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Rochdale's high flying women show they're the business

international-womens-daySuccessful women from across Rochdale got together to share advice and inspirational stories for an event to mark International Women's Day.

Around 70 women attended the Women in Business Event at Hopwood Hall College, which was organised by Rochdale Borough Council and specialist local business advisors Blue Orchid.

The event was set up to celebrate successful women and encourage more of them to go into business after figures from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) revealed that they make up just one third of entrepreneurs in the UK.

During the day successful local women took to the stage to talk to the audience about how they built their impressive careers.

Among them were Gillian Bishop, CEO of Link4Life, which delivers leisure and cultural services on behalf of the council. Gillian became the youngest Chief Executive in the country when she was appointed to run Allerdale Borough Council in 2005 at the age of 33.

She told the audience that she'd learned vital skills along the way including the importance of setting personal goals, being flexible while staying focussed and treating other people well.

Other speakers included Ruth Yasmeen, Managing Director of Spidervision Productions, whose short film Three Brothers about three South Asian boys growing up in modern Britain was nominated for a BAFTA earlier this year.

Ruth said she wanted to mine the talent in the UK to bridge the gulf between the British film industry and Bollywood, and that she's determined to win a BAFTA for her next film. Ruth is a former social worker, who made a big career change by going into the media. She now has a strong reputation in India, the UK and Pakistan as a screenwriter and producer.

Julie Bowmer, who was named Rochdale Businesswoman of the year in 2014, manages five companies ranging from Food Distributions to Engineering, Accountancy, IT and Property. She told the audience about the importance of taking risks and not being afraid of failure.

Liz McInnes, MP for Heywood and Middleton, and Helen Skidmore, from the council's public health team, also spoke about their career journeys, their inspiration and the skills they have picked up along the way.

The audience, which included solicitors, accountants and graphic designers, also took part in a raffle to win an M&S hamper, which raised money for the Rochdale Women's Welfare Association.

Susan Ayres, Head of Economic Affairs at Rochdale Borough Council, said: "Women in Business was a fantastic event which showcased the huge amount and varied nature of female business talent we have here in Rochdale borough. We are grateful to all the speakers for sharing their experiences and the advice they offered to others to help more women succeed in business."

Councillor Peter Williams, Cabinet Member for Business and Skills at Rochdale Borough Council, said: "It's really important that we celebrate and support these local women who have achieved so much. Strong leaders benefit the whole of the community by bringing in the skills and investment which will drive our borough forward. The council has a range of support available to local businesses, including Blue Orchid, which provides expert advice to help people start and grow their business."

Anyone who would like to access support from Blue Orchid can contact them on 01706 515710.

Issued by Rochdale Borough Council.

Roll of honour remembers our fallen heroes

Paul Hanson (left) with Councillor Alan McCarthy and the Roll of Honour.The names and details of over 2,500 men who died in the First World War have been published on a roll of honour.

Local newspaper The Rochdale Observer has researched and published the records of the men who fought in the 1914 -18 war. The list details the name of each man, their age, address, the date they died and their local relatives.

The list was compiled by the Observer, alongside local historian Paul Hanson.

Since the initial list first appeared in the newspaper last year, more residents have come forward with stories.

The council's leisure and cultural partner Link4Life have complemented the roll by producing a comprehensive record of the impact of the First World War on the borough.

Councillor Alan McCarthy, Lead Member for the Armed Forces at Rochdale Borough Council said: "We are proud to support this list of local heroes who died while serving their country. It is important that we never forget their sacrifice. I would like to thank those who put the time and effort into compiling this list as a lasting memory to those who fought and died for our freedom. On behalf of the silent, who cannot do so, I'd like to express my gratitude and appreciation of a job well done."

Julian Jefferson, Head of Arts & Heritage at Link4Life said: "Through the Creative Employment Programme scheme we appointed a Local History Intern who has been researching local newspapers to ensure a comprehensive record of the impact of the First World War on the borough is established. This research complements the work of the Rochdale Observer which adds so much to the local history collection of the borough. Our research continues and we are still encouraging people to contact Touchstones with their family stories and records about the First World War."

The roll of honour will be available to view at Touchstones Arts and Heritage Centre in Rochdale from April onwards.

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. Current or ex Armed Forces personnel can register for help or get more information by visiting If they encounter difficulties when accessing services from the council or its partners email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call the council on 01706 926989.

Issued by Rochdale Borough Council.

Funding available for summer holiday activities for Children And Young people in Heywood

Heywood Activities Partnership (HAP) are inviting groups across Heywood to submit funding applications up to a maximum of £500 to host activities throughout the summer holidays aimed at children and young people 0-19 years. Activities can be anything from sports, arts and cultural activities to entertainment or training!

Applications are now being accepted and the deadline date for submission is Friday 24 April 2014.

For more information and to receive an application pack please contact Sue Whitehead, Community Sports Manager on 01706 369436 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  .

Fusilier Lee Rigby Middleton tribute to be unveiled

fusilier lee rigby tributeA permanent memorial to Fusilier Lee Rigby in his hometown of Middleton will be unveiled this month, Rochdale Borough Council has confirmed.

A bronze drum, alongside a plaque for Lee and a memorial wall where in time other local soldiers will be commemorated is being unveiled in Middleton Memorial Gardens on Sunday 29 March during a private ceremony, before being open to the public from 2.30pm.

Lyn Rigby, Lee's mother said she welcomed the lasting tribute: "It will be a lovely tribute to Lee who put his life on the line every day to serve his country. Over time the memorial will remember not just our Lee, but other soldiers, whose bravery will also never be forgotten."

Councillor June West, Chair of Middleton Township said: "The way the Middleton community came together after Lee's tragic death was very moving and the township have always committed to ensure the calls for a local memorial were answered. I thank our residents for their support and I am pleased that Fusilier Lee Rigby and other service personnel will be forever remembered in this way. Lee's family were keen to ensure it also included a permanent reminder of those who have served and lost their lives in conflict."

Philip McClure, Lee's father said he was pleased there would be a lasting local memorial in his name: "I am still coming to terms with what happened ... Lee will never be forgotten and this memorial is keeping his memory alive in his hometown. He enjoyed many good times growing up in Middleton and this will be a place for people to come along and pay their respects in a way they've not previously been able to."

Lee's wife Rebecca said: "I am pleased this memorial is being unveiled in Middleton. It should be seen as a celebration of his life because that is what he would have wanted. People will be able to come here in peace, remember Lee and reflect."

The unveiling will be during a private ceremony, prior to being opened to the public at 2.30pm on Sunday 29 March. It will then be open to the public seven days a week.

Issued by Rochdale Borough Council.

Rochdale Strollers go viral with FA People's Cup qualifying win

rochdale-strollersWalking Football team the 'Rochdale Strollers' are an overnight You Tube sensation as a video clip of them celebrating their qualifying round win in the 'People's Cup' went viral with nearly 250,000 views. The clip went live on the BBC's Match of the Day and Get Inspired sites on Saturday. Over 1,000 comments have been added congratulating the team and saying it's never too late to get back into football.

The FA and the BBC have joined together to launch The FA People's Cup in one of the biggest five-a-side tournaments ever staged, competing for a chance to taste the glory of lifting a trophy at Wembley Stadium on FA Cup Final Day.
The Rochdale Strollers, who entered in the walking football category, were winners of their regional heat in February at Blackburn Soccer Dome. They will now take part in the semi-final stage taking place in Manchester in April.
A second local team 'Stroke Active' also did well on the day and over 30,000 people took part in the competition nationally over 3 days with 4306 teams made up of all age groups and abilities.

Craig Preston of Stroke Active said, "It was a great experience for many of the guys who had not played competitive football for many years and some who thought they never would again, I would encourage anyone thinking about getting involved to contact Link4Life and give it a go."

Link4Life, the Rochdale Boroughwide Cultural Trust, who run the Walking Football sessions in partnership with Rochdale AFC, are always looking for new players of all ages and abilities. Sessions are held weekly in Rochdale at Kingsway Park Sports Centre every Wednesday from 5pm-6pm and Rochdale Leisure Centre every Thursday from 10am-11am. There is also a weekly session in Middleton at Bowlee Park Sports Centre held every Thursday from 6pm-7pm.

For information contact Paul Gardner, Health Activities Officer for Link4Life on 01706 926235.