Leader’s Viewpoint: Cllr Marlene Haworth

It was privilege to attend the official opening of Accrington and District Sea Cadet’s new headquarters in Oswaldtwistle this past weekend. The day was a wonderful celebration of a community that has worked so hard and it was fantastic to be a part of the occasion.

There was such a strong sense of warmth and community woven throughout the day and it was great to see so many people, young and old, involved in the organisation. Guest of honour, Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Lord Shuttleworth officially opened the building, which was very fitting for such a special day.

I especially enjoyed catching up with the leaders of the organisation, as well as the young Cadets themselves, to hear more about the activities and training they get involved in on a week-to-week basis. We all agreed that charities like the Sea Cadets are so important for providing young people with opportunities to develop their skills and get stuck into something new.

The new unit is the ideal space for the Cadets to grow as a group and it is a testament to all of the hard work and perseverance from everyone involved. The building has been repurposed to an exceptionally high standard and I’m sure this will encourage the membership to grow and even more people to learn new skills and boost their self-confidence.

Another recent highlight of this month was the Hyndburn business awards, which saw hundreds of people attend to honour our fantastic local business community. I especially enjoyed seeing the smaller businesses being recognised and celebrated, we truly do have a diverse local offering of unique and exciting places to shop at, eat at, and buy services from. Congratulations to the organisers for a wonderful event and I hope the success of this year encourages even more people to nominate their favourite local business next year.

This weekend there are two exciting events happening in Accrington Town Centre and I am looking forward to attending both of them. The first is on Saturday in Accrington Market Hall from 10am-4pm, for a day celebrating the different cultures in our community with food, face painting, performances free rides and lots of activities for all ages to enjoy. I was privileged to recently meet some of the local Ukrainians who are running at stall at this event, where they will be offering various free food samples for people to try. They have assured me their sauerkraut and savoury pancakes are some of the best in the world so I am looking forward to trying them for myself!

The second event is the return of the much-loved Accrington Carnival on Sunday. It has been far too many years since the last one and I know families are very excited to see it’s return. This one is going to be even bigger than before and local group ‘Accrington Community Events’ have got a jam-packed day planned, starting from 1pm on Accrington Town Square.

Finally, I would like to update everyone on one of my promises. At last months full council meeting I committed to making sure every resident of Great Harwood would be invited to have their say on the repurposing of Mercer Hall. This building is important to the local community, and it is essential that its future purpose is what the local people want. Following a meeting with the Great Harwood task force, which includes residents and ambassadors for Great Harwood, I am pleased to announce that a survey will be delivered to every household very shortly. This survey will ask opinions and ideas about what Mercer Hall can become in the future. I look forward to hearing about all the ideas and progressing this project, working together to create a space that is fit for future generations to enjoy.