Oldham Labour Group Friday Briefing (26/06/2015)

Oldham Labour Group Friday Briefing (26/06/2015)

Weekly Leader’s Blog

 

Let’s not waste this opportunity….

blogPictureRecently I spent a morning with the waste collection team at our Moorhey Street depot. Our waste and recycling crews have a tough job and I’m grateful they could spare some time to talk me through how the service operates and the challenges the borough faces in collecting and disposing of our waste.

The team deliver what is probably our most high- profile service – used by every resident and many of our businesses. Every day our team of 28 bin trucks collect around 40,000 bins from across the borough – heading out before most of us are awake and whatever the weather.

The UK as a whole generates around 200 million tonnes of waste every year. The majority is sent for landfill.

In Oldham each household produces around a tonne of waste every year with 40 per cent being recycled. This is a figure we are always looking to improve on.

Over the last few years we’ve worked hard to reduce the amount of waste we produce as it costs us £290 per tonne to send for disposal – money that could be used to fund services elsewhere in the borough.

The team talked me through their ‘changing behaviours’ work – where they work with residents in neighbourhoods to improve how local people use the service (putting bins out correctly and recycling where they can) and to take action where residents dump waste or routinely put waste in the wrong bins (which costs us more as the waste has to go for disposal.

Since this work began in August 2013 we’ve seen some great results, such as:

• 11,882 households have been informed action will be taken if they do not dispose of their waste responsibly
• 3,560 people spoken to and educated regarding their waste disposal and its impacts.
• 2,000 more recycling bins delivered.
• 1,281 more Fixed Penalties served for littering and dumping.
• 66 prosecutions for fly tipping and dumping (i.e. more serious cases or where people have not paid their fines).

Overall this has led to a 10 per cent increase in recycling in targeted areas and a significant decrease in fly tipping too.

(Read More)

News From Oldham Council

Oldham Education and Skills Commission: Schools stronger when we work together

Plans for a new and revolutionary school led system to raise education standards for all local children were launched today (June 25).

The recommendation is the first to be revealed by the Oldham Education and Skills Commission (OESC), which is chaired by former Education Secretary, Estelle Morris.

Launched last summer, the independent commission was tasked with developing a shared, ambitious vision for our children that will result in a step change in their education.

Its final report will be published in September but this first recommendation – to be outlined in a keynote speech today by Estelle Morris to headteachers at the Oldham Schools Alliance (OSA) summer conference – will lay down clear foundations for the future.

The schools led system would be a new type of partnership based upon sharing responsibility equally between the council, schools and the community. We would take on collective responsibility for driving up aspirations and achieving better outcomes for young people by setting and achieving ambitious targets for improvements.

Oldham has a number of excellent schools, but there is also too much underperformance. The Commission believes that headteachers are best placed to understand how to drive up standards and that this can be best achieved if schools work together. But they cannot do this alone so the Commission is recommending the commissioning of a new independent body to make the collaboration a success.

Estelle Morris believes all local schools and staff – from head, teacher, practitioner and governor – can each make a vital contribution to wider and sustainable education success.

“This would see a fundamental change for the responsibility for education across Oldham – and it’s the start of a crucial journey,” she said.

“This plan is about all schools coming together regardless of age-group, governance, sponsorship or denomination, or whether you are an academy, local authority-maintained or free school.

“We’re saying that what really matters here is that shared vision for every child to reach their full potential. What also really matters is that if you’re an educator in Oldham you’re now saying that you have a responsibility for the education of every local child – not just those you are directly responsible for day to day.

“How we all fulfil that challenge is by working together on genuinely equal merit and in a new culture of collaboration where each school shares data, accepts and offers best practice, where targets and progress are shared, where all learn and improve together – and where children reap the benefits.

“It’s about agreeing what our ambitions for all young people are and then saying:‘What are WE all going to do to improve this?’”.

The new body would agree shared values and collaborative working arrangements –including a new borough-wide approach to data management and information – and would also agree new guarantees of education standards for students, parents, teachers and leaders.

(Read More)

New Youth Mayor sworn in

Teenager Saskia Edwards Korolczuk has been sworn in as the new Youth Mayor of Oldham.

The 18-year-old officially took on the role at the Youth Mayor-making ceremony on Wednesday, June 24 in the Council Chambers.

Saskia is from Springhead and is currently studying for her A-levels at Oldham Hulme Grammar School.

Once she has completed her exams she plans to take a gap year to concentrate on her youth mayor role.

After this she will hopefully take her place at university to study music and theatre.

Since being elected onto Oldham Youth Council four years ago Saskia has been passionate about giving young people a voice and engaging them in politically.

During her time as a youth councillor Saskia has been involved in as many aspects of Youth Council life as possible, this includes work on the priority campaign “I love Me”, which aims to promote resilience and positive mental health and well-being in young people.

She has also sat on the Co-operative Oldham Fund Panel and, more recently, was a member of the British Youth Council’s 2015 Select Committee.

(Read More)

 

 

“Fulla” praise for new “Olympic” Royton Leisure Centre

An Olympic legacy pool at Royton’s new £8 million sports centre, obtained by Oldham Council as part of a deal with Sport England, has been welcomed by GB swimmer Jessica Fullalove.

The Royton starlet, who competed in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and won three silver medals at last year’s Youth OlympicJim McMahon, Oldham Council Leader and Jessica Fullalove, GB swimmer and Royton resident (pictured front), are pictured inside the new Royton Leisure Centre.s, was impressed when she swapped her swimming cap for a hard hat when visiting the site of the new leisure facility – set to open later this year.

Joined by Jim McMahon, Oldham Council Leader, both took a close look at the Byron Street redevelopment.

As part of the Olympic Facilities Legacy Fund the new centre was awarded a pool tank and a grant of £134,000 from Sport England to support the pool’s installation.

The new pool is the same design as one of the Olympic training pools.

Jim McMahon, Oldham Council Leader, said:“The opening of this wonderful facility is just around the corner and this funding from Sport England is giving Royton a lasting Olympic legacy for the area – a commitment we made when we announced the new leisure centres for Royton and Oldham.

“The centre will not only be a great place where parents can bring their children to swim –it will also be a place where swimmers, like Jessica, can come and train in an environment suited to top competitors.

“Our team have been working hard with Sport England to make sure we have state-of-the-art facility residents and future generations will be proud of.”

Jessica, aged 18, said: “As a swimmer and a local resident it was amazing to be shown around the centre which will be great for Royton and the surrounding areas.

“I’m thrilled that Royton will get an Olympic legacy pool and I hope it will inspire more people to swim when it opens.”

Charles Johnston, Sport England’s Property Director, said: “Legacy pools have the potential to benefit thousands of people and we know that creating top-class sporting facilities will help provide a good sporting experience.

“The new pool, similar to ones used at the Olympics, will ensure that the local community have the chance to enjoy swimming in such an inspiration facility, and will help to create a lifelong sporting habit.”

As well as the new six-lane pool with spectator seating, the new centre boasts an 80-station fitness gym, two exercise/dance studios, 60-space car park and a new separate learner pool.

Working in partnership with Oldham Council, the site is being constructed by Willmott Dixon and once open, Oldham Community Leisure will run the facility.

News from Westminster

 

Cuts hit low paid hardest

Date published: 19 June 2015

OLDHAM MP Michael Meacher fears Government plans to slash the welfare budget will hit low paid workers the hardest and force more people out of work.

The Oldham West and Royton MP believes tax credits and disability benefits will be targeted in the £12 billion cull to be announced in next month’s Budget.

Mr Meacher said: “As Government regards pension benefits as out of bounds, the welfare cuts will be mainly concentrated on tax credits and disability benefits. But this will have perverse results.

“Reducing the value of tax credits may well make it no longer economically worthwhile for people on the lowest paid margins to work.”

People claiming out of work benefits is at a 35-year low, and there is not a culture of welfare dependency as the Tories claim, he added.

“There has been significant gain by providing financial support for working households but this is in danger of being eradicated if Government gets its way and victimises those on in-work benefits.”

 

Call to end food waste

Date published: 19 June 2015

Michael Meacher is demanding the Government acts on supermarkets wasting food.

He wants surplus and close-dated food to be given to food banks and charities.

The Oldham West and Royton MP said large amounts of waste are unjustifiable, given a desperate need for food.

He said: “More and more people are turning to food banks and more than 5,300 emergency food parcels for three days were handed out in Oldham last year. This is at the same time as supermarkets are throwing away vast amounts of food.”

Mr Meacher is among a group in Westminster urging government to act. He wants legislation to ban supermarkets from throwing away food approaching its best-before dates.

Legislation was recently enacted in France to make supermarkets hand over food taht would otherwise have been destroyed, even though perfectly edible.

 

Meacher: Tory favouritism is insulting

Reporter: Richard Hooton
Date online: 26 June 2015

A GOVERNMENT minister has refused to explain why Oldham has faced more cuts than Tory areas.

Oldham West and Royton MP Michael Meacher said this year alone, Oldham has had a 4.3 per cent cut in its spending power – while Oxfordshire is seeing an increase.

He said: “This is the most blatant politically partisan favouritism of Tory areas.”

Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate on local finances, Mr Meacher added: “Oldham is having to take a £200million cut by 2017. In the current year it is having its spending power cut by 4.3 per cent, whereas Oxfordshire, which happens to contain the Prime Minister’s constituency, has an increase of 1.3 per cent – and Cheshire East Council, which contains the Chancellor’s constituency, is having a 1.5 per cent increase.”

Other MPs from across the area demanded answers during the 30-minute debate led by Ashton Labour MP Angela Raynor, whose constituency covers Failsworth.

Local government minister Marcus Jones said despite challenges “most local authorities have coped well,” and that coping with the regional transfer of powers is “one of the most exciting agendas in local government at the moment.”

Oldham has faced the second highest cut across Greater Manchester. Mr Meacher added: “The non-answers from the minister show he has no idea about the difficulties our area faces.

“I do not think my constituents who are visiting food banks, are out of work, paying the bedroom tax and seeing services cut by these austerity measures imposed by the Tories will describe any of it as exciting — it is insulting.”

 

News From Districts

OLDHAM PARENTS ARE ON THE BALL

A ground-breaking parenting course – created by Action For Children, Oldham Council and Oldham Athletic Community Trust – is set to kick off in the borough.

Parents on the Ball is an innovative 20-week programme which aims to help mums, dads and carers gain new parenting skills and confidence, as well as promote better family health and fitness.

Leading children’s charity, Action for Children, will run the majority of the sessions from Oldham Athletic’s SportsDirect.com Park and also reach out to young people to help them gain the confidence and skills they will need to get on in the world.

The sessions take place ever Wednesday from June 24.Parents on the ball

Around a dozen parents from Chadderton have already signed up to the course.

Some sessions will be held at Chadderton Hall Park and Chadderton Wellbeing Centre.

Helen McKee, director of children services at Action for Children, said: “We believe that sports clubs are very much at the heart of the community, contributing to the well-being and self-esteem of millions of young people and parents across the UK.

“We’re proud to partner with Oldham Athletic Community Trust and Oldham Council to further our vision to improve the lives of young people and families in the region. We look forward to developing this innovative partnership in the forthcoming months.”

Councillor Graham Shuttleworth, Chair of Chadderton District Executive, said: “Members and staff within the Chadderton District team, along with support from public health, have been working hard with our partners to provide a fun and beneficial programme for families in the local community.

“Parents will have a chance to learn alongside their children over a range of interactive sessions. We hope this joint-working programme will make a big difference to these families and bring them closer together.”

Martin Vose, Oldham Athletic Community Trust Community Manager, said: “We’re really pleased to be an integral part this course which will be able to make a real, tangible difference to both the parents and their children.

“Using the power of football we will be able to have a direct and positive impact on the present circumstances of these families and their futures.”

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