join forces to fight
by David Skentelbery
RIVAL political groups on Warrington Borough Council have joined forces to condemn the proposed enforced merger of Cheshire and Merseyside Police.
A motion moved by Coun Mike Hannon, Labour, Coun Ian Marks, Liberal Democrat and Coun Keith Bland, Conservative, was passed unanimously.
Leader of the council John Joyce seconded the move.
Letters are to be sent to the Home Secretary and the town?s MPs, Helen Jones and Helen Southworth, objecting to the proposal.
Cheshire Police Authority has resolved that a merger is not in the best interests of the people of Cheshire, Halton and Warrington and has declined to merge voluntarily.
The Home Secretary has started proceedings in the House of Commons to force the merger through.
It was the second time Warrington Council has passed a resolution opposing the merger.
In November last year, members voted to inform the police authority that the proposals would not enhance nor protect locally-based and locally-accountable policing and complained at a lack of consultation.
Speaking in support of the new motion, Liberal Democrat leader Ian Marks said: “This merger is a ‘shotgun’ marriage arranged by the Home Office. It is being imposed with undue haste and a lack of consultation.
?We have no independent evidence that restructuring will improve the protective services and collaboration across the region. At the very least we should have had a pilot exercise. It is vital that locally accountable policing in Warrington is protected but we have no assurance on this.
?There will be massive start-up costs and the upheaval will just distract the police from their duties with the risk of increased crime during the changeover period.”
Coun Peter Walker who is also the deputy chairman of the Cheshire Police Authority added: “The estimated cost of the merger is ?30 million and only ?10 million will come from the Home Office. The ?20 million shortfall will have to be met by reducing police staff which will mean police will be taken off the streets to do the administrative work.
?When we had the last major merger in 1974, it took seven years for the performance of the police force to recover. Even the Prime Minister is alleged to have advised that a forced merger is not in the best interests of the public but the Home Secretary seems to have ignored his advice.
?In the south of England a strategic force is being introduced, without any mergers, to deal with high level crime that crosses police authority borders.
?We would welcome this and indeed proposed to the Home Secretary a collaborative strategic force for here. If it’s good enough for the south it’s good enough for the north west too. Until the Home Secretary can show that a merger with Merseyside would improve policing in Warrington at no extra cost, I will oppose it.”
There was cross-party agreement that the over-riding criterion was a police organisation that was best for the citizens of Warrington.
Parish council goes online
APPLETON Parish Council has gone online – it now has its own website.
Coun Stephanie Foster has set up the website which provides access to council minutes, bookings at Appleton Parish Hall and other current council activities.
She will be updating the site on a regular basis.
Coun Foster is seen demonstrating the website to other members, clerk Peter Briggs and secretary Louise Parker.
The website address is http://parish.cheshire.gov.uk/appletonpc
First trees take root
in “memorial forest”
by David Skentelbery
THE first trees have been planted in a unique Forest of Remembrance where people can remember lost loved ones – and also raise money for a Manchester charity.
Every tree planted in the “Life for a Life” Memorial Forest at Lymm, Cheshire, will also raise money for the heart and lung transplant charity New Start, based at Wythenshawe Hospital.
About 15 trees are already taking root and eventually the forest will consist of more than 350 oak, rowan, silver birch and Scots pine.
People are being invited to plant a tree in memory of a loved one or to mark a special occasion or sponsor a bench or picnic table.
As the site’s main beneficiary, New Start will benefit from every donation received.
Janice Taylor of New Start said: “As well as being a special place to remember and reflect – the Forest will help us raise the final amount towards the ?1 million we need to bring the first cardiac magnetic resonance scanner to the North West.
“This scanner helps the diagnosis and monitoring of all types of heart diseases and will be a massive boost for the region.” The Lymm Memorial Forest is located on land donated by United Utilities directly adjacent to Sow Brook on the Trans Pennine Trail – already an area of natural beauty.
It will become a haven for wildlife and many species of migrant bird which have not been seen in the area for many years.
The first trees were planted at a ceremony attended by United Utilities chief executive John Roberts, Mayor and Mayoress of Warrington Hans and Karen Mundry, Lymm Parish Council chairman Pam Marks, her husband Ian and New Start chairman Douglas Graham.
New Start raises money to support organ transplants throughout the North West. It has raised more than ?6 million to-date and offers vital help to heart and lung transplant patients by providing medical equipment, patient care facilities and support groups.
Mobility equipment for
by staff reporter
VITAL mobility equipment is being sent to help survivors of the Pakistan earthquake ? thanks to Warrington Disability Partnership.
The Partnership, with help from members of the public, has donated the equipment and handed it over to local survivor support group representative Tara Shaikh.
But there is a still a need for more.
WDP equipment loans supervisor Tommy Hammond said: “Although we received a fantastic response from the public when the earthquake appeal was launched late last year, the situation in Pakistan is still serious and we ask if the public can check their sheds, garages or lofts for mobility equipment they no longer need which can be donated.” The partnership is also hosting a number of events to raise money.
Tomorrow (Friday) there is a quiz at St Oswald?s Social Club, off Padgate Lane for teams of up to six, entry fee ?2 per person.
On Thursday, April 11 there is a coffee morning and quiz with buffet lunch at the Dallam Day Centre to raise funds for the Wizard Narrow Boat Re-fit appeal.
May 12 will see another quiz night at St Oswald?s Social Club and on May 14 a car boot sale is being held at Victoria Park. Spaces can be reserved by calling Shopmobility on 01925 231941.
On Friday July 7, WDP is holding the Disability Awareness Day barbeque, a quiz and charity auction at Walton Hall Gardens.
More information is available from Jon Menzies of WDP on 01925 240064.
Health minister launches
new hospital project
by John Hendon
MINISTER of State for Health Services Rosie Winterton is visiting Warrington today (Thursday) to launch a new project at Hollins Park Hospital.
Ms Winterton ? accompanied by Warrington North MP Helen Jones ? is officially launching Independent Mental Capacity Advocate project which is being run by Advocacy Matters at Hollins Park, Winwick.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 becomes statutory in April next year when advocacy becomes statutory.
There are seven pilot projects across the country and the one in Warrington, which covers Cheshire and Merseyside, is the only pilot in the North West.
It will look at training needs, referral processes and policy development.
The project is about safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable people in soci
ety, those who lack capacity to make decisions regarding serious medical treatment and changes to residences and have no friends and family to support them.
Advocacy Matters was set up five years ago in Warrington and was chosen by the Department of Health to pilot the project from a large number of applicants. They already provide advocacy services to patients in the NHS including those with dementia, functional mental health conditions, enduring mental health needs, learning disabilities and acquired brain injury.
Ms Jones said:” I am delighted that Advocacy Matters has secured one of the pilot projects. They have a proven track record and are an excellent choice.
“Their work in supporting people with dementia, brain injury or learning disabilities who face important decisions is vital. The advocate will be able to represent a person’s wishes, feelings, and beliefs as well as being able to bring to the attention of decision makers all factors that are relevant to their decision. Crucially they will also be able to challenge the decision maker if appropriate.”
by staff reporter
STUDENTS from Warrington?s Priestley College got a chance to quiz Euro MP Gary Tetley when he dropped in for a question-and-answer session.
The Labour MEP met students from the Modern Languages and Politics departments and outlined his past political career and his current role within the EU.
Carol Mtitimila, head of Modern Languages said: “It was clear the student were engrossed ith what he had to say.
“The question and answer session was certainly the highlight as our students were able to offer their own thoughts and opinions on the political world, which certainly made for an interesting and lively debate.”
for the youngsters
by staff reporter
WARRINGTON Wolves have lined up a variety of events to help keep children occupied over the Easter holidays.
Two dance activity days will be held at Beamont High School on Monday, April 10 and Wednesday April 12 for children aged 7-11 and 12 and over respectively.
Wolves will join forces with Crosfields Junior Football Club for an activity day for girls aged 10-14 on Tuesday, April 11.
Dawn Cutts, active communities development officer with Wolves said: “Children can come along and receive training in both Rugby League and football from qualified coaches.
?These are two different events that will help children burn off the calories after eating Easter eggs, while having fun at the same time.”
by John Hendon
WARRINGTON?S Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Trust will celebrate the educational achievements of young people on Tuesday, April 4th when chairman Colin Parry presents certificates to youngsters who took part in the Trust?s ?Full On? programme.
The programme is nationally accredited by the Open College Network and includes units on anger management, anti-bullying, self-awareness, communication, conflict resolution, and citizenship.
It has been exclusively researched, developed and written by the Trust and aims to raise standards and attainment in schools, improve community relationships, overcome barriers to exclusion, increase access and participation in learning and enhance employability skills.
In the five years since the Peace Centre has been open, more than 11,000 young people have participated in Trust programmes with 5800 of these participating in ‘Full On’ programmes.