Cheers to ded­i­cated duo

Cap­i­tal treat for com­mu­nity cham­pi­ons Steph and Mariea

Oldham Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - RUHU­BIA AK­BOR ruhu­bia.ak­ @Ruhu­bi­aAk­bor

TWO com­mu­nity cham­pi­ons were hailed as lo­cal he­roes as they were wel­comed to Par­lia­ment.

Steph Wilde and Mariea Maguire, from Alt, were in­vited to a spe­cial re­cep­tion in the com­mons by Labour leader Ed Miliband.

The pair were put for­ward for the Lo­cal He­roes re­cep­tion for their years of work to im­prove their neigh­bour­hood.

The din­ner ladies at Alt Academy have gone beyond the call of duty to make life bet­ter for resi- dents by set­ting up a com­mu­nity al­lot­ment at the school, start­ing a jam­mak­ing club and cre­at­ing a com­mu­nity cafe with help from First Choice Homes Old­ham and For­ever Manch­ester.

Steph used the op­por­tu­nity to present Mr Miliband with two pots of jam made from fruit grown in their com­mu­nity or­chard.

The 44-year-old said: “It was an hon­our and a priv­i­lege to at­tend and it’s some­thing we will re­mem­ber for­ever.

“I think Ed was a bit sur­prised to get two pots of jam from us, but he seemed very pleased with them. We just hope he likes them enough to pop in and see us in Café Alt for some more.”

Mariea, 51, known lo­cally as Red, added: “A ll the MPs were re­ally ap­proach­able and made us both feel re­ally wel­come.”

Steph says the pair have been work­ing to ‘build a com­mu­nity’ on the Alt es­tate over the past eight years.

She added: “Be­fore we started there wasn’t much sense of that but now ev­ery­one knows each other and peo­ple are com­ing to­gether and talk­ing to each other.

“We’ve made Alt a much nicer place to live and we’ve been told that since we’ve started do­ing what we do re­ports of an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour have gone down. We’re very proud.”

Steph and Mariea were nom­i­nated to be lo­cal he­roes by Old­ham East and Sad­dle­worth MP Deb­bie Abra­hams, who ac­com­pa­nied them to the re­cep­tion.

She said: “They are truly amaz­ing women and ones for whom the term lo­cal hero was in­vented.”

●● Steph Wilde and Mariea Maguire in the Alt Com­mu­nity Cafe

●● Steph and Mariea with Ed Miliband

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