National School Meals Week

Between the 12-16 of November hundreds of schools across England will be taking part in National School Meals Week – the biggest healthy eating awareness week for children.

The free school meals programme was introduced by the Liberal Democrats in Government. With £1.2billion given each year and £150million for kitchen upgrades for schools across England.


Research shows that a nutritious meal at lunch helps children concentrate, get more out of school and do better academically. Offering free school lunches to every child means better concentration in the whole class and results improve even more. But that’s not all, helping young children to enjoy a range of healthy foods means they’ll have a healthy relationship with food as they grow up.

Commenting Mark Alcock said, “Eating a healthy and nutritious meal at school means better health for our children and better results at school.

“With the help of hard-working teachers and staff, thousands of infant children locally are getting a free healthy meal at lunch time – saving parents a huge £400 a year.

“National School Meals week is a chance for schools to really get stuck in and embrace school meals. Using the creativity and talents of their cooks to the full.”

Mark Alcock added, “During National School Meals week we should also reflect on our schools as a whole. We need to demand better for our schools and reverse damaging budget cuts to get the best for our children.”

Crawshaws will still honour Christmas savings stamps if you can get to one of these stores

Crawshaws on Yorkshire Street closed on 31 October after the company went into administration

Date published: 02 November 2018 in Rochdale online.

Whilst our local branch of Crawshaws closed on 31 October, you can still redeem your Christmas stamps at several stores in the north west.

Both Bury and Rochdale branches closed earlier this week, but you can still redeem your Christmas stamps at the following North West stores:

  • Manchester Arndale
  • Salford
  • Wigan
  • Stockport
  • Liverpool

Unfortunately, if you are unable to get to one of these stores, a refund isn’t possible, a spokesman for the company told Rochdale Online.

For any further enquiries regarding Crawhsaws, please ring: 01709 369 600.



Movember 2018 – Stop men dying too young

Do you know the reason behind the month of the moustache?

The Movember Foundation exists to help prevent early death for men across the world and Movember itself was created to highlight some of the most common illnesses that affect men’s lives. Mental health, prostate cancer and testicular cancer. You can help protect our fathers, brothers, sons and friends by helping to draw attention to these health problems.

This Movember the foundation are asking you to grow, move or host your way to saving lives. Go to to find out more about how you can get involved this Movember.

Mental Health

3 out of 4 suicides in the UK are men and it is the biggest killer of men aged 20-49 in England and Wales. Liberal Democrats have been calling for more funding for mental health services for years, delivering new maximum waiting times and trying to raise the profile of these often overlooked services. Luckily open conversation can help us to tackle this extremely common problem. Raising awareness through Movember and removing the taboo from how you talk about mental health could help someone you love.

Globally, one man takes his own life every minute, of every day.

This Movember, why not make your Move – for them.

Commit to walking or running 60 kilometres over the month. That’s 60 kilometres for the 60 men we lose each hour, every hour – the men who should still be here today.

People from every walk of life can suffer from poor mental health and too few keep quiet about it. It’s estimated that 1 in 4 people in the UK will have mental health problems in their lives. You are not alone!

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the UK. It kills 1 man every 45 minutes here. Over at the Prostate Cancer UK website you can find out if you’re at risk and what to do if you’re worried –

Testicular Cancer

2,400 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer each year in the UK. It is the most common cancer for men under 40. If you have any questions you should visit this NHS website –

If you notice something, do something

You know your body better than anyone else. If something feels wrong get to the doctor. Both Prostate Cancer and Testicular Cancer can be treated more successfully the earlier they’re found.

Don’t risk it, go to the doctor.


Clocks change this weekened!

The UK reverts to Greenwich Mean Time at 2am on Sunday, October 28 when all clocks are turned back to 1am at that time.

Mark Alcock said, “Most electronic devices these days will change the time for you, so you’ve no need to worry but I want to make sure residents do not miss that extra hour.”

“Evenings will become noticeably darker, with dusk falling as early as 4pm – just as schoolchildren are traveling home and rush hour in our area begins.”

When changing your clocks manually, it is also a good time to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarm.

Mark Alcock added, “Working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can save your loved ones’ lives as well as your own.”

“Early detection of fires saves lives and can reduce damage to house and contents. Smoke alarms provide the best early warning system in the event of a fire by combining smoke detection and alarm sounding in one unit. Statistics show that fewer deaths or serious injuries occur in households where smoke alarms are installed and maintained.”


National Hate Crime Awareness Week


This week is National Hate Crime Awareness Week.

The week aims to bring people together, to stand with those affected by hate crime, to remember those we have lost, and support those who need our ongoing support.

Hate crimes are any crimes that are targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards that person’s: disability, race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation
or transgender identity.

More information about the week and what it stands for here.

How can I report hate crime?
In an emergency call the police 999, if it is not an emergency call 101

World Mental Health Day 2018

World Mental Health Day: 10th October 2018

This year’s World Mental Health Day focuses on young people in a changing world.

Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated. Depression is one of the most common diseases in teenagers and suicide is the leading cause of death for people between 5-19 years old.

Being young can be difficult, with changes in every part of your life. From exam pressures, social media, getting to grips with dating, to moving away to uni or getting a new job, young people deal with many different pressures while growing up. Often at the same time they are starting to use drugs, like alcohol, which can make problems worse.

Unfortunately there’s still a taboo around mental illness that means problems are too often kept secret rather than shared with friends and family. Luckily many of our schools have already got the message about the importance of helping youngsters build the mental resilience from early life. This World Mental Health day is all about improving communication between young people and parents, teachers and friends, to let everyone know that, like physical health, mental health is something to work at and to talk about openly.

If you are experiencing mental health problems or need support, there are lots of places you can go to for help.


Swinson secures govt commitment on parental pay transparency


Jo Swinson, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Commenting on the Government announcement that it will consult on greater transparency on parental pay, Jo Swinson, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said:

“I am delighted that the Government will be consulting on putting my parental pay transparency bill into law.

“This is a simple regulatory change with great benefits for employers, employees and job applicants.

Over £870,000 to be spent on Balderstone Park

Date published: 26 September 2018 Rochdale online18

Over £870,000 has been approved for improving sports facilities at Balderstone Park.

Funds totalling £872,932 were approved by by Rochdale Council cabinet on Tuesday (25 September).

The money will be used to create new sports pitches and associated changing and community facilities at the park, plus upgrading open space between Rhodes Crescent and Mornington Road.

£30,000 of the funds will also upgrade the right of way from Broad Lane to Hurst Meadow.

The funding has been received by the council from a developer (known as section 106 money) following the grant of planning permission for housing development on land at Broad Lane (Ginnell Farm and Dean Farm) and the former Balderstone School on Queen Victoria Street.

Planning permission has been granted for the creation of football pitches and the extension of Balderstone Library to provide changing rooms, toilets and a club room to provide the facilities essential to the outdoor facilities.

Rochdale to host Freedom Parade for the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers 50th anniversary


The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers 50th Anniversary

Rochdale online Date published: 24 April 2018

The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers will exercise its freedom with special parades through Bury, Rochdale and Salford during this years Gallipoli weekend to commemorate its 50 year anniversary.

The Rochdale and Salford parades will take place on Saturday 28 April whilst Bury will host on Sunday 29 April following a service at Bury Parish Church.

It is anticipated that over 400 people will take part in the parades over the two days with serving Fusiliers from both First and Fifth Fusiliers taking part as well as Cadets and Veterans also.

Civic guests and dignatories from each local authority area will join Colonel of the Regiment, General Paul Nanson MBE when taking the salute in each local authority district.

The first parade will take place in Rochdale at 11.15am on Saturday 28 April. The parade will form up on Yorkshire Street and follow a short route back to the Town Hall where a reception for invited guests will take place.

Colonel James Denny, Regimental Secretary for the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers said: “2018 is a very special year for the Regiment so we wanted to mark our 50th anniversary with a series of events that everybody could get involved with. The Freedom parades in Bury, Rochdale and Salford will enable members from the wider Fusilier family and the general public to come out in force and join in our special, anniversary celebrations.”

The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, known as ‘The Fusiliers’, is an English infantry regiment in the British Army, formed from four historic Fusilier regiments in 1968. Since then, the Fusiliers have seen service across the world in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, the Balkans, the first and second Gulf Wars and Afghanistan. The regiment has two battalions and both adapt readily to challenging scenarios.

The actual anniversary for the formation of the regiment was 23 April when a special thanksgiving service took place at the Regimental Headquarters in the Tower of London.

H Samuel closing – Alcock asks, is Council Spending Town Centre money in right place?

Rochdale Exchange Shopping Centre


Rochdale online Date published: 20 April 2018

The H Samuel store in Rochdale, Exchange Shopping Centre will be closing on 12 May 2018.

A spokesperson said: “We continually re-assess our portfolio of stores on a store by store basis, particularly when individual store leases come up for renewal.

“This particular closure bears no reflection upon the future plans of the Signet business estate overall within the UK.

“We are sorry to be leaving Rochdale, however we do have an H Samuel store twenty minutes away in Oldham.”



The Labour run council in Rochdale is spending £80 million of your tax payers money on a new shopping centre and other facilities. The £80 million will be paid back over the next 35 years. Do you think this is a good investment or should the money be spent on helping the Wheatsheaf and Exchange shopping centres to fill the many empty shops and also filling the many empty shops in the town centre?
Text YES or NO to 07722 472 716 with your name or email Mark with your ideas at: [email protected]