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Archive for February, 2014

Tune in to Tameside on your television

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

If you’ve ever wondered what happens behind the scenes at Tameside Council you’re about to get the chance to find out.

Last autumn, a television crew shadowed officers working in environmental services, capturing a picture of what they do, the situations they come up against and the pressures they face. The result is “Call the Council”, a series of light-hearted mini-documentaries which will feature among BBC One’s daytime programming each day over a three-week period. The dates and times have yet to be set but we’ll let you know as soon as we have them.

The series gives an intriguing insight into the vast amount of work done by environmental services. It shows the wide range of services for which they are responsible, many of them around the clock, and many which might not be immediately apparent.

I’m sure many – perhaps most – of you will think of environmental services in terms of refuse collection or hygiene checks at cafes and restaurants. However, their remit covers a great deal more.

For example, you’ll be able to see staff carrying out safety checks at the Ewen Fields football ground in Hyde on a wet and wild Saturday afternoon in November.

There is also a great deal about our bereavement service which is a much more complex operation than you might expect. As well as dealing with funeral directors and maintaining our cemeteries and crematorium our officers ensure that people always receive a dignified funeral – even those who fall upon hard times and may have no close family.

They are prepared to contact neighbours to see if any would be prepared to attend and if necessary will go themselves in order to make sure the deceased do not have to make their final journey alone.

I hope you’ll take time to watch “Call the Council” because it really will give you an idea of the many demands Tameside Council faces at a time when it is grappling with ongoing cuts. The Government may choose to reduce our funding but demand for services never slackens.

The programmes also show the hard work being put in by a decreasing number of officers who, as well as working a busy week, are willing to volunteer at events such as the Tameside triathlon, or to raise money for charity.

Hopefully, the one thing that will come through loud and clear from this BBC series is the way this authority always does its best to make sure the public get top-class service.

Ashton: Britain’s favourite market

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

I find it a source of immense satisfaction that Ashton Market has been voted Britain’s favourite market. When you live in Tameside, you quickly become aware of the affection in which the market is held. However, it’s wonderful to know that people across the country share our opinions.

Ashton came top in an online poll conducted by the National Association of British Market Authorities. I understand more than 100,000 people voted – a record – and knowing that makes the success so much sweeter. It makes me feel very proud that the market is held in such high esteem that it has finished ahead of places such as Bury and Leeds.

It’s also good to know that Tameside Council’s efforts to rescue the market after the disastrous fire of 2004 are appreciated. Ten years ago there was genuine concern that Ashton was about to lose its place as one of the North West’s famous market towns. However, after a lot of hard work, the hall reopened four years later and it’s now clear that its reputation is undiminished.

First and foremost, Ashton Market will always be known as a place to pick up bargains or meet up for a brew and a chat. It’s at the heart of the town geographically and historically. Yet in addition to that, it is always happy to welcome new ideas. Ashton Market may date back to the middle ages but while it is proud of tradition and heritage, it offers a thoroughly modern shopping environment.

There are amenities such as free wi-fi and the market works hard to protect the environment. It is the holder of a How Green is your Market award, having vastly reduced the amount of waste it sends to landfill. The Real Deal Charter affirms the market’s commitment to a safe, fake-free shopping zone. Trade for a Tenner is an incentive for new traders, and last December there was the highly successful two-week Christmas market.

I would like to congratulate all the people who have worked hard to re-establish Ashton Market, and also to thank all those who took the time to vote. Ashton Market is one of Tameside’s gems and thoroughly deserves this prestigious award.

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