News

A Place In History

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has welcomed the news that the Parliamentary Group RFL statue at Wembley Stadium will feature a group of rugby league players rather than an individual and three are Wigan legends.

Lisa is a member of the All-Party-Parliamentary-Rugby-League-Group who first raised the creation of a statue at the national stadium, which has been home to so many historic rugby league battles, in 2010 and worked with the RFL and Wembley to secure its placement.

Rugby League Group Chairman, Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland said: “like everyone else who loves rugby league, MPs and Peers in the Group have had some rather intense debates about who we felt would best capture the spirit of rugby league and with no clear consensus on a single individual we had to do what MPs do and took a vote; which caused even more debate!”

Lisa said: “Wembley has been home to some classic rugby games, and a statue to celebrate the Stadiums RFL history is a move we have all been working towards. To get Eric Ashton, Billy Boston and Martin Offiah included is a fitting and lasting tribute to their own and Wigan’s important contribution to RFL history.”

August 28, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment

SEARCH BEGINS FOR ‘DIGITAL HERO’ IN WIGAN

Lisa Nandy MP is calling for local groups to enter the TalkTalk Digital Heroes Awards 2012, a unique competition that recognises and rewards people who are using technology to help their communities.

The awards, now in their fifth year, have provided funding and support to 49 organisations across Britain, including various charities which have used technology to help children and young people, the homeless and people with disabilities.

The awards, run in partnership with the Daily Mirror and charities Citizens Online and Go ON UK, aim to recognise inspirational people who use technology to benefit their local community. Twelve winners, one from each region of the UK – voted for by the public – will each get £5,000 to enhance their digital projects, with one overall winner getting £10,000. This year there will be an additional category for children and young people, with a top prize of £4,000 for their chosen charity and an Apple MacBook Air.

The awards are now open for submissions at www.talktalk.co.uk/digitalheroes and the deadline for entries is September 14, 2012. The Twitter hashtag for the awards is #digitalheroes.

Lisa said: “Digital technology plays an increasingly important role, helping to improve people’s lives and encourage the growth of local businesses. Digital Heroes is a wonderful initiative which recognises the people who have worked hard to champion digital technology and made a difference to their community. I hope that projects in Wigan will be able to benefit from this year’s scheme and I will be encouraging local community groups, youth organisations and individuals to enter the competition.”

Martha Lane Fox, UK’s Digital Champion and chair of Go ON UK, also supports the scheme: “It’s always inspiring to meet digital champions from communities across the UK, I look forward to the Digital Heroes Awards year after year. At Go ON UK we’re pleased to get involved with an initiative that shines a light on the extraordinary things people can achieve through digital technology and I am excited that this year we have a new award that will recognise a young champion under 18 who has helped get people online.”

Dido Harding, Chief Executive of TalkTalk, said: “Digital Heroes is the only competition of its kind, and each year attracts hundreds of nominations from people across the country. It has already made an enormous difference to dozens of important projects and I am delighted to be supporting it again this year. I look forward to seeing submissions from Wigan and learning about the great digital heroes in the area.”

August 24, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Wigan MP Lisa calls for fair contracts for local shops

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy is calling on Ofgem, the Energy Regulator, to take urgent action to protect small businesses from unfair practices being adopted by energy suppliers.

Current regulations allow suppliers to backbill retailers and other small businesses for six years’ worth of incorrect bills, even when the supplier is at fault. Wigan’s MP is supporting a campaign by ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) to reduce this to 12 months, in line with protections for domestic customers. A recent survey of independent retailers showed that 36% have been overcharged in the past year, while more than 1 in 4 had received back bills from suppliers.

Lisa said: “Energy companies continue to take advantage of small businesses. Energy costs are spiraling and competition in the market is failing to work effectively. This is harming the ability of small businesses in  Wigan to grow, invest and create jobs. Energy Companies have failed to put their house in order and it’s time for regulators to take action.

“I am therefore pleased to support the ‘Switch to Fair Energy Contract Campaign’”.

ACS Chief Executive James Lowman said: “We are delighted Lisa has supported the campaign. We need a strong push to put an end to market practices that harm small retail businesses. If we can get the energy market working better then it will have an immediate impact on the cost base of thousands of small businesses allowing them to make investments and create more jobs.”

August 15, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Wigan’s Community Spirit

Residents in Aspull were thanked this week for showing true “community” spirit.

Eight months ago members of the community stepped in to help run their local library.

Faced with massive cuts of £1.1m, due to the Coalition Government’s national austerity measures, Wigan and Leigh’s entire library service was re-defined in 2011. But unlike some other authorities, where large numbers of libraries closed, in Wigan the picture is very different.

The new look library service reduced costs by reducing some opening hours in certain locations, relocating services and by maximising stock and staff rotation across libraries. It was developed in response to key information such as local demand, lifestyle needs and cost effectiveness.

Volunteering and community support has also played a major part in ensuring access to library services in some areas. At Aspull, 24 volunteers ensure that their friends, neighbours and fellow residents can still access their library.

And on Wednesday (August 1) local dignitaries thanked them personally for all their hard work.

Cabinet member for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Chris Ready, said: “The scale of the national cuts to the public sector have been, and still are, extremely tough.

“The library review was a wonderful example of how we could rise to the challenge of meeting such stringent cuts and maintain service for the people of the borough. Volunteering has played a key role in that and we’re extremely proud of the community spirit here in Aspull.”

Under the guidance of Kim Collins, Libraries Deputy Customer Service Business Manager and colleagues from Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT) – who manage libraries on behalf of the council -  volunteers are not only helping to keep the community facility up and running but flourishing. When the new volunteer run library opened in January the site was accessible for 11 hours a week. It’s now open for 19 hours a week and could open for longer with more volunteers.

Stuart Murray, Chief Executive of Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, said:  “We’re extremely proud of the volunteers here at Aspull who do a tremendous job. People can volunteer for as long or as short a time as they want, they can pick what they’d like to do and they can have their say in how the library is developed.

“This is real community spirit in action and we’d encourage anyone thinking of volunteering to get in touch.”

Wigan’s MP and Shadow Children’s Minister, Lisa Nandy, said: “Council’s up and down the country have been forced to close much loved libraries because of the Government’s spending cuts. I am delighted Wigan Council has found a way to keep our library service going, with the help of the local community.”

Vince Broomhead, 73, has been volunteering at Aspull Library since January. He said: “It’s fantastic, I get a lot of enjoyment and personal satisfaction from it, they’re a great bunch of people here.”

 

August 1, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Boomin are Bloomin!

It’s the start of the big time for Wigan’s three piece big noise band, Boomin.  The lads – brothers Adam and Edd and college mate Rory – have played together for six years, and worked with some of the top names in the business.  And in mid August their first album goes on sale and the sound of Wigan is set to hit a huge audience.

“We’re going to give it all we’ve got,” says Rory O’Grady.  The 26 year old is the group’s bass guitarist.  “The hard work starts now and if something happens that’s great.”

Chosen to headline the council’s bid for national glory at Britain in Bloom, Boomin took centre stage at a busy launch day in Wigan town centre this spring.   Alongside the flowers and residents’ eco projects, the band showed that using your talents for the benefit of the whole community is a big part of the ‘In Bloom’ agenda.  They were back on stage in town a few weeks later as part of the major Diamond Fest events for the Jubilee celebrations along with other local bands and sporting heroes.

Cllr Chris Ready, cabinet champion for leisure, was impressed with the band’s dedication to their Wigan fanbase.  “The town has a great history of musicians,” he says, “And Boomin continue that, having been taught music in our local schools and colleges and wanting to carry on doing their bit for the community.”

Boomin pay tribute to the quality of teaching at school and at Wigan & Leigh College, where Adam and Edd Langmead met Rory O’Grady.  “We had some great teachers, including Peter Frampton and Andy Gleave,” Rory adds.  “They brought out the best in us.”  These days the lads work alongside Pixie Lott, Craig David and McFly.

Cllr Ready and Wigan MP Lisa Nandy were in the audience for Boomin’s DiamondFest set.  This week they both joined the lads to help launch their first album.  Ms Nandy says: “Boomin are a real credit to the town and the teachers who inspired them. They’re already putting Wigan on the map, I wish them the best of luck with the new album which I’m sure will be a huge success.”

Rory adds: “For any band it’s always special to perform in your home town because that is where the fans have followed you from day one.  Our thoughts are already on the second album and how exciting that would be.”

 

July 27, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment

A Sporting Chance

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy visited members of The Meadows this week and presented them with tickets to enjoy Team GB at Old Trafford later this week.

The tickets have been donated by StreetGames’ Give & Go initiative which aims to give young people the opportunity to watch professional sport, probably for the first time in the lives.

Danielle Morris, aged 19 from The Meadows said “It’s really exciting to be actually going to the Olympics – a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Team GB to win 2-1″.

Lisa Nandy said “2012 is an exciting year for British sport and we hope the legacy of the London Olympic long continues.  Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust works hard to give young people sporting opportunities in our communities.  This not only provides them with a healthy pastime but opens doors to a future career.  I’m delighted to be involved and present three individuals with tickets to enjoy a professional game of football in Manchester for the first time in their lives”

Chris Essex-Crosby, Community Sports Development Manager,  “It’s great that our local MP, Lisa Nandy, visited the project to see for herself the great work we are doing and the enthusiasm of the young people. We are fortunate to have some tickets for a major British sporting event through StreetGames’ Give and Go campaign, so Lisa gave them out to some young people”

Jane Ashworth, chief executive of StreetGames,  “StreetGames’ Give & Go campaign will allow hundreds of young people to enjoy live professional sporting events throughout this sensational Summer Of Sport -  probably for the first time in their lives.  As a charity we deliver sporting opportunities to young people in disadvantage communities providing them with a sporting chance and inspiring them to change their lives for the better.  The Olympic Games is a perfect vehicle to offer StreetGames participant a once in a life time experience.”

The Meadows children and young people’s centre has been open since 27th October 2010, the centre is based within the local community of Worsley Hall in Wigan, offering a base for young people positive activities and opportunities for the wider community. Specifically designed as a multi function building with a large main room, arts room kitchen and coffee bar area, DJ/MC area and games room. The building  can accommodate youth  groups and clubs, community groups such as mums and tots, and learning classes. Currently the Meadows is used to as a borough wide venue to enable various projects with young people to take place in an area designed by young people for young people and the community. Wigan Councils Boroughwide Voice and Engagement team work closely  with partner agencies, including WLCT Sports Department and Westfield Sure Start Centre; to create a varied programme of weekly activates and one off events which provide a safe, supportive informal leisure and learning environment within the Meadows.

The centre is also available for hire by Individuals/community groups/external agencies by  contacting 01942 486111.

July 27, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy backs calls for improved standards in the private rented sector

The Labour Party has this week launched a wide-ranging policy review on the private rented housing sector and Lisa is calling on Wigan’s residents to get in touch with their experiences and suggestions for how the sector can be improved.

A recent survey of letting agents found that 94 per cent imposed additional charges on tenants on top of the tenancy deposit and rent or rent in advance.  It also found huge variation in the size of these charges. The charge for checking references ranged from £10 to £275 and the charge for renewing a tenancy ranged from £12 to £220. In some cases additional charges for a tenancy amounted to over £600.

Labour’s policy review will seek to create a professional lettings market in which unscrupulous agents can no longer hit landlords and tenants with rip-off charges. The private rented sector should provide stability both for families who want to plan for their children’s future and for landlords who want to invest for the long term.

The Citizens Advice Bureau found that 73 per cent of tenants they surveyed were dissatisfied with the service provided by their letting agent, and report that a significant number of people have difficulties contacting agents, serious delays in getting repairs carried out, and inadequacies in the financial protection of deposits.

Lisa Nandy said:
“One in six households now live in the private rented sector and this figure looks set to increase to one in five by 2020. We want to ensure, particularly in these tough times, that private tenants can be confident their money is safe and that they will get a fair deal. There is no place for unscrupulous agents who rip-off tenants by charging them fees they didn’t know they would face and who exploit landlords and tenants alike by failing to protect the money they hold for them.

I want to hear from anyone who has had experiences – good or bad – with the private rented sector and particularly with letting agents so I can feed Wigan’s voices into Labour’s national policy review.  You can get in touch by visiting my website at www.lisanandy.co.uk” 

July 27, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Lisa Nandy MP warns Wiganers of Summer Rogue Traders

Latest Consumer Direct figures reveal there were over 1700 doorstep selling complaints in the North West in 2011 – the second highest figure in the country.  In a push to protect the vulnerable Lisa Nandy is joining forces with the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) Summer Doorstep Selling campaign, empowering local residents to deal with untoward doorstep sellers.

Research conducted on behalf of the OFT highlights the elderly as being particularly at risk of doorstep selling scams. One in five people over the age of 70 who were interviewed admitted to not being confident in deciding whether to employ a tradesperson and a fifth of those questioned couldn’t see through pressure sales tactics such as having to pay cash in advance or having to make a quick decision to get a good deal.

Lisa Nandy said:

“Not all doorstep sellers are bogus, however unlawful traders can be unscrupulous and use a range of persuasive tactics to sell to unsuspecting and often vulnerable people in their homes. I’m urging everyone who knows or cares for a vulnerable, elderly person to make sure they are aware of their rights when it comes to suspect door step approaches.  No one should feel pressured into making a rash buying decision.  If in doubt always think twice and get a second opinion.  If you are in doubt, you should contact the local OFT immediately.”

The OFT offers the following top 10 tips on how to deal with doorstep sellers:

1. Don’t sign on the spot

Don’t feel pressured to agree on the spot- if you are interested in what they are selling, you can ask them to come back at another time that is more convenient for you, maybe when you have someone else with you or you’ve shopped around.

2. Check the trader’s identity

Always ask for an identity card and look up the organisation to check the salesperson’s identity is genuine. Don’t use the number on their card. Check if the trader is a member of a reputable trade body, like the Direct Selling Association, whose members should ensure their salespeople sell responsibly.

3. Be wary of special offers or warnings about your home

Don’t get taken in by sales banter or high pressure selling techniques. Don’t be hurried into a decision even if there is a discount. The discount might be on a price that is too high in the first place.

4. Always shop around for the best price

Check with other companies offering the same product first. Make sure the price and product is right for you.

5. Read the small print

Always read documents carefully before you sign them and make sure you fully understand your rights. It’s best to ask salespeople to call back so you can do this in your own time – don’t be rushed into signing before you feel ready.

6. Double check the facts

Make sure you fully understand the total costs of the transaction – including estimates, delivery and installation and the arrangements for after-sales servicing, such as the guarantees or warranties. Only agree to make a purchase once you’re entirely satisfied that the transaction is acceptable.

7. Talk to someone you trust for a second opinion

Take the time to talk to someone you trust before you sign anything.

8. Don’t hand over a cash deposit

Avoid handing over money before work is started. A reliable trader will never ask you to do this (even if they need materials). Never agree to go with a trader to the bank to take money out.

9. Think very carefully before you agree to a trader starting any work straight away

If you agree to have any work done or goods delivered within the seven day cooling-off period, you may have to pay if you later change your mind and cancel the contract.

10. Trust your instincts

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

And finally … it’s OK to say no

Remember it’s your doorstep and your decision. If you feel pressured for any reason ask the person to leave.

July 27, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment

Wiganers face higher risk of repossession than most of country

Research recently published by homelessness charity Shelter has revealed that Wigan has one of the highest proportions of homeowners at risk of repossession compared to other local authority areas.

Wigan ranks 45th out of 324 local authorities in England for possessions, with 565 mortgage possession claims in 2011/12.

On top of this, 105 possession claims were issued by landlords in the first quarter alone of 2012.

High rates of unemployment are undoubtedly a major factor as 7.4% of people in Wigan are unemployed, with one in five young people out of work.

Lisa Nandy said:

“I have helped out a number of constituents who have faced the prospect of losing their home and it is an absolutely devastating experience that more and more people are facing in these tough financial times. High costs of living, increasing unemployment and rising mortgage costs mean that many people are living close to the edge, and risk falling into a spiral of debt and repossession.

Mortgages are the single largest monthly expense for many homeowners. At a time when so much attention is being given to the rising cost of essentials such as food and energy, it is vital that housing costs are given as much consideration by politicians to stop more people having to go through the nightmare of losing their home.

I have repeatedly called on government to look into the issue of housing  – both in the social and private sector.  I believe that cuts to housing benefit, failure to invest in new builds and lack of intervention with the banks to support people struggling with their mortgages is dangerous and short-sighted, as more and more people will be forced out of their homes and require emergency housing, which will of course cost the state more in the long term.  This is an urgent issue and one that we cannot afford to ignore.”

If you are struggling with mortgage costs or any other housing issue please do get advice from Shelter at http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice.

July 26, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment

The Empire Strikes Back

Local MP Lisa Nandy popped down to Wigan’s Empire Cinema, to be treated to a rare chance to see the magic behind the scenes.

Empire’s General Manager Nicola Wood discussed the challenges of running a multi-screen cinema, catering for families, young people, seniors and parent and baby groups. The 45 strong staff team at Empire work hard to ensure the cinema caters for all sections of the community.

As part of the behind-the-scenes tour Lisa met Norman Brown (pictured), projectionist for 46 years who started his career at the ABC Preston in 1966.

Lisa said, “this was a fantastic insight into what goes on behind the scenes and to meet Norman Brown, a real Wigan success story. I want to thank Nicola and the team for showing me just how much goes in to keeping Wigan entertained.”

July 21, 2012 By : Category : News 0 Comment