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I am sure that most of you are already aware of the tragic incident that took place in Shaw yesterday morning.
At around 11.30 am Oldham Council was alerted to a possible gas explosion on Buckley Street.
Tragically, two-year-old Jamie Heaton was killed in the blast, which destroyed at least three houses and caused a huge amount of damage.
The Council immediately activated the emergency plan, with officers attending the scene and manning the control room.
We acted with urgency to provide support for residents affected by the explosion, setting up a rest centre at Crompton House School, which provided help and information to over 100 people who visited throughout the day.
I’d like to thank the community and local businesses who have also provided vital support to residents.  
Members of the public donated essentials, supermarkets provided vital supplies and a local taxi firm took residents to temporary accommodation for the night.
Council officers are now focusing on how best to support residents in their time of need, both in the short and long term.
We must meet the immediate requirements of the people who are affected by this, then look to support them in rebuilding their lives – no matter how long it takes.
The council’s building control team are inspecting the site today to asses the damage in detail and establish which properties are safe to return to.
They are also working closely with the Police and other agencies to ensure that residents are kept informed with developments as they happen.
Later today we will also announce the establishment of a Disaster Fund and I’m sure that many of you will want to contribute to this. Details will be available on the Oldham Council’s website when they are confirmed.
It goes without saying that all our thoughts and sympathies are with the families affected by this terrible instance.


Oldham Council and a range of partner organisations across all sectors have been working to assist residents affected by today’s major explosion in Shaw.
A Rest Centre set-up at Crompton House school in the wake of the blast has been providing help for people unable to access their homes.
So far it has assisted around 80 people from 40 families.
All people requiring temporary accommodation are being housed tonight in partnership with First Choice Homes Oldham (FCHO). Some are also staying with friends or family, or at Bed and Breakfast accommodation.  
Councillor Howard Sykes said: “The response from the local community and partner groups to this tragic event has been heart-warming.”
“We’re continuing to work closely with the emergency services who showed typical professionalism in responding so rapidly to this incident.

”The emergency planning that we have in place with blue light services appears to have worked well but the contribution from local residents, businesses and partner groups has been immense.
“Anyone visiting the Rest Centre has been able to access emergency housing help from First Choice Homes Oldham and medical aid from the Red Cross.
“Family advisers and counsellors have also been on hand along with community liaison officers from the police.
“In the immediate aftermath of the blast the local Asda supermarket gave up their restaurant to people evacuating the area, offering food and shelter and other items throughout the day. Several other local stores including Tesco and Primark also came forward with offers to assist in whatever way they could.  
“A local taxi firm, Borough Taxis, took residents to the Rest Centre and we also have had so many offers of help from local residents.
“Even Crompton House pupils and staff assisted in setting up the facility this morning and also helped to ensure children were kept safe and well.
“In the face of such adversity everyone has pulled together in a fantastic community effort. Today’s events have touched everybody in the community and their response has been truly inspirational.”



Oldham Council is continuing to assist emergency services at the scene of an explosion in Shaw this morning.
Greater Manchester Police have now confirmed that a young child died.
At least one person is also believed to be trapped.
One man was taken to hospital with 80 per cent burns while another person remains unaccounted for.
Councillor Howard Sykes said: “This is absolutely tragic news that has shocked the whole community.”
“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this incident. You don’t have to have known any of the people involved to feel stunned and saddened by today’s events and they are all in our thoughts.
“Oldham Council is continuing to work alongside the emergency services to contribute in whatever way that we can.
“Our priority is to ensure a safe environment and assist those affected in whatever way we possibly can.
“A rest centre has been set up nearby at Crompton House school and we are working with partners to keep residents informed of developments.
”We will commit whatever resources are needed in order to assist the emergency services in their ongoing work and the clean-up operation when it begins.
“Obviously there will be people who have been affected by this and will not be able to go home tonight. We are advising them to consider staying with friends or family in the first instance, but if they need further assistance then they should call Oldham Council’s Contact Centre on 0161 770 7770.”

FREE Sunday sessions in Shaw and Crompton

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The Introduction to Bushcraft event at Jubilee kicks off a series of ten free events in Shaw and Crompton that aim to connect people to their environment and encourage all ages to use their local green spaces.

Following discussions with Shaw & Crompton Parish Council’s Environment Group, Groundwork helped the group to apply for Big Lottery Awards for All funding to deliver a series of monthly events.

The aim of these events is to encourage more people to use local green spaces, to increase the number of volunteers to help improve these sites and to deter fly-tipping.