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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Archive for July 2019

Working Together and Moving Forward at Full Council

Friday, 26 July 2019


On Tuesday evening we held our third meeting of Full Council of 2019 at the usual venue of Guardsman Tony Downes House in Droylsden. While the previous two Full Councils focused on very specific areas; the Council’s budget for the financial year in February, and our priorities to secure the future of our residents and the services that they depend upon in May, this meeting gave us the opportunity to discuss what strategic vision will be driving our plans for Tameside over the next few years.

As part of this, I can announce that we will be aiming to transform Tameside into a Co-Operative council by the end of this municipal year, if not sooner. I know that many people will be asking, “What’s a Co-Operative Council, and why should it matter to me?”. In broad terms, being a Co-Operative council commits us to find better ways of working for, and with, the people of Tameside for the benefit of Tameside’s communities. It’s about following the common principles and values of the wider International Co-Operative Alliance, albeit slightly modified for the context of local government, to ensure that everybody works together, and that everybody receives the benefits.

As the democratically-elected leaders and civil society partners in their local area, councils are in a unique position to drive and support this improvement and change. There are a number of areas in Tameside, such as in our community centres and family support services, where this is happening already. The challenge we’ve set ourselves will be to take these examples of good practice and expand them out into a comprehensive and ambitious bid for Co-Operative council status.

The other strand of our vision for Tameside is improving social justice and mobility. We live in a country where up to eight million people are trapped in poverty despite having jobs, at the same time as two of our three most recent Prime Ministers attended the same school, the same university and the same dinner club. Now more than any other time in recent history, people’s lives in Britain are being determined by where they were born and who their parents were.

While action at a national level, such as finally and totally reversing austerity, is definitely required there’s also a lot that we can start doing in Tameside to reverse this slow death in social mobility. We’re working hard in improving our education and transport infrastructure; to attract high paying, high quality jobs to the borough, and to train our residents to fill those jobs. The priorities of “Starting Well” and “Living Well” have also been enshrined in our Corporate Plan, which was agreed at the start of June. This guarantees that social mobility and justice will be considered at every level of the authority and in every project that we undertake.

The Full Council also considered and debated a number of motions on matters of importance to the borough and our residents. By unanimous decision we’ve agreed to sign up to the Unite Construction Charter, supporting local workers by ensuring that working conditions and building standards on construction projects under our council meet the highest standards. We also joined many other Greater Manchester councils by throwing our weight behind the Better Buses Campaign, which calls for the reregulation of bus services in the region to deliver a cheaper and better service for passengers.

Last but not least, the council’s views on the demolition of the Stamford Park conservatory were debated and restated.  We understand the strength of feeling from some of our residents on the issue, but we cannot justify spending a significant sum of money in a time of austerity on a 1980s building with no heritage or historical value, especially since it has been closed to the public for over four years due to its severe deterioration. However, I repeat again that we are willing to listen to any formally-constituted group who wish to explore alternative options, provided they are feasible, fully-resourced and take ongoing maintenance and running costs into account, for the site once the unsafe structure has been demolished.

With the ascension of a new Prime Minister, we need to have a serious discussion about where we want to be as a country. But hand-in-hand with that discussion, there needs to be action to show that there is another, better way. Our commitment to co-operative principles and social mobility will allow us to forge our own path for Tameside’s future and our resident’s future. These are ideas whose time has come, and it now falls to all of us to make them a reality.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


Shine a Light and Save a Life

Friday, 19 July 2019


What’s the biggest killer of men under the age of 49 and women between the ages of 20-34 in Greater Manchester? It’s not heart disease and it’s not cancer. In fact it’s not anything that would be considered “natural causes”. The biggest killer of so many young women and young to middle-aged men is suicide.

Every year it’s estimated that 200 people in Greater Manchester make the choice to end their own lives. That number is bad enough, but what is truly disturbing is that 1 in 5 of us has thought about suicide. Let’s not play down what this means. It means that, at some point in our lives, there has been a friend, or a child, or a parent who has seriously considered taking that final and most irreversible of actions.

That’s why in Greater Manchester we’ve said, “enough is enough”, and created “Shining a Light on Suicide”. Officially launched in May this year, the campaign aims to take suicide out of the dark by encouraging everyone across Greater Manchester, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality or life circumstances, to talk openly and honestly about suicide, suicidal thoughts and suicide bereavement.

The importance of this cannot possibly be overstated, because the most insidious thing about suicide is that it is very much a silent killer. The stigma and taboo around frank and open discussion about suicide, and mental health in general, is still real. The ideas that people who kill themselves are somehow selfish or weak, or that people who attempt suicide are attention seeking, costs lives that may have otherwise been saved. Too often the warning signs aren’t noticed or discussed, either because the person suffering doesn’t talk about it or those close to them don’t ask about it.

That power, the power to break the stigma around suicide, the power to literally save lives, lies with all of us. Sometimes all a person considering suicide needs to step back from the brink is the knowledge that somebody cares about them. If more intensive therapy or mental health support is required, then talking can often be the first step on the road to getting that help. Regardless of what’s needed, it always begins with opening up.

The “Shining a Light on Suicide” campaign also seeks to highlight that there are certain groups that are more vulnerable to mental health issues and suicidal thoughts. Carl Austin-Behan, the first openly gay Lord Mayor of Manchester and the LGBT advisor to Andy Burnham, has spoken frankly and powerfully about the challenges faced by gay and transgender individuals, particularly the impact of hate speech on mental health. It’s especially relevant to us here in Tameside, as we recently celebrated the borough’s biggest-ever Pride event. This week we’re focusing on mental health and suicide in the construction sector. The risk of suicide in the construction and building trades is 1.6 times higher than the national average, and more than one in four workers in the sector have considered taking their own lives. That’s translated into 1,400 deaths by suicide over the past four years. The Shining a Light on Suicide website also provides a 20-minute online “Save a Life” training course to help people recognise when somebody may be struggling and what they can do to help them.

If you feel like you need to talk to somebody the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or by e-mailing jo@samaritans.org. You can also get in touch with the mental health charity Mind by calling 0300 123 3393 or visiting mind.org.uk. These organisations are run by people who care and understand what you’re going through, and will be able to offer you help and support if you choose to reach out to them.  

There’s a metaphor about mental health I’ve heard that has always stuck with me. If you had a broken leg you wouldn’t try and walk it off, or think that getting treatment for it made you less of a person. You’d seek professional help. That’s where we need to get to with mental health, and with your help we’ll get there in Greater Manchester.
 

Posted by: Executive Leader


Celebrating Tameside's Sporting and Community Pride

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

It’s that time of year again. The 2019 Pride of Tameside Sport and Physical Activity Award nominations are officially open, with the final presentation evening scheduled for 27th September at Dukinfield Town Hall.

As with previous years, we’re looking for people and organisations that have made a real difference to sport in Tameside; be they the high achievers, the coaches, the clubs or the volunteers. The Awards provide the opportunity for us all to say thank you and well done to those that, one way or another, have gone the extra mile. Previous winners include Laurus Ryecroft Year 7 student Max Charlett, who won the Sports Achiever of the Year award last year for his dedication to fencing, and Dom Doyle F.C., which took away the Club of the Year award for their efforts to keep alive the memory of Dominic Doyle, a Denton resident who was stabbed to death on a night out and to raise awareness of the dangers of knife crime. Other winners of the awards over the years range from sports as diverse as archery, athletics, ten pin bowling, cricket, boxing and cycling.

As always, the awards will be presided over by a well-renowned figure from the world of sports. Last year, it was the turn of Hyde-raised professional boxer Stacey Copeland to take up the mantle, joining cricketer Michael Vaughan and swimmer Mark Foster in the ranks of sporting legends to grace the event.


 


Entering is easy, and anybody can nominate a person or organisation that they believe deserves recognition. There are nine different categories up for grabs in 2019; Changing Lifestyle Award, Club of the Year, Young Sports Achiever of the Year, Unsung Hero, Alex Williams Volunteer of the Year, School Commitment to PE and Sport Award, Disabled Physical Activity Champion, Workforce Advocate Award and Community Initiative Award. Nomination forms can be downloaded from the Active Tameside website here and e-mailed to andrew.dwyer@activetameside.com or posted to: Andy Dwyer, Active Tameside, Active Ken Ward, Hattersley Road East, Hattersley, Hyde, Cheshire, SKL14 3NL before the nomination closing date on 4th August. Nominees should only be entered into one award each, and all of Tameside’s winners will be invited to represent the borough in the Greater Manchester Sports Awards at the end of the year.

The Pride of Tameside Sport and Physical Activity Awards are just one of the ways in which Active Tameside is working to raise awareness to improve the levels of health and uptake of sport in our local communities. In September, they will lead the way for other leisure providers in the borough by becoming the first to be completely smoke-free. That means that all smoking, including vaping, will no longer be permitted at any Active Tameside premises. That covers both the inside of Active Tameside buildings and outside areas such as pitches, courts, side-lines, cars, car parks and all other areas within each site’s perimeter. They’ll also be teaming up with Be Well Tameside, our local health and wellbeing service, to provide interested staff and customers with support and advice on how to quit smoking for good. Smoking is the biggest cause of health inequalities in Tameside, and over 460 residents every year die of a smoking related disease. The more people we can get to quit and the earlier we can get them to quit, the better.

These two pieces of news encapsulate neatly our approach to promoting healthy living in Tameside; making it easier for our local residents to make the right choices when it comes to activity and lifestyle, and celebrating those in our community who provide an example for others to follow. So don’t forget to make your nominations for the Pride of Tameside Sport and Physical Activity Awards, and remember that the power to make a difference to your life is always in your hands.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


Taking Pride in our Communities this Summer

Thursday, 04 July 2019

One of my favourite things about summer in Tameside is that it heralds the arrival of some of the biggest offerings on our cultural calendar. Even at this early point in the season we’ve already celebrated a number of events; from musical contests to sporting spectacles, with a great deal more still to come.

The month of June marked the 2019 edition of the iconic Tour of Tameside, a festival of running for people of all abilities. With four events ranging from 10k’s through country parks to half marathons along former Victorian railway lines, the Tour showcased the fantastic natural beauty and scenery of our borough. On the same weekend we also held the Whit Friday Brass Band contest. Dating back to Stalybridge in the 1870s, the brass band contest is an indelible part of Tameside’s history, providing a link back to our shared industrial past. Well over 150 years later, the Whit Friday fixture remains as popular and vibrant as ever, with bands from all over the country and beyond descending upon 11 venues across the borough. Neither of these events would have been possible without the expertise and assistance of a small army of local volunteers and the council’s cultural service. Thanks to them and to everybody else that took part or turned up to either, or both, events.

But these events, important and spectacular as they are, were only the beginning. On Saturday we once again showed our thanks to those brave men and women who defend us at home and abroad, past and present, as we came together to celebrate Armed Forces Day. Following a traditional luncheon attended by the Civic Mayor and other local dignitaries, the focus of the celebrations moved to Victoria Park in Denton. Live entertainment was provided throughout the day by the Dave Egerton Band, the Denton Brass Band and talented local singer Jo Farrow, while the children enjoyed a range of free and family-friendly activities, including arts and crafts, a climbing wall, archery, face-painting and balloon modelling. A number of armed service organisations were also in attendance, and it was inspirational and humbling to hear the stories and experiences of many of our veterans from conflicts across the globe, from Iraq, to Northern Ireland, to the Balkans and even further afield. I’ve always said that while I appreciate the importance of Armed Forces Day, we need to be there for our veterans for the other 364 days of the year as well. That’s why our celebrations also showcased the support we offer to help our veterans integrate back into civilian life, including the Tameside Armed Services Covenant and our new Greater Manchester Moving Forces partnership.

All these events have been running for quite a while, but we’ve got a few brand new ones lined up for this year as well, including the biggest-ever Tameside Pride on Saturday 6th July. Thanks to the dedication and fundraising efforts of our residents, we’ve been able to organise a free-to-all day out at Cheetham’s Park in Stalybridge with stalls from a range of LGBT+ supportive organisations, a big stage with acts throughout the afternoon, a playground and food/refreshment area. The theme of the day will be mental health within the LGBT+ Community, and as such we’ve collaborated closely with MIND and The Anthony Seddon Fund to make sure we showcase the support and therapies available in the borough.

The diversity of our communities, and the way they come together to celebrate and to support each other, has always been one of Tameside’s great strengths. These events, and the many more that we put on throughout the year, do more than give our residents a good day out. They strengthen those bonds of community and citizenship. If that’s something that you want to be a part of, you can see what other events are being held in Tameside this summer on our website here.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


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