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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Take a Seat in Greater Manchester

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Most of you already know that as well as the Executive Leader of Tameside Council, I am also the lead for Age Friendly Greater Manchester and Equalities in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA). I am proud of the work that has been undertaken together by the ten Greater Manchester councils to improve the lives of all our residents, especially those who may feel excluded, undervalued or unsafe.

As part of this, I joined forces with the Mayor Andy Burnham and representatives from Transport for Greater Manchester last week to unveil the new “Please Offer Me a Seat” campaign. We know that it’s only good manners to give up your seat on public transport to somebody who needs it more than you, but in reality it’s often not that simple. Not all disabilities, injuries or conditions are immediately visible, and many people may feel uncomfortable asking for a seat or offering their own seat.

If someone cannot use our trams, or trains, or buses because they can’t stand for long periods or are worried about not getting a seat, it severely restricts their access to jobs, shops and other services across our city. That has a serious knock-on effect on our economy and, even more importantly, the quality of life of our residents. Public transport that isn’t accessible to all is not public transport at all.

Based on a similar system that has been running successfully in London for a few years, the “Please Offer Me A Seat” campaign offers a simple solution. Those who sign up to the system are provided with a badge that indicates to other users of public transport that you need to sit down. If no one offers you a seat, you can use the badge to politely ask somebody to give up theirs. The system operates on goodwill and trust that people will use it responsibly. No medical details or supporting evidence are required, you cannot insist that somebody moves for you, and remember that people who are not wearing a badge may still require a seat. All people who want a “Please Offer Me A Seat” badge have to do is complete a quick and straightforward application process via the Transport for Greater Manchester website here.

We can all do our bit to make journeys in Greater Manchester better for everybody, and I hope as many people as possible get behind the “Please Offer Me A Seat” scheme. But this scheme, as important as I think it is, is just one part of my role as Age Friendly Greater Manchester and Equalities. Working with the GMCA’s Ageing Hub and the Greater Manchester Older People’s Network, we’re looking at ways to turn our city into the best place in the UK to grow older by sharing expertise and best practice between local authorities, community groups, businesses and charities. In July we helped organise the GM Festival of Ageing, which included a jam-packed afternoon of activities and festivities at Ashton Market. I’m also committed to working with the GM LGBT Advisory Panel, led by the former Lord Mayor of Manchester Carl Austin-Behan, to protect and expand the rights of LGBT individuals in our city. The UK’s LGBT civil rights movement was born in our city, and today over 215,000 LGBT people call Manchester home. It’s only right to make sure that the inequalities and issues they continue to face are addressed to the best of our ability.

Almost four years after the first agreement with the Greater Manchester councils was signed, we’re well on our way to realising how devolution can unlock the social and economic potential of our city. With your help and support, I intend to keep working in Tameside and Greater Manchester to take that progress further still.


Posted by: Executive Leader

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