Category Archives: Local

Blackpool nursing home residents running their own shop

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Residents at a Blackpool care home don’t have to go far if they want to nip to the shops – they’ve got their own.

 

Shop ready for business - back row left to right. Diane Buckley. Jean Hamilton. Joyce Gillatt. Theresa Gleave. Doris Heslop.
Front : Janet McDougall. Alan Gillatt

Shop ready for business – back row left to right. Diane Buckley. Jean Hamilton. Joyce Gillatt. Theresa Gleave. Doris Heslop. Front : Janet McDougall. Alan Gillatt

The Acorn Nursing Home, on Newton Drive, has set up a shop counter in the foyer of the home, well stocked with essentials.

And residents at the home are even running it themselves on a rota basis.

The idea was dreamed up by the home’s activities coordinator, Samantha Hulmes, who says residents are loving the idea.

She said: “It means they can go down and choose what they want, rather than just having something sent up to their rooms, it gives them the chance to shop.

“We even stock birthday cards so if they want to send one to a relative, they have choice.

“And the residents who run the shop love it, they tell us they’re getting ready to go to work in the morning and they have a bit of a spring in their step!

“The shop also raises funds towards residents’ activities and entertainments, so it’s a win-win situation.”

The little shop sells greetings cards, chocolate and a range of toiletries such as hairspray and deodorant, essentials such as Sterident, tissues and even drinks kept nice and cool in a freezer.

As well as serving residents, the shop also sells to visitors to the 40-bed home, with the normal Covid-safety rules applying to ensure residents are kept safe.

This includes only serving those who have been clear on their latest lateral flow test.

One of those serving in the shop is Doris Heslop, 81, who used to work at the former Marton Post Office.

She said: “I’ve spent most of my life behind a counter so I’m used to it!

“It’s a very good idea and it’s nice to be able to use it as well, we can choose our own cards and chocolate.”

The shop is running from Monday to Friday, from 10am top 2pm each day.

 

Huge transformer given police escort through Cleveleys

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A huge transformer was given a special police escort as it crept through Cleveleys at the weekend.

 

Police brought traffic to a halt whilst the abnormal load – bound for Stanah Substation – weaved its way through the Norcross and Amounderness Way roundabouts on Sunday (July 25).

Transported by Dutch firm Mammoet, the firm picked up the load at Preston Docks before taking the M55 and A585 for the slow but steady 18 mile journey to Cleveleys .

The convoy was led by a squad of police in cars and on motorbikes, with traffic regularly stopped along the way to allow the massive load to keep moving.

Transported by Dutch firm Mammoet, the firm picked up the load at Preston Docks before taking the M55 and A585 for the slow but steady 18 mile journey to Cleveleys. Pic: Mike SmithTransported by Dutch firm Mammoet, the firm picked up the load at Preston Docks before taking the M55 and A585 for the slow but steady 18 mile journey to Cleveleys. Pic: Mike Smith

Mike Smith, from Cleveleys, filmed the juggernaut as it rolled its way past Morrisons and said he was impressed with the driver’s skill as he smoothly maneuvered the massive load through junctions and roundabouts.

Police brought traffic to a halt whilst the abnormal load - bound for Stanah Substation - weaved its way through the Norcross and Amounderness Way roundabouts on Sunday (July 25). Pic: Mike SmithPolice brought traffic to a halt whilst the abnormal load – bound for Stanah Substation – weaved its way through the Norcross and Amounderness Way roundabouts on Sunday (July 25). Pic: Mike Smith

 

Demolition notice submitted for Cleveleys flats

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A notice to knock down two properties in Cleveleys has been submitted to Wyre Council after they “fell into disrepair.”

 

Housing group Regenda Homes submitted a prior notification of demolition to Wyre Council for two semi-detached houses on Rossall Road in Cleveleys.

The two properties were knocked through to convert the former houses into six flats known as Prospect Court, and a bungalow extension to the back is also set to be knocked down.

The work is expected to take place between August 6 and August 27, and a “proposed replacement dwelling” was being discussed, documents showed.

Prior notice for the demolition of six flats and a bungalow on Rossall Road has been submitted to Wyre Council.

Prior notice for the demolition of six flats and a bungalow on Rossall Road has been submitted to Wyre Council.

Regenda Homes said the flats were being demolished after “the building fell into a state of disrepair.”

Shed catches fire in garden of home in Blackpool

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Emergency crews were called to extinguish an outbuilding which had caught fire in South Shore.

 

Two fire engines from Blackpool and South Shore attended the scene in Common Edge Road at around shortly after 3.20pm yesterday (July 21).

The incident involved a shed which had caught alight in the garden of a domestic property, the fire service said.

Firefighters used one hose reel to extinguish the flames.

Two fire engines from Blackpool and South Shore attended the scene in Common Edge Road.

Two fire engines from Blackpool and South Shore attended the scene in Common Edge Road.

Crews were at the scene for approximately 40 minutes.

No injuries were reported.

Fighting for justice for Blackpool residents denied access to the law

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For some people, access to professional legal advice is a far off dream.

 

They fear just crossing the threshold of a solicitor’s office will trigger costly fees they cannot pay.

But such a situation leaves many people exposed to exploitation by those who will take advantage of their vulnerability.

It was for this reason the Fylde Coast Advice and Legal Centre was formed in 2017 by legal executive Ron Heywood.

Ron Heywood (far right) with members of the team at the Fylde Coast Advice and Legal CentreRon Heywood (far right) with members of the team at the Fylde Coast Advice and Legal Centre

He recognised that for many people, using the law to get what they had a right to was out of the question.

Four years on, and despite the disruptions of Covid, the centre is now operating from new offices on Church Street and casework is rising (there were 45 calls in a single day recently).

It has been boosted this year thanks to awards of £70,000 from the government’s Civil Justice Fund and around £43,000 from the National Lottery.

But while these grants have helped and the team also uses legal aid, the centre needs more financial support if it is to continue its work which includes advice on housing, benefits, employment rights and debt, as well as campaigning for social policy reform.

While the CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau) offers some similar support, the centre is the only specialist legal advice centre in Blackpool.

Ron said: “We could see a need due to high levels of poverty, and it wasn’t just advice that was needed but more positive legal help.

“We have been particularly concerned to help people with housing problems as it’s very common for people in the private rented sector in Blackpool not to know their rights and illegal evictions are common.

“Often people are living in very poor conditions and there are a lot of horror stories.

“We had someone who was living in accommodation where there was black mould on the walls, and they were told by the landlord it was because they were having too many baths.

“Another tenant was telephoned by his landlord at work and told, don’t come back as I’ve evicted you.

“We got an injunction to get him back in, but the landlord refused as he had already put new tenants in.”

Unfair dismissal is another area where the centre helps people fight back, and Ron says rogue employers and landlords act illegally because they know many people do not have the power to retaliate.

But he says: “We provide a gateway to justice and ensure equality of access to the law. We ensure people have a fair fight.”

Lawyer Christina Warwick joined the centre because she wanted to help vulnerable people.

She said: “Solicitors first ask ‘how can you pay’, whereas we ask ‘how can we help you’.

“I took the conscious decision of instead of helping people with the biggest pockets, helping the people in real need and it’s a refreshing change.

“Even if we don’t win per se, it’s about ensuring a fair outcome rather than seeing someone just being walked all over.”

Also helping the centre is Coun Martin Mitchell, who uses his experience as a former housing officer and provides link to the council’s enforcement services.

He said: “Some private accommodation in Blackpool is below decent standards and we vigorously pursue disrepair cases.

“We work in partnership with the council so that in the very worst cases landlords face action from housing enforcement officers and through the courts.”

But perhaps it is volunteer Amanda Williamson who witnesses the biggest difference the service is making.

She started helping out by answering phones and offering a reception service after receiving help from the team herself.

Now she says: “The biggest satisfaction is seeing someone who has walked in here in tears, walking out smiling because of how we have helped them.”

To find out more go to fyldecoastadviceandlegalcentre.org.uk

Sinkhole opens up in middle of busy road in Thornton

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A section of a major road in Thornton has been forced to close after a sinkhole opened up today (July 19).

 

Victoria Road East has been closed between Fleetwood Road North and Sandringham Avenue this afternoon due to the sinkhole.

The sinkhole opened after a utility hole collapsed, according to the AA.

Diversions have been put in place and motorists have been asked to avoid the area.

Blackpool Transport has diverted bus route 75 via Lawsons Road, Trunnah Road and Fleetwood Road due to the emergency roadworks.
Victoria Road East was closed between Fleetwood Road North and Sandringham Avenue due to a sinkhole. (Credit: Google)
Victoria Road East was closed between Fleetwood Road North and Sandringham Avenue due to a sinkhole. (Credit: Google)
Police urged motorists to avoid the area while emergency roadworks took place. (Credit: AA)
Police urged motorists to avoid the area while emergency roadworks took place. (Credit: AA)

Blackpool woman forced to cancel reunion with family after UK enforces 10-day quarantine on travellers to France

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A woman from Blackpool whose daughter and grandchildren live in the French Alps is having to put their family reunion on hold after the UK said travellers to France must quarantine for 10 days on their return to Britain.

 

Debbie Wainwright, a receptionist at Vets4Pets in Warbreck, said she has waited a year to visit her family in Chamonix, a ski resort at the base of Mont Blanc, the highest summit in the Alps.

She had hoped to make the 14-hour drive to spend some quality time with her daughter Suzie, 32 and her two grandchildren, Harley, 10 and Izzy, 8.

But today, Debbie was dealt a cruel blow when the UK government announced that those returning to England and Wales from France will still have to quarantine for 10 days.

Left to right: Debbie with her granddaughter Izzy, son-in-law Stuart, grandson Harley and daughter Suzie skiing in Chamonix in the French Alps. Pic: Debbie WainwrightLeft to right: Debbie with her granddaughter Izzy, son-in-law Stuart, grandson Harley and daughter Suzie skiing in Chamonix in the French Alps. Pic: Debbie Wainwright

She said the new quarantine requirement has made it ‘impossible’ for her go to France because she wouldn’t be able to book an extra 10 days off work on her return.

The new restriction came as a shock because from Monday (July 19), adults who have been double jabbed in the UK will not need to isolate for 10 days when returning from amber list countries.

But the government said the easing would not apply to France due to “persistent” cases of the Beta variant, first identified in South Africa.

It said the decision to keep quarantine in place for those arriving from France is due to concerns vaccines may not work as well against the Beta variant

Debbie and her granddaughter Izzy enjoying the slopes at the base of Mont Blanc last year. Debbie hasn't been able to see her family since due to coronavirus travel restrictions. Pic: Debbie WainwrightDebbie and her granddaughter Izzy enjoying the slopes at the base of Mont Blanc last year. Debbie hasn’t been able to see her family since due to coronavirus travel restrictions. Pic: Debbie Wainwright

But Debbie, who has had both jabs, says the move is ‘ludicrous’ because the Beta variant reportedly only accounts for around 10% of new infections in France itself.

But high numbers of Beta cases in the remote French overseas territory of Reunion – 5,500 miles away near Mauritius in the Indian Ocean – are inflating France’s case figures.

“It’s just crazy,” says Debbie, who has eagerly saved her holiday leave for a long-awaited reunion with daughter Suzie and her two grandchildren.

“Enough is enough. They tell us if we are double vaccinated we can travel to amber countries without quarantine, so I’ve isolated from work for 10 days due to a Covid outbreak.

“I’ve used my annual leave to do this because I didn’t want to risk being pinged and having to self-isolate before we set off for France.

“I’ve done everything they’ve asked of me during these lockdowns. I’ve followed all the rules and I’ve had both jabs and I’ve had my heart set on finally seeing Suzie and the kids after nearly a year.

“It’s heartbreaking. We had to cancel our visit earlier this year because of the travel restrictions, but I really thought this time we were going to make it.

“If we were just going on holiday, then I could accept it more. But it’s not just a holiday. It’s being with family that we haven’t seen in nearly 12 months. We miss those kids so much.

“And it’s not like we were going to be on a plane or at an airport with hundreds of other people. We were taking the tunnel and driving all the way.”

Debbie said the government’s last-minute announcement means she is unlikely to see her daughter and grandchildren until later this year.

She said: “I work at a small vets practice and the other girls have young children and they need to take some time off this summer. So I won’t be able to reschedule until after the school holidays now. It just seems wrong the way they mess with people like this, especially when they have people flying into England from all over Europe for the football.

“And it’s bizarre that they have singled out France when most of these Beta cases are thousands of miles away on an French island in the Indian Ocean!”

Lancashire Police’s newest horse named in memory of Jordan Banks

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Lancashire Police have unveiled their latest recruit – a horse named after Jordan Banks who tragically died after being struck by lightning in Blackpool.

 

Officers named their latest recruit ‘Banks’ after 9-year-old Jordan Banks, who was killed while he was playing football at Common Edge playing fields on Tuesday, May 11.

Banks, formerly known as Fred, joined the team from a home in West Yorkshire and has already proved to be a popular member of the Mounted Branch.

He is still in training but the force said Banks has been doing brilliantly and will be allocated a police officer soon.

“Jordan had touched the hearts of many of our officers after anonymously leaving sweet treats on police cars to cheer them up at the start of the pandemic,” a spokesman for Lancashire Police said.

“We managed to track him down and had intended to reward his kindness by inviting him into our Mounted and Dogs units for a visit, but sadly this was never able to happen.

“Instead, and to pay tribute to him, we now plan on naming our newest police horse Banks in his memory.”

The name also follows Lancashire Police’s tradition of naming their horses after places across the county.

Lancashire Police have named their latest recruit after Jordan Banks who tragically died after being struck by lightning in Blackpool. (Credit: Lancashire Police_Lancashire Police have named their latest recruit after Jordan Banks who tragically died after being struck by lightning in Blackpool. (Credit: Lancashire Police_

Banks has been described as kind, friendly and laid-back and apparently loves getting attention from his human colleagues.

He also likes the occasional mint as a treat, police added.

Temp Chief Supt Wendy Bower, of the Lancashire Police TacOps team, said: “We hope this lets Jordan’s family know how much we appreciated his kindness last year.”

Keir Starmer says skilled jobs and a conference return are among his hopes for Blackpool

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Labour leader Keir Starmer kicked off a summer out on the road with calls for skilled jobs to revitalise Blackpool during a walkabout in the resort.

 

He said while it was important to power up the hospitality industry in the immediate aftermath of the Covid pandemic, high quality jobs were key to the long term prosperity of the town.

Mr Starmer, who met tourism workers during a tour of the Winter Gardens, said: “They are much looking forward to November when the conference centre will open and there is a real hope that will be a boost to the economy here, and obviously they are very pleased to see people here this summer.

“But I think there’s a bigger issue beyond hospitality and that is a plan for high quality jobs in Blackpool

Keir Starmer talks to council officials on the Comedy CarpetKeir Starmer talks to council officials on the Comedy Carpet

“I was at St Mary’s School this morning with 16, 17 and 18-year-olds and when I asked them if they think they will have to leave Blackpool for the jobs they want to do, they all put their hands up.”

Mr Starmer was at the start of a three-day visit to Blackpool as part of a series of road trips between now and the autumn to discuss Labour’s ideas with local communities.

These include a ‘Jobs Promise’ to ensure every young person away from work for six months is offered a quality education, training or employment opportunity.

Labour wants the government to put unspent funds from its apprenticeship levy towards a wage subsidy that it says could create 85,000 new apprenticeships for young people aged between 16 and 24 this year.

Labour leader Keir Starmer during his visit to BlackpoolLabour leader Keir Starmer during his visit to Blackpool

Mr Starmer said “instead of a politician coming to Blackpool for an afternoon”, he was spending three days setting out his proposals to people.

He added: “So it’s a different way of doing politics. I’m not here with a speech, I’m not here to preach, I’ve come here with new ideas that I’m sharing with different groups in Blackpool over a three-day period, trying out ideas for what the future is after the pandemic.

“But making it clear place matters.”

As well as meeting with pupils from St Mary’s Catholic Academy, he also chatted to youngsters from South Shore Academy, and visited UR Potential community interest company on Central Drive.

There was time for a fish and chip lunch at Harry Ramsden’s, a walk across the Comedy Carpet and a stroll alongside holidaymakers on North Pier.

Blackpool Council also took the opportunity to showcase progress at its £28m new conference centre being built at the Winter Gardens, prompting strong hopes Labour could bring its main conference back to the resort.

Mr Starmer said: “I would love to bring our conference back here and that’s been very much discussed while I have been here.

“Obviously I have been to see the conference facilities and it is state-of-the-art, it looks fantastic and I can envisage what it’s going to look like.

“So we’ll have discussions and there are things to be worked out, but I would love to bring the Labour conference back to Blackpool.”

But he did not back calls by Blackpool South Conservative MP Scott Benton to resurrect the super-casino plan as part of the resort’s economic future.

The Labour boss said his talks with residents suggested “they don’t see a super casino as the silver bullet” towards prosperity.

He said: “They would much rather have a properly structured plan for Blackpool that allows them to survive year on year.”

This he added would mean “so when I next ask in schools in Blackpool, can you get the job you want here in Blackpool, the answer will be yes.”

Proposals being debated by Labour with communities this summer are –

A £15bn Children’s Recovery Plan – including breakfast clubs and small group tutoring to help children catch up, mental health support in schools and an extension of free school meals.

A Jobs Promise to ensure every young person away from work for six months is offered a quality education, training or employment opportunity.

Proposals to ‘Make, Buy and Sell More in Britain’ – to help bring the jobs of the future to towns like Blackpool.

 

How a Blackpool engineering firm helped an ex-offender get his career up and running

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A Blackpool firm has helped a former offender get up and running in a career as an electrician.

 

Building services engineering firm Ameon has taken part in the C2W, Custody to Work, rehabilitation scheme to offer apprenticeship training to a former Kirkham Prison inmate.

Rob Parker, 33, was imprisoned for drugs related offences in 2018, but is now working on a major North West construction contract with the Whitehills based firm.

He is now just three years away from qualifying as an electrician and is training to run the Manchester Marathon for Ameon’s nominated charity Brian House Children’s Hospice.

Ameon principal contract manager, Dave Scott, left, with new electrical apprentice, Rob ParkerAmeon principal contract manager, Dave Scott, left, with new electrical apprentice, Rob Parker

Rob said : “My darkest days were when on bail awaiting trial, because I couldn’t look beyond that point in time. Then when sentenced, it was as though a light came on and I knew that I could make amends to my mum and dad for the hurt and shame I’d caused them. I could see beyond prison and I knew also that I could make a contribution to society, if I had an opportunity.

“Clearly, drugs offences are very serious and I accepted my sentence as justified but I didn’t want it to define my life, which is why I viewed my release as the first step on the road back.

That road was opened by the C2W scheme and by Ameon, who took a chance on me. And it’s a chance I do not intend to squander.”

Ameon’s principal contract manager, Dave Scott, is the man responsible for Rob’s appointment. He had no hesitation in offering him a job and is in no doubt that he’ll be a success.

He said: “The minute I read Rob’s extremely candid and articulate letter I knew this young man had the intellect to understand his predicament and also the nous to know how to change his circumstances for the future.

“In truth, none of us here knew what to expect of him in the workplace but he’s been a model employee and is really keen to learn. He’s also actually a really nice lad, which is another thing people might find hard to believe, because it’s sometimes difficult for people to see beyond the label.

“Initiatives like C2W are a great help to offenders, and in our case, it has also proved to be a very positive thing for us as an employer. Rob’s appointment proves that everyone is capable of making a positive contribution if they have the chance, so more opportunities like this can only be good for business and society.”