Newsletter, December 2021

A brief summary of what’s in our December 2021 newsletter…

It’s been a few months since our last newsletter in the summer, mainly due to Covid restrictions resulting in fewer newsworthy items. However, as the second Covid Christmas looms, we have a number of important newsworthy items which we’d like to share with you. So please read on – and, as ever, stay safe and well.


Although it’s been quiet on the newsletter front, we’ve been busy working behind the scenes on your behalf

You may have noticed a gap in our monthly newsletters – it’s all been a little quiet on the newsletter front since the summer. Again, this is mainly due to Covid restrictions resulting in fewer newsworthy items. However, here at Saddleworth Parish Council, we’ve been very busy working behind the scenes dealing with all the less “exciting” aspects of ensuring a better, happier and safer community.

We do an awful lot that may not be immediately obvious, from careful budget planning through to considering planning applications for buildings and so on. But, unlike the usual seasonal news items, these would make for a somewhat dull newsletter!

However, as the second Covid Christmas looms, we have a number of important newsworthy items which we’d like to share with you. So please read on – and, as ever, stay safe and well.

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This year Covid isn’t stopping our famous Christmas Illuminations Competition!

Last year it didn’t happen, but this year Covid isn’t stopping our community from celebrating Christmas with our ever-popular annual Illuminations Competition to find the most amazing Christmas lights displays in our community.

This year, judging will take place on Thursday 16th December and the categories will be:

Best Illuminated Pub
Best Illuminated Shop Window
Best Illuminated Community
Best Illuminated Residential Property

If you would like to enter, please contact the SPC office on 01457 876665 or email enquiries@saddleworthparishcouncil.org.uk

Good luck!

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Car parking, bins, signage and cracking down on anti-social behaviour at Dovestone

Recently, a power point presentation was given to SPC by Peter Gill, Consultant Estates Manager, United Utilities and his colleague Simon Howard regarding the visitor strategy for Dovestone Reservoir. Councillors were invited to ask questions following the presentation.

We examined the various options for car parking, with priorities being to keep congestion to a minimum as well as using grasscrete cells to ensure surfaces are in keeping with the area. Other important priorities are to ensure that any additional car parking doesn’t attract anti-social behaviour or so many extra visitors that they swamp the area.

Effective signage is important as well. Too small and visitors may miss it; too big and it could risk “sign blindness”.

We also looked at the possibility of installing solar waste bins like those at Hollingworth Lake. Solar-powered bins “read” a waste bin’s fill-level then trigger an automatic compaction of the waste, effectively increasing a bin’s capacity by up to 5-8 times.

In addition, Oldham Council have confirmed they will be providing 2 large commercial type bins in the car park and 1 recycling commercial bin car park – to be emptied every 3 weeks.

Ideally, visitors would travel to the Dovestone area by public transport and councillors asked about the possibility of a shuttle bus to a distant car park on the land at Well-i-Hole farm. However, similar schemes have had poor uptake in the past due to car drivers preferring to be as close to the reservoir as possible.

Finally, in a bid to deter vandals and other anti-social behaviour, CCTV was installed at the sailing club in October and will be fully operational shortly.

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Going green for new Saddleworth School – and further afield

We’re delighted to bring you news that the new multi-million-pound Saddleworth School which is nearing completion in Diggle, will include four electric vehicle charging points. We also hope that an additional two charging points can be installed at the residents’ car park off Huddersfield road, with minimal disruption to the car park during installation.

SPC is embracing green technology and supporting the borough’s goal of making Oldham the greenest borough in Great Manchester, helping residents to live more sustainably and becoming carbon neutral as a council by 2025 and as a borough by 2030. This commitment by Oldham Council will hopefully secure funding to expand the electric vehicle charging network across the borough, including here in Saddleworth.

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Supporting the Armed Forces Covenant

The Armed Forces Covenant “is a pledge that together we acknowledge and understand that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve with their lives” (https://www.armedforcescovenant.gov.uk).

Saddleworth Parish Council has committed to honour the Armed Forces Covenant and support the Armed Forces Community. We recognise the value Serving Personnel, both Regular and Reservists, Veterans and military families contribute to our community and our country.

Here is the draft of SPC’s commitment to honouring the Armed Forces Covenant:

The Armed Forces Covenant
An Enduring Covenant Between
The People of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty’s Government
– and –
All those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces of the Crown
And their Families

The first duty of Government is the defence of the realm. Our Armed Forces fulfil that responsibility on behalf of the Government, sacrificing some civilian freedoms, facing danger and, sometimes, suffering serious injury or death as a result of their duty. Families also play a vital role in supporting the operational effectiveness of our Armed Forces. In return, the whole nation has a moral obligation to the members of the Naval Service, the Army and the Royal Air Force, together with their families. They deserve our respect and support, and fair treatment.

Those who serve in the Armed Forces, whether Regular or Reserve, those who have served in the past, and their families, should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services. Special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given most such as the injured and the bereaved.

This obligation involves the whole of society: it includes voluntary and charitable bodies, private organisations, and the actions of individuals in supporting the Armed Forces. Recognising those who have performed military duty unites the country and demonstrates the value of their contribution. This has no greater expression than in upholding this Covenant.

Section 1: Principles of The Armed Forces Covenant

1.1 We Saddleworth Parish Council will endeavour in our Council dealings to uphold the key principles of the Armed Forces Covenant, which are:

  • no member of the Armed Forces Community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen
  • in some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate especially for the injured or bereaved

Section 2: Demonstrating our Commitment

2.1 We recognise the value serving personnel, reservists, veterans and military families bring to our community and to our country. We will seek to uphold the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant, by:

  • promoting the fact that we are an Armed Forces-friendly organisation; publicising our Armed Forces Covenant
  • supporting events and occasions associated to our Armed Forces community, such as Remembrance and Armed Forces Week
  • seeking to support the employment of veterans, young and old; working with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) on veteran employment opportunities and offering guaranteed interviews for Service Leavers that can demonstrate that they satisfy the required qualification criteria
  • striving to support the employment of Service spouses and partners; signing up to Forces Families Jobs
  • seeking to support our employees who may choose to be members of the Reserve Forces, including by accommodating their training and deployment where possible
  • offering support to our local Cadet units, either in our local community or in local schools, where possible

2.2 We will publicise these commitments through our literature and/or on our website, setting out how we will seek to honour them and inviting feedback from the Service community and our customers on how we are doing.

You can find out more about the Armed Services Covenant here: https://www.armedforcescovenant.gov.uk/

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A Pledge to Peace

In 2021, Saddleworth Parish Council joined Oldham and Shaw & Crompton Councils as a signatory of the Percorsi Institute’s Pledge to Peace.

The Pledge was created in 2011, and was first signed at the European Parliament in Brussels. It was introduced at the House of Parliament in the UK in June 2014, and has since reached across the world, being adopted by organisations and institutions as far afield as Australia, Kenya and India.

The project aims to “promote processes for the development of peace and peace education to enhance the well-being of people”.

As well as being signed by the three local councils, it has also been signed by the Saddleworth Peace Group, Knowlsey Junior School (Springhead), St Mary’s C.E. (Greenfield), St Anne’s C.E. (Lydgate), and Saddleworth School, as well as many more across the Oldham area.

As part of the Pledge, the Parish Council marks the International Day of Peace, which takes place on September 21 every year. The Day was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly. Across the world, it is marked as a day of non-violence and ceasefire.

The sitting Chairman of the Parish Council acts as the Peace Ambassador of the Council, representing the Council at events such as Hiroshima Day and Holocaust Memorial Day.

Once a year, the Council must write to the Percorsi Institute to detail work done in promoting the values of peace which the Pledge details. This makes signing the Pledge an active piece of work for the Council.

As well as the Parish Council’s own work, it has pledged to work with other local organisations and schools to promote the values of peace and well-being, as well as those of solidarity, equality and freedom.

For more information about the Pledge to Peace, including the signatories from across the world, visit www.associazionepercorsi.com/en/pledge-to-peace-2

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We wish you a safe Christmas and New Year…

The pandemic has meant that 2021 has been another difficult year for everyone. But one of the things that can make life a little easier at this time of year is to be fully prepared for the harsher weather that can hit Saddleworth in winter.

What was pretty countryside by summer can become treacherous in adverse weather conditions, especially up on the moors. As anyone in Saddleworth knows all too well, our local weather can change dramatically at the drop of a hat. Hazardous Arctic-like conditions can suddenly appear when only a few miles away things are much milder.

It’s not just walkers, cyclists and climbers that can find themselves in trouble, motorists can get stranded on our moorland roads. Sometimes, even ordinary folk at home can find themselves in need of assistance when travel is impossible.

Oldham Mountain Rescue

Despite the Coronavirus, the Oldham Mountain Rescue Team are on constant standby 24/7/365 – even on Christmas Day. The following is a summary of what OMRT suggest can help you to stay safe this Christmas season. We think it’s worth repeating.

What to do in an emergency

If you’re out and about this winter, whether walking, climbing or driving, it makes sense to be prepared by wearing suitable clothing and carrying the right equipment. Those at home or caring for the elderly and vulnerable should ensure they have sufficient fuel and food plus candles and torches to see them through a lengthy power cut. But in an absolute emergency OMRT is here to transport patients to and from remote houses (sometimes not so remote!) and to transport equipment and necessities where needed.

Visit their website for more information: http://omrt.org/

Looking out for our older residents

This Christmas, like past Christmases, we’d like to remind you to please keep an eye on any elderly neighbours, friends and relatives when the weather is cold – and especially with so many families self-isolating and / or staying at home due to Covid

Age UK has put together the following advice on how the elderly can keep warm, well and safe this winter – essential information for our older residents or for anyone with elderly relatives.

  • Get your heating system serviced every year by a qualified engineer to ensure it’s running safely and efficiently.
  • Never block air vents and if you have wood-burning, coal or gas heaters make sure there’s adequate ventilation.
  • If water pipes freeze they can burst. Make sure you know where the main stopcock is and check that it’s easy to turn so you can turn off the water if you need to.
  • Have your electric blanket serviced at least every three years.
  • Make sure your smoke alarm is working. You can ask your local fire service to check your home for fire safety. It’s free and you may be eligible to get free smoke alarms fitted.
  • Install an audible carbon monoxide alarm in each room that has a gas appliance.
  • Make sure you claim all the financial support you can to help with heating bills.
  • Dress in plenty of layers and make sure you have warm shoes or boots with non-slip soles.
  • Keep a mixture of salt and sand handy to put on steps or paths in icy weather.
  • Consider fitting a grab rail if you have steps at your front or back door.
  • Keep simple cold, flu and sore throat remedies in the house.
  • Follow up your GP’s invitation to have a flu jab and a Covid booster vaccine.
  • Order repeat prescriptions in plenty of time, particularly if bad weather is forecast.
  • Ask your local pharmacy if they offer a prescription pick-up and delivery service.
  • Keep basic food items in the cupboard or freezer in case it’s too cold to go shopping. You could also do your food shopping online and get it delivered to your door.
  • Eat healthily and keep as active as possible.
  • Ask your family, neighbours or friends if they could call or visit you more often.
  • Keep a torch handy in case you lose power and keep your radio, mobile phone, laptop or tablet fully charged, so you can use the battery power if there’s no electricity. If there is a power cut you can call 105 for free. You’ll be put through to your local network operator who can give you help and advice.
  • Keep a list of emergency numbers, such as your utility companies, by your phone.

You can find out more and download a copy of Age UK Winter Wrapped Up Guide from https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/mind-body/preparing-for-winter/ This guide explains what you can do to get yourself and your home ready for winter, as well as where to go for more information and support.

So that’s about it for our 2021 newsletter. All that remains is to wish everyone a safe and peaceful Christmas, and a happier New Year from everyone at Saddleworth Parish Council.