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Archive for April, 2013

Child Employment Month

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

 

Having a part-time job while still at school is a great way to increase a young person’s confidence, skills and independence by earning their own wage.

What employers, youngsters and their parents don’t always realise is that by law the young person needs a work permit.

As a union official I place the utmost importance on safeguarding children’s and employers rights. It is our responsibility to ensure that children are working in a safe environment and that we can protect their health, welfare and education.

April is Child Employment Month and Children’s Services staff are working in partnership with the NNCEE (National Network for Child Employment and Entertainment) to remind employers of their legal responsibilities.
The work permit includes the permitted hours and types of employment and describes the rights of the employee and the responsibilities of the employer. Most crucially children working without a permit may not be covered by any form of insurance if they have accident while at work, regardless of any policies that the employer has.

The law says that children under 13 can’t be employed and that they can only officially work as an adult after the last Friday in June, at the end of Year 11.

We’ve issued 160 work permits over the past 12 months. I hope we can raise more awareness of this important issue and make sure our young people and their employers are working safely together.

For further details relating to Child Employment visit www.tameside.gov.uk/childemployment

Love where you live

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

The term “pride in the community” may have become a cliché but it’s something I fervently believe in. If we want to live in pleasant areas then it’s up to us to do something about it. It’s not enough to take the attitude that it’s someone else’s problem.

That’s why I want to praise Scott Isherwood, manager of the McDonald’s branch on Warrington Street, Ashton. He has organised a litter-pick in the town on 24 April. It’s part of their Love Where You Live campaign whose aims mirror those of Tameside Council. Like us, they want people to stop dropping litter and bring everyone together – local government, businesses and the public – to foster a sense of pride.

The Council is doing its bit through Ashton District Assembly. Thanks to them the clean-up will extend beyond the centre of Ashton and along Katherine Street to Oldham Road and Waterloo.

I hope to see more events of this kind over the coming months. As I pointed out in my budget speech at the start of the year, the days are gone when the Council could afford to spend £1 million a year on clearing up litter. Government cuts to our budget have seen to that. After all, there’s no reason why anyone should drop any. It’s a simple enough matter to put it in a bin or take it home. In the centre of Ashton we even have bins which allow you to sort your litter so that it can be recycled.

Care of neighbourhoods is in our own hands now. If you know of a grot spot, why not gather a few friends together to clear it up? Speak to you local councillors who I’m sure will be happy to offer support.

Spring into recycling

Friday, April 19th, 2013

If the welcome – if somewhat late – arrival of spring has enticed you out to tidy your garden, then please remember that you can recycle green waste in your brown bin. Grass cuttings, hedge trimmings, weeds and small twigs and branches can all go in the brown bin, alongside your food waste, if you don’t already compost them at home.

Tameside has recycled nearly 11,500 tonnes of food and garden waste between April 2012 and April 2013, this is 3,000 tonnes – or 300 full bin wagons – more than the previous year. This fantastic increased brown bin recycling effort has helped the borough avoid an extra £840,000 in landfill charges, safeguarding our drastically reduced funds for essential frontline services as well as valued community projects through the You Choose scheme.

Much of this success – which has helped us to hit our 40 per cent recycling target – has followed the introduction of kitchen caddies last autumn and I would like to thank people for embracing this opportunity to recycle all their food waste.

Please bear in mind that only compostable caddy liners should be used in brown bins. If you put the waste into normal plastic bags, it can lead to a whole wagon being rejected at a cost of nearly £3,000 a time. To help you continue successfully recycling food waste we are currently looking at how we can fund free liners for households who recycle. I will keep you updated.

Residents who don’t have a brown bin but who would like one can order one for free at www.tameside.gov.uk/brownbins. You might also like to consider downloading our free bins app from the app store for bin collection date reminders and info on what can be recycled in which bin

Book your film festival seats

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

At first sight, it might seem a little strange to celebrate a literary event with a film festival. Yet, if you think about it, many of the finest films are based on books. A glance at a list of Oscar-winners shows that.

So I’d like to applaud Tameside Council’s libraries service for its innovative approach to marking World Book Night. From the event itself (Tuesday, April 23) it will be showing a series of five films – all based on books – which, we hope, will motivate people to start reading. In fact, the first 40 people to attend each screening will be given a free copy of the book on which the film is based.

Five movies will be shown in a pop-up cinema which will be moved around the borough’s libraries. Each caters for a different age group or interest. For children there is “Muppet Treasure Island”. Bond fans have “Casino Royale”. Sci-fi aficionados can look forward to “Dredd”. In addition there is “The Reader” and “Girl with a Pearl Earring”.

Of course, World Book Night’s key function is to make books available free of charge. This year, 20 titles will be given out by Tameside’s 53 registered distributors, and they are more varied than ever. The list includes prize winners, bestsellers, classic tales, contemporary crime, quick reads and even a graphic novel. There’s something for everyone, no matter what your interests or reading ability.

Even though we now live in an age of home cinema systems, iPods and tablet computers, there is still something uniquely rewarding about curling up with the proverbial good book – even if that “book” might be a Kindle nowadays rather than a paperback.

If you’re not a reader, why not attend one of our film screenings and see where it takes you? They’re all free and, as I said earlier, there’s the chance of getting a free book. Reading offers a world of knowledge to be explored and enjoyed. Why not make the most of World Book Night to give it a try? You never know, you might enjoy it.

www.tameside.gov.uk/libraries

www.worldbooknight.org

Helping our towns to shine

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Our town centres are full of hidden gems and it’s time we started celebrating these commercial attractions on our doorstep. No one is better placed to do this – and breathe new life into our high streets – than the people who live and work in the locality, who have first-hand understanding and experience of a town’s assets and needs.

Tameside now has six town teams – made up of local businesses, residents and community leaders supported by ward members, Council officers and local MPs – which are already making a huge difference in raising the profile of local businesses and changing shopping habits.

Take, for example, Hyde Town Team which has worked with local community groups, shoppers and traders to create an eye-catching piece of artwork to highlight the previously inconspicuous entrance to Hyde Indoor Market. The 3D sign was unveiled at a special event last weekend, alongside free family entertainment in the newly refurbished civic square, and has already placed the market – which boasts over 70 stalls – firmly back on the town centre map.

Another town team success story is the thriving Stalybridge Farmers Market, which is held in Armentieres square on the second Sunday of each month. The market was established by the Council’s markets team less than two years ago but has grown from strength to strength to more than 40 stalls with the support of the town team, which also runs monthly forums and a number of other vibrant local events.

All the town teams are setting up their own websites – more details to be announced soon – to further promote their work and involve the local community, whose support remains vital to the long-term success of these initiatives to help our towns prosper. I would encourage everyone to take a look at what they are doing – the farmers’ market in Stalybridge this Sunday would be an ideal starting point to explore the many wonderful shopping opportunities that Tameside now offers.

Taking Pride in Business

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

A key factor in making any area successful in terms of the quality of life, quality of services and general health and wellbeing of the people that live there, is a vibrant and progressive local economy.

If local businesses are prospering, they create employment opportunities, apprenticeships and wealth and this is why supporting and nurturing the local economy is one of the Council’s top three priorities.

Our local economy is very reliant on manufacturing with more jobs in this sector than anywhere else in Greater Manchester. This means that the ongoing economic downturn has hit Tameside hard, but despite some difficult years our local economy is resilient and robust. We are working to increase the skill levels of the local workforce and diversify our economy into other sectors including the digital, media and creative sectors so that in the future will be able to weather the storms of recession better.

At a time when the media is often full of negative economic news I believe it is more important than ever that we highlight and celebrate the many business success stories that we have in Tameside.

On 17 May, this year’s Pride of Tameside Business Awards will take place. There is still time to make a nomination. There are eight categories and if you are wondering whether you should go ahead and nominate or enter, I would encourage you to do so. The awards are open to all Tameside businesses, regardless of turnover or size, and you are free to nominate yourselves or any individuals you believe to be deserving candidates.

I’m proud to say that Tameside Council has an excellent relationship with the private sector. We have forged very effective partnerships and because of that we are able to rely on the borough’s businesses to help us stage the awards. I would like to thank Mono Pumps for their overall sponsorship, and indeed all the companies that have given their support.

If you still remain to be convinced of the value of entering, let me quote Ashley Grumble of the 2012 business of the year, Pants UK: “It’s important local businesses put themselves forward and support the awards. We certainly found that taking part and winning was a great way to raise our company profile. The award has added a level of credibility to our business among suppliers and stakeholders and it helped us push forward to new levels.”

Full details of the categories and the awards night are available on the Pride of Tameside website: www.prideoftameside.co.uk

Fire safety – a burning issue

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Home is the place we should feel safest. According to the old saying, an Englishman’s home is his castle. Yet home is the place where most fires break out.

It may sound surprising, but the majority of calls answered by the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service aren’t about industrial premises. They’re about the home and, to be more precise, about the kitchen. Whenever you hear a fire engine’s sirens it’s more than likely that it’s heading to a cooking fire.

Sometimes, the incidents can seem unremarkable. We see paragraphs in the local press about crews being called out to deal with toast smouldering under a grill. However, each of these cases has the potential to be fatal, especially if a chip pan is involved.

Fortunately, the fire brigade is well aware of the problem and I would like to congratulate them on some first-class prevention work over the last few months. They have been out to care homes, shopping centres, supermarkets and other locations around the borough to show people just how destructive a kitchen blaze can be and how quickly it can destroy a room.

If a chip pan is left unattended and the oil or fat overheats, the pan will erupt into a ball of fire. The kitchen can be gripped by a ferocious blaze within seconds.

There are many simple steps we can take to avoid this, such as the installation of smoke alarms, and the fire brigade is only too willing to help. If you would like some information on safety, or for an assessment of your home, you can find full details of how to contact the fire service on the Tameside Council website at www.tameside.gov.uk/fireservice

Lancasters marching home again

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

When the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment parades through the streets of Ashton on Wednesday, 22 May, the term “homecoming march” will carry a significance that is greater than usual.

Not only is the regiment coming home to Britain after a six-month tour of Afghanistan – in many ways it will be coming back to its home town.

As I’m sure most of you know, the Lancasters have an association with Ashton, and indeed Tameside, that stretches back almost 200 years. They are descended from the Manchester Regiment which had its regimental depot in the town until 1958.

The Manchesters merged with the King’s Liverpools to create the King’s Regiment. In 2006, the King’s, Queen’s Lancashire and King’s Own Royal Border regiments were brought together as the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.

Although Ashton is no longer a garrison town the army connection is everywhere. The Museum of the Manchester Regiment is in Ashton Town Hall, many of their colours are laid up at St Michael’s Church, and of course the gateway to Ladysmith Barracks still stands at the top of Mossley Road.

In 1950, the old town council asked the 9th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, to attend all ceremonial occasions in Ashton with drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed. The right to do this was then conferred on the King’s Regiment in 1994 and on the Duke of Lancaster’s in 2007 by the council granting them both the Freedom of the Borough.

As this shows, we are immensely proud of our military links. It will be a memorable moment for me when I join my colleague Cllr Joe Kitchen, in his first duty as the new Civic Mayor, in welcoming the regiment at Ashton Town Hall.

It promises to be a wonderful day and I’m sure you’ll want to join me in greeting the soldiers and in showing your appreciation of what they do on our behalf. I expect the parade route to be packed. Let’s hope that the weather is kind to us.

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