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Summer 2014


F O S E R T CEN E C N E L L E EXC o shape the s start t Resident s ity centre commun

! N I W f orth o ÂŁ20 w reet t high s rs e vouch

Safe and sound as a pound How Great Places are protecting you

Get online with Len!

Computer courses on at Crossley

How to get in touch with us... CALL Great Places or Wates, dial 0300 123 2003 A full range of services are available between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, with an extra out-of-hours repairs service provided by Wates, which can be contacted on the same number.

PRESS 1 – for Wates Living Space who can help you with repairs, refurbishment and new-build enquiries

PRESS 2 – for Great Places Housing Group who can help you with housing management and information on sales units

EMAIL: the Great Places team at and Wates at

IN PERSON: you can also drop in to see us at the Great Places office – 119 Union Street, Oldham, OL1 1TE. The office is staffed and is open Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

The team are available to visit you in your home. Please don’t hesitate to ask for an appointment when it’s convenient for you.

We’re online!

Visit and search for Oldham PFI Like us on Facebook at PFI

Write to Inspired Living at: Communications Great Places Housing Group Southern Gate 729 Princess Road Manchester M20 2LT


Access for all

If you’re visually impaired let us know if you need a magnifying sheet. An audio version of Inspired Living is also available.

Editor: Rachel Machin ( Designer: Simon Crossley (


Welcome to


Welcome to the second issue of Inspired Living, your magazine. Thanks to everyone who gave us feedback on the last issue. We really want to hear what you have to say so please email, write to us or visit our Facebook page and tell us what you think. Oldham PFI is all about creating communities so it’s brilliant to see amazing things happening every day. Our cover story looks at how our new community centres in Crossley and Primrose Bank are really making headway. We meet two elected members from the steering committees that have been set up to find out why they wanted to be involved in shaping the way these important buildings will be run.


We also celebrate the launch of Crossley towers with a picture special on page 14 and meet Melanie McGillick, the owner of the new hairdressing salon at Crossley to find out how businesses are beginning to thrive in the area. Our very own Zahid and Rebecca feature on page 10 as they tell you about the important work they’re doing to keep you safe in the community, and make the money in your pockets last longer!

Ryan Smith Oldham PFI manager


5 Hair today, hair tomorrow: Melanie McGillick talks about her new hairdressing salon in Crossley 6-7 Steering to success: How residents are helping the community centres take shape 10-11 Keep safe and in pocket: Meet Great Places’ Zahid and Rebecca who are on hand to help you deal with ASB issues and manage your money

14-15 Towers on the rise: Some great photos from the launch of Crossley Towers 18: Education’s what you need: How many people Oldham PFI has helped get into work 19: Primrose Bank then and now: Resident Paul Mayberry gives us his thoughts on the changes happening in his community


NEWS – from the borough




13 Get online with Len: Our digital trainer is here to help you access the internet


12 Statisfaction guaranteed: We round-up some statistics from our repairs service


Regulars 4 Your say: a page where you can tell us your thoughts 8-9 News: from across the borough 16-17 Neighbourhood news: what’s been happening in your area? 20: Competitions: your chance to win high street vouchers!


YOUR SAY... Thanks for the letters you sent! We want more of you to email, write to us or Facebook us. Please send your thoughts in for the next issue. We want your ideas and comments on everything to do with the Oldham PFI project. You can now contact us via Facebook as well as by letter and email. Whatever way you choose to contact us, we want to hear from you. Tell us about your neighbourhood or give us your thoughts on anything good or bad!

d if Hi and wondere a re a e th to l I’m loca bs going. onstruction jo c y n a re e w there Thanks on on, Chaddert Mark Lothert unities! lots of opport re a re e Th r: o ecial Edit nd training sp a n o ti a c u d e Read our on page 18.

STAR LETTER Every week one of your letters/emails/social

Star letter

Dear Inspired Li

ving, I really enjoyed the last magazin e. Please can you put more storie s in about Primrose Bank. There’s lo ts going on here. Yours faithfully Jean Johnson, Primrose Bank Editor: We’re ho ping to include stories on all of the PFI areas ev ery issue! Our cove r story is a featu re on the new com munity centres. You’ll also find us chatting with a Primrose Bank resident, Paul Mayberry on pa ge 19.

This is your page! Your chance to let us know your thoughts, ideas and comments on everything to do with the Oldham PFI project. Whatever way you choose to contact us, we want to hear from you. Tell us about your neighbourhood or give us your thoughts on anything good or bad!

media messages will be made Star Letter and you’ll receive a £10 voucher.

Write to us at: Inspired Living Communications Great Places Housing Group Southern Gate 729 Princess Road Manchester M20 2LT

Email us:

Facebook us at:


Melanie McGillick is certainly the embodiment of her newly named salon, Exuberance: full of energy, excitement and cheerfulness. And no wonder! She’s waited a long time to get into her new place, bang slap next to Crossley’s new community centre. “I got the demolition order about seven years ago,” she explains. “I was really upset. At first I thought I might have to move, and lose everything. But then I was told about the plans to build me a new salon.” Melanie had always lived in Chadderton. It’s where she’d trained as a hairdresser so when she bought her salon eight years ago, it was vital she was near her clients.

Hairdresser Melanie McGillick was the last resident to leave a crumbling block of shops and flats in Crossley. Now she’s enjoying work and life in her brand new salon, Exuberance. Inspired Living went to brush up on the details.

“Now I have a beautiful place and we’re hoping that the new houses will bring new clients in.” With a five-strong team, Melanie is working closely with the owner of Naturel Beauty salon down the road to provide beauty treatments for the older ladies who can’t use the stairs in that salon. “If it helps the community we want to continue this collaboration,” she enthuses. “When the community centre opens we also want to see if we can get involved. Maybe doing free manicures and mini facials.”

“The majority of my clients go back 15 to 20 years. I have a big connection with them and still see some of the mums that went to school with me.” She’s certainly glad to see the back of the old building she once inhabited. “We had no central heating or doubleglazing, and for a long time no-one next door or above! “There were people coming in and pinching radiators. Thieves even climbed through the maisonettes and stole the boilers. When we opened up the next day we had no salon left.



The steering groups for the community centres at Primrose Bank and Crossley are now in full swing. Inspired Living went to meet two local residents elected to help shape their success.

Joanne Cumberbirch, secretary, Crossley Community centre

I was involved from the beginning. I sat on the stakeholder committee that actually chose the consortium Inspiral to carry out the PFI work. I’ve lived on the Crossley estate for 40 years. I briefly moved to Spinners Mews for four years but when they built the new houses I applied to move back. I’ve come from a three storey house to a two storey which is great because my son’s disabled so it’s much easier to get around the house. From the moment the council started talking about investment in our community we were always looking forward to getting a brand new community centre – this is the main reason I wanted to be back. I want it to provide activities for every age from the oldest to youngest in our community. I think it’s also important that people in the wider area get to experience what’s happening here. The steering groups are made up of local residents who will be responsible for the management of the community centres. I jumped at the chance of being involved. As the secretary I’ll be taking minutes at meetings, booking people in for sessions and generally keeping on top of paperwork. I also work in a newsagents part-time but I’m hoping to be at the community centre on my days off in the little office they have there.


I’m a new resident and only moved in six months ago. I was living just a few streets away but my daughter is disabled and there wasn’t much room. This house is designed for wheelchair users so there is a lot of space. I wanted to stay involved in the community because before I was on the committee for the Coppice Community Centre. Unfortunately I had to leave that post because of my daughter and other commitments I had.

There are a lot of old and young people in this community. The young people do not have a lot of opportunity so I’m hoping we can bring them off the streets and keep them busy with activities. The older people don’t really have a meeting place so I think the new centre will be ideal for them. The other day I went to look around the building and was really impressed with what I saw. Initially we are going to start some sewing classes and computer classes for the women in our community. There will be more meetings to discuss the ways forward. I think it’s fantastic that people will have somewhere to go if they need advice or help.

Mahmood Azhtar, Primrose Bank Community Centre

Cover star!

Watch this space for more details about the official openings of the community centres! It looks like Crossley will open its doors in August and Primrose Bank in September! For more information, please email Jan Wade at


NEWS from the wider borough INDEPENDENT QUARTER ATTRACTS FIRST NEW TENANTS Five new and existing independent businesses are the first to benefit from the council’s £1 million investment to improve the town centre. The shops – two of which have relocated from other premises in the town centre – will help to attract people onto Yorkshire Street and complement the existing stores and businesses. Businesses which have thrown open their doors are Illumina Hair Salon at 124 Yorkshire Street and Kashmir Bakery at 102 Yorkshire Street, which opened in December and February, respectively. Nursery Goods Direct, run by Harold Rich and his son Robert, has relocated and taken a new lease on 135 Yorkshire Street. Musos music shop has moved next door to bigger premises at number 70 Yorkshire Street. Late last year the local council committed funds for a new package to support viable local independent businesses and also to create a more attractive and effective linkage between key development sites. The initial focus will support plans to create a new ‘Independent Quarter’ in the triangle between Yorkshire Street, Clegg Street and Union Street East. To find out more about the Independent Quarter plans visit independentquarter or call 0161 770 2077.


The council has negotiated a deal with Odeon cinemas to run the new 805-seat seven-screen facility.

Plans to transform the old town hall into a family entertainment complex are of iconic significance to Oldham.

Work is also progressing well on the historic building in preparation for the start of major works later this year. Councillor Jim McMahon, said: “The old town hall became the civic jewel that only said the wrong things about Oldham’s ambition as a place and for its people. “As you’ll have recently seen from the scaffolding now encasing it, we’re getting on with the job of putting that right.” In spring specially-designed hoardings featuring photographs of local people – and their memories of the old town hall – will be put in place.

8 8

DOING YOUR BIT COULD OPEN A DOOR FOR YOU If you’re in employment, training, or make some form of contribution to community life, then you could improve your chances of getting the home you want.

Over the coming months and years more and more new homes for rent will be coming available across the borough built as part of Oldham PFI and through Oldham’s housing providers. The council is encouraging households to get in touch if you have at least one member either working, in a work-related training programme, are volunteering or caring for a family member. Councillor Dave Hibbert, Cabinet Member for Environment and Housing, said: “As a co-operative council, we are very keen to ensure that people who do their bit for our community are recognised. “Whilst we recognise the importance of meeting housing needs, some homes will be offered to those who are making a valuable contribution in their communities to apply. “Many working families often don’t think social housing is for them but these are aspirational homes and we want

to encourage people who are adding value to the community to consider them as an option.” This year, around 250 new homes will be let through the council’s Choice Based Lettings scheme. This will include a range of developments across the borough at Fitton Hill, Primrose Bank, Chadderton, Sholver, Derker, Werneth and Lees.

To find out more about these new schemes and how you could qualify, please contact the One Point Housing Options Centre on: T: 0161 700 6699 E: or go in person to FCHO at 1 Medtia Square, Phoenix

This stunning image gives a glimpse of what one of the borough’s two new modern leisure facilities, on the junction of Manchester Street and St Domingo Street – being built at a cost of around £23 million – is set to look like.


KEEPING YOU SAFE AND IN POCKET Bricks and mortar is not just what Oldham PFI is about. We don’t walk away once the cement is dried and the bedding plants are flowering. Zahid and Rebecca are just two of the friendly PFI team on hand to help you in very different ways. Inspired Living went to meet them.

If you need help with an anti-social behaviour issue, please call us on 0300 123 1966 or email us at Our out of hours line, which is open on bank holidays and weekends, is 0845 250 4624

If you need help with money, please call us on 0300 123 1966 or email


Zahid Hussain

Anti-social behaviour co-ordinator

I work as part of the anti-social behaviour team across north west and Yorkshire. We’re here to keep residents safe and support them. People think of youths and hoodies when they think of anti-social behaviour, but there’s much more to it. Many people ask – why can’t we just evict those that are causing trouble? A lot of it is down to gathering evidence – eviction is always the last resort. We try to change residents’ behaviour because we never want it to get to that stage.

We’ve got so many support networks we can refer to and we build up close links with lots of agencies in north west and Yorkshire, for example domestic violence organisations, so we make sure victims are protected. When we work with people we try to be really flexible – every situation is different. We’ll do a thorough investigation into what’s happened – we won’t jump straight in. We always gather the evidence and make a very informed decision. Mediation is fantastic and we’re using that on a regular basis, getting people together. If you can get in early before a situation gets out of hand it can be so positive.

Rebecca Cremin

Financial support co-ordinator

People in Oldham, like everywhere, are trying to make ends meet. They often have problems with debt so we help them work out what is a priority debt and what isn’t. We provide budget training to help people manage their money. We also help residents apply for shortfalls in housing benefit and put them in touch with credit unions so that if, for example, their washer breaks, they have somewhere to go to get that extra money they need. I’ve issued 45 food bank vouchers in the past six months so we are seeing real poverty. We’ve partnered up with Oldham Credit Union – we give people £200 loans and open savings accounts for them. Universal Credit has come in where residents get one monthly payment and have to pay for their rent and everything else out of this lump sum. For those who have never worked, it is really difficult to budget. Like all of us, the temptation is strong just to spend the money as soon as you get it. I go out into the community. Residents can come into the office but most prefer to have a chat in the comfort of their own home. There are so many different things we can do to help people. We know how desperate the situation can get, but we’re here to help.



Residents and local dignitaries were out in force to celebrate the refurbishment of Stockfield Mount and Lansdowne court in Chadderton with the unveiling of two plaques. Inspired Living was there to take some snaps. Councillor Dave Hibbert, Oldham Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Housing, said: “These two tower blocks were built nearly 50 years ago so it is fair to say they were showing their age and needed refurbishing. I’m pleased that The Gateways to Oldham project has made that possible. “Residents, some who have called these tower blocks home for years, are now living in high quality accommodation and because they have had the latest thermal insulation fitted will be saving money on their heating bills. The project has created jobs and training opportunities in the supply chain, which can only be a boost for the borough. “This goes to show the project is transforming housing across Oldham and helping to change lives in a positive manner.”




The Mayor, Councillor John Hudson and chief executive of Great Places, Matthew Harrison unveiled the plaques

Residents Dorothy Sweatman, Eva Dale and Councillor David Hibbert

To find out more on how you can qualify for a flat at Stockfield Mount or Lansdowne Court, please contact the One Point Housing Options Centre on or visit the website

STATISFACTION GUARANTEED! We work with Wates and constantly strive to make sure you’re getting the best service from us. Here’s just some of the hard facts and figures to show you we’re doing just that!



number of calls received

overall service satisfaction


average days to re-let a property


projected rent arrears in April 2014

permanent caretakers covering PFI neighbourhoods





calls answered within 15 seconds

2000+ repairs completed

99% 99.3%

repairs dealt with on same day

number of you satisfied with repairs

Are you one of the many residents who have never used the internet before? Maybe you’ve never used a computer before – Great Places can help you! Do you think a laptop is some kind of new fashion accessory? When you think of a mouse, are you just thinking of the furry variety? If the answer is yes, don’t despair! We now have a digital trainer and our own digital champions who can talk you through the jargon and help get you started. From using a mouse or keyboard to sending emails or using Skype to talk to distant relatives or friends, we can get you on the road to becoming internet savvy. If you want to know what Facebook is all about, then we can show you. Meet Maureen, one of our residents who’s getting help from our digital trainer Len. “I hadn’t used the internet before and so I wasn’t too sure how this would work out,” she explains. “ It’s hasn’t been as hard as I imagined. I started out by just learning how to switch it on and then searching for things that interest me on the internet. “I’ve been taking small steps with Len’s help. Now I’ve got an email account and can get emails from my daughter. It’s not as difficult as I thought. The help I’ve had from Great Places has made a big difference. Now that I have more confidence I’m thinking about getting my own computer and internet connection.”

So if you think you would like to have a try at using the internet or even just a computer, we can help. It doesn’t matter how little experience you have, help is at hand. We can also advise you on what devices to buy and how to get connected.


at Cr

ossley Len is now based in th e communit y room at Lansdown e Court ev ery Thursday from 10:30 am - 3pm Learn how to: • Browse the interne t • Send e ma • Use soc ils ial media • Bank & shop onlin e • Access public serv ices and much more. Free tea a

nd coffee


Call 0300 123 1966 and ask for help to get online

Neighbourhood NEWS KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN! There’s been an increase of break-ins with both occupied and empty homes being targeted. Please be vigilant and keep an eye out for any suspicious behaviour. If you do see anything please call 0300 123 1966.

1 DOORS Doors at the primary route of entry and exit for most burglars, so it’s vital you secure them effectively. As you’re aware all front doors have been refurbished and meet industry standards so please make sure you lock them when you’re out!

Here are some top tips for protecting your home: 2 FRONT GARDEN Making your front garden tidy and secure could prevent an intruder as this makes your home look lived in.

3 LIGHTS Lighting up your home is a useful deterrent of burglary. You could consider leaving on some lights if it will be dark before you get home.

If you see anything suspicious you can also use the following contacts: Call 101 for non-emergencies Visit to find all the local numbers you’ll need.

BY GEORGE THEY HAD A GOOD TIME! Crossley Residents Group held a St. George’s Day event in the Stockfield Mount Communal Room which was well attended. The room was decorated in red and white and residents paid £1 for home-made potato pie or cheese & onion pie, as well as a slice of apple or rhubarb pie or a cake and a hot drink. £78 was raised, which will go towards future activities!



The back garden is the most vulnerable part of a house and requires careful attention to security. Fences offer vital protection for a house and can deter burglars. Please make sure you lock your gates when you’re not in.

5 WINDOWS Windows are often used as either an entry or exit route for burglars. Homes with windows left open or unsecured locks are a desired target for the opportunist burglar.

SOMETHING FOR THE CHILDREN Litter picks, egg hunts, plant pot decorating and planting seeds! Just some of the activities that took place over the Easter holidays at Crossley and Primrose Bank. Around 85 children got involved and a number of new residents came out and supported the events. The sun shone and the children really enjoyed themselves.


Do you live in Dew Way? Do you grow your own vegetables? If so, this competition is for you! We’re supporting ‘Get Oldham Growing’, a new initiative to promote how growing food helps the health of your diet, wellbeing and bank balance. All we need you to do is write to us, email or Facebook us and let us know what kind of event you want us to put on in your area. The lucky winner will receive £20 worth of B&Q vouchers! So get in touch. Important note: Just a reminder that if you want to grow vegetables in your garden, please ask our permission before you start, and only use your back garden. No vegatables can be grown in the communal gardens.


£20 w B&Q orth of vouc hers




A crucial part of the Oldham PFI project has always been about providing jobs and training opportunities for people in the area. Inspired Living gets the lowdown on what’s been happening.


new people working on site or working with the supply chain generated by the Oldham PFI contract.


total paid weeks of work offered, since Dec 2011. 646 weeks of which, fall in the period Jan 14 - Mar 14.


total unpaid weeks of work offered, since Dec 2011, 46 weeks of which, fall in the period Jan 14 - Mar 14

ham Students from University Campus Old April visited the Crossley Estate project in their h to experience a live site to help wit HNC studies.



number of weeks a new Wates employee had volunteered with them before gaining the job

Call us on 0300 123 2003 if you’re interested in education and training opportunities

PRIMROSE BANK… THEN AND NOW Resident Paul Mayberry has lived in Primrose Bank all his life. Inspired Living went to ask what he thinks of the transformation.

I’m 51 now and have lived here since the age of nine. I used to live on the road behind. Things have changed a lot. There wasn’t anything to do or many safe places to play. We have noticed a difference in the number of youths hanging around. There also used to be lots of druggies and alcoholics hanging around. They’ve really tidied up the area which has made a real difference to the feel of the place. The one thing I’ve really noticed is that there are more activities. The new community centre is directly facing our house and I’m sure there will be plenty of events they will organise there. We’ve also had our house refurbished. The whole house has been plastered, a new kitchen installed and all the bedrooms spruced up. We’ve always been involved in the community but I think this community centre will bring more people together. There is apparently going to be lots of activities going on for children and adults. There is a mixed community down here but we all get on together. Life’s too short for fighting. If you’ve got a positive attitude, you’ll get there.

Refurbished homes


Received free home improvements


Homeowners bought further home improvements

New homes for sale New homes for rent



New community centre


What’s happened at Primrose Bank


Competition time You could win £20 in vouchers!

Wordsearch Words to find are: Hair














CONGRATULATIONS TO LAST ISSUE’S WINNERS: Wordsearch - Mrs Joyshnara Ali, Oldham, Mrs Pauline Horton, Chadderton, Mr Abdul Khalik, Chadderton Spot the difference - Katrina Williams, Chadderton, Reece Davies, Oldham, Mrs B Waters, Chadderton

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE Just circle the FIVE differences on picture number two, cut it out, pop in an envelope and send it in! You could be one of three lucky people to win £10 worth of vouchers.

Send your entries by post to: FREEPOST, RLSC-HLLJ-EZRZ, Inspired Living, Great Places Housing Group, Southern Gate, 729 Princess Road, Manchester M20 2LT.

Don’t forget to include your name, telephone number and address. The three winners will be drawn out of a hat so get your entries in by 1st August 2014.

All entries must be in by 1st August 2014

Remember you don’t need a stamp!

Inspired Living Summer 2014  

The magazine for Oldham PFI residents