Archive | July, 2012

Reddish: The Five Year Plan. Part One: Communication

30 Jul communication

communicate

Today at Reddish News we’ve decided to start what we hope will become a series of five articles about what we hope Reddish will become, or overcome in the coming years.

Today we’re going to be starting with arguably the biggest element of them all: Communication.

Reddish, as a small community, has many things going for it. The fact that there are so many independent, local tradesmen and women, and stores in the area attest to that. But the way in which the ideas and ambitions that these businesses and individuals is expressed is at best crude and disparate to say the least.

Communication can play a very important role in this. Yes, we know that we have a Reddish Business Forum that provides a focal point for local businesses to come together to try and make Reddish a better place to trade for them. But are we as residents welcome to contribute to this process?

We think it’s in everybody’s interest to have a thriving hub of independent businesses where people can live, work, play and enjoy their time in. We’re not there yet.

So, as well as serving businesses in the local area and supporting them all that we can as individuals, what else can be done to attract new businesses to the area? What can be done to open Reddish up to the world, and encourage people to come to Reddish for shopping and living – that place where they can get the best coffee in the Stockport Area, where they can come and get their clothes altered, keys cut and shoes re-heeled with enough time to do a bit of shopping and grab a bite to eat?

The only time businesses and the community have come together in recent months to communicate with the world at large has been to oppose a mosque being built on the site of the old Bull’s Head pub. And, if we’re all honest with ourselves, was it really a positive campaign? As a community, do we want to be known as one that welcomes new groups and individuals (potentially new shoppers, generating income for local businesses), or do we want to be known as an insular, self-serving community, that doesn’t welcome fresh perspectives and new ideas. Which one would you rather be seen as?

Like it or not, some of our communication with the neighboring boroughs, towns and cities will be coloured by some of the language that we’ve seen firsthand via social media channels regarding the mosque’s planning application. And it’s not a case of ‘like it or lump it’ when it comes to setting up business in an area such as ours.

If we want to bring a more rounded selection of new and exciting businesses and people to Reddish, we have to learn to communicate what’s GREAT about our area. What makes it better to trade in than Levenshulme, Heaton Moor or Gorton? Or, for instance, what makes it a more attractive place to unwind than one of the four Heatons (hint – we’ve got a massive, beautiful country park)?

We’ve spent so much time as a community shouting about what we don’t want – how about we all get together and talk about what we do want for a change? Our hopes for the community, for industry, for business?

We already have a community centre. Maybe we should use it to do just that? Young and old, in an environment that is open to everybody, regardless of their age and their choice of watering hole.

What would you, as a Reddishian, like to communicate to the world around us? What do you think would attract people to the area? How would you like to be seen by the rest of Manchester and Stockport? How would you like to see the area grow?

These are all big questions – ones that can only be answered by communicating with everybody in a clearer, more concise way, without making sweeping generalisations about what our community is, and what it should be.

Candy’s and Cards

16 Jul

If you have a hankering for something sweet or you are looking for the perfect card to send to a loved one then look no further than Reddish’s own Candy’s and Cards. Located on Broadstone Road (number 66 to be precise), dedicated sweet enthusiast and talented card crafter Candy, hand makes beautiful cards for literally every occasion! And if there isn’t a card in her collection she’s happy to make a card specific to your needs. As for her sweet collection, it has to be seen to be believed! There aren’t enough old school style sweetie shops around nowadays and Candy definitely fills the gap in the market with her huge variety of sweets from sugar free to vegetarian, there is a sweet to satisfy everyone.

You can find out more about Candy’s and Cards here.

Or follow C&C on Twitter and Facebook!

By Ana Hernandez

An Interview: Youth Space

13 Jul

There are so many great people living in Reddish, working to make it a better place for everyone. One of the main objectives of Reddish News  is to bring these brilliant people and their projects to light. This week Jez spoke to Christopher Hill, who is working on the Youth Space project. Don’t know what it is? That’s what we are here for! Read on to find out more in this great interview with Christopher!

Who are you and what is your connection to Reddish?

I’m Christopher Hill, a 20 year old student at the University of Manchester. I am a Reddish lad, lived here all my life and went to School at St. Elisabeth’s and Reddish Vale. I am also now deeply rooted at Reddish Vale as a Governor/Director.

I keep seeing you at events across Reddish and Stockport promoting Youthspace. What is it?

Youth Space is a concept we hope to develop into a social enterprise/co-operative/youth organisation. We aim to provide a platform for young people to achieve their ambitions whilst helping others. We hope to do this through a virtual space (www.youthspace.info) and a physical space (the youth space hub/shop in the centre of Reddish). Youth Space this year has funded work with Human Utopia(our partner organisation) and together we have worked with over 1000 young people. We are currently continuing our Future Leaders Programme that has 3 stages; Thinking, Doing,Changing.  This is done by a combination of workshop and social action.

You pride yourself on having the co-op values. What are these and why do you feel they are such an integral part of what you do?

The values are: solidarity, democracy, equity, equality, self help and self responsibility. There are also a series of ethical values and a set of key principles that are available to see at www.youthspace.info.

The values to me represent universal aims for all human beings and so offer people the chance to grow and develop together, as one, as co-operators. The principles act as guide and temper my actions as co-operator and ensure live harmoniously with others. They are important because they have made a difference to my life through Phil Arnold (Director of College Improvement RVTC). He’s an inspirational man who was instrumental in bringing co-operation to RVTC. Since 2008 I have worked co-operatively to help develop a coffee co-op, creative co-op, and speak at high profile events, all things I wouldn’t have done otherwise. Above all else the values have made me want to be a ‘Phil Arnold’, someone that works tirelessly without courting recognition. That’s why I want to ask for help to develop Youth Space so more young people can be switched on by these values and make Reddish an even better place.

Do you feel that young people get much of a say in the local community? If not, how do you feel this could be addressed?

I think youth councils and organisations like the ROC Cafe have helped in this area to some degree. I still feel that the 16-17 year olds feel disenfranchised with no vote and no mechanism to express their good ideas, opinions and thoughts on the political questions of the day (local, national, global). Civil society can only remain ‘civil’ if young people have a point in which they can invest in hope for the future and harness the idealism that youth holds.

Specifically Youth Space proposes the Youth Space hub that would be funded through membership and wider stakeholders. This would continue our workshop work and provide a space in which young people can organise to set up social action projects to combat injustice. I believe young people have the passion and talent to be independent. Together they can take ownership of local politics without the aid of a politician/official who doesn’t know the price of milk or the plight of young people in the 21st century. Youth Space is happy to share knowledge of the political process in a neutral fashion but prefers young people to use co-operative action to bypass the red tape.

Reddish Business Forum are asking the question “What’s your vision for Reddish over the next five years?”. What’s yours?

– For Reddish to have a Councillor under the age of 24 to represent young peoples issues with real understanding. Cllrs to hold regular youth surgeries in local Schools.

– For Reddish’s youth organisations to join up their services to offer a safety net and variety of experiences for young people. No young person should miss out on the chance to develop skills outside of school hours. As “by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone”.

– To open the Youth Space Hub.

– To continue our work with Human Utopia accessing every school in Reddish/serves Reddish. With all young people in Reddish having the opportunity to be a hero.

– To see young people in Reddish celebrated as the area’s greatest asset.

We hear you’re planning an event on the 14th July. Tell us about it.

Yes, the Youth Space BBQ and Activities Day at Reddish Vale Technology College. Earlier in the year I put in a bid for £800 from the Community First pot (supported by Cllr Verdeille, Sophia and James) and was successful. The event is a reward for the contribution young people have made to the Reddish community over the past year as ‘Heroes’. On the day we will have prizes for the young people, a high ropes assalt course, live music and DJ Sets. This event will also give current learners at Reddish Vale the chance to celebrate the Schools Diamond Jubillee. We also hope to encourage more young people to get involved and adults to support us in our second year of activity.

Find more information on Youth Space:

http://www.youthspace.info/

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by Jez Myers

A Rant: Wi-Fi

9 Jul

A few weeks ago, Cllr. Kate Butler sent us a tweet asking about where she could get free Wi-Fi in Reddish. Having had a think about it, I came back with nothing. Nada. Zilch. There’s a Cloud point in Houldsworth Square which is great if you have Sky Broadband or get your mobile from Phones4U. If you don’t though, then you have to pay for it. Not exactly what people are looking for when they think of ‘free’.

So, as I sit here in Starbucks, utilising their free Wi-Fi, writing this article, I can’t seem to understand why there aren’t any businesses that provide it locally. I’d have thought that in the centre, Sykes or Johnny’s Dinner would be ideal. Even the pubs would be better than the current ‘none’. Also as a way to keep people shopping locally, something that I’ll be writing about shortly, it’s of vital importance.

One of the things that we’ve noticed with this website, is the demand for a printed version, it’s something we’re working on trust me. However, the costs involved are substantial and, in reality, we shouldn’t HAVE to do a printed version. The city over we are working on improving digital connectivity and it’s something that we’re all passionate about but something that Reddish seems to do badly. Why?

Young professionals (and I’m still young at 35) want places to sit, eat, drink and work but require the space and the tools to do so. If that isn’t provided then they go elsewhere and that hurts the local economy.  The same person who goes to Sykes for a coffee and a sandwich whilst doing their work, is the same person that calls in on the way home at Price Less (or is it Priceless, I’ve never been able to work that out) or Tittertons or Hobsons. This is the very same reason why it’s so important to support the local community centre and library. We’ve already lost the swimming pool, don’t let them be next.

In 2012, asking for a high quality local business to provide me with a coffee, pannini and wifi isn’t too much to ask, is it?

What do you think?

by Jez Myers

Reddish Vale Country Park – Weekend Activities

5 Jul

Ok, so I was brought up in a city, and I’ve lived in cities most of my adult life, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I have any kind of natural aversion to the countryside. In fact, maybe it’ the dash of Romany that I’ve got in me that means that I’m rarely happier than when I’m mucking about in the country.

This is why I was so happy who discover Reddish Vale Country Park when Ana and I moved here. It really is something special.

Five minutes walk from the litter of Houldsworth Square is a relatively unspoilt stretch of countryside, with three lakes, a river running through it and some spectacular views of the railway bridge into Stockport. A place where you can (very nearly) get lost for an afternoon hunting for frogspawn or feeding ducks, like a refugee from an Enid Blyton novel.

I’ve seen so much at the park, from tiny baby ducks to beautiful sunsets in the early summer. It’s a genuinely inspiring place to spend time, and as someone that spends most of their life glued to a computer screen, it’s great to go somewhere away from the hustle and bustle, to sit and feed the ducks, get lost and just BE.

Want to head down there? Well this weekend could be a great time to experience the park for the first time. Stockport Greenspace Forum have organised a special event this weekend to celebrate the Olympics, the Paralympics, and some of the best green spaces in Stockport.

Want to know more about the event? Here’s the gist of it from the official site:

“Five batons, designed by Stockport school children, will set off from five different green spaces across Stockport. The batons will be carried along five routes, calling at participating green spaces along the way until all five batons meet up at Reddish Vale for the finale.”

The finale in question will feature a brass band, some face painting, and some Zorbing – although whether it builds on Jez’s idea for a water-zorbing race including celebrities still remains to be seen. Don’t hold your breath for that bit – but the rest should be quite fun.

Find out more information about the event on the official Pass the Baton site.

by Ben Stroud

Sweat Shed Boot Camp – Survived!

3 Jul

June is over and so ends my first month at Sweat Shed. I have to say that I have really enjoyed the majority of the sessions (apart from one with an unmentionable amount of burpees) and have been able to sweat my way through them, with somewhat questionable performance at times.  I have become accustomed to walking like a cowboy, unable to walk up and down stairs without groaning, as well as moaning about every single muscle in my body aching at some point.

Enough about my complaints, I’m sure you want to know what the benefits have been! Well I feel much fitter. I was fairly active before however Sweat Shed has boosted my fitness to new levels. I am stronger and more confident in trying new exercise and as a bonus have lost a bit of weight. I (mostly) look forward to the sessions, even though the ones I have been to have started at 6:30am. I can’t say that I would say the same if it were winter and the mornings were dark!

The evening (6:30pm) and Saturday morning (10am) classes have been the busiest but that doesn’t mean that you can slack off, in fact I found that the busier the class the more difficult it has been, even if the exercises were meant to be the same! The early and mid morning classes tend to have between 6 and 15 people at a time, so it really feels like value for money when you get such small groups.

I would encourage anyone to sign up who wants to be pushed to the next fitness level, no matter whether you are a novice or a pro. Unfortunately you will have to wait until August, as Sweat Shed is fully booked for July. However they don’t just offer boot camp, individual and group personal training are now available and new this month is a ladies only Boxfit class run by new Sweat Shedder Jenna.

 I have enjoyed boot camp so much that I have signed up for another month, and this time am dragging Reddish News team members Ana and Ben along to be put through their paces.  Jez is still unconvinced but I think we will get him there.

 Thanks to Mat Leigh, for an awesome month of hard training, and here’s to another month of progress and pain!

by Liz Edwards

Check out Liz’s previous Sweat Shed Boot Camp write ups here and here!

Check out the Sweat Shed site for more details including their Facebook, Twitter and You Tube sites.