. You can see the joy in her face as she received her new walking aid on the picture here taken at Castle Comfort's Wolstanton store.

Sheila has sent a thank-you note for our gesture which is much appreciated. See the picture below.

We are just up the hill from the new Marks and Spencers on the Wolstanton retail park. If you reach the Adlington Apartments on the left hand side you have gone too far.

See us on the map below. If using a satnav to find us the best postcode to use is ST5 8BW which will bring you to the free parking on the road alongside the showroom. See you soon.