Newsletter, January 2021

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

It’s a New Year like no other. In this issue, we’ve included a link to the Government website with the latest Covid advice on staying safe and well during the lockdown. We also bring you news on the latest eco projects in the community as well as plans to create an outdoor lido and why the latest research is showing that swimming outdoors (especially in cold water!) is beneficial to both body and mind. Plus, we bring you the usual winter advice on keeping safe and warm, especially if you or your relatives are elderly.


A happy and safe New Year from everyone at Saddleworth Parish Council

There’s no escaping the fact that this New Year has been unlike any other in our lifetime and everyone at Saddleworth Parish Council hopes that you are continuing to stay safe and well during these difficult times.

We would also like to remind you to keep visiting the Government’s website for advice on how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe in addition to the latest changes and updates to lockdown rules: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

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News on local eco projects

Located at Dove Stone Reservoir, Saddleworth Community Hydro generates enough sustainable electricity to power about 85 homes via the national grid, with an annual saving of 170 tonnes of CO2.

Dave Sanderson of Saddleworth Hydro came along to our December Environment Committee meeting to talk about a series of online ecoEvents in which they’ve been showcasing other community groups working to increase sustainability, with a view to getting more people involved.

One of these groups is the Incredible Edible project that aims to transform underused plots of land into free fruit and vegetable larders for the community. Dave Sanderson explained that the local group – Incredible Edible Saddleworth – had sought permission to plant fruit trees on a small section of the field between the canal, river, allotments and Kenworthy Gardens.

As this is an ancient meadow already valuable for nature, additional tree planting is something that SPC will need to examine in more detail by perhaps carrying out an ecological survey. There is also a there is also a good case to be made for conserving some/all of the field as a ‘community nature reserve’, so please watch this space over the coming months for more details on what we believe to be the best way forward.

More information on the Saddleworth Community Hydro can be found here: https://www.saddleworthhydro.co.uk/ and information on the Incredible Edible initiative can be found here: https://www.incredibleedible.org.uk/

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Soon Saddleworth could have its very own lido

Outdoor swimming is becoming increasingly popular as a means of benefiting both physical and mental health and soon Saddleworth could have its very own outdoor lido.

The goal of the Saddleworth Lido Project is to create an open air, unheated pool, constructed and maintained to the highest possible eco standards, situated in Saddleworth (possibly on the Uppermill school site with the school moving from its present location to Diggle).

The pool, which would be open all year round, would have a lawn area plus a modest reception/admin building, toilets, showers and changing facilities. The Lido Project group envisages activities including family swimming, lane swimming for fitness, cold-water dip sessions for health, poolside fitness and yoga plus sessions for youth groups and organisations.

A large enough pool would also allow for activities such as paddle boarding. Such a pool would have a benefit for the hospitality industry of Saddleworth and other local businesses, thus benefiting the local (Saddleworth) and wider (Oldham and Pennine) economies.

This wouldn’t be the first lido in Saddleworth. Historically Saddleworth had a popular lido in Grotton and the Lido Project’s plan would see this Saddleworth tradition reinstated, albeit in a different location.

Although the idea of an unheated open-air pool in the middle of winter might not seem at first glance like everyone’s cup of tea (!), swimming outdoors is one of the positive stories of 2020. Although it’s a relatively new area of research, outdoor swimming, especially cold outdoor swimming is thought to carry a long list of health benefits. People suffering from depression, anxiety, inflammation, epilepsy, immune system deficiency and even dementia may benefit.

More information can be found at https://www.swimming.org/swimengland/value-of-swimming/

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Stay safe and warm over the winter period

January has already seen snow and with winter still very much with us we’d like to remind you to please keep an eye on any elderly neighbours, friends and relatives when the weather is cold (bearing in mind the current lockdown rules) – 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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A reminder of what to do if you’re out and about in winter

Winter can hit Saddleworth hard. 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

Last December we brought you advice from Oldham Mountain Rescue Team who are on constant standby 24/7/365 – even on Christmas Day. The following is a summary of this article, aimed at helping you to stay safe over the winter. 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/