Whoops! What’s in a date?

Hello again you lot

I’ve just finished work after what felt like a very long week and the rain is heaving it down on Whitegate Drive at the mo, so I thought that I would crank out a cheeky blog.

First off, I have to confess to being at home to Captain Cockup this week. Myself, Cllr Cain and several friends from the Blackpool Labour Group delivered around 3000 leaflets across the ward this weekend. Myself and Lisette spent about 5 hours around Central Drive on Sunday delivering our batch. However, the eagle eyed among you (you know who you are) spotted that I have placed last years dates for PACT meetings on it by mistake. What a wassock!

Anyway, for clarity, please find the correct dates below:

Ibbison Court, Central Drive:

Monday 7 August 6pm

Monday 2 October 6pm

Monday 4 December 6pm

St Peter’s Church, Lytham Road:

Wednesday 6 September 6pm

Wednesday 1 November 6pm

So then, what else have I been up to?

Myself and Cllr Cain met with the good folks from Bloomfield East Residents Assn for the latest meeting to organise the Revoe Residents Fun Day on Saturday 19 August. This is shaping up nicely and there will be loads to do there for the kids – we have lots more planned than last year (I just hope that we don’t have the same weather). Your local MP, Gordon Marsden and the new mayor, Cllr Ian Coleman have also confirmed attendance, so please do save the date.

Myself and Cllr Cain also held a ward surgery in the week at Bloomfield East Residents Assn. It was “a little quiet” as no one actually turned up but it did give us a chance to catch up on several ward issues. If you do need to see us, don’t be shy – the surgeries are on the second Wednesday of each month at 6pm.

I also sat as a member of the Public Protection sub-committee at the Town Hall last week. The committee approved a report to consider any unmet demand for cabs in the town. The report basically recommended no change to current policy with regards to taxi numbers and all members agreed that this was right. For any eager beavers among you, the report can be accessed by clicking the link below and then clicking “Agenda Reports Pack”:

agenda

l was also pleased to attend a special council meeting on Wednesday that gave the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment the freedom of the borough. This battalion has been around for a looooong time in pre-merged earlier regiments (they fought in the American War of Independence!) and have a long history with the town – many of our lads have joined their ranks.

lancs

Mayor Ian Coleman and Colonel of the Regiment, Brigadier PS
Rafferty MBE

This week, I have dealt with several enquiries (some of which I picked up whilst out leafletting) on issues including environmental enforcement issues on poorly maintained properties, licensing issues with hotels and fast food outlets and the holiday zone consultation.

So then you lot, what are you up to over the weekend? There is no need to be bored. Have a look at these events (I’ll be trying to attend both, time permitting – click the links on the graphics for more info):

arts

carni

Rights, that’s me done for the time being. I think that a wee glass of wine may be in order and the next episode of the TV show Fargo – and if you’re not watching it, then you should be – it’s on Channel 4 on demand and it’s blooming awesome.

So until next time, take care all,

Jim

Walking the streets…

Hello all,

I trust that you are all well and I am pleased that you could stop by again.

Rightyho, here is a quick run down of some of my activity over the last few days:

Last week, myself and Cllr Cain (along with some officers) spent a morning trudging around the alley ways around St Heliers and Saville Road. We have had repeated reports of parking issues around here so we had a first hand inspection of the area.

saville2

One of the alleys in question

As well as issues with cars parking where they should not be doing so, we identified around 10 fly tips in these alleys. I am talking full 3 piece suites, beds and other large items. It was like DFS. I know that I always bang on about this but that’s a really cruddy way to treat your neighbours and there is no need for it.

Myself and Cllr Cain have also had a walk around the old Foxhall area after some calls from constituents regarding parking in the area. As such, we will be writing out to people living in the area to get their opinions on the matter.foxhall

Shannon Street on our walk around

Staying in the old Foxhall area, I was pleased to meet with a few hoteliers in York Street last week. The purpose of my visit was to speak to one of them regarding the current holiday zone consultation (I hope that I have been able to relieve their fears on this) but whilst I was there I was able to take away a few enquiries regarding the condition of some of the properties along here. Officers will be considering these issues in due course.

I have also chaired the newly renamed Adults Social Care and Health Scrutiny Committee (catchy name!). This meeting focused on mental health issues in the town and I was delighted that representatives from mental health charities and youth groups were able to attend and contribute. It was a really busy, packed agenda and I wish I could have dedicated much more time to each issue, but I was particularly impressed by the first hand stories of mental health provision from some younger attendees. Whilst facts and figures in reports give you an overview of an issue, when you get first hand accounts of service provision, it gives a much better understanding of the situation on the ground to the scrutiny committee. Link below to the agenda.

health

I also attended another governors meeting at Woodlands school. This was my first meeting as a governor where (wearing my scrutineers hat) I have been able to challenge information in reports and ask pertinent questions of the head teacher. The purpose of these meetings is to drive the strategic vision of the school, hold the head to account for educational performance and oversea the finances of the school. I hope that I did OK!

Next week: some of you may be aware that the council are honouring the The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment with the freedom of the town. This is happening at a special council meeting on Wednesday 19 July next week (2pm). After the actual meeting, the regiment will be parading through the town centre, so if you are about, do come and wave them on – info below:

lancs

And finally, it’s Bloomfield News time again. Myself and Cllr Cain will be plodding the streets of the ward over the next week or so to deliver our news letter that includes an thank you to you all from Gordon Marsden MP for your continued support during the general election. My feet are sore already and we haven’t started yet!

Anyway, for any of you that prefer your info electronically, please find a PDF of the leaflet below:

Bloomfield Summer 2017

Anyway, that’s all from me for the time being.

As ever, take care, Jim

Got Lucky

It’s just a very short blog today folks as I was amazingly fortunate to be at Glastonbury until Monday (see more below – but if you ever get the chance to see the New York Brass Band (playing in the video), you should defo go see them – they’re absolutely brill – they REALLY get a crowd going).

Anyway, after not getting anywhere enough catch up sleep on Monday night, I attended a full day training session run by the council on school governance (as I am a new governor at Woodlands School). It was a very interesting (if a little yawny on my part) session and really covered a lot of ground. School governance is a complex, strategic role and involves significantly more than just “having tea with the head”. Blackpool has around 40 vacancies for school governors at the moment – why not consider it? It looks to be a very interesting and rewarding role. Click the link below for more info:

gov

Last night, there was full council. There were no real big agenda items last night but for any of you with an interest in such things, please find a link to the livestream of the meeting below:

Myself and Cllr Cain have had one of our regular catch up meetings tonight at the Town Hall. Our discussion included planning permissions for shops, ASB issues on Lytham Road, the holiday zone consultation, permit parking in Foxhall and Gordon Marsden’s Green Cleaner Champions Award. With regards to the latter, click the link below – if you know anybody that may qualify for the award in Bloomfield then drop them a line:

gord

And finally, Glastonbury. I won’t bore you too much but myself and my other half had an absolutely AMAZING week. If you only watch it on the TV, you will get the impression that it’s just a massive pop concert. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s not so much a music festival, it’s a being alive festival. There is so much more than just the main stages that you see on telly – there’s loads of insane music about (this year, a Japanese death metal band playing in a bus were VERY good), as well as debates, talks, poetry, circus, comedy (loads of big names – we saw Phil Jupitus) and tons and tons of other stuff. As you can see – I’m a Glastonbury fan and I am convinced that EVERYBODY, no matter what their taste, would enjoy the festival. Really – try it. Register for the next one and go.

Anyway, here are just a few photos:

20170625_160514

Barry Gibb – life tick box ticked (I’m a massive BG’s fan)

20170623_132645

The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show

20170624_130739

Clive Lewis – an absolutely outstanding Labour MP

20170623_102615

Myself & Lisette at the Pyramid Stage

Anyway, until next time folks, take care, Jim

Think and stop before you drop…

Hello all – this one is just a quickie, so here is what I have been up to over the last week or so (music picked for no other reason that the above gig was the best that I’ve ever been to and I am going to see them again later in the week 🙂 ):

Myself, Cllr Cain and the ladies of Revoe Residents Assn held our first planning meeting for the annual fun day last week. It’s on Saturday 19 August 2017 at Ibbison Court – there will be tonnes of stuff on for kids and adults to do, so keep the day. And fingers crossed, we won’t have the biblical weather that we had last year.

Myself and Cllr Cain also ran a ward surgery in the week and it was good to meet some of our constituents.  We had a few people turn up with issues including the hotel holiday zone consultation and overseas banking regulations – obviously the latter issue was not in our power to address but we were able to point the constituents in the right direction in terms of getting some advice.

In advance of a Health Scrutiny meeting looking at mental health issues, I chaired a short meeting in the week attended by representatives from mental health charities, youth work groups, the a commissioning officer from the local clinical commissioning group and an officer from public health at the council. This gave the reps from the charity and youth work group an opportunity to pass on their thoughts regarding what can be done better in mental health work in Blackpool in an informal manner in advance of the scrutiny meeting. I hope that all in attendance found it useful.

It was then my pleasure to be shown around the Mereside youth centre run by Blackpool Boys and Girls Club. This was of particular interest as they do lots of work around young persons mental health and in particular building resilience. Top stuff and thanks for the invite. They have centres in Brunswick and Mereside, so click the link below for more info:

bys

On Saturday, I was pleased to be invited by Becky at Revoelution to judge a kids poster competition in Revoe Park along with Cllr Cain and Andy Walker from Revoelution. It was a poster to warn people off fly tipping in the ward – any readers of this blog will know that it’s a nightmare issue locally. Anyway, we agreed the winner (see pic below) and this will be made into a poster that will be put up throughout the Revoe area, so well done the winner – I love the “Think and stop before you drop” motto.

revoepk2

Becky from Revoelution, myself, Cllr Cain and Andy from Revoelution on Saturday

It has just been my very great pleasure to open an Armed Forces Week event at the Memory Lane Cafe at Ibbison Court. The Memory Lane ladies put a huge amount of effort into the event and the room looked great, so well done they. I hope that all in attendance enjoy the day that includes tea dancing and afternoon tea.

2

Brenda from the Memory Lane Cafe outside the NAFFI

1

The Armed Forces Week event at Memory Lane Cafe

This event obviously ties in with Armed Forces Week. There is a ton of stuff going on in the town to remember those who have served and to thank those currently in service. Click the link below to see what’s on:

armed

Along with the usual types of enquiries that I deal with, this week I have also dealt with enquiries regarding planning issues, the holiday area consultation and residents parking in old Foxhall. With regards to the latter, myself, Cllr Cain and officers are planning a walk round of the area in the next couple of weeks to look at solutions to the parking issue.

Right, that’s me offski, so take care and drop by soon.

Cheers, Jim

She’s Lost Control

This song has been in my head a lot since last Thursday. I can’t think why. (Sorry any Joy Division purists, but I think that this version is better ).

Well, whodathunk? What a result. Against all the odds, Mr Corbyn pulled it out of the bag. I think that most of us in the local party were not expecting such a good result. So well done, Jezza.

Now before anybody kindly points out that we didn’t win, yes, it’s true, we lost. But not as much as Mrs May and the Tories. Oh Lordy – it’s one of the greatest political cock-ups in modern history. The words “shooting”, “yourself” and “foot” spring strangely to mind. Imagine just giving away your clear majority in the House of Commons. The election was called to wipe out the Labour Party but it has strengthened us up good and proper.  Thanks, Theresa. Good work.

By the way, apologies – sorry for the blog slacking – as you can imagine I have spent a lot of time campaigning over the last few weeks. Anyway, here are the selected highlights of the last 2 weeks (I won’t bore you with every single meeting,):

Adult Social Care has been added to the remit of the Health Scrutiny Committee that I chair, so a couple of weeks ago, I met with a senior council officer responsible for adult social care to talk me through the services that are available to the people of Blackpool. Like health, it is a very complex web of provision of different services on offer (such as home care for the elderly, residential care and various strands of mental health provision) but the overview was very useful and I look forward to getting my teeth into scrutinising the service in September.

Myself and Cllr Cain attended a Police and Communities Acting Together (PACT) at Ibbison Court. We were somewhat concerned to learn that crime was generally up compared to this time last year. Apparently this could be due to a change in how things are reported (hmmmm…..) and that a lot of police resource has been diverted to the fracking demonstrations on Preston New Road. I’ll let you know how things have progressed the next time that I see the crime figures for Bloomfield and fingers crossed, this might just be a blip.

By the way, please click the link below, for how to contact your local beat bobby and PCSO’s:

pact

Myself and Cllr Cain also had meeting with officers regarding the use of mobile CCTV camera’s in the ward. We had assumed that the 8 camera’s that were bought for the Bloomfield ward were gathering dust on a shelf in Layton depot. However, this is not the case and they are regularly used to monitor the ward for criminal behaviour such as fly tipping – so be warned – Big Brother might be watching you!

Last night, I attended a briefing along with fellow Blackpool councillors and officers and our counterparts from Fylde and Wyre authorities on the Lancashire and South Cumbria Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).

Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) are five-year plans showing how health and social care organisations in local areas will work together to implement the NHS Five Year Forward View – which outlines new ways of delivering health and social care and achieving financial balance by 2020.

Anyway, this will have a massive impact on ALL of us living in Blackpool over the coming years, so please do click the link below for more info;

stp

Tonight, I met with the council’s member training officer as I have recently been added to the member training panel. As you can imagine, councillors need lots of training on many issues as we can find ourselves having to deal with many situations out there in the community. Without the proper training we will make mistakes and miss opportunities to do the right thing. Training may include topics such as dementia training, child sexual exploitation and human trafficking to name but three. The member training panel is there to identify what the training requirements are for councillors and how that is delivered. I’ll be able to do a more detailed post on this after the panel meets for the first time.

So, then. The Democratic Unionist Party. The DUP. The Northern Irish political party that Theresa May is having to use to prop her up her ever so strong and ever so stable government. They have some very questionable and downright morally wrong policies including that they are anti gay marriage. It’s 2017, for God’s sake! What is their problem? Really? If two people love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together as a married couple, who the bloody hell are bloody politicians to say that they can’t? Get over it! Sorry – was on the edge of a rant there but this leads nicely onto…

Blackpool Labour at Blackpool Pride

pride

A very damp Labour Group in St John’s Square @ Pride

What a fab day! I’ve done a few of these now and they are always a great day out and it really is a pleasure to show support for the local LGBT community.

However, this year was a little different – we were actually being cheered on the street! People were actually shouting things like “Yay, here comes the Labour Party”. The reception that we got on the parade was honestly unbelievable so thank you anybody that cheered us on. As per the above, we are more than ready for round two with Mrs May (although a break from campaigning for a few months would be nice!).

In the last couple of weeks, as well as the old chestnuts of antisocial behaviour and flytipping, I have dealt with constituent enquiries on disability assessments, designated use of residential premises (from B&B’s) and parking schemes.

Anyway, that’s me for now (as I have an episode of The Handmaids Tale to catch up on), so drop by soon,

Take care, Jim

All together now

It would be hard to start a blog this week without saying just how upsetting I found the attack on the gig in Manchester on Monday. I happened to check online news as I was going to bed that night just as the first reports of the blast were being reported.

The news played on my mind for hours and I had a very poor nights sleep. Then when I got up the next morning to read the updated news of the confirmed casualties, it was just horrible. Horrible.

I am sure that you have read this numerous times of the last 2 days, but my heart really does go out to those affected by this vile attack and they are very much in my thoughts.

I must say though that the response to this outrage by the people of Manchester has been truly GLORIOUS – a massive coming together of people of all faiths, cultures and backgrounds to stick fingers up to the pathetic losers who do this sort of thing and say “You will not win.” Manchester, you are beautiful.

manchester d

Crowds at the Manchester vigil yesterday coming together in solidarity

Which brings me onto something else…much to my surprise, I found myself and Donald Trump saying much the same thing yesterday.

I had been chatting with my 18 year old lad about what would happen if instead of calling attacks like the one on Monday “terrorist attacks”, everybody and especially the media, called them “complete, sad, pathetic tosser attacks”. Part of the power of the terrorist lies in the word terrorist itself – take that away from them and they lose part of their perceived power. Image the front pages of the press with “Complete sad, pathetic, tosser attack” and the line “The complete sad, pathetic, tosser, Joe Bloggs, was a student living in…”, etc. I can’t help but think that there would be far fewer pathetic failures of humanity prepared to blow themselves up if they knew that this was how they were going to be referred to afterwards.

Now, I realise that this will never happen (as I’m not insane (* I think)) but in the little world inside my head, this would work.

Anyway, about an hour after chatting with my lad, he linked me a news report where Trump had made the following statement regarding the attack:

“I won’t call them monsters. Because they would like that term, they would think that’s a great name; I will call them from now on losers because that’s what they are, they’re losers. And we’ll have more of them but they’re losers – just remember that.”

Hmmm….I’m not sure how I feel about having the same mindset as Donald Trump on something – it makes me question my rationale but I am sticking with it.

So, what I have been up to over the last few days?

Well, delivering general election letters from your MP Gordon Marsden. Lots of them. Flipping loads and loads of them. It took me the best part of Thursday and Friday evenings and then Lizzie had to drive me around on Saturday afternoon to finish them!

As per my last post, Gordon has a campaign office at 293 Church Street – if you can help with anything, be it folding letters, delivering leaflets, or for the bolder of you, door knocking, then please do drop in and the staff there will be delighted if you can help. Canvassing was suspended for 3 days due to the Manchester attack, but I understand it will resume from Friday.

shop

The campaign shop on Church Street

I also attended my first formal meeting at Woodlands School as a governor. This being my first meeting, there was a reasonable amount of stuff that went over my head, but I am sure that I will pick stuff up as I go along. I have been given the role of governor responsible for safeguarding. This is a hugely important role as I will be scrutinising safeguarding procedures at the school to make sure that all the kids are properly protected. I intend to take the role very seriously – quite a lot of training will be involved.

This evening, I attended a Public Protection meeting – the bulk of the meeting was to consider applications for taxi drivers licenses – this is obviously of a confidential nature, so I will just park this here.

I have also dealt with constituent enquiries on issues including fly tipping (no surprises), dog fouling, aggressive dogs, vandalism of lamp posts and nuisance tenants.

Actually, my travels around the ward delivering election material has allowed me to report several fly tips myself on and around Central Drive and Lytham Road – these have already been cleared.

cen

Tipped armchair on Central Drive

Right, it’s late and I need to be up at 6am to cycle into work, so it’s nighty night.

Until next time, take care, Jim

The Labour Party Manifesto – something for everyday people

‘ evening all!

I just thought that I would crank a quick blog out before my tea, so here goes. Right over the last few days, I have…

Last week, myself and Cllr Cain ran one of our surgeries in Bloomfield East. We were pleased that a few people came to speak to us and we took enquiries away on nuisance parking, nuisance bins in the street and an enquiry from residents of Yorkshire Street regarding permit parking in that part of Foxhall. All of the enquiries have been logged and officers are looking at them – we should be able to revert back to you soon. Incidentally, you can next catch up with us at the next PACT meeting at Ibbison Court (off Central Drive) 6pm 5 June.

I also attended my first meeting at Woodlands School as a governor last week. This was only a first informal strategy meeting (the formal meeting is this week) but my fellow governors struck me as a dedicated bunch who were passionate about getting the best outcomes for the kids at the school. I look forward to getting my teeth into some of the work streams there.

Yesterday afternoon, I attended annual council. Annual council doesn’t really have much in the way of meaty  decisions/matters that affect the town as its’ main function is to retire the existing mayor, and the new mayor takes over. So after a years solid graft for the town, Kath Rowson has passed the mayoral chain over the Ian Coleman – I am sure that he will do a sterling job (see below):

mayor

This evening, I attended a briefing on Better Start Blackpool. Better Start aims to improve the life chances of babies and very young children by delivering a significant increase in the use of preventative approaches in pregnancy and first three years of life. The Better Start Partnership in Blackpool has been awarded £45 million, led by the NSPCC, the inclusive partnership is made up of the Local Authority, Clinical Commissioning Group, Blackpool Hospital Teaching Trust, Police and the Community. It brings together local families, communities, and agencies from across public, private and voluntary sectors.

Better Start is accessible to residents of the Bloomfield ward – it offers an incredibly wide range of services from early pregnancy up to 3 years old covering everything from health visits, advice on diet/alcohol, a scheme to encourage new fathers to read to their kids – there really is a wide range of services on offer. Take a look at the website below for a lot more info:

head

As you might imagine, I have also been doing my bit to get Gordon Marsden elected as your MP over the last week. As well as door knocking, on Monday night I spent some time phone canvassing from the campaign office at 293 Church Street. I have to say that the response on the phones was overwhelmingly positive and I really enjoyed talking to residents.

By the way, if you can spare any time and you want to see Gordon as your MP for the next 5 years (making it 25 years in total!), why don’t you pop into the office on Church Street – it’s just by the old Dan Kerr bridal shop. The campaigners in there will be really chuffed to see new faces so why don’t you nip in? Go on, they won’t bite.

And staying with the general election, have you seen the Labour Manifesto yet?

“Labour’s manifesto offers moderate, commonsense solutions to Britain’s problems – and would unlock the amazing potential of this country.” – Owen Jones. Have a look:

mani

If you want a quick at a glance look, CLICK HERE. It really is a manifesto that will genuinely improve the lives of those struggling to make ends meet and suffering from massively underfunded public services like the NHS, social care, education and the police. Please do have a look, it’s really good stuff and it would improve the lives of the good people of Blackpool. It’s something for everyday people (see the music video link now? Pfft you took your time! ;p ).

Anyway, that’s me for now, so until next time, take care, Jim.