Look­ing ahead with hope for the new year

Salford Advertiser - - TALKING POLITICS - HAZEL BLEARS

I CAN’T quite be­lieve it’s almost Christ­mas.

When a year feels like it has gone quickly, that’s a sign it’s been busy.

Look­ing back, I’m de­lighted that we have made progress on cam­paigns which will make a real dif­fer­ence to the peo­ple of Sal­ford.

Ear­lier this year, I joined the Alzheimer’s So­ci­ety’s Sal­ford De­men­tia Ac­tion Al­liance, which now has more than 40 mem­bers.

We have all made changes to im­prove ac­cess for peo­ple with de­men­tia and I, along with many oth­ers, have trained as a De­men­tia Friend, where you learn to un­der­stand de­men­tia so we can help peo­ple in the com­mu­nity.

I was re­ally pleased to open the first of 1,600 new homes as part of the £650m Pendleton re­gen­er­a­tion scheme.

We had to push the gov­ern­ment hard to get the plans ap­proved but it is now giv­ing peo­ple real pride in where they live.

The knock-on ben­e­fits are huge, with a tar­get of cre­at­ing 500 jobs, 200 ap­pren­tice­ships and 2,000 work place­ments.

I was de­lighted to see Clare’s Law ex­tended across Eng­land and Wales after a suc­cess­ful pi­lot in Greater Manch­ester.

It en­ables peo­ple to ask po­lice whether their part­ner or the part­ner of a loved one has a his­tory of do­mes­tic abuse, and it could save lives. I cam­paigned for the pi­lot and na­tional roll-out with Michael Brown, fa­ther of my con­stituent Clare Wood, who was mur­dered by her for­mer part­ner.

Th­ese are just a few of the high­lights of my year, but per­haps the most im­por­tant part of the job is the support my staff and I have been able to give to more than 1,200 peo­ple in Sal­ford and Ec­cles, who have asked for our help.

The frag­ile eco­nomic re­cov­ery re­mains un­even across the coun­try, mak­ing lit­tle dif­fer­ence to wages and liv­ing costs, while gov­ern­ment cuts con­tinue to take their toll.

So th­ese re­main tough times and or­gan­i­sa­tions like the Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau, Loaves and Fishes and Gar­den Needs (a gar­den cen­tre for peo­ple with men­tal health is­sues) are pro­vid­ing some re­ally valu­able support.

I’m sure th­ese or­gan­i­sa­tions would agree with me that when our help makes a dif­fer­ence, it makes ev­ery­thing we do seem worth­while. And our fa­mous com­mu­nity spirit, where even those with the least help those in need, means we can en­ter 2015 with hope.

Have a won­der­ful Christ­mas and a happy new year.

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