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Archive for the ‘Community Events’ Category

New Year’s Resolutions

Friday, January 6th, 2017

one-you-localised-postNew Year, new you, or so the saying goes. We’re now a few days in to 2017 and all but a very small number will likely have managed to stick to any New Year’s resolutions so far.

I’ve heard a few from friends and family about giving up particular foods, drinks and even social media. Though if, like millions of others, your resolution relates to improving your health and fitness then the Council, in partnership with Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group and Public Health England, will be able to help.

Public Health England has launched a national campaign to mitigate the impact of modern life on the nation’s health. Research has found that the effects are particularly acute amongst the middle aged. 87% of men and 79% of women aged 40-60 are overweight or obese, exceed the Chief Medical Officer’s alcohol guidelines or are physically inactive. Obesity was found to be the biggest problem for this group with 77% of men and 63% of women overweight or obese, an increase of 16% in the past 20 years. `These problems, if not tackled, can lead to more serious illnesses, such as diabetes, later on. Since the mid-90s the number of middle aged people being diagnosed with this illness has doubled.

But help is at hand. The experts at Public Health England have devised a quiz that asks a few simple questions about diet and exercise and offers advice at the end based on your responses. There are also a range of smartphone and tablet apps available to help guide you. They’re all very easy to use and I can strongly recommend them.

Here at the Council we’re doing our bit too. This time last year I was writing about the £20 million investment in our leisure facilities that would see Tameside’s sports facilities drastically improved with new centres being opened and upgrades to existing ones. The first, which opened in Novemeber last year, was the conversion of the Active Longdendale gymnastics centre in to trampoline and soft play centre Total Adrenaline. This is a facility that will encourage young Tamesiders to get active from a very early age.

Total Adrenaline opened in November 2016

Total Adrenaline opened in November 2016

Later this month will see the opening of iTrain gym in Dukinfield. Making use of the old Dukinfield Baths, which had reached the end of its life, the gym will offer 24/7 access plus a crèche, café and meeting rooms for use by community groups. It will be a true community hub.

In the longer term Hyde leisure pool will be extended to house a regular swimming pool alongside the existing leisure pool, Ashton leisure centre will be refurbished or rebuilt and Denton will have a new state of the art ‘Wellness Centre’.

I have long believed that the success of a place is about more than just shiny new buildings or ‘physical regeneration’ to use the technical term. It’s about the health and wellbeing of the people who live there too. Our partnership with Tameside and Glossop CCG, Active Tameside and Public Health England and this investment demonstrates that, under my leadership, Tameside Council is committed to this agenda. As the year progresses many more plans and projects will come forward that will back this up and lays the foundations for the success of Tameside, as a place, long in to the future.

A Greener Borough

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016
Cllr Quinn thanked countryside volunteers who have planted thousands of trees in Tameside

Cllr Quinn thanked countryside volunteers who have planted thousands of trees in Tameside

‘Think globally, act locally’ is the motto of environmentalist groups around the world. Quite literally it means that each of us can collectively rise to the global challenge of climate change by beginning at home and make small changes to our lifestyle or behaviour. This could be stopping eating meat for one day per week as encouraged by the celebrity-backed meat free Monday campaign, cycling to work a few days per month instead of driving, or turning over part of the garden for vegetable growing to reduce food miles.

Each of these small actions, if replicated by all 220,000 residents of Tameside, or all 65,000,000 people in the UK, can make a huge contribution to reducing the damaging greenhouse gas emissions that are responsible for many of the extreme weather events we’ve had recently.

Large organisations like the Council clearly have a role to play too. This can either be as an enabler that makes it easier for residents to do the right thing or by taking action ourselves. Our pledges for this year contain examples of both. The ‘Get Tameside Growing’ pledge has been led by our excellent greenspaces team. They’ve worked hard throughout the summer with local schools and a range of voluntary groups to build capacity for communities to become more self-sufficient with respect to food. As an example, the two allotments cared for by mental health charity Mind have not only produced local, organic food but provided therapy for people with learning disabilities too.

Our decision to expand recycling facilities in public buildings and town centres is another case of where we’ve provided the means for others to be greener. As everybody living in Tameside will know already, the way domestic refuse is collected was changed some time ago in an effort to improve recycling rates. Clearly the home is not the only place where waste is generated, and so if we wanted to divert even more of Tameside’s refuse away from landfill then we had to do something else too. At the last count our recycling rate was over 55%, an increase of more than 15 percentage points compared to two years ago. The savings on landfill tax are also going a little way towards offsetting the impact of the enormous government cuts we’ve had to face.

Two of our pledges for this year fall in to the category of ‘direct action’ where the Council has made green choices itself. Firstly, the street lighting replacement programme is well in to its second year and over 8000 lanterns have been replaced with super-efficient LEDs so far. The savings on electricity usage have been enormous, and the reliability of this new type of lamp means that money will also be saved as a result of fewer repair callouts needing to be made. Secondly there is our pledge to plant at least 2016 trees for 2016. This target has been smashed at relatively little cost to the taxpayer. The trees have been provided free by Ovo energy or bought using contributions that developers have made for environmental improvements following a construction project, and the planting work has been carried out by conservation volunteers. It is hoped that, as well as punctuating our urban landscape and improving air quality, they could help to reduce the impact of flooding in the future by breaking up the soil with their roots and increasing its capacity to hold water.

And so Tameside is doing much to tackle climate change. It could be argued that we are setting an example for others to follow. It’s for this reason that I’ll continue to talk up this Council’s green credentials in the hope that they do. It is, after all, in all of our interests.

Small Business Saturday

Friday, November 25th, 2016
The wares of a small local business

The wares of a small local business

Here in Tameside, for the fourth year running, we will be celebrating small business Saturday. Taking place on the first Saturday in December, just as most shoppers are beginning to think about buying Christmas gifts, the day highlights the work of the millions of small and medium sized businesses across the country.

The stats tell us that for every £1 spent in a local business between 50p-70p is reinvested locally. Therefore choosing to buy a product at your local shop rather than the out of town supermarket is an effortless way to support your local economy. Tameside Council recognises this importance. As a Borough comprised of 9 distinct towns each with their own identities, having vibrant town centres each with a unique local shopping offer is key to preserving their individuality. That’s why as well as supporting the national Small Business Saturday initiative we run a range of campaigns ourselves too.

Our Tameside Loyalty Scheme is a card that anybody living or working locally is eligible for which can be used to access a range of offers in local businesses. From a £5 discount on an iPhone screen repair in Stalybridge to 10% off stationery supplies in Hyde or money off a new set of dentures in Ashton there is something for everybody covered under the initiative!

Made in Tameside’ highlights the work of local manufacturing companies, many of whom had humble beginnings at kitchen tables or in garages in the Borough. These are local businesses providing local jobs and exporting the Tameside name around the world. Firms such as Tweed Brewing Co., Hyde, who produce beers sold in Manchester’s fashionable northern quarter, or Bradley’s bakery, Ashton, who bake the world famous pork pie wedding cakes or Coleherne engineering, established in 1905, which produce white metal bearings used on the North Sea Statoil platform.

Finally, our local ‘Buy With Confidence’ scheme provides a list of approved Tameside based tradespeople in one accessible place. Local people who want to extend their home, need a new boiler, or are looking to have their garden landscaped can go to a ‘one stop shop’ directory knowing that, not only do the tradespeople listed there meet the high standards required by the Council, but also live locally and will be spending the money they earn from your job locally too.

So on Saturday 3rd December, coinciding with the start of the Tameside Christmas markets which itself showcases a range of local traders, we will continue the long tradition of supporting the small local businesses that are the engines of our economy.

Flooding in Tameside

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016
Staff involved in the clean up operation following the floods

Staff involved in the clean up operation following the floods

Following a busy day responding to yesterday’s flooding I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the efforts of the Council staff who co-ordinated the relief effort.

The level of rainfall Tameside and other nearby areas experienced on Monday evening was unprecedented. Following receiving the forecasts the gulley cleaning teams worked tirelessly to attend all of the drains in areas that were considered to be particularly at risk of flooding. Whilst the sheer volume of water that fell meant that this preventative action was ultimately not enough to completely avoid flooding, the position could have been much worse had this not been done. I think that I would speak for many in expressing deepest thanks to the staff involved who worked the extra hours to protect our residents.

Despite these efforts, Council staff unfortunately had to turn their attention to a relief effort to help households and residents who were most severely affected. Staff worked through the night with the emergency services and the environment agency to make structures safe, pump water away and minimise travel disruption. Again this silent army conducted themselves with the utmost professionalism and responded to residents’ needs with the sensitivity that was required given the distress many people were in. I offer my deepest thanks to them all and feel reassured that, should an emergency ever occur again in Tameside, we will all be in safe hands.

When events like this have taken place we always use the experience to learn how we could adapt our systems and working practices and this occasion will be no different. Whilst the response was an excellent example of partnership working between the Council, emergency services and even volunteers from the local community, we will review the events and our response carefully to see if there are any areas for improvement.

Whenever the next emergency comes we will be ready.

Honouring our Fallen this Remembrance Day

Monday, November 14th, 2016

dsc_0590Once again the people of Tameside did themselves truly proud when communities across the Borough came together to mark Remembrance Sunday. A commemorative service was held in every one of Tameside’s nine towns and attendance at all was noted to be at least as large, if not larger, than last year. Of those I went to something that stood out for me was the number of young people attending to pay their respects. To me it shows that, despite the time that has passed since the tradition first began, the memory of the soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom continues to endure.

The Remembrance services came just days after we had named our first road after a local fallen serviceman. The naming of the new Denton Link Road after Lance Corporal Andrew Breeze forms part of Tameside Council’s commitment to ‘Honour Our Fallen’ and many more roads are to follow.

Lance Corporal Andrew Breeze was 31 and serving under the B (Malta) Company, 1st Battalion of The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire), when he was caught in an explosion and killed while clearing an area to increase security at a checkpoint on 12 June 2010. The former Audenshaw School pupil and member of the Church Lad’s and Girls’ Brigade at Christ Church, Denton, had enlisted into the Army in February 1996 and served in both the UK and Cyprus as well as on operations in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. I met Andrew’s parents, Anthony and Florence Breeze, at the site of the new road on Thursday. The new ‘L/Cpl Andrew Breeze Way’ road sign – which also features a red poppy – has been manufactured by ex-service personnel at the Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) Factory in Ashford, Kent.

While many people, with good reason, associate Remembrance Sunday with the fallen in the two World Wars I feel that it’s particularly important that we remember these more recent victims of war as well.

Thankfully, we’re far, far away from the dark days of tens of thousands of British soldiers losing their lives on a single day of battle. That shouldn’t diminish the sorrow we feel at every loss nor the respect we feel for their ultimate sacrifice; the sacrifice of men like Gunner Wilfred Hewitt of the Royal Artillery, who died at the Imjin River in Korea in 1851. Men like Lance Corporal Eric Halkyard who, despite being born in Denton, was killed fighting in Vietnam in 1971 with the Royal Adsc_0608ustralian Regiment. Men like Sergeant Mark Stansfield, Corporal Joseph Etchells, Kingsman Sean Dawson and Corporal Harvey Holmes, all of whom, like Lance Corporal Breeze, gave their lives in service in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Our Honour our Fallen pledge ensures that these brave men remain in our thoughts as much as the men of the Somme, the Battle of Britain and Normandy. As a council we’re also committed to recognising the work that our servicemen do to keep our communities and country safe, not just on Remembrance Sunday but every day. We were the first council in Greater Manchester to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, and our Armed Forces Jobs Pledge along with our work with the Tameside Armed Services Community and breakfast clubs ensure that current and former armed forces members have all the support they need, whenever they need it.

If you would like to nominate a local fallen hero for recognition you can do so here. Together, we will make sure that we all remember them.

We Shine Brighter Together

Friday, November 4th, 2016

cwajvf2xgaanvkdIs there a more exciting time of year than the build-up to Christmas? I for one can’t think of any. After Halloween and Bonfire Night we can look forward to some big events to carry us through to December and beyond. We always aim to go one better here in Tameside however, so one of the most anticipated days is a little something of our own creation. On 12th November we’ll be lighting up the borough as our famous Lantern Parade once again takes to the streets.

I have no doubt that the 2016 Lantern Parade will be the biggest and best ever. Since early October residents and artists have been hard at work delivering lantern building workshops and bringing some truly extraordinary ideas to life. We’ve also teamed up with the renowned Handmade Parade to provide that extra and spectacular touch. The aim is to bring all of Tameside’s towns and communities together under the banner of “We Shine Brighter Together”. So whether you’re from Ashton, Dukinfield, Stalybridge or anywhere in between, you can rest assured that you’re more than welcome to come and represent your area with pride.

But a big town parade is nothing without our community groups taking part as well. Previous Lantern Parades have seen music and dance contributions from all of Tameside’s brass bands, Scout and Guide Associations, primary and secondary schools, youth theatres, resident groups, sports clubs, charities and many more. No matter what the weather, their hard work and your presence will make sure that there’s a sparkle and a twinkle in Ashton on 12th November.

It’s true that the Lantern Parade is one of the highlights of the year in Tameside, but it also serves a broader purpose as well. The Parade, the Christmas market and all the other celebrations across Tameside give a valuable boost to our town centres. Every person who comes to a Christmas event in Tameside is a person who supports our local businesses, now and hopefully in the future as well. Given that previous Lantern Parades have attracted up to 7,000 people it’s fair to say that it more than pays back the money spent on it.cwajvztxcaam35j

Don’t forget that while the Lantern Parade is the main event, there are several other celebrations going on in Tameside throughout the month as well. From Denton’s Got Talent to the Santa’s Grotto Narrowboat in Stalybridge there is sure to be something for everybody as each town puts on their own unique show. Details about these other Christmas celebrations can be found on the council’s website here.

The 2016 Lantern Parade will begin at 6pm on Saturday 12th November on Katherine Street, Ashton. From there it will make its way to Stamford Street before going through the town centre to Old Cross Street where the finale – including a fireworks display – will kick off at 7pm.  Spectators are more than welcome to turn up at any point along the parade route, and our volunteer marshals will be more than happy to point you in the right direction. See you in a week or so for what I’m sure will be an evening to remember.

Public protection in Tameside

Friday, October 28th, 2016

treacle-logoOf the hundreds of services that Councils like Tameside provide one of the most important is arguably public protection and safety.

This week the Council held the first in a series of ‘Days of Action’ to tackle the misuse of disabled parking bays, blue badges and other enforcement issues like illegal parking and fly tipping. Deputy Leader Councillor John Taylor joined enforcement officers on Tuesday who issued fixed penalty notices when anybody was caught contravening parking regulations or identified as having dumped rubbish.

I know as a ward Councillor that issues like these are things that the overwhelming majority of residents are keen to see the Council take action on. As well as being irritating and a nuisance illegal parking is dangerous – those restrictions are there for safety reasons – and fly tipping has to be cleaned up, diverting cash from other important services. Some photos and information from the day are on our facebook page here.

This weekend also marks the beginning of winter and the run up to Christmas. With the clocks going back the nights will begin to draw in noticeably sooner. Many families will be planning to celebrate Halloween and Bonfire Night too and Tameside Council and Greater Manchester Police have relaunched operation Treacle to promote safe and responsible celebrations.

Of course most people don’t need to be told how to ensure their Bonfire Night and Halloween parties pass off safely. However unfortunately there are still a minority who prefer to make people’s lives a misery through indulging in anti-social behaviour and criminal damage. Sometimes not paying attention to the proper safety precautions – like misusing fireworks on Bonfire Night and not checking where your children are going and with whom on Halloween – can also turn nights of celebration into nights of tragedy.

The campaign website, www.safe4autumn.com has been updated for this year and includes safety tips for Halloween and phone numbers to report anti-social or criminal behaviour should you need to. You can also download Treacle posters here – these will let people know whether trick or treaters are welcome at your house or not.

When Bonfire Night rolls along, I’d encourage you to attend an organised event. There are plenty to choose from and bound to be one near you. Though if you are holding your own bonfire or firework display, then please make sure you know about bonfire safety guidelines and follow the firework safety code. Every year on Bonfire Night there are hundreds of accidents – some of which involve children and some of which could have been avoided entirely had the proper precautions been taken. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Finally, this seems as good an opportunity as any to remind people that the clocks go back this Saturday evening. Remember to change them before you go to bed and spend your extra hour on Sunday well!

Does Domestic Abuse Sit Right With You?

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

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Some readers of this blog may think that’s it’s not for organisations like the Council to involve ourselves with family matters – it’s none of our business, right? On some issues that view would be very wide of the mark. One such matter is that of domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse within relationships has such a profound impact on so many areas of life and wider society that tackling it is arguably everybody’s business. That’s why Tameside Council has joined the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and Greater Manchester Police in launching a ground breaking campaign, ‘Sitting Right with You’.

For readers still sceptical about whether this is truly an issue that warrants the spending of precious Council resources, some figures; one in three women and one in six men experience some form of domestic abuse. This isn’t necessarily physical violence but can include controlling what somebody wears, their money, where they go and who they talk to. The witnessing of domestic abuse by children is also considered a form of child abuse, affecting a child’s social and emotional development.

The ‘Sitting Right with You’ campaign a yellow sofa accompanied by challenging messages. These hope to get people to think differently about what domestic abuse is and encouraging victims to take that first step and ask for help. Messages such as ‘he checks my phone all the time’, ‘she has control over my bank accounts’, and ‘I can go out with friends when he says it’s ok’, encourage people to think differently about what makes a healthy relationship.

To support the campaign the Council have compiled a case study of a local woman who herself was a victim of domestic abuse. Reading the truly harrowing account of the abuse she suffered over a number of years you may be wondering why she didn’t seek help sooner. That would underestimate how difficult it is for victims of domestic abuse to come forward, something that this campaign hopes to make easier.

Finally it’s only fair to acknowledge that Greater Manchester Police have long tackled domestic abuse and worked to raise awareness of the help available to victims. Their Operation Scratch, a month of action aimed at finding people wanted for domestic abuse offences, educating people on coercive and controlling behaviour and encouraging people to come forward, led to the arrest of more than 700 people over four weeks. I am confident that this latest campaign will support their ongoing efforts and make a serious dent in the occurrence of domestic abuse across Greater Manchester.

The yellow sofa will be travelling around Greater Manchester over the next few weeks, encouraging local people to talk about domestic abuse and get help and support if they need it.

If you or someone you care about has been affected by domestic abuse, contact the Greater Manchester domestic abuse helpline on 0161 636 7525.

Join the Tameside Hackathon

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

HACKATHON-Header

Are you aged between 13 and 18? Are you into coding and computers? Looking for something new and exciting to do in the school holidays? Then the first-ever Tameside Hackathon may be just the thing for you.

The concept is simple. As part of the Council’s “Every Child a Coder” Pledge for 2016 we are launching a free competition to test and challenge the digital skills and creativity of our young people. Teams of young hackers aged 13-18 will pick from a variety of challenges set by our sponsors and will then develop a digital product or solution over the two day event. These will be presented as the end of the Hackathon, with the winning team walking away with some great prizes.

For the young people who take part, it will be an opportunity to have fun, meet people with similar interests and develop the skills that will help them to success in the workplace of the digital future. Every one that takes part in the Tameside Hackathon will also get the opportunity to join a Greater Manchester-wide hack meet-up at the Sharp Project in Newton Heath, Manchester on 13th August.

The Tameside Hackathon takes place at the refurbished Aston Old Baths on Tuesday 9th to Wednesday 10th August, 10am-4pm. If you want to join us, either alone or as part of a team, you can register by going through to the Eventbrite page here. For those who need transport to and from the event, we may able to assist if you call us on 0161 342 5138.

While the focus of the Hackathon will be on meeting new people and learning new things, there’s always the possibility that it could lead to the creation of something with potential to succeed as a business idea. The mobile group messaging app GroupMe, which was coded in a day and a half at a hacking event in 2010 and sold to Skype for almost $80 million a year later, is one of many famous examples. So if you think you and your friends have what it takes to make the next GroupMe, or even the next Pokémon Go, then come to Ashton Old Baths in August and show us your stuff.

But we’re not just looking for young people to take part in the Tameside Hackathon. We’re looking for businesses to sponsor the event and provide mentors for the young people taking part. We already have Purple and Banter Media on board providing challenges and prizes for the Hackathon, and we’ve received support from other local and national organisations such as Active Tameside, O2, Bradley’s Bakery, Tameside Reporter and Care Together. If you want your name added to that list, you can find out what it involves and how to get in touch with us on our website here.

Good Luck and Happy Hacking.

Get Into Reading This Summer

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

big_friendly_readDo you know your Oompa-Loompas from your Vermicious Knids? Could you pick Willy Wonka or Agatha Trunchbull out of a line-up? Would you prefer to ride around in a giant peach or a great glass elevator?

If those questions make sense to you then you’ll probably be interested to know that this summer the country is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth. Over a quarter of a century after his death the renowned author, poet and ex-fighter ace still remains one of the world’s most beloved children’s authors, with over 200 million copies of his books being sold worldwide. That’s why the 2016 Summer Reading Challenge, which we are whole-heartedly supporting here in Tameside, will be themed around Roald Dahl’s life and works.

The idea is simple. Over the summer holidays we are challenging children aged 4-11 to sign up to the Big Friendly Read and read six library books from their local library. Not only is it fun, it’s also absolutely free. Furthermore, every child who completes the challenge will be a proud recipient of a medal, wristband and certificate celebrating their achievement. Here in Tameside, any child who completes the Big Friendly Read before Saturday 24th September will also be entered into a special prize draw for a chance to win a Clip n’ Climb experience for up to 10 people, courtesy of Active Tameside and the Sky High Adventure Centre.

If you want to join in the Big Friendly Read you can do so by signing up at any one of Tameside’s libraries. Last year we got 2,726 children to take part, and this year we intend to go one better. To help anybody who joins along in the challenge, our libraries will be putting on a series of activities such as treasure hunts, crafts and games based on some of Roald Dahl’s most famous books and characters. As with everything else in the Big Friendly Read these events, details of which can be found on our website here, are free and there’s no need to pre-book.

But the Big Friendly Read is just one part of the larger programme of activities we’re putting on fthebigfriendlyread2or children and families this
summer. Over the month of August we will be hosting a series of outdoor theatre performances in Tameside’s parks, including adaptations of classic children’s stories by CS Lewis, Robert Louise Stevenson and Mark Twain. Our countryside teams and museums will also be getting in on the act with a variety of free and fun indoor and outdoor events.

So if you want to your children to have fun and learn this summer in Tameside have a look to see what activities suit you. From reading challenges to live plays, countryside walks to handling birds of prey, come and join us and get your next few months sorted.

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