Countryside Volunteer Rangers Crompton Moor – Sunday 20 June 2021

Hope you can join me for our event next Sunday the 20th, our task being fencing repairs; this has been moved forward with everyone’s agreement due to Sara & I having a week off !

The current BBC weather forecast for Sunday is light cloud and a gentle breeze, likely temperatures of 10º/17º and ~12 mph winds so please ensure you have your favourite hot & or cold liquids, appropriate  clothing & footwear and a packed lunch if you are up for the day – you all know that on the day, it may feel colder than it really is.

If you have any issues that you may wish to discuss prior to Sunday, please do not hesitate to email (on either address) or text / phone me on 07961107860.

For those of you that have not already done so, please could you let me know if you intend to join us on the day.  

I look forward to seeing you in the Crompton Moor Car Park at 10.30 on Sunday. Thank you.

Kindest Regards – Edward John Fulton (aka Ed / Eddie). Countryside Volunteer Ranger, (Mob) 07961 107860 [Calls may be recorded], (Text) 07961 107860, (Fax)  01706 61813 (E)  edward@edwardjohnfulton.uk , (E) edward.fulton@btinternet.uk

Warm Shaw welcome for new Waxxy Warehouse

Shaw councillor Howard Sykes MBE has offered the latest new business in Shaw a ‘warm welcome’ and his best wishes for its success.

Demilee Morgan, a Shaw resident, has taken possession of the former fancy dress shop at 2 Market Street and will soon be reopening the premises as a bespoke manufacturer and retailer of candles, Waxxy Warehouse Ltd.

“This new shop will be great for Shaw”, said councillor Sykes. “Shoppers want to see more than the usual suspects on their high street and this kind of business – artisan, independent and local – is exactly what I would like to see in our town centre.  If Shaw can offer something unique it will attract more visitors from further afield to shop and make our local economy more vibrant.  This is why I am also campaigning for a monthly farmers’ and artisan producers’ market for Shaw.”

The new business has received support from the Enterprising You team funded by  Oldham Council, with access to personalised advice, such as help with marketing and securing suitable premises at an affordable price.  Enterprising You also offers access to over 200 online courses and ongoing advice to aspiring local entrepreneurs on their business develops.  Their website is https://www.enterprising-you.co.uk/

Councillor Sykes added:  “I was very glad to hear that Demilee was able to access help from the Enterprising You team and hope that other Shaw residents will want to do the same.  This is the second exciting original new business we have seen launched in Shaw in the last few weeks, hot on the heels of Tapas bar Vida Viva.  I do hope we see many more.”

https://www.thewaxxywarehouse.co.uk/

Community approach can benefit survivors in Oldham

After the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) produced its latest report, local Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani has called on the Council to put its recommendations – and lessons from around the country – into practice in Oldham.

One example is the Quetzal Project in Leicester, which provides free counselling for women recovering from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. They have been running an outreach project to allow women in isolated communities to access counselling, particularly from South Asian backgrounds.

Sam said: “What the Quetzal Project has done really well is reach out to people and communities, not wait for people to come to them. They found the right people in the community, that survivors would trust, and gave them the help they needed to ensure that people got counselling, got support. Those people are now speaking out so that other survivors know that they can get help.

The latest report from IICSA, into ethnic minority survivors of child sexual abuse, looked at many different communities, and made a series of recommendations including reaching out into the community to overcome the trust issues that many people have with formal support organisations.

Having got an agreement from the Council to implement IICSA’s recommendations into their approaches, Councillor Al-Hamdani has written to the Council’s chief executive, Carolyn Wilkins, to ask how the latest findings will be taken on board, and to recommend the Quetzal model as a way of helping isolated survivors.

Sam continued: “While the report was focused on ethnic minorities, many of the recommendations are valid for all communities and people. No matter what community you are from, you are an individual with the same fears and uncertainties as anyone else. What we need to do is break down the barriers that stop people from getting the help they need, whether that is economic, cultural or personal.”

Notes: Videos from the Quetzal Project, with individuals’ stories of how they were helped, are available at their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPtMhlB2jeL2_NWsbO2Q-xw

The IICSA report Engagement with support services for ethnic minority communities is available at https://www.iicsa.org.uk/key-documents/26008/view/engagement-report-ethnic-minority-communities-29-april-2021.pdf  

Oldham Youth Service Summits

Shaw and Crompton Liberal Democrat councillors have been informed that some exciting provision from Oldham Youth Service is happening in three of our local secondary schools. 

Shaw Councillor, Howard Sykes said “Crompton House School, The Oldham Academy North and Royton & Crompton School have been offered some tailored youth work for pupils at the schools. Part of this will see a Youth Violence Summit held on 23 June 2021 – guest speakers will be talking pupils from across the borough as well.” 

The schools were asked how they would like the youth service to work with their young people and this has resulted in different types of engagement. 

“Royton & Crompton School are having an afterschool drama and dance provision, focusing on the school’s values and creating a drama piece to be shown at the end of the school year – which sounds very exciting” said Crompton Councillor Diane Williamson. 

The two weeklong event is helping youngsters to look at how to overcome previous bad choices.  Other summits being held are Climate Change, Mental Health and Hate Speech. 

Oldham Liberal Democrat Leader welcomes promise of Council debate on CSE review

The Oldham Liberal Democrat Leader, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, has welcomed the commitment made by the Leader of Oldham Council to make ‘proper time (available) for consideration by councillors’ of the long-awaited report by the review team into historic child sexual exploitation issues at a meeting of the Full Council.

Last month, Councillor Sykes wrote to the new Leader, Councillor Arooj Shah, to request that Councillors be able ‘to discuss this matter in Full Council at the earliest opportunity’. As the Greater Manchester Deputy Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner, Baroness Beverley Hughes, had previously said the report would be available by the middle of this year, councillor Sykes was hopeful that this would be at the July 14 Council meeting.

In her reply, Councillor Shah could not confirm that this would be the 14 July but did commit to a debate at ‘a scheduled full council meeting or a special meeting if that is required’.  The GM Deputy Mayor, who oversees the work of the independent review team, will in any case be asked to provide an update to the July meeting.

Commenting councillor Sykes said: “I am still hoping that we shall see the full report in advance of the July meeting and to be able to debate it, but we may still all need to be patient a little bit longer.  The timetable of the review is outside of Oldham Council’s control.  If July is not possible, then we shall debate it soon and I welcome the promised update on progress next month.”

Sykes appeals to Lord Chancellor over lenient magistrate court sentence

Councillor Howard Sykes, MBE, Leader of the Real Opposition and the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, has written to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland MP, seeking a change in the law after receiving a frustrating letter denying him a review of an unduly lenient sentence.

On 15 March, councillor Sykes wrote to the Attorney General’s Office asking for a review of a case in which Shaw resident, Javid Miah, 23, had sexually assaulted a woman in a frightening attack in Oldham town centre, but Miah had inexplicably not received an immediate custodial sentence for his crime.

Councillor Sykes said:  “This case caused many of my constituents’ real disquiet. This offender lives in my hometown and yet he was set free to continue to pose a threat to my female constituents and to other women living elsewhere in Oldham.  For a crime such as a sexual assault only a custodial sentence is in my view appropriate.”

After sending a reminder to the Attorney General’s Office that a response was long overdue, councillor Sykes was informed that ‘it is not possible for us to refer this sentence to the Court of Appeal.  Although the Law Officers (the Attorney General and Solicitor General) do have the power to ask the Court of Appeal to review certain sentences which appear to them to be unduly lenient, this power only applies to sentences passed in a Crown Court.’

“Clearly then in this case the law is an ass,” added councillor Sykes.  “This seems an appalling oversight in the legislation and I have now taken this matter up with the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State requesting the power to review unduly lenient sentences be extended to those imposed in magistrates, as well as in Crown Courts.”

Legacy of the past represents green heat for Oldham’s future

“An exciting prospect,” is how councillor Howard Sykes MBE, Oldham Liberal Democrat Group Leader, described the recent revelation by the Government’s advisory Climate Change Committee that up to 18% of all of Britain’s heat could in future come from disused coal mines amongst other sources.

The committee has just reported that waste heat from abandoned mines, industrial plants, data centres and sewage works could be redirected through district heating schemes to warm up to one fifth of all the UK’s homes, hospitals, schools and offices.  Almost 40% of all Britain’s carbon footprint comes from burning gas for heating.

Such a scheme for Oldham town centre would represent the vision that councillor Sykes first suggested to the Leader at the Oldham Council meeting in October 2014.

“At that time, a certain Labour Cabinet Member was very dismissive of the idea, but to me it represented common sense,” said councillor Sykes. “Anyone who has visited the Square Knott photographic panorama in Gallery Oldham will see that in our Victorian town centre there were several coal mines scattered amongst the houses, pubs and shops, and across Oldham we operated coal mines to power our cotton mills.”

Floodwater in abandoned coal mines is heated by the Earth’s core, and the heat can be extracted using pumps to supply district heating schemes.

“Coal mine water heat represents a low-carbon source of energy and it is there ready to be extracted,” added councillor Sykes. “Ironically it is a green source of energy derived from a past activity that once polluted our environment that could be used to heat the many new homes planned for Oldham town centre.”

Councillor Sykes is hoping the recent good news about the Oldham Council’s Towns Fund bid will mean the project can go ahead.  He concluded: “Oldham has just been awarded £24.4 million. Although this is only over half of the £41 million we asked for, it is nonetheless a substantial sum.”

“Part of Oldham’s bid involved financing exploratory work on a coal mine heat scheme in our town centre.  I hope now the Labour Administration will prioritise this project as it will represent a significant and exciting step forward in helping to make our borough greener.”