Merry Christmas

Hello all

This will be quite a short blog as most of my activities over the last couple of weeks have tended to be meetings and the briefing sessions that go with them.

A couple of week ago, I attended a very interesting lecture in the Raikes Hall pub by an academic from UCLAN called Dr Emily Cooper on the subject of brothels in Blackpool based on a study that she had completed. This was a hugely interesting talk and I certainly learned a thing or 2 about what is going on locally.

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The event was run by a group called Blackpool Speakeasy who are trying to organise lectures from academics on a monthly basis in Blackpool – link to their FB page below – check them out. It’s really pleasing to see people trying to get something like this off the ground in Blackpool – give them your support:

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Meetings-wise over the last couple of weeks, I have chaired the Health Scrutiny Committee with the major agenda items being Winter Planning by local health care providers and the finances of the Vic – agenda below. I also sat on the Tourism, Economy and Resources Scrutiny Committee (agenda below) and a budget scrutiny panel. Each of these meetings were accompanied by pre-briefs on separate nights so that was basically 6 nights out of the last 2 weeks.

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Last week, I was very honoured to attend the Young at Heart Christmas event at Ibbison Court along with the Mayor. This is a really worth while community group helping many residents of the ward and beyond and is run by the amazing Rev. Augusta Gibrill – thanks for having me.

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The Young at Heart Christmas event

I have also dealt with residents queries about having double yellow lines extended down the rear of Erdington Road (got result on this!) and funding a local kids football team (working on result for this!).

So, I’ll wrap this blog up by wishing you and yours a very, very, merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

It is my very great honour to be your councillor and I look forward to serving the residents of the Bloomfield Ward in 2017.

Take care, Jim

It’s December – that means that I can play Crimbo songs…

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Many, many, many apologies for the blog-slack!

I’ve went on holiday a few weeks ago and I’ve been busy as a bee since getting back, so this will be a bit of a mega update (although this is only the editted highlights).

Well then…my holiday…I went to Tromso in northern Norway, in the Arctic Circle. It was amazing – hands down the most beautiful place that I’ve ever been. I’ll leave it there with this photo…

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The view of the fjord from outside our lodgings

So over the last 3 weeks my activities have included:

Public Health Training – this was run by our Director of Public Health, Arif Rajpura. This was a hugely interesting session that covered a whole host of issues that affect the people of the town. Some of the stats relating to health in the town are insane – did you know that men in Blackpool live on average 5 years less than the average for the UK (it’s the lowest in the country)? Or that Blackpool has the highest rate in the country for hospital admission for liver disease? Or that we have one of the highest rates of smoking in pregnancy? I could go on. Needless to say that the council via it’s Health and Wellbeing Board are trying to tackle these issues and many more, but as you can imagine, there are complex issues to fix and will take time.

I then had a full council meeting later that week (link below).

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The biggie on the agenda was the Tramway extension item. This project gets a mixed reception with residents in the town but I really think that it will be great for Blackpool – we’ll have a transport hub that is fit for the 21st century. When electrification comes to Blackpool North Station, you’ll be able to jump on a tram at Squires Gate and then hop onto a fast intercity train. I think that once the extension is completed, most of us will be very happy with the result. Info in link below:

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The day after council, I then attended an Audit Committee meeting- there were no massive items of any particular interest in this meeting, so I won’t link it.

I have also met with council officers and did a tour of the new Foxhall Village Development so see how things are progressing. Fingers crossed, work should start of the Tyldesley Road side of the development soon and those eye-sore derelict buildings will be replaced by shiny new, decent affordable houses. I was also pleased to hear that some anti-social behaviour issues that I picked up on over the summer on the estate seem to be well on the way to being sorted out.

Last Monday, it was my very great pleasure to attend the Revoe Christmas Lights switch on. A very pleasant night was had by all and particular thanks go to New Revoe Residents Association, Revoe Learning Academy, the Revoelution Choir and Emma Louise Jackson for making the switch on a great event for all those in the Bloomfield, Tyldesley and Victoria Wards.

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Emma Louise Jackson, children from Revoe Learning Academy and the Revoelution Choir.

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Your ward councillors (left to right): Myself, David Owen, Fred Jackson, Graham Cain and Allan Matthews (I’ll photoshop David Collett on later)

Last Tuesday, I chaired a meeting of the Health Scrutiny Committee. The biggie item on the agenda is something called the SUSTAINABILITY TRANSFORMATION PLAN (STP) – this will impact on everybody in the town. It is basically a plan to reduce the projected health overspend up to 2021 in the local area by having more joined up healthcare and social care, trying to get residents to take better care of their health and by taking a more holistic approach to health matters. The committee raised many concerns over the course of the session – please click the link below to read the STP and the minutes from the meeting:

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Last Thursday, I was at a conference in London in my role as Health Scrutiny Committee chair on Democracy and The Truth run by the Centre for Public Scrutiny. This was a hugely productive day and I have come away with a few great ideas to implement locally. The stand out talks were by Andy Burnham MP on how he facilitated the Hillsborough Enquiry and by the chair of Staffordshire County Council Health Scrutiny Committee on the aftermath of the North Staffs Hospitals Scandal.

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Andy Burnham speaking at the conference

This Monday I attended a normal scheduled PACT meeting at Ibbison Court – as usual residents gave us their concerns and ongoing issues to consider.

I then returned to Ibbison Court the following day (yesterday) to attend the Memory Lane Christmas party. As ever, it was a delight to see all those in attendance and the ladies from the New Revoe Residents Association gave everybody a great lunch and entertainment was provided by the ever hard working Emma Lousie Jackson. Well done all and thank you for having me.

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The Memory Lane Christmas Party yesterday

Later that afternoon, I attended a meeting regarding the Central Drive World Food Festival next door at Revoelution that we planning to have next year to celebrate the varied national cuisines that we have on our doorsteps from shops in and around the Drive. More on this at a later date.

As well all the above, over the last few weeks I have dealt with constituent enquiries on issues such as transportation of a hospital in Manchester and the condition of an old premises in the ward (I got results on both of these) and I have attended training sessions/pre-briefs on audit procedures, Sustainability Transformation Plan (Health and Social Care) and personal development.

Phew!

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

Jim