One of the many suggestions I’ve had from the feedback received from my weekly e-Dispatches email newsletter, is to give a brief outline of some of the work I do when I’m back in the constituency at the weekend… a round-up of events and key issues. So here, goes…
This Friday I had a number of Surgery appointments in my office at Denton Town Hall, mainly for people who could not easily get to one of my previous drop-in sessions. Benefit changes, the bedroom tax, and housing issues continue to dominate my case workload, primarily as the Government’s so-called ‘welfare reforms’ bite hard across the communities I represent. I was also lobbied by the Fire Brigades’ Union about the proposed cuts to Greater Manchester Fire Service, and also had people making enquiries about the future use of North Reddish School and the plans by Stockport Council to allow house building on part of Reddish Vale Country Park.
For details of future surgeries, please see here.
HERITAGE WEEKEND: a visit to St Lawrence’s Church
For those that don’t know, St Lawrence’s Church in Denton is a real gem. It is one of only a handful of fully timber-framed churches left standing in the country (many similar churches having been replaced by grand Victorian structures).
Originally dedicated to St James, the church – also known as ‘Th’ owd Peg’ (because it’s held together by wooden pegs) or ‘the black and white church’ (for obvious reasons) – was built in 1531 as a chapel of ease… This is because the main place of worship for Dentonians and Haughtonians before that was Manchester Parish Church (now the Cathedral) some 6 miles away.
The church was rededicated to St Lawrence during the tenure of the Reverend Parr Greswell in the mid nineteenth century, after a fragment of original Tudor stained glass was found, depicting the martyrdom of St Lawrence on the gridiron.
St Lawrence’s is undergoing substantial restoration internally and the Heritage Open Day provided the local population with an opportunity to see the latest work. The uneven floor has now been removed and re-laid and is now awaiting the seating to be reinstalled. Other work includes a beautiful new wood and glass partition, to allow one of the transepts to be used for community use, as well as the installation of ‘mod cons’ like under-floor heating, modern central heating and a new kitchen and toilets; the latter being a huge improvement on the ‘Tudor toilet’ on public display!
Of interest in the churchyard, a large stone has been uncovered, which is thought to be one side of the old village stocks. The reverse side of the stone apparently has the groove for the wooden slats to be placed.
Anyway, with work continuing, it is expected that St Lawrence’s should be fully functioning as a place of worship again by late October. She’ll be fit for another 500 years!
FLORIFEROUS FUN: the 47th Annual Haughton Green Horticulture Show
The Haughton Green Show has been a diary fixture for the past few years. It’s always great to see so many beautiful flowers, amazing vegetables, detailed crafts, and wonderful cakes and other baked items entered into this competition. As in past years, Councillors Claire Francis, Brenda Warrington and I were given the task of awarding the prizes. Well done to all who took part, and to the Haughton Green Gardening Society for organising.
COMMUNITY ACTION: Denton West End Library re-opens
Last year was not a good year for libraries in Denton. Sadly, as a result of Government cuts to Tameside Council’s budgets, two of the town’s three libraries were closed. However, the local community rallied around and now both Haughton Green and Denton West End libraries seem to have a bright future ahead, mainly thanks to the two Friends’ Groups which were established shortly after the closures.
My office has been working closely with the Friends of Denton West End Library and the local community in Dane Bank to try and help make their plans come to fruition. Thanks to the efforts of the Friends Group, who managed to fund raise and secure enough grants to actually buy the old library building from Tameside Council, the Library has now officially re-opened. I was asked to perform the task of cutting the ribbon on Sunday (with a little help from Spider-Man and Willy Wonka!)
The purchasing of the building would not have been possible without the financial assistance of Forever Manchester, The Co-operative Community Finance and hundreds of local residents who donated small amounts of cash… BUT the Friends Group still needs volunteers to help keep the facility open, and, if you can’t help that way, then they also need small donations to continue, to help cover their running costs.
Keep an eye out for future activities, clubs, and maybe even a pop-up Cinema, at Denton West End Community Library. Their website is available here.
And finally, if you aren’t already signed up to receive my weekly e-Dispatches newsletter, you can do so by posting me your details using the Supporters’ Network link here.