Leader’s Viewpoint: Cllr Marlene Haworth

It is no secret that town centres around the UK have undergone tremendous change in recent times and we at Hyndburn Council are committed to doing everything we can to support our local high streets. Events are so important for our community spirit and bringing together residents from all different walks of life, helping us to increase town centre footfall and support our local independent businesses.

November is shaping up to be a wonderful month of events and celebrations for our community that I am really looking forward to. This jam-packed calendar begins with a weekend filled with services and parades throughout the townships of Hyndburn for Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday, creating a space for the whole community to come together and remember all those who made sacrifices for our freedom.

The Accrington Makers Market will also be returning with its array of independent traders to for another month on Saturday 18 November, before we round off with the Christmas Light Switch-ons throughout the borough. I hope that everyone will join me in attending what will no doubt be fantastic events and remember, full event details can all be found on the Hyndburn Council website.

I am thrilled to share that Hyndburn Council have this week launched their request for event proposals for 2024/25 and I have made sure these are aimed to support highstreets and businesses. Proposals are welcomed for events to take place across the borough. All event organisers are invited to submit their ideas and proposal and I look forward to seeing all the different ideas come forward.

The successful events will be designed to benefit the businesses within the high street area, and I would encourage all who are interested to start working on their proposals soon, as the deadline for submission is 12 noon on Wednesday January 23 2024 which will soon arrive. Full details about the application process can be found on the Council’s website.

We have recently had some more great news to share. I am exceptionally pleased that the Government has now ordered rail companies to withdraw their proposals to close ticket offices, which is brilliant news for the ticket office at Accrington Railways Station. These ticket offices are not, nor have they ever been, a redundant service. I have heard the concerns of our residents about the impact this closure could have on the accessibility and convenience of public transport for residents, and I am glad that we have reached a positive conclusion in this story. I would like to directly thank our MP for her hard work in lobbying and securing this outcome that will make a real difference to so many people, myself included!

Continuing the good news, I am proud to give an update on the ‘Leader’s Budget’ which is something I started shortly after becoming Leader of Hyndburn Council. This £20,000 budget was created to enable small grants to be given directly to small community groups in need of funding. Through this budget I have been able to help organisations across the whole of Hyndburn and I have worked with councillors from all parties to understand local needs and priorities.

Just some of the grants awarded include support for local groups such as Aawaz, Rishton’s People’s Centre, Footballs Clubs in Oswaldtwistle and Huncoat and Memorial Clock Tower upgrades in Great Harwood. These are just a handful of the organisations who have been supported through the leader’s budget and it has been a pleasure to help such a variety of services and groups. The remaining budget is being used to help with several upcoming community Christmas parties later this year, and I know that in the hands of our local community the funding will go very far.