About blackpoolcouncil

Leader of Blackpool Council

Breakfast revolution backed by leading academics

“A breakfast revolution,” the headline writers called it when the idea of providing all children with free breakfasts in schools was first launched.

Fast forward seven months and the revolution has been realised; more than 11,000 breakfasts are being served every school day and children are no longer starting lessons on an empty stomach.

It’s a sea change for schools, for teachers, for children and for Blackpool Council and, as a nationwide first, I don’t mind the tag “revolution” at all.

As I’ve said all along though we believe it was a vital thing to do – the overwhelming evidence from teachers told us that.

But don’t just take my word for it.

This week saw the release of a study by Northumbria University, who are internationally renowned for their research into school meals and, in particular, breakfasts.

Their team of respected academics, including developmental psychologists, health psychologists, nutritionists and statisticians, studied a sample of Blackpool schools to analyse the effectiveness of the pilot.

And their findings were overwhelmingly positive, concluding that children were eating more healthy items for breakfast, as well as feeling happier and more alert.

They found the benefits we envisaged for classroom punctuality and performance were becoming a reality.

On top of that, 70 per cent of children are taking part – an uptake level we are satisfied with given the need for parental opt-out choice.

The study also found that making breakfast available to all children – rather than offering them on a means-tested basis – was preventing the stigmatisation that can come with providing a scheme for a limited few.

The researchers, led by Dr Margaret Defreyter, also picked up on a few interesting new points.

They suggested that we look at the start time of breakfast, indicating that starting earlier could help punctuality, while suggesting that it may be better to ensure children eat the breakfast outside classrooms, rather than in as some schools have chosen to do, to prevent disruption.

They suggested healthier alternatives to some of the current products on offer and suggested further training of staff on nutritional knowledge and other aspects.

And they also suggested further engagement with parents, schools and governors is crucial to ensure the scheme is beneficial in the long term.

These are issues staff have been picking up throughout too and which we will be considering ahead of the new school year.

A final point which we have also seized upon is the need for further work to improve children’s health, this time through exercise.

I can announce today that we will also be considering a proposal to introduce online exercise programme “Cyber Coach Smart” into all primary school classrooms.

This programme has been developed specifically for use in primary classes, allowing teachers to stream exercise routines onto whiteboards via the internet, and averting the need for specialist coaching training or hugely expensive sporting facilities.

We hope the programme, coupled with making sure children receive a healthy and nutritious breakfast each day, will give youngsters a much better chance at succeeding in education and in life.

Finally, I thank all parents, pupils and the Blackpool residents who have supported the idea. Long may it continue.

Viva la breakfast revolution!

Helping the hardest hit

A report issued last week by academics from Sheffield Hallam University (here) claimed Blackpool was the area of the country “hardest hit” by the Government’s welfare cuts.

This is no great surprise; in fact, it backs up what we have been saying for months.

While some areas of the south are barely touched by the changes, residents across northern towns and cities like Blackpool are suffering.

We are doing what we can to help our residents through these desperately difficult times though.

We’ve introduced a free breakfasts scheme so that every primary school pupil can start the day with a healthy meal, saving parents money and making a social commitment to driving up standards in the future by giving children the best possible start.

The scheme has now been extended until May, at that point the Cabinet will meet to discuss the research carried out by University of Northumbria and decide the future of the scheme.

We’ve frozen council tax and we’ve implemented a living wage scheme for staff putting extra money in the pockets of our lowest paid workers.

Some people might be surprised to hear that over 200 of our staff were paid less than the living wage prior to April.

You might also be surprised to know that a survey by the National Association of Pension Funds earlier this year found that the average pension of a local government worker is £4,882 per year – not quite the picture that people like to paint about local government workers.

These initiatives can help in a small way but there’s only so much we can do as a council when, year-on-year, the Government makes devastating cuts to our budgets.

One of the biggest ongoing causes for concern is the changes that have been made to housing benefit, in particular the under-occupation of homes.

Blackpool Coastal Housing (BCH) have done an incredible amount of work to try to engage with residents (here) about the changes but, despite their best efforts, some people have, unfortunately, buried their heads and hoped the problem will go away.

It won’t, and now the changes are upon us, those people may be feeling the pinch.

There is a large range of support available, however, and I would urge people to make contact with BCH if they are having trouble on 477942.

Looking to the more positive side of things and speaking of housing, Blackpool Council Executive this week signed off the next steps for two key housing developments. (here)

Both schemes, at Queens Park and Rigby Road, are absolutely vital in providing quality housing for local people for decades to come.

It won’t be a quick and easy process but progress is being made.

And finally, I was keen to highlight some fantastic news that has been coming out from FYCreatives and the council’s business support team.

Latest figures show that an amazing 750 businesses have been helped to get off the ground since 2007 thanks to business loans and support from the council.

This is remarkable feat and really backs up our policy of supporting small and medium size businesses I look forward to hearing more success stories from them.

Finally, as I was preparing this post, I was informed that former Mayor of Blackpool, Alderman Edmund Wynne has passed away.

I was delighted to be able to name one of our new Flexity trams after Edmund a few months ago, and delighted that he was well enough at the time to be able to attend the unveiling with his family, and have his photograph taken with “his” tram.

Edmund always represented the ward in which he lived.

A former Leader of the Liberal Party in Blackpool, he was a man of great intellect, passion and dedication, to both the town and to his family – in whose achievements he took justifiable pride.

Our thoughts are with his son Robert, daughter-in-law Gaynor and his Grandchildren.

Sad news – but a brighter future?

It has been a very difficult few weeks. 

One of my constituents, Keith (known to all as ‘Pepsi’ on the Queens Park Estate), died on the 23rd February, having suffered with cancer. 

A few days later, my close friend and colleague, Cllr Mary Smith died following a long illness. 

Last week, a neighbour of mine died from an asbestos-related illness, followed less than 48 hours later by Conservative Councillor for Marton Ward, Major Jim Houldsworth. 

The day after Jim’s death, I visited another dear and longstanding friend (Joe, the husband of former Councillor Pat Carrington) in Trinity Hospice, who sadly will not be returning home.

To lose this many friends in such a short space of time causes a pause for reflection, and to examine what it is about them that made them so special, and how life will be different without them here.

‘Pepsi’ was a mainstay of the community up in QueensPark, always ready to voice his opinion – and it was always a considered and balanced opinion, always ready to help a neighbour, and renowned for his robust sense of humour and friendly manner.

Mary Smith and I served together as councillors for Bloomfield between 2003-2007, and she went on to serve as Mayor of the Borough.  With the dedicated support of her daughter, Julia, she had a fantastic year as Mayor, which brought her 20 years of service on the council to a great crescendo. 

Her commitment to the residents of her area was unrivalled; she had a clear sense of right and wrong, and was never frightened to let people know when she disagreed with them!

Jim was one of an increasingly rare breed of true gentlemen, the type of person we would all aspire to be, and was a giant within Blackpool.

He and I were elected on the same night in 2003, and I have greatly enjoyed working with him, and sparring with him over the past nine years.

His dedication and commitment to his constituents and the people of Blackpoolwent without question, and he was not beyond breaking ranks with his political masters when he felt it necessary to do so.  His work with, and commitment to the welfare of servicemen, past and present, earned him the Blackpool Medal, which I was delighted to present him with in January.

Joe, along with his wife, Pat, are amongst my most longstanding political friends.  His intellect, vast knowledge-bank, bone dry sense of humour (even faced with terminal illness), and unique view on politics and life is something that I shall miss beyond measure. 

The way in which his family have adapted to his illness, and made him the very centre of their lives for the past few months has been an inspiration – as has the commitment and dedication of staff at the Trinity Hospice, who have been superb (even when they mistook me for a vicar the other day, presumably based on the number of visits I have made in recent weeks).

I promised Mary’s family that we would make sure her legacy was preserved, and that her fighting spirit and dedication to her constituents would be something that we would all strive to mirror. 

I have let Jim’s family know that I consider the best way to further honour him, to be to continue with our close ties with veterans’ organisations, and continue to do that job in a way which would make him proud. 

As we move forward, the good humour, basic human kindness and friendship shown by ‘Pepsi’ and Joe will stand us in good stead. 

The compassion and dedication shown by their friends and family, and by NHS staff towards the end of their lives, also reminds us of our instinctive human commitment to want to help one another, and relieve pain and suffering.

Death causes us to reflect on our own lives and our own priorities in life.  All of the people I have mentioned would have shown a great interest in our Child Poverty Conference at the Winter Gardens, which we held last Friday, had they been able to be there. 

Closely linked to our agenda around fairness, the framework we are developing to tackle child poverty will involve agencies far beyond the Council.  Representatives from charities, the community and voluntary sectors, the Police, the local NHS and others came along to emphasise their commitment and willingness to contribute to improving outcomes for Children and Young People inBlackpool.

I left the conference considering a vitally important, but not uncontroversial view, which I feel is central to how we tackle the twin issues of poverty and fairness. 

Blackpool has some great schools, at both primary and secondary levels.  Blackpool has some good post-compulsory education, delivered by the Sixth Form, and Blackpool & the Fylde College, amongst others. 

Blackpool’s educational attainment is much better than it was a decade ago, and a lot of good teachers have worked very hard to achieve that, as have our head teachers and support staff, both in schools and at Progress House.

Sadly however, and this was the message I left them with, despite the great improvements that have been made, the simple fact of the matter is that outcomes for our children are still not good enough. 

Too many of our children leave school with poor levels of literacy and numeracy, poor formal qualifications, and little in the way of aspiration or direction.  I am NOT blaming schools for this – parents, families, the council, schools, the Government, me (and you) and children themselves all have a role to play in making sure that society is turning out well-rounded, educated and confident students – but what I am saying is that we cannot as a town continue to accept moderate incremental improvements in outcomes for children. 

Yes, things are better than they were, but they are not good enough. 

How we tackle these issues, together, will inform whether or not Blackpool’s issues around unemployment, poor qualifications, skills gaps, low wages and poverty are still as big an issue in 20 years time as they are today.

What greater tribute could there be to those who have gone before, than to ensure that future generations achieve more, enjoy greater prosperity, better life-chances and better health than our generation has? 

That’s a challenge, and one to which we must rise.


New Year Decisions

Welcome to my first blog of 2012 and the news that Blackpool Council will see further changes to its senior management team and that I am proposing further power and the re-instatement of community budgets for local people through area forums to ensure that local issues can be tackled by people who know them the most.

Firstly, the issue of the senior management review at the Council. Those of you who regularly read my blog or follow news of the Council on our Twitter and Facebook profiles for instance, will already be aware that we are looking to save around £10m from the Council budget again this year. As part of this process all staff were written to and offered the option of voluntary redundancy where appropriate to do so.

Among those responding were two of the Council’s most senior officers,David Lund, who is the Executive Director for Children, Adults and Families at the Council and Shirley Young, who is Managing Director for Blackpool Services, which runs services such as leisure centres and neighbourhoods services.

After careful consideration the Chief Officer Employment Committee has decided to accept their requests and approved their respective redundancies.

Mrs Young will leave the authority in April and Mr Lund later in the year in August and I personally would like to place on record my sincerest thanks for the excellent and dedicated work they have shown to Blackpool over the years and wish them both well for the future.

This next month we also see the retirement of Andrew Pollock, Director of Resources, another loyal servant of Blackpool who has run the finances at the Council meticulously, overseeing some particular challenging times and again my thanks and good wishes go to Mr Pollock too.

While I am clearly sad to see these three excellent and dedicated officers move on, it does however present the Chief Executive with an opportunity to restructure the Council shifting managerial responsibilities to other officers and save further money.

The retirement of Mr Pollock was announced earlier and included in the £1.8m senior management restructure undertaken by the previous Chief Executive just after I was elected to office.

However the two further redundancies will save the Council an extra £617k over the next four years even after redundancy payments have been made. This is a significant saving and will help us to protect some other jobs that are paid significantly less.

These none managerial roles are essential not just because they provide employment for local people, but our front line staff have a direct impact on the lives of men, women and children living in our borough, whatever their needs.

But it isn’t just senior managers who are taking the strain in order to make sure we meet tough financial targets as we move into the financial year of 2012/13.

All our staff have once again been asked to sacrifice four days salary in return for unpaid leave saving the Council around £1m. Sadly further compulsory redundancies can not be ruled out but the Chief Executive and the senior management team are doing all they can to minimise these at my request, such as seeking further volunteers and making efficiency savings where we can.

And so back to the Area Forums and the outcome of a review I promised earlier this financial year. Area Forums exist to allow local people to come together and discuss issues in their neighbourhoods. Often issues relate to making the streets cleaner, incidents of regular anti-social behaviour or need for more activities for children and young people. But whatever the issue, the seven area forums exist to try and make life better in all our neighbourhoods.

Last year the previous administration chose to remove the Area Forum budgets, hence they became merely a consultative group diminishing their ability to target funds at local problems.

I am proposing that budgets for the forums are re-instated and that it is the community representatives – not Councillors – that hold positions of Chair and Vice Chair of the forums. Also a significant change is a proposal that the PACT meetings organised by the neighbourhood policing teams, merge with the Area Forums on a quarterly basis, making sure there is a joined up approach bringing the police, the Council and local people to improve our communities.

And in a first for this borough we are also hoping to have a young person elected to every one of our area forums – a young person who either lives within the area forum boundary or attends school in the area.

This is significant as it will engage young people and give them a voice in their local community while also help to build relationships across generations living in the same area.

So it is clear that there remain some tough decisions ahead as we outline our priorities for the budget next year.

Once again it is a reduction in our grant funding from Government that has led to this situation and one that all Councils are facing, although it is clear, that northern councils like ours with high levels of poverty and a consequent high demand on local public services, are suffering more than most.

As 2012 begins you can be sure we will continue to champion Blackpool and continue to look to what funding streams may become available to help reduce inequalities and improve the lives of those who need it most. We will also be continuing to work to attract better and higher paid jobs to our borough and the wider Lancashire area as part of our role within the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.

At a meeting of the Executive last week we outlined our vision, mission, values and priorities as we see them following extensive discussions with our staff.

Now we want your opinion to see what you think and to have your say …we are working to change Blackpool…we are not going to merely wish for it to happen and stand idly by why the world goes on around us and our vision, mission and priorities outline the way we will work, where we will focus our efforts and what we hope to achieve.

Our values will shape the way we will behave in our dealings with our customers – be they members of the public or other stakeholders such as businesses, suppliers or investors.

Please have your say on our draft values by submitting your comments through this link direct to the Council’s website. We will listen to what you have to say and we will report back to you any changes as a result of what you tell us.

Click here to have your say on our draft values.

Cllr Simon Blackburn

Leader of Blackpool Council

Merry Christmas

What a busy few weeks!  If I had a Facebook page (and you probably know why I don’t!) I would update my status to “I’ve just got a Christmas card off Laurence Llewelyn Bowen!”

As you will know, Laurence has worked on the Illuminations with us for a number of years and I had the pleasure of meeting him and his daughters at this years illuminations switch-on event – a really nice guy, with some great ideas for the future of our displays.   

Talking about nice people, I have been touched by the generosity shown by the people of Blackpool with their plentiful donations to the Give a little… Help a Lot campaign, that my deputy Cllr Fred Jackson and his wife Pamela have been heavily involved in.

The campaign was set up by the Council in direct response to our priority to tackle child poverty and make a difference to local children’s lives this Christmas. For hundreds of families in our borough, Christmas could have been just like any other day, as parents struggle to afford even the smallest gift for their children. But thanks to the generosity of the people living here in Blackpool, 1000 children and young people will receive presents this year.

Together with staff from Blackpool Council and the Salvation Army, representatives of Stay Blackpool, Blackpool BID, volunteers from churches around the borough and the Blackpool Gazette have worked together to publicise the campaign, co-ordinate collections and help with the distribution of more than £40,000 worth of toys and £4,000 in cash.

On top of that donations of food were also made and have been distributed through Children’s Centres, targeting those families who are experiencing tough times financially. 

Our partners Merlin have donated hundred of tickets for local children to enjoy the pantomime this Christmas and a number of tickets for the Dungeons and SEALIFE centre too, meaning families can enjoy a day out that they just couldn’t have hoped to afford, as have Pleasure Beach Blackpool, who have donated wristbands for Nickelodeon Land, and their festive spectacular – which is well worth a visit!

Families will also be able to experience to new rides at the Sandcastle next year thanks to their generous donation of 150 free tickets. It really has been a borough-wide effort and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their contributions, whether of money, gifts or time in helping to make Christmas happy for Blackpool’s families this year.  

Back however to the hard reality of being in power.  I’ve got meetings with representatives from the Trade Unions and my Cabinet colleagues to discuss the budget for 2012/13. 

Staff here at the Council have been very generous in accepting changes to their terms and conditions of employment to help get us through previous budgets and we are having serious discusions about how we move forward. 

There is no getting away from the fact that we can’t make the kind of cuts being enforced on us without cutting valuable services and losing experienced and valuable employees. 

These discussions will be ongoing over the festive period and well into January, and I hope to be able to come up with a solution which privileges those areas of the Council’s operations that the public feel are most important to them.

Budgets and Pensions

The Chief Executive and I have just finished a series of staff conferences, which we consider have been so successful we’d like them to become annual events. 

Over four sessions, we spoke to more than 1,000 staff both in the Winter Gardens and at Blackpool Football Club. 

The overwhelming feedback we received was that our staff welcomed the opportunity to speak directly with us, and have the chance to make suggestions and proposals about the way in which the Council could be more responsive and efficient in future.

It was a good opportunity to discuss some key decisions which will be coming up over the next few weeks and months, not least in respect of the Council’s budget, which is due to be set in February.

The headline figure, which you may have read about in the local press and in Your Blackpool, is a budget gap of £10 million – wholly due to cuts to our funding made by the Government.

The move follows on from previous reductions implemented this financial year which include a series of cost cutting measures such as £1.8m cut from the cost of senior managers, £2m from agreed reductions to staff terms and conditions, efficiency measures worth around £2.25m, cuts to members allowances and senior member positions saving £200k and job losses through a combination of volunteers, retirements and redundancies.

 I am hoping that we may be able to avoid compulsory redundancies by seeking volunteers and retirements and have asked the Chief Executive to ensure that compulsory redundancies will only be considered when all other savings measures have been exhausted.

My administration’s priority is to ensure that the services to the most vulnerable in our society will be saved and I will do all that I can to protect the front line. However, people should be in no doubt that thanks to the Government’s stance of public spending, we will be faced with difficult decisions that will impact directly on local communities.   

All of our services make a big difference to people’s lives and we have to find the fairest way to make sure that our decisions are carefully thought out.

We will ensure that there will be no attack on our libraries like there was last year, and we’ve committed to ensuring next year’s Illuminations will not bear the hallmarks of the cuts made last year. 

I am going to be asking staff to extend their agreement on revised terms and conditions for a further 12 months with the exception of car parking charges – so far their sacrifices have saved the jobs of over 100 of their colleagues, and ensured that a further £2 million has not had to be cut from frontline services – I hope they will feel able to take the brave step to extend this agreement, but I do understand how big an ask this is, especially with the economy still bumping along the bottom, and prices still rising in the shops.

With regards to car parking, while it is true that it saved  around £200k, it cost significant amounts to administer, reducing the total saved but has also caused issues in some local areas where on street parking has become an issue.

We are listening to our staff and our residents on this issue and are proposing to remove this charge in the next financial year.

The council will be consulting with residents on the forthcoming budget. For more details log on to www.blackpool.gov.uk/haveyoursay from early December.

Many of our staff will be on strike this coming Wednesday (as I myself will be), in protest at changes to public sector pensions. 

This will cause people inconvenience, and whilst I don’t like to see the citizens of Blackpool inconvenienced, I do think it will be an important opportunity to pause and reflect on how much public servants are taken for granted, and how valuable the work they do is to society as a whole. 

Sometimes the only way of drawing people’s attention (and especially Government’s attention) to a problem is to withdraw your labour. 

The simple truth is that hundreds of thousands of workers, especially low paid staff, part-time staff, and working women, are set to be much worse off under the current proposals, and all concerned need to indicate a willingness to engage in meaningful negotiations to find a deal that is fair to low paid workers and taxpayers alike.

For most of the last decade (when economic growth was consistently strong, in the region of 5%) growth in Blackpool was only around 2.5% – so even in the good times, we were lagging behind. 

Youth unemployment is soaring, and likely to get worse, and the notion of having any further widespread redundancies from the Council, as well as the spectre of pensioners having to exist on even less than they have now would not bode well for the economic future of Blackpool – not least the town centre.

We’re actively looking at ways to boost the town centre economy – the Central Business District proposals – including the new Sainsbury’s store, will create hundreds of new jobs. 

Moving council staff in to the town centre and out of our outlying offices (another key facet of the CBD proposals) should also act as a boost to shops, cafes and businesses in the area.  I can’t go into detail at the moment, but our medium term plans for the central car park site, and the Winter Gardens could provide hundreds, if not thousands of new jobs.

I wrote a few weeks ago about the need for a renewed focus on economic growth, and for all of the reasons set out above, I’m spending more and more time pursuing these aims, and pushing forward with plans for revitalising the local economy. 

What I am mindful of however, at all times, is that our staff and contractors are a big part of the local economy – and that we need to keep as many of them as possible in place, providing the life changing services they provide to the public, and supporting the town centre and wider Blackpool economy.  Therefore I take their pay, terms and conditions, pensions, and their views very seriously, and hope we’ll be able to move forward on the budget negotiations and discussions in a positive way over the coming weeks.

Working together

As I am rapidly discovering in this job, on most days there is a blend of good news and bad news.

The latest unemployment figures show that since January there has been a 87% rise in young people out of work for at least 6 months in the North West, but in Blackpool South, there has been a staggering 223% rise, and in Blackpool North and Cleveleys youth unemployment has risen by 283%. 

Last week we received confirmation that officially, between 20% and 25% of our young people are considered to be ‘not in education, employment or training’ (NEET in the jargon term for this, which we’re going to have to get used to hearing I’m afraid). In actual fact, however these figures mask a bigger problem – substantially more of our young people are notionally in some form of employment or training, but not actually undertaking activities that most of us would consider to be sustainable – there are all sorts of “training opportunities” out there, which don’t lead to much more than a certificate, and an awful lot of jobs which have few, if any prospects – often even any prospect of still being in existence beyond the first weekend in November. 

I would go so far as to suggest that in the region of HALF of our 16-24 year olds are not in stable education or employment.

As of October (crucially, BEFORE the season ended) there were more than 8 Jobseekers Allowance claimants for every job advertised in Blackpool Job Centres – compared to just over 4 this time last year. That means that on average, there are twice as many people chasing everyBlackpooljob as there are in the region as a whole. Last year, we were able to use the Future Jobs Fund to create 159 six months job opportunities in Blackpool (half of these people went on to get permanent jobs) – but sadly, the Government has stopped funding this scheme.

Add to this the loss of thousands of civil service jobs which are planned over the coming 12-24 months – I met members of the PCS union last week to discuss this problem, and have agreed to help them in their lobbying- and the potential loss of over 1000 posts at BAE in Warton – again, something that I have discussed with workplace representatives from UNITE the union – and we have a potential timebomb to deal with.

I am working with the Leader of Lancashire County Council, and the MP for Blackpool South, to make sure that an Enterprise Zone (and a meaningful one at that) is created in Warton, and I will be pressing the Government on arrangements for an Apprenticeship centre on this site – which is within the travel-to-work area for our young people. 

I have asked the Chief Executive to look at how the Council and its partner organisations make use of apprenticeships, and to look at ways of further encouraging our sub-contractors to use 100% local labour wherever humanly possible.  I met with Tourism Minister John Penrose MP earlier this week, and discussed proposals for a ‘Tourism Development Zone’ right here in Blackpool, which would offer incentives for existing private business to grow and new ones to relocate to the area, and I discussed a possible reduction in VAT with both him, and Ed Miliband, on his recent visit to Blackpool.

On the good news front, we’ve launched the ‘Give a little – help a lot’ campaign. The brainchild of my Deputy Leader’s wife, Pam Jackson, this represents a practical, here and now, approach to the issues of child poverty I’ve written about before. We are asking people to donate cash, toys or food to our appeal, to ensure that no child in Blackpool is left out this Christmas. 

We know that lots of good work goes on every year to do this, not least through organisations like the Salvation Army – but this year, we decided that the situation was so acute; it simply wasn’t possible to do too much.  I’ve been delighted by the response we’ve had so far, and we’ve only just got going. Council staff have been fantastic, and we’ve had some very generous individual donations as well.

What ties these two issues together, however, is the support I have had from the private sector and voluntary sector in the town. Both in my attempts to persuade the Government of the need to continue to invest in Blackpool (and to give us the tools to help ourselves to grow and regenerate) and in our attempts to get the ‘Give a little…’ campaign up and running. 

Merlin, Pleasure Beach Blackpool, Churches, Faith Groups, The Gazette, StayBlackpool and Blackpool BID, to name but a few, have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with us in our campaigning for the town, and I do not doubt they will continue to do so. 

We need more of this. Working together to build the town’s reputation and profile can only be a positive move. We need to be honest with ourselves, and our neighbours, about what the problems are – respect each others strengths and weaknesses, and allow those with good ideas to get on and turn them into action. 

Public, private, community and voluntary sectors demonstrating to the Government exactly what we are capable of, and earning the trust and the confidence of those who can assist us in our collective aims – that’s what it is all about. 

Thanks everyone!


*To find out more about how you can help with the ‘Give a Little, Help a Lot’ campaign, click here