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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Archive for March 2022

Have Your Say On Tameside's Future

Friday, 25 March 2022

Council Emergency General Meeting – 21st March
 

Last Monday we held an Emergency General Meeting of Full Council to discuss a motion in relation to the High Speed Rail (Crewe-Manchester) Bill, which will result in the suspension of the Metrolink service between Ashton-under-Lyne and Piccadilly for a period of at least two years.

As well as registering our opposition to the plans in their current form, the motion also empowered the Council to draft and submit a formal petition to Parliament to amend the Bill in order to enable the construction of a new depot at Ashton Moss. This measure, supported by Transport for Greater Manchester and local Members of Parliament, would allow a tram shuttle service to continue operating between Ashton-under-Lyne and New Islington during the HS2 construction works. All of Tameside’s councillors were invited to have their say, and following the unanimous passing of the motion we are now able to present a united front against this threat to our ambitions for investment and regeneration in Tameside.

An update was provided on work taking place in the borough to show our solidarity with Ukraine following the brutal and unprovoked Russian invasion last month. The Council is currently in touch with the government about the local implementation of the new Homes for Ukraine scheme, and I expect to be able to provide an update on the issue in the very near future. A number of charity and community organisations, including the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, Europia and Action Together, are also organising their own relief and fundraising efforts and I would encourage anybody who is able to offer support to do so.

The meeting also gave us an opportunity to thank Cllr Janet Cooper for her service as Civic Mayor of Tameside over the past two years, and approve the conferment of the title of Honorary Alderman of the Borough to Cllr Brian Wild for his extraordinary contribution to Tameside including, but not limited to, his roles as an elected Councillor, patron of Willow Wood Hospice and Justice of the Peace.

Local Elections – 5th May 2022

 

As many as you are no doubt aware, local elections are due to be held in Tameside and across the country on 5 May 2022. This is your opportunity to tell us who you believe should be representing your community for the next four years. While they may not have the glamour and coverage of General Elections, I honestly believe that local elections are, in their own way, even more important. From transport and housing to parks, libraries and social care it is local authorities, not Parliament, which run a majority of the everyday services we depend upon.  When you pick up the phone or go online to get help with issues such as potholes, bin collections or school places, most of the time it will be your local councillor that receives the message. I’m proud of the work that we’ve carried out in Tameside but, as should always be the case in a democracy, the ultimate judgement of our performance comes from the voters and the ballot box.

If you’re over 16 and a British, Irish, Commonwealth or EU citizen living in the UK, you can register to vote through the Tameside Council website here. All you need to provide is your Date of Birth and National Insurance Number, and once you’re registered you don’t need to do it again for future local and national elections unless you change your name, address or citizenship status. You can also apply for a postal vote here if you’re registered and want to vote but don’t think you’ll be able to turn up in person to a polling station on Election Day.

Goodbye for Now

As Monday 28th March marks the beginning of the official pre-election period this will be my last Leader’s Blog until after the local elections in May. Thank you very much for reading, see you in a month or so and, if you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to register to vote and have your say in Tameside’s future.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


A New Era For Tameside and Greater Manchester

Friday, 18 March 2022

At the start of this year I promised that 2022 would be remembered as the beginning of an era of Inclusive Growth for Tameside. In the face of the double challenge of austerity and the cost of living crisis, we want to create a borough where everybody has the opportunity to start well, live well and age well. This week I attended two events that will help make that vision a reality.

The first took place in the heart of Manchester at Mayfield Depot, where I joined the other Leaders of the Greater Manchester local authorities and the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham to discuss our post-pandemic ambitions for the city region. Our view is simple; since the government is dragging its heels over “Levelling Up”, we’ll just step up and do it ourselves. This includes the development of the Eastern Growth Cluster, which brings together investment and regeneration projects in Tameside such as the Godley Green Garden Village, the regeneration of Hyde and the Ashton Mayoral Development Zone to support local businesses and meet our economic challenges.

 

The meeting also saw us agree a number of radical but deliverable new policies for Greater Manchester as a whole. Following the completion of the final legal hurdle, I’m delighted to announce that Greater Manchester has now taken back control of its bus services. For the first time in 30 years, this vital element of our public transport infrastructure will be run for people, not profit. As part of this, fares will be capped at £2 for adults and £1 for children across the city region. The first publically controlled buses will run in Wigan and Bolton by autumn next year, with Tameside and other parts of Greater Manchester joining in no later than the end of 2024.

In addition, all ten Greater Manchester councils, including Tameside, publicly and formally committed to paying our social care workers the Real Living Wage. These people have been the front-line of our response to the coronavirus pandemic over the past two years, and it is simply unacceptable that they too often remain underpaid, overworked and disregarded. I am delighted that Greater Manchester has agreed to collectively take action on this vital issue, and I intend to do whatever is necessary to make good on our promise with all possible haste.

The second event took place a little closer to home in Tameside, as I met with the borough’s Registered Providers to launch our new Housing Strategy. If we really want to improve the lives of our residents and foster Inclusive Growth, a high quality and affordable local housing offer is a non-negotiable requirement. Every piece of research and evidence has made it clear that while good housing can be a vehicle to better life outcomes, economic growth and community wellbeing, bad housing is always a barrier to the same.

 

The Tameside Housing Strategy sets out our approach to achieving these broad ambitions over the next two decades, but also lays out the practical steps we have to take here and now. This includes taking into account the fact that our housing offer must accommodate the diverse needs and requirements of our residents, accepting that more must be done for those in our communities who require specialist or supported housing, intervening where required to guarantee security and quality within our private rented sector, and ending once and for all the scourge of homelessness. This will be supported by quarterly meetings with Registered Providers to discuss our progress, and the creation of an online tool to gain a better understanding of housing development across Tameside.

I truly believe that these events will be remembered as the moment where we took the bold first steps forward in a new era for both Tameside and Greater Manchester. Not just in building a borough and city region equipped to thrive in the 21st century but, more importantly, ensuring that every resident can share in the rewards of Inclusive Growth and investment.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


Could You Benefit From Social Prescribing?

Wednesday, 09 March 2022

If you asked our residents what they considered our most important public services to be, I would be willing to bet that health and social care would come top of their list. Throughout the past two years as we have battled the coronavirus pandemic, our workforce of doctors, nurses, carers and other health and social care professionals have gone above and beyond the call of duty again and again to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.

Unfortunately, the impact of both the pandemic and over a decade of austerity means that these vital services are under pressure as never before. It is clear that trying to carry out the same work with diminishing resources and growing waiting lists is no longer an option, but we must continue to make sure that health and social care is always available for those who need it. An important tool for achieving both of these aims is something known as “social prescribing”. Since this Thursday sees us celebrate Social Prescribing Day, I want to take the opportunity to explain what it is and how it might be able to help you or somebody you know.

 

The idea behind social prescribing is simple. Instead of sending people straight to a GP or hospital, we instead look to see if there are ways we can help them outside of traditional clinical settings. Social prescribing recognises that every person’s needs and requirements are unique, that many of the economic, social and environmental factors that affect our health cannot be cured by medicine alone, and that prevention is almost always better than cure. The evidence shows that social prescribing schemes have been effective nationwide in improving people’s health and wellbeing while simultaneously reducing the pressure on NHS services.

For a simple example of how social prescribing works in Tameside and to show its potential to transform people’s lives, I want to tell you about Jane. Jane came to our local Social Prescribing team complaining of feeling isolated and alone. Not only did Jane’s social prescribing link worker Sue provide her with a list of activities within the borough, she also accompanied Jane on her first visit to a local walking group. Since then, Jane has joined a number of other social clubs including art and design, allotment work and some, such as sailing, that she never believed she would have been able to do. In Jane’s own words, social prescribing has made a “massive world of difference” to her life and mental health.

But Jane is by no means the only Tameside resident that has experienced the benefits of social prescribing. In 2021 our social prescribing team worked with 1,507 people, completing 2,027 signposting and referral actions to 312 different activities and groups in the community. Of these, 56 people were referred to the volunteering team of local charity Action Together, 211 were signposted to groups in the community to help them gain employment, education and skills, and 626 were connected with social activities such as coffee mornings and arts and craft groups. These numbers are more than just statistics. Each one of them represents an individual whose life has been improved for the better. None of it would have been possible without the tireless efforts of our social prescribing workers, and the local groups and charities who have welcomed residents referred to them with open arms.  

 

If you’re in a situation that you think is negatively affecting your mental or physical health and think social prescribing may be able to help you, please get in touch with Action Together on 0161 830 6833, by e-mailing socialprescribing@actiontogether.org.uk, or by asking your GP, nurse or other health professional for a referral. Over the next year I commit to working closely with health professionals, charities and local communities and residents to make sure social prescribing is available to all those who require it as we look to build back better, fairer and greener in Tameside.
 

Posted by: Executive Leader


Building a #SaferTameside

Friday, 04 March 2022

Last year, as part of our ambitions to build a better, fairer and greener borough, I committed Tameside Council to working closely with the Greater Manchester Police, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Services, local residents and other partners to take decisive action on crime prevention and community safety. This includes, but is not limited to, key issues of concern such as road safety, anti-social behaviour, violence against women and girls, burglary and knife crime.

It’s still early days, but thanks to the expertise and dedication of Tameside Council’s Community Safety officers and local police, ably led by Chief Superintendent Rob Cousens, I’m pleased to say that these efforts are starting to bear fruit.

 

Let’s take a look at the statistics first. From the period of October 2021 to January 2022, 1,162 arrests were carried out on suspects of crime in the borough. This is 467 more than were made over the same period a year ago. There has also been an 18.2% reduction in incidents of anti-social behaviour over the twelve months from December 2020 to December 2021.

This improved performance holds up even when compared to other local authorities in Greater Manchester. To give just a few examples; Tameside has recorded the highest arrest ratio for burglary, the biggest decrease in vehicle crime, and the lowest number of robbery offences. One area where I’m particularly happy with our progress has been cracking down on hate crime, as December 2021 saw 25.4% fewer hate crimes committed in the borough than in December 2020. This is not only the biggest reduction in the city region, but also brings our rate of hate crime to the joint-lowest of any Greater Manchester local authority area alongside Wigan.

These are all incredibly encouraging figures, but I believe that the true success of our ambitions are judged by whether our residents feel that Tameside is a place where they can live free from the spectres of crime, hate and abuse. An important part of that is not just making sure that justice is done, but also making sure that it is seen to be done.

That’s why, over the past few months, we have launched a number of Days of Action involving the deployment of highly-visible GMP officers, supported by Tameside Council community safety teams, in known hot-spot areas and targeted neighbourhoods. The latest of these, Operation Avro, saw 30 arrests made and large amounts of cash and drugs seized over the course of 24 hours on 17 February. Multi-agency teams, included representatives from the Environment Agency and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, also carried out vehicle safety checks, scrap metal and waste carrier compliance visits and inspections of licensed premises. In addition to these arrests and enforcement actions, police and councils officers were on hand to discuss concerns and share crime prevention and safety advice with residents. This Day of Action was not a one-off, and we intend for it to become a permanent weapon in our crime fighting arsenal moving forward.

 

All this good work is being complemented by the launch of our new Community Safety Strategy, which was approved by the Executive Cabinet in January and ratified by Full Council last week. As well as reducing and preventing crime, the Strategy also supports the growth of stronger communities, encourages residents and visitors to make a positive contribution to the borough, and brings our diverse population together so that everybody in Tameside feels secure, protected and included.

I promised that in 2022 those who pay no respect to Tameside or the people in it would face a swift and clear response, and I believe that we have now begun to deliver on that pledge. With your help and support, we will continue to do whatever it takes to ensure that Tameside is the safest possible place to live, work and visit.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader