Listening to young people

Tenuous Easter music sorry! Great tune though (although I saw them in the Lancaster Sugarhouse in 1989 – he couldn’t sing for toffee. Anyway…)

Hello – this is just a really, really short update this week as I am off for a few days from tomorrow.

Anyhoo, Monday – I had a very productive and informative meeting at the offices of UR Potential on Central Drive to meet with some of the young people who use their services as well as staff and service users from Blackpool Carer’s and Headstart Blackpool – all groups dealing with mental health issues of young people in the town.

I attended the meeting as there is an item on young peoples mental health on the agenda of the Health Scrutiny Committee that I will be chairing later this month (26 April 6pm Blackpool Carers Centre, 147 Newton Drive – ALL welcome). It was incredibly useful to hear the first hand experiences of mental health referrals and treatment directly from young users of services – I will be using this feedback to ask questions of providers at the meeting.

If you are interested in seeing what services the above mentioned organisations provide, then click the links below (all well worth a look):

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Yesterday, Myself and Cllr Cain attended the Memory Lane Easter event run by New Revoe Residents Association – it was nice to see all the good folks down there as ever. I ended up judging the Easter Bonnet parade – I’m not sure that I am suitably qualified for this job but I gave it my best shot. Congrats to all who entered – there were some very clever designs.

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The incredible bonnets on display 

This brings me onto this evening. Myself and Cllr Cain held one of our surgeries at Bloomfield East Residents Association. It was another quiet one tonight but as ever, these surgeries allow us to touch base and see what each other is up to.

This week I have also been dealt with constituent enquiries on public housing and tipping and I have started to make plans for Blackpool Labour @ Blackpool Pride.

I don’t usually re-post memes, especially political memes, but I saw this earlier and I think that it’s worth a look:

bev

Spot on. I grew up on a Liverpool council estate in the 1970’s and 80’s. My father was disabled as he had been a bricklayer and he had fallen off a roof and my mum worked a few hours a week as a cleaner in a social club, so we were heavily reliant on benefits. We were skint. And I mean really, really skint – we would definitely have been classed as living in poverty. Thatchers government pulverized the working class with an iron fist – I remember the slum housing (the pic below is a real pic of the estate that I grew up on – I remember that burnt out van!), woeful, woeful healthcare and dreadful education aspirations at working class comprehensives (I was only 1 of 4 boys in a year group of around 200 to go to university (the first in my family)).

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The estate where I grew up – lovely wasn’t it?

And then in 1997, after many years of Tory not giving a flying **** about the poor of this country, things changed at last – Labour got into government.

Billions in extra funds were spent on education (with thousands more working class kids going to university), the health service, other public services and paraphrasing the line in the song, things really did get better. Hospital waiting lists went down, millions of children were taken out of poverty and the economy was booming. That slum above was bulldozed and decent housing was built instead. That’s what Labour does – it looks after everybody – the poor as well as the rich. People felt better off, better looked after and just downright happier.

But jump forward to the present day – we’ve had 6 solid years of Tory imposed perma-austerity with no end to it in sight that hits the poorest the hardest. 6 years of feeling steadily poorer and poorer. The health system is massively underfunded and literally struggling to cope, social care for the elderly is near collapse (just don’t get old at the moment folks, no, really don’t) and most people are feeling skint and under the kosh. Let’s not forget what an under funded healthcare and social care system means to people – actual pain and suffering, although for the rich with their private health care packages, that isn’t an issue.

Local councils are having to slash front line services to stay afloat and not to go bankrupt. Labour councils like Blackpool want to spend more on public services but our hands are tied by the cruel cuts imposed on us by the Tories – ironically, we then get the blame for the cuts in comments sections in the local press.

The country feels the same as when I was a kid and that’s a bloody shame – the Tories are simply not bothered about the lives of those struggling to keep afloat – if they were bothered then they would do something about it.

So well said, Nye.

Finally, and changing the subject ever so slightly, looking for something to do this Easter weekend? Well, please see below for info on what is going in in Stanley Park.

Until next time folks, take care and have a great Easter,

Jim

stanley

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