Oldham Labour Group Friday Briefing (12/06/2015)

Oldham Labour Group Friday Briefing (12/06/2015)


A National First For Oldham Families

IT’S BEEN a long time coming but finally there is an ethical alternative weekly payment store – a national first – and it’s right here in Oldham.

What you won’t know is that this hasn’t just happened by chance: and nor was it ever going to.

The idea started as we looked forward from our two flagship fairness campaigns – Fair Energy and Fare’s Fare (Bus Fares): which made a real OUR HOUSE: The country's first high street weekly store for new houshold goods at the lowest cost - in Oldham. difference to the lives of thousands of residents.

When we asked local people what other things affected them and the financial wellbeing of their families they told us that access to affordable credit and being trapped in cycles of debt and penalty fees were huge issues.

So we set out on a very different route to the traditional method of just creating a leaflet advising local people on managing their finances (okay, we did do that as well!).

Instead we were more realistic and accepted that, for some people, paying for goods on a weekly basis was right for their needs. And providing they could afford the repayments then there isn’t anything instinctively wrong with that.

But we were also looking here at a market which isn’t regulated anywhere near as hard as it should be and one which, for too many people, is expensive and could trap them into a cycle of debt they may never get out of.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: At the launch of Our House with Carolyn Wilkins, Chief Executive, Oldham Council, and store staff

That has all now led to the opening of Our House in Oldham – and I’ve invited them along to ‘guest blog’ this week and explain exactly what this new store is offering…

“We are delighted to announce the opening of the country’s first high street weekly payment store for new household goods run by a social business in the centre of Oldham.

Our House Oldham, now open on Albion Street, outside Tommyfield Market, has been created by FRC Group, a not-for-profit business, working in partnership with Oldham Council.



New Hackspace opens in Independent Quarter

A group of creative and technology-minded individuals certainly aren’t ‘hacked off’ with Oldham Council after we helped them find premises in the Independent Quarter.

Hack Oldham – whose members of all ages and backgrounds meet to do interesting things – has moved into premises at 4/6 Hardcastle Street, just off Yorkshire Street.

The new hackspace features: training facilities, a meeting space, 3D printing facilities, an electronics laboratory and wood shop.

The group aim to use the new facility as an area where people can work together to bring their ideas to fruition, to help start businesses and create new products.

Councillor Jim McMahon, Leader of Oldham Council, wins the 'Leader of the Year' award at the LgIU C'llr AwardsWhatever your interest, be it technical, crafts or otherwise there is a good chance you will find someone to work with at Hack Oldham.

The space is operated as a non-profit and is entirely funded by members and donations from the general public.

The council’s Town Team has worked with the group for the last six months and found them the space from a private landlord.

Councillor Jim McMahon, Leader of Oldham Council, said: “I’m pleased to welcome Hack Oldham to the Independent Quarter and that we were able to help them with the move.

“Their new base will allow not only let the group members to meet and share ideas but also as it grows in size more creative and technical savvy people will be coming into the town centre – exactly what we need if the borough is to progress.

“We’ve already worked with Hack Oldham on a number of projects, such as Museums at Night in Gallery Oldham and hopefully this partnership will continue in the future.”


Adoption Support Fund – extra help for adopters

Are you an adoptive family living in Oldham? If so, you may be able to access the Adoption Support Fund for additional help.

Backed by central government, the new fund is dedicated to helping adoptive families who are in need of extra support to access specialist therapeutic services.Harrison,Jenny,Councillor,Labour,Alexandra

Services such as behavioural therapy, play and music therapy, and family support sessions can help adoptive children come to terms with their difficulties – giving them the confidence to build strong relationships with their new family.

Councillor Jenny Harrison, Cabinet Member for Social Care and Safeguarding, said: “Oldham has long recognised that adoption is a lifelong process and that some adoptive families may need extra help from time to time.

“We already offer all our adopters a range of support services and we welcome the introduction of the Adoption Support Fund so that more adoptive families can benefit fromspecialist therapeutic services.

“The Adoption Support Fund should also reassure people thinking of adopting that there is lots of help available and that we are here to help them throughout their adoption journey.”

If you wish to access the fund you will need to request an assessment of your needs from the adoption agency responsible for your child, within three years of the Adoption Order.

Thereafter it is the responsibility of the local authority adoption agency where you live.

They will then make an assessment to check that you meet the criteria for accessing the fund and identify with you the most appropriate services that will best meet your needs. The adoption agency will then make an application to the fund on your behalf.

For more information call 0161 770 6605 or visit www.oldham.gov.uk/adoption

Gallery Oldham: Giant Flowers are Bedding In!

Inflatable giant flowers are taking over Gallery Oldham!

Botanical InvasionThe colourful visitors are exotic species of plant life that make up the Botanical Invasion exhibition.

Visual artists Spacecadets Air Design have designed the sculptures to inspire families to interact in a fun and playful way.

Councillor Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Co-operatives, said: “We are pleased to welcome this exhibition to Gallery Oldham and the giant flowers will bring a lot of colour.

“With work well underway on Bloom and Grow the borough really has flower power this summer.”

Jamima Latimer and Louise Miller, the people behind Spacecadets, have been creating inflatable art and helping to transform landscapes for more than a decade.

The exhibition will be launched on June 20 with an afternoon of family fun from 12 noon until 4pm.

It will include giant ladybirds, storytelling, craft activities for children and a tour of our Season’s Best exhibition. And it’s all free.

To coincide with the exhibition there will be a host of activities taking part throughout ther summer holidays.

For more information log onto to www.galleryoldham.org.uk

If this exhibition makes you want to draw some weird and amazing plants of your own then you can ask a grown-up to send them to us @GalleryOldham or on our Facebook/Instagram pages


Meacher in Tory Budget rethink plea

Date published: 05 June 2015

THE Government must look at ways to tackle the deficit other than slashing another £12billion from the wwelfare budget, says Oldham MP Michael Meacher.

Chancellor George Osborne will deliver his first all-Tory Budget next month and set out how benefits will be hit.

But Mr Meacher claims alternatives to welfare cuts are available – if the Government would listen.

“Enforcing £12bn of welfare cuts is draconian and callous and is a means of making the poor subsidise the rich,” he said. “There are other ways to cut back that could make a huge contribution to paying down the deficit.”

Why Labour lost

Re-elected Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams analyses Labour’s General election defeat

MY key belief is that the electorate did not reject a progressive political agenda, but that Labour’s message of how we would achieve a fairer Britain for all did not resonate.

It is important that this is recognised and that in the coming weeks and months, Labour presents an agenda that is a force for social justice and is the voice of progressive politics.Debbie Abrahams MP: “WE must continue to be the party of the many not just a privileged few”

Firstly, we failed to win the argument on the economy. On a regular basis I was told that the global financial crisis was down to Labour not mending the economic roof while the sun shone. All the evidence shows that this is not true.

But even on the latest edition of the BBC’s “Andrew Marr Show” the Labour spokesperson was asked if previous overspending by Labour was the reason we lost.

For me, it was the hiatus during the 2010 leadership election that allowed this coalition Government narrative to take hold and which it then reinforced over the following five years. We must bear this in mind as we start a new leadership contest.


MP recruiting for summer school

A group of young volunteers is being recruited by Labour MP Debbie Abrahams for her second Get Oldham Working summer school.

Following the success of her inaugural summer school in 2014, Mrs Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, is looking for people aged 18-24 to take part in the Working for Your Community Summer School, from July 20-31.

Mrs Abrahams said: “My idea behind the summer school is to help local young people develop their community action skills and gain useful experience by working on real community projects in Oldham.

“I also want to give them a behind-the-scenes look at how politics affects everyone’s daily life.

“Too many people say to me ‘politics has nothing to do with me’ or ‘I don’t vote because politics doesn’t affect me’.

“But politics affects almost every aspect of our lives. This is why I want to give local young people the chance to see the links between every day issues that affect us all and the role elected councillors and MPs play in addressing them.

“The group will also gain some real work experience about how to organise community-based campaigns with local organisations.”


Meacher: leader must be voice of people

THE future Labour leader must re-engage the hundreds of thousands of people who don’t bother to vote, Oldham MP Michael Meacher warns.

Rising numbers of voters are feeling disenfranchised and voiceless – and not just the nine per cent of voters who abandoned the main parties to vote for UKIP, according to the Oldham West and Royton MP.

“There were untold hundreds of thousands who felt alienated by current politics and refused to vote, yet were burdened by grievances they couldn’t offload,” he said.

Those who feel marginalised are forced to turn to social media to be heard, tweeting and posting about their situations as democracy is no longer listening to them, he added.

Issuing a stark warning to the Labour leader hopefuls, Mr Meacher added: “If Labour is to regain its role as their representative, it has a huge job ahead getting in touch with them, listening to them, and taking part actively and enthusiastically in whatever campaigns they feel will meet their needs.”


Cllr Jim McMahon and Cllr Claire Kober both spoke at the Fabian Summer Conference about achieving change locally.

Liverpool’s Mayor Joe Anderson has argued Labour’s councillors need to be at the heart of this leadership contest.

Cllr Claire Kober has said Labour must avoid complacency about victory in next year’s London mayoral race in an article for Progress.

Lord Jeremy Beecham has claimed Government is not pledging enough to protect local councils.

Newham Council has introduced the use of smartphones as the latest weapon in the battle against fly-tipping.

Cllr David Green is asking the people in Bradford are being asked if they would be happy for West Yorkshire to have an elected mayor, if it meant securing new powers for the region.

Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner and former Labour MP Tony Lloyd has been appointed as theinterim Mayor of Manchester.

Cllr Sue Woodward, leader of the Labour group in Lichfield and Burntwood, said she hopes more female councillors will get the chance to take senior roles at Lichfield District Council after the controlling Conservative group has just one woman on its eight person Cabinet.

Freshly re-elected Harlow Council leader Jon Clempner has put the fight to end part-night street lightingtop of his agenda for his second term at the helm.


Chadderton Big Lunch

The sun was out in Chadderton on Sunday (7 June) and so were some 200 or so residents, young and old, to enjoy the Big Lunch activities organised and run by Full Circle (CIC) along with other agencies, and it was free to all who took part.

Chadderton police were in attendance and youngsters took the opportunity to sound the vehicles sirens as well as donning a police hat before walking away with the odd goodie or two; OPAG did the face painting while Full Circle directors Becci West and Dawn Fox ran and timed the assault course.

The recently opened skate park was in full use and other stalls helped to present a wide variety of interest.

Cllr Dave Hibbert, while not chancing his luck either skating or on the assault course, said: “It’s great to see so many people coming out and using the park as well as seeing so many youngsters not only enjoying the sunshine but also the activities provided. It certainly helps to bring the community together and Full Circle are to be commended for putting this together.”

Chadderton Fruit & Veg

Chadderton District environmental Manager, Ian Monaghan, dug deep to support one of Chadderton’ s  children’s homes when staff sickness almost ruined the fruit and vegetables provided by The Chadderton District Executive in support of the Get Oldham Growing campaign. Cllr Graham Shuttleworth explains: “We had already agreed with the homes assistant manager, Di Chesters, to provide the home with their selected items, and we included in the package two sizeable vegetable planters.

“A call from Di outlined the unexpected problems that they faced and I turned to Ian and colleagues for support, and that arrived in the shape of Dave Halliwell and Tony Shirtcliffe (pictured), and they did a tremendous job on the day.”

At the end of the day the garden plots had potatoes planted, tomato plants outside as well as inside the greenhouse, onions, garlic and other such items to compliment the already growing varieties of fruit trees.

Di also sent thanks from herself and colleagues: “I want to say a huge big thank you to you and the two guys who worked so hard yesterday, I am so grateful for your help and support and sorry I missed you in the afternoon due to the training I was on.  I didn’t even get the opportunity to thank the guys for their hard work so would appreciate it if you could pass this on to them for me.”


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