IT’S BEEN – literally – a topsy-turvy old week.
Few people reading this will have missed the story in the media about the Chadderton boundary sign being installed ‘upside down’.
Were we embarrassed? Certainly.
Do I accept this was a mistake anyone could have made? Certainly not.
My take on it is pretty straightforward. It was a cock-up and exactly the kind of mistake that Oldham Council needs to cut out to regain residents’ trust.
This should – as Michael Lawson from the Chadderton Historical Society rightly pointed out – have been the tale about a new sign that reflects what local residents want and restores a district’s proud identity. But that message was sadly lost in the fog.
The week did at least put itself the right way up eventually and end on a very bright note with recognition at North West in Bloom for some fantastic partnership working here in the Borough.
Bloom and Grow, a campaign which I credit the previous administration for putting in place, scooped the ‘Best City’ prize plus an Environmental Award.
Next we will have the honour to represent the region at Britain in Bloom 2012 and in the ‘City’ category and it’s a challenge I am certain we can meet.
Bloom and Grow has seen Council staff working with people across all sectors of the community and is a fantastic model of what I mean when I talk about our future as a Cooperative Borough.
Everyone involved here pulled together and did their bit, no matter how big or small, to deliver a common good: improving Oldham as a place to live.
Our Parks and Street Scene teams worked with residents from school age to the elderly, housing associations, local firms in our Business Improvement District, partners in health and the voluntary sectors, and many more to pull this off and I salute them all for their dedication and deeds.
Whilst writing today I have noticed that this Blog is just about to register its 10,000th hit since it was launched back in June.
Since taking office I’ve been at pains to nurture better and more regular engagement with residents and stakeholders – like the recent Question Time event, for example – because I believe it lies at the core of our approach to moving Oldham forward.
The Blog is just one small medium through which I want to make an ongoing dialogue, accountability and transparency the norm in how we operate.
Whilst I don’t kid myself that every Borough resident has read it, I think it’s important that people can read about my week and see what I am trying to do on their behalf.
An online blog like this can also theoretically live on forever in Google’s cached archives for everyone to see and read – but that’s not the case with historic documents.
That’s why this week I’ve purchased an historic note from Winston Churchill and made a personal donation to Gallery Oldham’s collection.
Regular readers here will know that I am a keen historian so, when I became aware of this document, I decided to prevent it from falling into the hands of a private collector and gathering dust in a drawer somewhere.
Whilst I’m always looking forward with our plans for the Borough I also think it’s important that we value your heritage and ensure that it can be enjoyed and experienced by future generations.
Churchill, of course, knew all about difficult topsy-turvy weeks – especially during wartime – and that’s a thought which helps me put a proper perspective on the past week’s events.
Thanks for listening,