2 Million Apprentices

In just two weeks time will be National Apprenticeship Week, a national week to raise awareness about the positive impact apprentices are having on the economy, and on increasing employment, including increasing employment for young people.

The local Lib Dem team has been celebrating the news that 2 million apprenticeships have been created during the current parliament, thanks to the Lib Dems in Government.


Across Bury this means that:
– 8,150 apprentships have been provided during the current parliament
– 190 local businesses in Bury have received the £1,500 apprentiship grant from the Government.

The Office of National Statistics reported that the level people in work is at a record of high of 73.2 per cent and average earnings including bonuses increased by 2.1 per cent in the quarter, compared with the previous year.

In Bury that means 1800 more jobs than in 2010.

National Apprenticeship Week 2015 is all about:
– getting more small businesses to take on apprentices
– promoting the range and breadth of apprenticeships on offer, including those at Higher level and within blue chip companies

Find out more about opportunities as an employee and and as an employer at the Apprenticeship Week Website here.

Metrolink Update

Long suffering passengers on the Bury Metrolink line will have welcome the return to:
– trams stopping at Victoria, and
– through trains to Piccadilly
both which came into force last week.

This now means that we have our six-minute service from Bury to the city centre back and a link to Piccadilly station.

The closure of Victoria and the single line operation through the station has been part of the multimillion pound Government investment in Manchester Victoria station – perviously voted the ‘worst station in the country’!

The redesigned and expanded Manchester Victoria Metrolink stop will ultimately allow more frequent and flexible services to run through the railway station as part of the new Second City Crossing and wider tram network expansion.

You can now see the beginnings of the second city crossing trackbed coming out from Victoria.

Screenshot 2015-02-25 10.23.32

Market Street Station

The first phase of work to modernise the city centre Market Street stop is now completed – the first part of work to offer a greatly improved shelter and stop appearance whilst making it easier for passengers to move around the busy stop.

Work to reinforce the foundations was completed over the February half-term week, in preparation for a new passenger shelter being installed, with the older bus-style shelters removed in readiness for a much longer single shelter to be installed this spring.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you require further information. ​

Prestwich Beer Festival Seeks Volunteers

Prestwich Beer Festival is looking for volunteers to help make the festival happen.

Prestwich Beer Festival, 26th – 28th March 2015, Longfield Suite, Prestwich is a 3 day event for beer and foodie lovers alike.

Beer The team from the festival say:

“Volunteering at Prestwich Beer Festival could not be easier. Just fill out a simple form and let us know when you are free and we’ll do the rest. You’ll receive a full briefing prior to the event and gain free access for your shift and beyond, plus food vouchers and free beer.

This is the perfect opportunity for beer enthusiasts, local community supporters or to be honest, just anyone wanting to have fun and meet some new people at a great event.

Download the form here and apply today!

More information from the Prestwich Beer Festival Website.

Increasing Access to GPs

A very common subject which residents raise with me is around access to GPs. I know that a lot of people have experienced problems getting an appointment at their GPs. IN particular it can be a problem getting the appointment at the GP that ‘works for you’ – e.g. at a time that suits your life or with a particular GP (e.g. ‘your own’ GP).

Last week my Lib Dem colleague Cllr Tim Pickstone was a special meeting of Bury Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee to look at this issue.

The meeting saw a presentation on the work of the Bury GP Federation, a new Limited Company which has been set up with 3 out of the 33 General Practices in Bury – i.e. 91% of all patients. Since coming into formation the two biggest projects the Federation have undertaken are two government funded projects to improve health in the Bury borough:

Nov 2013 – Contract to deliver ‘Healthier Radcliffe’ pilot
April 2014 – Prime Ministers Challenge Fund – to ensure access to GP services.


Seven Day Working for GPs in Bury

In April 2014 Bury GP Federation was successful in being granted secured £2.7m from Government to deliver a pilot, which aims to provide patients with more choice, convenience and flexibility in accessing local GP services. The ‘pilot’ has now been extended with more Government money to extend the project into 2014-15

At the moment the pilot is partially up and running, but will be fully up and running before the summer.

What this means is that patients in Bury can now book GP appointments at evenings and weekends at one of five extra-opening centres across Bury:

Tottington Health Centre, Radcliffe Primary Care Centre, Moorgate Primary Care Centre, Townside Primary Care Centre, and Prestwich Health Centre.

The service is available to any patient registered with a Bury GP and patients can book appointments through their own GP surgeries. Appointments will be up to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 8am – 6pm Saturday and Sunday.

Anyone from anywhere in Bury can go to any centre – e.g. if a Prestwich person finds it easier to go to an appointment in Bury Town Centre then that is fine. Whichever centre we go to the GP that we see will be able to access all our notes, and write to our notes. Obviously what it won’t be, is access to our own GP – if we want that we need to access them in the normal way at our own surgery.

Increased Telephone and Online
As well as the introduction of longer GP opening hours the pilot will also:

· offer telephone consultations to patients as a routine alternative to face-to face appointments at a time that suits them (during normal surgery opening hours)
· support patients from the 30 GP Federation practices to register to use a range of online services so they can book GP appointments and order prescriptions online.

When the scheme is fully up and running by summer, there will be 1420 extra GP appointments every week in across Bury. (At present it is at 50% capacity – 700 extra appointments a week).

The Government has recently announced that it will give the project an extra £600,000 to keep the pilot going until November 2015 – after that GPs will need to make the case to the NHS in Bury to carry on funding this, though at present they are hopeful this can happen.

Let us know what you think
Hopefully, when it is up and running, this is some improvement to GP services and how we access them. Please do let us know what you think – donal@burylibdems.net.

Our Parliamentary Candidates Paul Ankers and Richard Baum have done a ‘Health Survey’ about these and other issues – you can take the short survey here.

Business Event: ‘Bury Gets Digital’

A ‘Bury Gets Digital’ Event takes place at the Longfield on Thursday 26 February, 5pm.

This event offers you the opportunity to explore how digital and creative services, including super-fast broadband, can make a profound impact on your business.

Further reasons to attend:
– Meet exhibitors showcasing an array of digital, technology and creative services offered by businesses across the borough.
– Guest speakers will present their unique stories, focusing on the impact technology has had on their business.
– An opportunity to network with organisations from across Greater Manchester.
– Meet Digital Growth Advisors, from the Business Growth Hub, who will be accessible to identify which opportunities/programmes are available to your business.
– Additional information regarding the Bury Gets Digital Event can be found here.

For further information, please contact

Simon Joos – Employment, Skills and Business Engagement Officer 0161 253 6140
Email: s.joos@bury.gov.uk

Boost for Prestwich Cycling

Two important pieces of news around cycling in the Prestwich area

Prestwich to Heaton Park Cycle Route
Work is starting this month to improve cycling facilities in Prestwich with an improved route for cycling between Heaton Park and Prestwich Metrolink.

The work is part of the Government Funded Cycle City Ambition Grant which has been given to Greater Manchester with £97,500 being allocated for this piece of work in Prestwich.

The route goes from the Heaton Park gates, up Whittaker Lane, the up Rectory Lane towards the Longfield and Prestwich Metrolink. As well as new cycle lanes, there is specific work to make junctions safer for cyclists – at the Rectory Lane/St Mary’s Road junction, and at the Rector Lane/Heywood Road roundabout. To complete the package, it is expected that the junction of Bury Old Road and Whittaker Lane will be signalised to make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the A665. This work is expected to start in April and be completed by August.

At Prestwich Metrolink itself there will be work to provide a safer route under the Metrolink for cyclists by using the 2nd (Poppythorn Lane), linking through behind the car-park to the existing cycle facilities at the station. A separate project which is also funded by Government is to make Prestwich Metrolink is to become one of the first ‘cycle and ride’ stations on the Metrolink network – more information on this when we have it.

Hopefully this route will be a good addition to facilities in Prestwich, and a start of a bigger network of safer routes across the town.

Prestwich – Manchester Cycleway

It now seems that the proposed ‘Prestwich – Manchester’ cycle route will NOT be going ahead following a consultation. The proposal was a route that went through Heaton Park, then through the parts of Blakeley and Collyhurst, finishing near the Metrolink depot on Queens Road. Many people, including a great number of cyclists in the Prestwich area were very clear to the Council that this was not the most appropriate route for various reasons (a very indirect route, a lot of steep inclines, and the fact that Heaton Park itself is closed as soon as it goes dark).

In our view it is better to spend this Government Money on something that we want and that people will use, rather than a route that is not widely supported.

What is very important now is that some of this Government money IS spent on improving cycling links north from Manchester City Centre towards Prestwich. Manchester now has some great cycle routes heading south, east and west – so it is vital that the north of the city benefits too! Perhaps the most logical and direct route, were it to be made safer, would be the Bury Old Route – but people would need to be consulted on this.


My Lib Dem colleague Cllr Tim Pickstone has already written to Manchester City Council (who have this as their project) asking what will be happening with the money previously allocated to the Prestwich-Manchester route, and what plans there can be for a new route in the north of the city towards Prestwich.

RSPCA Mobile Clinic at the Longfield

The RSPCA Bury and Oldham Branch will be providing a low cost health check, vaccinations, worm/flea treatments and microchipping service on:

Wednesday 4 March 2015
8.30am – 1.30pm
Longfield Shopping Centre


Healthcheck (including microchipping) £10
Vaccination/booster £18

This is a drop in clinic – no appointment necessary, but to qualify you must be on means tested benefits or low income. More information from 0161 624 4725 or from www.rspca-buryoldham.org.uk

Free Memory Screening Service in Prestwich

Information from the NHS:

Worried about your memory – Free Memory Screening available at PRESTWICH PHARMACY, Longfield Centre, Prestwich
If you are 50 and over, worried about your memory or of a loved one and it’s affecting everyday life then drop in or book an appointment on 0161 798 2778


Tuesday 17 February, 10am – 2pm
Tuesday 24 February, 10am – 2pm
Tuesday 3 March, 1pm – 3pm

There may be many reasons for memory problems but it can also be a sign of a medical condition such as Dementia. Early detection and diagnosis of dementia can help improve people’s quality of life with lots of help and support available for families and carers.

The Memory Screening is also available at the following GP Practices:
Fairfax, St Gabriel and Whittaker Lane – please call the Practices directly to book an appointment

For more information, contact safina.rashid@adab.org.uk 0161 764 6749

Thursday is ‘Time to Talk about Mental Health’ Day

Thursday 5 February 2015 is Time to Talk Day – asking the nation to take 5 minutes to have a conversation about mental health.

Having a mental health problem is hard enough, but sometimes the isolation and stigma can make it even worse. But we can all help to break the silence. Talking about mental health doesn’t need to be difficult and can make a big difference. That’s why we’re asking you to take just 5 minutes on the 5th to have a conversation about mental health.We will all know someone who has suffered from a mental health problem.

There is more information on the Time for Change campaign here.


One in four of us will be personally affected but almost all of us will have a parent, child, sibling, friend or colleague who has experienced a mental health problem.

In the Bury area alone, latest figures show almost 7000 of people have been diagnosed as suffering from depression. But the real figure may be even higher. All too often, people are unable to access the support and treatment they deserve. For many years, mental health has been stigmatised with people feeling too embarrassed or ashamed to ask for help.

We need to break down these barriers. The sooner we can talk openly about mental health, the sooner people can get the support they need.

Thursday 5 February is Time to Talk Day; a national day where everyone is asked to take five minutes to have a conversation about mental health. Taking this short time out of your day can make a big difference and it’s completely up to you where you have that conversation – whether it be at work, home, in your community, school or online.

Bit by bit, we are making progress: transforming people’s attitudes and putting in place the reforms necessary to deliver long lasting improvements in our mental health services.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Health Minister Norman Lamb are leading Liberal Democrat plans to invest an extra £150m over five years to improve services for children and young people suffering from eating disorders and calling for all NHS trusts to commit to a new ambition for zero suicides.

Our zero suicide ambition is about changing how people who are in NHS care are treated so that they are not forgotten when they move house or transfer from one service to another.

The Liberal Democrats are also using £400 million to help people with mental health problems get the right support early on, such as psychological (or “talking”) therapies. We are also introducing the first ever access and waiting time standards to make sure people get help quickly when they need it – just as they would with a physical health condition.

We have committed to invest at least £500m extra every year in mental health in the next Parliament, building on the waiting time standards we have already introduced and improving support for new mothers, children and adolescents. Fundamentally, this is about making sure everyone gets a fair chance in life.

The Liberal Democrats will champion equality for all people with mental health problems and won’t stop until this is achieved. It’s wrong that in this day and age there is still stigma around mental health. Simply talking about how you’re feeling can really make a difference to people. You wouldn’t think twice about telling a friend you’ve broken your leg – physical and mental health should not only be treated equally in the NHS but should be discussed and treated equally in all other spheres of life.

Take a small time out of your day on 5 February to talk about mental health – it could make all the difference.