Tuesday, 31 July 2007

It's Yorkshire Day tomorrow

The first written reference to the Ridings of Yorkshire appears in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles 876AD and this Yorkshire Day, 1st August 2007, we celebrate their 1132nd birthday by reading the Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity (a statement of allegiance to the Ridings of Yorkshire), in York and Redcar at 11.32am.

Yorkshire Day, Wednesday 1st August 2007:
In York - Readings of the Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity, will be in the four languages used since 876AD (Latin, Old English, Old Norse and Modern English) around the walls of York, including Micklegate Bar at 11.32am. York City Council have also organised events events organised in St Samson Square, where another reading will take place at 1.00pm.

In Redcar - The YRS North Riding Group have arranged a reading of the Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity at Redcar Town Clock at 11.32am. The declaration will be read by local radio celebrity Stewart MacFarlane MBE and a poem will be read by British Legion stalwart Eric Howden. Artificial white roses are being sold and all proceeds go to the Redcar Lifeboat.
More than £5000 has been raised over the past ten years by the North Riding Group for local charities. "It is good to see local residents queuing up year after year to pay £1 for a rose to wear on Yorkshire Day,"said Redcar Councillor Chris Abbott, Chairman of the Ridings Society.

Contacts for comment or more information:

YORK - Roger Sewell, Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee - 07734 079646
YORK - Peter Hindle, York member of the Executive Committee - 01904 794559
REDCAR - Chris Abbott, Chairman of the Executive Committee - 01642 487557 or 07974 127179

Sunday, 29 July 2007

More pictures from Saddleworth

Charlotte watches as the Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity is
read next to the statue of local poet Ammon Wrigley of Delph.

Everbody sings Pratty Flowers, the Holmfirth Anthem

Around 300 people attended

Holmfirth Anthem
1. Abroad for pleasure as I was a-walking
On one summer, summer's evening clear (repeat 1st 2 lines)
There I beheld a most beautiful damsel
Lamenting for her shepherd swain
2. The fairest evening that e'er I beheld thee
Evermore with the lad I adore
Wilt thou go fight the French and Spaniards
Wilt thou leave me thus my dear?
3. No more to yon green banks will I take thee
With pleasure for to rest myself and view the lambs
But I will take thee to yon green gardens
Where the pratty, pratty flowers grow

Report from Saddleworth

Posted by Chris:

Glynis and I, along with Charlotte (7) and Daniel (3), attended the Saddleworth White Rose Society's Yorkshire Day Celebrations at the Ammon Wrigley stature in the gardens of Saddleworth Museum at Underhill.

They always hold their Yorkshire Day reading of the Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity on the Sunday before Yorkshire Day and always get a good crowd as a result (se pic).

I was introduced as the Chairman of Yorkshire Ridings Society, along with the Chairman of Saddleworth Parish Council and a lady from the Friends of Real Lancashire. We each said a few words. As the winner of the North Riding Duck Race, held in Saltburn yesterday, Roy Bardsley, lives in Saddleworth I was able to arrange for him to be presented with the Colin Holt Cup by Colin's wife Hilary, who had travelled over from Doncaster.

After a session of humerous local poetry and the Declaration of Integrity was read we were asked to lead the parade in front of the band. It is a long time since I was in a parade and I certainly have never led one before.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

More Duck Race Pictures

West Riding man wins North Riding Duck Race

Posted by Chris
A crowd of around 200 people turned up to watch this year's North Riding Duck Race and we sold out of ducks.

The race was won by duck No 65 bought by Saddleworth man Mr Roy Bardsley. Second place went to Ben and Zoe Fountain of Guisborough, with duck No 29 and Ashley Seaman of Redcar won third place with duck No 19. Roy Bardsley will receive the Colin Holt Cup and a Yorkshire breakfast pack and tea towel from Hilary Holt at the Saddleworth Yorkshire Day celebrations being held tomorrow (Sunday) in Uppermill.

The best named duck, chosen by YRS NR Group Chairman, Jim Lince of Thornaby, was duck No 126 "You rang Mallard?" bought by Andy Crawford of Marske.

As organiser of the race it was my job to shepherd the ducks along the 500 yard course, releasing those that had got snagged.

The end of the race was quite tense because an upstream wind at the finish held the ducks back. There was a loud cheer when I released debris stuck on top of the weir and Roy's duck rushed home.

We sold out all our 200 ducks thanks to the large attendance and could have sold lots more by having heats but we ran out of time.

£210 was raised for the YRS road sign campaign fund.

Note: Pictures taken by Derek Hudson of Marske.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Last chance to enter the North Riding Duck Race

North Riding of Yorkshire
Saturday 28th July 2007
Saltburn Beck, Saltburn

Winner will receive the Colin Holt Cup
Plus prizes for the first three places
Prize for most original name of duck
£1.00 per entry

Please email entry fee to chrisabbott@cix.co.uk
and send payment by post to
Cllr Chris Abbott 39 Essex Close, Redcar, Yorkshire, TS10 4BY,
before 12noon tomorrow (Saturday 29th July).
Proceeds to the YRS North Riding Group Campaign Fund,
that pays for real county boundry signs like the one pictured.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Lib Dem challenge to Labour Council

Posted by Chris:

In view of the adverse publicity in the Evening Gazette and the damage it may have done to the reputation of this Council and its professional officers, Glyn Nightingale and I have written to the Director of Finance and Procurement and the District Auditor to request that a Section 151 report is produced as a matter of urgency and presented to a special meeting of the Council.

The report should outline the current financial pressures, explain the allegations of financial mismanagement made by the Council Leader and set out the details of what exactly the alleged £12m “black hole” amounts to as reported in the Evening Gazette.

I am concerned that in one day the reputation of the Council and its professional officers, so patiently built back up over the past seven years, since the days when it produced the second highest Council Tax in the land, has been destroyed. The silly allegations and misrepresentations made by Leader of the Council simply will not stand up to scrutiny and it is vital that members are provided with the real facts.

On Friday 20 July we heard from the Redcar and Cleveland Council leader, that his administration have “a £12m black hole.” By Tuesday 24 July we read in the same paper that a proper Budget for 2007-8 is in place, the previous one had balanced with cash to spare going into reserves and the cash crisis was actually in the future.

Clearly they got elected, by the narrowest of margins, making promises to cut Council Tax and have found that their own Government, with its enforced economies and unfair allocation of grants, have made this impossible, so they invent a cash crisis as a way to deflect the blame when they put the Council Tax up.

It has clearly backfired on them, hence the rapid back peddling in the Gazette on Tuesday. They obviously didn't realise the effect it would have on the reputation of not just the politicians but also on the Council's professional staff who advise them, allowing the nasty smearmongers free rein. The Liberal Democrats election warning that Labour cannot be trusted has been confirmed within weeks of the election.

The amazing thing about all this is that £5m of the £12m is the cost of implementing Labour's over the top election promises and nothing at all to do with the Coalition and the past four years. This year the Labour Government gave £7.1m less than justified by its own assessment of needs. Next year Government financial stringency is likely to put even more pressure on Council finances.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Borough's under 16's can swim for free

There's a splashing time in store for the Borough's under 16s who can swim for free at Tees Valley Leisure Limited's four pools in Eston, Saltburn, Loftus and Guisborough.

The new swimming initiative funded by Redcar and Cleveland Primary Care Trust and supported by Redcar and Cleveland Council.

The scheme will run throughout the summer holiday period and offers general swimming and fun inflatable sessions both during the week and at weekends.

Normal supervision ratios apply throughout the scheme so that accompanied under eights through to teenagers can benefit from free swimming right up until the first week of September.

As an additional incentive, every child participating in the scheme will have the chance to register for more free swims after the holiday period with the chance to win a range of prizes including a Nintendo games console by recording their free swims on special collector cards, available from the four participating pools.

Tees Valley Leisure's Managing Director Paddy Corcoran said: "We are extremely grateful to Redcar and Cleveland Primary Care Trust for the provision of this funding which will allow us to work in partnership with the Council to develop a sustainable activity programme.

"This is not just for our regular customers but also our key target groups such as disadvantaged families, disabled swimmers and teenage girls.''

Friday, 20 July 2007

Fight is on to save Post Office

Liberal Democrats in Redcar have called on Redcar & Cleveland's ruling Labour Councillors to pull out all the stops in a bid to include a Post Office in the new Roseberry shopping centre.

Newcomen Ward Councillor Glynis Abbott asked why the plan to house the post office in the new Sainsbury Local store had not materialised as expected. "Why were Councillors and residents not told about this in advance. It was clear to me at the Council meeting that even the Labour Cabinet member was not fully aware of what was happening.

Liberal Democrat's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Ian Swales said, "It is vital we retain a post office in this part of Redcar. It has a high population of elderly people and people on low income.

"We have launched a campaign starting with a petition to save the post office and will do everything we can to get it back on track.

"The Liberal Democrats are campaigning hard against the closure of more than 1000 post offices nationally."

Councillor Glynis Abbott and Ian Swales (pictured) were at Sainsbury's Local Store Roseberry Square at today collecting signatures on a petition calling on the Council to ensure that a post office is included as agreed in the plans. Copies of the petition have been placed in local shops.

Glyn Nightingale hits out at Labour's "frantic" claims

Liberal Democrat Councillor, Glyn Nightingale, former Cabinet member for Resources, on Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council has defended the Coalition's four years of excellent performance whilst in charge of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council with an attack on claims made by the Leader of the new administration:

"The leader of the Labour Group is setting up his excuses for breaking his election promise of Council Tax cuts when an increase next year is inevitable, especially because his Government's grant continually penalises Redcar & Cleveland.

"This year they gave £7.1m less than justified by its own assessment of needs. Next year Government financial stringency is likely to put even more pressure on Council finances.

"If what the Labour Leader says is true, there would have been no chance of the Coalition achieving its 4-Star Excellent rating from Government Inspectors. No council can get an Excellent rating unless its use of financial resources is in the top brackets. The Coalition made sure we were.

"The Council faces more demands for people in care and environmental services. So our priorities were sound when we put an extra £18.5m into care for the elderly, young people and environmental services as well as making £17.5m of efficiency savings.

"He fails to say that his Government is forcing the Council to make even more efficiency gains that cannot be re-invested in services any longer. That's one of the real challenges he is facing along with Labour's additional commitments, eg £2m for Town Hall and Finegan Hall repairs.

"Maintenance of leisure centres and swimming baths has been part of the responsibilities of TVLL as part of the contract set up by Labour.

"Labour left the real financial mess for the Coalition to sort out. To get no Council Tax increases for three years, Labour cut services and neglected repairs to roads and Council buildings. We introduced an affordable, planned maintenance programme. Also, each year Labour's zero Council Tax rises cost the Council over £7m in lost Government grant.

"The frantic language and distortions presented by Labour, through their leader, confirms our election warning that Labour cannot be trusted."

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Lib Dems slam lack of Post Office at Roseberry Shopping Centre

Liberal Democrats on Redcar & Cleveland Council today took the Ruling Labour group to task over the failure to provide a Post Office at the new Roseberry Shopping Centre in Redcar.

At today’s meeting Liberal Democrat Councillor Glynis Abbott asked the Labour council chiefs whether they could assure local residents that a Post Office will be provided.

They were unable to do this but said that they hoped it would happen.

Councillor Abbott said:

“Local residents are very worried that they might not now get a Post Office in the shopping centre. As recently as June staff were expecting to move into the Sainsbury’s store, but that has now opened without a Post Office.

“The Labour Government has closed thousands of Post Offices across the country, and more will follow. But Post Offices provide vital services to many of the more vulnerable members of society, such as elderly people who are less able to travel far.

“It is not enough to simply hope that it will happen. We need action from the Labour Council to make sure that it does.”

Lib Dems condemn loss of energy scheme for elderly

Liberal Democrats on Redcar & Cleveland Council today attacked the Council’s Labour leadership for suspending a scheme which gives free home insulation to residents most in need.

The scheme, introduced when the Lib Dem-led Coalition ran the Council, provided free cavity wall insulation to householders aged over 60 or those with children under five.

But now the Council, under Labour, has suspended the scheme.

Redcar Lib Dem Councillor Chris Abbott, said:

“This is an excellent scheme which deserves to continue. It provides warmer homes for those who most need it, cuts fuel bills and reduces carbon emissions. It should have been given a fresh injection of cash.”

“In the longer term I would like to see the Council go further, and follow the excellent lead of Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council in providing free cavity wall and loft insulation for all households which request it. There the result has been savings on fuel bills of £150 per household per year, the creation of several new jobs, and a significant cut in CO2 emissions.

"Labour’s manifesto from the recent elections says: “We will support installation and (sic) energy saving schemes in the home”. Why then has the Council scrapped (suspended) the scheme introduced by the Coalition which offered free cavity wall and loft insulation to householders over 60 or those with children under five?"

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Get the facts on the Borough

Thousands of facts and figures about the Borough of Redcar and Cleveland and its neighbourhoods are now available on the Council's website, www.redcar-cleveland.gov.uk/statistics.

The comprehensive Area Profile, drawn up by the Council and the Redcar & Cleveland Partnership, will be used as an evidence base to inform future strategy and policy development.

The profiles are structured around the four themes of the Local Area Agreement - Children and Young People, Safer Stronger Communities, Healthier Communities and Old People, Sustainable Communities.

There is a wealth of information about the area, which will be updated, including narrative, data tables and maps, plus tables which summarise performance against key datasets and identify strengths and priorities for improvement.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Who wants to be skilled up?

Redcar and Cleveland Council is hoping young people will take the hotseat at the three-day Skill Up Tees Valley exhibition at the Riverside Stadium next week.

The Council's Adult Learning Service is teaming up with Routes To Employment and E2E - Entry To Employment for post 16 provision provided by EOTAS, Education Other Than At School, with a version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, July 17-19.

The Service's manager John Harris explained: "We are setting up patio tables and chairs around a large screen and are planning an interactive Who wants to be a Millionaire? game to attract people.

"Prizes will be millions of words - book tokens of various values! We will be giving out information about the education, training, guidance and work experience opportunities funded by the Learning and Skills Council that we collectively do."