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@Link4Life

Grants available to create Tour de France cycling success

tour-de-france-grantsTo celebrate the second stage of Le Tour de France coming to the borough in July, Rochdale Borough Council is making a total of £20,000 available for local groups to make the visit of the sporting spectacular even more memorable.

Community groups and local event organisers can now apply for funding from the council to support events or activities that will help to showcase the borough either before, during or after the weekend of the race.

To be eligible, groups or organisations should put forward activities which will help to mark the historic visit of the tour to Rochdale. The council is particularly interested in ideas that encourage a healthy lifestyle and promote participation in sport, as well as activities that appeal to a wide range of people. To encourage a lasting legacy they are also looking to support groups to run activities that will encourage new members.

Grant applications must be received by the closing date of 12 May. For more details on the guidance and how to apply visit www.rochdale.gov.uk.

Mark Widdup, Director of Economy and Environment at Rochdale Borough Council, said: "The visit of Le Tour de France to Rochdale this summer is going to be a fantastic occasion. The key for us is to make sure we celebrate the day, but also help to support local events to ensure the impact of the race spreads far and wide. This is why we are providing £20,000 of funding. If you are a community group or organisation based in the borough and have an event which is linked to cycling or the race, we would like to hear from you. Events don't just have to be on 6 July, we are keen to look at all ideas for before or after the Sunday too. We hope the money will help to make event or celebrations happen, so please get in touch."

On Sunday 6 July around a kilometre of the route passes into Rochdale – along a section of B6138 and the A58 adjacent to Blackstone Edge Reservoir, during Stage 2 from York to Sheffield.

The route includes a sharp bend which will slow the tour down and maximise viewing opportunities. Thousands of spectators are expected and it will take more than an hour and a half for the racing cyclists, support teams and media to pass through.

More details on the route and information for spectators can be found at www.rochdale.gov.uk.

Although only 1 km of the race is in Rochdale, the stretch is recognised as being one of the most fascinating sections of the route and is the culmination of the longest continuous hill climb in England.

Ladies in Pink take indoor bowling honours for second year

ladies-in-pinkThis year's winners of the Rochdale Leisure Centre Indoor Bowling League are Ladies in Pink.

Rochdale Leisure Centre hosts a successful weekly Indoor Bowling League every Monday throughout the winter attracting 18 teams and over 150 bowlers.

Teams played 17 league games and 5 End of Season competition games.

For the second year running Ladies in Pink retained the winning title of league champions with Jammy Dodgers runners up. Winners of the End of Season Competition included Dopey Four, Bamford and Newbees.

Link4Life Interim Chief Executive, Gillian Bishop and Kevin Finnegan Vice-Chair of the Link4Life Board were on hand to present winners with their trophies at a special presentation ceremony.

"This group has gone from strength to strength and it is great to see the sports hall facilities at Rochdale Leisure Centre being used in this way", said Kevin Finnegan. "A relatively small investment by the centre in matting and equipment has helped to turn a seasonal outdoor sport into an all year round activity."

Social bowling will continue at Rochdale Leisure Centre throughout April, May and June on Wednesday mornings 10am-12noon at a cost of £2 per person. New members are welcome.

A new league will be launched in September 2014 after the outdoor bowling season finishes. Any teams wishing to join the league who didn't take part this year can register their team by contacting Julie Durrant, Community Sports Development Officer at Link4Life on 01706 926201 or 07976 059 514.

Important Announcement Regarding the Chief Executive Officer

jim-taylorThe Leader of Rochdale Council, Councillor Colin Lambert is announcing that Chief Executive Jim Taylor will be leaving to take up the position of City Director at Salford City Council.

Councillor Lambert said: "Jim Taylor has proved himself to be an excellent and highly skilled Chief Executive. During his time at Rochdale Borough Council he remained fully committed to delivering the vision, expertise and innovation needed to drive Rochdale borough forward.

"As an Authority we will be extremely sorry to see him go but we wish him the very best in his new role at Salford City Council.

"There will be no immediate change, transition arrangements are being discussed and timescales will be announced subject to agreement."

Mr Taylor, who joined Rochdale Borough Council in 2012, said: "I have put my heart and soul into Rochdale borough and I am grateful to have been given the chance to work in an unbelievable place, where people are so friendly and resilient.

"I will miss Rochdale borough, no doubt about it, but it is rare that a local government job in a city becomes available and I felt I had to take this opportunity.

Salford is a vibrant city at the heart of Greater Manchester and is experiencing huge growth with the success of MediaCity, Port Salford and its close links with Manchester."

Paul Chowdhry adds Arena date

paul-chowdhryOne of the most in demand stand-up comedians is coming to Middleton Arena this autumn during his extended 2014 tour.

Paul Chowdhry, host of Channel 4's 'Stand Up For The Week' and star of BBC1s 'Live at the Apollo' brings his biggest ever live tour to the arena for one night only - on Friday 19 September.

Winner of the 2013 'Lafta Funniest Stand Up' award, Paul is one of the hottest comics on the circuit – next month he'll be performing on the Channel 4 Comedy Gala in front of thousands at the 02 in London in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital.

His 'PC's World' tour, which has already been selling out theatres across the country, tackles everything borderline within the human psyche with his razor sharp wit. PC may be his initials, but the relentless world he lives in definitely isn't! Why has tackling the preconceptions of political correctness become so offensive? Paul promises to tackle these with hard-hitting subjects like the fine art of attracting the opposite sex, non-existent customer services and the now infamous 1980's!

Constantly challenging, his highly charged dry observational humour taps into the multicultural diversity of contemporary Britain.

Paul Chowdhry - 'PC's World' visits Middleton Arena at 8pm on Friday 19 September. Tickets (£14) are available online, phone 0844 855 4020 or collect in person at the Arena box office.

Rochdale’s World War One commemoration plans

rochdale-world-war-one-commemoration-plansRochdale Borough Council has confirmed further details of events being staged this year to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

More than 30 events are planned including a WW1 Centenary Schools Poetry Competition and a WW1 themed play performed at local schools. Pupils will also be taking part in a battlefield tour.

On Tuesday 24 June the council will host 'An Evening with Simon Weston OBE' at Rochdale Town Hall. Businesses and Armed Forces guests will be invited to the event which will look at the work of Rochdale's Community Covenant so far, specifically Armed Forces transferrable skills and employment.

From August the town hall hosts a medal display and on 4 August churches across the borough will open their doors and hold candlelit reflection services marking the centenary of the day World War One started.

Also in August there will be a re-enactment of the famous Lancashire Fusiliers March from Todmorden to Rochdale - on Friday, August 6, 1914, following the order to mobilise on August 4 when Britain had entered the war, men from the two Todmorden Territorial Army companies of the Rochdale Battalion of the 6th Lancashire Fusiliers marched to Rochdale to join with men from Middleton and Rochdale.

On 14 September there's a parade in Heywood to mark the 70th Anniversary of Arnhem and on 1 November a festival of Remembrance Concert at the town hall.

Councillor Alan McCarthy, Lead Member for the Armed Forces said commemorations for the 2014 WW1 Centenary will be a poignant opportunity to reflect and remember those who have died and served in our Armed Forces since the start of World War One: "Our duty with these commemorations is clear ... to honour those who served, to remember those who died and to ensure that the lessons learnt live with us for ever. The World War One Centenary provides an opportunity for people of all ages to come together and demonstrate our civic support for the extraordinary work our forces do."

For details of all the events taking place visit www.rochdale.gov.uk/armedforces.

The council signed the Armed Forces Community Covenant in 2012, aimed at encouraging communities to support services that promote and encourage activities that help integrate armed forces personnel back into civilian life.

Last year the government announced a four-year programme to commemorate the centenary, including educational and cultural activities.

Rochdale’s World Cup record

rochdales-world-cup-record-successRochdale's contribution to last year's record Rugby League World Cup 2013 success was celebrated at Spotland Stadium this week.

Representatives of the group responsible for managing the clash between Fiji and Ireland were presented with framed commemorative photographs of a sell-out Spotland stadium by RLWC2013 officials at half time during Rochdale Hornets Challenge Cup game against Leigh Centurions.

The Rochdale game was organised by a partnership between Rochdale Borough Council, Link4Life, Rochdale Hornets and Denehurst Park Stadium.

The presentation came on the back of the announcement from World Cup organisers that the tournament had been the most successful in the history of the game. The bumper crowds and commercial success of RLWC2013 allowed the tournament to deliver a record financial return in excess of £3.7m to the Rugby League International Federation.

Rugby League World Cup 2013 reached new areas and attracted new fans to the sport with 14 per cent of tickets purchased by people gaining their first experience of Rugby League. The event experience provided for fans at the matches was highly rated, with 91 per cent of spectators rating their RLWC2013 experience as eight or more out of 10 and 73 per cent of fans stating it was better than any other sporting event they had attended in the past.

More than 30,000 people said that they had been inspired to become involved in Rugby League in some capacity and almost 14,000 people who had no previous engagement with the sport now intend to become involved.

RLWC2013 General Manager Sally Bolton said: "The game in Rochdale was a great success, achieving a stadium record crowd and really capturing the public imagination. Our congratulations go to everyone involved. After the excitement and euphoria of the tournament and what we felt we had achieved in terms of fan engagement and reach, it is very satisfying to have that reflected in the research. The staging of the tournament was always focused on generating increased interest in and engagement with the sport and these findings show the opportunity that the sport now has to grow."

Whilst 8,872 watched the game in Rochdale, more than 450,000 spectators watched the tournament live overall and the competition pulled 18.8m television viewers in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

One of the souvenir prints will be displayed at Spotland Stadium, with the other shortly going on temporary display at Number One Riverside in Rochdale before moving to the town hall.

Rochdale town centre changing fast

black-box-bus-stationThe transformation of Rochdale town centre continues apace with scaffolding going up around the old black box in the past week.

It will take around eight weeks to cover the entire building, which will finally be consigned to history by the end of October this year.

Rubble now covers much of the site of the old bus station and car park, which will be gone by the end of this month.

Most of the bridgelinks have now disappeared with only the section between the back of M&S and the bottom of Yorkshire Street remaining. This will be removed at the beginning of May.

Once the demolition is complete, a 200 capacity car park will be constructed on the site of the old bus station, with landscaped walkways being laid where the black box once stood. Longer term, a shopping and leisure facility will be constructed on the cleared site.

Shoppers can continue to access the Wheatsheaf from Baillie Street or Yorkshire Street until the new entrance opens at the end of November.

Visitors can use the town centre shuttle bus to get around the shops more easily during the demolition. The bus leaves stand c in the bus station every 20 minutes between 8.05am and 5.05pm.

Mark Widdup, Director of Economy and Environment at Rochdale Borough Council, said: "It's an exciting time for the town centre with the skyline changing very quickly. By the end of the year we'll be looking at a totally different town centre which will be the perfect location for the new restaurants and shops we plan to bring on board in the coming months."