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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Harnessing the Power of Technology and Communities

Friday, 29 May 2020

The position of Civic Mayor of Tameside is one of our most significant and prestigious roles. For as long as there has been a place called Tameside, there has been a Mayor.

This week the historic lineage of the Civic Mayor and the brave new world of technology were brought together. Tuesday 26th May was the day when we would usually hold our first meeting of Full Council of the new civic year at Guardsman Tony Downes House in Droylsden. However, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and lockdown it would not have been appropriate or responsible to have so many people in one building, no matter how important the occasion. So, with a little bit of help from Skype, Councillor Janet Cooper made history by becoming the first person to accept her new office at a virtual meeting, with no ceremonial robes or physical transfer of the chain. 

 

While she may have become the Mayor online, Councillor Cooper’s impact on the real world has been very real. A complete list of her work and contributions to the borough would be too long to list out here, but since this coronavirus lockdown begun she has helped to set up the Mottram and Hattersley Covid Helpline Group, supplied books to the new Tameside and Longdendale Food Bank at the Grafton Centre in Hyde, provided colouring packs for children for VE Day, and supported the green ribbon campaign for Mental Health Awareness Week. She also joined her Longdendale ward colleague, Councillor Jacqueline Owen, in delivering certificates to residents after the entire district was given a BBC Everyday Hero award.

During her year of office her chosen charities will be Tameside 4 Good, Tameside Young Carers, the Tameside and Glossop Scanner Appeal, and Cascade Baby Bundles. Janet will be ably supported by her partner Mr Dennis Fitzpatrick as Mayor’s Consort, and by Councillor Mike Glover as Deputy Mayor, I have no doubt that Janet will write her own page in the proud history of the office of Civic Mayor of Tameside.

 

The meeting on Tuesday highlighted what I think are two of the most positive reactions to the terrible pandemic in our midst; the way we’ve used technology to continue running as many vital services as possible in extraordinary circumstances, and the way our communities across the borough have rallied together to support each other in these difficult times.

As well as the Full Council on Tuesday, a number of other important committees and meetings have also taken the plunge and gone online. Last week our Speaker’s Panel was hosted via Skype, giving councillors, officers and members of the public the opportunity to work through planning discussions and decisions as usual while maintaining social distancing. Other meetings hosted online so far include the Executive Cabinet, Strategic Commissioning Board, Greater Manchester Pension Fund Management and Advisory Panel, and the Governing Body of Tameside and Glossop CCG. You can view the meetings yourself, both live and for a period of time afterwards, here.

 

Our response to coronavirus in the here and now also continues at pace.  Since this pandemic began, and thanks to the incredible help of our communities and key workers, we’ve made 1,750 emergency food deliveries to 1,570 vulnerable residents in 1,060 households, paid out £39.2 million worth of grants to 3,568 local businesses and supported 35,427 children between Reception and Year 11 to continue their education even as most of the classrooms in our schools remain empty.

After we have defeated this pandemic, and I know we all hope it will be soon, the work to rebuild must start. By harnessing the power of technology and Tameside’s unique community spirit, I am confident that we have been able to both protect our residents while also beginning to plan for the future, putting ourselves in the best position to hit the ground running when the time comes. Thank you to all the people whose hard work and sacrifices have made this possible, and please continue to protect yourself and others while Tameside’s struggle against coronavirus continues.

 

Posted by: Executive Leader


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