A to Z of services          A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W Y Z

Archive for May, 2012

Time to care

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Every 22 minutes across the UK a child comes into the care of a local authority and needs a foster home. A shocking statistic, which means we’ll need an extra 8,750 foster carers in 2012 alone.

That’s why we recently stepped up the drive to recruit foster carers in Tameside.

You may have seen our foster care team out and about talking to people about fostering, and the need to recruit more carers for Tameside.

It’s more important than ever that we find these extra foster carers for Tameside, so we can make sure our children get placed with the right family first time.

The sad, stark reality is that without these extra foster families in Tameside, our vulnerable children could end up living a long way from their family, friends and school. They could be repeatedly moved around as fostering relationships break down, or even end up in residential care despite fostering having been identified as their best option.

Take some inspiration from Veronica Warrington. She’s been fostering with Tameside for over 12 years and has seen many children pass through her door in need of a loving home.

Veronica finds a way to give these upset and confused children, who have just been taken away from their family, a sense of belonging and often their first experience of a ‘normal’ family home. She understands the challenges that being a foster carer can bring but it doesn’t faze her. She knows that with every challenge comes its reward.

She told me that just seeing the children mature and develop in front of her eyes, gaining confidence and self-belief is more than enough for her to keep on fostering.

So if you think you can foster, the advice is, you probably can. We need people from all walks of life to help children of all ages, from very young babies to teenagers.

I’ve got the upmost admiration for people who choose to foster care, it can be a fantastic and challenging career. So please, if you’re thinking about fostering have a look at www.tameside.gov.uk/fostering, you can also read more inspirational stories like Veronica’s on www.youcanfoster.org or ring 0800 634 7052 to speak to someone about fostering in Tameside

Time to take some Pride

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Tonight is the second Pride of Tameside Business Awards which is being hosted once again at Dukinfield Town Hall.

The night is all about celebration, which I think becomes more and more important as we continue through some difficult economic times.

We see, hear and read so much doom and gloom about the euro zone, the UK economy, unemployment levels and the recession. That is why taking time to celebrate success like we will be doing at tonight’s event, and wider successes that the Pride of Tameside awards cover, is so important.

All you need to do is look at last year’s awards to get a real feel for the wide variety of awards and people who get involved and are recognised.

But that’s what the night is all about – celebrating the best that Tameside has to offer.

As a council we are determined to continue growing the Pride theme because we realise just how much they mean to those taking part.

Earlier this year in my home town we held the Pride of Droylsden awards which recognised those locals who were going far and beyond the call of duty. They were so successful I know other towns across the borough are keen to follow Droylsden’s lead.

Events like this do not happen by chance. They require a great deal of hard work so I feel it’s appropriate to thank everyone involved, especially Brother’s Jayne Broddle and John Arden from New Charter for giving their time freely and making tonight a reality.

I also need to thank all the people and businesses who have provided sponsorship, prizes and services in kind. Almost everything involved in the night has been sourced locally.

You can follow tonight’s celebrations on Twitter by following #potba12 to see the results as they happen.

I would like to congratulate all the shortlisted candidates and wish them all the best for tonight. We had over 150 entries for the eight awards so getting this far is something to be proud of and something to celebrate.

Feel the love for your local market

Friday, May 25th, 2012

I feel extremely lucky to have the fantastic Ashton Market on my doorstep and I know many people feel the same.

Tameside markets have a rich heritage and a strong following locally but it’s particularly pleasing to see how they are also moving with the times and broadening their appeal to shoppers. Not only are more specialist and high quality traders operating, Ashton Market Hall now has free Wi-Fi to help attract a new generation of shoppers who want to stay online while running errands, grabbing their lunch or meeting colleagues or friends for a coffee.

As well as being the heart and soul of a town centre, a market is a great opportunity for a start-up business and – to encourage more of this entrepreneurial spirit – the council will be offering free pitches to new traders as part of Love Your Local Market fortnight, to run from 23 June to 8 July. There will also be special activities and entertainment for shoppers.

If you’ve never been to any of our farmers’ markets before then come along to Ashton on Sunday 24 June. Not only will the civic square be bustling with some of the region’s finest local producers, the Olympic torch relay will be passing through the town. It will be a day to remember and I for one am looking forward to being part of it. The fact that I’ll be able to take home and enjoy some gourmet treats from my favourite food stalls when all the celebrations are over is yet another added bonus.

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, May 18th, 2012

I’m sure you’re all looking forward to the jubilee weekend at the start of June – with a double bank holiday waiting for us who wouldn’t?

It promises to be a great time in Tameside and, thanks to the way the calendar works this year, the celebrations begin with an event that is consistently among the most popular on the borough’s calendar.

June 1 is Whit Friday, which means the annual band contests which regularly draw thousands of people and are often described as the greatest free show on earth. Tameside will be hosting 11 contests across all parts of the borough – ranging from Mossley in the north to Denton in the south, and Droylsden in the west to Stalybridge in the east.

There’s a second chance to celebrate our brass band heritage the following day (Saturday, 2 June) when Stalybridge Civic Hall is the venue for a concert to celebrate the centenary of the famous marching song “Long Way to Tipperary” which was written in the town. Special guests will be the CY Kickham Band, who are actually from Tipperary. They will be appearing alongside Stalybridge Old Band and the Yew Tree Singers.

However, the main event will be on Jubilee Day – Tuesday, 5 June – when nine of our parks will be hosting free open-air parties.

The jewel in the crown will be at Stamford Park, which is undergoing a £5 million regeneration project, due for completion in July. There will be theatre performances, music, crafts, face-painting, boats and a circus workshop.

Other parks taking part are Dukinfield; King George V Playing Fields, Ashton; Hyde; Lees Park, Droylsden; Lymefield, Broadbottom; Mossley; Park Bridge; and Victoria Park, Denton. Each will cater for a particular section of the community such as young families, teenagers or older people.

The key thing to remember for all the parties is to make sure you take your picnic with you.

And if you’d like to record a message of congratulations to the Queen on her 60 years as monarch, the book of celebration is still available in the foyer of Ashton Town Hall. In the autumn we’ll be sending it to Buckingham Palace as a token of Tameside’s loyalty and good will.

There’s lots on offer. Let’s just hope the weather is kind!

Safe as houses!

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Whenever we ask the borough’s residents what issues they feel are most important to them – living in a safe place is always high up on the list.

Survey after survey reveals that our public are more concerned about crime and disorder in their area than most other issues. It’s hardly surprising considering it can have such a profound effect on many other aspects of our lives.

You only need to attend one of the borough’s regular district assembly meetings to see for yourself just how hot a topic crime and disorder – or more accurately its perception – is to the borough’s residents.

But people can rest assured that Tameside is a safer place to live thanks to the successful work involving the police, council and other partners including local community groups.

Recently released figures have revealed that crime has reduced across the borough. Robbery is down 40 per cent, theft of motor vehicles is down 60 per cent and theft from motor vehicles is down 38 per cent.

These improvements are also reflected in our residents’ perceptions of living in Tameside. Nearly 98 per cent of local people feel safer in their neighbourhoods and far fewer are concerned about anti-social behaviour.

Saying that I would always add a note of caution because although these figures are amazing and a testament to the close and effective partnership work I’ve already outlined, the budget reductions that we and the Police will face in the coming years could mean that we may not necessarily be able to sustain these levels of success in the future.

But, as I’m sure the public are well aware, Tameside Council is better placed than most to deal with any such issues and will always strive to do its best, irrespective of the constraints, for the borough’s public.

Where there’s muck, there’s brass!

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Thousands of volunteers and groups across Tameside are working on the ground to make a real difference in their neighbourhoods.

The council’s You Choose scheme, now in its second year, aims to help provide financial support to these valued community projects. But, importantly, it puts local people at the heart of deciding how the money – which comes from savings made through recycling – is spent.

Nearly 800 people came along to vote at our events last year, with a broad cross-section of the community benefiting from the funding. I had the pleasure of visiting one of the successful applicants from 2011 – pupils from St Stephen’s RC Primary School in Droylsden showed me their environmental project which involved looking after their own free range chickens. It’s this kind of sustainable project, which really enhances the community’s learning and life experience, that is gratifying to support despite the current financial climate.

This time around more than £440,000 will be allocated over a series of public vote events to be held in every district assembly area over the coming months. But first there will be a ‘Pan-Tameside’ event, to take place from 12.30pm on Saturday 12 May at Hurst Community Centre, Ashton, where residents will be able to allocate funding for projects which will have a borough-wide impact. So why not pop along and make your views known.

I’m looking forward to seeing even more involvement in You Choose from the community this year – it’s a great way for people to get involved in deciding how the money they save by recycling should be spent.

For further information on You Choose, how to apply for funding and details on the public vote events see www.tameside.gov.uk/youchoose

A fair event for apprentices

Friday, May 4th, 2012

The Tameside Apprentice Fair which took place at Dukinfield Town Hall on 25 April was everything I hoped it would be. Hundreds of people poured through the doors and we have had some very positive feedback from everyone who attended.

Quite understandably, the main focus was on job opportunities. However, there was a lot of interest in the master classes which offered tips on interview technique and the most effective way to complete an application form.

It was especially pleasing to see existing apprentices helping out. They showed a lot of maturity and were extremely helpful. I’m sure they will make great mentors for the new intake.

I never tire of telling people about the importance Tameside Council attaches to apprenticeships. My colleagues and I see them as an excellent opportunity to enable a young person to continue their learning whilst developing new skills in a career with real prospects.

With youth unemployment at record levels we want to do everything we can to help our young people. We want to give them the best possible chance of finding employment, and by that I mean good jobs that have good prospects.

Fortunately, we are pushing at an open door. Employers in the Tameside area are very supportive. It’s our aim to have a quarter of 16 to 19-year-olds in an apprenticeship by 2015 and I’m proud to say that we have already hit the 20 per cent mark.

A major element of this success has been our 50/50 scheme under which we give £1,000 towards the costs of a local employer taking on a Tameside-based apprentice.

Of course the annual fair is not an isolated event. We work throughout the year to get as many people as possible into apprenticeships. In June we will be working with our partners at Tameside College to stage an apprentice extravaganza when lots more information and opportunities will be available.

In the meantime, if you weren’t able to make it to Dukinfield Town Hall, have a look at www.tameside-apprentices.org

Tameside Logo